BATTERIES COMMON AND UNCOMMON: CR123 single-use lithium batteries for 35mm SLRs are widely available but cost $8-$10 per battery. D100's rechargeable lithium ion battery is a rare bird, except at Nikon dealers, but lasts for over 400 shots. A backup battery costs $45.
Unlike a film SLR, you can switch quality levels in mid-card for each picture if you wish, or if you need more room for more pictures at lower quality.
The D100, like all other digital SLRs, can shoot single frames or continuous bursts. In continuous mode, the D100 provides up to six frames at three fps. However, it takes time for digital cameras to transfer images to the memory card. The camera will hold up to six sequenced images in a buffer memory. Then it pauses until the buffer has had enough time to transfer at least one image to the memory card. Depending on the quality level the camera has been set for, the time can vary from a few seconds to a few minutes (see chart on previous page). The directions provide a table of the time required to record all images once the buffer has been filled.
For my first foray into picture-taking land with the D100, I used the default setting. At a photo exhibit by our contributing editor, Elinor Stecker-Orel, and her husband, Mano Orel, I decided to make a double portrait of them.
Lacking sufficient existing light, I used the D100's pop-up flash on program exposure, although I worried about the reflections from my subjects' eyeglasses. Since I was familiar with the N80, I found operating the D100's controls a snap. Returning to the office, I removed the Compact Flash memory card and sent it to our local minilab. The 4x6-inch prints were ready the next day. I judged them comparable to film prints, but decided to enlarge one of the Elinor-Mano portraits to 5x7 and 8x10.
How could I indicate to the minilab which picture I wanted enlarged? I had no negatives with numbers, and no film frame number on the back of the print. However, I could easily scroll through the pictures on the camera's LCD screen. There was the best one, numbered 100-31. However, our minilab asked that I leave the 4x6 print with them so the operator would be certain to print the right image.
I inquired what other enlargement sizes the minilab could make, and was told 10x15 was the largest. I decided to have one of these made as well. The various print sizes would let me see how much enlargement this "snapshot quality" default setting would allow before the image started to be unacceptable.
Was I ever in for a surprise. The 10x15 enlargement was sharp, clear, and, of course, grainless, even though the default setting included 1:8 JPEG compression. Not only were Elinor's eyes crystal clear, but so were the bifocal correction elements of her eyeglasses!
POP's digital experts were impressed and had difficulty finding digital defects in the enlargements. If I had included some highly detailed subject matter, such as a checkered sports coat, digital artifacts would probably have appeared.