The Current Issue
Nikon Owner Issue 7
Horses for Courses – The D100 Review
by Simon Stafford
On the 20th February 2002 Nikon announced the introduction of the D100 digital SLR and it was available to Nikon users by the beginning of July. In this review I do not intend to repeat its full specification, which is readily available from a number of sources, although I will highlight its principle features. My main aim is to provide an assessment of the camera based on the time I have spent shooting with it under practical field conditions.
Let’s dispel a couple of myths right from the start. First of all any photographer who has been harbouring expectations that the D100 would be a scaled-down version of the D1X / D1H cameras may as well stop reading this review now. If you require a digital camera with the high-speed operation and robust build quality capable of withstanding the rough and tumble of daily professional use, then the latter two cameras are for you. The D100 is a wholly different tool designed to do a very different job in a less demanding environment. Secondly, the D100 is not a digital version of the F80, but is an entirely new compact camera body design that draws features from a range of different Nikon cameras. The D100 was conceived, designed and built to bridge the gap between the flagship D1 series cameras and Nikon’s Coolpix range, which is principally aimed at the enthusiast photographer market.
The camera provides three file types; uncompressed TIFF files, compressed JEPG files, and Nikon Electronic Format (NEF) Raw (12 bit) files in either compressed or uncompressed form. The TIFF and JEPG can be sized to Large (3008 x 2000 pixels), Medium (2240 x 1488 pixels), or Small (1504 x 1000 pixels). The user has a choice of three colour spaces – two based on sRGB (one optimised for portraits, the other for nature subjects) and one conforming to Adobe 98 RGB. The division of the sRGB colour space has been done to provide higher fidelity in the yellow/red and blue/green hues respectively. Data processing has been speeded up by the use of a single Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) chip system, which replaces Nikon’s previous three-chip arrangement. Storage is either on Compact Flash cards (Type I/II), or an IBM Microdrive (512Mb and 1Gb). Captured images and the camera’s various function menus are displayed on a 1.8in, 118,000-dot, low temperature polysilicon Thin Film Tran-sistor (TFT) LCD screen with LED backlighting, which displays 100% of the captured image. For connection to a computer, the D100 has a USB 1.1 interface, and is supplied with completely revised Nikon View 5 software to enable the transfer and viewing of images.