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Nikon D2H

Copyright D.E. Mac McGuffee. All Rights Reserved.

     I have not been paid by or promised any perks by Nikon. I also own and use other name brand cameras and lenses. Unless you have an unlimited budget (which I don't) the starting street price was $3199.00 requires a definite need (which I do). If your photography includes editorial, sports and fast action and your print size needs do not exceed 16" x 20" then the Nikon D2H is, in my opinion, the right camera. Unable to purchase locally I ordered my D2H  from Central Camera in Chicago. Central Camera makes claim to being in business for 104 years and has been owned and operated by the same family for three generations. I received my camera in new condition with kit within the time frame promised.   

    Prior to my purchase I spent a reasonable amount of time online reading both the pros and cons written about the D2H. There are a large number of sites that you can visit to view the specs on the D2H which of course includes the Nikon web site. The cons included complaints of incorrect color casts, poor image quality and low resolution. On the positive side there were rave reviews about it's start up time, eight frames per second and clean color correct images. Having worked with the EM, FM2, 6006, N90, and F5 I was confident that Nikon would not be releasing a digital system that would be an embarrassment or push their faithful owners over to the competition. "Now", as P. H. says, "for the rest of the story".

     I really like this camera. I like it's fit, finish and performance. It's really difficult not to get excited over the fact that I am now able to shoot 8 frames a second up to a total of 40 JPEG Fine,  24 frames simultaneously recording in RAW and JPEG, or 35 TIFF files before the buffer has to process and catch up which is made shorter using the Lexar 80X compact flash card. I originally purchased this camera for editorial, sports and fast action shooting. It was not until I shot some landscapes and wildlife, and viewed the images on screen, did I become convinced that this camera was capable of a lot more than I had imagined. Raw files are 12 bit image data. What this means in terms of file size is 23 MB when opened in Photoshop. Photoshop interprets the image data as 16 bits per channel. Shooting images at 200 ISO required me to enlarge the image in Photoshop beyond 500% before I could see any real noise. To validate this I selected the D2H camera profile from Dfine, a noise reduction software plug-in for Photoshop, only to find that the software had insignificant noise to work with. I have yet to see the color casts discussed in some reviews and the images are extremely clean and of high quality. Images shot at 800 ISO do show some noise but this noise is easily eliminated using the Nikon D2H camera profile from Dfine. However, the noise level without using Dfine is still less than experienced with scanning film with pro grade scanners.

     My shooting regimen when using the F5 begins by loading fully charged batteries, buying and loading film, taking the shots, taking the exposed film to the lab, waiting on the lab to process, picking up the processed film and paying the lab, scanning the negatives into Photoshop, cropping and fine tuning in levels and making prints.

     The shooting regimen using the D2H begins by loading a fully charged EN-EL4 Li-ion battery, inserting a compact flash card, taking the shots, downloading into the Nikon Capture 4.2 software, transferring the images into Photoshop for cropping and fine tuning in levels as needed and printing.

     I photographed the 2004 St Paddy's Parade in Jackson, Mississippi using the D2H. I took 264 photographs which produced 528 files. 264 NEF  (Nikon File Format) and 264 Fine Jpegs.  To view a sampling of the images go to the editorial section of this site or click on the image above. The Parade started at 1:15pm CST and the sky was clear without clouds. The parade ended some 2 hours later. Not the best of shooting times. I would normally have used a polarizer but decided for testing purposes to forgo the filter.  I checked the battery level indicator at the conclusion of the parade and noted that I had only used 26% of its power.

     Under the full mid-day sun the following settings worked well: Image quality = Raw + Fine; Image Size = LargeRaw Compression = OnWhite Balance = AutoISO = 200; Image sharpening = None;  Tone Compensation = Normal;  Color Mode = II (AdobeRGB); Hue Adjustment = 0Image Content = On (insert your copyright notice);  LCD Brightness = 0;  Mirror Lock-up = Off;  Date = Set;  Language = En; Auto Image Rotation = On;  Voice memo = Off.  

   Thinking about purchasing a Nikon D2X? Read Review.

 

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Copyright 1999-2009 D. E. Mac McGuffee. All Rights reserved. All images and text are the intellectual property of D. E. Mac McGuffee and are protected by the United States and International copyright laws. Postal address: P. O. Box 2128, Brandon, Mississippi 39043. Central Mississippi Phone 601-955-9416. Fax 601-591-1808. Mississippi Gulf Coast 228-832-2913. Email: StockPhotoMail@aol.com.