Nikon D2H Review

According provided by  Nikon D2H camera huge thanks to Alexander Tregub. This model came to me in a shabby condition, with poorly working autofocus and a flickering display, but, nevertheless, it shoots as expected.

The Nikon D2H professional camera was introduced on July 22, 2003 and became Nikon's fifth classic digital SLR camera (if you do not take into account old Nikon E series quasi-full-format digital SLR cameras and Kodak digital back cameras).

In short: Nikon D2H is the TOP camera from Nikon in a super-durable and convenient combo body, has fast burst shooting, large frame buffer and many useful features. At one time, it became a revolutionary model with many innovations that are still used by Nikon today. Unfortunately, in our time, the camera is morally outdated, but it can still serve as an excellent device for some photographic tasks.

Nikon D2H was released between Nikon D100 (early 2002) and Nikon D70 (early 2004) and radically different from them. In the same way, it differs from the previous series - Nikon D1, which included three cameras: Nikon D1, D1H, D1X. It's safe to say that the Nikon D2H has become a replacement for Nikon D1H. Funny, but unlike other Nikon TOP camera series: D1, D3, D4, D5, in the Nikon D2 series there was no 'clean' D2 without an index, only high-speed reporting Nikon D2H, D2Hs and cameras with a large number of MP Nikon D2X, D2xs.

  • Nikon D1H and Nikon D2H are the only cameras with the 'H' prefix, which indicates high burst speed and makes the camera the most convenient for shooting reportage. List of fastest Nikon / Canon cameras can be found here.
  • Until the end of 2, the Nikon D2007H was the record holder for burst speed among all Nikon DSLR cameras. In 2007, a new record holder Nikon D3which can shoot 9 frames per second in FX mode and 11 frames per second in DX mode.
  • A replacement for Nikon D2H is considered Nikon D2Hs, released January 16, 2005, but, in fact, due to the fact that Nikon D2H and D2Hs are very similar to each other, a real replacement for Nikon D2H is Nikon D3Released on August 23, 2007.
  • Most likely, the Nikon D2H was the answer to the Canon EOS-1D. This is evidenced by the same maximum burst speed, a similar number of megapixels and other details.
  • 13 years have passed and Canon 1DX MarkII can shoot 2 times faster and so damn fast Nikon D2H.
  • Nikon D2H is on the list of CZK with the smallest number of megapixels. The maximum size of the created images is only 2.464 X 1.632 pixels, which is 4 MP (to be precise, then 4.021.248 pixels).

What's new in Nikon D2H?

