As professional photographers who are also digital geeks, any new pro digital camera is of great interest to us. We love the process of learning about a new camera's image sensor, colour modes, file formats and all the other things that make its digital heart beat. As photographers, however, we're equally interested in a camera's core features - its frame rate, its metering and autofocus systems and whether it's able to produce a well-exposed TTL flash photograph.
Until the Nikon D2H, learning about a camera's core features has been comprised of getting up to speed on what major components from which film cameras have been pulled together and plopped into the new digital body. This is true of every Canon, Fuji, Kodak and Nikon digital SLR we've encountered to date.
The D2H changes all that. As the first digital SLR to incorporate key camera technology not derived from a film camera, the D2H signals that digital SLR photography has evolved beyond being a derivative of its analog cousins. Case in point: If you want Nikon's best-appointed AF system, it's in the D2H. If you want Nikon's most full-featured wireless TTL flash system, the D2H is the camera that has it.
This represents a sea change in SLR development that has us looking at the D2H as a top-flight pro camera that just happens to be digital. To quote Austin Powers: "It's a very groovy time."
Because it is digital, however, and because the technology hasn't evolved to the point where one camera can be all things to all photographers, the Nikon D2H is aimed at the news and sports shooter. Its 4.02 million pixel photos, 40 frame JPEG burst depth, an ISO range that tops out at 6400 and more place the camera squarely in the action photography category.
This report previews the new Nikon pro camera in detail, with equal emphasis on its core camera and digital features.
Thanks to Richard LoPinto, Bill Pekala, Steve Heiner, David Dentry, Lindsay Silverman, Nobu Sasagaki, Saurabh Wahi, Robert Cristina, Peter Burke, Sig Hallgrimsson and Thomas Sapiano for their assistance in the preparation of this report.