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A professional Digital SLR from Nikon. Based on the F5body, it is a very sophisticated and wonderful digital camera.

Here's it's specs:

  • Type of Camera: Lens-interchangeable SLR-type digital camera
  • CCD:23.7 x 15.6mm RGB CCD; 2.74 million total pixels; 2.66-million effective pixels (2,012 x 1,324 array); captures 12-bit full-color image
  • Image Size: 2,000 x 1,312 pixels
  • Sensitivity: ISO equivalency 200, 400, 800, 1,600
  • Storage System: Digitally stored; JPEG (approx. 1/4, 1/8, 1/16 compressed), Uncompressed (12-bit Raw, 8-bit YCbCr-TIFF - Optional software is needed to reproduce images, "Nikon Capture" for Raw/YCbCr-TIFF images,"Nikon View DX" for YCbCr-TIFF images; 8-bit RGB-TIFF), monochrome mode
  • Storage System Media: CompactFlash (CF) Card (Type I/II)
  • Storage System Modes and No. of frames (With EC-64CF 64MB CF Card): Image quality mode- Raw (uncompressed raw) Approx. 16; Hi (uncompressed YCbCr-TIFF) Approx. 12; Hi (uncompressed RGB-TIFF) Approx. 7; Fine (approx. 1/4 compressed) Approx.48; Normal (approx. 1/8 compressed Approx. 97; Basic (approx. 1/16 compressed) Approx. 195
  • Shooting Modes: 1) Single frame shooting (S) mode, advances one frame for each shutter release, capture preview mode available; 2) Continuous shooting (C) mode: approx. 4.5 frames per sec. (up to 21 consecutive shots) 3) Self-timer (ST) mode: time duration can be set, 4) Playback (Pb) mode: playback, menu setting, 5) PC (Pc) mode- data transfer via personal computer
  • White Balance: 1) Auto (TTL control with 1,005-pixel CCD), 2) Manual (six settings with 7-step fine tuning) 3) Preset
  • LCD monitor: 2-in., 120,000-dot, low temp. polysilicon TFT LCD; backlight/brightness adjustment available
  • Playback Function: 1) 1 frame, 2) Thumbnail (9 segments), 3) Slide show, 4) Histogram indication & highlight point display
  • Delete function: 1) Card format, 2) All frames delete, 3) Selected frames delete
  • Video Output: NTSC or PAL (switchable)
  • Interface: IEEE1394
  • Exposure Mode: 1) Programmed Auto (Flexible Program possible), 2) Shutter-Priority Auto, 3) Aperture-Priority Auto, 4) Manual
  • Usable Lenses: 1) D-type AF Nikkor: All functions possible, 2) D-type Nikkor other than AF- All functions except autofocus possible, 3) AF Nikkor other than D-type- All functions except 3D Color Matrix Metering and 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash for D1 possible, 4) AI-P Nikkor- All functions except 3D Color Matrix Metering, 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash for D1 and autofocus possible, 5) Non-CPU- Usable in or mode, Center-Weighted or Spot Metering; Electronic Rangefinder usable with lens with maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster. Note: When Non-CPU lenses are used A and P modes are automatically selected also Center-Weighted Metering is selected for 3D Color Matrix Metering.
  • Shutter Speeds: 30 to 1/16,000 sec. and Bulb
  • Dimensions: (W x H x D) Approx. 157 x 153 x 85mm (6.2 x 6.1 x 3.4 in.)
  • Weight: (without battery) Approx. 1.1kg (2.5 lbs.)
The Nikon D1 was and remains a particularly good camera even though it's now very old and has only a very modest ~2.5 megapixel image resolution.

There are two main reasons why the camera is not yet completely obsolete. Number one is because the F5 derived body is indestructable like a tank. All the mechanical parts were designed to be good for at least 100,000 exposures, and many many D1's have shot twice that many and are still going strong. I have no problem believing that working antique D1 cameras may be found in attics a hundred years from now.

The other, more significant reason is the camera produces vivid slide-film-like color and has a very high dynamic range largely due to its very large CCD cells almost 18 microns in size, on a sensor about 85% the size of a 35mm frame.

Most newer consumer digital SLR cameras such as the Nikon D1X has a sensor of roughly the same size, but with many more millions of CCD cells squeezed into the same space. The individual cells are thus necessarily much smaller than the ones on the D1.

Although CCD sensor technology have improved much in the time since the D1 came out, smaller cells still means each get less light and have room for storing less charge. The tradeoff then becomes a limited dynamic range and ultimately more flat and video-like pictures compared to the D1's vivid shots. (Future sensors designed with ideas derived from Fujifilm's SuperCCD HDR technology may change all that, however!)

The D1 employs a very strange color space similar to but not exactly like NTSC. JPEGs written by the camera tend to have pretty awful looking skin tones and reds looking slightly purple. The trick is to use instead of JPEGs the Nikon proprietary raw image format "NEF" which takes up about 4 megabytes per image, and then using 3rd party software such as Bibble in conjunction with Photoshop to get the correct colors.

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