  • The maximum burst speed is 8 fps. Prior to this, the maximum shooting speed was 5 fps for the camera Nikon D1H. The speed of 8 fps in the world of SLR cameras is a kind of milestone, at one time manufacturers of cameras focused on this indicator.
  • All cameras up to Nikon D2H (Nikon D1, D1H, D1X, D100) were built on the basis of CCD sensors. Nikon D2H has a new sensor type LBCAST-JFET. Types and models of all sensors (matrices) of Nikon cameras can be viewed here.
  • Large LI-ION EN-EL4 battery and smart charger. The same battery can be used by Nikon D2Hs cameras, D2X, D2xs, D3, D3s, D3X, D700, D300, D300s (the last three only with a battery pack). In addition, the D2H has the opportunity through the menu to see the exact battery charge and its level of wear.
  • It was in Nikon D2H that the new and excellent Nikon I-TTL flash system was implemented, which replaced Nikon D-TTL. It's good that the Nikon D2H can use both the Nikon D-TTL and I-TTL flash units. Newer cameras have removed D-TTL support. A complete and accurate list of all Nikon I-TTL flashes can be found. here. I-TTL flashes have many new features: control other compatible flash units remotely using Nikon CLS, support Nikon FP High Speed ​​Sync, color temperature transfer and control etc.
  • 2.5 inch display with 211.200 pixels. Before Nikon D2H, and after it (Nikon D70, D70s, D50) used terrible small displays. True, the Nikon D2H display itself is poor, the displayed pictures do not look like on a normal monitor or in print. In the Nikon D2Hs, the screen has been modified, it has a large number of pixels and better quality (230.000, approximately 320 X 240).
  • New Multi-CAM 2000 focusing module with 9 cross-shaped sensors and excellent frame coverage.
  • New optional sensor to help you install correctly white balance (white window above 'Nikon'). A new method of finding the right one white balance through metering sensor combined with information from an additional sensor white balance and information from the camera’s matrix. Similar sensor BB found only in the Nikon D2 series (D2H, D2Hs, D2X, D2xs).
  • This is the first Nikon camera to receive a USB 2.0 port. There is also the opportunity to use a special transmitter for fast file transfer.
  • Unlike Nikon D1, D1H, D1XNikon D2H camera supports more accurate metering exposure with lenses without a CPU (usually these are old AI lenses, AI-S types). To do this, set the maximum relative aperture and focal length. This is the first Nikon camera that allows you to set the aperture and focal length for manual lenses. Only one lens can be recorded in the camera’s memory. Previous models in the Nikon D1 line were also equipped with a diaphragm rheostat for working with manual optics, but they used Color Matrix Metering only in center-weighted metering mode exposure (froze exposure in the central region of the frame), since they were not allowed to set manual lens values ​​in their menu. Nikon D2H can use Color Matrix Metering even in matrix metering mode exposure (froze exposure using the entire frame area).
  • The central button of the joystick (8-position selector) can be configured to quickly enlarge the picture. The picture is enlarged by one of the focus points. I have always greatly appreciated this feature with Nikon cameras. True, pressing the center button is quite painful. The button is extremely inconvenient. Exit Only Nikon D3 the button received a convenient performance, but on the Nikon D2H, D2Hs cameras, D2X, D2xs, D200, D300 she continues to torment photographers.
  • Other little things that were absent in previous models.

Other properties:

  • The Nikon D2H uses a large full-frame mirror, although it is a cropped Nikon DX series camera. A full-format mirror is typical of all TOP cameras with one number near the letter 'D' (D1, D2, D3 etc.).
  • Nikon D2H is a weatherproof camera and must withstand severe weather conditions.
  • Large and pleasant viewfinder with bottom and side information panels. By the way, the side (right) information panel in JVI have only similar TOP cameras.
  • The camera does not have ISO values ​​below 200 units and these ISO 3200, 6400 (equivalents HI1, HI2 are used instead).
  • There is no modern image management system that allows you to fine-tune image settings.
  • The auto ISO control function works only in the M, S modes and does not work in the P, A modes. In addition, the auto-ISO does not have any settings. Theoretically, the new firmware was supposed to improve this function (in modern instructions for Nikon D2H, aut0-ISO support is indicated for all four modes P, A, S, M).
  • Only 1 slot for memory cards.
  • For measuring exposure Nikon D2H uses 1005 pixel RGB sensor (67 x 15) CCD type, exactly the same sensor was used in all TOP cameras from Nikon D1 to Nikon D3x. This exposure meter was inherited by Nikon D1 from film cameras (was in F5), the last model that used it was the legendary Nikon D3s.
  • No sensor cleaning system, Live View and a bunch of modern features

Frame buffer

If you disable the noise reduction function at slow shutter speeds, the buffer is

  • 26 frames in RAW format, without compression
  • 25 frames in RAW format, with compression
  • 35 frames in TIFF format
  • 40 frames in JPEG format with any image quality (Fine / Norm / Basic) and with any image size (L, M)
  • 25 frames in RAW + JPEG format with any image quality in JPEG format and without compression in RAW format
  • 24 frames in RAW + JPEG format with any image quality in JPEG format and with compression in RAW format

If you enable the noise reduction function at slow shutter speeds, the buffer is

  • 16 frames in RAW format, without compression
  • 15 frames in RAW format, with compression
  • 15 frames in TIFF format
  • 30 frames in JPEG format with any image quality (Fine / Norm / Basic) and with any image size (L, M)
  • 15 frames in RAW + JPEG format with any image quality in JPEG format and without compression in RAW format
  • 14 frames in RAW + JPEG format with any image quality in JPEG format and with compression in RAW format

Non-compressed RAW weigh 6 MB each. The small size of the files allows you to write them to the memory card very quickly.

