Tokyo report: D3 and D300

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ellis_vener_photography, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. Too little time to post in depth right now. Saw and handled the D3 and D300 today and the new lenses in
    Tokyo. Also saw large sample prints comparing D3 to the 1D Mark 3. The D3 clearly had better noise o in
    the high ISO (1600 and 3200) 40" wide prints. Remarkably little noise. Prints were from in camera large
    jpegs. No prints from either Canon or CR2 or NEF files. I'm told there was no post processing done with
    any of the prints. The cameras are very quick and the the AF in Live View works very well but not as fast as
    when used like an SLR. The camerass were very responsive.

    The 14-28mm f/2.8 is sweet very little chromatic aberretion problems with that lens on the D3 at 14mm,
    even into the corners -- at least on the D3 LCD (we weren't allowed to male test shots onour own cards.

    No word on who is making the 23.9 x 36.9 mm CMOS in the D3

    Met Bjorn Roslett too!
  2. They also say they are planningto have them at dealers sometime in November. Also a there
    are goign to be a lot of new lenses coming in the next year or so for what Nikon is calling the
    FX (i.e. the 23.9 x 36.9mm )
    format including new primes.
  3. Thanks Ellis. What are some of the features of the D300? Did you get a chance to get them?
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Ellis, thanks for the information. BTW, the full 35mm film frame is 24x36mm. The format for the D3, which Nikon now called FX (vs. DX for the 16x24mm small-sensor DSLRs) is 23.9x36mm.

    The D3 uses a Nikon-designed sensor, but it is not disclosed who actually manufactures it. The D300 uses a Sony sensor.
  5. You know what size the sensor is on the D300 Shun?
  6. I just found out, I think. The D300 will be a 12.3 MP DX sensored body.
  7. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    To date, all Nikon DSLRs other than the D3 use DX size sensors, which is roughly 16x24mm (or 15.8 x 23.6 mm, but some DSLR models differs slightly), including the new D300.

    The sensor format/size is not something you can just change because the lenses wouldn't match very well. As I pointed out in another thread, Canon's 3 DSLR formats is messy; they have no wide lenses dedicated to the 1.3x crop DSLRs and IMO it is very inconvenient.
  8. I am happy that Nikon did not follow the pixel race (Canon FF 21Mpixel now) and the 12Mpix sensor with better noise floor was chosen over more pixels. More useful at least for my needs. I wonder if the 14bit specification will in real live give improved colors like skin tones.

    I presume in 6 month we can afford the D300 at a nice street price and in 2 years we can afford the FF sensor in the D300x.
  9. It looks like the D300 will be priced higher than the Canon 40D.

    Sony claims that the new 23.6 x 15.8 mm CMOS 12mp sensor to have better high ISO performance with regards to noise than their current 10mp CCD chip.

    It's good to see the DX format bumped up another notch, because I prefer the reduced bulk of the smaller format. The D3 and the EOS 1Ds Mk III are much bulkier.
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Although it is not called a D3H, the D3 is effectively the continuation of the DnH line for sports/action photography. In other words, it is more optimized for high frame rate instead of pixel count, in this case 9 frames/second. As Ellis points out above, Nikon is comparing the D3 against Canon's 1D Mark III (not the latest full-frame 1Ds III) and is priced accordingly, so the D3 is definitely intended to be a sports camera.

    However, 12MP is plenty for many other applications. By not cramping as many pixels into a fixed area, the photosites in the D3 can be larger, which helps low-light performance. I am glad that Ellis points out that the D3's low-light performance is good, but that is merely initial information. I'd wait for actual test results after the camera is available.

    I am a bit surprised that Nikon is not producing a small DX sensor sports camera, though, as you can use shorter teles on such sports cameras. Clearly, Nikon is not going to use the new 12MP, 10 frames/sec Sony chip for its sports DSLRs.

    Still, Nikon has nothing to compete against Canon's 1Ds, high-pixel DSLRs. Therefore, presumably, there will have to be another D3 variation, perhaps called D3x, to be Nikon's dense pixel, lower frame rate DSLR, but most likely that will be in 2008.
  11. It is my guess that the higher pixel count for a FF sensor is primarily beneficial for the mid range to tele range lenses. Perhaps macro lenses can utilize the higher pixel density. For current medium to wide or ultrawide lenses I expect little benefit. But perhaps I am wrong if one considers that a higher pixel density may allow for less aggressive moire filtering that in turn leads to better resolution even for the wide angle lenses.
  12. Ha! Finally Nikon does a one upmanship against Canon.
  13. Ellis,

    Are the attendees self-invited or invited by Nikon?
  14. As far as I'm aware of, all were invited by Nikon subsidiaries world wide.
  15. Or was the invitation opened to all NPS members?
  16. Thanks, Bjorn.

