Nikon D1HAll the color and image-quality enhancements from the D1x, but 2.7 megapixels and 5 frames/second, and 1,000 lower price!
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D1H SAMPLE IMAGES!Review First Posted: 11/16/2001
|I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumber-generated index page for our test shots. The Thumber data includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISO setting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all* that detail, I'm posting the Thumber index so only those interested in the information need wade through it!|
|Outdoor Portrait: (1217 k)
The extreme tonal range of this image makes this a tough shot for many digicams, which is precisely why I set it up this way. (And why I don't use a fill-flash on it.) The object is to hold highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the Nikon D1H did an excellent job in that respect, although the highlights do lose a little detail. The shot at right has no exposure compensation adjustment, unusual among cameras I've tested. (Nikon's matrix metering does very well with shots like this, most cameras seem to need a fair bit of positive exposure adjustment to compensate for the high-key subject and background.) I chose the Daylight (1237 k) white balance for our main series, which produced similar results to the Auto (1231 k) setting. (Manual (1243 k) white balance resulted in a very warm color cast.) I also played with the color space setting for this shot, shooting in Adobe RGB (1213 k) as well as sRGB mode (1233 k). I chose the sRGB mode for our main series, as Adobe RGB is more suited to prepress purposes and sRGB better matches the characteristics of typical CRT displays. (Although personally, I'd like to see Adobe RGB become more widely used, due to its broader color gamut.) Skin tones in sRGB are nearly accurate, but the blue flowers and pants are dark and purplish (this is a difficult blue for many digicams). However, remaining color looks good. Resolution is high, and details are sharp throughout the frame. Shadow detail also looks good, with very low noise.
To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files D1HOUTSDP0.HTM through D1HOUTSDP3.HTM for sRGB, and files D1HOUTADP0.HTM through D1HOUTADP3.HTM for Adobe RGB on our thumbnail page.
|Closer Portrait: (1108 k)
Results are similar to the wider shot above, with no distortion on the model's face. (Longer lenses are better for close-up shots like this one, and I shot with a Nikkor 24-85mm zoom lens set close to its maximum telephoto focal length.) Color is similar to the portrait above, again shot in the sRGB color space. Detail is excellent in the model's face and hair, with good definition and overall sharpness. (Like the original D1, the D1h shows just how much detail you can get out of a 2.7 megapixel sensor.) The shadow areas again show good detail with very low noise. Our main shot was again taken with no exposure compensation adjustment, which resulted in good midtone and shadow detail, but did lose detail in the very strong highlight of the model's shirt collar.
See files D1HFACSDP0.HTM through D1HFACSDP2.HTM on our thumbnail
page to view the entire exposure series (from zero to +0.7
|Indoor Portrait, Flash:
I did not receive a strobe with our evaluation unit, so I didn't perform this test. Flash performance should be very similar to the results I obtained with the D1x though, since the two cameras use identical TTL flash exposure systems.
|Indoor Portrait, No Flash: (1148 k)
This shot is always a very tough test of a camera's white balance capability, given the strong, yellowish color cast of the household incandescent bulbs used for the lighting, and the D1H's white balance system had a little trouble with this difficult light source. Both the Incandescent (1137 k) and Auto (1150 k) white balance settings produced warm images with orangish color casts. However, the Manual setting interpreted the lighting well, and produced a nearly accurate image (though overall color is slightly greenish). I chose an exposure compensation adjustment of +2.3 EV (!) for our main shot, as the D1h had a tendency to underexpose this shot significantly. (Some while after I'd shot it, Nikon's Richard LoPinto pointed out that the manual itself suggests using center-weighted metering rather than matrix metering for shots like this.) (Compare to +0.0 EV (1093 k) adjustment.) Saturation is a bit low, but overall color is nearly accurate. The blue flowers are again dark and purplish, but skin tones look about right. Noise is very low. Following is an ISO series. - Noise is very low, even at ISO1600, where what noise appears is almost entirely confined to the blue channel. (In other digicams I've tested, the red channel is often nearly as noisy as the blue channel, but the D1h's red channel is remarkably clear and noise-free.) I didn't include shots of this subject taken at the "boosted" ISO settings of 3200 and 6400, but my experience with other subjects was that these elevated ISO settings were generally much too noisy to be usable.
|House Shot: (1269 k)
Great color, resolution, and detail!
I chose the Manual (1269 k) white balance setting for our main selection, though it produced nearly identical results to the Auto (1270 k) setting (though just slightly cooler). The Daylight (1282 k) setting also produced good results, but with a slightly warm cast. Resolution is high, with great definition in the tree limbs above the roof and in the house front details. The front foliage details also show good definition, though details are just a hint soft. I noticed very slight corner softness in the two left corners of the frame, but it doesn't extend far into the image area. (The 24-85mm lens I used for most of the D1h's shots was excellent optically, particularly for a zoom.) Overall, the D1H performed very well, with accurate color and saturation.
|Far-Field Test (1266 k)
This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio. The rendering of detail in the poster will be very different than in this shot, and color values (and even the presence or absence of leaves on the trees!) will vary in this subject as the seasons progress. In general though, you can evaluate detail in the bricks, shingles and window detail, and in the tree branches against the sky. Compression artifacts are most likely to show in the trim along the edge of the roof, in the bricks, or in the relatively "flat" areas in the windows.
