Nikon D2H SLR Review

Steve's Digicams

Nikon D2H

First Look posted 12/5/03
Full review posted 12/22/03

Click to take a QuickTime tour of the D2H

Nikon's new D2H professional digital SLR camera was designed for photojournalists and sports/action photographers. The D2H sets a new standard in speed and accuracy while achieving exceptional image quality. Virtually every aspect of the camera's performance has been designed from the ground up to facilitate high-speed photography under demanding conditions. The D2H is capable of continuously shooting 8 frames per second and buffers up to 40 JPEG images. It incorporates an all new 11-sensor autofocus system with 9 cross type sensors and versatile performance, a revolutionary new 4.1 effective megapixel imaging sensor and Wi-Fi capabilities for 802.11b wireless transmission of images.

The D2H boasts an extensive new feature set that is designed for extreme performance at every level. The camera is central to a complete new imaging system for photojournalism and sports/action photography that includes Nikon Capture 4.0 software, new NikonView 6.1 software, new i-TTL speedlight technology, new WT-1 Wi-Fi transmitter accessory, and three exciting new lenses including the world's first extreme wide-angle AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED lens and the new AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens, both designed exclusively for Nikon digital SLR cameras, and the world's first super-telephoto AF-S VR 200-400mm f/4G IF-ED lens with Nikon's advanced Vibration Reduction technology designed for Nikon's 35mm and Digital SLR models.

The new 4.1 effective megapixel (2484 x 1636) DX format JFET imaging sensor was designed to meet the challenging needs of photojournalists and sports/action photographers, and provides the foundation for the D2H system's advanced performance. The new sensor is capable of producing high quality images and high-speed performance. Its JFET technology, combined with a host of new innovations, enables this sensor to render extremely low noise performance with extraordinary color accuracy, detail, sharpness and overall quality. Auto white balance, auto tone control and auto color correction ensures optimal accuracy for each scene. A new color-processing engine minimizes false colors, while maintaining superior color rendition, accuracy and consistency. A high signal-to-noise ratio combined with high-level image processing offers enhanced performance at high ISO settings.

The D2H is the world's most responsive digital SLR camera. It has virtually no start-up lag time, and is ready to shoot the instant it is turned on. Its shutter lag time is a mere 37ms - the lowest among all digital cameras, and comparable to Nikon's F5 35mm film SLR camera. The D2H is capable of a continuous shooting rate of up to 8 frames per second at full resolution and all file formats and ISO settings. The frame rate remains consistent when any combination of the D2H's focus points is selected, or even when older, non-CPU based Nikkor lenses are used. The D2H's enormous buffer allows photographers to shoot up to 40 continuous images in JPEG mode and 25 in NEF (RAW) mode, rendering buffer-stall virtually a non-issue.

The D2H features the new Multi-Cam 2000 next generation autofocus system that is not only fast enough to keep up with the camera's rapid continuous frame rate, but it is remarkably accurate in detecting focus even in challenging situations, including dim lighting conditions as low as EV -1. This new autofocus system consists of 11 AF sensors, 9 of which are cross-type sensors laid out consistently with the rule of thirds for composition, and an additional two sensors placed at the horizontal ends of the frame. The D2H also features enhanced Dynamic AF and a new Group Dynamic AF detection option, as well as Focus Tracking with Lock-On technology to ensure razor sharp pictures.

Optional integrated Wi-Fi (IEEE-802.11b) connectivity when used with the Wireless Transmitter WT-1 accessory. The WT-1 can be attached to the bottom of the D2H, and connected to the camera via its USB 2.0 port. It transmits images via a local area network to a host computer access-point using File Transfer Protocol (FTP) method, and can wirelessly transfer data over a radius of approximately 30 meters (100 feet) with a supplied one-inch antenna. An optional antenna is available for an extended range of up to 150 meters (approx. 490 feet).

