D100 has a petite built-in flash for those festive occasions where you need to spoil your pictures by poor flash lighting. At least you have to press a button yourself to make the flash pop up, so the decision is entirely yours. The hot shoe accepts all modern DX-type Nikon flash units which provide D-TTL operation. The pre-production sample could not fire any flash not set to D-TTL mode, while a later production model behaved normally and fired any flash happily whether the unit was mounted in the hot-shoe or hooked up through an AS-15 flash coupler. So, don't believe everything you read in reviews of beta models!
The camera controls are either set using a rotating dial to the left of the finder, or by front and rear thumbwheels to the right. A number of options can be selected from a self-explanatory menu system on the rear LCD display. In addition, a gamepad control and an AE/AF lock button (doubling as a metering mode switch) can be found on the rear of the D100. The layout of the controls is not entirely intuitive, and in particular, setting options using the left-side dial will put the camera out of shooting mode until you have selected an exposure mode. This is not perfect if you enjoy fiddling a lot with the settings: it is all to easy to miss a crucial shot afterwards (because the shutter won't fire). Perphaps only reviewers, who are notorious for being preoccupied with exploring every possible option provided by a camera, are the ones to be bothered by this operational inconsistency. At least, that's what I hope.
My final gripe against D100, and the entire "G" line Nikkors in fact, is the need for setting lens aperture by command dials on the camera body. I understand the underlying incentive for making lenses without aperture control, but refuse to embrace the idea. A "G"-lens makes camera handling more difficult, because aperture setting and shutter tripping both require right-hand operation. You cannot easily set aperture and shoot simultaneously. The "G" design may give us smaller and cheaper lenses, but handling these lenses becomes more awkward.
did you expect - that I should shoot differently just
because of my using a D100? No way.
D100 outputs quite a number of different file sizes and formats. You can select three resolutions (Small, Medium, and Large) up to the maximum of 3008 x 2000 pixels. The biggest JPGs are typically 2-3 MB, raw files (NEF) around 9.5 MB, and the TIF files 17.7MB. I used 256 MB Lexar and 512 MB Ridata CF cards in the D100 and both behaved flawlessly. Writing time for JPGs is very fast, 1-2 secs, while NEF files are written to the CF card in 7-8 secs. If you select the TIF format, you should have more patience because these big files need approx. 27 secs to be transferred to the CF card. I used mainly TIF because no currently available software could handle the NEF file format of D100. The camera has ample data buffers so as not to block the shutter release for a new shot while a TIF is written onto the CF card.
Image quality was might be expected from a 6 MP camera, excellent in other words, and should satisfy anyone using the camera. I did thorough test shooting with D100 against my "bread-and-butter" camera, D1X. Using my AF 85 mm f/1.4 Nikkor at f/5.6, each camera clamped firmly to my Sachtler ENG 2 CF tripod, and shooting my standard brick wall motif, I found the images from D1X being of slightly higher quality with respect to effective resolution and shadow detail. To be sure, the differences are small, but not negligible. My findings are opposite of the test results published by Phil Askey, but they do result from a carefully conducted test setup. Please note that NEF raw format was used for D1X and TIF for D100, this might have influenced the test results and I obviously shall repeat the test procedure using a production-model D100 and raw file format as soon as possible.
Digital noise is very low at the basic 200 ISO setting and continues to be entirely acceptable past the 1000 ISO mark. In terms of noise, D100 outperforms D1X by a comfortable margin at all elevated ISO settings, and is at least the equal of D1H from 800 ISO upwards. This is a very respectable performance, which helps make the camera more versatile. There is even a long-exposure noise-reduction capability built into the D100.