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Nikon D3X SLR Review
Nikon has announced the D3X, its latest high-resultion professional DSLR. Sporting an imaging sensor with double the number of photosites of the popular D3, the 24.5 megapixel D3x includes similar features such as a 3.0″, 920,000 dot LCD monitor with Live View, 51-point autofocus, EXPEED image processing and HDMI output. To keep up with the demands of stock photography the camera produces 50MB 14-bit RAW files that can be processed to produce 140MB TIFFs. It also supports Nikon’s wireless system and is compatible with Nikon’s new GP-1 GPS unit.
Nikon Sets New Standard For Professional D-SLRs Introducing the 24.5MP D3X.
Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 1 December 2008 – Nikon Europe today introduced its new top-of-the-range D-SLR, the D3X. Building on the reliability, handling and durability of the award-winning D3, the D3X offers an imaging sensor with far higher resolution than its counterpart, breaking new ground in imaging quality. The all-new 24.5MP CMOS sensor makes the new camera eminently suitable for the broadest range of shooting situations, both in the studio and on location, and will be especially appreciated by uncompromising photographers in nature photography, studio work and fashion.
“This is the camera that many professional photographers have been waiting for,” said Robert Cristina, Manager Professional Products and NPS 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 Multi-CAM3500FX 51-point autofocus system enables extremely accurate single-point 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 FX-format CMOS sensor with 24.5 megapixels
The D3X employs a new Nikon FX-format CMOS sensor with 24.5 effective megapixels covering an area of 35.9 x 24.0 mm to achieve truly amazing resolution. What’s more, we’ve optimized the pixel characteristics to provide a higher S/N ratio and wider dynamic range by securing a greater amount of light received by each pixel, thereby reducing lost highlights and shadows, and ensuring smoother tone reproduction with minimized noise.
Wide sensitivity range starting at ISO 100
At normal setting, the D3X offers a wide range of sensitivity — from ISO 100, suitable for stroboscopic setting in studio shoots, to ISO 1600. It realizes superior image quality with less noise at ISO 1600 as well as at low sensitivity settings. What’s more, the sensitivity range can be increased by two stops (up to ISO 6400 equivalent) and decreased by one stop (down to ISO 50 equivalent), offering an even greater diversity of shooting possibilities. Auto sensitivity control is also available.
New EXPEED-based image processing
A new image processing system, based on Nikon’s comprehensive EXPEED digital image processing and specially optimized for the D3X, provides superior image quality, faster processing speeds and lower power consumption. This advanced system achieves precise color reproduction for the broadest spectrum of hues, plus vivid saturation and smooth gradation, conveying colors as you see them, even with the slight changes in color tones you perceive. Furthermore, Nikon’s advanced noise processing function, which was designed to minimize noise occurrence, achieves this without interfering with other factors, including hue.
High-speed performance meets the most rigorous professional demands
Just like the D3, the D3X achieves a start-up time of 0.12 second and a shutter release time lag of 0.04 second*1*2. It delivers a continuous shooting speed of approx. 5 frames per second in FX format (36 x 24) or 5:4 (30 x 24), and 7 frames per second in DX format (24 x 16)*2*3. Also, the D3X is fully compatible with UDMA, the new-generation high-speed card that enables 35-Mbyte recording equivalent to the D3. The D3X is capable of recording approx. 7.1 MB (JPEG, image size L, NORMAL) of data captured in FX format at speeds of approx. 5 frames per second.
Realizing reliable auto control: Scene Recognition System
As with the D3, the D3X recognizes subjects and shooting scenes using a 1,005-pixel RGB sensor that precisely controls exposure by detecting not only the brightness but the colors of the subjects as well. The results are applied to control Autofocus, Auto Exposure, i-TTL Balanced Fill-flash and Auto White Balance, thereby achieving control of the highest.
