Recently, we had the opportunity to
discuss the new Nikon D2H digital SLR with a representative
from Nikon Tech. The questions we asked and the answers that
were provided follow below:
Can you tell us more about the new image sensor Nikon is using
in the D2H?
A. The D2H is equipped with the JFET image sensor LBCAST developed
solely by Nikon. It is a Nikon DX format size sensor. The size
of one pixel is 9.4µm x 9.4µm and the actual size
is 23.3 x 15.5 mm.
What is LBCAST?
A. The LBCAST is an X-Y addressing imaging sensor with JFET
transistors and a buried photodiode (BPD) embedded in each pixel.
In short, a sensor that receives light and converts it into
a digital signal as well as an amplification circuit (using
the JFETs) is attached to each pixel of the LBCAST imaging sensor.
The amplified signal travels laterally through the sensor's
circuitry in a design that differs from CMOS, despite the similarity
of X-Y addressing. The sensor design differs from that of a
CCD as well.
for Lateral Buried Charge Accumulator and Sensing Transistor.
How would you describe the technical features of the LBCAST
(a) Nikon's LBCAST sensor makes high-speed data capture possible:
LBCAST does not attempt to boost speed by dividing the image
area. In contrast, LBCAST takes advantage of the X-Y addressing
that is a feature of the technology to create an architecture
that reads the data for two colors at once, and thus achieves
higher speed compared to other sensor designs.
(b) Main advantages
over CMOS type sensors:
With the LCAST sensor, JFETs are used to reduce the number of
transistors, so fixed noise is minimized, and production yields
are extremely high. With this design, the transistors can also
be fitted in a smaller space to make more place for the photodiode.
Increasing the photoelectric load in this fashion broadens the
(c) Main dvantages
over CCD type sensors:
LBCAST is highly power efficient and consumes less than CCDs.
CCDs require separate supplies of power to operate each of its
related devices, while these can be unified with LBCAST. The
LBCAST sensor also operates faster, which helps in keeping band
noise to a minimum.
What does the 'JFET' of JFET Image Sensor LBCAST stand for?
A. JFET stands for Junction Field Effect Transistor. They are
used in many audio devices, and are known to deliver superior
performance when used as boost amps in analog equipment.
We understand that the shutter release lag time on the D2H is
very short. Can you tell us more?
A. The shutter release lag is only 37ms. The response is very
fast, even when considering film-type SLR cameras.
What is the continuous shooting speed?
A. In JPEG mode, you can capture up to 40 continuous shots at
a rate of 8 frames per second. The capture rate is up to 35
frames in TIFF. Up to 25 shots in NEF (RAW).
How does the D2H achieve a frame rate of eight frames per second?
A. The LBCAST image sensor draws the signal through two channels
to enable high-speed reading. A process to generate an electric
charge to draw out the signal, like that in a CCD, is not needed,
so drawing the signal from the image sensor is extremely fast.
Other important features include optimizing the method for sending
the image to the buffer for image processing and using a higher
performance mirror balancer that stops the mirror's bound instantly
Can you tell us more about the new Multi-CAM 2000 AF sensor?
It is a newly developed AF sensor module. A first on the D2H,
this sensor module brings out-of-focus elements into focus more
quickly and accurately than any previous module. There are eleven
AF sensors of which nine are cross-type sensors that effectively
provide easier focusing over a wide area.
What kind of color filter is employed?
A. An RGB filter with a Beyer arrangement is employed to match
Can the built in low-pass filter be removed?
A. Similar to the D1 series, the low-pass filter is a thin layer
attached directly in front of the image sensor and cannot be
removed. The new filter has been optimized to match the characteristics
of the D2H.
How soon is the camera ready after the power is turned on?
A. Pictures can be taken immediately after the power is turned
on. The camera's operation feels similar to that of a 35mm film
What type of AF system is employed in the D2H?
