D100 - can they be re-shelled?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Ian Rance, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. Since my D50 started playing up earlier in the year I have been without a digital SLR, I had kind of given up but looking in the local shop this week they have a D100 for sale at an excellent price of 120 pounds! However the body is extremely shiny from the past owner holding it and it looks weary and scraped up. As it was so cheap I thought that for another £80 or so I could buy a new exterior and make it like new again for a still cheap £200-ish. But before I go down this route I thought I would ask if anyone has done this and is it straightforwards to do?
    I do have some engineering skills but don't want to find that it is a rats maze in there with parts bonded and short wires cramping my work.
    Your experiences welcomed.
  2. If it shows that sort of external wear and tear, the cosmetics are the least of your concerns. What's the shutter count? You're also likely to need a new battery. Honestly, I just can't imagine buying and planning to use a D100, no matter the price. I think I'd almost prefer another used D50 or D70. Add up what you're talking about, and you're getting pretty close to a half-way-through-its-life not-too-abused D200, which is a much better camera, and likely to live a lot longer.
  3. pge


    +1 on the D200.

    If you are talking about the rubber grips, I have replaced them on a D200. It was easy and worth while. If memory serves me Matt also replaced his. If you are talking about any of the plastic case I doubt a user can do anything about that.
  4. 200 pounds for a D100... seems like way too much, especially considering it saw clearly a lot of use. Since the D80 has been made unpopular due to its somewhat overly happy matrix metering, the prices for those seem to be relatively low. It would be much nicer to look around for (at least does not have a peeking hole like on the D50, D70 and D100... but a proper viewfinder).
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Even a brand new D100 still has a lot of limitations, and they labour to change the shell is non-trivial. A D90 or D200 if
    you must be able to meter with AI lenses are better choices. To put it bluntly, I wouldn't waste my photo ops on a
    D100 now in 2011; in fact I have been saying that for at least 3 years. And I still own a D100.
  6. Indeed, you can give most Nikon bodies fresh sex appeal by replacing all of the exterior rubber grips/coverings. Easy, cheap, and kinda gratifying. My D200 definitely needed it after lots and lots of time in the field. The D300, to which I've been even more cruel than my D200, simply hasn't needed that ... better first round adhesives/materials, perhaps. Regardless: I'd truly try to get into at least the D200/D80's generation of bodies. You'll be very glad you did.
  7. I have reserved the D100 pending the input here - sounds like I should perhaps un-reserve it now. Out of interest may I ask what exactly about the D100 makes it unpopular today?
  8. SCL


    Ian - I owned a D100 from its introduction until last year...it served me well. However, it honestly is way behind its later relatives in terms of features and its sensor. The price you're talking about is way overpriced BTW, especially given its condition. I found a good used D300 (which looked new cosmetically and hadn't been used very often) for about $600 USD...just had to be patient and follow up a series of leads over a couple of months. The difference is like light and day, and I love the built in intervalometer for some of my work
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Ian, the main issue with the D100 (and to a lesser degree the D2H, D2X, D200, and D80) is that digital technology advances in rapid pace over the last decade. Even the D3/D300 generation is showing it age a bit. The D2X/D200 generation is clearly old compared to the latest cameras; the D100 is from one futher generation back.
    I bought a brand new D100 almost as soon as it became available in the summer of 2002, as I had a trip to Australia in September 2002 so that I needed to get familiar with the new camera. Back then, it felt fine but clearly the D100 is not as good as my F5 and F100 back then. Looking back, there are the main issues:
    • The D100 is very slow, limited by a tiny RAW buffer of 5 frames, and writing each RAW file to memory card takes like 8 seconds.
    • Compressed RAW is done in software and takes like 30 seconds for each image, yes, really slow.
    • High-ISO results such as @ ISO 800 is horrible. Today, ISO 800 is not even considered high any more.
    • The D100 uses D-TTL, not i-TTL compatible
    • The back LCD is tiny in today's standards.
    • The viewfinder is not of good quality, difficult for manual focusing
    • Cannot meter with AI/AI-S lenses
    • No live view
    • Consumer-grade construction. The D100 was modified from the F80/N80 from 10 years ago. The N80 was a $300 film SLR back then.
    • Dynamic range, color ... are all of ancient quality.
  10. pge