    Were there any sample shots captured at high ISO 25,600. I am curious if that ISO was really usable or was it just for show.
  17. we were all here at Nikon's invitation. Shun was right aboutthe size 23.9 x 36mm (same as in the 1Ds cameras) . I operating on too little sleep and a body clock that is 13 hours of whack with the outer world. And I had a lovely time getting here, which you can read about at What follows are some shots from today's press conference. what follows are some screen shots from today's press conference
  18. "I am a bit surprised that Nikon is not producing a small DX sensor sports camera, though, as you can use shorter teles on such sports cameras. Clearly, Nikon is not going to use the new 12MP, 10 frames/sec Sony chip for its sports DSLRs."

    You get 8 fps Sony made 12 megapixel on the D300 with the added grip and the same autofocus sensors as the D3. I think Nikon made the right call on this one. I wouldn't be surprised to see a Nikon D3H and D3X, D3H with a crop sensor and the D3x with a 20+ mp FX.

    I wanted to pick up a D2H, hopefully prices on those will come down quite a bit.
  19. Bjorn and myself (Bjorn's the one in the vest) we are holding D3 bodies with primes mounted.
  20. Never believe a photo tells the truth and only the truth. Ellis is about 2m taller than me, but that doesn't show on the picture!
  21. >Never believe a photo tells the truth and only the truth. Ellis is about 2m taller than me, but that doesn't show on the picture!

    No, Bjorn, I think that's due to the jet-lag kickin in on both of you --- humans react differently. :)
  22. Hi, Bj�rn and Ellis,

    Congrats! Your NDA seems to be no more in effect!
  23. umd


    Lucky guys..
  24. D3,

  25. But Bjorn's about 2 leagues smarter than me.

    handled the 24-70mm and 14-24mm more tonight. really really nice. the 24-70mm balances
    extremely well on the D3.
  26. Any progress on battery front?

    The physical look of the D3 looked 99% the same as the D2Xs, which is good. I think it's ergonomically a good body.
  27. "Ha! Finally Nikon does a one upmanship against Canon."

    Nikon has finally announced its first FF body five years after the announcement of the Canon 1Ds and days after Canon announced its fourth generation FF camera; the Nikon has significantly less resolution than the 1DsMIII and a low-end ISO limit of 200. How, precisely, has Nikon "one up(ped)" Canon?
  28. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I can claim credit for perhaps being the "match maker." As soon as I found out that both Ellis and Bjorn were in Tokyo, I informed them both that the other one was also there, and I asked Bjorn to look for a 6'5"/195cm American guy who carries a Canon camera in the Nikon press conference ... :)

    Sam, I suggest you take a look at screen shot #6. For pro cameras, it is not merely about features, AF module, pixel count and frame rate. I would still look into a D2/D3 series body to have the robust build for demanding applications, such as pro sports photography.

    After falling so far behind Canon in the high-end DSLR arean for 5 years, I am glad to see Nikon is beginning to catching up. The D3 is nice, but again Nikon is still missing a high-pixel DSLR and lenses, so there will be more work.

    On the D3, I like the dual-CF-card feature. Those who are so paranoid about memory card failures can now put two 16G cards into the D3 and not worry about it any more. Personally, I still would rather have one CF and one SD.

    To me, it is surprising that Nikon puts its latest Multi-CAM 3500DX AF module in the D300, which now has a lot of very high-end features. It has improved significantly over the D200. The strange part is that while the D300 itself uses the EN-EL3e battery, its vertical grip the MB-D10 can optionally use the EN-EL4a battery originally for the D2/D3 series DSLRs.

    Concerning lenses, there is still no news on any fast wide primes, such as a 24mm/f1.4 or 35mm/f1.4. I guess we'll just have to wait.

