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Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2001 6:50 am

Digital Hoopla

Wed Feb 06, 2002 2:48 am

Yesterday I had a great opportunity to play with 4 of the most drooled over digital's on the market on Saturday, the D1X, D1H, D30 and S1. A good friend of mine is a manager at Mike's Camera in Denver and he and I got together to do comparison shots. Granted, it was very unscientific, but it did provide a lot of information about each individual camera.

He suggested that we shoot two photos, one of a brick wall and the other of a human face. Each camera was set to equivilent settings and used comparable lenses. We used the 17-35mm USM Canon lens for the D30 and a Nikon 18-35mm for the other 3.

Each photo was shot at the highest resolution, auto-white balance, normal sharpening and RAW format, except for the S1 which uses TIFF. We then printed out 8x10s from the samples we took, with no alterations of any kind. Here are some of my observations:

The D1X, D1H and D30 had virtually no noise present in the photos, VERY clean and tough to tell apart. The S1 showed minor noise, but not enough to cause any problems.

The color balance from all cameras was very good, but I would give the slight edge to the Nikon's, they just seemed a little more natural. The S1 did display a greenish cast on both photos, but from what I understand, that is a normal problem. The D30 was very accurate as well, except the RAW images just looked grayish to me?

The sharpness and detail was definetely won by the Nikon's, the RAW (NEF) photos were very obviously sharper than both the D30 and S1. The D30s out of the camera softness is documented, so it really didn't surprise us much. One thing I was surprised at is the subtle differences between the D1X and D1H. To my surprise, at 8x10, the D1H seemed to produce better results than its more expensive counterpart. It just seemed to bring out more details in the photos, especially in the human face.

These are just some of my observations. All of them are magnificent cameras. But from the this limited un-scientific test this is how I would rank these guys:

1.) Nikon D1H
2.) Nikon D1X
3.) Canon D30
4.) Fuji S1

I honestly thought the D1X would clean house, but little brother impressed me more. It just goes to show, more megapixels does not mean better pixtures!

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RE: Digital Hoopla

Wed Feb 06, 2002 3:18 am

Nice observation there Chris,

unfortunately all of these cameras are out of my league right now....

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RE: Digital Hoopla

Wed Feb 06, 2002 3:38 am

Don't forget to try the Canon EOS 1D!
The only thing you should feel when shooting a terrorist: Recoil.
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RE: Digital Hoopla

Wed Feb 06, 2002 7:16 am

Yeah wouldn't a better comparison have been the D30, 1D, D1X and S1?
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RE: Digital Hoopla

Wed Feb 06, 2002 7:21 am

Thx for this very interesting comparison, Chris.

Since I'm graduating this year as a management engineer, I was thinking of offering myself something special, like a new camera (maybe digital).

It seems like it's really difficult these days to compare all the available camera's. It's even more difficult to make a final decision...

Ivan Coninx - Brussels Aviation Photography
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Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2000 2:32 pm

RE: Digital Hoopla

Wed Feb 06, 2002 8:18 am


Sounds like you had a lot of fun! I can't speak much for the D30, since I have only used one once. But, I do agree with most of your observations about the other 3 cameras, the D1H, D1X, and S1. I had a similar opportunity when I was looking at buying either a D1X or D1H. My local pro-shop was more than willing to let me do field tests with each before making a decision. My conclusion was that the D1X (for me) was not worth the extra money. I don't need 5.74MP for anything that I do, so that alone seemed like a waste. Plus, I totally agree with your observation that the D1H at the 8X10 size produces finer detail compared to the D1X. I think up until about 11X14 is where the D1H is really untouchable at the moment (1D maybe?)...But anything past that usually requires interoplation by a program like Genuine Fractals, thus you start losing quality very quickly. I would be very interested in seeing a comparison at this size with the EOS 1D, because from what I have heard, this camera kicks some major butt.

If anything I would love to see a definitive comparison of the 3 big dogs, the D1H, D1X, and EOS 1D...

Aric Thalman
Omaha, NE
To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home
Topic Author
Posts: 398
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2001 6:50 am

RE: Digital Hoopla

Wed Feb 06, 2002 10:41 am

Unfortunately there was not a 1D available for our little test. I too am very interested in seeing how the 1D performs.

In addition to the review, I have to say that if anyone is considering any of these cameras, they can't really go wrong with any of them. I think it just boils down to what you want out of the camera and how much you want to spend. The S1 and D30 took great photographs, but you definetely sacrifice a lot of features that the upper echelon digicams have. When I first held the two, I had immediate flashbacks to when I owned a Rebel 2000. Cheap, plasticy, very basic, and slow. But, if all you are interested in is getting the high quality photos at an *affordable* price, then I can see the appeal. As for the D1 cams, my first impression was, WOW these things are big and heavy. They are the kind of camera that you could literally take into battle.

I sort of took the results with a grain of salt, because I have been a lifetime Canon user and was hoping the D30 would have a better showing. But, the Nikon's really did beat it up pretty darn good, in almost every category, except one ... price. I am pretty certain that most amateur photographers don't have the money to fork out for a D1X or D1H, unless they are obssesed amateurs. These cameras are definetely aimed towards the professional market, where price is usually not an issue. As much as I loved the D1's, I really cannot justify paying that much money for one, so I will probably end up purchasing a D30 or maybe wait for the D60. Because I already have a large number of Canon lenses, so the cost of converting over to Nikon would be very large for me.


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