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  6. Digital SLR Camera Nikon D100

Digital SLR Camera Nikon D100

The D100 has an energy-conserving battery that lasts almost twice as long as the battery in the D1 series,
plus an automatic sensitivity control setting exclusively for digital cameras.

Changing the shooting mode using the dial, which was adopted to enhance operability.

Mr. WAKABAYASHI, Was there any one thing you always kept in mind when you were developing the D100 ?

We always thought about making it easy to understand its operation.
The D100 is a camera for many different kinds of people to try and have fun with, so operability and controllability are important. For example, most settings are based on the movement of the dial...... the exposure mode can be switched using the dial. We borrowed this idea from the exposure mode dial on the Nikon F80 (N80).

Does the dial really make operation easier?

Some don't care for the dial. But it does allow you to control the camera without the battery, and it makes it easier to make and confirm a setting.

In your opinion, what is the D100's outstanding feature ?

Well, it is not listed in the catalog, but the D100 has a very long battery life.

Would you say it has an "energy-conserving" design ?

Yes. When you actually use the camera, you get the feeling you can take almost twice as many pictures as with D1 series cameras. The actual number of shots will obviously depend on shooting conditions; but our internal evaluation team made many comments about the long battery life.
Also, [the optional Battery Pack MB-D100] accepts R6/AA-size batteries. So even if the rechargeable battery runs out, you can use these as a substitute.

Voice memos are played through a speaker in the battery pack (red circle).
Voice memos are played through a speaker in the battery pack (red circle).

And R6 ("AA") -size batteries are readily available.

Yes, they are.
Another great feature of the D100 is its automatic sensitivity control, which was developed exclusively for digital SLR cameras. With film cameras, the film has sensitivity "built in." From there, the appropriate exposure is obtained with a combination of shutter speed and the aperture.
With digital cameras, it's easy to adjust the sensitivity. The digital medium lets you, for example, change the sensitivity automatically between ISO 200 and 1,600 equivalent. Such flexibility allows you to obtain the appropriate exposure.
The D100 is the first camera that can adjust sensitivity for all exposure modes if the given sensitivity cannot render the appropriate exposure.
This innovation was a direct result of our trying to make the camera more useful and functional.
You can also write comments on each picture -- up to 36 letters.
And the [optional Battery Pack MB-D100] has a voice memo function that can record up to 20 seconds of sound for each picture.

How do use the voice memo function ?

Well, that depends on the person, but I guess it is mostly for use when recording images. For example, let's say you go on a tour of temples in Kyoto. You take a bunch of photos...... it's easy to get confused about which temple is which. In such cases, if you record your voice together with the image -- for example, saying, "This is the Kiyomizu-Dera temple in Kyoto" -- then you can manage your images very effectively.

The utility of a digital camera combined with high performance and mobility.

How do you want the D100 to be used ?

There is a transparent cover over the D100's LCD monitor.
People like to wear SLR cameras around their necks; the cover protects the monitor from dust and scratches.

Since it is a compact and lightweight digital SLR camera with an interchangeable lens, I hope people will carry it everywhere they go and enjoy taking many pictures.
One of the biggest advantages of digital photography is that you can check the picture you've taken right away. The response is immediate -- you don't have to wait for film to be developed.
This immediacy can also help you improve your shooting skills, because you can take literally hundreds of photos at a time and see them right after you've taken them. That is why an easy-to-carry digital SLR camera is suitable for every beginning SLR camera user.

The background is navy blue and the words are white on the LCD monitor.
The color is subtle and easy to read.

I agree. Shooting conditions such as shutter speed and aperture are also recorded with the images, so you can study them. You don't have to jot down the setting each time. This will help improve your shooting skills.

The D100 is easy to carry, meaning you can take pictures without hassle.
And unlike film cameras, you can erase the pictures you don't like. And you can edit pictures on your computer and make printouts up to A3 (297 x 420mm) / 11 x 14 inches. size.
You can enjoy and use the D100 just as you would a film camera.

Our joy is transforming our blueprints into reality.

Is there any particular moment when you can stand back and say all the time and effort spent on development was worth it ?

For me, the most joyful moment is when what we've drawn on paper actually becomes a prototype.
Especially when the prototypes work just the way I envisioned. If it doesn't work, then we have continue working hard until it works properly.
That's just how it is, I guess.

What exactly does a development leader do ?
Says WAKABAYASHI: "[He's] an overall observer who decides on product specifications and different scheduling...... There are many things to worry about. But when the product comes out, the joy is great. I feel like every new product is my new-born baby."

Do you worry about criticism once a product is released ?

Of course. The customer is always foremost in our minds when we're developing a product. The customer's opinions are very important for us.
If there are functions that receive high marks from users, then we are really happy because what we intended with the design has succeeded.
On the other hand, if a customer asks, "Why is this function like this ?" then we feel bad that our intention wasn't absolutely clear from the outset.
We try to please as many people as possible. It is, however, very difficult to please every single customer. For example, no two people have exactly the same size hands...... So it's understandable that some people might want a choice of grip sizes. What we try to do is develop products that are useful to the greatest number of people.

Last question: What kind of digital cameras would you like to develop in the future ?

I think the goal of every digital camera developer is to make an affordable digital SLR camera. Hopefully make one as reasonably priced as a film camera. The D100 is still a little expensive -- about 300,000- Japanese Yen -- so it's not an easy buy yet. Well, at least not for me.
My goal is to make a digital SLR camera that retails at about the same price as the F80 (N80), which is less than 100,000- Japanese Yen.

Do you think that's possible?

We have to overcome a lot of hurdles... But we're working very hard. The COOLPIX series is reasonably priced...... I'd like to make a digital SLR camera in that price range. There are many customers who are waiting for such a camera. Therefore, we have to start our research all over again -- start from scratch ! -- and try to make a high-performance camera at a reasonable price. That is my dream.

We're all counting on you, Mr. WAKABAYASHI !