    Finally, can Bjorn or Ellis comment on the 51 AF point system? How do you select from so many points?
  29. In regard to ISO, what does

    "The sensor enables an ISO settings range from 200-6400, expandable up to the equivalent of 25,600 or down to 100. "


    So does ithave ISO 100?
  30. It should, but as with the D200, it isn't native to the sensor. The Sensors native ISO starts at 200.
  31. Shun, what interests me is whether wide angle shooters will effectively have to replace lenses like the 28mm f/1.4 AF-D to get decent edge sharpness. (One indication of this could be whether the new 24-70mm f/2.8G lens has a thread size greater than 77mm to accomodate the projection of a larger image circle.)

    Canon apparently took to heart criticism that its wide angle glass didn't perform well with its FF DSLRs and has redesigned lenses like the 16-35mm f/2.8 II, which takes an 82mm filter. Will Nikon, which has discontinued more high-quality lenses than its introduced, need to- or have the production capacity to- revamp its wide angles for use with FF DSLRs?
  32. yes it does.

    Everyone here who looked at the 40"x 60" prints (made on an Epson 9500 --that is the
    Japanese product name for a printer) was really impressed. In a couple of studio shots we
    saw some halo's from the in camera JPEGs being a touch oversharpened. Likely this won't
    be the case with D3 & D300 NEFS where we have more control over the sharpening., but
    all of the prints had far better detail than I would have expected from a 12 mp sensor.


    Thye D3 isn't targeted to the same users as the 1Ds Mark 3 but in terms of image quality it
    looks like it do better than the 1D mark 2.

    While megapixel count is one factor in digital photograph quality, it's just one factor and
    not even the prime one at this point, With the 1Ds mark 3 Canon is protecting its turf
    against encroachment by the medium format backs like Phase One, and Hassleblad H2 and
    H3D. I'm pretty sure a lot of people who have 5D cameras and who were thinking about
    moving to amedium format system .

    So in terms of the sub $5K DSLR market Nikon appears to have the lead now.
  33. The 24-70 has 77mm filter thread. It is a misunderstanding that a lens needs to be "wider" in front to project a larger image circle to its rear.

    The lens diagrams show very sophisticated designs and I'm eagerly waiting for review samples of each lens. I did shoot both with my D2X though, but since they were not official production items I wisely refrain from a detailed analysis, except for stating that they surely looked nice and handled even better.
  34. Bjorn, correct me if I am wrong here, but doesn't the fact that Nikon's have a deeper lens to film plane (sensor plane) depth help?
  35. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Eric, again, even though the new camera is a D3 instead of D3H, it is still mainly a sports camera at 9 frames/sec. Therefore, it makes sense to update the 400mm/f2.8 and 600mm/f4 along with the D3. Since the D3 is FX frame, the 600mm/f4 will once again be important for some sports, such as American football.

    Nikon will still need to follow up with some sorts of a D3X at FX frame and 20MP to compete against the 1Ds Mark III. By then you'll really need to improve the wide angles. I would expect that in 2008 along with updates to the lower end: D80 and D40.

    I think the good news is that Nikon is finally picking up the pace for its product renewal cycle. The 4-year gap between the D1x and D2x is simply no longer acceptable in the digital era. The announcement time between the D200 and D300 is now less than 2 years.
  36. One thing I have liked about Nikon's line of bodies is that with the same sensor size, one doesn't get a different crop factor when using different bodies. It makes having a less expensive backup body easier. Some other companies have at least three crop factors and that can be very confusing as the same lens gives three different views depending upon what body it is mounted on.

    While I am glad to see the FX sized sensor (Does the F in FX stand for FILM? GASP!!!) I will stick with the smaller sensor for several reasons. One is that fact that the DX lenses are so small and light. A lens that is with me will take much better photos than one left at home because I don't want to lug it around.
  37. Zach: yes, it certainly pays off in this respect. However, the benefit is only automatically realised for longer focal lengths, which aren't the troublemakers anyway. So judged from the designs, and in particular the fact that the 14-24 has its closest limit for the longer end of its focal range, I wouldn't be surprised if Nikon included a significant amount of telecentricity in these new wide-angle zooms. The longer flange-to film plane distance then would make the design task easier. If that indeed is true, we could expect excellent corner-to-corner performance also at 14mm. But take this as a pure speculation from my side for the time being.
  38. Bjorn, I'll defer to your superior knowledge of lens design; but Canon didn't redesign the 16-35mm f/2.8, dramatically increasing its size, weight and thread size for nothing. Telling a customer he'll need 82mm filters doesn't improve the salability of Canon's 16-35mm II lens over the 16-35mm lens.

