In the low end of the digital single-lens reflex (SLR) camera market, one company’s absence has been conspicuous: Nikon. But now — two years after the release of Canon’s highly successful 3.1-megapixel EOS D30 and months after Canon’s 6.3-megapixel follow-up, the EOS D60 (Reviews, August 2002) — Nikon has entered the fray, with its $1,999 D100, an impressive 6.1-megapixel camera that aggressively goes after the market Canon is targeting.
Feels Like Film
The primary appeal of SLR digital cameras is that they look, feel, and act like 35mm film cameras. They have many of the advanced controls found in their film-based counterparts and, best of all, accept off-the-shelf lenses that offer much better optical performance than the lenses in point-and-shoot digital cameras. (As is the case with most digital SLR cameras, the D100 doesn’t come with a lens.)
Anyone familiar with Nikon’s 35mm cameras will feel right at home with the D100; its controls are, for the most part, very similar. And it incorporates many of Nikon’s excellent features, including the 3-D Matrix metering system, a high-powered built-in flash, and support for Nikon’s high-quality Nikkor AF lenses.
Accessing the D100’s comprehensive set of features can be difficult. The camera’s body has a lot of buttons and wheels that take some getting used to, and some actions — such as deleting images, using the LCD to zoom in on an image, and changing the ISO setting — require more effort to perform than they should. Once we were up-to- speed, however, we found that using many of the features became second nature.
The D100 produces very high-quality images. They have a bit more contrast than the images the EOS D60 generates, and in general they are fairly soft, but neither characteristic is a mark against either camera. Both issues can be adjusted easily in Adobe Photoshop, and the softness of the D100’s images helps to keep noise levels down.
Another attribute that will appeal to photographers in the field is the D100’s long battery life. We shot and viewed hundreds of pictures before needing to recharge its lithium-ion battery. (It’s worth noting that the D60 is also an excellent camera in this regard.)
Macworld’s Buying Advice
Overall, the D100 is a solid, light, easy-to-use camera that offers excellent controls and long battery life, supports a range of lenses, and takes great pictures. Although we prefer the Canon EOS D60 for its more refined user interface, you really can’t go wrong with the Nikon D100 — especially when you consider that it costs $200 less than the D60 and has a comparable bundle.