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Command Dials

The D100 has two dials, both of which are mounted horizontally in the body. The dial at the rear of the camera ('under your thumb') is called the main command dial. The dial at the front of the camera is called the sub command dial. It's important to remember which is which when reading the next few pages of this review.

Main command dial (rear) Sub command dial (front)


Top of camera controls (left)

Top of the camera on the left side of the viewfinder are situated the mode / settings and drive dials. The mode dial is free to move, the drive dial is 'locked', this means you must hold down the small locking pin to move this dial.

To change focus area mode, image size / quality, white balance or ISO sensitivity you turn the dial to the required position and then use the main or sub command dials to change the setting.

I have to say that the mode / settings dial is probably the D100's least well thought-out pieces of design. It completely defeats the concept of the D100 being a 'shooting priority camera'. To change focus area mode, image size / quality, white balance or ISO sensitivity via this dial you are switching the camera out of its exposure mode (and thus out of shooting mode).

Obviously you can instead use the LCD menu and simply not use this dial to change such settings. Considering this shortcoming I suggest it should be possible to select a default exposure mode (P, S, A or M) via the camera menu for use when the dial is turned to any of the four settings positions.

Mode / Settings Dial: Settings

Dial
position
ISO ISO Sensitivity

• ISO 200
• ISO 250
• ISO 320
• ISO 400
• ISO 500
• ISO 640
• ISO 800
• ISO 1000
• ISO 1250
• ISO 1600
• HI-1 (approx. ISO 3200)
• HI-2 (approx. ISO 6400)
No action
WB White Balance

• Auto
• Incandescent
• Fluorescent
• Sunlight
• Flash
• Cloudy
• Shade
• Preset

White Balance Fine Tune / Preset

For all modes but Preset rolling the sub command dial allows you to fine tune the white balance selection by +/-3 levels.

For Preset white balance rolling the sub command dial allows you to shoot a grey / white card to preset the white balance.

QUAL Image Quality

• RAW
• TIFF
• FINE
• NORMAL
• BASIC
Image Size (not in RAW mode)

• Large
• Medium
• Small
AF Area Mode

• Single area AF
• Dynamic area AF
No action

Mode / Settings Dial: Exposure Mode

Icon
 
Mode
P

Programmed Auto (Flexible)

The Program AE on the D100 is flexible, that means that you can select one of a variety of equal exposures by rolling the main command dial (rear of camera) left or right. Example:

     • 1/50 F5.6 (roll left a click) P*
     • 1/60 F5 (roll left a click) P*
     • 1/80 F4.5 (metered) P
     • 1/100 F4 (roll right a click) P*
     • 1/125 F3.5 (roll right a click) P*

The D100 remembers the selected offset from default metering, the only way to reset this is to quickly turn the camera off and on again.

S

Shutter Priority Auto

In this mode you select the shutter speed and the camera will calculate the correct aperture for the exposure (based on the reading of the current metering mode). Shutter speed is displayed on the viewfinder status bar and on the top LCD, roll the main command dial (rear) to select different shutter speeds. A half-press of the shutter release causes the cameras exposure system to calculate the aperture, if it's outside of the cameras exposure range (for instance trying to take a shot at 1/500s in darkness) the aperture will show 'Lo' or 'Hi'.

    • 30 seconds - 1/4,000 sec (in 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps)
 

A

Aperture Priority Auto

In this mode you select the aperture and the camera will calculate the correct shutter speed for the exposure (based on the reading of the current metering mode). Aperture is displayed on the viewfinder status bar and on the top LCD, roll the sub-command (front) dial to select different apertures. A half-press of the shutter release causes the cameras exposure system to calculate the shutter speed, if it's outside of the cameras exposure range the shutter speed will show 'Lo' or 'Hi'.

    • Range depends on lens max. and min. apertures (in 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps)
 

M Full Manual Exposure

In this mode you select the aperture and the shutter speed from any combination of the above (plus BULB for shutter speed, apertures limited by the lens used). Main command dial selects shutter speed, sub-command dial selects aperture. The meter on the viewfinder status bar and top LCD will immediately reflect the exposure level compared to the calculated ideal exposure, if it's outside of +/- 2EV the indicator bar will add an arrow '<' or '>' on the end of the meter.

Drive Mode Dial

Symbol
 
Mode
Single frame shooting

One frame is taken when shutter release is pressed. You can take another shot almost as quickly as you can re-press the shutter release. The remaining indicator on the viewfinder status bar shows current buffer space.

Continuous shooting

Press and hold the shutter release and the camera will shoot frames at approximately 3 frames per second (depending on shutter speed). The exact number of frames you will be able to take before the camera's buffer fills depends on the image type selected as well as things such as ISO sensitivity, image detail etc. Generally you can take around 5 frames in JPEG FINE and 3 in RAW mode.

Self-timer shooting

Camera takes a single frame after a predefined delay, this delay can be set to 2, 5, 10 or 20 seconds via a custom function 8.


Top of camera controls (right)

Top of the camera on the right side are the two sub and main command dials (front and back), the power switch, shutter release, flash mode, exposure compensation and LCD illumination button.

Power switch

Symbol
 
Mode
OFF

Camera Off

Powers camera off. The 'loose your buffered images if you power off' problem which dogged the D1, D1H and D1x has been resolved with the D100. The D100 will stay 'on' until any buffered images have been flushed (written) to the Compact Flash card.

ON Camera On

Switches camera on, this is virtually instant, there's no perceptible delay between turning the dial to the On position and being able to shoot. Quite noticeably quicker than Canon's EOS-D60.

Buttons

Button
Flash sync mode

• Front-curtain sync (normal flash)
• Red-eye reduction
• Red-eye reduction with slow sync
• Slow sync
• Rear-curtain sync
No action
Exposure Compensation

• +/-5EV in 1/3EV or 1/2EV steps
No action
Illuminate

This button illuminates the top LCD panel with a green backlight for as long as the "Auto Meter-Off" time (custom function 7). You can also program the backlight to come on with any button press (custom function 16).
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