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D100 Diary
written by Daschund Woof


Fri, July 26th

I finally found a store that has the D100 in stock! Yesterday I went to Alkit here in NY and they told me they got three and that my name was the first on the waiting list. Just to call me half an hour later and
tell me that all three were reserved for “Corporate Clients.” After that I tried to find it somewhere on the web, but with no success. In one forum on photo.net I found a good review for Arista Camera, which I had never heard of. I called them and, for my surprise, they told me they had a couple of D100 in stock. That sounded like music to my ears! LOL

They also were very friendly. So I had to wake up today two hours earlier than normal to be able to go all the way to Bronxville, NY to get it and still go to work after that. Man, that was probably the longest Friday ever! (if they aren’t long enough already!) At least my boss was out all afternoon so it gave me the chance of reading the manual and playing a little bit with it. Being used to the Nikon F5, I have to say that the D100 is a very, very light camera.

But even being way lighter, it still feels like a real camera, not a toy. I don’t know if this lightness will go away when I get the battery grip, which I plan to do when they get in stores. Its grip is extremely comfortable, maybe even a little more than the F5. I’ll still need to wait for the battery pack to test it with the vertical shutter button, which I got used to use a lot on the F5.
Once my boss was out, I went downstairs to the park (Union Square) in front of the office to “break the seal” of my new baby. Took some shots on the street fair, but particularly liked this one.

The D100 feels good on the hand, and it’s nice to go back to shoot with an SLR after three weeks exclusively shooting with the Coolpix 5000 (After I got it, I didn’t even touch my F5 again... not that I don’t like it anymore, please, F5, don’t cry! I just thought we needed some time apart from each other... LOL ) This being my first digital SLR and bearing in mind that I got into the digital world about three weeks from now, I still didn’t feel any urge to go back to film. By the way I really like the sharpness of the D100. Even thou I’m not a digital camera expert, I’m really pleased with the quality of the pictures.

I also started thinking about where was I going to take this baby tomorrow... :-)

Sat, July 27th

I decided to go to Ringwood State park to test my D100. Also, since my wife works Saturdays, it would be good to go to a quiet place and learn the new tricks of digital photography. It’s about a half hour drive from my house, but I got lost in Oakland (NJ, not CA), where I was supposed to turn somewhere and didn’t! LOL But then I ended up finding a little lake and also a river before finding the road to Ringwood Park, so I decided to take a look at the river. I ended up staying four hours in the margin of the river shooting some birds, rocks, water and ducks that were around.

I discovered that a 70-300 is not enough to nature photography unless you’re in Central Park and you can get less than 3 feet from the squirrels! LOL. I didn’t get any good shots of the birds at the other side of the river, but got some good shots from the river itself, like this one.



Until now, I’ve shot all RAW format, compressed. But I found out that that is soooooooooooo slow to compress it’s not even funny. It takes around 40 seconds to write (actually compress and write) one photo in RAW compressed mode and it takes only around 5 for a RAW uncompressed. Even thou you can take 3 shots without waiting for it to write, it’s still a lot of time, once after you shot your 3 pictures,
you need to wait around 2 minutes to be able to shoot 3 frames again. In RAW uncompressed, you can get 4 continuous shots before having to wait for shooting again, and after 5 seconds you can shoot one picture again.
The compressed RAW, on the other side, makes a file 1/3 of the size of the uncompressed one. I guess that if you’re traveling with your family or just playing around it’s fine, but when you’re doing anything more elaborate, that involves bracketing, for example, compressed RAW is not a viable format. The good thing is that you can change it anytime, from compressed to uncompressed, taking not more than 10 seconds to do that.Also decided that it was about time for me to have an Avatar, so I got one and really liked the way it came out...

Sun, July 28th

My wife and me went to Ringwood State Park (that is the park I was supposed to go yesterday but got lost and ended up on the little river). The weather was hazy and cloudy (and hot and humid), but once we wanted to do something different (and I wanted to test my new camera) we decided to go anyway. Turned out that, apart from the twenty gallons of sweat that I left on the park, it was definitely worth it. It’s a nice place. We went hiking and I got some nice pictures, including my first panorama with this camera.



Once I shot in RAW mode, I didn’t have to worry about White Balancing it (the last pano I did with the CoolPix on Auto White Balance took me a lot of time just to get the colors equal across the whole pano), which is a good idea if you’re shooting JPEG or TIFF. Also got this one...


After hiking a little more and some three or four gallons of sweat we seated around a little pond where I got some good shots of flowers and a little toad that was “passing by”. We also went to see the garden they have there, and I got a good shot of yellow flowers.

