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- Photography using Digital SLRs


Nikon D100 Experience Report

Cat checking the viewfinder

A review diary by Uwe Steinmueller

Also photos by Bettina Steinmueller

Part 1
This review will be written again in the form of a diary. Most recent findings on top.
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7/7/2002 Los Gatos

It is already a tradition for all camera reviews to photograph in Los Gatos and the first photo is our classic "Ristorante".

All images are ISO 200 and were processed in Nikon Capture 3 with sharpening set to "low". Then later sharpened with PowerRetouche Sharpness PR. For prints on an inkjet printer we would then further sharpen with Nik Sharpener Pro.


Ristorante in Los Gatos

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This time at 10:15am the Ristorante has been in the shadow. To us the photo looks good and the resolution is like the Canon D60 or the Nikon D1x). Colors are ok and less aggressive than with the D60 (which can be compensated using good camera profiles)


Antique shop in Los Gatos

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We like the scene with the small stroller in the window. The D100 can handle the shadows and reflections pretty well.

Here are two more photos from our walk in Los Gatos:

Bear Coffee Shop

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Canada Building in Los Gatos

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The diary will be continued at the end of the week and show fist results while we are in the Eastern Sierra. The D100 will be our main camera and the D1x the backup. Unfortunately we have only one battery for the D100 right now but on the other side the batteries seem to hold much longer than with the D1x.

Today we had a short trip to the Henry Cowell Park North of Santa Cruz. We wanted to capture some close-up details. For this purpose we will use from now on the PC Micro Nikkor 85mm (the optical quality of this lens seems to be out of question).

6 sec. / f/29

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The D100 behaved very well at this long exposure. Just made a 21" on our Epson 7500 and it looked really good. We should have used our Macbeth Colorchecker to better control the colors. But even without we think the D100 performed pretty well (we have done photos here before with the Kodak 760, Canon D60 and Nikon D1x).


100% pixels from a D1x @ 12sec. (hot pixels)

We wanted to compare this photo from the D1x with the D100. But unfortunately the D1x showed hot pixels at 12 seconds. This also proves that the noise removal (dark frame subtraction) in the D100 works.
Here are a few more shots from today.

As we also used the D1x today it became clear that the D1x viewfinder is clearly better the the one of the D100. Did it matter? Not too much.
Some complain that the D100 photos are soft. Yes these images need strong sharpening but I don't think it is bad. This means there is little in camera sharpening and also the AA filter might be a bit stronger than with the D1x (I see less moire).
7/4/2002 San Francisco Zoo

We had today breezy weather at the SF zoo. But unfortunately again bright, brutal sun shine.

All images are ISO 200 and were processed in Nikon Capture 3 with sharpening set to "low". Then later sharpened with PowerRetouche Sharpness PR. For prints on an inkjet printer we would then further sharpen with Nik Sharpener Pro.



100% pixel crop


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Colors very good, good detail and hardly moire. The second photo shows some burned out highlights, head a bit out-of-focus and the would have needed some fill flash (we actually have given up using flash, so this photo might be lost). Very beautiful bird!


Prairie Dog

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Colors good again, fine detail. Overall very good result for the light conditions.


Elephant Skin 1

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Elephant Skin 2

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Colors good again, fine detail. We have tried such photos before but have never gotten that good results.


Other Observations:

  • We took 72 uncompressed NEF files and battery was still showing full power
  • We had not speed problems writing uncompressed NEFs to our KGB Microdrive
  • All images were shot using the AF (of for us)
  • Quite low shadow noise at ISO 200

Conclusion for this day:

We did no miss the D1x and the results are as good if not even better. But also for the D100 is true that you have to watch for the highlights. A tiny little spike at the right side of the histogram can call for trouble.


7/3/2002 Nikon D100 arrived

We bought a D100 as a backup for our D1x. Sometimes we want to work both with a camera although we take most pictures together from a tripod. Also if our D1x would break down on a trip it is a good feeling to have a backup.

We received our camera from National Graphics Supply (1 800 223 7130 x3110 Sheila).


The cat loves the D100 (with some food)

Some early findings:

  • Although the camera is light it feels well due to it's nice grip
  • Using compressed NEFs is way to slow so we will forget about that (you might know that we only use RAW/NEF on all cameras). 3 compressed NEFs took 125(!) seconds to write, uncompressed NEFs about 15 seconds but the buffer is free for one more shot after 5 seconds.
  • AF seems to be fast with AF-S lenses
  • Bettina is worried about the fact that she cannot use our eye cups (she is very sensitive to light)
  • Viewfinder is ok so far
  • We will probably only use the camera at ISO 200 as at 400 there is more shadow noise than at 200.
  • Shutter noise/shake much lower than with the D1x.
  • The LCD is pretty bright.
  • If we understand correctly we need a power supply to clean the CCD. That is no surprise but that we probably need a different model than for the D1x is, Soon we might need an extra room only for electronic power supplies plus some more income.
  • Included in the package was a 30 day trial version of Nikon Capture 3. We will have a review later.

First images look ok.

We tried some photos in the Los Gatos Creek Park. As always we only found the Kingfisher too far away (for our AF-S 300 f/4 + TC-14E combination).

ISO 400, 1/400, F9, Monopod

100% pixels and sharpened with PowerRetouche

Analysis: The light was still very harsh at about 6:30pm. Different from our very first impression the D100 does not have more latitude in the highlights than the D1x (we have to learn again how to read the histogram properly and most likely to underexpose). Anyway the white in birds is always hard to capture in harsh sun light (most of the day in California).

Lovely bird!

We will take our time to use the D100 over the next weeks as our main camera. So please be patient.




Compare prices for the Nikon D100 at Dealtime.
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