The frame buffer many admired. But, unfortunately, if you look objectively, then the previous model Nikon D1H placed in the buffer the same 40 frames in JPEG L, FINE format, and in RAW format frame buffer was 27 frames, which is 1 frame more than the Nikon D2H. Thus, the buffer has become smaller.

Here I want to note that the camera has a very small shutter lag, dimming time JVI, short turn-on and reaction times. Everything is configured for the most efficient work..

Nikon D2H is 3 fps faster than Nikon D1H. Nikon D3 began to shoot at 3 fps faster Nikon D2H. Nikon D5 is 3 fps faster than Nikon D4s. But the difference between Nikon D3 / D3s and D4 / D4s is not so significant.

Nikon D2H

Nikon D2H

JFET-LBCAST sensor (not CMOS and not CCD)

Nikon D2H uses a unique sensor made by technology JFET-LBCAST (Junion Guntil FfieldEeffect Transistor - Llateral Buried Charge Accumulator and Sensing Transistor). The technology has been developed directly by Nikon for about 10 years. While the world hasn't seen JFET-LBCAST being used anywhere other than Nikon D2H / 2Hs, I want to give credit to Nikon for investing in something new. It's a pity, but the sensor has a normal Bayer pattern to create a color image.

Previous Nikon D1H and D100 had a basic ISO range of 200 to 1600 units, expandable to 3200 (ISO Hi1) and 6400 (ISO Hi2). A new Nikon D2H camera came out with a new sensor, which Nikon praised in every possible way, but at the same time, the ISO range remained exactly the same. Revolution did not happen. Most likely, the technology failed, since the Nikon D2 camera already with a CMOS sensor became the successor to the Nikon D2H / D3Hs. In addition to the Nikon D2H came out Nikon D2X, which became the first camera on a CMOS sensor. It is rumored that it was the LBCAST developments that enabled Nikon to design successful sensors for its TOP cameras based on CMOS technology.

Only 2 Nikon cameras were produced using JFET-LBCAST technology: D2H, D2Hs (which are, in fact, the same thing). In short, the LBCAST technology is similar to CMOS, the main difference is the use of JFETs instead of MOSFETs, a different signal sensing method and other engineering subtleties that 'should not worry a true photographer'.

The sensor does not support electronic shutter. Older Nikon D1, D1H, D1X had the first electronic shutter shutter, which allowed the use of the shortest shutter speed equal to 1 / 16.000 seconds. Nikon D2H uses a mechanical shutter, minimal excerpt increased by 2 times and amounted to 1/8000 seconds. Similarly increased excerpt flash sync (from 1/500 to 1/250 seconds).

At the time of Nikon's D2H release, it was announced that the JFET-LBCAST would have a lower noise level due to less heating of the sensor during operation (compared to older CCD type sensors). But, as practice has shown, the noise level practically did not change. The Nikon D2H is only slightly less 'noisy' than previous models. The nature of the noise is very similar to that of old CMOS sensors. Photographers infected with nostalgia for the old days like to attribute to the Nikon D2H 'noise like grain of film'.

As for image quality, for our time the camera creates a fairly high noise level already at ISO 800. White balance often produces an unacceptable result. For a more or less tolerable result, you need to pick RAW. Skinton and color, by and large, are quite controversial. In any case, Nikon D2H will need to get used to the color rendering for a while. Color reproduction is similar to cameras with a CMOS sensor. The picture has a very low dynamic range. With 12-bit RAW and only 4 MP, you won’t especially accelerate during post-processing. But the small number of megapixels allows you to easily receive detailed images even using poor optics.