All in all I’m very comfortable with the camera, it’s been a very easy transition from my F5 to the D100. The commands are almost the same (modes, dials, etc...) and what’s different from the analog world is pretty much self explanatory. The camera also has a lot of nice little features that makes me not miss my F5, such as shake-reduction for macro photography (where the mirror goes um a little bit sooner than normal not to shake the camera), but the feature I found out to be the nicest one (it’s actually on all the time in my camera) is the ability to show the 1/3 guidelines on the viewfinder. Man, does that make life a lot easier! LOL

Mon, July 29th

Once today it’s “back to work” day, unfortunately I won’t have that much time to play with the new camera anymore (at least until next Saturday). But I found that if I bring my camera with me to work I can use my lunch breaks to have some more fun! LOL
Once I still don’t have a 70-200mm 2.8 zoom or a 300mm 2.8, I had to work with my 70-300mm 5.6, and for that I had to take the ISO to higher levels, more specifically ISO 800. I found out that it actually doesn’t have that much noise unless you’re planning on blowing your photos to wall size (ok, to a very large size) If you’re planning on doing an exposition of your work, than you definetely want to stick with ISO 200, otherwise you can play around a little bit. Obviously it always depends on what you want your final result to be...

Tue, July 30th

I’m very happy that I made a discovery that will forever make my life easier. Once I work in an ad agency, a lot of times we need to scan slides that our clients send us to do ads and all sorts of layout. We always send them out to be drum scanned, but normally we need first to scan it on a flatbed scanner with transparency adapter so that I can start working on the layout (that is always past due before it even gets to us). And it always takes me a huge amount of time to scan on the flatbed scanner with good colors and contrast.

Well, today I broke the bounds with the flatbed scanner! Simply putting the slide on the lightbox and shooting it from the top gives me a much accurate “scan” in a matter of some seconds. Obviously not print quality, but still a pretty good quality. That thing alone made my day! LOL
I decided to start thinking about this week assignment so when I got home I took all my (two) guitars out of the case to pose for me. Ended up that I shot only my acoustic guitar, but was very pleased with the
results, specially the details on the shadows and sharpness. This is probably the best shot of the series...

Wed, July 31st

Not much today, didn’t have that much time for lunch break, so I decided to go to Weehawken Boulevard after work and take some shots of the City That Never Sleeps. I still have to finish working on the panorama I did, but also got some nice individual shots...

Thu, Aug 1st

Got a little more lunch break today and didn’t waste the opportunity of going to the park. Every day that goes by makes me more and more confortable with the D100. It also made me (at least until now) shoot a
lot more than what I was used to. I never had carried my F5 every day with me (primarily because if I did that I would have to go to a chiropractor or a physician every day because of carying that much weight), so this has been a pretty good experience for me. How many times did I catch myself with a photo opportunity and without the camera? Well, no more. I didn’t have any problems adapting to the controls on the D100, nor with the workflow of downloading the pictures to the computer (hey, whoever was used to have to develop the film and then scanning the pictures won’t have any problems of doing all this process in less than 10 minutes, I can assure you! :) )

Got a nice sequence with two girls sitting on a bench.

When I got home, I also worked on this week assignment again, shooting my electric guitar now. Every time I shoot with this camera I find out that I like it a little more. Maybe I’m just a photo nut! LOL

Fri, Aug 2nd

Friday means that I’m close to having a lot of time to play with my camera! LOL But there’s still a couple of hours until the weekend, so off to work I go, obviously taking the camera with me. After work I find a bunch of brazilian people playing Capoeira on Union Square, and shot a little bit, playing with long expositions. The sun had already gone down the horizon but the camera responded well to the situation, giving me some good pictures of the brazilian guys.

Going home, I decided to do some testings on front focus with the D100, after reading that a lot of people were having this problem with the Canon 1D. As you can see from the picture, I think that the D100 doesn’t have this problem.
Phew! :)

Satuday, Aug 3rd

Today I’m going to be a brave man and I will take my D100 to the beach... Yeah, I know there’s sand there... And yeah, I know that sand is not particularly friendly with digital cameras... But anyway, I wanted to test it everywhere, so I just decided not to worry about the sand and just be careful not to drop it into the ocean (I heard that salt water isn’t friends with digital cameras also – actually, I heard that the water doesn’t like ANY electronic equipment... What a ??????!
Anyway, on the beach there were a lot of stuff to shoot, specially seagulls. They fly so close to you that you have to be careful not to be hit. The D100 does a good job figuring out exposure when shooting the
seagulls against the blue sky, but struggles a little when you have something that is partially on the shadow, I actually don’t remember how well the F5 deals with this kind of stuff, but once they (theorically) have the same metering system, I assume that it would be the same. But the good thing is that once I could see the result, I was able to compensate a stop and everything was fine. Arriving home, I also found out that the ones I thought were really dark on the shadows weren't that dark and it could be easily corrected on Photoshop.

Overall, I am really impressed with the camera and the results, maybe because a month ago I was still skeptical about digital photography... :) Not anymore! The sharpness, contrast, color saturation and specially the dynamic range of the D100 made me a believer!