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Revisiting the D1, Nikon’s First DSLR, 23 Years Later

Photographer Gordon Laing is again with a brand new version of Dino Bytes, the sequence the place he revisits traditional cameras from many years previous. This time he’s dusting off the 23-year-old Nikon D1, the corporate’s first DSLR.

The Nikon D1 was first launched in 1999 and featured a 2.7-megapixel sensor, 4.5 frames-per-second steady taking pictures functionality, and used all of Nikon’s F-mount lenses.

Of observe, Laing says {that a} 2008 interview revealed that the D1 sensor was really 10.8-megapixels, however it was grouped into fours for higher sensitivity and dynamic vary which resulted within the a lot smaller completed picture measurement.

The digicam was designed to strongly resemble Nikon’s F5 in order that photographers who have been transitioning from movie to digital could be extra snug with the design and discover it simpler to adapt.

As Laing explains on Digital camera Labs, the D1 wasn’t the primary DSLR in the marketplace: that honor was held by Kodak which had an industry-leading 6.2-megapixel digicam within the DCS 460. Nonetheless, that digicam price a surprising $35,600 when it was launched in 1995.

In distinction, the D1 was a veritable cut price at $5,500.

“As a DSLR earlier than the times of Dwell View, the D1 relied solely on its optical viewfinder for composition and I’ve filmed it with the AF 35mm f2D lens fitted,” Laing explains.

“Right here you’ll be able to see the 5 AF areas, together with data operating beneath, together with the metering, shutter, aperture publicity mode, and remaining buffer. The mechanical shutter velocity ran between 30 seconds and an impressively quick 16,000th of a second, usually double that of most mechanical shutters on top-end our bodies at present.”

Nikon D1

Laing’s authentic Nikon battery that was paired along with his specific D1 refused to carry a cost, however he was capable of finding a third-party alternative that allowed him to carry the digicam again to life.

One space that was totally different in regards to the D1 is its shade area. As a substitute of the frequent sRGB that’s used at present, the D1 used the NTSC shade profile and will report JPEGs and TIFFS in 12-bit RAW.

Nikon D1

In Laing’s opinion, the D1 is an absolute triumph of a digicam and regardless of how the picture high quality and shade science look dated now 23 years after it got here to market, Laing was nonetheless struck by how good it felt to make use of.

Nikon D1

“Returning to many cameras of this era typically means grappling with bizarre controls and menus, however the D1 is a part of a well-honed sequence, feeling and looking like professional Nikon our bodies each earlier than and lengthy after,” he writes.

“Positive there’s just a few new issues to be taught with each mannequin, however the D1 deployed Nikon’s heritage in design and ergonomics to change into an immediate traditional.”

Of observe, photographer Blair Bunting revisited the D1 again in 2019 and got here to comparable conclusions.

For Laing’s full story on revisiting the Nikon D1, ensure that to observe the video above and browse his breakdown on Digital camera Labs.

Picture credit: Images by Gordon Laing

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