My experience

I am absolutely delighted with the old Nikon D2H. A lot of time passed, but still the lower-level cameras, such as Nikon D810, Nikon Df or Nikon D7200 etc.

The Nikon D2H is now the cheapest Nikon DSLR, allowing you to shoot at 8 fps. If you use it at ISO 200-400, then even nowadays you can pull a lot from it.

Great JVI allows you to comfortably work with manual optics, however, for creative work, I would prefer something else.

Sample Photos

All shot using lenses Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm 1: 1.8 (MKII, NJ), Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm 1: 1.8 (MKI) и Sigma AF TELE 1: 5.6 f = 400mm MULTI-COATED APO. Photos without processing, on-camera JPEG with different settings.

You can download source files in RAW format (without compression) at this link (79 files in the '.NEF' format, 354 MB).

Prices for modern Nikon cameras in popular stores can look at this link.

Comments on this post do not require registration. Anyone can leave a comment. Many different photographic equipment can be found on AliExpress.


Nikon D2H is a legend. Fast, reliable, but outdated TOP camera.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram

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Comments: 54, on the topic: Review Nikon D2H

  • Radmir

    Already wanted to take such a camera and shoot)!

  • wj

    I have one. I bought it to play around in order to understand how convenient (or inconvenient) the camera form factor with an integrated vertical grip is in practice. It turned out that for my style of shooting, such a large camera is not suitable - too large and heavy. I will sell back. At the same time, I didn't want to have any top-end carcass like D4 / D5 :)

  • Pastor

    Cool review, a long time ago there was no such rarity. It's nice that the people continue to give Arkady an interesting technique for reviews, thanks to them. In general, the camera is excellent even now. If you find at a price of 15 thousand (although they put more on Avito), then it will work just like a reportage camera for taking pictures on the Internet to a site. The speed is the same as in 7d, while the convenient case and the minimum space on the map consumes. As for me, an interesting camera even now. Although for the money you can take the d3300, but it does not have that comfort and charm :)

    • Alexander

      I ask you, I will take it in rubles if you transfer thousands for 4)

      • Pastor

        So you're lucky wilder, on average, Avito in Russia over the past year cheaper than 12 will not work.

        • Alexander

          I don’t know, they sold Nikon D7,5x for 1 thousand rubles, I won’t tell the city for sure. In Russia. On Instagram I saw someone, looked.

          • Pastor

            Yes, I also saw Odnerka, but I haven’t met deuces so cheaply yet. For 7.5 d2x would take with pleasure in a fully operational state :)

            • Alexander

              I took myself satisfied. Although D1, too, would have bought myself with joy, interesting cameras.

  • Pilotpirks

    I can clearly see the greenish tint in the skin

    • Oleg

      Just this camera still took dinosaurs

      • Alexander

        It would be interesting to look at the diplodocus and Nikon) not so long ago it was)

      • wildebeest

        And cute (mind you) dinosaurs came out. Not that with the new cameras.

      • Gamak

        Such commentators are enraged! You, mister teenager, need to “take a picture” on your phone, but as a last resort you should buy the cheapest soap dish. And shoot only in AUTO mode!

    • Alexander

      Well, maybe there is, so what?) I bought a camera for myself for fun, at a very low price. Sharp, fast, but with features. Does it take off?)

    • wildebeest

      Buy a normal monique or calibrate the old one (if available). Everything is fine with the skin tone. And the camera is zashibetskaya and gives excellent colors, unlike the new Nikonov. Although not a CCD.

      • Alexander

        Oh, just don’t fill in about some “sacred flowers”. Normal, good colors in good light, nothing more.

