Nikon D1– What it’s like utilizing the 20 year old digital electronic camera in 2019



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It is June 15 th,1999 Package office is being controlled by the release of the very first brand-new Star Wars in 16 years, even though it is polluted by one Container Jar Binks. Until this day, photography was largely dominated by an innovation that had existed for over a hundred years. It was a technology originated by George Eastman in his development called, the Kodak. Over the lots of years from 1885 onward, it became understood to the photographic community and to the world as “movie.”

However, on a bright day in Tokyo, the Nikon Corporation would announce a camera that would change photography as we understood it, the Nikon D1.The D1 was not the very first digital cam by any means, however it was the first significant adoption of digital by a video camera company that the photographic neighborhood embraced. Till its arrival the specific niche market that was digital had been dominated by none other than Kodak. Digital electronic cameras before the D1 represented collaborations, where the chassis was made by one manufacturer (Canon or Nikon) and the sensing unit and LCD (if it had one) by another (typically Kodak).

To me, the Nikon D1 was a unicorn of sorts. I had searched on and off recently for a new Nikon D1, only to find numerous “well utilized” copies with paint missing and buttons hanging off the body. Then in mid-2018 I saw a camera collector’s estate sale with a D1 (not H, nor X, however the initial) listed in it. They sent me photos of it and it was as though they had actually gone back to 1999 and photographed it. They desired $150 for it … I purchased it instantly without any more questions.

A couple of days later the box showed up. When I opened it up, it was nearly a psychological experience. Here it was, the very first Nikon digital, and it looked like it had actually never ever been touched. I may also have actually been opening a window into the 90’s, for it looked brand new. So brand-new that there was a specific part of me that wished to put it on the shelf and find a beater to use for this piece. But that goes versus whatever I think. I am a professional photographer; I use video cameras, I do not collect them.

The next day, I decided I would take the video camera out to see if it worked along with it looked. I installed my 24-70 on it and went for a walk around downtown Phoenix. I didn’t actually care if there was a based on photo or not, simply utilizing the video camera was a fantastic experience. The body was a direct derivative of the iconic F5 complete with a built-in vertical grip like it must have An amusing note on this, the vertical grip just has one dial (the rear one), so if you are shooting handbook, you first require to dial in your direct exposure … and then turn to the vertical grip.

I strove about an hour, never ever getting rid of the rear LCD cap. It felt like I was utilizing a movie body once again, really quite an exhilarating experience. As much as I would have liked to spend hours utilizing the video camera that day, I was restricted by the reality that the battery life had actually diminished throughout the years. And by “diminished” I mean that the Ni-Cad battery in the video camera would last me about 60 shots if I didn’t use the LCD, 30 approximately if I did.

On the subject of the LCD, there is another part of the Nikon D1 that I genuinely like for its period representation. To start, the D1 includes an LCD cover that takes three males simply to eliminate from the video camera. After you pry it from the body, you are entrusted an LCD that has less real-estate than an Apple Watch. After shooting a shot, you need to wait for the file to clear the buffer (designated by a green light under your thumb on the grip). Once the files are written you can then sneak peek them on the LCD. Upon pushing the Screen button, you see an extremely blurry representation of your image with an hourglass over the middle. It may suffice of an image to see if the exposure exists, however consider it as an image from an iPhone … with Vaseline smeared all over the lens. About 15 seconds later, the hourglass goes away and your image sharpens. All things considered; it isn’t a dreadful preview. Nevertheless, to comprehend the time in which the Nikon D1 existed, you will need to look at the files on a computer system.

Upon getting home that night, I cleaned off the old CF card reader from my D3X case and appeared the 1GB CF card that featured the D1 as it was the only card that I had that would work (there is a 2GB limitation for the video camera). When I pulled up the very first image, I was shocked by the 2.7 megapixel resolution. To put it into perspective, most of your phones have screens with a greater operating resolution than the D1. When I went to sneak peek the images in Bridge on the Surface Area Studio, I believed the images were small previews, just to realize that I was looking at the full res files. It was a bit stunning, and truly imposed the idea that the composition on the shot needed to be ideal in electronic camera, for cropping was not a choice. I was starting to see the complexity that existed in using the D1 which I would require to commit more time to experimenting it to have any possibility of creating an image worth showing. It was at this point I chose to put the task on hold till I might commit the time that it would require to do it correctly.

