I received my D100 on Thursday, July 12, 2002. There will be more tests done on the D100, but for now, I would like to share my thoughts with a somewhat philosophical introduction, the camera's overall performance, handling, and the lenses I used.
D100: In My Opinion
For most people, a D100 will be more than sufficient in their life, whether it be sports, portraits, wildlife, landscapes, or Macro work. The reason I say this, is because from my own observations of the performance of the D100, I am quite satisfied doing anything. Nikon D1x/h and Canon 1D owners obviously will notice a difference in the performance of the D100, but most forget that the D1x/h and the 1D are for professionals who need the absolute fastest camera at the time. Personally, I think the D100 will be easily integrated into the professional realm of photography. While the D100 can't possibly perform the same, it is still fully capable of doing the job. If you are a professional and need the absolute best, you deserve it (i.e., D1x/h, 1D, or 1Ds).
Alrighty, enough of my praise, and let's get to the real reason you are reading this: "Should I buy a D100?"
Hell yes! There is the "Soft" image complaint lingering in forums, even after 8 months of the D100's initial release, and two firmware upgrades, as well as several upgrades to Nikon Capture. Most of these complainers do not understand what Digital Photography really is. Digital Photography not only has to do with taking pictures, but it also has to do with editing those pictures and maximizing their presentation to the human eye. DP is not contigent on just owning a camera. If you own a simple P&S camera, then it is, but since you are looking into a purchasing a DSLR, forget the easy road.
You can't perform DP (Digital Photography) correctly, unless you have the tools to do it, and you can't use the tools efficiently, if you don't have enough information in the photo to adjust it (which is why RAW photos are encouraged over JPEG).
Thom Hogan is correct in identifying an Aggressive AA Filter inside the D100. This is not a bad thing. I would rather have my photos a little soft and adjust them accordingly to my tastes, than have my photos aggressively sharpened, and have little control. Also, this "softness"
is due to many other factors, such as:
1) The lens being used
2) Making sure of correct settings in the camera
3) Full Auto Mode does not work all the time
4) Expectations of the photographer
I think #4 is probably the most prevalent amongst D100 owners and potential D100 owners. It appears as if the expectations of the D100 are that it should produce sharp photos, right out of the camera. Well, this just isn't going to happen all the time. The only time you will get a truely "sharp" photo, is when
you have the exact amount of light that the camera needs, and at the perfect aperture for the particular lens you have on the D100.
All digital cameras have an issue with light
Digital cameras have light issues. Most underexpose. This tends to make photos soft, in addition to the above. Some manufacturers try to cheaply "tweak" the sensitivity, but all they are doing is creating a false sense of low-light performance. If you want a good photo in low-light or even average light, you are going to need the following:
1) Large aperture lenses
2) A digital camera that has a broad ISO range
3) Software within the camera that can deal with noise issues
Experienced photographers can compromise the above 3 factors if they need to, such as getting a smaller aperture lens for much less money compared to a larger aperture lens, if they need to. However, most D100 owners are not professionals, and at the same time, they want instant results that are pleasing. Just can't happen. It takes time. Which brings us to this observation...
Great photos don't happen overnight and they don't grow on trees
I'm quite serious. It takes a lot of practice. Some are naturals, but most of us are not and need to rack up the digital photo counters on our cameras. No different with the D100. When you get your camera, don't expect perfect photos every single time. In fact, plan on bad photos. Being surprised is much better than being disappointed. Disappointment leads to frustration, lack of commitment, and a denial that there is a problem with the photographer, not the camera.
Some people like to post their first shots out of the camera. This is fine, but it's like buying an expensive gun that you have never shot in your life. The name and model of the gun, are widely known and envied by those who don't own one. You then go to a shooting range and empty the first magazine into a paper target. You then take that target of holes and show everyone on the range how you did. Now, most people, when they shoot a gun they have never used before, are going to have holes all over the target, and they will not be centered. Imagine other professional shooters
on the range, when you proudly show them your target. They certainly aren't going to pat you on the back unless you have a talent for shooting. So, my point is, don't be discouraged if you post your photos and find that no one is really interested in them, and don't be disappointed in the actual performance either. Give it time. The more you shoot, the more accurate you get. Same with photography. The more you shoot, the more accurate you get.
NOTE ABOUT D100 REVIEW (September 19, 2005)
This D100 Review was unfortunately never completed, however parts of it may be of some interest and value to current D100 users. It is possible I will write an article about my use of the D100 in the near future.