Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Nikon D3X at long last!!!

Nikon has finally released the D3X. We've been waiting for this ever since Nikon slipped with the D3 firmware update that showed a 24MGP setting. Then Nikon slipped again by putting the camera in their own Nikon Pro Magazine before it was officially released. Here we are and the D3X is a reality!

Is this an exciting release from Nikon? Hardly... We all suspected it was coming. And now that it's here what can we expect from it? Well, it's not groundbreaking to say the least. Believe it or not for the first time since Nikon has been releasing Digital SLR's they have actually put out a camera that I do not lust after. I guess this good. I really don't want to spend $8000 on a camera. That's right. This is not a typo. $8000.

The Nikon D3 was a revolutionary camera for Nikon. After years of saying that they were sticking with the DX format they threw down the gauntlet with a full-frame camera. AND it was great. Never before could you shoot at ISO 6400 and get perfectly usable images. Nikon broke the rules by refusing to play the "megapixel game" with Canon and their strategy worked. 12 MGP is the perfect amount. Good resolution for making large prints, but it allows the pixels to be large enough to collect enough light to make almost noise-free images at high ISO's.

So what does the D3X offer consumers above and beyond the D3? Not much. For $3000 more than the D3 you get double the resolution. That's right, $3K gets you an extra 12.5 MGP. What's worse is that you lose more than you gain.
  • ISO - top ISO is 1600 down from the 6400 that the D3 offers.
  • Frame rate - the frame rate drops to 5 fps / 7 fps in DX. Even the D700 gets 8 fps in FX mode with an EN-EL4 (or AA's) and an MB-D10.
These are pretty important factors.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying the D3X is a crappy camera. Quite the contrary. It's nearly the same as the D3 which is an incredible camera. The D3X isn't really made for photojournalism or sports. It's basically a studio camera to be used with ample lighting for making images that will be blown up extremely large (think billboards). Professional stock photographers and commercial photographers with clients who require large scale images will be pleased with the higher resolution.

Is it worth the extra $3000 over and above the price of the D3? Not for me. Most of my work is done on a small scale. I could shoot with a 6MGP camera and I would be fine. As a matter of fact, if I could get a 6MGP D700 I would be ecstatic. You could easily shoot at ISO 25,600 with minimal noise. But I digress...

The D3 is definitely aimed at high end pros, but I think Nikon missed their mark. They are once again competing with Canon by taking part in the megapixel wars.

Bottom line is that the D3X is here. It will fill the super-high megapixel niche that Canon has long since dominated, but the D3X isn't the revolutionary camera that the D3 was (and still is).

In conclusion I have to say that the D3X is a bit overpriced for what it is. In my opinion the D3 (or D700) is a much better camera for the money. Of course I value low-light capability over megapixel resolution. If I need high resolution I'm gonna go with the new Hasselblad H3DII-50. It's a 50 megapixel camera with a 36X48mm sensor. At only $28,000 it's a steal...

Take that Nikon!

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