    Shun, that Nikon updated some big glass is swell. I'm interested in whether Nikon's current wide glass will produce adequate edge sharpness with FF DSLR sensor.
  39. Canon IS vs. Nikon VRII
    I sympathize with Ellis' jet lag, but that slide does not compare Nikon VR with Canon IS. It compares Nikon VR with in-body stabilization.
  40. Ellis, I did notice the $5K price tag on the D3. In fairness, you're right that the lower price is a selling feature as against the 1DsMIII, which will retail for $8K.
  41. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    It must be around midnight in Tokyo. I am sure that we'll continue to discuss the D3, D300 and the new lenses for months to come, especially when actual production models are avaiable.

    On behalf on the Nikon Forum, I would like to thank Bjorn and Ellis again for providing first-hand information to so many of us around the world. I am sure all of us here really appreciate your effort.
  42. It might just be the case that Nikon knows how to design lenses in a different fashion than Canon. Plus the fact that using different designs for wide-angles means you don't automatically get a bigger projected image circle (and hence potentially better corner performance) by increasing lens dimensions alone. Why Canon did this only they can answer and I'm not familiar with their new designs so can't comment upon that, but the shorter register distance might add some difficulties on its own. What I do know from test shooting is that the previous 16-35 did not produce satisfactory corner quality on a FF Canon. So if the recent redesign solves that issue for Canon users, I'm happy on their behalf.
  43. True, Shun, it's getting a bit late here in Tokyo. but we are "time-warped" as it were and soldier on. It has been a massively impressive day and surely the Japanese are masters in arranging events like the one we have attended.

    Early tomorrow, much too early after all the stuff we consumed this evening, we'll go by Bullet train to visit the D3 factory at Sendai in northern Japan.
  44. Thanks Ellis and Bjorn. These are exciting news. I can't believe the amount of high-end features that are packed into the smaller D300! Definitely looking forward to this!

  45. Ellis,

    I sure hope that picture of you and Bjorn wasn't taken on the the new D3 or D300 ;-). Thanks for all the info guys, fun watching this unfold.
  46. Ok, thats it, I am now completely jealous of you two.

    Congrats on getting over there and thanks for sharing with all of us who aren't fortunate enough to go.
  47. when does all this stop
    award winning shots can be done on a NIKON 2020 6006 Pentax K1000
    its not the camera
    its the one holding the camera
    isnt this conspicuous consumption leading us all nowhere.
    More is better? new means better?
  48. Glenn,

    For me, some of the new features will allow me to improve and alter my shooting in ways that previously I couldn't. The improved low light performance will make it easier for me to do photography at concerts. The live preview will allow me a new way to visualize the scene as I am composing it (probably will only use it for setup shots, still use the view finder for sports, etc.). The new AF will help me a lot since I shoot a large amount of sports.

    Is it really that much different than having to try different emulsions of new films? Some people will be satisfied with the older equipment. If it wasn't for a few key improvements, I would have no reason (other than I need an additional body right now anyways) to upgrade.
  49. Maybe it is just me but that D300 is going to give the D2Xs a real run for its money and looks to me more like successor to that camera than to the D200. Is it true that the D200 will stay in production?
    People seem to be much more excited to finally see the first Nikon FF DSLR, but the D300 to me is the real hit here.
  50. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    According to Nikon Japan's web site, the D2Hs is no longer "in production" but the D200 is. However, I can see that a lot of people would upgrade from the D200 to D300. In other words, there'll be plenty of used D200's in the market, and it'll be difficult for Nikon to make new ones to compete.

    Speaking of the Sendai factory, I suppose only the D3 is produced there. If the D300 is produced in Thailand, continue making the D200 would also compete with the D300 in terms of factory capacity.

