Nikon D1X SLR Review

Steve's Digicams

Review posted 6/30/01

Click to take a QuickTime tour of the D1X

Nikon changed the world of professional digital cameras forever when they brought out the D1 two years ago. Before the D1 arrived it cost $12K or more for a Kodak DCS series Nikon or Canon-based "professional" digital camera. The D1 at $5850 was an instant hit, so much so that demand exceeded supply for many months after its introduction. The D1 is built around the incredibly rugged Nikon F5, the #1 choice of working pro photojournalists and others that depend on their camera to always get the shot. The D1 has proven that it is up to the task of being the digital alternative to the film-based F5.

The D1X is the second generation of Nikon digital SLR cameras and incorporates all of the D1's advanced features such as 3D color matrix metering, multi-zone autofocus system, auto-TTL flash operation with 3D color matrix metering, Compact Flash Type II storage and IEEE 1394 FireWire connectivity. The D1X is equipped with a new, high resolution 5.47-megapixel imager and features improved color management capability for super-high color fidelity in a wide variety of applications and locations. Nikon listened to the users and vastly improved the menu interface as well as the color LCD display and the playback functions. The D1X is useable with the vast majority of Nikon F-mount lenses out there, however it performs best with the newer D or G type Nikkor lenses.

The D1X is capable of capturing up to 9 full resolution images at 3 frames per second. Photographers can choose one of two finished image sizes (3,008 x 1,960 pixels or 2,000 x 1,312 pixels), three levels of JPEG compression, uncompressed TIFF or Nikon's proprietary raw NEF format which allows you to post-process the actual 16-bit CCD data later in the Nikon Capture 2 software. The D1H due later this summer, retains the D1's 2.74-megapixel resolution but its huge RAM buffer and faster processing circuitry gives it the ability to capture up to 40 frames at a blazing 5fps.

Nikon D1X Features:

  • 5.47-Megapixel CCD imager yielding 3008 x 1960 pixel images
  • Digital SLR camera based on Nikon F5 body
  • Interchangeable lenses, Nikon F-mount (1.5x multiplier)
  • Program AE w/Shift, Shutter priority, Aperture priority, Manual and Auto Bracketing exposure modes
  • Exclusive 3D-Color Matrix, Center-Weighted, and Spot metering
  • Shutter speeds from 1/16,000 to 30 seconds plus Bulb
  • Five area AF with dynamic tracking, single or continuous servo
  • 2-inch color LCD with 130,000 pixels and white LED backlight
  • Onscreen menu for Record, Playback and Custom functions
  • Review functions now include zoomed-playback with pan
  • ISO sensitivity 125 to 800 plus ISO Boost (1600, 3200)
  • Improved color rendition with faster processing hardware
  • Noise Reduction circuitry for long exposure images
  • Supports sRGB and Adobe RGB color space
  • 3fps burst to a maximum of nine full resolution images
  • In-camera finished JPEG in three quality levels
  • Uncompressed TIFF and raw NEF (compressed and uncompressed)
  • 3008x1960 (Large) or 2000x1312 (Medium) image sizes
  • White balance options have +/-3 fine tuning as well as 3 manual presets
  • 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash with SB-28DX and SB-50DX
  • NikonView 4 and PhotoShop plugin (supplied) supports raw NEF
  • CompactFlash Type II storage, Microdrive compatible
  • Selectable video output with NTSC or PAL format
  • IEEE 1394 (FireWire) data and control interface
  • Serial port for connection to optional GPS units
  • High capacity EN-4 Battery Pack and MH-17 charger

TIPA Award winner
Best Digital SLR System Camera 2001-2002

Physical Views

Nikon Professional D1X

Nikon Professional D1X

Nikon Professional D1X

Nikon Professional D1XNikon Professional D1X

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Nikon D1X Specifications

Type of camera Lens-interchangeable digital SLR camera
CCD 23.7 x 15.6mm RGB CCD;
5.47 million total pixels;
5.32-million effective pixels (4,024 x 1,324 array);
captures 12-bit full-color image
Recording pixels 3008 x 1960 or 2000 x 1312
Sensitivity ISO equivalency 125 to 800 (variable in 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV steps)

System: Digitally stored; JPEG Baseline (approx. 1/4, 1/8 1/16 compressed), uncompressed (12-bit RAW*, 8-bit YCbCr-TIFF, 8-bit RGB-TIFF), monochrome mode

Media: CompactFlash (CF) Card (Type I/II) and IBM Microdrive

* There are some restrictions on the use of the early 340MB Microdrive.

Shooting Modes 1) Single frame shooting (S) mode: advances one frame for each shutter release; capture preview mode available
2) Continuous Shooting (C) mode: approx. 3 frames per sec. (up to 9 consecutive shots)
3) Self-timer mode: time duration can be set
4) Playback mode: playback, menu setting
5) PC mode: data transfer via personal computer
White Balance 1) Auto (TTL Control with 1,005-pixel CCD, 2) Manual (6 settings with fine tuning), 3) Preset (3 settings)
LCD Monitor 2-in., 130,000-dot, low temp. polysilicon TFT LCD with LED backlighting; backlight/brightness adjustment available
Playback menu 1) Protect setting, 2) Hide setting, 3) NTSC/PAL switching, 4) Indication directory switching
Playback function 1) 1 frame, 2)Thumbnail (4/9 segments), 3) Slide show, 4) Enlarged playback, 5) Histogram indication, highlight point display and focus confirmation indication
Delete Function 1) Card format, 2) All frames delete, 3) Selected frames delete
Video Output NTSC or PAL (switchable)
Interface IEEE1394; RX-232C [GPS unit (not Nikon product) connection]
Usable Lenses 1) D-type AF Nikkor: All functions possible, 2) D-type Manual Focus Nikkor: All functions except autofocus possible, 3) AF Nikkor other than D-type: All functions except 3D color Matrix Metering and 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash for D1-series possible, 4) AI-P Nikkor: All functions except 3D color Matrix Metering, 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash for D1 and autofocus possible, 5) Non-CPU: Usable in [A] or [M] mode Center-Weighted or Spot Metering; Electronic Rangefinder usable with lens 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 22mm (at -1.0 m -¹)

