I've been following the discussions regarding Nikon's digital SLR cameras, particularly regarding comparative costs over the longer term between digital and film based cameras. One thing I thought I saw at one time, but can't find now, is how many images are typically stored on a 256 or 512 flash memory card (and, looking at the B&H web site for reference, what do '12x' for the 256 and '16x' for the 512 mean; I assume data transfer speed)?
Just to add to the above, I use RAW mode on my D1 which produces 4Mb .NEF files so I get 31 shots on a 128Mb CF card.
File sizes for the D1x increase along with the higher resolution: fine JPEGs average about 2.2Mb and .NEFs are about 7.8Mb in size.
On the subject of transfer rates it is actually possible for the camera to become the limiting factor. The original D1 seems to top out at about 12x - so cards faster than this don't give any write speed advantage. The D1x/h are capable of taking advantage of much faster cards - for example the Lexar 24x cards. Bear in mind that the very fast cards tend to be more expensive so you have to really need the speeds they offer to justify using them.
Canadian photojounalist Rob Galbraith has made a comprehensive review of how the various cards perform in different cameras.
No. NEF files (7.8MB on a D1x) are larger because they store the original 12-bit camera sensor data in an essentially uncompressed form. JPEG files (~2MB on a D1x at full resolution) are substantially smaller because the camera stores the data as 8 bits and compresses it further. Lower resolutions are only available in JPEG, and create smaller files.
The same will be true on a D100, though until we get cameras, we can't know the exact file sizes.
Thom Hogan author, Nikon Field Guide author, Nikon Flash Guide author, Complete Guides to the N65, N80, and F100 author, Complete Guide to the Nikon D1, D1h, & D1x www.bythom.com
Thom Hogan author, Nikon Field Guide and Nikon Flash Guide author, Complete Guides to most Nikon cameras www.bythom.com
Didn't think about bit depth; thanks for the clarification. I'm not doing all that well with my assumptions, but let me try some more: if my goal was to capture images digitally and produce a printed photo album of these images, each in the range of 3x5 to 8x10 size, it seems I would want to use full resolution, 12 bit image capture to preserve the most detail (?). I believe I could then use Adobe products to produce a JPEG from these NEF images should I need a smaller file size for a web page (?).
NEF files give you the absolute best results the camera is capable of, but you need additional software to process them - you can't open them directly in Photoshop. The D1x/h come with a Photoshop plugin that will do a basic conversion, and Nikon also produce the Capture software (which you can get bundled with the camera at a greatly reduced price) that is much more versatile. There are also two pieces of shareware that will do the necessary conversion: QImage and Bibble.
Generally you would want to shoot using the best quality mode the camera has to offer so your originals are as good as they can possibly be. You can easily reduce large images in size for the web using Photoshop - but you can't go the other way...
The only real snag to shooting NEFs is the size of the files - you can get around four times as many JPEGs on a CF card of the same size.
Thanks for the additional information, and web links (disappointed that QImage is not Mac compatible; looks like it does what I want to do). Your descriptions fit what I assumed to be the case, but wanted to be sure.