Nikon D100 Review
As we'd expect the D100's Auto white balance worked best under natural light. It did fail rather disappointingly under incandescent light, leaving images with a strong yellow cast. The pre-programmed white balance settings are fairly near to our test lights, and you can of course fine tune these. Manual preset, the measurement and pre-setting of white balance from a white / grey card, did work well under almost any light.
Settings: Sharp: Auto, Tone: Auto, Color mode: I (sRGB), ISO 200, 24 - 85 mm F3.5 - 4.5 G, Small/Fine JPEG
|Daylight: Auto||Daylight: Cloudy / Shade / Sunny||Daylight: Manual|
|Incandescent: Auto||Incandescent: Incandescent||Incandescent: Manual|
|Fluorescent: Auto||Fluorescent: Fluorescent||Fluorescent: Manual|
White balance fine tuning
One feature the D100 inherits from previous Nikon digital cameras is the ability to 'fine tune' white balance. This allows you to apply a +3 to -3 adjustment to the preset white balance settings. A positive adjustment makes the white balance cooler (towards blue), a negative adjustment makes it warmer (towards red). The exact amount of adjustment per 'step' depends on the selected white balance, between 100K and 500K.
|Incandescent +3 (coolest)||Incandescent +2||Incandescent +1|
|Incandescent -1||Incandescent -2||Incandescent -3 (warmest)|
The D100 provides a pop-up D-TTL flash as well as a fully SB compatible hotshoe which allows newer SB-xxDX flash units to work in D-TTL mode with D or G type lenses. To connect the D100 to a studio strobe type setup you will need to purchase the Nikon AS-15 PC Sync socket adapter (this is what we used to connect the D100 to our strobes). Note that the D100 doesn't have the high X Sync speed of its brothers, its maximum flash sync shutter speed is 1/180 sec.
Below you will see a sequence of three shots taken with internal, external and studio strobes.
Settings: Sharp: Auto, Tone: Auto, Color mode: I (sRGB), ISO 200, 24 - 85 mm F3.5 - 4.5 G, Large/Fine JPEG
Exposure Mode: P
|External flash: SB-50DX
Exposure Mode: P
Exposure Mode: M
As you can see the D100 appears to have some kind of issue metering the internal and external flash correctly. Both of these shots have come out underexposed, to see how these images should have looked I have also included thumbnails of the same sequence of shots taken with a Fujifilm S2 Pro.
Same sequence taken with the Fujifilm S2 Pro
Exposure Mode: P
|External flash: SB-50DX
Exposure Mode: P
Exposure Mode: M
Studio setup: 2 x Elinchrom 300W strobes (1 x 70 cm softbox).
Custom function 4 allows you to enable the D100's noise reduction system. This has been implemented with the dark frame subtraction method, the camera takes a second dark frame exposure after the main shot which it uses to detect and subtract noise from the main shot. Without noise reduction even fairly mild two or four second exposures will suffer from visible hot pixels, enable noise reduction and these will be removed.
Settings: Sharp: Auto, Tone: Auto, Color mode: I (sRGB), ISO 200, 17 - 35 mm F2.8 D, Large/Fine JPEG
|ISO 200, F9.0, 6 sec|
Five minute exposure
This is a test we first carried out with Canon's EOS-D60 (which produced amazing results), the D100 did manage to capture the scene fairly well. It took a long time after taking the shot for the camera to perform noise reduction. The effects of the noise reduction can be seen more clearly if you zoom in to 100%, small black 'holes' where noise has been removed. There are also visible hot pixels which weren't removed by the noise reduction.
Settings: Sharp: Normal, Tone: Auto, Color mode: I (sRGB), ISO 200, 50 mm F1.4 D, Large/Fine JPEG
|ISO 200, F16.0, 5 minutes|
Overall Image Quality / Specifics
There's no doubting that the D100 can produce excellent, well exposed, vibrant coloured and wide dynamic range images. And that it's delivering more resolution than we've seen from any other Nikon digital SLR. Any D100 image reduced in size for presentation or web publication will look superb. However, zoom up to 100% and the look and feel of the image isn't as crisp and smooth as we've come to expect from D-SLR images.
Something which soon became and issue among the early adopters of the D100 was a complaint about D100 images appearing soft. I've been over this subject in this review already, the fact that JPEG images out of the camera are not as sharp as they could be, that shooting RAW will consistently deliver sharper images (although with the trade-off of higher noise levels). Unfortunately it's not just a case of applying additional sharpening to the JPEG files in the 'digital darkroom', it would appear as though some detail has already been lost.
Settings: Sharp: Auto, Tone: Auto, Color mode: I (sRGB), 24 - 85 mm F3.5 - 4.5 G, Large/Fine JPEG
|ISO 200, 1/320 sec, F11||ISO 400, 1/250 sec, F8|
|Fangorn Forest by cand1d|
|Yosemite Falls with Moonbow by Jonathan Shapiro|
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