Nikon D2H Review
A short explanation of RAW to the uninitiated - RAW simply means data direct from the sensor's analog to digital converter (in the case of the D2H 12 bits per pixel) which hasn't been processed in any way. The actual RAW file written to the storage card consist of a header which contains the current camera settings (parameters, exposure, white balance selection etc.) followed by this RAW data itself. The D2H writes RAW files in Nikon's .NEF format which has a compression option delivering RAW files under 4 MB in size. RAW is considered to be 'the digital negative' as it represents the unaltered image data directly as it was captured and can therefore be processed in many different ways.
Unfortunately there is no industry standard for RAW (lots of reasons for this, not least of which are the variances in sensor design and image processing). This means you can't view RAW files in most photo applications like you can with JPEG (although more and more are adding specialized RAW support).
To convert RAW images you have an expanding range of options, supplied with the D2H is the free Nikon Viewer 6.1 which has basic RAW conversion with digital exposure compensation and white balance adjustment. There is also the excellent Nikon Capture 4.0 which provides very advanced RAW conversion, a 30 day trial of this is included with the D2H. Third party RAW conversion tools include Adobe Photoshop CS (although it doesn't yet officially support the D2H) and Phase One's Capture One (again official D2H support coming soon).
JPEG vs. RAW (Nikon View Editor) vs. RAW (Nikon Capture Editor)
Below are two 100% crops taken from images shot within seconds of each other. The first crop is from a Large / Fine JPEG straight from the camera, the second from a RAW converted to TIFF using Nikon View 6.1 Editor, the third from the same RAW converted to TIFF using Nikon Capture 4 Editor.
Nikon View Editor bug or Nikon Capture Editor bug?
First of all their appears to be a bug in Nikon Capture Editor and Nikon View Editor related to sharpening. The resolution chart was taken with a Sharpening setting of 'Auto'. Nikon View Editor appears to interpret this as a sharpening level of 'None', Nikon Capture Editor interprets this as a sharpening level of 'Normal'. The camera appears to apply a sharpening level of 'Low'.
Thus to make the comparison worthwhile I had to forced both Nikon View Editor and Nikon Capture Editor to use the Sharpening level of 'Low' (which appears to then match the camera output).
|JPEG||RAW (Nikon View Editor)||RAW (Nikon Capture Editor)|
As you can see both Nikon View Editor and Nikon Capture Editor deliver images which are to all intents and purposes identical. This is hardly surprising as Nikon View Editor will use the same RAW conversion engine as Nikon Capture Editor. Both converted RAW images deliver slightly more resolution and certainly less artifacts than the JPEG original from the camera.
Adobe Photoshop CS vs. Nikon Capture Editor
Disclaimer: Adobe Photoshop CS does not officially support the Nikon D2H although it will open D2H .NEF files. As you can see from the crops below Adobe Photoshop CS can't (at the moment) match Nikon Capture Editor for absolute resolution, nor elimination of artifacts, however I do prefer the crisp appearance of the numbers on the chart and the lack of sharpening halos. Lets hope Adobe will add full support for D2H RAW soon.
|RAW (Adobe Photoshop CS)||RAW (Nikon Capture Editor)|
RAW vs. JPEG appearance
Below are a set of crops from the same shot taken in JPEG and RAW modes. The crops shown are from a TIFF converted, linked from the thumbnail is an 'Excellent quality' JPEG. The RAW converted image appears to be slightly sharper with better contrast, that said there don't appear to be any color or resolution advantages (with a default conversion).
|JPEG||RAW (converted using Nikon Capture Editor)|
|1,831 KB||4,125 KB|
Overall Image Quality / Specifics
As we would expect from Nikon's new flagship professional digital SLR the D2H's image quality is on the whole excellent. It maintains that 'SLR like' clean look that we first saw from the D1 and which has remained the benchmark for image delivery on all digital SLR's since. There's just something about the image processing and wider dynamic range which gives digital SLR images a far more film like appearance.
The D2H delivers about as much resolution as we could expect from a four megapixel sensor and it can be as smooth / without sharpening artifacts or sharp / with some artifacts as you prefer thanks to a wide range of image processing options in-camera. Add RAW into the mix and you clearly have a wide range of image 'finishes' to suite your particular output medium.
Color balance was very good, we got the best color shooting in Color Mode II (Adobe RGB) which of course maintains the maximum color gamut. Tonal range was good, the D2H exhibiting at least as much dynamic range as the camera it replaces and tending towards a lower contrast image when using the 'Auto' tone setting. I wasn't overly impressed with automatic white balance, especially in artificial light, I had expected the hybrid sensor setup to work better.
One slight disappointment must be the performance of the LBCAST sensor in terms of noise. Our noise tests show that the camera isn't as 'clean' at its lowest sensitivity (ISO 200) as the CMOS based Canon EOS-10D (ISO 200), nor the CCD based EOS-1D (ISO 200). From ISO 400 to 1600 the D2H appears to be a match for the EOS-1D but isn't as clean as the EOS-10D at ISO 1600. Remember also that the D2H's pixel area is quite a bit larger than that of the six megapixel Canon CMOS sensor. We had hoped to see low noise at high sensitivity from Nikon's LBCAST technology.
