Nikon D3X Preview

Nikon just released info on their latest full-frame sensor camera, the D3X, which is an enhanced version of the nikon_d3. Pixel count has increased from 12MP to 24.5MP, continuous capturing is a little slower at 5 fps full resolution, or a DX crop option with a 10MP image at 7 fps (compared to 9 fps at full resolution, 11fps at DX crop with 5MP resolution on the D3). Whereas the D3 has an ISO range from 200-6400 (100-25600 with boost), the D3X has ISO speeds from 100-1600 (50-6400 with boost). This is due to the large 5.49-micron pixel size and high signal to noise ratio.

What’s new on the D3X?

  • 24.5MP CMOS FX format sensor
  • Ultra low noise ISO 100-1600 (expandable to 50-6400)
  • 5 fps burst speed at full resolution
  • RAW image files topping 138MB
  • Users have the creative option to shoot in the 5:4 crop mode with 20.4-megapixel resolution, the ideal format for creating 8 × 10-inch portraits

What’s shared with the D3?

  • dual CF card slot
  • Multi-CAM 3500FX focus module, with 51 AF points, 15 cross type sensors and 36 line type sensors
  • 3" LCD (D3X has a 920,000 dots-per-inch LCD while the D3 has a 922,000 LCD)
  • rugged weather sealing and familiar controls
  • 100% viewfinder coverage

The Nikon D3X is aimed at wedding professionals, studio photographers, and anyone in need of a high-resolution, high-ISO, dual card slot digital SLR. The biggest upgrade on the D3X is the boost in MP offering about double the resolution. Whereas the D3 offers speed and high performance perfect for journalists and sports/action photographers, the D3X offers much higher resolution, 14-bit files at 138MB, for professional photographers. The price tag is a little steep at $7999 USD, but is comparable to the Canon 1Ds Mark III when it was first released.

Where to Buy

Photo.net’s partners have the nikon_D3X, available for order. Their prices are fair and you help to support photo.net.

Nikon Press Release

NIKON UNVEILS A DIGITAL MASTERPIECE: THE D3X DIGITAL SLR

With Extreme 24.5-Megapixel Resolution, Processed Image Files Exceeding 138 MB, Five Frame-per-Second Burst Speed and Nikon Core Technologies, the D3X Ushers in a New Level of Image Quality

MELVILLE, N.Y. (Nov. 30, 2008) — Nikon Inc. today announced the D3X, an FX-format digital SLR featuring extreme 24.5-megapixel resolution and superb low-noise capabilities, which provides professional photographers with commercial-quality image performance in a familiar and extraordinarily versatile D-SLR form factor. In conjunction with the groundbreaking Nikon FX-format D3, the D3X tops off a collection of flagship level, rugged, professional caliber digital single lens reflex cameras engineered to excel in all types of professional photographic disciplines from photojournalism and sideline sports, to commercial in-studio applications.

The foundation of the enhanced performance of the D3X is its FX-format, 24.5-megapixel (6048 × 4032) CMOS sensor providing commercial, high fashion, fine art and landscape photographers with the extreme resolution, dynamic range, color depth, detail and sharpness that clients demand. Whether creating catalogs, magazine covers, billboards or gallery prints, the large 5.49-micron pixel size and high signal to noise ratio produces vibrant images with breathtaking image fidelity while reducing lost highlights and shadows, and ensuring smoother tone reproduction with minimized noise. With full resolution shooting speeds of up to five frames-per-second (fps), and 14-bit files, that when processed are approximately 138 MB, the D3X offers today’s photographic artists an extreme level of performance and versatility ready for demanding assignments in the studio or on location.

