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December 01, 2008

Nikon D3x announced, Where's the new 70-200mm?

All the rumors are no longer rumors. Nikon officially announced the Nikon D3x SLR today. This professional digital SLR features a new Nikon designed sensor that delivers 24.5-megapixel resolution and RAW files that are at least 138 MB each!

The camera is strictly of interest to professional photographers and lawyers/doctors/dentists that can afford its estimated selling price (ESP) of $7999.95.

All the online forums and mailing lists are jumping with lots of Nikon and Canon users opining or making fun of the price. But to be truthful, I'm not too surprised by it. Its fair when you compare it similarly specced cameras.

Most of those complaining are making comparisons to the Canon 5D Mark II. But is this a fair comparison? While the Canon 5D Mark II is used by many pros it is certainly not pro-grade in terms of waterproofing, shock resistance, dust resistance, reliability and build quality. It's a "prosumer" product even according to Canon. A fair apples to apples comparison is the pro-grade Canon 1Ds Mark III which was released at $7999.00. Oh. My. God! What a nerve of Nikon to charge .95 cents more!

Besides, we all know no one charges the ESP after the initial shipments are sold. The prices start falling tens of dollars within 2 or 3 weeks of that and hundreds within 2 or 3 months. It should level off at $6,500 not before long.

I can't wait to start seeing the reviews of the Nikon D3x as I'm very eager to know if the 24.5 MP sensor lives up to the hype. Does it really perform as well as the D3 in low light? I wouldn't be surprised if it does but I wouldn't consider parting with any of my cash until confirming it does.

My biggest concern is that Nikon still hasn't refreshed the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR Zoom Nikkor Lens. While this workhorse lens is nothing less than fantastic on 35MM film bodes and digital DX sensor SLRs, such as the Nikon D300, it shows its age and deficiencies on the Nikon D3 and D700. In my opinion, it shouldn't be used on these bodies for professional work. So I always keep mine on my D300.

Nikon has released new lens essentially optimized for the FX sensor DSLRs such as the stunning 14-24mm and 24-70mm but there is such a large hole in the line up until you get up to the 200-400mm. Many pros that still had the 80-200mm on a shelf switched back to it. Others are using the Sigma 100-300mm F/4.

I must admit that the problems with the 70-200mm on the D3 has made me regret buying the D3. Had I known how it performed on it, I would have held off!

Short of an updated lens with F/2.8 and VR that covers the 70-200mm range on the market I'd hold off on even considering buying the D3x or any other FX sensor DSLR body. Nikon needs to fill this hole and fast! I cannot believe we're still waiting for it.

It was rumored to be announced on two previous occasions and many were saying up until last week we'd see it tonight too. I held out hope and thought we would see it updated along with the D3x tonight and possibly even seen the 80-400mm refreshed too. I have a feeling that Nikon is experiencing production delays or manufacturing problems that led them to pull back on announcing it. I really hope this is the case. I would actually feel better if I we heard this from Nikon, because it would be very alarming if they're not working on an update and no announcement is imminent! Nikon really needs to address this issue soon or at least speak out about it.

The D3x press release follows.

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 x 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 x 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 five fps 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.

Price and Availability
The Nikon D3X will be available at Nikon Authorized Professional Dealers starting December 2008, and will be available for an estimated selling price of $7999.95.**

* Based on CIPA Standards
** Estimated selling price listed is only an estimate. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.

Posted in Nikon , Photography by usrbingeek at 2008-12-01 04:01 ET (GMT-5) | 0 Comments | Permalink



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