Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Equipment TestDrive: Nikon D2h
The new high-end digital-SLR from Nikon is built for shooting speed
A common criticism of all digital cameras is that they need time to start up before you can make an exposure. The D2h is ready to go almost the instant you turn on the power. Also, the shutter lag is just about nonexistent-at 37 milliseconds, it's close to the same lag as the Nikon F5 film camera. Continuing with the speed theme, the D2h shoots 8 fps at full resolution for up to 40 continuous images (JPEG) or 25 continuous RAW (NEF) files before the buffer fills up.
Nikon's latest autofocus system, called Nikon Multi-CAM 2000, has been built into the camera. The technology is matched to the fast shooting speed, as well as the need for accurate performance in low-light situations. There are 11 AF sensors, nine cross type and two placed at the horizontal ends of the frame. The cross-type sensors are laid out to match typical rule-of-thirds compositions. Overall, 75 percent of the frame is covered by AF sensors, reducing the chance that you'll miss a shot because the camera missed the subject.
One interesting new feature in the D2h is the integrated WiFi (802.11.b) connectivity. To utilize the WiFi feature, you need the optional Nikon WT-1 accessory. With it, the camera can transmit images over a WiFi-enabled network. The effective range is about 100 feet (or as far as 490 feet with the optional range-boosting antenna). You can shoot and send the images directly to a laptop.
The Nikon RAW file (called NEF) combined with Nikon Capture 4.0 software allows you to pull the maximum amount of image data from images shot with the D2h. To speed up review of images while maintaining the versatility and quality of a RAW file, the D2h can simultaneously capture a JPEG file along with the RAW file. The JPEG files are fast and easy to open and review, but you still have the RAW files at your disposal for more extensive processing down the road. MSRP: $3,999 (body only).
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