ISO (Sensitivity) Adjustment

Standard Test Scene

The D1H allows you to choose from 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV steps betwen ISO 200 and 1600, at 1/3 EV steps this provides a total of 9 different ISO equiv. sensitivities. Additionally there are two additional sensitivities accessible through the ISO boost custom setting (CSM 31) which are equivalent to ISO 3200 and 6400.

To give an impression of noise levels at different sensitivities the same scene was shot at 1 stop (1 EV) steps from ISO 200 to ISO 6400 (HI-2) in relatively low light (EV 6). The two images side-by-side are 100% crops from the same image.

Settings: Sharp.: Normal / Tone: Normal / Colorspace: sRGB / FINE JPEG

ISO 200, 1.0 sec, F13
ISO 400, 1/2 sec, F13
ISO 800, 1/4 sec, F13  
ISO 1600, 1/8 sec, F13  
ISO 3200 (HI-1), 1/15 sec, F13  
ISO 6400 (HI-2), 1/30 sec, F13  

As I noted when the first D1H samples started to leak out around the net the D1H is a very clean performer (low noise) all the way up to ISO 1600. Looking at the 'boosted' ISO 3200 it's also fairly good if you were (a) going to use some third party noise reduction software or (b) reduce the image in size (resample). When the noise does appear it's thankfully just random speckles which look just like film grain (no pattern noise as we saw on the D1).

White balance

The D1H offers a large range of pre-programmed white balance options as well as fine tuning and three manual presets. The samples below are designed to provide an example of how well the Auto white balance, pre-programmed and manual preset white balances work under different types of lighting.

Settings: ISO 400 / Sharp.: Normal / Tone: Normal / Colorspace: sRGB / FINE JPEG

Daylight: Auto Daylight: Cloudy Daylight: Manual
Incandescent: Auto Incandescent: Incandescent Incandescent: Manual
Fluorescent: Auto Fluorescent: Fluorescent Fluorescent: Manual

As you can see Auto white balance really only works under natural light, it failed quite badly to read the correct temperature under incandescent or fluorescent light. That said manual preset is almost always perfect and also handles the hue shift very well.

Continuous shooting speed

Clearly one of the main reasons to consider the D1H over (say) the D1x would be because of its high frame rate (5 frames per second) and 40 frame buffer (when shooting JPEG's). On a recent 'field test' I took the D1H along with the Nikkor 300mm F4.0 IF-ED lens to the 21st and 22nd round of the British Touring Car Championship at the Silverstone Circuit here in the UK. The D1H performed flawlessly, focusing was fast, AF tracking was excellent, the 5 fps frame rate ensured there were plenty of shots too choose from and the 40 frame buffer made it easy to follow a car through a corner and still have buffer space for the next.

The short sequence below is made up of 12 frames of a burst of shots taken of Phil Bennett rounding the Farm corner. This burst of twelve frames covers just over 2 seconds in time. Camera settings: ISO 200, Continuous shooting (5 fps), Continuous servo AF, Dynamic area AF, Shutter priority 1/1250 sec, CW Average metering, -0.3 EV compen.

12:18:52.31 12:18:52.43 12:18:53.56
12:18:53.04 12:18:53.17 12:18:53.30
12:18:53.43 12:18:53.55 12:18:54.03
12:18:54.15 12:18:54.29 12:18:54.41

Apologies for the quality of framing, this was my first real motor sports shoot. For more (fulls ize and original) examples from this shoot at Silverstone see the second D1H samples gallery.