Digital cameras have come along way in the last 20 years, but just how far? Blair Bunting recently took an almost-as-new Nikon D1 out for a spin to see how it stacked up to modern cameras.
Over on DIY Photography, Blair has written up his thoughts in two posts. Since he was a kid, Blair has always loved trains, so he thought they were the perfect subject for a little comparison test. In the first post, Blair rocked the Nikon D1 with its revolutionary 2.7-megapixel sensor, two stops of dynamic range, and usable max ISO of 200. That's serious spec-porn for 1999. What's incredible to see is that even working with such limited gear, Blair was still able to produce some strong images like the shot above.
In the follow-up article, Blair shot with four modern cameras: the Nikon D850, Sony a7R III, Nikon Z7, and Hasselblad X1D. I'm not going to list specs for all four, but let's just say that none of them has a 2.7 MP image sensor. While the photos are certainly a lot more impressive from all the modern cameras, there's something about the rough charm of the D1's shot that still appeals to me.
What's most interesting, though, are Blair's thoughts after using all the cameras on how the photography landscape has shifted (and not shifted) over the last two decades. It's easy to dismiss incremental, iterative updates (hey, Canon!), but over time, they add up to major technological advancements.
I don't think Blair will be replacing all his cameras with early DSLRs anytime soon, but I don't doubt the D1 deserves a place on his shelf, if only for its historical value.
Images used with permission of Blair Bunting.