Thom Hogan's Nikon DSLR Report

The Nikon DSLR Report (formerly The D1 Report) is now in its fourth year of sporadic publication. Issues have appeared as often as quarterly, and as infrequentely as yearly (mostly due to my ever-changing schedule and workload). As the name suggests, the reports now include information relevant to the Nikon D1, D1h, D1x, D100, D200, D2h, D2x, the Fujifilm S2 and S3 Pro, and the Kodak DCS Pro 14n, Pro 14nx, and SLN/n. Each issue starts with a full 8x10 300 dpi cover taken with a Nikon mount digital SLR. If you don't think the digital SLRs are capable of high-quality images, the covers alone should convince you otherwise.

I no longer take subscriptions to the Nikon DSLR Report. Current subscribers (as of issue #8) are all grand fathered through at least 2007 and probably longer, and sometimes get things the non-subscribers won't (in appreciation of their early commitment). I consider issues 1 through 4 to be out of date and not very useful overall as complete works, so I no longer sell them. Many bits and pieces of those issues that are relevant have worked their way into my eBooks on various cameras. For example, the white balance article in issue #2 forms the basis for the white balance section in many of those eBooks. The Velvia Action described in detail in issue #4 is included with the eBooks. And so on. Please don't ask to purchase these issues--they are now collector's items.

Issues 5 through 8 are available as a limited edition back issue set for US$49.95. Once this limited edition has sold out, I will cease selling issues 5 through 8. You can order this limited edition back issue set by clicking on the link at the top of the right column. All four issues in this set have had minor tweaks to bring them up to date or to comment on something that would now be out of date (for example, the "Rationalizing Lenses" article in Issue #7 was annotated to deal with lenses that came out after this issue did).

As each new issue comes out in the future (e.g., starting with issue #9), I'll offer it for sale as a standalone product for US$19.95. As noted earlier, if you already have a subscription that included issue #8, you'll be getting those new issues automatically without having to re-subscribe or pay additional amounts, even if your subscription would have expired. That's one of my thank you's for being patient.

In reverse order of publication, here are the covers and the main articles for each issue in the back-issue set currently being sold:

"True Colors ..."

The eighth issue is 40+ 8.5x11" pages and has articles on:

  • Tip of the Issue. The simple way to use hyperfocal distance. Really simple. Simple enough so that you can and should memorize this.
  • Getting Color Right. It all started (and ended) with the color purple, which some Nikon bodies don't get right. Here's how to get that, and other colors, right when you need to.
  • Travel in the DSLR Era. What I know about traveling with a DSLR in some far-out places after five years of doing so. Unfortunately, it isn't as easy as it was with film or pre-9/11.
  • Alaskan Trip Report. Doing Denali right. And wrong. What I took, what worked, and what was I thinking?
  • March of the DSLR. What I think has happened in the past five years and what will happen with DSLRs in the coming year-and-a-half, with the Nikon user slant, as usual.
  • DX-ing for Dummies. You used X lens with film bodies. So what does that mean you should use with your Nikon DSLR? Here it is, plain and simple. The bad news is that there are few "equivalent" options, and the most often problem we face in making the transition is loss of focus isolation. The good news is that you can get close in focal length.

"Color and Noise..."

The seventh issue is 50 8.5x11" pages and has articles on:

  • A Nikon DSLR Retrospective. You're not going to believe how many Nikon mount DSLRs we've seen since day one (hint: the count is well over twenty, and growing).
  • The Hogan DSLR 1. What the perfect DSLR would be like.
  • Wish List Wishing. The results of my survey on what Nikon products you want.
  • The Emperor's New Clothes. A quick take on the D2x.
  • Color and Noise Redux. A look at several cameras and how color and noise issues interact.
  • Rationalizing Lenses, Updated. Even in the course of a few months, the Nikon lens lineup changes, so your choices do, too. An update of Lenses, Lenses, Lenses in the previous issue (and in the back issue, it has been updated again to reflect the situation on 4/1/2006).

"Glassworks..."

The sixth issue is 39 8.5x11" pages and has articles on:

  • Unhappy Valentines. A post-mortem of what was and wasn't announced at PMA and what it means to Nikon DSLR shooters.
  • Quick Takes. A potpourri of new products and quick ideas.
  • D2h First Take. What I've discovered in using the D2h and how you should set and use the camera.
  • One Image Start to Finish. The cover image, from conception to polished, final pixels. This is a long article that discusses both field workflow and post processing workflow, using a single image as a focal point so that you can follow the exact choices I made and why. If you've wondered how pros use the cloning tool, this article will answer that.
  • Lenses, Lenses, Lenses. Every AF Nikkor currently available evaluated as to how it performs on the Nikon-based DSLRs. Suggested lens kits for economy, travel, and performance. Best lenses at every focal length from 10.5mm to 600mm. If you don't know what Nikkor to buy after this article, well, I'm not sure I can help you...

"Bit by Bit..."

