Story   Photographer   Editor   Student/Intern   Assistant   Job/Item

 Front Page
 Member Index
 Latest Headlines
 Special Features
 'Fun Pix'
 Message Board
 Educate Yourself
 Equipment Profiles
 Classified Ads
 Monthly Clip Contest
 Annual Contest
 Current Issue
 Back Issues
 Members Area
 "The Guide"
About Us:
 About SportsShooter
 Contact Us
 Terms & Conditions

Sign in:
Members log in here with your user name and password to access the your admin page and other special features.



|| News Item: Posted 1999-11-15

Getting Down With the D1
By Charles Krupa/Associated Press

After reading about the Nikon D1 for the better part of a year, I admittedly felt there was no way that it could live up to the hype. I was wrong.

First impression: It was the right size (never thought they'd fit everything into such a tight package). It was the right weight. I hit the trigger and burned through six frames in just over a second before I thought to get off the button. Very impressive first impression.

Photo by Charles Krupa/AP

Photo by Charles Krupa/AP
I shot two D1's for games 3 and 4 of the World Series. For the first time in six years (when I put my F4's on the shelf), I had a camera that reacted like a film camera when I hit the delay and lots of frames.

In Game 3, when Yankee Chuck Knoblauch tied the game up with a home run to force the game into extra innings, I was able to shoot about 20 frames of the play from the swing to his teammates congratulating him when he got back to the dugout from my outfield position. When he rounded first, he pumped his fist in the air when the ball went over the wall. There were four frames to pick from. With my DCS620, there would have been only one or two. The one that was picked ended up on the front of the New York Times the next day. Nice to have the extra frames again.

The camera is about the size of a F100. It utilizes compact flash cards, which are loaded into the back of the camera through a tiny door under the thumb pad of your trigger hand. To the left of the door is the display, which is a bit bigger than the DCS620 screen, that has significantly better resolution than anything to date. At the bottom of the camera is a
removable battery pack, constructed similar to a battery pack on an EOS film camera. Battery life seems to be better than the previous cameras. Everything is efficiently and ergonomically designed.

The viewfinder has the typical 1.5 magnification of many digital cameras and gave me almost full frame-like view through the lens. I felt a bit more comfortable shooting the D1 than my DCS620. It still doesn't feel like a film camera though.

The camera has a 21 image buffer (while set on JPEG fine, best quality rating below raw), which clears in just under a second each. Never had a problem with not having enough bullets. This is good. Waiting for the buffer to clear though is bad.

The D1 has true 4.5 frames per second firing rate, which causes you to wait 15 to 20 seconds for the buffer to clear on big bursts. Unlike the DCS520 and DCS620, which allows you to preview images as they are stored, you have to wait for the buffer to clear before you can look at images or change custom functions. This is really only a problem when you need to view and write caption information down quickly between plays or when you are on the run. The camera has no way of leaving sound or annotation files attached to the image files as previous cameras. This effects work flow and can really bog down the edit on a multiple shooter job.

The D1's firmware needs some help. With over 30 custom functions, and terrible interface through the LCD screen on the back, the pull down menus needs to be made easier to read. I'm sure a revision is in the works, the beta versions of the DCS520 and DCS620 had the same problems.

Photo by Charles Krupa/AP

Photo by Charles Krupa/AP
The camera saves files in a variety of raw and JPEG formats. Using the camera in Raw setting was difficult, because it really slows everything down. After shooting a burst on Raw setting by accident, it seemed to be over a minute before I could get control of the camera functions to switch back to JPEG fine. The quality of JPEG fine is awesome. It's about an eight-megabyte file when opened up in PhotoShop.

The D1 allows you to set the camera on specific full stop ASA's between 200 and 1600. The files at 1600 ASA start to get rough. Through changing the custom functions you can rate the camera up to 3200 and 6400 ASA. These two settings are very rough, with high grain, gain and patterning.

I've heard about the recent recall of the D1 (for conflicting reasons) and it appears that the two cameras I've used were not affected by any problems.

Making strobe images with a digital camera has always been a weak point, but using the Nikon SB-28DX strobe on the D1 is incredible. Without dialing any compensation into the camera or strobe, the combination made perfect files right out of the box.

The weak point of the camera though is acquiring images. The Nikon browser needs improvement. There are many image browsers written by third party, like AC/DC, which work a bit more efficiently. It always seems the firmware and software on a new digital camera is the last piece of the puzzle that the engineers complete, and need to be updated.

Once they both get improved, this camera system is unbeatable...until the other guys roll out their new camera next year.

(Charles Krupa is photographer based in Boston.)

Contents copyright 2020, Do not republish without permission.
What happened when Tony Gonzalez met Mickey Pfleger? Crazy stuff! ::..