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Viewfinder

As mentioned in my D1 and D1x reviews the viewfinder bears more than a passing resemblance to that on the F5, about the only difference being that the D1(x/H)'s viewfinder can't be removed. Otherwise it is very, very similar, made from the same strong magnesium alloy as the rest of the body with a round rubber eyepiece, eyeglass wearers can set a dioptre adjustment by a dial on the right side, on the back there's a lever for the eyepiece shutter, a cover which comes down inside the viewfinder for use in long exposures (to stop stray light from entering through the viewfinder). Note also that the metering system selector is on the side of the viewfinder (detailed later).

The view through the eyepiece is clear enough, the frame view feels very slightly cropped compared to a film SLR (although not as much as on Kodak DCS digital SLR's). Manual focusing using the ground glass focusing screen (which can be changed for others) was easy enough and there's plenty of information repeated on the status bar in the viewfinder.

With the D1H the focus area brackets glow red when selecting a focus point or triggering autofocus (half-pressing the shutter release for example). I particularly like this feature, found in many high-end film SLR's it's a useful visual reminder of just which focus area you have selected.

In my D1 review I put in a request for the ISO sensitivity to be displayed on the viewfinder status bar, well as yet this hasn't been implemented, however the ISO is now displayed on the rear control panel LCD by default (although you can change this back to frame count if you prefer). So once more, please Nikon R&D, can we have a readout of the current ISO setting on the viewfinder status bar?


Battery Compartment

The battery compartment on the D1H takes up about three quarters of the base of the camera, the compartment door is incorporated into the battery, with a flush fitting metal catch holding the whole battery and door into place, removing the battery is a simple case of flipping and turning the catch then sliding the battery out. The EN-4 battery for the D1 is rated as 7.2V 2000 mAh (14.4 Wh), by far one of the most powerful rechargeable battery we've seen in any digital camera / SLR.


Battery Charger

Charging the D1H's battery is a case of plugging it into the supplied charger (MH-16). As yet there's no 'docking station' type charger which would be far less of a fiddle than connecting the cable to the battery each time you want to charge.

One other disappointment was that you can't use the charger as an AC adapter, that's an optional extra (and a requirement if you wish to clean the CCD in the manner described in the manual).

Using this charger a full charge takes around 90 minutes (though obviously it's capable of 'top up' charges which are far quicker). It is noted that the MH-15 battery charger (for the F100) can be used to charge D1 batteries, and it has the bonus of two connectors.


CompactFlash Compartment

The D1H's CompactFlash compartment is in the rear of the hand grip, to open it you need to lift a small flap (slip your thumb under it) and press a release button, the spring loaded door will then pop open revealing the CompactFlash slot (a neat mechanism which ensures no accidental door openings).

It's worth noting the rubber grommet around the seal of the compartment door, offering further dust and water resistance. There's plenty of space inside to eject and remove the card, the door itself is cunningly designed so you can pop a new card in, put your hand on the grip which will close the door and flip over the eject lever in one movement.

In my D1 review I mentioned that some users had requested a custom function to stop the camera from shooting when there's no card inserted. Nikon has now implemented this option, it's custom function number 34.

Notable improvement: Nikon now officially support the IBM Microdrive (the newer MK II units). Although previously D1 users had used the Microdrive some had experienced problems and Nikon had never officially sanctioned its use. Support is now limited to the newer 512 MB and 1 GB units (known as the MK II Microdrive's).


Connections

The D1H is well endowed with connectors, if any criticism were due it would be that they are not all concentrated in one place, although their location is logical enough when you consider using the D1H tethered or with accessory equipment.

Top: Remote control and Sync flash terminals.

Bottom: Video out and DC-IN (for use with Nikon proprietary AC adapter).

Top: RS232C (serial) input for connection to external GPS unit (GPS location information is recorded in the image header)

Bottom: Firewire (IEEE1394) port for image transfer and camera control (now better performance and faster transfers than the D1)

New feature: The D1H now supports connection to an external GPS device which allows the camera to record it's exact location information in the header of the image file (JPEG, TIFF or RAW). GPS Input must be enabled through the camera set up menu, once connected a small 'D' on the rear LCD panel indicates data transfer between the camera and GPS unit.

Compatible GPS Devices (taken from the D1H manual)

GARMIN or MAGELLAN GPS devices compatible with the NMAE0183 ver 2.01 protocol can be used with the camera. (NMAE = National Marine Electronics Association).

Operation has been confirmed with the following GPS devices:

  • GARMIN GPS III
  • MAGELLAN COLORTRAK

Because cables for connecting GPS devices to the camera are not available from Nikon, the user must supply a suitable cable.

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