This is my ultimate "resolution shot," given the infinite range of detail in a natural scene like this. The D1H captures excellent detail throughout the frame, with great definition even in the fine foliage details above the house and in front. Details struck me as just slightly soft overall, but still look very good. (I'm likely to get some knocks on this, but my impression (admittedly subjective) is that the D1H wasn't quite a crisp as some other nominally 3 megapixel cameras I've seen. - Perhaps even just a tad less crisp than the original D1. - The softness is awfully minor, but I mention it because I know how closely our readers will be scrutinizing these images.) The bright sunlight tricks the D1H into losing most of the detail in the white bay window area, limiting the camera's dynamic range. However, the camera does an excellent job with shadow detail, as the brick pattern and porch light details are strong in the shadow area of the front door. Great color and saturation as well. In addition to our standard resolution series, I also shot with the, RGB TIFF (7,770 k) file format option. Following is our resolution series, as well as sharpness, ISO, and tone compensation series.
Tone Compensation Series
|Lens Zoom Range
Zoom performance will vary with the lens used.
I've received a number of requests from readers to take shots showing the lens focal length range of those cameras with zoom lenses. In the case of the D1h, this is a little pointless, since the camera will take pretty much any Nikkor lens you choose to hang on it, but I went ahead and grabbed the wide/tele shots below with the 24-85mm zoom Nikon sent me to use with the camera.
|Musicians Poster (1290 k)
For this test, I shot with the Auto (1290 k), Daylight (1291 k), and Manual (1291 k) white balance settings, choosing the Auto setting as the most accurate overall. The Manual setting produced good results as well, though just slightly cool, while the Daylight setting resulted in a warm cast (possibly in response to the large amount of blue in the composition). Skin tones look more natural in the Auto white balance, so I chose it for the main image. The Oriental model's blue robe is nearly accurate, without any strong purple tints. (This is a tough blue for many digicams to get right.) Resolution is high, with a lot of fine detail visible throughout the frame, particularly noticeable in the embroidery of the blue robe.
Macro performance will vary with the lens used. - 'Could have shot
with my 100mm f/2.8 Micro Nikkor, but this is really entirely a lens
test, rather than one of the camera itself...
|"Davebox" Test Target (1214 k)
I shot samples of this target using the Auto (1219 k), Daylight (1218 k) and Manual (1214 k) white balance settings, and noticed the most accurate results with the Manual setting. The Auto setting resulted in a nearly accurate color balance, though it appeared just a hint warm, while the Daylight setting was very warm. Color looks accurate and well-saturated with the Manual white balance, and the large color blocks look very good. The default exposure came out a bit dark though, so I shot the images here with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment. (Doubtless I should have used the center-weighted metering option to avoid the problem.) With the positive exposure compensation though, tonal range is good, excellent shadow detail in the briquettes and dark swatches of the gray scales, with very low noise. Following are ISO, hue, and tone compensation series.
Tone Compensation Series
Outstanding performance with great color and low noise.
The D1H offers extensive control over exposure, with available shutter speeds as long as 15 seconds and a Bulb mode for even longer exposures. This, plus excellent noise-reduction technology meant that the D1H delivered excellent results in this category. The camera captured bright, clear images at light levels as low as 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux), at all of the ISO settings tested (200, 400, 800, 1,600, 3,200, and 6,400). Color is accurate and well-saturated in all of the shots, though I had to shoot with the Incandescent white balance setting to avoid a pink color cast. (The photoflood used for this shot is rather warm-hued, roughly 4500K.) Image noise is very low at the 200 ISO setting, and remains moderately low even at ISO 800. Noise increases slightly at the 1,600 ISO setting, becoming much stronger with the 3,200 and 6,400 ISO settings (as you might expect). The table below shows the best exposure I was able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels at each of the ISO settings. Images in this table (like all of our sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.
|Flash Range Test
Because flash power and range will vary with the flash used, and the D1H does not feature a built-in fill flash, I did not perform this test.
|ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test (1231 k)
The D1H performed well on our "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 650-700 lines per picture height, in both horizontal and vertical directions. I found "strong detail" out to at least 900 lines. "Extinction" of the target patterns occurred at about 1,200 lines.
Optical distortion on the D1H will vary depending on the lens in use. During our testing, I shot with a 24-85mm f/2.8-4.0 Nikkor zoom lens, which produced a slight amount of distortion, roughly 0.67 percent barrel distortion from the wide angle setting. Chromatic aberration was almost nonexistent, showing only about one or two very faint pixels of coloration on either side of the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.)
Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
Good accuracy in both the optical viewfinder and LCD monitor.
The D1H's electronic optical viewfinder was a little tight, showing approximately 93.5 percent frame accuracy when I tested it. (Nikon claims ~95% frame coverage, so we're in pretty good agreement.) Since I prefer SLR viewfinders to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the D1H performs fairly well here, but could do a little better.
Top 3 photos this month win:
1 Canon PIXMA PRO-100
2 Canon PIXMA MG6320
3 Canon PIXMA MG5420