Inspirations from older cameras: the Nikon D2H, part 2

The second part of the inspirations series in tribute to the Nikon D2H…part one was here. MT

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The ballet

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Out of place and time

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Snowy echoes

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Column wheel chronograph

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Cattle egret

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Something’s going on in the square

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Wondering where to put it

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Temple spires

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A bird portrait

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London through the gap


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  1. John Andersson says:

    Thanks for the inspiring post! Yes, I know this is ancient stuff and dates back to 2012, but old heroes (like the D2 series) tend to stick around in your mind and create some emotional nostalgia every now and then. In fact this made me want to rush down to the basement and find my own beaten up D2h.
    Might even get a af-d lens or two.
    As I recall, the D2 series had the most powerful Af-motor of any Nikon dslr (even current one), capable of speeding up the autofocus of even the most notoriously slow lenses (80-400 vr 1 anyone..?)
    Do you remember how the 80-200 2.8 or 300mm 4 if-ed worked with the d2h?

    • Worked just fine, as I recall. It certainly felt faster to drive the screwdriver lenses than the later cameras, though the D3 wasn’t that much slower.

  2. Gilmar Damasio. says:

    Comprei uma D2h com 2mil disparos. Estou muito feliz!

  3. Nana nyan says:

    Awesome awesome!!!! I wanna get one as I love film but don’t know or have any competent film developer in ghana. I got the 1d earlier. What’s your experience with it Ming?

  4. Mark Toro says:

    Hi Ming,
    I enjoyed your article so much, it has me totally reinspired with my D2H I bought in NYC when it first came out in 2004. I paid full price back then, but did get it for a discount around $2600. I have made wonderful images over the years, and have been able to make acceptable 12×18″ prints that have that smooth tonal range, with virtually no grain, that you spoke about. I always wondered why and how this camera performed with such outstanding image quality, and I was happy to discover the explanation on the pixel architecture with the D2H’ s sensor. I was all set to go looking for for a new, used Nikon DSLR until I read your article. Thanks to you, I will reacquaint myself with the camera that I have yet to fully explore. I do know about how fast its responsiveness is with the focus and miniscue shutter lag. The robust feel of the camera is one of the things I love the most. I grew up with film, and so I had a full array of Nikon cameras over the years, starting with a Nikon F in my junior year in high school. One thing I never had a problem with was the low light sensitivity issue with the D2H. I have always shot with this camera at ISO 200-400 exclusively. I picked up a Nikon F100 again awhile ago for film work. It’s the best film camera I ever had next to the N90s. I also picked up the impressive Nikon Coolpix P310 last year, that is 16 mp, with advanced anti vibration and fast 24-100 lens, incredible light sensitivity and back LCD monitor and robust little body, nailing some recent portfolio images with it. However, I now have new found respect for the amazing Nikon D2H “film digital” camera. I never fully realized how great this camera was until reading your article and discovering that I had bought a jem ten years ago. I plan on rediscovering this Beast of a camera and all it can do, all over again. One last thought I would like to leave for future readers of this thread. We as consumers are so gullible for anything latest and new, that we quickly lose appreciation for what we already have in many ways. The ultra high sensitivity of the latest digital cameras, including the phone cameras, are producing image quality that we would have never imagined. However, how far does it go? How many mega pixals do we really need? What I am afraid is going to happen is the images will, (and it has already begun), take on a sterile look. Grain in classic films like Tri-X had a beauty all its own. Images were raw and magnificent. Part of the scene is feeding the public with amazing marketing. It sells cameras. Take a look at what you have in your closet. Or pick up a D2H or F100. Both are some of the finest cameras Nikon ever built, and they can be bought for a song. Thank you Ming for great information on my D2H. I’m singing a new tune with rapid fire, low file size and amazing quality images, with a forgotten secret of a bygone camera masterpiece, all the way to image heaven.

    Yours respectfully,
    Mark T.

  5. Frank Bosco says:

    Thanks for this excellent retrospective. The shots you have posted are beautiful in both parts. As an exclusive film photographer, I have only one digital camera hanging around and that is the D2Hs which I picked up almost new for 600 bucks at the recommendation of a very knowledgeable photographer friend.. I use it for those occasions where digital makes life so much simpler (weddings, parties, etc). I must admit that the rendering produced is as close to film like as I have seen from any digital camera so I prefer it to any of the newer ones.. And I dare anyone to find a camera body that is more pleasurable in use. It’s a rock solid banger like my F5 and I totally love it! 🙂

  6. Marvelous images –a big “+1” to compliments from others.

    How large of prints could these D2H shots go?

    • Thanks. I’ve actually got images that landed up on billboards; but that’s not exactly demanding on resolution. I’d say a 13×19″ is probably about the limit I’d accept.

  7. Hi Ming, can you explain your sharpening process please?

    • That’s not a simple question and depends very much on the camera and the pixel-level file quality. The idea is to sharpen until the point just before haloes appear. I wouldn’t judge the web-size jpegs as the host (flickr) does some odd intermediate sharpening on them after generating the intermediate sizes.

  8. Amazing images Ming. That first shot of the swans is breathtaking. Wonderful quality of light and sharpness.

  9. Beautiful work, as always.

  10. Holy smokes Ming! In this and the first set, you demonstrate image quality from the D2H that I didn’t think was possible. If I ever decide to sell my D2H, I should link to your photo set to show any potential buyer what this camera (in competent hands) is capable of. 🙂


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