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Alex_Mustard

D2X Gossip

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Nikon's new D2X is due out on Friday (and possibly tomorrow). And there has been much ranting and gnashing of teeth about it on the interweb. Nikon have done little to quell this since they have imposed non-disclosure agreements on everyone who has had proper time with the camera before now, and stopped them posting sample images.

 

In anycase, here is a collection of leaked/unofficial reports that I pulled together for an email to a friend. Having done so it seemed a pity to not share them further.

I have tried to included comments from both admitted Nikon and Canon shooters (I'm amazed by the number of owners on the web who seem incapable of admitting that the other company can make a decent camera). But I have been more skeptical of photographers who comment that the camera is X or Y compared to "MY camera". I have also been skeptical of forum posters who are known only by user names and provide no links to their images.

 

It is not my intention to fan the flames of a DPreview style argument between the tribes. I don't share or believe all the opinions below (how could I when some contradict). I post this for people's info, while they wait for the proper reviews/samples on 25th.

 

Please read all with a degree of skepticism, noting the background of the poster. Please also bear in mind my bias in choosing sources (although I have tried to be fair), since I intend to buy one of these cameras.

 

Alex

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Everyone is impressed with LOW ISO performance:

 

"I have been spending the last week or so shooting with this baby and I am extra-ordinarily pleased and surprised.... Nikon has done a very intelleigent thing with the release of this camera. They have made sure that the camera was right and ready for release before seding it to market. It is an absolute gem!

For the past couple days I've been here in Florida at the PMA show. I've had the great fortune to spend some time with a few great photographer like Joe McNally, Rob Van Patten, Frans Lanting, Dave Black, Moose Peterson, and some other who have also been using this camera. We've been comparing notes and I can safely say that the concensus is that this camera is really going to raise the bar in digital photography... If you are shooting NIKON you really should get on the list to get your hands on this camera. You will be so pleased. I'm going to buy 3. Anyway, happy shooting! "

Rick Rickman (Nikon User) http://www.rickmanphoto.com/about_txt.html

 

"I was invited to a pre launch D2X seminar at my dealer's Park Cameras in Sussex given by Nikon UK yesterday, 27 Jan 2005. We all had a good chance to see the pre launch camera and very impressive it is! A very large portrait print was on display taken with the 28-70mm F2.8 A-FS and it was so sharp and clean that I would say it was a 4x5 pix!! I think this camera is going to be all we had hoped for and then some."

Graham Whistler FBIPP FRPS (Nikon user)

 

""Nikon had its new just-about-to-ship flagship camera, the D2X at the booth, and also were displaying numerous large (20"X24") and bigger prints. Frankly, they were stunning! This is the best image quality I've yet seen from a Nikon DSLR, and is superior to what I was expecting, given the high pixel count and small pixel size of this new 12.4MP chip from Sony.

Samples images shown at Photokina were not very impressive, according to those that had a chance to view them. But the prints that I saw at the show today were knock-outs. The four months since announcement has been well used by both Nikon and Sony in lowering noise and improving colour fidelity. Nikon owners finally have a state-of-the-art high-res DSLR to shout about."

Michael H. Reichmann (Canon user) http://www.luminous-landscape.com/

 

"The Outside shots at ISO 100 look very good. Good tonality. The color is also good. When there areas of overexposure, it is very natural. There are smooth gradients from the light tones to the overexposed areas. The images definitely have the CMOS look, but I really like them. It's different than the images from the canon. Fine detail looks very good, as I will show later. They could use a little more sharpening than the default amount, but I think they'll print very naturally, and film-like without it. Tonality in the bokeh was very good. The images were virtually noise free at ISO 100. I had my doubts about the noise performance on this camera, but it looks very good. We didn't have any blue sky when I shot the images, but I would have wanted to see how it would perform with a polarizer. That deep blue sky is a good test for noise performance."

Ben Horne (Canon 1Ds Mk2 shooter) http://www.benhorne.com/

 

"This camera has everything the existing full frame DSLR models have. It's hard to find anything negative to say about D2X pictures."