    The D200 may be "current" in the sense that Nikon may still have some remaining stock to sell, but it is pretty much history. My D200 is only 4 months old and at that time I knew about this risk, but I needed one at that time so that I had no choice. I'll wait at least 6 months before I'd buy any new D300, anyway. There are simply too many new parts that have not been tested in real life, such as the Multi-CAM 3500.
  51. I agree Shun, and I'm also waiting to see how well the D300 handles high ISO noise as compared to the D200. I'm not seeing much in writing on that front as compared to the D3 directly addressing that issue.
  52. "BTW, the full 35mm film frame is 24x36mm"

    If you've ever measured the sizes of your negative (which I'm sure some of you have), you'll find some cameras have a slightly larger or smaller negative - by 0,1 mm or so. Not that it matters anyway.
  53. Thank you Ellis & Bjorn...good news indeed.
    I'm interested in how the D300 handles noise compared to the Canon 5D (which I've been shooting with recently). If it's equal or better I've got a 5D for sale.
    Your opinions on that issue would be helpful. Also, how's the viewfinder in the D300?
    Have fun and go easy on the Sake.
  54. Actually, using a wide-angle lens could make your film negative significantly bigger than the nominal 24x36mm. Similar won't easily happen with a digital sensor since it in principle is area limited, but some software RAW applications might be able to add a few more of those "outside" pixels (there is a border of extra pixels dedicated to calibrating sensor dark current etc.).
  55. @Eric: Canon redesigned the 16-35 because their design was a dog on full frame with regards to corner performance. Using an adapted Nikkor 17-35 or Contax N 17-35 produced distinctly better results on the Canon bodies.

    I wouldn't worry about Nikon's lens performance, Nikon didn't have the weakness in good wide designs that Canon had up until recently. The 28/1.4 is known to perform quite well on FF digital and I'd expect that to carry over to the D3.

    I also disagree with Shun about the D3 being a D2H replacement. It's a D2X replacement pure and simple. Nikon's offered speed + resolution on the D2X and the D3 continues that design, while the D300 is the real D2H replacement (as a budget sports camera) and rolls the D2H and the D200 into one product. Nikon has chosen not to offer a pseudo-MF body a la 1DsmIII, which competes against the lower-end MF solutions like the Mamiya ZD back and Phase One P20 rather than against 35mm-type bodies for around half the cost.
  56. So I understand the difference between DX and regular lens, but what is the difference between an FX len and a non-dx lens (film) lens in nikon's portfolio?
    Thanks steven
  57. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Adam, IMO you are too hung up on the "replacement" issue. There is little doubt that the D70s replaces the D70, but otherwise, not every camera has an exact reaplacement with some upgrades. For example, the D40 has fewer features (e.g. no AF motor) than the D50, which was discontinued around the time the D40 was introduced. Nikon introduced the D40 for the low-end comsumers, but it doesn't quite replace the D50.

    The D3 is not an exact replacement of the D2H/D2Hs, but its frame rate (9 per second) and relatively limited pixel count (fewer than even the old 1Ds II that is now discontinued) suggests that it is optimized for sports/action photography but also good enough for other applications such as weddings, events .... However, for landscape, high-end portraits, fashion, product shots ...., more pixels such as the 1Ds III still has some advantage. I would like to think that Nikon will introduce some D3X (X meaning more pixels, such as D1 -> D1X and D40 -> D40X), or whatever Nikon chooses to name it, in the future. But only time will tell whether that will materialize.
  58. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    BTW, Thom Hogan has some interesting comments on the D3, D300 and lenses:

    I did check with Hogan yesterday. He is not in Tokyo.
  59. Bjorn & Ellis -

    Helpful report and discussion. Thanks.
  60. Ellis, Bjorn,

    My heartfelt thanks for all the information you are providing, and you both look very happy in Tokyo!!

    Shun, thanks for helping to make it all possible.

    WOW!! :)
  61. The news annoucements from NikonUSA:

    On D3:

    On D300:
    It's interesting the announcement refers to the D300 as a "professional" camera and "its most advanced DX-format digital SLR". It also mentions a higher image quality over the D200 which is actually pretty good already. Let's hope the promises hold up.

    On the new lenses:

  62. I think this is great news. For my wallet the D300 is horribly tempting and while the D1-x may get booted out of its spot in the bag, I still ain't selling it.

    Question: will all my old AI glass,which works fine on all my DSLR's so far, still meter on the D3 and D300?

    Rick H.
  63. Brochure site for the D300 and the D3.
  64. Rick, yes it will. The D300 and D3 have all the same connections as the D2/D200 cameras.
  65. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    In a way this thread is the result of Nikon marketing. When you fly a person from Europe, N. or S. America, other parts of Asia, etc. into Japan. Just the air travel cost plus hotel, meals, internal transportion, etc. etc., it can easily be $5000 per person. If you add some spouses for 350 participants, you will be talking about a budget of US$2 million. Clearly, Nikon has invested a lot of money to make this product launch a success.

