Nikon D2X and Subal ND2 Review

WETPIXEL Review of Nikon D2X and Subal ND2 housing

For the last couple of years Nikon photographers have looked across pretty jealously at the top of the range digital SLRs offered by Canon. In the prosumer DSLR category the Nikon D70 is a good alternative to Canon’s offerings, but at the high spec end the Canon 1DS and 1DS Mk2 have stood pretty much unchallenged by Nikon. That was until two weeks ago, when Nikon finally released the highly anticipated 12.4 Megapixel D2X.

I will not be making a direct comparison between the D2X and Canon 1DS Mk2 in this review. Land reviews have shown that at low ISOs both cameras are capable of producing exceptional results, with slightly different strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore both are very expensive, pro level cameras, and neither will be anybody’s first underwater camera. And therefore an individual will choose between them based mainly on the equipment they already own. Suffice to say, I can confirm that for existing Nikon users that there is no longer a need to look enviously at Canon!

The Nikon D2X. Image courtesy of Underwater Photography Magazine.

Getting it underwater
Luckily for underwater photographers the Nikon D2X is build around the same magnesium chassis as the D2H (a 4 MP camera targeted at press photographers and not suited for underwater shooting), which has allowed housing manufacturers to design and even build housings before the camera was released. This immediate availability of housings really adds to the desirability of this system. Indeed, I got my Subal housing, from Ocean Optics in London, the day before the international release of the camera! And a week later the three of us were in the Red Sea getting better acquainted. It is now the end of that week and I am writing this review sitting looking at the sea in Sharm El Sheikh having made my first 16 dives with the camera.

Wide angle soft coral with diver and sunburst. Nikon D2X. 10.5mm lens. 2 x Subtronic Alphas on 1/2 power. F10 @ 1/250th. Image copyright Alex Mustard.