The D2H features significant improvements in user interface design that facilitate faster and easier handling of the camera. On the back is a 2.5-inch LCD monitor with an anti- scratch surface and displays larger, easier-to-read fonts. A new 8-way multi-selector enables diagonal movement and makes scrolling through menus and panning over images easier and faster. New larger controls and oversized buttons make operating the camera with gloves effortless. An improved vertical shutter release interface offers photographers greater control and handling while the camera automatically detects orientation and tags vertical images to be rotated in Nikon View software.

A new Lithium-Ion battery system that offers automatic calibration and comprehensive performance monitoring features. The D2H battery meter indicates accurate battery life on a percentage scale, with 5 percent increments, while a picture meter indicates the number of images taken on a single battery charge. Additionally, the battery information screen also specifies calibration status and overall battery life in five stages, giving ample notice to photographers to replace a battery that is exhausted and is unable to hold a charge. The high-powered Li-Ion battery has a reduced memory effect, is lighter in weight and provides improved cold weather performance.

Nikon D2H Features:

  • Continuous 8fps capture up to 40 frames/JPEG, 25 frames/RAW
  • Very short 37ms shutter lag time
  • Interchangeable lenses, Nikon F-mount (1.5x focal multiplier)
  • 4.1-Megapixel JFET imager yields 2464 x 1632 pixel images
  • JPEG, TIFF and NEF raw file formats
  • 11 area AF with dynamic tracking, single or continuous servo
  • New 3-way hybrid white balance metering
  • Program AE w/Shift, Shutter priority, Aperture priority, Manual and AE Bracketing
  • Pentaprism viewfinder with 100% coverage and interchangeable screens
  • Exclusive 3D-Color Matrix, Center-Weighted, and Spot metering
  • Shutter speeds from 1/8,000 to 30 seconds plus Bulb
  • 2.5-inch color LCD with 211,200 pixels and white LED backlight
  • Onscreen menu for Record, Playback and Custom functions
  • Review functions now include zoomed-playback with pan
  • ISO 200 to 1600 (in 1/3, 1/2 or 1EV steps), 3200 and 6400 available
  • Noise Reduction circuitry for long exposures (1/2 sec or greater)
  • Supports sRGB and Adobe RGB color space
  • i-TTL 5-Segment Balanced Fill-Flash with SB-800 Speedlight
  • CompactFlash Type II storage, Microdrive compatible
  • Selectable video output with NTSC or PAL format
  • USB 2.0 data and control interface
  • High capacity EN-EL4 Li-ion Battery Pack and MH-21 charger
  • Battery status monitored and displayed on LCD screen
  • Optional WT-1 FTP wireless transmitter, IEEE 802.11b

The D2H kit ships with Lithium Battery EN-EL4; Quick Charger MH-21; Body cap; Camera strap AN-D2H; AV cable EG-D2; USB cable UC-E4; LCD Monitor cover BM-3; Nikon View software CD ROM.