  • Simon

    I don’t know, I don’t know ... the big little one, but I see what I see ... a very noble image ... after all, these top-end ones have some kind of magic ... their picture is different and it looks professionally beautiful, somehow in a special way ...

  • Alexander

    … Unfortunately, not everything is so great. Even on your small “resizes” noise is noticeable already at ISO 200 !!! And this is taking into account the 4MP matrix !!! Poorly.

    • wildebeest

      What do you want from such an old camera? Buy D4, D5, and you will have a part. Allow me at least on mule and without noise. And these cameras are not taken to look at the picture pixel by pixel, and even without noise ...

  • anonym

    Still, Fujik S5Pro will be better, they offered me Nikon D2N FOR CHEAPER, did not take it, Fujik would be more pleasant.

    • Lynx


      • Alexander

        Well, of course, it's better, so don't confuse the years, and what the cameras were used for. The killed autofocus, of course, for alignment, but I'm used to it, and I shoot with Helios 44M-4 - and the picture is pleasant, and somehow it's easy to shoot in the shower. If you don't bother with technical nuances, little things in processing, find fault with pixels and DD - believe me, the camera is excellent, really. And for the money that I took, she is generally a dream!

        • Lynx

          Well, for 4 thousand, yes - lovely.
          although I probably would be for them…. rather d40, but what kind of “cool size and prof” could also be - to make an impression on people. ))

          • Alexander

            I already have 4 cameras, I liked it, but I don’t shoot people) Nice thing. Everyone has their own favorite camera)

          • Vitaliy U

            I agree with you. And if you need a "type-large")) then Fuj C3 Pro and the corpus of prof. , and the color is excellent, and ISO up to 800 working, and it is not expensive.

            • Lynx

              here the choice between the three and the five is complicated. Five is still more practical. but they say that the three are even tastier in color

  • Sergey.

    And I really liked the pictures. Some kind of living, natural. The color is also mine. I love when warm shades. Arkady, thanks for the review!

  • Igor

    there was a thing, drove a sting around this camera, but never matured. Of all that was from D3 D3s D4 left only the first, more pleasant in color.

    • Vladimir

      And “color” is “stretched” in Photoshop ...

      • Igor

        Gave a little. Then shoot in a jeep and no one parilov.

        • Alexander

          Well, the camera in the review is mine, but it shoots sharply and beautifully for my 19-inch monitor in full screen. In Jipeg =)

  • Grandfather

    Creating Nikon D2H, Nikon didn’t think that after so many years, photo drivers will find flaws in it.

    • Alexander

      Honestly, I sent for review, and did not think that people would treat her so negatively.

      • Lynx

        well, the camera is all controversial at the present time, but quite interesting for “inexpensive and good shooting”

        • Alexander

          For the sake of the soul) I have a Kenon 300D, I took it for a penny, and a mirrorless mirror, and the picture is different and beautiful for everyone) Previously, masterpieces generally shot an obscura on the camera)

          • Lynx

            Well Duc, that's why they are - someone else's soul of darkness. ))
            and I don’t see any particularly negative reviews, actually.

            • Alexander

              In general, I'm surprised - many have something to send for a review, although not new, but interesting - but everyone somehow huddles. It's a pity, or what?)

              • Jury

                it is not always a pity - sometimes Arkady is not interested, sometimes he does not have time for reviews, sometimes there are already reviews of what is on hand. Thank you, Alexander, Arkady - special thanks :)

              • Lynx

                I feel sorry for someone, the majority in general in Russia, with the transfer of one desire, across the border then.
                Well and yes, most of the old, especially Nikon's technology is already in the reviews

            • Oleg

              I agree with the Lynx. There is no negative. As for the dinosaurs, they joked. And kenon-nikon-skinton is already an old song you can’t take it to heart

      • Yarkiya

        But don’t be upset, you never know how many people don’t like it, it doesn’t apply to you, on the contrary, respect and gratitude are on a par with Arkady.

