This set of full size shots was taken with the still life left set up, because the Nikon and Canon cameras were not here at the same time. The report originally appeared in December 2008 on photoclubalpha. It compares the A900, 5DMkII and D3X using the converters supplied by the makers – Image Data Converter SR2, Digital Photo Professional, and Capture NX2. Each small image in the article can be clicked to open a Level 10 quality full size JPEG – beware, the largest is over 13MB of data.
Like Mike Johnston writing in The On-Line Photographer, I’m aware that any attempt to line up one or more cameras and show comparison images or make judgements is on to a loser from the start. And any webmaster who puts an external link in the first half dozen words of a new post is losing the plot too! But here, for what it’s worth, is the first line-up of results processed using the same software from A900 and D3X uncompressed raw files converted without sharpening or noise reduction.
This set of full size shots was taken with the still life left set up, because the Nikon and Canon cameras were not here at the same time. It compares the A900, 5DMkII and D3X using the converters supplied by the makers – Image Data Converter SR2, Digital Photo Professional, and Capture NX2. Each small image in the article can be clicked to open a Level 10 quality full size JPEG – beware, the largest is over 13MB of data.
Using a light level typical for tungsten light shots at 1600 (1/60th at f8 = 1/500th at f2.8 for action, 1/250th at f4 for concerts etc) I have made a quick first day – D3X arrived this afternoon – comparison which, in the process, also evaluates two lenses (24-120mm VR Nikkor and 28-105mm RS Minolta) and two anti-shake systems. Sadly, my 5DMkII test kit went back on the same City Link van which brought the Nikon kit. Look out for my Nikon review/s in the British Journal of Photography soon.
There are caption notes to each image. The point of targeted focus was the end of the fingerboard with the spattered rosin on it. Feel free to download and print. The red rosin cloth is interesting, so is the sharpness of the point of focus. Clicking on the small images here will open a full size 24 megapixel file in each case!
Ref the exposure difference: these were locked down manual exposures. The Sony does not appear to achieve a true ISO 1600. However, when shooting the same subject using auto exposure, the Sony image is perfectly exposed and the Nikon consistently overexposes. Here, I have set the exposure to the correct density for the Nikon.
RRP: £5499.99 / €7728.00
Availability: Late December 2008
Nikon UK is pleased to introduce its new top-of-the-range premium D-SLR – the D3X. Building on the reliability, handling and durability of the award-winning D3, the D3X offers an imaging sensor with over twice the resolution* of the revolutionary D3, breaking new ground in image quality.
(*Nikon’s own words – actually, it’s twice the pixel count, and approximately 1.42 times the linear resolution, as resolution is normally understood, though the visual information density is more than doubled).
The all-new 24.5MP CMOS* sensor makes the new model eminently suitable for the broadest range of shooting situations, both in the studio and on location – ideal for photographers seeking unrivalled detail.
(*Nikon’s own words again – we must wait to find out whether it is really all-new, or is a derivative of the Sony 24.x megapixel sensor. See features below of gapless microlens array and 12-channel readout, which are not claimed by Sony. Samsung pioneered gapless microlenses in the 14.6 megapixel sensor for the Pentax K20D/Samsung GX20).
“This is the camera that many professional photographers have been waiting for,” said Robert Cristina, Professional Products and NPS Manager at Nikon Europe. “Just as the D3 has become the professionals’ camera of choice in sports photography, the D3X’s extremely high imaging resolution will raise the bar for commercial, fashion and stock photography. The results speak for themselves: this is without doubt our highest-quality camera to date.”
The World is Your Studio
The D3X boasts a specially-developed FX-format CMOS image sensor with 12-channel readout, gapless micro lens array and on-chip noise reduction. It delivers class-leading levels of continuous shooting speed and noise management at higher sensitivities without sacrificing detail.
The D3X supports a broad ISO range from ISO 100-1600, extendable down to ISO 50 and up to 6400 equivalent with up to 5 fps continuous shooting at full resolution, or 7 fps in the 10MP DX-crop mode. The acclaimed MultiCAM3500FX 51-point autofocus system enables extreme accuracy with outstanding dynamic tracking for fast moving subjects in low light.
The camera’s LiveView function offers a smooth workflow option, perfect for studio work or other situations where the use of the viewfinder is impractical. The camera also delivers a superb response rate, with a start-up of just 12 milliseconds and 40ms shutter lag. The Kevlar/carbon fibre composite shutter has been designed for intensive professional needs and tested to 300,000 cycles.
Images with the X factor
The D3X reaps the benefits of the very latest developments in sensor design and image processing technology. Designed to produce files suitable to meet the demands of tomorrow’s commercial and stock requirements, the camera produces 50MB 14-bit NEF (Raw) files. Using Capture NX2 software, NEF files can be processed into medium format terrain; 140MB (16-bit TIFF-RGB). Fine details are reproduced with incredible clarity, whilst shadows and highlights contain tonal gradation with minimal clipping for pictures with a unique look and feel.
The D3X shares the same ergonomics and handling as the D3, which have been designed to enable anyone to get to work quickly and efficiently. The bright, uncluttered viewfinder features 100% coverage and comprehensive illuminated displays, while the high-definition, 3-inch, 920,000-dot VGA TFT monitor enables outstanding playback quality for on-the-spot image assessment. The D3X’s magnesium body, which is sealed for moisture and dust resistance, also supports Nikon’s wireless system (the WT-4), HDMI output, offers a dual slot for CF cards and is compatible with the new GP-1 GPS unit.
Nikon has introduced some of the technologies we might expect to see from Sony, apparently using the IMX021 sensor (the pixel count on the long edge is 4288, rather than 4272 as normally processed from a Sony Alpha 700 file, but this is within the usual limits of different raw conversions). The D90 is an A700-class camera for £699 but includes Live View with face detection contrast-detect focusing, 720p HD movie recording up to 5 minutes, 4.5fps continuous shooting, ISO to 3200 (6400 HI), and Auto Distortion Correction when fitted with current Nikon lenses.
USERS of the Nikon D3 downloading the latest firmware update have found information strings referring to the D3X and listing the file sizes the forthcoming camera will produce. The sizes match the pixel count of the Sony full-frame CMOS sensor due to be used in the ‘Alpha 900’ Sony full-frame body. Continue reading »