I am going to rant and rave a little bit here so just take it with a grain of salt.
Having used my d100 now for about 3 months I have a few observations or comments to make and before I go on I need to give everyone some background on myself. I am by no means a professional or even advanced amature photographer. I love cameras and taking pictures. I understand the mechanical, technical, and functionality of photography. I have alot to learn about composition, lighting, and how to produce a great photograph. I have been having fun with this for about 25 years. NOW FOR THE RANTING
I believe that the d100 in Auto everything mode, should produce a sharp, in-focus, properly exposed photograph without the need for any post processing. Over 90 percent of the photos I take with the d100 need post processing. Sharpness is the big issue, they all seem soft. I am comparing this to my film experience and my digital 995 output. My 995 always produced sharp, well exposed photographs. My film cameras (4004 and N70) never failed to give me a very sharp picture although exposure was sometimes a problem which was mostly me. Anyway if Nikon has done this on purpose, so as to give the photographer all the picture information possible for his/her processing pleasure, I want a button that says "picture taken will not need post processing"
Now I have just sent my camera to Nikon to have the update to the firmware performed and I requested they inspect the camera for proper calibration. I do hope this solves the under-exposure problem and maybe helps with the softness.
I know I have moved myself up in terms of equipment and I must learn to be a better photographer to use it, however I still want my point and shoot mode!!!
Ok, I am done, just don't be too hard on me
I always want the next model up!
#1. "RE: D100 and Post Processing" | In response to Reply # 0Mike777 Registered since 16th Sep 2002Mon 06-Jan-03 05:12 PM
I see posts like yours from time to time and I have to read them about 3 times to check that you are talking about the D100.
On an average type of scene in average light I would say 99% of my d100 pictures are sharp and well exposed. On high contrast or difficult lighting then I would say 95% and usually I can get what I want with a few tweaks on exp comp or white balance adjustment.
You must have a problem with the camera or maybe it is due to the earlier f/w. I hope it gets sorted for you.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#2. "RE: D100 and Post Processing" | In response to Reply # 0signata Registered since 11th Dec 2002Mon 06-Jan-03 06:49 PM
The dealer that I bought my D100 from told me that much of the sharpness issue was sorted out with the V2 firmware upgrade. Mine was shipped with V2, so I have nothing to compare it to. I do know that I can get some incredibly crisp shots quite easily. I suspect you'll be pleased with the improvement when you get your camera back from the shop. They also improved the tonal quality. Colours should be more accurate and rich straight off of the memory card -- but again, I have nothing to compare it to. A tip for getting better colours is to shoot in profile II mode, which is Adobe RGB instead of sRGB. The latter has a smaller color space, and can make some subjects look a little flat.
#3. "Brad, don't feel along...but read on" | In response to Reply # 0Mon 06-Jan-03 07:10 PM
I too have had my D100 since September and yes, I had the firmware 2.0 upgrade - which had nothing to do with exposure issues - just technical issues involving Adobe, fast compact flash cards, etc. I chuckle when I hear people talk about night and day differences in exposures after the V2.0 upgrade - kind of like the placebo effect. Again, if you go to the Nikon website, the upgrade information for the D100 will tell you specifically that it addressed purely technical issues.
I, along with others on various forums - to include Nikonians - have indicated our concern that there seems to be a great camera-to-camera reliability problem among the D100's. Prior to shooting with the D100 I was using the F5 and F100 - which I still own, but I was not prepared for the underexposure scenarios that I experienced with my D100
. Yet you will read where some love the exposures - "right on" they say, and that's great. But you will also notice a sizeable number of forum visitors who complain of the overall underexposure issue, only to be often ridiculed by other Nikon D100 owners who balk at anything that detracts from that model or Nikon in general.
I am definitely NOT satisfied with this D100 underexposure scenario, but I have seen the photographs that the D100 is capable of taking and let me tell you, they are awesome. Since then I've been experimenting with custom tone curves - which you need Nikon Capture for - and they have helped somewhat.