As spring approached, my schedule opened enough for me to secure the Nikon D1 for a proper assessment, and I had a based on picture. As a kid, my family and I used to invest our summer seasons in a small farming town in southern Illinois. There wasn’t much to do there, aside from stroll the train tracks for hours every day. My bro and I used to lay cents on the rails with the hopes that a slow freight train would come by and smash them flat, so that we might include them to our collection. It was a time in life that I hold quite fond and it is the origin of my love for trains.

It is for this reason that when I was preparing the story about the Nikon D1, trains were immediately at the top of my subject list. Not only existed a distinct nostalgia of the video camera that began us (professional photographers) down the digital road, however there was a sentiment of the simplicity of my youth. This story was just as much a photoshoot as it was therapy for my love of photography. With the trains near my house, I would drive to the tracks a couple times a week and photograph them with hopes of discovering how to draw out the most from the electronic camera. This would not be a simple job …

For beginners, in single shot mode, the Nikon D1 can just shoot 1 frame every 10 seconds! Now, picture you are photographing a freight train rushing by and you get one, yes ONE, photo of the engine prior to it passes. You can picture the number of shots I missed and time I waited simply to get the very first keeper. About a week in, I discovered that I could shoot the D1 in Continuous mode and grab more than one frame per train. Nevertheless, I normally shut the electronic camera off in between trains to conserve the battery, but in doing so, I lost all the shots that had not cleared the buffer, for the cam does not have a safe shut-off mode. This was getting complex …

Unfortunately, getting the correct exposure out of the D1 would prove to be simply as tough. New cameras have 12-15 reliable stops of vibrant variety, indicating that a missed direct exposure can normally be drawn back in post without excessive stability loss in the shadows or highlights. On the D1 you get about 2 stops, noticeably less than if you were shooting slide movie. So, creating a correct direct exposure on the Nikon D1 is less a practice in ability and more a vicious joke used the person pressing the shutter button. To help in the torment of the photographer, while the electronic camera has 4 (yes, 4) ISO’s readily available (200, 400, 800, 1600), the only one that is safe to utilize is200 Go any greater than 200 and you may be much better off painting the image.

This brings us to the supreme question that is this post, “what is it like to shoot the Nikon D1?”


It is among the hardest cams I have actually ever utilized, and its capabilities are very limited, but for some factor, I can’t help but love every second of using the D1. In some sense it is a photographic meditation where the images being developed are less essential than the practice of producing them. It is incredibly challenging to settle in to creating pieces with the D1, however so fulfilling when a strong shot is made. It is the comparable to a professional athlete practicing their sport while using a weighted vest. Every motion and response are delayed and sluggish, but the muscles and nerve cells end up being more powerful and quicker in the procedure. Shooting with the Nikon D1 has made me better on set, even in the brief time I have had the luck to utilize it.

Then there is the part that I can’t neglect. Whenever I take out the Nikon D1, it advises me of how far we have come in the last 20 years. I sadly have considered approved numerous aspects of photography that I never ever even recognized up until I used the D1. Typically when I am out in the middle of the forest with it, taking images of trains, I think of those that produced art and informed the world with the D1. I think about a professional photographer in Miami, equipped with the Nikon D1 and a Tokina lens, appearing to house to picture an immigrant kid named Elian Gonzalez. The professional photographer’s name was Alan Diaz, and on that warm April day he didn’t think of all the difficulties that were presented by the D1, he merely produced. The image he shot with the electronic camera was lower resolution than most of your screens, however it does what every photographer sets out to do, narrates. On April 22, 2000, Mr. Diaz created the really very first digital image to win the Pulitzer Reward

Never ever forget the greats that laid the foundation upon which we stand.

About the Author

Blair Bunting is an marketing professional photographer from Los Angeles. He has actually won numerous awards and worked with the clients such as Discovery Channel, Pepsi, Disney, Adidas, Nikon, among others. If you wish to see more of his work, visit his website, read his blog site, follow him on Instagram and Twitter and like his Facebook page This post was likewise released here and shown approval.

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About Ronnie

Ronald Antonio O'Sullivan OBE (born 5 December 1975) is an English professional snooker player who is widely regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. He has won five World Championships, a record seven Masters titles, and a record seven UK Championships, setting a record total of 19 titles in Triple Crown tournaments. He shares the record for the most ranking titles (36) with Stephen Hendry. His career earnings of over £10 million put him in first place on snooker's all-time prize-money list. Winning the Tour Championship on 24 March 2019 made him the sport's current world number one, the fourth time in his career that he has held the top position and the first time he has been number one since May 2010. This is the longest gap between number one spells by any player in history.