Physical Views

Nikon Professional D2H

Nikon Professional D2H

Nikon Professional D2HNikon Professional D2H

Nikon Professional D2H

Nikon Professional D2H

Nikon D2H compared to Nikon D100 with battery grip

Nikon Professional D2H

Nikon Professional D2H

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Nikon D2H Specifications

Type of Camera Lens-interchangeable digital SLR camera
Effective Pixels 4.1 million
Image Sensor JFET image sensor LBCAST, 23.3 x 15.5mm size
4.26 million total pixels
Recording Pixels [Large] 2,464 x 1,632-pixel
[Medium] 1,840 x 1,224-pixel
Sensitivity ISO equivalency 200 to 1,600 (variable in 1/2, 1/3, or 1EV steps),
Sensitivity can be extended by 1 or 2 steps beyond ISO 1,600
Storage System NEF (12-bit RAW uncompressed or lossless compression),
Exif 2.2 file - Uncompressed TIFF-RGB,
JPEG (1:4, 1:8 or 1:16 compression)
Storage Media CompactFlash (CF) Card (Type I / II) and Microdrive
Shooting Modes
1.) Single frame shooting [S] mode: advances one frame for each shutter release
2.) Continuous high shooting [CH] mode: 8 frames per second (fps) [up to 40 (JPEG) / 25 (RAW:NEF) consecutive shots
3.) Continuous low shooting [CL] mode: 1 to 7 fps (selectable from menus)
4.) Self-timer mode: time duration can be set
5.)Mirror up mode: first press: mirror up, second press: release
6.) Playback mode: Menu mode
7.) PC mode: data transfer via personal computer
8.)Interval timer (Intervalometer) mode provided
White Balance
1.) Auto (hybrid with 1,005-pixel CCD, LBCAST image sensor and external Ambience Light Sensor)
2.) Manual (6 steps with fine tuning)
3.) Preset (5 settings)
4.) Color temperature setting in Kelvin (select from 31steps)
5.) White Balance Bracketing (2 to 9 frames adjustable in 10, 20, 30 MIRED steps)
LCD Monitor 2.5-inch 211,200-dot, low temp. polysilicon TFT LCD with white LED backlighting; Backlight/brightness adjustment available
Playback Function 1.) Full frame
2.) Thumbnail (4 / 9 segments)
3.) One-touch zoom
4.) Slideshow
5.) Histogram indication, and Highlight point display
Delete Function 1.) Card format
2.) All frames delete
3.) Selected frames delete
Video OutputNTSC or PAL (switchable)
Interface USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed) (Mini-B connector)
FTP file transfer available with optional Wireless Transmitter WT-1 (IEEE 802.11b)
Voice Memo Record mode: Automatic or manual recording at shooting or playback, Max. Recording time: 60 seconds