A. A TTL phase detection AF system is employed, similar to as
on the D1 series, F5 and F100 cameras. The number of focus areas
was increased, however, from
5 to 11 (9 of which are cross-type sensors), allowing photographers
greater latitude and freedom to choose the optimum shooting
position, in either the horizontal or vertical format. New Group
Dynamic AF Mode can be choosen in addition to Single Area AF
Mode, Dynamic AF Mode and Dynamic AF mode with Closest Subject
In Group Dynamic
AF Mode, 3 to 5 of the 11 focus areas are selected and Dynamic
AF with Closest Subject Priority is limited to those areas.
There are two sets of focus area patterns available, with switching
done between them in the custom settings menu. The mode is effective
for situations that call for some constraints to compositions
involving moving subjects.
What is the image processing like in the D2H?
A. The image processing of the D2H augments the faithful color
reproduction delivered by the D1X/D1H and the D100, with advances
in the the essence of color reproduction. The image processing
engine provides smoother processing of contours than seems possible
with respect to the number of pixels employed.
What are the advantages of the new Ambience Light Sensor in
relation to White Balance?
A. The new Ambience Light Sensor located high on the front of
the camera complements a 1,005-pixel RGB sensor (photometer)
and the image sensor. Information from these three sensors enables
the D2H to calculate white balance matched precisely to a wide
variety of shooting situations. Accurate white balance is even
possible in situations where white cannot be detected, for example,
when only greens or reds are coming through the lens. In such
circumstances, information regarding the available light is
collected from the Ambience Light Sensor. The accuracy of the
auto white balance is very high, since the camera uses information
from all three sensors.
What is the real time noise reduction function of the D2H?
A. It is a processing function that suppresses the spot noise
that occurs in long exposures over a second long. The image
processing engine does the processing, so a second exposure
is unnecessary and processing happens quickly. Similar to with
the D100 and other Nikon D-SLR's, double exposure-type noise
reduction can also be turned on through the menu settings for
even greater spot noise reduction in longer exposures.
What kind of file storage system is used?
A. A 8-bit JPEG standard format is used for storing compressed
images. Compression of approximately 1/4, 1/8 or 1/16 can be
selected. For uncompressed images, images can be saved in 8-bit
RGB-TIFF or in NEF file format , Nikon's exclusive image format.
Does the D2H support FAT32?
Does it support Lexar Media's WA function CF cards?
A. FAT32 is supported, so larger CF cards over 2GB can be used.
Nikon recommends that the initialization of the CF card be done
within the camera and not on personal computers using the Windows
XP OS. Lexar Media's WA (write acceleration) function is supported,
so fast recording and reading is possible with these types of
What is the magnification of the viewfinder and the frame coverage?
A. The magnification is .086x, and the frame coverage is 100%.
Both offer improvements over the 0.8xand 96% frame coverage
of the D1H.
Can you tell us more about the features of the new SB-800 Speedlight
and its compatibility with the D2H?
A. The major features are as follows:
- i-TTL flash
control, developed exclusively for Nikon digital SLR cameras
as an advanced evolution of Nikon's D-TTL flash control. i-TTL
provides improvements in monitor pre-flash performance. It
fires a stronger pre-flash of much shorter duration than D-TTL
to achieve greater accuracy.
- New wireless
remote multi-flash system (Advanced Wireless Lighting)
Wireless remote multi-flash is a feature available for the
first time on a Nikon digital SLR camera when using the SB-800
with the Nikon D2H.
- AUTO FP
High-Speed Sync Flash
This feature allows the photographer to select a shutter speed
faster than the camera's 1/250-second flash sync speed to
realize automatic fill-in flash in bright daylight. (When
the SB-800 is used in combination with the Nikon D2H digital
with the aperture wide open to achieve effective blurring
of the background is one possibility this feature adds.
- In the
Custom Settings of the D2H, the feature can be set to function
automatically when a shutter speed faster than the limit of
the camera's built-in flash sync is selected, or if one is
- FV Lock
When set using the Function button on the D2H, a single press
of the AE-L button lets the photographer lock the flash output
level for the shot.