The big thing is learning as much as you can about exposure. Remember, there seems to be a trend whereby many photographers assume that jumping into digital means forgetting about photographic principles in general. With that in mind, I've learned NOT to trust my camera meters. I use an incident light meter - the Gossen Starlite - and I also use modified forms of spot metering. I only use Matrix when I'm assured I have a scene with predominantly neutral colors - and even then I rely on the custom tone curves.
But my biggest surprise - a delightful one at that - was when I also purchased a Fuji S2 Pro a few months later. Believe me, I am an avid Nikonian - to use that term - but I've got to tell you, that I now reach for my Fuji more often than not. As I said in other threads, I don't look at the S2 Pro as a Fuji, but rather as another Nikon product that Fuji just happened to tinker with! But if I didn't have the S2 Pro, I would be using my D100 just as much as I could, learning it's shortcomings and overcoming them with knowledge, procedure, and help from other sources - external meters, recommendations, etc.
Because I have both cameras and have used them enough to know, I can honestly say - in my personal opinion - that the Fuji S2 Pro blows the D100 out of the water with out of the camera color and exposure balance and saturation, and the flash scenario is even better. I get between 500 - 600 photographs with the S2 Pro before recharging or replacing batteries. But again, I love the D100 also, but in my opinion - and others also - the camera-to-camera reliability issue has left me wondering why Nikon couldn't improve upon this model better than it did.
So don't feel bad. By all means get your camera checked out, but my guess is that nothing will change. At that point you can learn to experiment with custom tone curves - which work in over 50% of scenarios - or, well...if you have the bucks, sell your gear, and perhaps purchase something else. Remember, I believe they call that a free enterprise system - that is, if you are unhappy with something after testing it out enough, you can opt for something else, provided you have the bucks to do so. I've had to stop buying anymore big stuff because I ran out of family members to sell.
#5. "RE: Brad, don't feel along...but read on" | In response to Reply # 3Jerry S Registered since 22nd Dec 2002Tue 07-Jan-03 01:13 AM
Ben, I'm getting similar results with a D100 vs. S2 Pro. A couple of weeks ago I went out with two friends for some night shots. The S2 easily handled a number of situations that the D100 couldn't touch. I get consistently underexposed images, yet the rep tells me that those are "normal", yet I am seeing images from other D100's that are simply stunning. I actually got better unprocessed results from a <$500 p&s digital. It's not a lens problem, as I've tried several different lenses. It's to the point that I am ready to go back to film completely.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#6. "Don't go back to film" | In response to Reply # 5Tue 07-Jan-03 12:18 PM
I hear ya mannnn. But don't go back to film. Oh yes, I still shoot film - very occasionally though - but mostly slide film when someone asks for it. But beyond that, high resolution digital photos just blow film shots out of the water. I know that the D100 can frustrate you - especially if you have a unit that does the underexposure thing - but if you learn to work around it, well, then you will become the better for it. Of course, what makes it worse is, if you know someone who has a D100 and it is exposing perfectly right out of the camera with all automatic settings - which lends credence to the unit-to-unit reliability issue.
Here's something else I forgot to mention in my earlier thread. I also purchased a Fuji Finepix 602 Zoom which is 3.1 MP with 6 MP interpolated. That camera also takes exposures that are superly balanced in most scenarios - althought the overall resolution cannot match the D100. I bought that for point and shoot purposes, and yet I find myself often taking it along for the ride quite a bit. Go figure!
So hang in there, and if things don't get better for you, by all means try and sell the D100 - you should get top dollar for it, and then try something else.
I hope - no, make that I really believe - that Nikon has got to come out with a firmware upgrade to address things like underexposure, the DTTL flash scenario, and of course JPG sharpness issues. If they don't...well, then there will be folks who may just leave the flock as they migrate to competing brands who have managed to work out the problems that Nikon seems to be ignoring.
#7. "RE: Brad, don't feel along...but read on" | In response to Reply # 5pmirror Registered since 24th Nov 2002Tue 07-Jan-03 01:48 PM
Getting back to film --for me-- is a step back. Especially for advance amateur - pro (with budget , like me ) Or for amateur going pro.