“In 2007, the 12.1-megapixel FX-format D3 delivered groundbreaking digital SLR image quality, coupled with incomparable high ISO, low noise performance and high-speed handling. In doing so, the D3 broke photographic barriers, enabling photographers to work in ways never before possible,” said Edward Fasano, general manager for Marketing, SLR Systems Products at Nikon Inc. “Now, the new 24.5-megapixel FX-format D3X D-SLR provides the extreme resolution and high dynamic range capabilities needed to meet the extraordinary needs of photographic disciplines such as high fashion, commercial advertising and fine art. The D3X delivers this remarkable capability while fitting seamlessly within the Nikon system, taking full advantage of Nikon’s world-renowned collection of Nikkor lenses and Speedlights.”

Image Quality Takes Center Stage

To re-emphasize the importance of image quality above all else, the D3X delivers an incredible level of digital SLR performance to provide photographers with extremely high resolution, exceptional dynamic range, phenomenal total gradation and outstanding color reproduction. Image files can be recorded as TIFF, JPEG or NEF (RAW) formats in either 12- or 14-bit compressed or uncompressed formats, and recorded to UDMA compatible CompactFlash cards for optimum speed. Photographers can save image files directly to the dual card slots as overflow, backup, or as separate file formats to different cards. Building on the D3X’s flexibility, users have the creative option to shoot in the 5:4 crop mode with 20.4-megapixel resolution, the ideal format for creating 8 × 10-inch portraits. While using DX-format lenses, faster continuous shooting of up to seven frames per second can be achieved at a resolution of 10.5 megapixels.

The exceptionally low noise of the D3X is essential to any professional commercial application, and it provides photographers with an ISO range of 100 to 1600, expandable to 50 (Lo-1) and 6400 (Hi-2). The ultra smooth tones and lack of grain at ISO 1600 as well as at low sensitivity settings result in smooth, natural skin tones and exacting detail that, before the D3X, required larger and far costlier studio-bound camera systems.

Advanced Technologies, Meticulously Executed

In a commercial setting or on location, imaging professionals need high performance in both speed and processing. The Nikon D3X can shoot at up to 5fps at full resolution or up to seven fps in DX crop mode, allowing photographers to catch the split-second difference in a model’s expression or capture all of the action in a sequence. Just like the D3, the D3X achieves a start-up time of a mere 0.12 seconds and a shutter release time lag of 0.04 seconds.

The D3X’s speed, as well as high levels of performance, leverages Nikon core technologies including a newly enhanced Expeed Image Processing System, specially designed for the D3X to provide superior image quality, faster processing speeds and lower power consumption. This advanced system is able to achieve extremely precise color reproduction for a broad spectrum of hues, in addition to vivid saturation and smooth gradation. What’s more, Nikon’s advanced noise processing function is engineered to minimize noise at all sensitivities and operate seamlessly without interfering with other image color parameters.

The D3X also features Nikon’s exclusive Scene Recognition System, which continuously analyzes information from the 1,005-pixel RGB light sensor, to further refine auto exposure, auto white balance and autofocus calculations. This results in flattering portraits and awe-inspiring landscapes that portray accurate color and fine details. Nikon’s exclusive 3D Color Matrix Metering II helps ensure accurate exposures, even in the most challenging lighting conditions. Instantly evaluating each scene before capture, input data from the system’s sensor is automatically referenced against an internal database of more than 30,000 images derived from actual photographs to calculate correct exposure values. Active D-Lighting, used in combination with 3D Matrix Metering II, helps to determines proper exposure, and creates realistic contrast while compensating for lost shadows and highlights. Prior to shooting, users can choose from Extra High, High, Normal, Low or Off settings, as well as an Auto mode.

Additionally, the D3X features Nikon’s exclusive Multi-CAM 3500FX focus module, with 51 AF points, 15 cross type sensors and 36 horizontal sensors that easily track and lock onto moving subjects, delivering the same fast and accurate AF performance that helped make the D3 immediately successful. Users can select any of the AF points, making it easy to consistently attain accurate focus right on a subject’s eyes, frame after frame. Additionally, 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. AF is also available in one of two Live View modes optimized for the studio, including a phase detection handheld mode and a tripod mode. This feature allows the user to zoom in up to 27x on the LCD screen to ensure critical focus. While in Live View, the graphic indication of a virtual horizon is also available, making it easier than ever to confirm camera orientation.

