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Rear of Camera Controls

Rear of the D1 are several sets of controls: Across the top left and right are two groups of "thumb buttons" and the main command dial, below this the 4-way controller (which can also be locked by turning the surrounding dial), bottom right corner you can see the repeated portrait controls. To the bottom left we have the control panel LCD and set of five buttons which are normally covered by a metal door held in place by a magnetic catch. Each of the controls are described in more detail below:

Single-Press controls

Button
 
Description

Monitor

In shooting mode displays the last image taken (or the last image on the storage card) in this mode you can scroll through images and display image information just like PLAY mode except that the play buttons (next to the control panel) operat as per record mode. The D1 is a shooting priority camera, a half-press of the shutter release will turn the monitor off and ready it for the next shot. In play mode this button turns the LCD monitor off and on.

Delete

When an image is displayed pressing delete will display an "Erase, Yes?", press delete once more to delete the current image. You can also delete in record review mode (described above).
AE-L
AF-L

Auto Exposure and Auto Focus Lock

Pressing this button locks the current exposure and focus, they remain locked for as long as you hold the button even if you press or release the shutter release button.

AF-ON Auto Focus Start

An alternative to half-pressing the shutter release, starts auto focus. In combination with custom setting 4 (auto focus activation) this can be used for triggering auto focus independently of the shutter release button.
4-way controller

In shooting mode where AF point selection is enabled the 4-way controller is used to choose AF points. In playback mode (or after pressing the monitor button) this control reverts to image navigation / menu movement. This control can be locked by turning the surrounding dial.

Controls which combine with command dials (shooting mode)

Button
Main command dial (rear)

Sub command dial (front)
L Shutter speed lock (S mode)

In shutter priority mode holding the L button and rotating the main command dial locks the current shutter speed.
Aperture lock (A mode)

In aperture priority mode holding the L button and rotating the sub command dial locks the current aperture.
WB White Balance mode

• Auto WB (4200K - 7000K)
• Incandescent WB (~3000K)
• Fluorescent WB (~4200K)
• Direct sunlight WB (~5200K)
• Flash WB (~5400K)
• Overcast WB (~6000K)
• Shade WB (~7000K)
• PRE WB (preset, hold to set new WB)
White Balance fine tuning

With one of the pre-programmed WB settings selected you can fine tune the white balance +/-3 steps, positive towards blue, negative towards red.
CSM Custom setting

Selects custom setting number (displayed on control panel).
Custom setting value

Changes value of currently selected custom setting.
QUAL Image Quality

• Hi (RAW, TIFF)
• Fine (JPEG)
• Normal (JPEG)
• Basic (JPEG)

Image Quality sub-value

For Hi quality:
• 2.7r (12-bit RAW)
• RGB TIFF
• RGB TIFF (B&W)
• YCbCr TIFF
• YCbCr TIFF (B&W)

For JPEG (Fine - Basic) quality:
• Colour
• B&W

ISO Sensitivity (ISO equiv.)

• 200
• 400
• 800
• 1600
 

I would like to have seen the availability of a lower ISO (say 100) which would have guanteed noiseless images and greater exposure flexibility in strong light.

Kudos once again to Nikon for providing a superbly flexible set of white balance modes, not only a good range of pre-programmed white balance settings but each one can be fined tune to match available light.

Play controls

The same five buttons above have different actions in play mode, their assigned function is repeated on the back of the compartment door.

Button
 
Description
MENU

Play menu

Display or cancel the play menu (described later in the review).

Thumbnail index

Display or cancel view of a thumbnail index of images (3x3).
ENTER

Execute / Confirm

Used to confirm various functions / enter sub menus in play menu.

ALL Select All

A shortcut to selecting all displayed images for "selective delete" or protect.
Select

Used to select / deselect images for selective delete or protect.
4-way controller

Up and down - scroll through images on storage card, Left and right scroll through picture information. Navigation when in play menu.
AF-ON Cancel

A bit obscure but the AF-ON button doubles as a cancel / back button for the play menu and menu options.
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Comments

danieladougan

I used one of these in 2002 when I worked as a reporter/photographer for a community newspaper. It was, for its time, a pretty incredible machine even three years after it was introduced.

Compared to the Canon PowerShot A40 that I had just received quite excitedly as a college graduation gift, the D1 I used at work was like something out of a science fiction movie. It was lightning fast to focus and shoot, it had crazy low-light ability (ISO 1600), and the f2.8 AF-S zoom lenses that the newspaper had to go along with it were stellar.

Today with the improvements in sensor technology, you can get similar image quality in a smart phone (with a lot more resolution), and the professional DSLRs are just leaps and bounds ahead.

It's impossible to overstate just how significant a camera the D1 was for photojournalism and photography in general. Total game changer.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
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