Focusing Screen

B-type BriteView clear Matte screen III; interchangeable with optional E-type screen with grid for D1-series
Viewfinder Frame Coverage Approx. 96%
Viewfinder Magnification Approx. 0.8x with 50mm lens set to infinity and -1.0m -¹
Viewfinder Information Focus indications, shutter speed, aperture, exposure mode, metering system, shutter speed lock, aperture lock, AE lock, electronic analog display, frame counter, ready-light, five sets of focus brackets (area)
Reflex Mirror Automatic, instant-return type
Lens Aperture Instant-return type, with depth-of-field preview button
Autofocus TTL phase detection, Nikon Multi-CAM1300 autofocus module; Detection range: EV -1 to EV 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 One of five focus areas can be selected
AF Area Mode 1) Single Area AF, 2) Dynamic AF (Dynamic AF Mode with Closest Subject Priority is available)
Focus Lock Focus is locked by pressing AE-L/AF-L button or lightly pressing shutter release button in (S) AF
Exposure Metering System TTL full-aperture exposure metering system; 1) 3D color Matrix Metering with 1,005-pixel CCD, 2) Center-Weighted Metering (75% of the meter's sensitivity concentrated on the 8mm diameter circle), 3) Spot Metering (4mm diameter circle, approx. 2% of entire frame)
Exposure Metering Rage 1) 3D color Matrix Metering: EV 0-20, 2) Centre-Weighted Metering: EV 0-20, 3) Spot Metering: EV 2-20 (at normal temperature, ISO 100 equivalent, f/1.4 lens)
Exposure Meter Coupling CPU and AI combined
Exposure Mode 1) [P] Programmed Auto (Flexible Program possible),
2) [S] Shutter-Priority Auto, 3) [A] Aperture-Priority Auto, 4)[M] Manual; shutter speed/aperture adjustable in 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps
Exposure Compensation Exposure compensated in ±5 EV range in 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps
Auto Exposure Lock Detected exposure value locked by pressing AE-L/AF-L button
Auto Exposure Bracketing Number of shots: two or three
Compensation steps: 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 step
Shutter Charge-coupled electronic and mechanical shutter; 30 to 1/16,000 sec. and Bulb
Sync Contact X-contact only; flash synchronisation up to 1/500 sec.
Flash Control

1) Automatic Balanced Fill-Flash controlled by five-segment TTL Multi-Sensor:

  • 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash for D1-series when used with SB-28DX/SB-50DX and D-type Nikkor lens
  • Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash when used with Sb-28DX/SB-50DX and AF Nikkor other than D-type, AI-P Nikkor lens

2) AA (Auto Aperture) - type Flash available when used with SB-28DX/SB-50DX and lens with built-in CPU
3) Non-TTL Auto Flash with a Speedlight such as SB-28DX, 50DX, 28, 27, 22s etc.

Flash Sync Mode 1) Front-Curtain Sync (normal sync), 2) Red-Eye Reduction, 3) Redeye Reduction with Slow Sync, 4) Slow Sync, 5) Rear-Curtain Sync
Ready-light Lights up when flash fully charged with Speedlight SB-28DX, 50DX, 28, 27, 22s; blinks (3 sec. after flash) for full output warning
Accessory Shoe Standard ISO-type hot-shoe contact; safety lock provided
Sync Terminal Standard JIS terminal, lock screw provided
Self-timer Electronically controlled, timer duration 2-20 sec.
Depth-of-field Preview Button Stop-down lens aperture by pressing depth-of-field preview button
LCD Panel Information Top LCD panel: Exposure value (shutter speed/aperture), exposure mode, exposure compensation, exposure compensation value, aperture/shutter speed lock, flash sync mode, focus area, exposure bracketing information, electronic analog display, battery power, CF Card confirmation, number of shots taken, number of shots remaining, frame number at playback battery power for built-in clock, date/time
Rear LCD panel: Number of shots remaining, sensitivity, white balance mode, image quality mode, monochrome mode, CF card status, Custom function, number of pixels (M/L)
Remote Control Via 10-pin remote terminal
Power Requirements Ni-Mh Battery Pack EN-4 (7.2V DC), Quick Charger MH-17 (12V DC)/16/15; AC Adapter EH-4 (100-240V AC)
Tripod Socket 1/4 in. (JIS)
Custom Settings 35 settings can be selected on LCD
(W x H x D)
Approx. 157 x 153 x 85mm (6.2 x 6.1 x 3.4 inch)
Weight (without batteries) Approx. 1.1kg (2.5 lbs)
Standard Accessories* Neck Strap, Video Cable, "Nikon View" Browser Software
Optional Accessories Ni-MH Battery Pack EN-4, Quick Charger MH-17/16, AC Adapter EH-4, CompactFlash™ Cards, Speedlight SB-28DX/SB-50DX, IEEE1394 Cable SC-D1, Anti-fog Finder Eyepiece DK-15, "Nikon Capture" Control Software
Specifications and equipment are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer.

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