Nikon D1X SLR Review

Steve's Digicams

Features & Controls (cont.)

The all important Main Command Dial is easily activated with your thumb and works in conjunction with many of the other control buttons to quickly change camera options. The AF-ON button forces activation of the autofocus system. The AE-L and AF-L buttons lock the exposure and focus settings when desired.

The big round switch is the focus area selector switch which also doubles as a 4-way jog switch when the camera is in playback mode or you are navigating the menu system.

Nikon Professional D1X

On the front of the camera below the shutter release is the sub command dial which is used in certain modes to select various camera options. It is not used as often as the main command dial thankfully as it is a bit of a stretch to get to with your index finger.

Nikon Professional D1X

Because the D1X is built on the F5 chassis it also has the vertical grip and second shutter release which is used when the camera is held in portrait mode. On the back side is a second command dial and AF Start button.

Nikon Professional D1X

The rear control panel and its LCD display.

  • The "MENU" button calls up the menu in record or playback mode.
  • The "WB" button is for white balance options, hold button and rotate command dial to select Auto, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Sunlight, Flash, Cloudy, Shade or Preset. Selected white balance can be fine tuned +/-3 by holding WB button and rotating sub-command dial.
  • The "FUNC" button is programmable for quickly setting either the image quality, custom settings, AF area or to lock the shutter speed or aperture. In playback mode it controls the zoomed playback function.
  • The "KEY" button lets you protect images from accidental erasure.
  • The "CHECKERBOARD" button brings up the thumbnail mode to quickly search through the stored images

Nikon Professional D1X

The rear LCD panel displays: Number of shots remaining, ISO sensitivity, white balance mode, image quality mode, monochrome mode, CF Card status, LCD monitor status and Custom function settings.

Nikon Professional D1X

Unlike older pro cameras the D1X does not use full size PC cards, it is equipped with a CompactFlash Type II slot. The storage media of choice for working professionals are Lexar Media's Pro Series 8x and 10x solid state CF cards.

Nikon Professional D1X

IBM Microdrives can be used in the D1/D1X, the 512MB and 1GB models are recommended and give you lots of memory to shoot all NEFs if desired. There is a known problem with later model 512MB and 1GB Microdrives that will be "fixed" with the release of the D1X firmware v1.01. Check the serial number on your Microdrive, if the last three digits begins with a zero then you are not affected by this.

Custom function #34 can be enabled to stop the camera from functioning if there's no CF card inserted. I'd suggest that you leave this function set to ON at all time to remind you if there's no memory card in the camera.

Photo by Rob Galbraith

Our good friend Rob Galbraith, a professional (digital) photojournalist, has updated his review of CompactFlash Type I and II devices in respect to the D1X. Click here to read his Selecting a CompactFlash Card for the Nikon D1X article. The Lexar Pro Series with their 10x and 12x write speeds were the favorite for the D1 but a new generation of large capacity and fast cards are now available from other manufacturers using the Toshiba controller chip. To quote Rob:

    "Well-known Compactflash players, including Delkin, Microtech and Kingston, along with several lesser-known companies, are switching most or all of their higher-capacity cards from Hitachi controllers to Toshiba. Toshiba, a key manufacturer of flash memory, has stormed into the OEM market with their first controller for CompactFlash."

Rob's in-depth report exams 14 different cards from seven different vendors that offer completely D1X compatible cards. He reports on their compatibility, durability, speed and just as important, their pro support. There is lots of good info in his article so please read the whole thing, in a nutshell he says:

    "I'm hard pressed to feel the write speed difference between Lexar's cards, the Delkin 256MB and Microtech 256MB. Any one of Lexar's higher-capacity 10X or 12X cards, or the new Toshiba-controller products, provides decent write speed performance in the D1X. The drop in throughput only starts to become noticeable with the Hitachi-controller cards and the 1GB Microdrive (unfortunately, the D1X doesn't come close to realizing the write speed potential of IBM's miniature hard drive). However, given the importance of write speed in ensuring that the tiny-buffer D1X is always ready to shoot another photo, my recommendation would be to choose from among the Lexar 12X cards, the Delkin 256MB and Microtech 256MB (and presumably Delkin and Microtech's 512MB cards too, which feature the same controller)."

Nikon Professional D1X

The D1X can be controlled from a computer via the Nikon Capture software when connected to a high-speed (400mbps) IEEE1394 FireWire port, maximum distance is 14 feet (3.5 meters). This FireWire port can also be used for rapid image downloads.

The Autosave function of Nikon Capture allows files to be transferred directly from the camera to the computers hard disk via Firewire. As the image is transferred a number of automatic operations can be performed such as: resizing, colour balancing, file conversion, sharpening and renaming (both prefix, suffix and sequential numbering)

Nikon Professional D1X

Along the front of the camera are the I/O ports for the AC power adapter and the Video Out.

Nikon Professional D1X

Near the top of the camera is the PC flash sync connector and below that is a 10-pin connector for the optional remote shutter release and other camera-control functions. The small LED is for selftimer indication.

Nikon Professional D1X

The D1 series uses the EN-4 NiMH rechargeable battery pack and comes with the MH-16 Quick Charger. I have yet to wait longer than 60 minutes to charge up a battery pack. The MH-15 and EH-3 chargers supplied with F-100 and E-3 camera systems can be used to charge the EN-4 battery.

According to Rob Galbraith you need to run all new EN-4 battery packs through THREE Refresh cycles back-to-back before using them. Read Rob's article for all the details.

Go to
Page Four

Return To Steve's
Reviews Menu

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.