    In turn, the likes of Bjorn, Ellis, etc. help spread the words here, and we all benefit. Of course, when you buy your next Nikon, you'll pay for your share of the cost. :)
  66. some good info here, thanks guys. The 14-24 is really interesting. I can only hope that the new primes next year won't be "G" models. A modern update to the 58/1.2 would be pretty cool, maybe 55/1.0? One can dream...

    Hope there will be some comparisons of the D3's high ISO performance soon, if it delivers the goods at 6400, then it's a pretty strong case for this new "FX" format.
  67. Mind if I go back to something Shun mentioned? How does one navigate a 51 point AF system?

  68. Ellis, Bjorn: I have what may be an odd question. Using live preview, are you able to zoom into the photos to check accuracy of focus? Basically I am wanting to compose like I was on a mini 4x5, minus the whole upside down thing.
  69. >In turn, the likes of Bjorn, Ellis, etc. help spread the words here, and we all benefit. Of course, when you buy your next Nikon, you'll pay for your share of the cost. :)

    Don't forget the costs of Geishas massaging Ellis' and Bjorn's sore backs ... :)
  70. The D3 cannot is not a D2Xs replacement since it has lower pixel density. For telephoto shooting in good light the D2Xs might give better results.
  71. Hi Ilkka, I think the D300 will do that for ya :) it's the D2x's replacement.
  72. No, I am keeping the D200 for tele shooting. I don't see a need to upgrade to D300.
  73. Shun wrote: "In a way this thread is the result of Nikon marketing. [snip]
    In turn, the likes of Bjorn, Ellis, etc. help spread the words here, and we all benefit. Of course, when you buy your next Nikon, you'll pay for your share of the cost. :)"

    That is indeed the brilliant analysis of what is happening right here in this threat! And maybe even the whole Nikon-forum. Faults in Nikon products or service get punished severely by a world-wide audience. But the new&exciting get an incredible boost because of this!

    Nevertheless: Bjorn and Ellis, thanks for reporting back to us!
  74. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The following link has more information from that product announcement. Can you spot Ellis and Bjorn in the picture? :)

    Incidentally, there seems to be separate FX and DX versions of the Multi-CAM 3500 AF module. I am trying to get additional information on that.
  75. I suppose there are optics for the FX autofocus module to spread the sensors over a larger area of the frame.

    It is very commendable from Nikon to put high-end autofocus on a midrange body. Clearly they mean business. I was most impressed with the multi-cam 2000 in the D2X and F6 when I tried them - they make the screwdriver AF lenses work miraculously well compared to previous AF systems. I would expect the new module is even better.

    The new long glass seem awfully expensive compared to the established Canon IS telephotos. I suppose the price will go down once Nikon's market share increases in this area.
  76. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I just received confirmation from Nikon USA.

    While there are indeed two different versions: Multi-CAM 3500 FX (for the D3) and Multi-CAM 3500 DX (for the D300), the locations for the 51 AF points are the same on the two. Therefore, on the D3, the 51 AF points would appear more concentrated in the center of the frame because the frame is larger, and that is the problem I have with the F6.

    Please keep in mind that FX means the full 35mm film sensor area, 23.9x36mm while DX means the small sensor 16x24mm.
  77. Shun, you appear to be correct - sorry! I just measured (from brochures) the span of the F6 and D2X AF sensors vs. frame size and to measurement precision the sensors seem to have identical coverage in absolute dimensions, not relative to frame size. My information about the optics covering the F6 sensor enlarging its span came from a camera store salesman and seems to be incorrect.

    I am starting to believe that if a salesman at a camera store says something it is always suspect ;-)
  78. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Ilkka, I APPEAR to be correct? I am always correct! :)

    Seriously, I was hopeing that the AF points on the Multi-CAM 3500 FX would be more spread out to match the larger frame area, but unfortunately that is not the case.

    Actually DPReview has diagrams for that. On the D300, the 51 AF points are nicely layout. However, they appear to be more concentrated in the center on the D3, thus IMO having the same problem as the 45 AF points on Canon FF cameras.

