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Nikon D2H

Nikon introduces an 8 frame/second speed demon, with WiFi connectivity and an amazing new flash system to boot!

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Page 16:Conclusion

Review First Posted: 12/18/2003

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The D2H has taken some heat for its color, particularly at high ISO, and there's been some confusion in the market over its image noise characteristics. My overall impression of the camera is still very positive though. - I've said before and will say again that the D2H is easily the most enjoyable camera to shoot with that I've yet handled, with a fluid, fast, and easy to use user interface that intrudes minimally on the shooting experience. Overall, a powerful photographic tool, not to mention a thoroughly enjoyable one.

Some might question my "very positive" reaction though, given what I and others have discovered about the D2H's image noise performance, particularly in "real world" environments. In that vein (despite the heavy focus on image noise in this review), I should say that I personally tend to place less weight on image noise than other image-quality parameters. In light of that, the differential in image noise between the D2H and the EOS-1D that I found with real-world subjects isn't enough to put me entirely off the D2H. This is very much a personal reaction though and I understand that many other photographers feel differently. Each prospective user will have to decide for themselves how they feel about the D2H's image noise, and spend their camera dollars accordingly.

To my mind, a bigger issue is the D2H's color, specifically the extent to which it loses saturation at very high ISOs. Given that the this camera's primary market is sports shooters and photojournalists, both of whom will often need to push the camera's ISO to the limits, the color falloff at high ISO could be a concern.

- But I still like the D2H, though.

A lot of my feeling has to do with the remarkable fluidity of its user interface that I mentioned above. It also has a lot to do with the system as a whole, though. In the face of its all-around capabilities, at least some of the foregoing focus on image noise and color saturation at high ISOs feels a little overwrought. Looking at the total system, there's nothing else on the market that can touch it in a few key areas. For instance, there's nothing out there that offers such effortless integration of wireless networking, surely a critical competitive advantage for many sports and news photographers. Then there's the amazing SB-800 flash system. I don't use the term "amazing" here lightly. - It literally is exactly that once you've played with it. I can see a lot of photographers buying D2Hs just to have access to the multi-unit remote TTL flash capabilities of the SB-800. And what about its low-light capability? There again, the D2H is at the top the market.

So at the end of the day, we're left with a camera with a number extraordinary capabilities as well as a few evident weaknesses, a not uncommon state of affairs when manufacturers push the envelope as Nikon did with the D2H. The bottom line is that Nikon shooters finally have a highly capable 8 fps speed demon, that includes some pretty dramatic new functionality in the areas mentioned above. If you're a sports shooter with Nikon glass, and can afford the freight, you'll want to add a D2H to your kit sooner rather than later...

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