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Camera Reviews

Shooting racing cars with the Nikon D2H

Victor Newman (vfnewman)

Keywords: nikon, d2h, camera, bodies, vir, virginia_international_raceway, sports, motorsports

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The Nikon D2H was a different story altogether. With or without the Nikon TC-20E 2x teleconverter on the AF-I 400mm f/2.8 Nikkor, the Nikon D2H was able to keep focus locked on the car until it was impossible to pan the camera fast enough to keep it steady in the viewfinder. The newly engineered 11 AF areas system delivered fast and crisp focusing.

The Nikon D2H at the track. Monopod, 400mm f/2.8 AF-I Nikkor + TC20E Nikkor, f/11, 1/250s, ISO 400.




In the sequence at right, I was trying to keep the driver's helmet centered, but obviously failed. The camera, in continuous dynamic AF and with almost nothing on which to focus by the end of the sequence, was nevertheless able to keep the wing of the car in focus right up to the end.


I didn't have sufficient time to fully evaluate the relative strengths of the four different modes (Single-area AF, Dynamic-area AF, Group-dynamic AF, and Dynamic-area AF with closest-subject priority). I stayed with the two modes that I use most often with the Nikon D1 or Nikon D100: Single-area and Dynamic-area. I'm not sure how anything could work much better than these anyway. Hunting is minimal and lock-on is quick.


At the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, the performance was just as good. Under mostly gloomy and rainy conditions, the Nikon D2H was reliable and accurate. The Nikon D2H has an improved auto white balance system, with three sensors: real-time off-imaging, reflected, and a new external sensor on top of the prism housing. I found this to work very well as conditions changed from sunny to cloudy to rainy and back, as well as under mixed artificial lighting, throughout the course of the weekend.


In general, I have found the auto WB to work very well. According to the manual, its range is from 8000 to 3500K. 3500 is still too high for typical indoor household incandescent lighting. The "Incandescent" mode or "Kelvin" mode should be used in this case.


The Nikon D2H performed much better than anything I had ever experienced with the D1 in terms of AF ability. With or without the 2x converter on my 400mm lens (always on a monopod) I could track cars coming straight at me at nearly 100 mph until the car more than filled the frame. I'm sure higher closing speeds would not have been a problem.





The camera handled the atrocious weather well, never having any problems working in dampness and rain. I did make an effort to keep a rain cover on it if conditions exceeded a sprinkle, but the camera invariably got wet at times. It became evident the seals have been greatly improved.

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Originally written on October 24, 2005

Last updated on December 30, 2020

Victor Newman Victor Newman (vfnewman)

Awarded for his multiple contributions to Resources Donor Ribbon awarded for his generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014

Forest, USA
Gold, 4804 posts