    D300: 3rd image from the bottom on the right column:

    D3: 4th from the bottom, right column:
  79. Arthur,

    I wish...

    Shun: no spouses were on the trip just mostly a bunch of middle aged guys. Ihave no idea
    about the cost but suspect you are wildly underestimating it per person. There were about
    100 technology journalists (if I can be so grand) from around the world: I met editors fro
    mHungary and South Africa, several Brits, one or two Norwegians besides Bjorn. This was
    the firsttime Nikon has ever done an event like this. Canon has done several and Sony is
    doing the same thing in Maine next week. But I doubtthe cost risesto the level of say
    Canon's previous sponsorship of the Audi American Le Mans Series race cars or what the
    NFL is charging Canon to have their logo on the required red photographers vests for this
    season alone.

    We went to the Sendai plant yesterday (Friday in Tokyo). Nikon is already making 400 D3's
    per day and will be ramping up to 12,000 per month by September / October
  80. 12000/month - wow! Mmmm.
  81. Ellis, any word on an AF-S 50mm, 35mm, or 85mm prime?
  82. > Nikon is already making 400 D3's per day and will be ramping up to
    > 12,000 per month by September / October

    But 400 per day *is* 12000 per month already! Great job on the reporting... but get some sleep, guys. ;-)
  83. I'm guessing that for a 400 per day output it works out to about 8500+ per month given the average workweek.

    For more details on the production see:
  84. From the article:

    "D3 bodies are currently being made at a rate of about 400 per day in Sendai, but this will grow to about 600 per day in September for a planned ongoing production of 12,000 units per month. Assembly of the D300, which takes place at Nikon's factory in Thailand, will also be in full swing in September, at which time 60,000 units of the midrange digital SLR will emerge each month.

    Nikon's Sendai factory opened in 1971 and employs over 1100 full-time and temporary workers. In addition to the D3, Sendai has produced the D2Xs, D2X, D2Hs, D2H, D100, D1X, D1H and D1. Except at the busiest times, Sendai runs a single eight-hour shift per day; Thailand, which handles the production of the D40, D40X, D80, D200 and now the D300 (plus certain lower-priced lenses), operates round the clock in three eight-hour shifts and employs about 15,000 people.

    The Nikon D3 and D300 are slated to ship in November 2007."
  85. Brian,

    It's possible that Nikon was talking about 400 cameras per work day, which would be about 8800 per month.

    This news is very exciting, but those of us who prefer lighter cameras (Olympus OM refugees, etc.) are a bit left out. Was there any discussion of of a D300-derived smaller camera, in the same way that the D80 has many of the features of the D200?

    Thank you to Ellis and Bjorn. I hope you're enjoying the trip. Sounds like it.
  86. I'd been planning to sell my humble little D80 and step up to a D200.


    Man, am I glad I held back. D300, I'll see yah in November!

    Thanks for the info, folks.
  87. Ade,

    Same boat as you. I'm glad I waited. Heck, if all the D300 had was the cross sensors on the AF system I would've gone for it. This is the first time I've ever pre-ordered a camera.

    I will likely pick up a D200 as a backup at weddings. What a time.

  88. It so nice to get the opinion of two respected photographers, I enjoyed them sharing their experience in Tokyo I cannot wait for the release date. They got me so keyed up I signed up as a member!

    Salem (newcomer)
  89. Thanks for the accurate information all. I am looking forward to you all getting your D3s and D300s and getting rid of your D2xS AND D200s. Unless of course, I have a great amateur season here with weddings. Honestly, I look forward to the reports of how both cameras perform for weddings, portraits and other standards.
  90. Bj�rn - did they have a Q&A session afterwards? Were you able to ask them about UV and IR characteristics of the new sensors? :)
  91. "...look for a 6'5"/195cm American guy who carries a Canon camera in the Nikon press conference"

    Lol. Very amusing. Good job on the match, Shun.

    But I thought the norwegians were supposed to be the tall ones! ;) (just kidding Bjorn, I am a shortie myself).

    Great to see the both of you covering and sharing your experience and insights with us all. Thank you for that...