AF system employing high-density 51-point AF
The Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus sensor module, originally incorporated in the D3, offers proven outstanding performance. All 51 focus points, including the 15 cross-type sensors located at the center, are effective in all AF NIKKOR lenses with a maximum aperture of f/5.6 or larger. Three AF-area modes — Single point, Dynamic-area AF and Auto-area AF — are available to maximize the use of the 51 focus points by selecting the most suitable one to match subject conditions. Moreover, in Scene Recognition System, subject identification and tracking information is applied to improve subject acquisition performance in Dynamic-area AF mode and focusing accuracy for human subjects in Auto-area AF mode.
Magnesium alloy is used for the exterior cover, chassis and mirror box to ensure light weight and rugged reliability. Strict O-ring sealing at critical connected parts effectively restricts dust and moisture.
The shutter unit, developed and manufactured by Nikon, employs a new material (carbon fiber/Kevlar® hybrid) for the shutter blades, guaranteeing excellent durability through 300,000-cycle release tests with the shutter actually loaded. Precision is also maintained with a shutter monitor.
High-resolution 3-inch LCD monitor with approx. 920k-dots (VGA), 170° wide-viewing angle and reinforced glass
The D3X incorporates a large, 3-inch LCD monitor with ultra-high resolution of approx. 920k-dots (VGA). Enlarged playback images also appear in extremely high resolution for easy focus confirmation. The wide viewing angle of 170° makes it easy to check composition in Live View shooting for both high and low angles.
Two Live View modes available
In Handheld mode, which allows the frame to be recomposed prior to actual shooting, ordinary TTL phase-difference AF using all 51 AF points is activated. Tripod mode is designed for precise focus with still subjects and tripod stabilization; It allows focal-plane contrast AF on a desired point within a specific area. Optional software Camera Control Pro 2 enables monitor focus and control shutter release from a computer. And optical Wireless Transmitter WT-4 enables wireless remote camera control and image transfer.
Picture Control System
Picture Control System offers four kinds of Picture Controls: Standard, Neutral, Vivid, and Monochrome. Choose one and use as is, or adjust image creation factors (Sharpening, Contrast, Brightness, Saturation, and Hue). Optional Picture Controls (Portrait, Landscape, D2XMODE I, D2XMODE II and D2XMODE III) are available at the Nikon website for downloading and installation to your camera.
Active D-Lighting — reproducing brightness as you see it
In settings with strong contrast, Active D-Lighting, used in combination with 3D Matrix Metering II, determines an exposure by utilizing a gradation of highlights, detects lost shadows, then reproduces them after digital processing. Rather than simply expanding the dynamic range, Active D-Lighting prevents images from looking flat through localized tone control technology, and creates realistic contrast while compensating lost shadows and highlights. Choose from Auto, Extra High, High, Normal, Low or Off setting prior to shooting.
Electronic virtual horizon
An accelerator sensor incorporated in the body of the camera detects inclination and displays it in the LCD monitor. In Live View shooting, virtual horizon is displayed in the LCD above the monitor image. It can also be displayed in the top control panel and in the exposure indicator of the viewfinder.
UDMA-compatible memory card double slot
The CompactFlash (CF) card slots are UDMA-compatible for high-speed data transfer. With the double slot, you can choose from Continuous recording, Backup recording, and RAW + JPEG Separation recording (records the same image in RAW and JPEG on different cards). You can also copy the data from one card to another.
GPS Unit GP-1 (optional)GPS records shooting information such as latitude, longitude, altitude and date of shooting. Coordinated with map information, you can create an original map using images.
