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Conclusion - Pros

  • Excellent colour reproduction, new selectable colour space is very welcome
  • Clean, noise free images even at high ISO sensitivities
  • Noise, when it does appear, is random in nature (more like film grain)
  • New and very easy to use menu system - full text custom functions
  • Flexible selection of ISO sensitivities (down to 1/3 stop steps), sensitivity now displayed on rear control panel LCD
  • Monitor button PLAY mode is now just as functional as the dedicated PLAY mode
  • Magnify in playback
  • Continuous shooting now provides a review of each frame shot
  • High speed continuous shooting with large image buffer (up to 40 frames)
  • Programmable FUNC button
  • Supreme build quality, unrivalled, all metal body, weatherproof seals
  • The way it feels in your hand, "solid mass"
  • All rubber foot plate
  • Instant startup time, very fast operation speed
  • Built around two of the best film SLR's around, the F5 and F100
  • Inbuilt portrait grip
  • Ultra fast AF (especially when combined with AF-S lens)
  • Excellent (if slightly conservative) matrix metering
  • Good low light, long exposure performance
  • Extremely flexible controls, lots of options for the photographer
  • Most controls can be locked (true pro feature)
  • Huge range of custom functions
  • Interchangeable focus screen
  • Good, large (2") LCD, anti-reflective coated
  • Firewire (IEEE 1394) connectivity
  • GPS connectivity and data storage
  • Good battery life
  • CF Type II support - now officially supports 512 MB and 1 GB Microdrives
  • RAW mode support (the "digital negative") - now adds a compressed mode
  • Remote capture software for studio work
  • Nikkor Lens compatibility
  • Nikon Capture 2 has lots of great improvements, now includes batch mode and is cheaper than before (though really should be bundled with the camera)
  • All Nikon Digital SLR, built as such from the ground up


Conclusion - Cons

  • JPEG/TIFF files are not tagged with colorspace in a standard way
  • Resolution may be seen as 'last generation' (although more than sufficient for most)
  • Semitransparent LCD cover should have been totally transparent
  • When camera is powered off only the image currently been written is saved, any other buffered images (say from a continuous burst) are lost
  • After shooting a burst of images you must release the shutter release button and re-press before more images can be buffered
  • Nikon Capture as an optional extra, it SHOULD be included with the camera
  • Battery charger could be neater (drop-in style charger)
  • Requires optional AC adapter (battery charger cannot be used as power supply)
  • Image browsing in playback should be controlled by the command wheel not arrow keys
  • Still no sensible way to clean the CCD (blowers just don't work and the manual says no to swabs)
  • 1.5x focal length multiplier


Overall conclusion

Nikon took the already very good D1, fixed several of the issues surrounding it (colour space, pattern noise) added even better image quality, a much more user friendly menu system and text custom functions. They also boosted its continuous shooting speed and added a larger buffer. That buffer may seem excessive to some but it provides you the ability to not have to think about the camera as a digital, you can shoot a quick burst of ten images and know that you have more than enough buffer capacity remaining to catch the next moment of action.

Nikon took an interesting path introducing two separate digital SLR's, the 6 megapixel D1x aimed at those who want the maximum possible resolution but are willing to sacrifice some continuous shooting ability. The 2.7 megapixel D1H aimed squarely at sports and current affairs journalists to whom continuous shooting ability is paramount and resolution is sufficient for their output.

The D1H is an excellent, extremely well built, well engineered and high image quality digital SLR in its own right, its pricing is competitive and may well attract even the keen amateur. The real question will be deciding between it and the excellent D1x

Highly Recommended

So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.

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