In addition to the functions of previous generations of modeling
flash, new Advanced Wireless Lighting adds the ability to
fire a modeling flash from the camera and have each remote
group use the flash output ratio set for the shot. (When using
the Advanced Wireless Lighting functionality of the new Creative
Lighting System, each Speedlight in the remote groups and
the master flash unit all fire at once. If only one unit is
in use, the Modeling Flash button on the Speedlight can be
used to fire the modeling flash.
- Quick recycle
Recycling time as short as a class-fastest 2.9 seconds between
flashes is possible,
(when using the supplied SD-800 Quick Recycle Battery Pack
and five (5x) Ni-MH batteries.)
- Flash color
information for superior color reproduction
When the SB-800 is used with the D2H, flash color information
is communicated to the camera to achieve optimum white balance.
- Wide Area
AF Assist Illuminator
Tailored to the new 11-area Multi-CAM 2000 AF Sensor Module
and designed to fire an auxiliary flash to assist autofocus.
- Dot matrix
The large LCD clearly displays necessary information in an
easy-to-understand format. It combines well with the ergonomic
back-panel button and control layout inherited from the SB-80DX
to make settings easy to make and confirm.
- Color filters
add new possibilities for lighting with minimal blend and
Filters for tungsten and fluorescent lighting are supplied
with the SB-800, and a lineup of optional SJ-1 filter packs
that offer a wide variety of other colors to augment lighting
conditions or create interesting expression.
with both digital and film cameras
The Speedlight SB-800 is compatible with previous generations
of TTL and D-TTL flash control. Non-TTL Automatic flash can
be used on any Nikon camera (since the Nikon S) with a Sync
Terminal (hot shoe).
What are the main optional accessories for the D2H?
A. The main accessories include:
Li-ion battery EN-EL4: Developed exclusively for the D2H.
(One is included in the main kit.)
- AC adapter
EH-6: Developed exclusively for the D2H. The power cable will
differ by region.
- Quick Charger
MH21: Will charge one EN-EL4 battery. (One is included in
the main kit.)
- Nikon Capture
4: Software that offers myriad image processing possibilities
and control over the camera.
Can you tell us more about the wireless transmitter WT-1?
A. The wireless transmitter attaches to the bottom to the camera
and connects to the camera's USB port. It transmits images to
an ftp server via a wireless LAN selected in the camera's menu.
There are two possible methods of transmissions. With the infrastructure
mode, the images are sent to an FTP server via an access point
that is on an intranet. With the ad hoc mode, the images are
directly transmitted to an ftp server on a laptop with a wireless
LAN adapter. Creating the wireless LAN settings for the WT-1
is easy, as settings created on a personal computer can be saved
on to the memory card.
What is required to activate communication with the WT-1?
A. An access point that supports IEEE802.11b, in other words
a wireless base station and an ftp server within a network connected
to the base station, is needed. (In the ad hoc mode, a wireless
LAN adapter-equipped laptop computer that can serve as an ftp
server can also be used.)
What is the maximum operating range of the wireless transmitter
A. There are two types of antennas. With the standard antenna,
data transfer is possible for approximately 30m. With the extended
antenna, transfer is possible to approximately 150m.
What kind of battery does the D2H use?
A. The D2H uses a rechargeable Li-ion battery, EN-EL4. This
intelligent battery precisely displays the remaining charge.
A six increment remaining charge indication can be displayed
on the display panel atop the camera. The remaining charge,
expressed in percentage, can also be displayed on the LCD monitor
on the back of the camera. The level of degradation and the
timing needed for calibration are also displayed.
The capacity is higher than that of the Ni-MH battery used in
the D1 series.
What is comment recording?
A. Comments that will be recorded on the Exif tag area can be
added to the files by presetting them. Up to 36 roman letters,
numbers and symbols can be input.
What is the voice memo function?
A. There are two available settings. With one, recording automatically
starts right after taking the shot. With the other, the voice
memo can be added during playback. The message is played back
through a built-in high-performance speaker.
