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Nikon D3x DSLR - Preview review



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Nikon D3x DSLR - Preview
  • Nikon D3x DSLR - Preview
  • Nikon D3x DSLR - Preview
  • Nikon D3x DSLR - Preview
  • Nikon D3x DSLR - Preview
  • Nikon D3x DSLR - Preview
  • Nikon D3x DSLR - Preview
  • Nikon D3x DSLR - Preview
  • Nikon D3x DSLR - Preview
  • Nikon D3x DSLR - Preview
  • Nikon D3x DSLR - Preview
  • Nikon D3x DSLR - Preview


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If you missed it, which would've been difficult after the leaks from across the pond on Friday and over the weekend, Nikon has officially announced its D3x - the company's highest resolution DSLR to date, aimed primarily at the studio photographer. Of course, we were at the launch and had the opportunity to give it a hands-on whirl in a studio with a couple of models...

In short, the Nikon D3x is a D3 with a 24.5-megapixel CMOS sensor at its heart. This effectively ups the number of pixels by a factor of two from the D3 and D700 to give Nikon a trio of full-frame FX cameras at the top of its range.

One of the studio shots we took with the D3x

As for the details about the sensor itself, Nikon was remaining tight-lipped at the launch, referring to it as a 'Nikon exclusive design'. Whether or not we can glean from this that Nikon has modified the Sony sensor found in the 24-megapixel A900 is largely conjecture, so all we can say is that the sensor has been 'specially developed' by Nikon and features a gap-less micro lens array and a unique low-pass filter with multi-layer coating that helps to minimise moiré.

The other differences include a new 'High' D-Lighting setting to bring out more detail from shadow regions without blowing out the highlights and a narrower standard ISO range of 100-1,600 that can be extended by two stops up to 6,400 and down one to 50. As a result of the greater amount of image data, the continuous shooting rate has fallen from the D3's 9fps to a still healthy 5fps at full resolution or up to 7fps in its 10-megapixel DX format crop-mode. And, to get an idea of the data sizes we're talking about, you can expect the following file sizes:

  • NEF FX(14-Bit) = 50MB approx.

  • NEF FX(12-Bit) = 37MB approx.

  • JPEG FX Large Fine = 10mB approx.

  • NEF DX (14-Bit) =22MB approx.

  • NEF DX (12-Bit) = 16.2MB approx.

  • Converted NEF FX to 16-Bit TIFF = 143MB approx.

  • TIFF FX = 72MB approx.

The rest of the features are pretty much the same as the D3. A magnesium alloy body and mirror chamber with weather-sealing; a 100% coverage viewfinder; the excellent 3in VGA LCD with Live View; and autofocus handled admirably by the tried and tested 51-point Multi-CAM 3500 system.

Nikon's 51-point Multi-CAM 3500 system

As usual, EXPEED image processing lies within, along with Nikon's scene recognition and tracking system courtesy of a 1,005-pixel RGB sensor. There's also the Kevlar/carbon fibre composite shutter - good for 300,000 actuations - a Type-C HDMI output, two UDMA-capable CompactFlash slots, and of course the same ergonomics and handling that the Nikon D3 is renown for.

In use, it felt extremely well-balanced in the hand even with heavy lenses. And as a long-time Canon user, I found that the D3x's controls were surprisingly easy to operate and use, with everything laid out very intuitively. It looks big, I agree, but it doesn't feel it...

The viewfinder is very bright and clear - essential for studio work - and focusing in low-light was quick and accurate, although on occasion it did get a little confused in gloomy, low-contrast scenes - hardly unusual for any DSLR, professional or not. However, overall, it feels superbly solid and totally up to the job.

Seeing as this is Nikon's top-of -the-range digital SLR, you can also expect a top-of-the-range price. With an RRP of £5,499.99 Inc VAT (at 15%), and availability from late December, there should be just enough time to make someone very special extremely happy this Christmas.


Nikon UK

Dark of Day

December 3, 2008, 2:43 am

So one of these'll be next months photo competition prize then???? :)

...come on you know you want to!


December 3, 2008, 10:18 pm

hi res much? You can clearly see individual specs of dust on the windscreen of the car!


December 6, 2008, 2:42 am

Why is it so difficult to get good, sharp images of the gorgeous knock-out brunette? Or is this the same guy who took the poorly exposed & out-of-focus shots of her and the car and posted earlier in the week on his own blog. Now these pics appear properly exposed unlike his(either washed out or too dark)but they look poorly focused. I expect grain in high ISO images, but half or more of the brunette's pics are noticeably fuzzy. Not so much shallow DOF, just poor focus. Were the photogs at this particular Nikon event so ga-ga over this woman's gorgeousness(new word?)that they lost all composure and camera handling skills? Thanks for at least getting the pretty blonde's pic done well. Any more pics of her? Any pics of the brunette taken that look truly first rate? There must have been a 3rd or 4th photographer at that location. Right?


December 6, 2008, 2:49 am

One more thing. Did anyone think to get a photo of the models with the Lamborghini? The brunette in her black dress would've been perfect with the yellow Lambo.

Jay Werfalli

December 6, 2008, 4:40 am

@Marshal. Nope it's not the same guy who took the other shots on the other blog(?), earlier in the week? He was probably at the same launch I was at where we had a very short time slot with the models and the D3x. Obviously, I was there for TrustedReviews along with 50+ journalists from different publications too, all wanting a go with the D3x (not everyone did by the way). Like I said in my preview, not all of the ISO shots are in focus but that series was only intended to be a very quick test of the D3x's noise performance at varying sensitivities. Coming from a Canon 1D Mark II, I am also a little unfamiliar with Nikon's controls, but at least I made sure I got a sharper shot at ISO 100 with the blonde model.

As for photographing a model with the car that would have been a good idea, but since the car was in a completely different studio on an entirely different floor, I don't think Nikon would have appreciated anyone moving models about and disrupting the proceedings. In other words, not a practical proposition during a very busy press launch.


December 6, 2008, 8:00 am

Ok. Thanks for at least getting a good shot of the blonde. Good to see the mystery brunette again. And it does give some indication of the noise levels at each ISO. I guess you got 2-3 decent shots of her. Too bad they wouldn't let you photograph both the models & car together, albeit on different sets/floors.


December 18, 2008, 3:26 pm

I agree the pics are a little on the soft side, but i think its a little hard to nail focus at f1.6 when your used to a totally different camera system and one of the 20 guys who used the demo before you set it to god knows what focus settings... Anyways i think its kinda funny how the models chest is more in focus then her eyes in most of the pics... maybe the "face detect" feature was on and the camera is just a perv?

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