To further ensure each photographer’s ability to balance their personal style, Nikon’s Picture Control System enables users to adjust their images to pre-set parameters such as Standard, Neutral, Vivid and Monochrome that apply tweaks to image sharpening, tone compensation, brightness, overall tone and saturation. Photographers have creative control over these image parameters with the use of up to nine available customizable presets.

Synchronizing Both Form and Function

Engineered for real-world functionality, the D3X retains a rugged shell with moisture, dust and shock resistance that has become a hallmark of flagship Nikon D-SLRs, while preserving the usability and ergonomics that allow the camera to remain an extension of the photographer’s vision. Attention to detail goes so far as to include a self-diagnostic shutter system that is tested to exceed 300,000 cycles for maximum durability and longevity. The camera’s body also maintains the resilient magnesium alloy construction and form factor of the D3, promoting consistent Nikon system synergy.

A bright and accurate viewfinder offers 100 percent coverage with 0.7x magnification. The body also houses Nikon’s acclaimed 3.0-inch super density LCD screen, now relied upon by so many photographers. The high-resolution 920,000-dot screen is viewable at wide angles up to 170 degrees, and will allow photographers to quickly zoom in to confirm critical focus. Users can also output the video signal to an external display via HDMI to allow client viewing. Thanks to incredibly efficient internal circuitry, the D3X can capture up to 4400 shots per single charge of the camera’s Lithium ion battery.

System Strength Withstands the Test of Time

The D3X is fully compatible with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (CLS) to give photographers a mobile lighting solution that is easy to manage. To further enhance mobility, the D3X is compatible with Nikon’s GP-1 GPS receiver to gather information such as latitude, longitude, altitude and date of shooting. Photographers can easily shoot tethered via USB, or use the WT-4a wireless transmitter to send images wirelessly when speed and mobility are essential. D3X users will also enjoy the system strength of more than 50 genuine NIKKOR lenses that provide outstanding sharpness and high resolution across a broad range of focal lengths.

Where to Buy

You can buy the nikon_D3X, from Photo.net’s partners. Add a nikon_24-70, or nikon_14-24, to make a complete package.

Original text ©2008 Hannah Thiem.

