Nikon D2H Digital Camera Reviewed

by Bjørn Rørslett  

1. Introduction

In true unfathomable, Oriental tradition, Nikon plunges into uncharted waters by introducing the first model, D2H, in their new D2-series of digital pro camera. Although the D2H camera derives from the hugely successful D1-series, almost everything under the sleek magnesium-alloy casing is new or redesigned. The focus is, quite naturally, on the innovative JFET LBCAST tecnology behind the imaging sensor. Being neither CMOS nor the traditional Nikon/Sony CCD, can this new brainchild of the Nikon engineer team match up in terms of imaging quality, or even improve on its predecessors?

Season's Greetings, by D2H

Oh Merry YuleTide and a timely celebration of a new generation of pro DSLRs from Nikon

(D2H with Nikkor 50 mm f/1.2 lens)

© Bjørn Rørslett/NN

Great hope, expectation, and also a fair share of doubts, have been put on the new D2-generation from Nikon. The design of the new D2-series indicates Nikon seriously believe in their "DX" concept with an imager less generously sized than the 24 x 36 mm heritage of the 35 mm film-based era. They have advocated the virtues of the "DX" sensor for some time now, and the fact that the D2H has a "DX"-sized but otherwise brand new, upfront technology for its imager is very significant.

I will not spend too much time on describing all the features on the D2H, because plenty of this information is floating around on the better web sites already. Or, you may get a brochure from a dealer or download a PDF file from one of the official Nikon sites. Relevant points and issues are covered during this review article. For a user of the D1/D1X/D1H models, the interface of the D2H will be very intuitive, and I think most people will take an instant liking to the sheer feel and handling ease of this camera.

For each new series of a digital camera, I as an end user sincerely hope they finally have come of age. I simply wish to go on shooting like I always have done, not needing to pay much attention to the actual media within the camera itself, be it film or digital. So far into the digital epoch, my hopes have been unfulfilled as a whole although the digital image quality all along has endeared the technology for me.

I received my D2H within the first batch of 6 cameras arriving in Norway end of October, 2003, and have busied myself with the new-fangled Nikon ever since. This is not a "cherry-picked" unit for testing, it is my own personal camera and it was purchased literally unseen out-of-the-box as it were. Due to unfortunate and unforeseen events, the reviewing process has been delayed and I don't feel the accompanying photography to this review is up to my usual standards. However, this article has to be my contribution for the time being. I may add more detail to it later on, if time permits.

Nikon D2H Reviewed

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Last update 13 December, 2003