Pros Goodies like the Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus sensor module, Live View, dual CF slots and the 920,000 dot LCD monitor are all unchanged from the D3. So here are the new bits:
Cons There will of course be a lot of negative comments about the Nikon D3x as it does not provide many new features to a gizmo obsessed audience. But the Nikon D3x is not targeted for the average photographer on the street.
Summary # Sensor: Nikon have designed a brand new 24.5 megapixel FX format CMOS sensor that has been engineered specifically for the D3x. In Nikon's words, "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". The new sensor delivers 6048 x 4032 pixels in FX mode. Want all this in plain English? Well it should provide a TIFF file of approximately 72MB in size; read on for my analysis of this.
# ISO: The default range is ISO 100-1600, but is expandable to make it ISO 50 to 6400. This is a reduction from the Nikon D700 and Nikon D3 but entirely expected due to the increased pixel density.
# Image Processor: Such a huge file does produce some performance issues but Nikon have addressed these with a modified version of their existing EXPEED digital image processing system. Effectively this means that they have fine-tuned the image file, increased the internal noise processing capability and reduced the power consumption.
creased file sizes of the Nikon D3x.
# Shooting Speed: The Nikon D3x allows you to shoot at 5fps in the full FX mode and 7fps in the cropped DX mode. Buffer performance stats are sketchy at best at the moment, but I will update this text as soon as I find them out, but obviously expect them to be less than the Nikon D3 and probably similar to the Nikon D700.
# HDMI support: The Nikon D3x provides a type A output for HDMI playback of images, this will be a very useful feature for those in the field of fashion or studio photography.
II see that the Nikon D3x is targeted at the fields of nature, landscape, fashion, studio and social photography whilst the Nikon D3 will still reign supreme in sports. These photographers, with the small exception of nature that I will cover in a minute, need a bigger file size from their existing cameras. The Nikon D3x certainly provides that, in fact it is a 100% increase, and that alone is worth the price. Frame rate at 5fps is acceptable as these users are not generally needing to blast, and the new HDMI support will allow much better viewing options for clients present during the shoot. So for these target sectors the Nikon D3x provides market leading performance and will be a must have camera. As a nature photographer I have mixed views about whether I can justify the Nikon D3x or not. I am not a fast action shooter and 5fps will be enough if the buffer clears quickly enough, interesting that there is no data on this and it will be the first thing that I test! Having a larger image is not as useful for me as others as I only need a 50MB image for my clients and agents; I do not produce large prints and those that I have from the Nikon D3 have been amazing. The Nikon D3x will allow me to crop my image though for the first time and still retain the default 50MB agency size without interpolation. This will be the same as using a 1.4x converter, except that I won't have to. Yes I know it will be the most expensive converter in history but it will be just be an additional advantage that I can use. The quality of the final image delivered by the new processor does interest me as I find myself more and more taking the kind of wide-angle images that need to have a more medium format feel. I have never jumped on the new camera bandwagon anyway and prefer to wait until I test the Nikon D3x rather than get excited about a load of facts and figures. Trust me I will be testing it hard!
So clearly the Nikon D3x will keep its target market happy and I think a lot of amateur photographers will want to own the flagship too. Do I have any general niggles about it, yes of course I do. Firstly I wish that Nikon had made some changes to the existing Nikon D3 shell; some D700 functions would have been nice too and boo hiss there is no auto sensor clean which means I still have to cart round all my cleaning gear. The reduced ISO is also a small concern too. Although I now shoot at ISO 1000 by default, I have had occasion in the past year to shoot much higher (which is why I love the Nikon D3 so much). Of course again for the target market this will be no issue and for me it is just a borderline niggle as I would have the Nikon D3x alongside the D3. One of each actually would suit my kit bag very well as I could use each for its strengths when the situation demanded.
In conclusion I think that the Nikon D3x provides exactly what I expected of it, no more and no less. It is undoubtedly the most high specification camera that Nikon have ever produced and will convert more and more film photographers to the digital world. I will put it through a decent test when I get hold of one, and if any of you want to talk to me about it I will be at Nikon Expo next Tuesday 9th September presenting at 12:30pm. Hope to see you all there!