PW

Contax N Digital vs Nikon D1H

The Contax N Digital and the Nikon D1H are two professional cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2002 and February 2001. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (N Digital) and an APS-C (D1H) sensor. The Contax has a resolution of 6.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 2.6 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Contax N Digital VS Nikon D1H
Contax N Digital Nikon D1H
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Contax N mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
6.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor 2.6 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 50-1600 ISO 200-800 (200-3200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.0" LCD, 200k dots 2.0" LCD, 120k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Not weather sealedWeathersealed body
100 shots per battery charge1200 shots per battery charge
152 x 138 x 80 mm, 990 g 157 x 153 x 85 mm, 1100 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Contax N Digital and the Nikon D1H? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Contax N Digital and the Nikon D1H. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Contax N Digital vs Nikon D1H
Compare N Digital versus D1H top
Comparison N Digital or D1H rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D1H is notably larger (15 percent) than the Contax N Digital. Moreover, the D1H is markedly heavier (11 percent) than the N Digital. It is noteworthy in this context that the D1H is splash and dust-proof, while the N Digital does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

As can be seen in the images above, both cameras have a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Contax N Digital» 152 mm 138 mm 80 mm 990 g 100 n Feb 2002 7,399iContax N Digital
 
Nikon D1H« 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 Y Feb 2001 4,499iNikon D1H
 
Canon XC10« » 125 mm 102 mm 122 mm 1040 g .. n Apr 2015 2,499iCanon XC10
 
Canon 10D« » 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999iCanon 10D
 
Canon 300D« » 142 mm 99 mm 72 mm 649 g 400 n Aug 2003 899iCanon 300D
 
Canon D60« » 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 855 g 620 n Feb 2002 2,999iCanon D60
 
Leica M10« » 139 mm 80 mm 39 mm 660 g 210 Y Jan 2017 6,595 iLeica M10
 
Leica SL« » 147 mm 104 mm 39 mm 847 g 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450iLeica SL
 
Leica M9« » 139 mm 80 mm 37 mm 585 g .. n Sep 2009 7,999iLeica M9
 
Nikon D2Xs« » 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699iNikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D2X« » 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999iNikon D2X
 
Nikon D2H« » 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1070 g 2900 Y Jul 2003 3,499iNikon D2H
 
Nikon D100« » 144 mm 116 mm 81 mm 780 g 370 n Feb 2002 1,999iNikon D100
 
Nikon D1X« » 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999iNikon D1X
 
Nikon D1« » 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g .. Y Jun 1999 5,499iNikon D1
 
Panasonic FZ1000« » 137 mm 99 mm 131 mm 831 g 360 n Jun 2014 899iPanasonic FZ1000
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The D1H was launched at a markedly lower price (by 39 percent) than the N Digital, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

 

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Contax N Digital features a full frame sensor and the Nikon D1H an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D1H is 57 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Contax N Digital and Nikon D1H sensor measures

With 6.1MP, the N Digital offers a higher resolution than the D1H (2.6MP), but the N Digital has marginally smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 11.90μm versus 11.93μm for the D1H). However, the N Digital is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year) than the D1H, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The resolution advantage of the Contax N Digital implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the N Digital for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 15.2 x 10 inch or 38.6 x 25.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 12.2 x 8 inch or 30.9 x 20.4 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 10.1 x 6.7 inch or 25.7 x 17 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D1H are 10 x 6.6 inch or 25.4 x 16.7 cm for good quality, 8 x 5.2 inch or 20.3 x 13.3 cm for very good quality, and 6.7 x 4.4 inch or 16.9 x 11.1 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Contax N Digital has a native sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D1H are ISO 200 to ISO 800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-3200.

N Digital versus D1H MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Contax N Digital Full Frame 6.1 3040 2008none........Contax N Digital
 
Nikon D1H APS-C 2.6 2000 1312none........Nikon D1H
 
Canon XC10 1-inch 12.0 4000 30004K/30p........Canon XC10
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.957157Canon 10D
 
Canon 300D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455Canon 300D
 
Canon D60 APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none........Canon D60
 
Leica M10 Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992none24.413.2213386Leica M10
 
Leica SL Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188Leica SL
 
Leica M9 Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472none22.511.788469Leica M9
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.948959Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D2X APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.110.947659Nikon D2X
 
Nikon D2H APS-C 4.0 2464 1632none18.910.035240Nikon D2H
 
Nikon D100 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none........Nikon D100
 
Nikon D1X APS-C 5.9 3008 1960none........Nikon D1X
 
Nikon D1 APS-C 2.6 2000 1312none........Nikon D1
 
Panasonic FZ1000 1-inch 20.0 5472 36484K/30p22.111.751764Panasonic FZ1000
Neither the N Digital nor the D1H offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The N Digital and the D1H are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the D1H offers a wider field of view (96%) than the one in the N Digital (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the N Digital has a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Contax N Digital, the Nikon D1H, and comparable cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Contax N Digitaloptical Y 2.0 200 fixed n 1/8000s 4.0 n n Contax N Digital
 
Nikon D1Hoptical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 5.0 n n Nikon D1H
 
Canon XC10none n 3.0 1030 tilting Y 1/2000s 3.8 n Y Canon XC10
 
Canon 10Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon 10D
 
Canon 300Doptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Canon 300D
 
Canon D60optical Y 1.8 114 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon D60
 
Leica M10optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 n n Leica M10
 
Leica SL4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/8000s 11.0 n n Leica SL
 
Leica M9optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.0 n n Leica M9
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D2Xoptical Y 2.5 235 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Nikon D2X
 
Nikon D2Hoptical Y 2.5 211 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 n n Nikon D2H
 
Nikon D100optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D100
 
Nikon D1Xoptical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 3.0 n n Nikon D1X
 
Nikon D1optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 1.5 n n Nikon D1
 
Panasonic FZ10002359 n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 12.0 Y Y Panasonic FZ1000

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the N Digital and the D1H write their files to Compact Flash cards.

