Detailed(!) First Look review of Nikon D100 posted!|
(Friday, May 31, 2002 - 17:10 EDT)
Dave tries Nikon's much-anticipated first entry into the consumer digital SLR market...
This is probably one of the most-anticipated reviews I've done in the last year (along with my earlier coverage of the competing Canon D60). I've had non-stop emails from readers asking about it, particularly about the performance of this camera. (Shutter lag, cycle times, etc.) I've shot all our usual test photos, but won't have my analysis of them complete for another day or two yet. In the meantime though, I wanted to get the review itself out there so all the eager prospective D100 owners can get the scoop on the camera and its performance figures.
I have to say I really like this camera a lot (this is a surprise?) - The D1x has been my favorite camera since I first laid hands on it, but it could well be displaced in my affections by the D100. The D1x is clearly more the tool of choice for a practicing pro, but for less brutal usage, the D100 comes out ahead, being much lighter and more comfortable to handle. I'm less than enthusiastic (an understatement) about the implementation of the mode dial on the D100, and the attendant loss of shooting priority, but at least one pro I showed the camera to really didn't seem too bothered by that. (He actually took much more issue with the shape and position of the rocker control on the D100's back, as compared to that on the D1x.) Leaving aside that issue though, the camera is an absolute joy to use. The D100 and Canon D60 are clearly very much in the same class with each other, but I personally find the D100 a bit more natural to use, doubtless because my years of use of Nikon film-based SLRs has indoctrinated me into the Nikon school of user-interface design.
As far as photos go, first results look really excellent. I have a few niggling issues with the camera's default tone curve (a little too contrasty, a bit too prone to lose detail in extreme highlights, IMHO), but the color looks spot-on, and tonality apart from the brightest highlights is excellent. Stay tuned for another couple of days, and I'll have a full report on the camera's image performance, and a complete set of both "standard" and "random" picture samples. Check it out!