Nikon D1x

Discuss Nikon E2, E3 (incl. Fujix DS-505, 515 and 56x models), the original Nikon D1 and other discontinued Nikon DSLRs. Ask questions, post general comments, anecdotes, reviews and user tips.
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Ashley_Pomeroy
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Nikon D1x

Post by Ashley_Pomeroy » Mon Jun 08, 2009 5:59 pm

It seems odd to write about the Nikon D1x on a vintage digital SLR forum, and I suppose it is odd, because the D1x is so normal. I took the picture just below this paragraph with a D1x yesterday, but there's nothing about it that screams D1x, it could have been shot with any camera at ISO 200 and a neutral density filter and then composited with Imageassembler:
Image

As a tangent to my adventures with a Kodak DCS 460 I was curious to see what came after Kodak, and so I managed to find a tatty D1x for a very low price plus some rubber grips. It seems that most of the old, used D1-series SLRs suffer from loose rubber grips nowadays, but spares are still available. My D1x must have been used by a bearded man, because the anti-reflective coating has rubbed off part of the LCD screen. It has obviously seen heavy use, but it still feels solid, and the shutter clicks away happily. Fixation in the UK still supports the D1x, although at this point it is probably not economical to repair. I am tempted to buy a cheap Speedlight and a hat with "press" written on the front, so that I can pretend to be a photojournalist circa 2001. I can remember being incredibly impressed with a Coolpix 995 in 2001, the D1x was science fiction. And now I have one! If only the same depreciation curve applied to Gillian Anderson, I could rush out and purchase her for pennies now.

Operationally the D1x reminds me of the Canon D2000, in the sense that it is fast and responsive and well-built. I prefer the D2000's histogram image review, which is clearer and doesn't overlap the image, and it's easier to see in low light, but in most respects the two cameras were clearly built for the same market. The relatively low frame rate isn't a problem for me and I have yet to overwhelm the buffer. I was curious to see what the D1-series were like, but I also wanted a camera that I might use every now and again. The original D1 seems to have had a few quirks, and the D1h is still fairly valuable on the second-hand market. I am pleased to see that it meters with my 50mm f/2.0 AI lens (I understand that modern Nikons do not meter with older lenses). The autofocus feels stronger than the cheap-o Cosina autofocus Nikon lens I have since bought, in the sense that the lens feels as if it is going to burst when the D1x autofocuses it.

I was intrigued by the D1x's odd sensor arrangement, whereby it records images at roughly 4000x1300 pixels which it then squashes and stretches to 3000x2000. This is noticeable in the grain pattern if I zoom the images up close, but it's not awful. I assume there was a very good technical or cost-saving reason (there is an article at Lone Star Digital which suggests the latter). It's a shame they couldn't have waited a short while, and put the D100's sensor into the D1x, but hey. I've done some informal tests to see whether ACR's ten megapixel interpolation has any more detail than the six megapixel interpolation, by rendering the image at different resolutions via ACR and then enlarging them to match the ten megapixel ACR interpolation. At 500% magnification it looks as if the ten megapixel image has more detail, but I am not sure if this is true detail or an illusion brought on by the interpolation process. The images look very sharp and detailed when sized down, to the D1/D1h's resolution, and indeed if I then resize this image back up to the ten megapixel size it doesn't look too bad, just a little soft. But I'm way out of my depth on this topic. Noise is surprisingly low up to ISO 800

Compared to the DCS 460 it is much more practical, there's no faffing about with infrared filters, the colour is generally accurate and can easily be tweaked to become accurate, the battery lasts longer, the screen is much more useful - it has one - and overall it is the superior camera, which is unsurprising for something that is much newer. Digital Photography Review did a handy head-to-head against the Kodak DCS 760 here, which gave the nod to the D1x. I haven't used a DCS 760 but I suspect that, putting on my rational hat, the D1x would have been the better choice circa 2001. The report doesn't mention how well the DCS 760 worked with Nikon's contemporary flash units, which must have been an important consideration at the time. As I understand it, from reading "ByThom", Fuji's S2 actually had wider Nikon flash support than Nikon's own SLRs, so perhaps Kodak had a small ace up their sleeve. Nonetheless I suspect that the D1x must have been the absolute final once-and-for-all death blow to Kodak's first line of DCS cameras.

Stan Disbrow
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Re: Nikon D1x sensor pixel arrangement

Post by Stan Disbrow » Sat Jun 13, 2009 4:39 pm

Hi,

Oh, yes. There is a very good technical reason for the D1x pixel arrangement.