Nikon turns 100 years old today, and the company is celebrating with a wacky music video, some tributes to its history, and a new vision presented by president Kazuo Ushida.
Phottix just released the Premio Parabolic Umbrellas series, replacing their Para-Pro line with a stronger, deeper and better made set of parabolic umbrellas.
The Moto Z2 is Motorola's first dual-camera smartphone and, compared to its predecessor, comes with a number of improvements and new camera features.
Researchers at Stanford have revealed a new '4D camera system' built for robots. The system is based on the same light field tech that allowed Lytro cameras to refocus images after they were taken.
If you want 'beautiful rendition' from your lenses, follow this simple rule: only buy classic low-element prime lenses with lead glass elements—everything else is junk.
In an interview with CNBC, Leica Chairman Andreas Kaufmann said he dreams of a 'true Leica phone,' and hinted at what's next for the Leica and Huawei partnership.
Wildlife and nature photographer Peter Mather tells the story behind this exceptional shot of a mama grizzly and her cub searching for salmon in Yukon, Canada.
Popular YouTube channel TastyTuts has put together this 33-video Beginner's Guide to Adobe Photoshop—a godsend for anybody who wants to learn Photoshop from scratch.
The long anticipated replacement for the popular Rode VideoMic Pro is almost ready for shipping. The price of the upgraded VideoMic Pro+ will be £290/$300 when it goes on sale in mid-August.
A new iOS app called Explorest wants to help you find new locations to shoot. It's limited to Singapore for now, but the app is packed full of useful location scouting features.
Nikon's D850 development announcement is extremely light on details, so we assembled a wish list of upgrades and features we'd love to see.
Nikon has announced the development of the long-awaited replacement to its full-frame D810: the D850. Nikon says that the D850 will build on the strengths of its predecessor and offer 'new technologies, features and performance enhancements.'
Lens manufacturer Voigtlander has introduced a 65mm F2 macro lens for Sony E-mount that it says "rates as one of the finest in the history of Voigtländer."
The UK released a preview of their upcoming drone safety regulations, and it looks like drone pilots will have to both register their device and pass safety awareness tests.
National Geographic photographer Bob Holmes talks about light, and why you need to learn how to 'see' and not just 'look' at your subject.
Photographer Alessandro Barteletti shares the story behind his National Geographic Italia cover, shot with a 10-year-old DSLR and an iPhone flashlight.
Fashion catalog photographers in China have some next-level models to work with. In this video, you see one model hitting 30 poses in 15 seconds as the photographer snaps away.
Photographer Paul Adshead breaks down 11 photography-related smartphone apps he couldn't live without—from a pocket light meter to a lighting diagram app.
Fast-growing Chinese flash brand Godox is teasing a brand new flash trigger... for smartphones. The Godox A1 is a 'phone flash system' that can act as both flash and 2.4GHz trigger.
On July 12, Canon opened its newest Technology and Support Center, designed to serve the motion picture industry, in Burbank, CA. DPReview got a sneak peak and takes you behind the scenes.
The Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art is truly one-of-a-kind. It offers the fastest aperture of any lens that shares its focal length, produces beautiful sunstars and is incredibly sharp to boot. If you're in the market for a fast ultrawide prime, this looks to be the one to get.
In this article, expert macro photographer Thomas Shahan shares advice for successful closeup photography of bugs, insects and small animals.
DJI's new firmware makes it difficult to fly in restricted airspace, even when you have proper clearance. Is DJI placing themselves between professionals and the FAA?
Go behind the scenes with National Geographic photographer Renan Ozturk and see what it takes to capture a dangerous, harrowing, stunning Nat Geo photo essay.
Erez Marom tells the story behind this ominous photo of the sand 'reaching up' towards the mountains at Skagsanden beach in Norway. He calls this photo 'Torment.'
DPReview staffer Carey Rose has taken the Panasonic Leica DG 15mm F1.7 along for everything from a city-side boat ride to a bachelor party across the mountains. Find out how the little Leica fared.
Canon just unveiled the largest 12-ink printer on the market. The new imagePROGRAF PRO-6000 printer can make prints from 17 all the way up to 60 inches wide.
"Standing in one of the holiest places on earth, I felt uneasy," writes Wired's Jason Parham. "Most of my fellow visitors, I realized with a brief bloom of nausea, were taking selfies."
Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk has been receiving great reviews, but it's a challenge to see it in its full glory. This handy infographic reveals the aspect ratio chaos that is wrought as the industry retreats from film.
Anti-bullying organization Ditch the Label's Annual Bullying Survey 2017 reveals yet again that Instagram, more so than any other social network, has the worst effect on youth mental health.