    The D200 is still a fine camera and handles all those nice ai lenses that you have. Yes the LCD is a bit small, although larger than the D100, and yes you have to keep it at iso 800 or less, but it handles well and takes a fine shot. I just checked craigs list and they go for around $400 (canadian). I would not give mine away for that. I use mine now as a vacation camera and I am always pleasantly reminded about what a nice camera it is when I take it away.
  11. OT: What will happen to all these cameras in 2 to 5 years from now? It seems the first line of (semi) pro digital bodies are now about to completely end their lives altogether. I doubt these will become collectors' items like the film bodies did. After the fist 10 years or so of digital life, are we entering an age when millions of cameras will suddenly become obsolete? Of course, computers are a bigger problem, but unlike cameras, they could be scavenged for parts.... something unlikely to happen with a digital camera. Are we putting a burden on the next generation?
    (maybe I should create a new thread for this...)
    To the OP, the D200 is usable and pretty good. The D100 is limiting in several ways, especially basic ergonomics.
  12. I don't think the cosmetics of the camera are the least bit relevant, assuming you plan to take pictures with it rather than put it in a case as a collector's item. But many years ago I was the teenager who intentially rubbed the black body of my first Nikon F2 back and forth on concrete so the brass would show and it would have that "professional" look of cameras belonging to newspaper photographers I rubbed shoulders with. I did end up becoming a newspaper photographer for a while. But I learned to let the brassing come naturally. :) Beyond cosmetics, I think there are other reasons to take a pass on a D100 at this point as others have indicated.
  13. I imagine you could find another one in better cosmetic shape for less than what it would cost you to reshell that one. Besides, if it saw that much use, its mechanicals might be wearing too.
  14. Ian, you remind me of a guy I knew in college. In 1994 I bought a new computer for $2500. He complained that all of his computers were slow. "All?" I asked, since I only had 1 computer. It turns out he had over 15. About 5 of them he got for free, the others he paid between $100-300 for.
    I showed him what a new computer could do, how fast it was, the games it could play, etc. He was impressed but he enjoyed having lots of old stuff to tinker with but over time I realized that he liked to complain about NOT having the latest. I don't know how a psychologist would diagnose that but in the end I realized that if he really wanted to he could stop buying old junk and save his money to buy ONE good computer.
  15. Another good reason to NOT buy a D100 is the Green Screen of Death. While shooting one day, the screen on my D100 suddenly lit up with what looked like green static then went stone cold dead. I was never able to revive it and ended up selling it on Ebay for parts. As I recall this happened on occasion with early models and was totally unpredictable.
    I currently use a D200 and D300 both of which are far, far better than the D100.
  16. I was the teenager who intentially rubbed the black body of my first Nikon F2 back and forth on concrete so the brass would show​
    You rubbed it on concrete? You RUBBED it on CONCRETE!? I still remember losing sleep after the "passed" sticker fell off my Canon TX.
  17. If it's about price, I'd get a D40 or D40x. A little higher are D60 and D200. D200 in particular is an amazing camera and ages ahead of D100 and can be obtained for less than 300 £, maybe even close to 200 £.
    As for 'refurbishing' a Nikon camera, well, check the repair manual. It's a complete maze. You can't even dismount the hot shoe without taking apart the whole camera. Remember someone saying a D5100 contains 4 billion screws? All Nikons are like that.
  18. Dude, I just noticed who's the OP. Ian, member of our little APS fanclub :) Well that makes sense. We both like to play with old cameras, both digital and analogue. But no, I wouldn't play with a D100. I'd get a D40 if I'd want that old trustworty CCD sensor. Or better, Epson R-D1/s/x. Still, D200 is the best way to go.
  19. Ian,