    I just don't know why Eric is in such a bad mood :) He should see all tech advance as a good thing, even if he prefers Canons. Remember that if it weren't for the competition, Canon would be making 2mp cameras and selling then at 10.000usd :)

    No need to diss Nikon.... ;)
  92. Yes, I have gotten info on UV/IR response and even had the Nikon
    exec drawing the transmission curve with and without filter on the blackboard, which to my knowledge is the first time ever Nikon discloses anything at all about these matters.

    I specifically asked for the D3, but it's reasonable to think the data applies to the D300 sensor as well, since both have the same LBCAST foundation. According to the curve, D3 will start to transmit UV in the 370 nm region, which is fairly close to the visible range thus making the camera impractical for UV. The IR response was shown to be flat out beyond 800 nm. The built-in anti-IR filter however cuts Ir response sharply over 680 nm and the cut-off slope was drawn to indicate it is very steep (and hence effective in combating IR contamination).

    So the gist of this is thaqt D3 would likely make for a superb IR camera, IF you modify it by removing the internal filter pack.
  93. But 400 per day *is* 12000 per month already!
    That would be true if they were running the plant thirty days a week, but I have to assume they aren't, and they haven't scaled up the production yet. there's a huge amount of hand assembly in the D3 requiring some very precise skills which require some intensive training.
  94. Shun said: "However, for landscape, high-end portraits, fashion, product shots ...., more
    pixels such as the 1Ds III still has some advantage. I would like to think that Nikon will
    introduce some D3X (X meaning more pixels, such as D1 -> D1X and D40 -> D40X), or
    whatever Nikon chooses to name it, in the future. But only time will tell whether that will

    **** This is what I was sort of expecting to see THIS time around. As a landscape
    photographer exclusively, I am still not ready to give up film quite yet based on these two
    new Nikon digital cameras.

    The move to full frame is the single most important aspect for me, as a Nikon user. Major
    progress noted! My bread and butter lens is the Nikon 17-35 2.8 AFS. I have never seen its
    equal to date. My son bought the D2X last summer and the first thing he had to do was
    get a 12-24, which is the same focal range as the 17-35 on his D2X (though several
    notches below in terms of overall quality). By finally designing Full frame digital sensor,
    Nikon has taken a huge leap forward from my perspective. Though I suspect there will be
    a run on those 17-35 lenses. If you have never had one, you are in for a real treat.

    Still, even so, what a 12 meg camera can create, in terms of large prints, is no better than
    what I can already capture, in my opinion, with Velvia 50 film and my Nikon F5. And I
    actually prefer the slower 50 ASA film for blurring daytime waterfalls, seascapes, the finer
    grain it offers etc. Not to mention the vivid blues and greens of a Velvia transparency that
    can last many decades. Of course to create digital files as good or better than the Nikon
    digital cameras today, I do use a $45,000 scanner, which obviously most people do not
    have laying around.

    If Nikon designs something closer to the new Canon 21 meg magnificent-- sounds too
    good to be true--1ds III, then now you are clearly exceeding what I can already do today.
    THAT camera makes me want to jump into digital today. Though I do certainly do not like
    having to spend $8000 for one camera body alone, and still need to start buying lenses
    and other digital necessities from scratch since all I have ever used is Nikon film based

    I do agree that the digital process of no film/developing costs, thousands of images to a
    memory card (rather than changing rolls every 36 frames), editing on the computer rather
    than squinting on a light-box, instant results and most importantly to me NO SCANNING,
    is in fact a better system in many ways than what I have to do today with film. The giving
    up of scanning alone is why I am willing and even looking to make the switch from film to
    digital. But I am not interested in switching from film if it means giving up the best wide-
    angle landscape lens this earth has seen. I am not thrilled with having to lug around a
    $5,000 camera body through waterfall hikes or letting it sit on a tripod in the ocean
    shoreline for hours. I can purchase a like new F5 today on Ebay for under $700. And my
    second camera, the F100 which I attach the 28-70 or 80-200 both 2.8 AFS for even less
    than that. I can, and do take greater risks with this film outfit and have peace of mind than
    if I carried around $5,000 or even $8,000 camera bodies.

    Yes Nikon is finally getting somewhere, with the release of the D3, for professional
    landscape photography IMO. But it still has some catching up to do, since Canon has really
    produced an outstanding flagship camera, two times now. I had read reports that the D3X
    would have 18 megapixels and also FF. That would probably do it for me. I have thought
    about moving to Canon... but not yet... and hopefully now that Nikon is on the right road, I
    will not have to.

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