Now, I'm only using my F5 for B&W only. I know digital can do B&W well. But I'm not ready to let go B&W film yet.
Getting back to film, only works if I'm going medium format like Hasselblad. For 35mm, DSLR is the answer.
As a closing; I first get the same feeling when I first using my D100. I've learn how to deal with it and getting better image every day. Of course, I become addicted to this site, and keep asking question every day. And you know what, all my question answered. Lots of good people equipped with very good knowledge here -- maybe, with very very good equipment. ( my friend at North Carolina usually said, we love toys!!! )
it's near Bali, if you don't know where it is
#4. "RE: D100 and Post Processing" | In response to Reply # 0
I agree with you 100%. I've had the problems that have been described here since I bought my D100, and it came with version 2.0 firmware. Why all the 'auto' setting if no standard "sharp, well exposed photograph" can be produced in a 'snap shot' mode. Why not, what was Nikon thinking?
I've learned a great deal from this forum about the D100 and things are getting better but we'll see.
#8. "RE: D100 and Post Processing" | In response to Reply # 0
I have been battling this since I got my camera in July, so you are not alone. The people here have been a tremendous help to me, but I'm still not getting good out of the camera images. I changed the exposure setting and all my pictures had blow outs in them. I changed it back and the pictures are underexposed. I have read everything I can get my hands on and done everything I know how to do and my pictures are awful coming out of the camera. I didn't realize how bad they were until I decided to use my film camera at Christmas because I didn't want to spend hours on the computer correcting pictures. I used my F100 with the same flash (SB80DX) and same lens (24-120mm) and the same lighting as I did with the D100 when taking some photos after Christmas and there is no comparison between the two. I am also sending mine in for the firmware upgrade with a note asking them fix the problems I am having with the camera. If they can't, then I am probably going to sell the D100 and wait until Nikon comes out with a camera that you don't have to spend hours correcting each image. I really hate to do this, because I feel most of photography is going digital, but I don't like to sit for hours in front of my computer fixing what I shouldn't need to fix in the first place. Congrats to all of you who are able to get great out of the camera images. I wish I were one of you.
"The human race has only one really effective weapon and that is laughter." Mark Twain
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#9. "RE: D100 and Post Processing Update" | In response to Reply # 8BRiggleman Registered since 09th Nov 2002Wed 08-Jan-03 03:29 PM
Just checked on my D100 firmware update/calibration request on Nikon's web site. My camera's status is a under a B2 repair catagory which translated from the table provided on the site as "Moderate repair - Major parts replaced". So it seems I did have a defective model and I may be a happy camper when all is said and done. However the proof is in the pudding as they say so we shall see when it is back in my hands and how it performs. I will update here when I have tested the end result of Nikon's repair.
Just for the rest of you, I did as some other suggested and sent examples of pictures (3) on cd-rom, (unmodified, just as the camera processed them), a sheet with the pictures on it explaining my focus point and my own observations on each in terms of under-exposure and softness or focus and of course a letter requesting what I would like them to check on the camera.
I always want the next model up!
#10. "RE: D100 and Post Processing Update" | In response to Reply # 9Mike777 Registered since 16th Sep 2002Wed 08-Jan-03 04:15 PM
I read these replies with interest. I do hope you get a good camera back Brad because as I said before, my D100 is very accurate.
I can't help thinking that if there is a consistent underexposure issue then there must be a metering problem, seperate from the fact that it is a digital camera. Ben even says he uses an off camera meter with the D100. This is crazy. A D100 should be more than capable of automatically metering the vast majority of scenes with it's data bank of 30k images. I find that matrix and centre weight give the results I expect. Thats not to say that I don't adjust exposure some times and this is no different to bracketing. In tricky situations, the camera will err on under rather than over exposure but this is a major plus. It doesn't take hours of post processing, it takes seconds and you don't want blown out highlights.
