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Nikon D1H Review

September 2001 | By Phil Askey


Review based on an production Nikon D1H, firmware v1.00

The D1x and D1H were originally announced back in February 2001, at the time it was interesting to find out that Nikon were upgrading the D1 not to one model but two. The D1x has a six megapixel sensor but because of the large size of its image files is limited to 3 frames per second for a maximum of 9 images. The D1H is based on the original 2.74 megapixel D1 sensor but has a far larger data buffer and frame rate ability. Capable of shooting at a maximum of 5 frames per second for up to 40 frames the D1H is clearly aimed at sports and current affairs journalists who need high frame rates and good buffer size.

Just like the D1x the D1H also has several tweaks to the user interface (new menu system, shifted controls) and finally brings selectable colour profiles (sRGB / Adobe RGB), an area which was probably D1 users biggest bug bear.

D1H Features Summary

  • Same body as D1 (some labels / buttons have shifted)
  • Same AF system as D1 (and F5)
  • Same 1.5x focal length multiplier
  • Selectable colour space mode (sRGB or Adobe 1998)
  • 3D White Balance (with hue compensation for colour shift produced by artificial lighting)
  • Textual custom functions (available in four languages)
  • Increased number of custom functions, now 35
  • RS232C port for connection to GPS units, GPS location is recorded in image header
  • ISO sensitivity selectable in 1/3 or 1/2 stops (from ISO 200)
  • New faster ASIC processor (image processor)
  • Larger, 40 image buffer
  • Highest frame rate of 5 frames per second
  • Photoshop plugin for RAW files
  • RAW file optional lossless compression mode (2:1)
  • New "total system anti-noise strategy"
  • Much less noise at high ISO's
  • New Nikon Capture 2
  • New Nikon View 4 (file copy from card with rename)
  • Improved IEEE 1394 (Firewire) data transfer speed
  • New 130,000 pixel LCD with "white LED backlight"
  • One-button playback with magnification capability
  • Official support for new 1 GB Microdrive (though not older 340 MB)

Review notes: Much of this review is based on my D1x review, if you've read that then you may wish to skip to the main controls / tests pages. Note that the layout of this review is slightly different to conform to our new review style.


Lenses

Obviously when you buy a digital SLR you've also got to consider lenses, a good percentage of D1H buyers will probably be existing Nikon SLR owners, so they will more than likely have several suitable lenses. Nikon were good enough to provided the following lenses for evaluation of the D1H in this review (which are the same lenses I used for my D1x review):

AF Zoom-Nikkor 28-105mm
f/3.5-4.5D

(42 - 157.5 mm equiv.)
AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 17-35mm
f/2.8D IF-ED

(25.5 - 52.5 mm equiv.)
AF-S Nikkor 300mm
f/4D IF-ED

(450 mm equiv.)


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this review (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (normally 960 x 720 or smaller if cropped) image in a new window.

To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.

DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C. Colourspace used for evaluation is sRGB (unless otherwise stated).

This review is Copyright 2001 Phil Askey and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey.

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