1. Daylight photography (09/20/2002).
I took the D100 down to Phoenix on vacation
and shot 72 pictures, mostly daylight in the back yard. That's two
rolls of 36 for you film buffs. Daylight imaging is superb. I shot
mostly in the TIFF medium resolution format (9MB). I discovered
there is no point in trying color balance or contrast adjustments
in PhotoShop, as there is really no room for improvement. The first
posted photo, "DSC_0091_PalmSM.jpg", is currently featured
in Photo Gallery, and may always be found in More Photo Gallery.
Indoor flash photos are pleasing but not
really razzle-dazzle yet. I took two outdoor night flash shots of
our new telescope, and they came out dark (but cleaned up in PhotoShop).
The built-in flash is really intended for portrait ranges, and is
probably best indoors to augment incandescent lighting.
I have tried a few night shots of the harvest
moon with zoom telephoto the lazy man's way (full automatic). This
is outside the light range of the automatic focus and exposure computers,
and most of the time the camera will not even let you do it. I need
to spend some time with manual exposures. The camera is capable
of excellent time exposures, but I did not want to "mess with"
the process for the first time in the dark.
2. IBM Microdrive (09/18/2002)
At 9MB per shot, I filled up a 256MB CompactFlash
card in 25 shots, and started on the spare. Many people will argue
that we "don't need" 9MB image files. I would rather capture
all of the detail on lossless TIFF, and decide later how much color
depth and resolution I choose to discard (on a photo by photo basis)
by converting to lossy JPG of some smaller size. 100GB drives are
cheap, and you only get one chance on all those photos you later
wish you'd done a better job of capturing.
I ordered the 1GB IBM Microdrive with some
other merchandise, and it arrived at Phoenix while we were there.
The Nikon D100 camera is one of the cameras that does accomodate
the Microdrive, which fits in the same CF type II slot I'd been
using for the 256MB flash memory cards. My microdrive is holding
105 pictures at the TIFF Medium (9MB) image fineness setting. That's
the way to go!
3. CompactFlash Type II Card Reader
The cheapie SanDisk CF card reader I have
down in Phoenix reads and writes to the microdrive just fine.
we got home to Castro Valley, I found that my older SanDisk CF
card reader has the narrow slot that only holds the original CompactFlash
(CF) flash card. The slots in the new ones need to have a recessed
"lip" cutout in the slot to accomodate the CF Type II
(microdrive) form factor, which is slightly thicker by less than
1/16 of an inch more.
Researching on the web, I found consistently
that only the high end "6 in 1" type card readers advertised
that they could handle the CF type II card. These all run in the
$50-$60 range, and were all out of stock too. I found one in stock
at PC Zone for $42 (I wanted it next day delivery). Shipping was
an impressive $25, so I decided to do nothing and visit some stores
on the weekend instead.
local Radio Shack here
in town had a Dazzle
CompactFlash Card Reader for $19.99, and I bought it. It works
The web page picture just barely shows
what appears to be the slot "lip" that distinguishes the
CF type II from older model CF readers, and inspection in the store
confirmed this. Radio shack model number is cat # 16-3656. Nowhere
does the packaging or web description state that CF Type II is supported,
but it is. You would "just have to know this". The Radio
Shack salesperson said I could bring it back if it didn't work with
Microdrive. Just try that in mail order!
A check at PC
Connection shows the same model Dazzle
CompactFlash Card Reader available for 17.89 (and on backorder);
just watch that shipping charge. The Dazzle manufacturer's product
number is DM-8000.
4. D100 Battery Life (9/28/2002)
I still have not seen any dent in the battery
charge indicator, and the D100 has over 100 shots on it. The PC
Magazine review (see the link on the Photo Gallery index
page) reported taking over 1,000 test photos without having to charge
the batteries. The battery performance I am getting now is already
far better than any other digital camera we've owned.