What functions can be assigned to the function button below
the aperture preview button?
A. It can be assigned to do the following from the menu:
- FV Lock:
(default setting); used when the SB-800 is attached.
- FV Lock,
lens information manual setting: Setting is possible with
the button and the main command dial when a non-CPU lens is
and aperture one-increment selection: Regardless of the step
setting during exposure, one step can be set.
button: Same function as the one in the upper part of the
- SB flash
stop: Pushing it temporarily prevents the SB from firing.
- BKT automatic
continuous shooting: In drive mode S, the set number of bracketing
shots are automatically taken in succession. Once they are
taken in CH or CL, shooting continues with the next bracketing
metering: Temporarily activates multipattern metering.
metering: Temporarily activates center-weighted metering.
- Spot metering:
Temporarily activates spot metering.
is the information displayed in the viewfinder divided into
two areas, one on the bottom and one to the right?
A. In the D2H, digital-related information is displayed on the
right, and camera-related information on the bottom. Separating
the information enables a wide variety of valuable data to be
displayed in an easy-to-understand format when shooting.
What are the major features of the included Nikon View software?
A. Its major features include:
transferring of images from the camera (card reader) to a
and viewing of images stored on the hard disk; basic editing
- Slide show;
layout printing; online album registration; e-mail attachment
function; labeling function
- Easy red-eye
with the option of including the date
- HTML export
to CD-R/RW (Windows XP and Mac OS X only)
control; black and white conversion; sepia conversion
- Full complement
of batch processing functions: changing names of files or
folders, moving and copying of files, etc.
of browser and viewer windows
of file-type icons displayed with the thumbnail images
of only files with specified dates
date setting when cameras without date settings are connected
to the computer
- CMS support
for the viewer window
rotation of images taken by the D2H on its side
designed display screens and indicators, etc.
Can older versions of Nikon Capture or Nikon View be used with
A. Only Nikon Capture Ver. 4 or newer can be used. Nikon View
6.1 or newer is necessary for processing NEF files.
Does Nikon Capture 4 support remote control over D2H settings
A. Nikon Capture 4 is the first version to offer remote operation.
The function is not available in earlier versions.
What new features does Nikon Capture 4 have?
A. In addition to the full function set of version 3.5, Nikon
Capture 4 features the following new functions:
DEE (Digital Dynamic Exposure Extender): Back lighting or
inadequate flash sometimes results in somewhat murky images.
Digital DEE lightens the darker areas of these images for
greater definition while also bringing out definition in the
highlight sections that are close to being washed out.
- Image Dust
Off: This feature uses reference data to reduce the shadows
left by dust on the imaging sensor. A reference shot is needed,
but it only needs to be shot once either at the start or end
of shooting as the small dust particles do not move very much.
This feature works only with RAW (NEF) files.
- DX Fisheye
lens (AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED) ultra-wideangle
image conversion: This feature converts the rounded fisheye
images created by the namesake lens into ultra-wideangle images.
Two types of image are available, with transformation being
performed using either the width or the height as the base.
and shadow indication: Switching from the normal screen to
one that shows only highlights or to one that shows only shadows
enables quick and easy checking of the image.
reset: Editing the images sometimes results in numerous tool
palettes spread all over the screen. One-touch operation closes
these palettes and returns the working windows to their original
state, for easier checking of the images.
What is vignette control?
A. This feature is for raw images taken by a D2H, D1-series
or D100 camera fitted with a lens. The degree of vignetting
that occurs on the lens periphery can be adjusted. It is particularly
effective on images shot with a full aperture. Vignette control
works only with raw (NEF) files.
What is the red-eye reduction feature of Nikon View?
A. This feature identifies humans in the selected images and
corrects red eye caused by a speedlight. It will do this automatically
in most cases, but correction may not occur in certain conditions.
(For example, correction may not occur if the eyes appear gold.)
The eyes can still be corrected in these situations by manually
selecting them. This feature only corrects red-eye in humans
and not in animals, such as dogs.