On sunday, I took 119 NEF shots. I ended up with 14 that I wanted to keep. Of those I post adjusted exposure and WB on 4 of them. Of those 4 I had one that I wanted to keep but the original pic was poor (my fault) and spent about 10 mins on trying to get it as good as poss.
Of the 3 that I have sold so far they were all straight out of the camera with no adjustment.
If there is anyone in the UK with a problem D100, I'm up for a meeting so that we can do some side by side comparisons. This would be an interesting excercise for all of us and Nikon. Let me know.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#12. "RE: D100 and Post Processing Update" | In response to Reply # 10Wed 08-Jan-03 05:47 PM
I'm wondering if I should contact Nikon to determine if I should also send in my D100 to see if my internal meter needs calibration or the like? Of course I'd hate to do that because I know that when I get the body back from Nikon, it will have dust all over the CCD!!! I've managed to avoid dust and dirt so far by being very careful, but that track history will stop once Nikon gets a hold of the unit.
Can anyone in the USA guide me on who at Nikon to call about the possibility of sending in my camera to have it checked out - the metering that is? Any phone numbers, etc.? I live in the Raleigh, North Carolina area.
I think that regardless of the metering situation, I now tend to again use a variety of metering methods to capture the exposure. If the lighting is fairly uniform, I find that my Gossen Starlite incident meter gives me absolutely superb exposures. I also love - no, make that swear by - The Chromazone Method of metering by Charles Campbell. His info can be found at:
I've used this system of spot metering
for 1 1/2 to 2 years now, and I've got to tell you, it makes a believer out of you.
My big point here is that I am going back to the philosophy I had prior to jumping into digital - which is, that I want greater control over exposures. Problem with putting everything on automation and hoping that the camera gives you the best exposure, is the fact that the computer is often wrong. By relying on some other forms of time-tested and tried metering techniques, I find that basic photographic principles still happily apply.
In fact, I'm almost willing to forget about the D100's metering difficulties - in camera-to-camera scenarios - because I have gone back to using some basic photographic principles in metering. When I do need automation with a degree large of confidence, I will use the Fuji which is really right on in most scenarios.
Some more two cents worth...
#11. "RE: D100 and Post Processing" | In response to Reply # 0
Default camera settings can't please everyone. The underexsposure is classic Nikon Digital. It's done because there is more image dynamic captured when the image is slightly underexsposed. You'll get aquaited for image dynamics when bringing up the exsposure by image editors. Even more dynamic is available within the image, seen by other image editing steps.
Another benefit of underexsposing is a buffer against blown highlights. Detail in the blown areas are lost.
The EV on the D100 should remeber a preference even after turning off the camera. Uping it +.03 EV or more may be better to one's liking. The + EV will be active in all the camera modes. It isn't too noticable there are few indicators the EV is not set to zero.
Canon default setting is set for more pleasing right out of the camera. A trade off to not capturing the maximum amount of dynamic range.
#13. "RE: D100 and Post Processing - Update" | In response to Reply # 0
Just received mine back from Nikon mission control (Service) in NY. I have just started to shoot some shots to check out if anything has changed.
According to the Nikon paper work, firmware was upgraded, ccd cleaned, exposure and focus checked. Exposure was within their standards, says nothing about focus.
Test shots so far show slight under exposure, HOWEVER, all seemed to be sharper. (or I am just really glad to have it back) I am going to perform testing the next few days on various test subjects and situations. Will let all know it it passes the grade. IF not, it also will go back to the dealer for an exchange.
If QC is an issue and if service is not stepping up to the plate, we need to make Nikon Senior, (who ever that may be) aware of this situation.
Will Update later now that I have camera in hand.
I always want the next model up!
#14. "RE: D100 and Post Processing - Update" | In response to Reply # 13KrAzY Registered since 30th Mar 2002Tue 21-Jan-03 06:10 AM
I understand what you all are saying about the D100. I think that from time to time on mine, even RAW images come out a little soft. However, when was the last time anyone got a perfect roll of film? Please son't take these comments as offensive, I simply mean to point out that no camera (or photographer) is perfect.