 

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Contax N Digital and Nikon D1H and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Contax N DigitalYnonenone--noneFW---Contax N Digital
 
Nikon D1HYnonenone--noneFW---Nikon D1H
 
Canon XC10YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon XC10
 
Canon 10DYnonenone--none1.1---Canon 10D
 
Canon 300DYnonenone--none1.1---Canon 300D
 
Canon D60Ynonenone--none1.1---Canon D60
 
Leica M10Ynonenone--nonenoneY--Leica M10
 
Leica SLYstereomonoYYfull3.0Y--Leica SL
 
Leica M9Ynonenone--none2.0---Leica M9
 
Nikon D2XsYnonenone--none2.0---Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D2XYnonenone--none2.0---Nikon D2X
 
Nikon D2HYnonenone--none2.0---Nikon D2H
 
Nikon D100Ynonenone--none1.1---Nikon D100
 
Nikon D1XYnonenone--noneFW---Nikon D1X
 
Nikon D1Ynonenone--noneFW---Nikon D1
 
Panasonic FZ1000YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Panasonic FZ1000

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the N Digital and the D1H have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D1H was replaced by the Nikon D2H, while the N Digital does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Contax and Nikon websites.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Contax N Digital or the Nikon D1H – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

ilogo

Reasons to prefer the Contax N Digital:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (6.1 vs 2.6MP) with a 52% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
  • Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.53x).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (200k vs 120k dots).
  • More compact: Is smaller (152x138mm vs 157x153mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 110g or 10 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 1 year after the D1H).

ilogo

Arguments in favor of the Nikon D1H:

  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (96% vs 95%).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/16000s vs 1/8000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1200 versus 100) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (39 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in February 2001).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the N Digital emerges as the winner of the contest (10 : 7 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

N Digital 10:07 D1H

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Contax N Digital and the Nikon D1H place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the N Digital or the D1H perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Contax N Digital.......... Feb 2002 7,399iContax N Digital
 
Nikon D1H..+ +..o.. Feb 2001 4,499iNikon D1H
 
Canon XC10..80/100...... Apr 2015 2,499iCanon XC10
 
Canon 10D..+ +..o.. Feb 2003 1,999iCanon 10D
 
Canon 300D..+ +..o.. Aug 2003 899iCanon 300D
 
Canon D60..+ +o.... Feb 2002 2,999iCanon D60
 
Leica M10....4/5..4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 iLeica M10
 
Leica SL..84/1004.5/54/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450iLeica SL
 
Leica M9....4.5/54.5/5.. Sep 2009 7,999iLeica M9
 
Nikon D2Xs......o.. Jun 2006 4,699iNikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D2X..+ +..o.. Sep 2004 4,999iNikon D2X
 
Nikon D2H..+ +..o.. Jul 2003 3,499iNikon D2H
 
Nikon D100..+ +oo.. Feb 2002 1,999iNikon D100
 
Nikon D1X..+ +..o.. Feb 2001 5,999iNikon D1X
 
Nikon D1..+ +...... Jun 1999 5,499iNikon D1
 
Panasonic FZ1000+ +82/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 899iPanasonic FZ1000
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Contax N Digital:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D1H:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

~

    Specifications: Contax N Digital vs Nikon D1H

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Contax N Digital Nikon D1H
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Contax N mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2002 February 2001
    Launch Price USD 7399 USD 4499
    Sensor Specs Contax N Digital Nikon D1H
    Sensor Technology CCD CCD
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 24.0 mm 23.7 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 864 mm2 369.72 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.3 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 6.1 Megapixels 2.6 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3040 x 2008 pixels 2000 x 1312 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 11.90 μm 11.93 μm
    Pixel Density 0.71 MP/cm2 0.71 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 50-1600 ISO 200-800 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 200-3200 ISO
    Screen Specs Contax N Digital Nikon D1H
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 96%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.73x 0.53x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 2.0 inch 2.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 200k dots 120k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Contax N Digital Nikon D1H
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Contax N Digital Nikon D1H
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector Firewire Firewire
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Contax N Digital Nikon D1H
    Environmental SealingNot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type 4xAA EN-4
    Battery Life (CIPA)100 shots per charge1200 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 152 x 138 x 80 mm
    (6.0 x 5.4 x 3.1 in)
    157 x 153 x 85 mm
    (6.2 x 6.0 x 3.3 in)
    Camera Weight 990 g (34.9 oz) 1100 g (38.8 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

    You are here Home  »  CAM-parator  »  Contax N Digital vs Nikon D1H