Nikon D100 Digital SLR Camera at

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On November 9, 2003 I bought a Nikon D100, Digital SLR camera. Most significant in my decision to make this purchase is the fact that I already have Nikon system components.

Digital will be replacing film as the 'working' picture medium. The digital industry is roaring forward and I was sitting on the sidelines watching it go! It was getting to be time to start participating in this new domain.

A very strong reason to use one of these devices is the instant feedback it provides. Take your shot then immediately view it and see what you got. Try something and see if it works right then, in the field, when you can reshoot while the subject is still available! Powerful medicine for those interested in improving their skill level or just insurance for coming home with the bacon!

The judgement? I am glad that I made the purchase. Yes, the industry IS immature! I figure that the digital camera that I really want is still three generations in the future. Even so, I can make very good pictures with the current state of the industry camera. No, they are NOT Velvia shots! If every shot must be a Velvia grandstand stopper, digital is not yet ready for your needs. I can get great pictures by using, what I consider pushing the border of cheating, the unsharpen mask. But then Ansel Adams 'made' his pictures in the darkroom, not in the woods! In fact, there has never been a time when finished pictures were 'virginal'. Rather than being confined to 'taking' an authentic picture, if we are honest, we must 'present' an authentic picture. This is no different in the digital age than it was in the film age. Stacking negatives without specific mention of the technique is equally as deceptive as using Photoshop to create something, which did not exist in nature. We who consider ourselves nature photographers must answer to our self imposed responsibility to accurately portray the world. Someone must tell the story correctly and I feel that that someone is us! Just as it is permissible to use 'flowery' language to tell a real story, it is also permissible to use Velvia to take slides which will be displayed to the general public. If we acknowledge that using Velvia is not lying, then a similar amount of 'emphasis' may be employed in Photoshop to dress up an honest image. With a great deal of luck and a lot of hard work, you (or I) might just become a future Ansel Adams!

When you get your new digital camera, you ain't done buying!
My 'additional' needs included 2 memory cards, a larger hard drive, a picture organization program (Imatch), the 'raw' image manipulation program (Nikon Capture) and new 'digital' compatible flash.
I have yet to buy an extra rechargeable battery, which is needed (even when the D100 IS battery friendly). I also need a new shorter, wide angle lens as the D100 has a 1.5 multiplication factor.
In the future, I will probably need a digital projector (and laptop computer) (Unless I get my digital images made into regular slides).
Needed items that I already had included a CD burner, and a serious image manipulation program (Photoshop).

My impressions. Embarrassing moment here. When I got my new camera, I was delighted and as I was trying to learn how to run it, I was just shooting handheld. Shortly, I began to look at the pictures a little closer and was disappointed in their quality. I realized that I had been using the camera as a point and shoot and was getting appropriate quality pictures. Dahh! Once I fastened it to the tripod, set it to aperture priority and manual focus, it was a miracle! Suddenly, the image quality was back, just (well almost just) like my old reliable N8008S film camera. Meanwhile, I did confirm that it did work great as a point and shoot too (ho-hum, I'm not impressed).

Complaints. I only have prime lenses, no zooms. Where I always used my 105mm micro on my 8008, on this camera, I 'always' use my 60mm micro lens (effectively a 90mm equivalent). My shortest lens is a 28mm which on the 8008 was great. On this camera, I would like a little shorter than the effective 42mm. I'm used to having a 28mm and a 42mm is NOT a 28! On the other hand, my 200mm becomes effectively a 300mm! This aspect of the multiplication factor is nice. I have the 200mm for a little extra 'reach'. I now indeed have 'reach'. Reviews complained about overly dark images. I quickly learned that I need to shoot in raw mode. Where I was expecting a narrow exposure range, the raw mode appears to have an adequate range. I have NOT done actual tests but it seems as if the range is as broad as with the Velvia slide film that I have been using. It is NECESSARY to shot in raw mode to adjust the thing that comes out of the camera and make it into a picture. It's all there, it just needs a little coaxing to bring it out. The JPG 'fine' mode might be OK for a casual photographer but it doesn't satisfy a photographer interested in making GOOD pictures. Or I should say it didn't satisfy me.

I had sent my 200mm micro AIS lens to Rolland Elliott to have a CPU installed and make it compatible with a modern digital camera. As Rolland claims, it now IS 100% compatible except, of course, for auto focus and as I mentioned earlier, I usually want to control the focus a lot closer than any auto focus feature would provide without custom configuration for every shot. It's easier and better to just manually focus. Thanks to Rolland, my wonderful AIS 200 micro lens lives on! I must complain that Rolland put in a CPU for a 300mm lens and the data for shots taken with that lens now record a lie. They state a focal length of 300mm when it actually is a 200mm lens. Functionally, it makes no difference in the picture.

Finally, I am still very happy with the D100. It is NOT a N8008S film camera. It will not produce the razor sharp images of Velvia. It however, does things which no film camera can do. Instant feedback is very valuable. It is a DIFFERENT thing than a film camera. I am glad that I have both. I suspect that when I can only take one, I will mostly carry the D100 digital!

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