Lateral chromatic aberration reduction creates images with a clear periphery using original image processing technology to significantly reduce color aberrations
Vignette Control effectively prevents reduction of light at the periphery
Optical viewfinder achieves approx. 100%*4 frame coverage and 0.7x*5 magnification in FX format
Three sensing areas: FX format (36 x 24), DX format (24 x 16), and 5:4 (30 x 24)
Customizable function button
Choice of black or white letters for shooting information display
AF fine adjustment with professional standard of accuracy
Compliant with HDMITM for high-definition image playback
Lets you shoot up to approx. 4,400 frames on a single battery charge*6
*1: Based on CIPA Guidelines
*2: In 12-bit A/D conversion mode
*3: The maximum frame rate can be chosen using Custom setting d2 [Shooting speed]. The rate is tested under the following conditions: focus mode set to C, exposure mode set to S or M, shutter speed set to 1/250 sec. or faster, with other settings set to default. If VR is on when a VR lens is used, the indicated speed may not be attained. The maximum number of shots at the maximum frame rate is determined by the selected image size and quality. The frame rate slows when the memory buffer fills.
*4 Approx. 100% (vertical/horizontal) in FX format, approx. 97% (vertical/horizontal) in DX format, approx. 100% (vertical) and approx. 97% (horizontal) in 5:4
*5 With 50mm f/1.4 lens set at infinity, -1.0m-1
*6 Using EN-EL4a lithium-ion battery at Single-frame [S] mode; based on CIPA Standards
Nikon D3x specifications
• 35.9 x 24 mm CMOS sensor
• FX format
• RGB Color Filter Array
• Built-in fixed low-pass filter
• 25.72 million total pixels
• 24.5 million effective pixels
• 3:2 aspect ratio
• 6048 x 4032 [L]
• 4544 x 3024 [M]
• 3024 x 2016 [S]
• 3968 x 2640 [L]
• 2976 x 1976 [M]
• 1984 x 1320 [S]
• 5056 x 4032 [L]
• 3792 x 3024 [M]
• 2528 x 2016 [S]
• NEF (12-bit or 14-bit, compressed or lossless compressed RAW)
• NEF + JPEG
• JPEG (EXIF 2.21)
• Nikon F mount with AF coupling and AF contacts
• No field of view crop (full-frame)
• When using DX lenses / DX mode 1.5x FOV crop
• Type G or D AF NIKKOR: All functions supported
• DX AF NIKKOR: All functions supported except FX-format (36×24)/5:4 (30×24) image size
• AF NIKKOR other than type G or D: All functions supported except 3D Color Matrix Metering II
• AI-P NIKKOR: All functions supported except autofocus and 3D Color Matrix Metering II
• Non-CPU AI NIKKOR: Can be used in exposure modes A and M; electronic rangefinder can be used if maximum aperture is f/5.6 or faster; Color Matrix Metering and aperture value display supported if user provides lens data
* IX NIKKOR lenses cannot be used
* Excluding lenses for F3AF
• 51 focus points (15 cross-type sensors)
• Multi-CAM 3500FX
• AF working range: -1 to +19 EV (ISO 100, normal temperature)
• Contrast Detect in Live View (Tripod) mode
• Single point AF
• Dynamic Area AF [9 points, 21 points, 51 points, 51 points (3D-tracking)]
• Automatic-area AF
Focus can be locked by pressing shutter-release button halfway (single-servo AF) or by pressing AE-L/AF-L button
External Speedlite only
• Program Auto [P] with flexible program
• Shutter-Priority Auto [S]
• Aperture-Priority Auto [A]
• Manual [M]
TTL full-aperture exposure metering using 1005-pixel RGB sensor
• 3D Color Matrix Metering II (type G and D lenses); color matrix metering II (other CPU lenses); color matrix metering (non-CPU lenses if user provides lens data; metering performed)
• Center-weighted: Weight of 75% given to 8, 15, or 20 mm dia. circle in center of frame or weighting based on average of entire frame (default 12 mm)
