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Dennis Hissink : July 29th 2003 - 14:46 CET

First Look and introduction of the new Nikon D2H

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NikonThe last couple of weeks a lot of rumours were buzzing about a possible introduction of a new professional digital reflex camera from Nikon. Today is the day that we report about the introduction of the new professional Nikon digital reflex camera. Our first acquaintance to the new D2H took place some weeks ago and till this day we still hear the impressive sound of a shutter working at great speed filling the internal buffer of the D2H! Those of you who have always wished to decrease the storage capacity of their flash card within just a blink of your eye will definitely have to look out for this new Nikon D2H! The battle for the highest resolution is not that battle that is the most important one.
As the professional in the field (journalism, action photographer) already had experienced during his daily work a resolution of 4 Megapixels is sufficient enough to get the job done. Things like speed, sequence and speed of focus are details that had to be improved and were on top of the wishing list of the Pro. Nikon has listened carefully to these stories from the field and has developed a complete new digital SLR camera to fulfil all the wishes that the professional photographer has to wish for. The new Nikon D2H is Nikon's answer to all the needs of the professional photographers in the world.

The Nikon D2H is a digital SLR camera developed for the professional. The D2H is equipped with new revolutionary technologies and a lot of photographic functions. High speed image capturing with increased photographic response, speed and accuracy combined with an optional unique, wireless communication pack (WT-1) are the ingredients of the new Nikon SLR camera. With this new tool the Pro is now capable of working in a complete new and more efficient way. Besides the new body and the new wireless transmitter Nikon is also introducing a new Nikon Speedlight flashgun, the SB-800. This new Speedlight Flash unit completes the new Nikon D2H set.

The complex digital and photographic technology is contained in a body of magnesium for strength and rigidity with a weight that is lighter than both the D1H it replaces, and the Nikon F5, without sacrificing rigidity or compromising environmental resistance. With the experiences of the professional in one hand and the need for improvement in the other hand Nikon developed the Nikon D2H with improved ergonomics in its mind. The D2H boasts Command and Sub Command dials for both horizontal and vertical shooting, larger AF-On buttons and a new 8-way multi-selector pad with centre multi-function button, bringing major improvements to the ergonomics of using Auto focus during shooting as well as instant image playback even while writing to the CompactFlash card.

The back of the camera gets in the spotlight with its large LCD display. This high-resolution LCD display contains 211,000 pixels and has a dimension of 2.5-inch. Despite this large LCD display the new D2H body is just 3mm thicker than the Nikon F5 35mm SLR body.

The D2H features a high eye-point viewfinder with 100% coverage and a 'black-out' time of just 80ms. This means that while using the optical viewfinder during sequence shooting the viewfinder will remain almost bright the whole time. The mechanical shutter of the D2H is an improvement of the mechanism from the professional Nikon F5 35 camera. The shutter has two blades entirely manufactured from duralumin, a composite material used in the aircraft industry, renowned for its hardness, tensile strength and lightweight. The D2H shutter is, like the F5, tested to over 150,000 cycles. The improved shutter lag of just 37ms delivers the instant response so valued by action photographers. Attention too has been given to the mirror balancer mechanism to reduce mirror 'bounce' contributing to an impressive blackout time of just 80ms during consecutive shooting.

The impressive sound of the powerful mechanism that is shooting 8 frames per second with a maximum of 40 JPEG files is just awesome. The pre-production model which we had in our hands made it all clear, this new SLR camera from Nikon is a powerful tool for the Pro! The D2H is incorporates a new developed and advanced Multi-CAM2000 AF sensor who takes care of a fast reacting and very accurate Auto focus under all imaginable conditions. The module contains 11 sensors covering almost 100% field, and 9 cross point sensors, positioned in a 'rule of thirds' pattern. This results in a very accurate Auto focus, not just aimed on the centre of the field, but more to the needs of the composition.

The LBCAST image sensor is a new developed and exclusive Nikon JFET image sensor. It is high speed DX format image sensor with an effective 4.08 Megapixel resolution and a burst rate of up to 8 frames per second. This new LBCAST provides an ultra low noise performance and is less power consuming. The new sensor features dual channel, uni direction read-out for high-speed data flushing of images and rapid image transmission. The dimensions of the new sensor are 23.12x15.45mm. The DX sensor format is used in all Nikon D-serie digital DLS cameras. A new NEF ?combi’ file option allows simultaneous NEF (RAW) plus JPEG files to be captured together.

The Nikon D2H incorporates a new developed, external 'ambient' White Balance sensor on the camera's prism for improved white balance performance. The D2H measures WB in three places for increased accuracy of the automatic white balance (AWB) and automatic tone balance (ATC), particularly under mixed lightning conditions. These sensors are a TTL 1005-pixel RGB Matrix sensor, a new developed LBCAST image sensor and a external 'ambient' sensor that is positioned on the prism head to measure light both above and in front of the camera as well.

This last sensor can even recognize the influence of fluorescent light by its inherent light flicker so distinguished it from non-fluorescent light sources of similar colour temperature to deliver improved white balance results. The new internal AWB and ATC algorithms provides an improved color and tone reproduction. Due to the function of making a pre-setting possible and the use of a Kelvin table manual settings are also improved.

A very handy function is the possible wireless transmission with the optional wireless transmitter (WT-1). This accessory is used to transmit the images directly from the camera via a FTP protocol in a managed wireless LAN. The new transmitter that is connected to the bottom of the camera is compatible with IEEE 802.11b and is capable of transmitting the images without influencing the functionality of the camera. Even during the transmission the photographer is able to capture images and recording them. During our acquaintance the new WT-1 transmitter had just arrived that morning. The box contained also an external antenna.

To make the Nikon set complete Nikon developed a brand new SB-800 Speedlight flash gun. The new Speedlight SB-800 features several new improvements on the D-TTL flash technology, named I-TTL by Nikon. There are several new functions that will improve the cooperation with the Nikon D2H. When the FP setting (Focal Plane) is activated it is possible to shoot a serie flashes synchronised up to 1/8000e when working with the new Nikon D2H. The SB-800 also features a new FV-lock mode to enable the photographer to lock the flash output for repeated exposures.

For increased convenience, the Master SB-800 can even be used to separately wireless control the flash modes of each remote unit. When shooting digital this means, the photographer can use the image playback screen to immediately check results, and make adjustments from the camera position, useful if remote units are placed out of immediate reach. The SB-800 is capable to communicate between master and slave flash guns via four channels to prevent an accidental activation of another photographer.

Other new functions of the SB-800 are; flash duration colour compensation (it emits light output calculated to optimally illuminate the subject and background), taking advantage of the new white balance metering and 11 AF Area AF system of the D2H and TTL multiple wireless Monitor Pre-Flash. The optional SB-29 cable communicates between the SB-800 and the camera even is the flash gun is not on top of the camera. The SB-800 comes complete with a Quick Recycling Battery Pack (SD-800) to decrease recycling times, tungsten and fluorescent filters (SJ-800), remote stand (AS-19), a Speedlight diffusion dome (SW-10H) and a soft case (SS-800).

Our first hands-on with the new Nikon D2H, the SB-800 and the wireless transmitter was short but long enough to realize that Nikon has developed a new SLR camera that will fulfil the need of the professional market. The camera gives the answer on to a lot of practical applications in which speed, durability and ergonomics are playing a more important role than a high resolution. We are sure that the new Nikon D2H is welcomed and will be highly appreciated with the professional photographer.

To this moment there is not much known about any price or date of availability, but as soon as we receive a more specific price or date of delivery you will be notified as soon as possible.

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