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|| News Item: Posted 2001-08-29

D1H Deployment
By Matt Leyba, Denver Post

How do you get a UPS driver totally pissed off at you? Have him deliver 50 boxes of freight containing brand new state-of-the-art digital cameras.

When you get new technology like Nikon's D1H digital camera, you want to run some test and patiently ease it into your normal workflow.

But of course, photographers can smell new gear a mile off.

It didn't take long for them to start in with "Ummmm, can we have some cameras to shoot the golf tournament tomorrow? And maybe a new laptop, and a couple lenses. And how about some of those nice new disks?"

So I had a dilemma: wait and be cautious or that the attitude "what the heck!"

Of course I couldn't resist the temptation of having our photographers show up at a major PGA stop with cameras I knew nobody else would have, especially our competition, the Rocky Mountain News. So after a few hours I switched my hat from shipping clerk back to photo boy and quickly put together a few outfits for use over the weekend. I was a little nervous handing out these new cameras without any testing, but I figured the photographers using them were veteran D1 users.

It went very smooth. They were all able to figure out the slight differences quite quickly, so out the door they went. By the time I arrived at work Saturday morning, there were a dozen transmitted photos waiting from the tournament. I was very pleased with what I was looking at.

My initial feeling was that the photos had a crisper look to them than the previous camera produced. To verify this I retrieved the take from our archive of last year's tournament that had been shot with the D1 to compare. Side by side, it was quite easy to see that the D1H files looked better. The high contrast conditions created by the sun and shadows seemed to be handled much better. As an added bonus, at the end of the tournament we were able to get a good look at what a cropped image would do blown up significantly. You couldn't ask for a better situation.

Photo by
The winning player with his blind daughter in his arms touching his face, then the TV guys make their move. Of course our photographer was able to fight back and get a nice shot, but the problem was it needed to be cropped to about a third of the frame and we wanted to run it about 4 columns. It printed quite nicely. The critical eye could probably find some signs of breakdown at this size, but I would have to say that 99% of our non-digital geek readers would never know the difference.

As newspaper work goes, we had another chance to test the camera's capabilities the following weekend. The grand opening of the new Mile High Stadium. (It's actually called Invesco Field at Mile High, but the paper has chosen to call it Mile High Stadium.) The stadium is the new home of the Denver Broncos, but the grand opening was actually a concert by the Eagles followed by a massive fireworks display.

The high ISO concert shots were very nice. Once again the images had a very clean look to them. Fireworks? No problem!

Things I would recommend for D1H deployment:

* The transition for D1 users has been seamless . Even the crossover by one of our two DCS520 (Canon body) guys has presented no real issues. So holding back deployment because of these issues should not be a factor.

* Photographers should have at least 5 batteries for two camera bodies. The D1H seems to use quite a bit more juice.

* With the higher shooting rate, anything less than 256MB cards will be a problem. The memory cards fills quickly.

* The new Apple iBooks work fine! Yes you have to carry an external card reader, but for about $1700 bucks you can have a machine with CDR/DVD, USB, FireWire, 384MB RAM, 10 gigs of hard drive space in a nice small package. More than enough for a photographer to do their job.

(Matt Leyba is a picture editor at the Denver Post.)

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