• Spot: Meters approx. 4 mm dia. circle (about 1.5% of frame) centered on selected focus point (on center focus point when non-CPU lens is used)
• 3D Color Matrix Metering: 0 to 20 EV
• Center-Weighted Metering: 0 to 20 EV
• Spot Metering: 2 to 20 EV
• At normal temperature (20°C/68°F), ISO 100 equivalent, f/1.4 lens
CPU and AI
Locked using AE-L/AF-L button
• 2 to 9 frames
• 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV steps
• +/-5.0 EV
• 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV steps
• Default: ISO 100 – 1600 in 1/3, 1/2 or 1.0 EV steps
• Boost: 50 – 6400 in 1/3, 1/2 or 1.0 EV steps, HI2 = ISO 6400
• Electronically-controlled vertical-travel focal plane shutter
• 30 to 1/8000 sec (1/3, 1/2 or 1.0 EV steps)
• Flash X-Sync: 1/250 sec
• Stop-down lens aperture by pressing button
• Activates modeling flash
• Auto (1005-pixel CCD, image sensor)
• Presets (seven) with fine tuning
• Manual presets (four)
• Color temperature in Kelvin (2500 – 10000 K, 31 steps)
• White balance bracketing (2 to 9 frames, 10,20,30 MIRED steps)
• Sharpening: Auto, 7 levels
• Contrast: Auto, 5 levels, Custom tone curve
• Brightness: 3 levels
• Saturation: Auto, 5 levels
• Hue: 5 levels
• sRGB (Standard and Vivid modes)
• Adobe RGB (Neutral mode)
• Optical-type fixed eye-level pentaprism
• Built-in diopter adjustment (-3 to +1m-1)
• Eyepoint: 18 mm (at -1.0m-1)
• Focusing screen: Type B BriteView Clear Matte VI screen
• Frame coverage 100%
• Viewfinder magnification approx 0.7x with 50 mm f/1.4 lens
• B-type BrightView Clear Matte Screen II
• Superimposed focus brackets
• On-demand grid lines
• 3.0 ” TFT LCD
• 922,000 pixels (VGA; 640 x 480 x 3 colors)
• 170° viewing angle
• Brightness adjustment
• Handheld mode: TLL phase-difference AF with 51 focus areas (15 cross-type sensors)
• Tripod mode: focal-plane contrast AF on a desired point within a specific area
• Single frame
• Continuous Low [CL]: 1 – 5 fps
• Continuous High [CH]: 5 fps (5-7 fps with DX format)
• Liveview [LV]
• Self-Timer (programmable)
• Mirror-up mode
• JPEG Large/Normal: no data yet
• RAW: no data yet
• 2 to 20 sec custom
•TTL flash control with 1,005-pixel RGB sensor; i-TTL balanced fill-flash and standard i-TTL fill-flash available with SB-800, 600 or 400
• AA (Auto Aperture-type) flash: Available with SB-800 used with CPU lens
• Non-TTL Auto: Available with Speedlights such as SB-800, 28, 27, and 22S
• Range-priority manual flash; available with SB-800
• Front-curtain Sync (normal)
• Red-Eye Reduction
• Red-Eye Reduction with Slow Sync
• Slow Sync
• Rear-curtain Sync
• -3 to +1 EV
• 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV steps
Tags images with camera orientation
• Full frame
• Thumbnail (4 or 9 images)
• One-touch zoom
• RGB histogram
• Shooting data
• Highlight point
• Auto image rotation
• Chinese (Simplified and Traditional)
48 custom functions
• USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed) Mini-B connector
• HDMI video out (version 1.3a, Type A connector)
• Remote control 10-pin terminal
• PC Sync flash terminal
• GPS: NMEA 0183 (Ver. 2.01 and 3.01) interface standard supported with 9-pin D-sub cable and GPS Cable MC-35 (optional)
• Remote control: via 10-pin terminal
FTP and PTP/IP file transfer with optional Wireless Transmitter WT-3 (IEEE 802.11 b/g)
• Dual Compact Flash Type I or II
• UDMA, Microdrive and FAT32 supported
• 36 characters of text can be input and stored in EXIF header
• Lithium-Ion EN-EL4a/EL4
• Included dual battery charger MH-22
• Optional AC adapter EH-6
160 x 157 x 88 mm (6.3 x 6.2 x 3.4 in)
1220 g (2.11 lb)
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