Playback mode: Built-in speaker or Audio/Video cable

File format: Mono WAV file

Text Input Up to 30 characters of alphanumeric text input is available with LCD monitor and multi-selector; stored in Exif header
Usable Lenses
1.) AF Nikkor (including AF-S, DX, VR and D-/G-type) : All functions possible
2.) D-type Manual-Focus Nikkor: All functions except autofocus and some exposure modes available
3.) AF Nikkor other than D-/G-type: All functions except 3D Color Matrix Metering and 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash possible
4.)AI-P Nikkor: All functions except 3D Color Matrix Metering, 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash and AF possible
5.) Non-CPU AI Nikkor : Usable in [A] or [M] mode with Matrix-Metering, Center-Weighted and Spot metering available. Indication of aperture No., after user inputs the aperture f/No. and focal length f=mm by multi-selector operation.
Electronic Rangefinder usable with maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster
Picture Angle Approx. 1.5x focal length in 35mm [135] format equivalent
Viewfinder Optical-type fixed eye-level pentaprism; Built-in diopter adjustment (-3 to +1 m-1), Eyepiece shutter provided
Eyepoint 19.9mm (at -1.0 m-1)
Focusing Screen B-type BrightView Clear Matte Screen III; Interchangeable with optional Finder Screen E with grid
Viewfinder Frame Coverage Approx. 100%
Viewfinder Magnification Approx. 0.86x with 50mm f/1.4 lens set to infinity and -1.0 m-1
Reflex Mirror Automatic, instant-return type
Lens Aperture Instant-return type, with depth-of-field preview button
Autofocus TTL phase detection, Nikon Multi-CAM2000 autofocus module;
Detection range: EV -1 to +19 (ISO 100 equivalent, at normal temperature)
Lens Servo 1.) Single Servo AF [S]
2.) Continuous Servo AF [C]
3.) Manual focus [M]
Focus Tracking automatically activated by subject's status in [S] or [C] AF
Focus Area Selectable from 11 focus areas
AF Area Mode 1.) Single Area AF
2.) Dynamic AF with Focus Tracking and Lock-on
3.) Closest Subject Priority Dynamic AF
4.) Group Dynamic AF
Focus Lock Focus is locked by pressing AE/AF Lock button or lightly pressing shutter release button in [S] AF.
Exposure Metering System TTL full-aperture exposure metering system;
1.) D-/G-type Nikkor lenses support 3D Color Matrix Metering using the 1,005-pixel CCD while other AF Nikkor lenses with built-in CPUs support Matrix Metering (Non-CPU lenses require manual input of lens data)
2.) Center-Weighted Metering (75% of the meter's sensitivity concentrated on the 8mm dia. circle)
3.) Spot Metering (3mm dia. circle, approx. 2% of entire frame); metering position can be linked to the focus area when using Nikkor lenses with built-in CPU
Exposure Metering Range
1.) 3D Color Matrix Metering: EV 0 to 20
2.) Center-Weighted Metering: EV 0 to 20
3.) Spot Metering: EV 2 to 20
(at normal temperature (20°C / 68°F), ISO 100 equivalent, f/1.4 lens)
Exposure Meter Coupling CPU and AI (Automatic maximum aperture Indexing)
Exposure Mode
1.) [P] Programmed Auto (Flexible program possible)
2.) [S] Shutter-Priority Auto
3.) [A] Aperture-Priority Auto
4.) [M] Manual
Exposure Compensation Exposure compensated in +/- 5.0 EV range in 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV steps
Auto Exposure LockDetected exposure value locked by pressing AE-L/AF-L button.
Number of shots: 2 to 9 frames
Compensation steps: 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, or 1EV steps
Shutter Electromagnetically controlled vertical-travel focal-plane shutter,
30 to 1/8,000 sec. and Bulb
Sync Contact X-contact only: flash synchronization up to 1/250 second
Flash Control
1.) New Creative Lighting System: i-TTL Balanced Fill-Flash controlled by five-segment TTL Multi Sensor with Nikon Speedlight SB-800: Advanced Wireless Lighting, FV (Flash Value) Lock, Flash Color Information Communication for Auto White Balance, Auto FP High-Speed Flash Sync, Modeling Flash
2.) D-TTL Balanced Fill-Flash: When used with the Speedlight SB-80DX / 50DX and in accordance with the mounted lens, five-segment TTL Multi Sensor control makes available 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash, Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash, and Standard D-TTL Balanced Fill-Flash
3.) AA (Auto Aperture)-type Flash available when used with SB-800 / 80DX and lens with built-in CPU
4.) Non-TTL Auto Flash (A-type Flash) with a Speedlight such as SB-30 / 27 / 22S etc.
Flash Sync Mode 1.) Front-Curtain Sync (normal sync)
2.) Red-Eye Reduction
3.) Red-Eye Reduction with Slow Sync
4.) Slow Sync
5.) Rear-Curtain Sync
Ready-light Lights up when flash fully charged with Speedlight SB-800 / 80DX / 50DX / 30 / 28 / 27 / 22S; blinks for full output warning
Accessory Shoe ISO 518 standard-type hot shoe contact; Safety lock mechanism provided
Sync Terminal ISO 519 standard terminal, lock screw provided
Self-timer Electronically controlled; Timer duration: 2, 5, 10, and 20 seconds
Depth-of-field Preview Button Stop-down lens aperture by pressing depth-of-field preview button
Remote Control Via 10-pin remote terminal
Power Requirements Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL4 (11.1V DC)
Quick Charger MH-21
AC Adapter EH-6
Tripod Socket 1/4 in. (ISO1222)
Battery Monitoring System The LCD monitor on the camera back displays the following information about the EN-EL4 battery:
1.) Remaining charge (%)
2.) No. of shots taken since last charge
3.) Calibration status (Recommended/Not required)
4.) Battery life (5 stages)
Dimensions (W x H x D) Approx. 157.5 x 149.5 x 85.5mm (6.2 x 5.9 x 3.4 in.)
Weight (without battery) Approx. 1,070g (2.4 lbs.)
Supplied Accessories* Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL4, Quick Charger MH-21, Body Cap, Camera Strap AN-D2H, AV Cable EG-D2, USB Cable UC-E4, LCD Monitor Cover BM-3, Nikon View Software CD-ROM
Optional Accessories Wireless Transmitter WT-1, Extended Range Antenna WA-E1, AC Adaptor EH-6, Interchangeable Focusing Screen E, Antifog Finder Eyepiece DK-16A, Eyepiece Correction Lens DK-16C series, Speedlight SB-800 / 80DX / 50DX, Nikon Capture 4 software, CompactFlash card.
(Specifications as provided by the manufacturer)

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