5. D100 Battery Life (03/02/2003)
We finally charged up the D100 battery
once while on vacation in October. Going into March with 303 pictures
under our belt, the charge indicator shows no sign that it might
be near the time to recharge. This included an hour "night shooting"
stint hooked to the back of the LX-90 telescope (where I also learned
that setting exposures manually is just as easy as it was in 1964,
if not easier). I would certainly still recharge if planning a
major photo shoot.
6. D100 Updates and Accessories (5/28/2003)
We're up to over 450 photos. We recharged
the D100 once again for our May vacation just to be safe, though
the recharger (supplied with the camera) is very light and we take
it with us.
We bought the powerful Nikon SB80-DX
flash strobe in time for Christmas. Expensive, but it
sure fills the room with light and works well with the D100 auto
features. For use with the Meade telescope, we bought a T-Ring
and Coupler for Nikon from OPT Telescope in Seaside, CA.
We ordered a cheap ($80) Quantaray
2x tele-extender lens from Ritz. This
last will probably not complete in optical quality with the new
Nikon TC-210 2x tele-extender ($579), which only works with new
AF-S and AF-I type lenses anyway. For our purposes the Quantaray
will work fine with
LX-90, and as a cheap optical doubler for regular type AF Nikon
lenses. Manual focusing will almost surely be required
no matter what Quantaray says. We'll let you know.
7. EN-EL3 Lithium Battery for D100
We bought a spare at Ritz ($49.99) and
brought it along on the Hawaii trip, as cheap insurance. We downloaded
each day's pictures to a laptop using the USB link (more cheap
insurance.) 400 pictures will not put a dent in the battery, but
the downloading sure does. A single-battery user could just recharge
the EL3 after each extended download session. But, we're still
glad we bought the spare.
8. EH-5 A/C Adapter for D100 Digital Camera
We found one menu function, CCD
Cleaning Mirror Lock-up, that will not operate unless
the D100 is hooked up to an external power
may be others. We ordered the EH-5 from Ritz (84.99).
Background: The first time, we got an
improperly machined T-Ring Adapter from OPT to attach the camera
body to the
our telescope. The problem was that the adaper would not quite
fit into the Nikon bayonet mount. I noticed aluminum shavings -
not good! Mike Fowler at OPT was wonderful about sending out
a new T-Ring Adapter
started noticing a spot on the pictures.
After thorough lens inspection and cleaning,
the spot location was invariant. Imaginary coordinates on the picture
frame would be about: x-axis 20%, y-axis 60%. You can see it on
some uploaded pictures when I forgot to use the PhotoShop healing
tool to fix it. I reasoned it had to be the CCD, which turned out
to be correct, but how to get to it?
Nikon's manual tells you that Mirror lock-up
command will not operate without the EH-5 adapter; apparently holding
the shutter open poses a current drain, but the manual didn't elaborate.
With the A/C adapter attached, and the mirror locked, I used my
old photographer's "blower brush" - yes, the ubiquitous squeeze
bulb and camel-hair brush - to clean the protective glass covering
CCD itself. My pictures are spotless again!
file numbering. There are many options for file and folder
numbering. However, we prefer simple sequential numbering, and
we'll do our folderizing on the PC, thank you. After using the
camera for a year, we found out how to program the
it would remember the last picture number and automatically pick
up the numbering sequence when a new CF card is inserted. This
is not rocket science. But the default for this feature is "OFF",
so each new CF card will normally start over at 0001 and sequence
Unfortunately, as soon as you turn this
option "ON", it begins renumbering with 0001 all over again, and
there is no way to programmatically set the starting number. Previous
ignored in this mode,
even if previous files are still on the CF card. So, if you are
on file number DSC_0974 and turn this auto number feature on, the
image will be DSC_0001. This would have been fine if we knew this
before taking the very first picture.
Workaround: what we have done is very
Mickey Mouse, but it works, and we have 1GB CF's, so it is not
a lot of
If the last picture was DSC_0974, after reformatting the card,
we upload a small 20KB file to it that is a dummy "last picture".
In this example, the uploaded file would be named DSC_0974.jpg.
the first "real" picture on the CF card will be DSC_0975.TIF, the
number we want. OK, it's stoopid, but we can live with it.