    it is too expensive (the original price and the money you intend to spend on refurbishing it), thus, not feasible. What would be an acceptable price? Well, I have recently bought one off e**y for ~50USD. Technically dead (would not power on), but cosmetically in mint condition (and I know what a heavily used d100 looks like, as I have worked with one for several years). The repair cost me another 60USD (have yet to find out what was actually wrong with it).
    I would disagree with some of the posters regarding this camera as outdated, good for nothing, etc. For a reasonable price, it is a very capable performer. Yes, it is not for someone after high fps, low light capability (beyond ISO800), live view, modern ttl, or millions of pixels. What it has is a very distinctive manner of colour handling - which either pleases you or not. In fact, when the light is ok, the raw produced straight from the camera is at times way more pleasing (due to colour, tonal reproduction, etc) and requires less PP than the raw from my D700. Its noise pattern is also significantly different from that in d700 - at times it could be mistaken for a film grain. I have used this camera for several years, shooting theatre performances, concert halls, etc - all distinguished for their poor/complicated lighting. I have printed 90x70 or even larger and the results are excellent.
    That said, it is most likely a camera for someone who attaches some sentimental value to it. Otherwise, a d80, or a d200 would be a far better choice by today's standards. Unless you get a clean d100 dirt cheap, which, in my humble opinion, should not go beyond 80-90GBP.
    Sadly, it is not possible to check the shutter count on these bodies. Maybe Nikon can do it, but no exif reader can.
  20. Thanks for the thoughts - and I will be passing on it (reservation cancelled) now I have more info. I do like a challenge though and I hoped that I would be able to get a weary camera with an uncertain future back to good shape. I did that with an F5 and am glad I did - new rubber and film door later it is one of my main cameras due to the built-in grip. Sounds like the D100 is not the same in many ways.
  21. Dan,, well it might actually have been asphalt rather than concrete. I was shooting a Dotty West concert (country singer who later performed with Kenny Rogers) at a local carnival/fair, and sitting on the ground in front of the "ShowMobile" stage. Worked part-time in high school and college as a newspaper photographer, and after college transitioning from photos to reporting, but my gear got plenty of dings along the way. Proudly considered them proof that I was out in the world putting my cameras to good rugged use and not babying them. That first F2 is still kicking, with gaffer tape holding the eyepiece frame onto the prism. It also has some scrapes where I used a hacksaw blade to cut off a tripod screw that got jammed. Somewhere I have a third-hand 28/3.5 that used to be taped together and fixed-focused on about 10 feet (which at f/16 would cover everything from a couple of feet onward) but it worked just fine. I'm actually a little more careful these days, and don't shoot nearly as much so my newer gear is in much better shape.
  22. Ian,I'll share my own experience. Long time Nikon film user,like yourself. Started on dslrs with a D100,well pre-loved,but not as cosmetically challenged as the unit you describe.
    After 18 months of learning curve, upgraded (?) to a pre-loved D80 - selling the D100 for 75% of its cost. Both these cameras at least,had a proper prism ,rather than the miserable penta-mirror of the D70 and many others. Where the D100 was ok,the D80 is better, much better in the viewing/focusing area. And the bigger rear lcd is a big improvement as well. In short -the D100 on steroids.
    Thom Hogan identified the 80's major " weak point" : Matrix metering. Since I think M/M is as valuable as,um,tits on a bull , I don't find it a weakness. Others may differ. D80 seems to me to give 89% of the D200's good features ,for a discount. And the pictures have some more pixels.
    But, you have an F5 chained to the bench. Now, that's a camera.
    Art Director handed me her D70 w/Zoom lens -so we we could agree on a 50mm equivalent focal length (widely used forensic/legal lens here) AD's camera , and I handed her an 801s with a 50 mm Nikkor.
    Ah,yes, she said ,as the camera was lowered, "those film cameras,they had great viewfinders,didn't they"? ".

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