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    • Price is exorbitant, and it's too bulky. I'm waiting for the tweener semi-pro model with similar specifications.
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    • lol you mean you're waiting for the 'semi-pro' version to come out with features such as 24.5 megapixels? Thats not going to happen. Nikon already make a semi-pro camera - it's called a D300.
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    • As a matter of fact I can see it happening, Nikon can't afford not to. Canon have recently introduced the 21MP 5DmkII.Nikon will definitely follow suit. I can't see the D3X maintaining its current price either, I believe that any sensible prospective owner will learn from the (now notorious) price reductions demonstrated in both Canon and Nikon. Why cough up a small mortgage when you know that the price WILL come down by 30% in 6 months?
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    • Will Nikon eventually offer a semi-pro camera at 24.5 megapixels? Yes of course, but not while their top of the line model 24.5 megapixels.
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    • In the future, anything is possible. Sensor are getting more and more advance every year due to technology. The need for compact camera technology will not stop if there large volume of consumer.
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    • Then how would anyone explain the launch of D700, a short while after D3? With this price strategy, obviously as an answer to Canon 1DsIII, D3x is only pointing to a niche market. IMHO, Nikon will be losing profit for every day delaying the 24.5 mp D800 (or whatever named) that could sell maybe 20x more @ $ 3000, considering the competitive prices of 5DII & A900.
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    • If you think US$7999 is exorbitant, you do not know how lucky you are. The D3x price here in New Zealand is NZ$21,200 - the equivalent of US$ 12,500 at current rates!! The EOS 1Ds Mk 3 is a mere NZ$12,500 in comparison so guess what I will be doing with my Nikon gear?!
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    • These are all unnecessarily grained changes designed with great strategy to keep us paying. The D700 was the biggest give away of this that I have witnessed in my time. It just seems that we have arrived to a steady state in progress and its not likely to change for awhile, specially if we keep biting on to it! I want to see my new digital SLR becoming small like they used to so i can be bothered to look into getting new gear without all this circus of waist and shame. Alfredo Orihuela
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    • I received my new D3x a few days ago along with the 70-200 2.8 VR lens and SB-900. Yes I paid out the butt for this camera but it was well worth it. The resolution is incredible! Being a magazine photographer, I need the absolute best in resolution and quality. The color, highlights, shadows and low noise makes this camera unbeatable. So while some other may wait for this new D800.....I'll already be making money and be ahead of the game. PS: I'm not a crybaby or wuss.....so I can carry the heavier, bigger camera.
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    • LOL Tell it Brent! Although I do find the other perspectives interesting I am am unable to convince myself that this is really a scheme to milk the consumer rather than a cutting edge masterpiece of a camera. Boy if Nikon is holding back any technology here they sure fooled me! I will continue to pursue my passion for photography with as much gear as I can afford. My D200 kit and stable of lenses is doing everything I ask right now and has for the past three years. But this is one sic camera regardless. Congratulations to you for the nice pick up. Good luck!
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    • The resolution of the D3x is NOT double that of the D3 or D700; it is about 40% greater. Resolution is linear. The increase in resolution is the square root of the increase in total pixels. Double the pixels (2x) means the increase in resolution is the square root of 2, or 1.4.
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    • LOL....Dont get me wrong Gary.....I have the 200 as well and I LOVE it. Also, I think Michael has WAY too much free time on his hands. Resolution is double the D3....I have both.
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    • LOL....I think you are right Brent, Mike has too much time on his hands
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    • Too much time or not, Mike is right. It's misleading. I have to wonder about Nikon's pricing. Canon's new 22mp body, while not with quite the same specs, is only $2800. Is the final image on the Nikon so far superior as to warrant $8k vs. $2800?
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    • Well I'm sure it will come down but as far as I am concerned....YES, it warrants the price. I'm just a die-hard NIKON fan!
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    • I am very happy with my Nikon D80.
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    • I have the D3 which definitely is another Nikon generation camera,ahead of the D2X , but I think that when you compare the resolution with the Canon 1DS MK III there is a difference as to the sharpness.I am still turning around the pot either wait for a D800 or whatever it is called .Thom Hogan thinks the 24.5 Meg sensor is not worth the price tag.!! The D3x is similar to the D3 except the sensor which differs.
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    • Nice image... what did you shoot it on ??? I'm working with the D 200 and some old glass. I think I'll up grade the glass. But having said that I had a play with a Canon 5d Mark 2, great to have a full frame but what an ugly camera to work, and the colour is too over the top. What's the word on the street about the D 700, in New Zealand the D3x is about $14000,00 to $18000,00, I'd rather buy a house.
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    • I have a D2X and then got the D3X prior to a trip to the Tetons and Yellowstone in June/July 2009. The D3X is amazing -- much better than film, which I still shoot with my F5 on occasion and then scan with a Cool Scan 9000. My only complaint is that the frame rate is slow at 14 bits/pixel. I still use my D2X when I need a high frame rate. It is heavy (my back lets me know that every time I take it on a hike), but a D700 would weigh about the same with the add on battery pack. In terms of Nikon versus Canon, I started with Nikon when I was in high school and have always owned too much Nikon glass and accessories to have the change make economic sense; although, I was sorely tempted in those years before Nikon came out with it's VR lenses. Just a note on resolution; although the D3X has twice as many pixels as the D3, it does not have twice the resolution. In order to double the resolution, you would need 4 times as many pixels. Remember you need to split the increased number of pixels between the width and height of the image, so the poster that said that the resolution was increased by ~SQRT(2) moving from the D3 to the D3X was correct.
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