Nuggets: Nikon D1 is nice at a price

Awesome camera for all professional photographers, or friends of Elton John

Aimed squarely at professional photographers and cash-rich amateurs, the D1 is Nikon's answer to Kodak's DCS620, a camera which itself was based on a top-selling Nikon SLR.

Those considering a single lens reflex (SLR) digital camera must give the D1 serious thought, although its price (even without a lens) could be a problem. With the D1, Nikon has taken the high ground in digital imaging and the camera will please old-school photographers with its fully manual options as well as loads of features for today's digital generation.

The camera has a familiar Nikon look and feel, just like a traditional SLR, and initial set-up out of the box is easy -- you begin by inserting a large battery and then attaching the lens. The D1 is compatible with all Nikon F-type lenses.

This is not a toy, and inexperienced users should stick to automatic in conjunction with an autofocus lens to start with.

Image storage is handled via CompactFlash memory cards. The six image-quality modes of Raw, 2 types of Hi, Fine, Normal and Basic are saved in TIF or JPEG format, with the exception of the Raw option. One of the Hi options is highest quality mode and is only accessible via special Nikon software, included in the D1 Prokit. This option produces images initially at 5Mb in size so a 96Mb CompactFlash (CF) card will accommodate 19 very high-quality shots.

If you value quantity over quality you could squeeze around 300 "basic-resolution" JPEGS (that's 1:16 compression) onto a 96MB CompactFlash card. Alternatively, you could splash out on an IBM microdrive, which will also fit in the card bay.

Once a shot has been taken, you can view it on the LCD monitor on the back, and delete it from the memory card if necessary. The small rear control panel displays myriad information such as image quality settings and the CompactFlash card status. The top control panel tells you all basic exposure settings.

The D1 Prokit, which includes the D1 camera body, battery and charger, Nikon DX software, video cable and card adapter, costs £3,799 (inc VAT) which is competitive for a camera in this market -- no, really! You will have to shell out around £500 extra for a lens if you don't already own one that is Nikon compatible.

The biggest attraction of the camera is its array of professional features. The D1 will undoubtedly persuade many more photographers that now is the time to go digital.

  • Nikon D1

  • SLR digital camera -- supporting interchangeable lenses

  • £3,799 without lens (inc VAT)

  • 157x153x85mm

  • 1.1Kg

  • 2.74 Megapixel CCD

  • Maximum resolution: 2,000x1,312 pixels

  • Six image-quality modes. Max image size = 7.75MB, min image size = 320KB

  • Supports CompactFlash Type I or II (96MB type II card supplied), IBM microdrive

  • High-speed auto focus system, with focus lock and five focus areas

  • Four exposure modes: auto, shutter-priority, aperture-priority, manual

  • Shutter speed: 1/1600 sec to 30 sec

  • ISO equivalents: 200, 400, 800 or 1600 (also 3,200 and 6,400 in Hi mode)

  • www.nikon.co.uk


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