I wonder if many of the people who are so quick to jump on exposure problems with the d1 series frequently print their own images? I've been in the darkroom for about six years and behind a camera for most of my life. No matter what camera, brand, or setup, some shots get messed up. For me, it is easier and faster to fix problems on a computer than in the darkroom. Again, no offense.
Finally I wonder what computer software/hardware combinations do to 'ruin' images that were properly exposed? My home PC is very nice and fast, except for my 7 year old Trinitron monitor. Images from both of my digitals look much better on the new Macintosh in my office. I'm the first to admit that my own monitor is a piece of dookie, and the one at work is much better.
Digital photography is a relatively new invention. In the 150 years of photography, not much has changed up until now. Sure, quality of the cameras has increased, but digital is a whole new frontier. With all things there is a learning curve. Te most important part of using a camera is knowing its weaknesses, and finding a way to work around them.
You can bet I'll be around doing my part to investigate this new method.
#15. "RE: D100 and Post Processing" | In response to Reply # 0
I don't have a D100, but rather a D1x.
I have watched with some interest the complaints about image softness on this forum and others. It seems strange that there are some who claim to have no problems, and others who say "shoot in RAW then adjust in Photoshop to get sharp images" to overcome the problem. Both groups seem to be happy with their cameras. I must admit that I have been confused by all of the ongoing discussions.
I agree with you. It seems to me that when you pay $2000 for a camera you should expect quality images without the need for Photoshop adjustments. I thought maybe there was a camera design problem, or possibly a loose nut behind the camera problem.
A while back I spoke with a Nikon Tech Rep about my D1x. I asked him about the D100 image softnes problem. He said Nikon was aware of some "bugs" in the D100 and was working to correct them.
I don't know if the "bugs" relate to a design problem or possibly a production quality control issue that caused some D100's to take soft images. I have seen numerious D100 images that were as sharp as my D1x without adjustment. Somehow, I suspect there may be a QC problem at Nikon's production line.
#16. "Think outside the box" | In response to Reply # 15fotogenetic Registered since 25th Nov 2002Wed 22-Jan-03 08:41 AM
It is amusing to sit here and read all your posts and theories of what is wrong with the D100 exposures. I have done extensive tests of my own D100 meter. I would invite you all to do the same. We should all know that a camera's meter is supposed to make whatever you are metering off of have an average brightness level. You can see this if you take a photograph of a gray card or any evenly lit object. No matter how bright that object is, it's histogram will have a peak in the middle. Remember, this is only when you photograph evenly lit objects. In my website http://fotogenetic.fade.to I explain how I tested my D100's meter against my Nikon FA's meter by photographing evenly lit walls. Both cameras metered exactly the same! Yet, the peak of the D100's histogram was slightly to the left of the middle. When I used +0.3 EV, the histogram was perfectly in the middle. I did this test on several evenly lit objects using spot metering, matrix metering, and center weighted metering with the same results.
So fellas, it's not the meter! It's the tonal distribution of the image. The D100 is simply assigning slightly darker values to each pixel than it should, despite the exposure being dead on. How do you fix that? Firmware 2.0 does not address this, so don't think that you'll solve the underexposure issue with that. If you use EV settings, you'll lose 0.3 stops of exposure, possibly making your photos more blurry (slightly) and blowing out highlights. So what do you do? You can either just live with it or you can use a custom tone curve to correct the problem.
There's some people out there who think that custom tone curves only work in some situations and not in others. Well, they're right if the custom tone curve does anything more than correct the brightness level to what it should be. If the images from the camera then don't work in some situations, well, of course. There is no one setting with any camera that will know exactly what you are inteding to capture. That is up to the photographer. As long as the camera produces images with the expected brightness level, the photographer can adjust settings to his taste. That part cannot be taken out of the equation. If it is, you will not get perfectly exposed photos no matter what camera you use.
Well, I made a custom tone curve that I've tested with almost 500 or so photos that gives exactly +0.5 EV of compensation. I chose +0.5 because in my eyes, it looks right. I will make a +0.3 one shorthwhile.