The Sony sensor was designed as 10+ megapixel device.

The signal-to-noise ratio was poor enough, though, that they decided to gang four pixels together under one CFA square to make a virtually larger pixel with a better S/N at the expense of luminance pixel count.

This was what was used in the original D1.

Later on, the S/N was improved enough that they were able to change the ganging from four to two in the D1x. However, that left one with a rectangular vs. square virtual pixel. Hence the need for a different processing scheme.

Note that they still made the four-ganged pixel version of the sensor and used it in the D1h.

Finally, they improved the S/N to the point where they could use each pixel on the sensor by itself. This is the device used in the Nikon D60.

So, there's the inside story, as it were, from an ex-Sony engineer.....

Later!

Stan
Amateur Photographer
Professional Electronics Development Engineer

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Re: Nikon D1x

Post by Webmaster » Tue Jun 16, 2009 4:44 pm

Nice shot. Even though later and current models are better in most aspects, the D1X is still a very capable camera (unlike your DCS 460 which simply can't compete any more). Here's an interesting article from 2003:

Shooting the D1X for National Geographic (robgalbraith.com)

Have fun!

Jarle

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Re: Nikon D1x

Post by nikonnl » Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:41 am

Hi, in an interview at http://nikonimaging.com Mr. Kiyoshige Shibazaki, designer of the D1-series explains that the D1 (and D1H & D1X) sensor has 10.8 Mp, but in the technical specifications only 2.7 Mp (resp. 5.4) are declared. I have all three cameras and I like the D1H the most. It is fast, has good colours and for an A4-print enough pixels. If one shoots in NEF images are very nice, even better than those made with the contemporary D100. Certainly the image quality of the D2 and D3 are better, but given the development level in 1999-2001, the D1-series is still very well usable. A pity is the lousy rubber covering of the bodies, but every part is still available (and relatively cheap) at the NPS shops. Very nice is the fact that one can use nearly all (older) lenses, rings, bellows etc. Nikon has ever build.
Regards,
Nico

www.nicovandijk.net
D1/D1X/D1H/D2H/D2X etc.

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Re: Nikon D1x

Post by nikonnl » Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:50 am

Here is the full text of the interview.

http://imaging.nikon.com/products/imagi ... /index.htm

Enjoy it.
Nico

www.nicovandijk.net
D1/D1X/D1H/D2H/D2X etc.

30Cal
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Re: Nikon D1x

Post by 30Cal » Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:40 am

I got one a couple months back on eBay; cheap. When it showed up, the LCD had weird spots under the glass, most of the rubber was peeling up. No battery or charger. When I looked into the viewfinder, something was badly amiss--it took me about 5 minutes to figure out that the focus screen was gone. I then saw the shutter which had some serious scratches on it. One of the pins for the CF card was bent over.

I was pretty sure at that point that I had a dead camera on my hands. I straightened out the pin as best I could (found that the card eject button was broken), and then waited four days to get the battery and charger (which cost me more than the camera). But hey, it worked! I took a focus screen out of my dead N6006 and cut it down one side at a time til it fit. Glued the rubber back down. I eventually found an LCD screen on eBay for $10 that had a small scratch (better than the bubbles that covered half of mine) and swapped it out.

It's massive. The LCD is small. The menu is bad. But I like it. The files are just the right size (compressed RAW is like 6Megs). It meters my manual lenses (this also gave me the excuse to file a couple aperture rings on some nonAI lenses). The autofocus is heavy duty. It's ratty enough that nobody is going to risk trying to steal it.

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Re: Nikon D1x

Post by nikonnl » Thu Sep 24, 2009 12:26 pm

30cal, if you (or anybody else) are in for a swap: I have a very nice, fairly used, but 100% working Nikon D1X. Recently serviced by the NPS here in Holland. It has a new rubber cover and the shutter has been checked (approx. 160,000 activations but fully serviced). I have also a very nice (much better shape externally) Nikon D1 (new cover as well). I can supply them with one charger and a few Nikon batteries. I do not want money, but if someone can sent me both a Canon FL and FD 1.2/55 mm. lens in good shape you'll have a deal. I need those lenses for comparison tests. If someone has the aspherical version I am interested as well.
Regards,
Nico

contact me via www.nicovandijk.net
D1/D1X/D1H/D2H/D2X etc.

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