  • varezhkin

    yes ... but to ctsd does not hold out. the color is worse, and it seems by DD.

  • Dim

    On such cameras it is good to assess the speed of progress. Sometimes it seems that all the improvements are continuous marketing, but this camera clearly shows that in some of the parameters it was radically improved at one time.
    Nevertheless, the D40 against its background looks even better for the amateur.

  • Vitaliy U

    I don’t know, I don’t really like large cameras ... they attract much attention (in conjunction with the 80-200 - generally a “pipe”)), and a large bag is needed. On all my cameras (d700, d7000, Fuji S5Pro) I have bat blocks (I bought with them), but I don't use them. I liked the color from the old man, but the low working ISO, this is no longer good.

  • Andrei

    Thanks Arkady for the review. About a year and a half ago I had this camera - my impressions and work experience were the best, before that I had Nikon D5000, D90, D200, D7000, but I liked D2H the most and in what moments:
    1) in any camera I did not get such pleasure from picking with RAW files - raw photos really turned into photoshop, although the jeep is also quite good
    2) a very interesting color rendition and the nature of the noise, really something like a film
    3) the viewfinder, it is very large light, can be conveniently shot with glasses
    4) ergonomics, large buttons
    here is a very interesting article about the matrix JFET-LBCAST -http: //

  • anonym

    Does it make sense to buy one inoperative?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      If only you can for a cheap repair.

  • Alex 917

    I have such a camera - I bought it in May 2016.
    big one. heavy. bright viewfinder. one memory card slot
    for some reason does not twist Af-d glasses - only Af-s
    and put 3-4 glasses - they are all exactly working - checked on other cameras.
    the battery is just a beast - shooting a wedding is not a question.
    It’s not worth going above iso800.
    colors are good. raw stretches decently - the picture pleases.
    if you shoot with good light, then generally with which thread the fresher brother cannot be distinguished from nikon with the size of the picture in the same mp.
    nikon 17-55 2.8 works fine, but sigma 24 1.4 already has a large number of misses on the open - when shooting at the center point in poor light, the percentage of misses is very decent.
    but in any case - the camera is extremely interesting, with its own texture / feature / soul.
    they are not especially on Avito - there are no prices indicated in 7.5 or so, and now in Krasnodar for 22k and Komsomolsk for 18k.
    if you do not chase MP, then very interesting option - you can do a reportage with it.
    I shot it like that in the summer for the guys in the hookah bar - it's not even bad, but only with soft box, because there was no light at all. Pts decent result.

  • Ramis Ebellehovich

    What is the pixel size of the camera?

    • Pawel

      So count dear, divide the area of ​​the APS-C sensor by 4 million and get, I'm too lazy. But I’ll say for sure that more microns

    • Pokemon

      Why then do you need a pixel size?
      This value is abstract by and large. Because it is better not to compare matrices by pixel size. Occupation is useless.

  • Ramis Ebellehovich

    I am not a mathematician. we don’t have such an item at all

  • Toby

    I came to the D2H from a pair of D1X and before that, a pair of Leica M3. All of which I still have. The D2H is a better camera even though fewer pixels. 4 mpl rather than 5.3 mpl and a better battery. For the average shooter, this level of sensitivity is fine. noise? Well we used Kodak Tri-X for decades, I think it came out in 1954, the same as the Leica M3. Pix from Don McCullin and Larry Burroughs and Sean Penn and Sean Flynn were highly praised. No-one complained about grainy pictures.
    Many have noticed that the older professional Nikons like the D1/2/3 etc appear to be exceptionally reliable. I've seen some advertising that they have had over 200,000 shutter clicks. Mine has 20,000 and has been amateur owned and looked after.
    Quality pictures need a steady hand, good glass, low iso (I use 200) good light and a contrasty scene. Not necessarily 100 megapixels!

    • B. R. P.

      Good shots take talent and luck.

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