The fifth issue is 84 (!) 8.5x11" pages and has articles on:

  • D2h. What are the refinements and innovations of this camera, and what does that mean for the future.
  • That Other Camera Company and Meanwhile in Rochester. Short articles on the Digital Rebel and Pro 14n impact on the Nikon DSLR market.
  • Alien Artifacts. Two new types of artifacts to watch for in your images and how to avoid them.
  • Bit by Bit. A long discourse on how digital cameras record data and what that means for your exposure.
  • One Image Start to Finish. The cover image, from conception to polished, final pixels. This is a long article that discusses both field workflow and post processing workflow, using a single image as a focal point so that you can follow the exact choices I made and why.
  • Digital Camera Shootout. You asked for it, so you got it. I took a Fujifilm S2 Pro, a Kodak Pro 14n, a Nikon D1x, and a Nikon D100 and ran them through exhaustive noise, color, dynamic range, and exposure latitude tests. I shot literally thousands of images for these tests, then evaluated them to give you the full scoop on just how these cameras perform under normal and worst case conditions at their base ISO values. And I'm pretty sure you're going to be surprised about some of my findings. As always when I measure, measure, measure, I give you some practical tips on how to use that information in your shooting.

The following issues are now collector's items.

"Expose for the Highlights..."

The first issue (Dec 01) contained articles on:

  • D1 Autofocus Sensor Placement. A worst case test of the placement of the autofocus sensors in the D1 models (true of D100 and S2 sensors, too). Since Nikon used the exact same mechanism as is in the 35mm bodies, does the smaller CCD size make a difference? The answer, in a word: yes.
  • Bibble, Capture, or QImage? Every NEF user asks the same question: which product to use. There are differences in speed, integration, and quality between the products. To pick the right one for you, you need to evaluate those differences.
  • Recognizing Image Artifacts. How to recognize chromatic aberration, coma, blooming, aliasing, moire, JPEG artifacts, long exposure freckles, diffraction, barrel and pincushion distortion, and imaging noise. Since each requires a slightly different tactic to remove or minimize, you'd better know which one you're dealing with!
  • Higher ISO or Slower Shutter Speed? Avoiding noise is one ingredient to creating higher quality digital photos. So, when pressed with the choice of increasing the ISO value or lengthening the shutter speed, which should you do? This article gives you the information you need.
  • Plus much more... Clean CCD rules, when to shift from Auto white balance, 7 habits of effective digital SLR users, Web sites of interest to D1 users.

"Color is What You Make It..."

The second issue (Feb 02) contained articles on:

  • White Balance. An extended discussion of what became a shorter, more succinct section in the latest update of the Complete Guide to the D1h, D1h, & D1x.
  • Getting Flash Right. An extended discussion of my usual 4-part advice on setting camera and flash.
  • Color Management.This extended article takes up most of the issue, and includes sub-topics such as: What is Color?, Your Monitor has a Temperature, Color Gamuts, Camera Profiles, Working Space, The Color Management Chain, Printing, Color Mode, CIE and Color.

"Odds and Ends..."

The third issue (Sept 02) contained articles on:

  • Macro TTL . A do-at-your-own-risk alternative to the SB-29. Basically, you hack up an SB-50DX and a low-cost ringflash, such as those provided by Sunpack.
  • More Flash Info. More detailed information about what happens when you press the shutter release with a flash attached. This information is then used to describe how wireless flash does (or doesn't work) on the D100 and D1 bodies. Rediscover why the SB-26 was the best wireless flash Nikon made, at least for us D-TTL hostages.
  • Hardware Goodies. Flapcatch, Hoodman, Cokin P, Speckgrabber, Flexhoods, Warmcards, Ickiewarez raincovers, fish-eye lens attachments, infrared filters, and more.
  • D1x vs. D100 vs. S2 Pro. A critical look at differences in image quality between these three cameras, including dynamic range and noise testing. In 19 image quality and 12 subjective handling categories it's closer than you think: S2 topped 12 categories, D100 topped 12 categories, and the D1x held its own topping 9 categories.
  • Thom's Next Generation Guess. Still looking pretty good(!): 12 megapixel camera with 1.5x angle of view change. We'll probably get a few less megapixels than I thought, but the rest of my analysis seems spot on to the latest rumors.
  • Plus more...

"Discovery through Experimentation..."

The fourth issue had articles on:

  • PMA Observations. Just where are we in the new Nikon product game?
  • NEF Converter Redux. With Adobe's new converter and new versions of all the major players, it's time to take a closer look at the output they produce.
  • Custom Curves. I've added brief sections on Custom Curves to the D100 and D1 books, but I haven't gotten into detail about what you're doing when you make these modifications. Well, now I will. Includes two curves to get you started.
  • Digital Velvia. Sometimes you don't want accurate color, you want an effect. Or perhaps you simply want to emulate a film to match something you've shot before. Here's how you do that. Includes Digital Velvia and Digital Kodachrome Photoshop Actions.
  • Back Focusing. Before you blame the body, make sure to eliminate all the other possibilities for poor focusing.
  • What's with the Cover? How (and why) I used up three sets of flash batteries to make a single image. (Taken with a Fuji S2 with an exposure of over three minutes, by the way.)
  Ordering Information

 

Out of print. No longer available.


What did subscribers think?

"I love it! Keep up the good work!" --Richard Asarisi

"...this is a long thank you letter for helping me get the most out of this amazing camera!" --Henry Domke

"Just delighted with Issue 5 and the four back issues. I really, really liked how you stepped through the creation of the cover image for Issue 5. I came away with a very real feeling of having gotten some serious insights. And that's not all. If only I had sprung for the Report earlier it might have saved me almost $100 in books on color management." --Mike Worley

A sample excerpt from the very first issue is on the Luminous Landscape site.


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