There's no truth to the rumour, say representatives of Nikon Canada and Nikon USA, that during routine servicing an internal component is being replaced in D1 cameras that helps reduce image noise. The so-called "silent upgrade" of the D1's "CCD amplifier", which has been discussed on several Internet forums as well as on the D1 Discussion List, supposedly results in Nikon's flagship digital SLR producing much less noise when shot at higher ISOs in particular.
Nikon USA tech staff, including Bill Pekala and Scott Frier, as well as Nikon Canada service boss Gerhard Brahms, indicate that no such upgrade is taking place. Furthermore, say both Brahms and Frier, it wouldn't make sense for a component change like this to be made for some D1 owners and not for others, as would be the case if it were done only when a camera was brought in for other service work.
Pictures posted on the Web from a camera that supposedly had been upgraded, says Pekala, were shot under "good lighting conditions" and as such would not show much noise anyway. I've seen the images that Pekala is referring to, and agree that they do not serve as credible evidence of improved D1 noise response in the camera used to shoot them.
The original posting of this story prompted a lively discussion in the Nikon D1 forum. It's worth checking out to get a sense of the level of discussion on this topic, which ranges from the bizarre - one respondent added noise to a photo in Photoshop to create the before photo in a bogus before/after upgrade comparison - to the earnest - Ron Reznick's contention that his D1 is much more usable, post-upgrade, for available light, high ISO shooting.