Kamera Magazine, Finland. http://www.kamera-lehti.fi/index2.html

 

Comparison with the 1DS MK2. "These are almost the same. It's hard to tell which is superior. As far as JPEG's concerned, 1DsMk2 has some advantage. Under the test condition, 1DsMk2 seems to produce clearer result. It produces images brighter at center area. Because of this characteristic, 1DsMk2 tends to have vignettes at the corners. D2X shows rich color with accurate WB under low winter morning light."

Cameraman Magazine, Japan. Sourced from DPreview.

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High ISO is harder to call. My feeling is that it will be about a stop poorer than the Canons (although not all the Canon's are the same). These are very varied. Some even report that the Nikon is very good!

 

"I was less impressed with high ISO test files that I saw which were taken by a colleague. A seat-of-the-pants judgment is that ISO 3200 with the D2x looks like ISO 1600 on the Canon 1Ds MKII, and ISO 1600 on the Nikon is not as good as ISO 800 on the Canon. Let's call it a 1 stop disadvantage for the Nikon at high ISO. Low ISO images though are exceptional. I don't know yet about mid-range speeds, such as ISO 400, and we'll have to await knowledge tester's results before any firm overall conclusions can be drawn."

Michael H. Reichmann (Canon user) http://www.luminous-landscape.com/

 

"ISO sensitivity comparison:

ISO100-200 : No obvious difference

ISO400 : 1DsMk2 starts showing some noise in the shade under chin. D2X has no problem.

ISO800 : D2X starts showing some noise in bright gray area. 1DsMk2 looks the same as ISO400.

ISO1600 : D2X has less noise than 1DsMk2."

Cameraman Magazine, Japan. Sourced from DPreview.

 

"Some german guys who have been presented the D2x during a "Nikon professional user day" last week were all very very excited with the quality, they also praised the ISO performance."

DPreview. Unreliable!

 

"Most importantly for me, is the fact that I was shooting at ISO 800 and at that speed the quality of the image was exceptional. To give you some kind of comparison. I have been using the D2H now for a long time and as we all know there is some noise with those cameras at higher ISO values.

However, with the D2H there is very little noise from ISO 200 to ISO 400. The image quality of the D2X at 800 ISO is very similar to what you would expect to see from the D2H between ISO 200 and 400. The image quality is very very very good and that was at the 7 megapixel image size as well. The color quality and the skin tones are exceptional."

Rick Rickman (Nikon User) http://www.rickmanphoto.com/about_txt.html

 

"Now to the high ISO stuff. After reading the notice on MR's site, I was expecting some pretty bad stuff. However, I didn't find that to be the case. The camera did have a tendency to underexpose some of the shots (likely thrown off by some bright areas in the images --- nothing new here), but the noise levels at 800 were quite good.

Nikon has done quite a bit of in-camera noise processing on this camera. They have done a VERY good job controlling the chroma noise. There is next to no random color noise -- unlike any of the current canon cameras. However, this does not come without a price. Just like if you remove the chroma noise using software, you'll get some artifacts. In the bokeh, there can be some odd splotchy areas of color that don't look very natural. I've gotten the same thing when using chroma reduction in post production. It may look a little odd in print, and I hope there is SOME way to control the in camrea chroma reduction. If not though, it's not a huge deal.

Since there is some pretty strong chroma reduction, the images take on a more film-like look. There is a bit of a grit to them, but nothing out of the ordinary for the modern crop of digital SLR cameras. I don't have a direct comparision available, but I would venture to guess that straight from the camera, the D2X may have a little more noise at ISO 800 than the 1 series cameras from canon, but the images will likely print nicer, and more film like."

Ben Horne (Canon 1Ds Mk2 shooter) http://www.benhorne.com/

 

I should also add that Michael H. Reichmann (Canon user) http://www.luminous-landscape.com/ posted a comparison test on high ISO noise between the D2X and 20D. This test generated a huge amount of web banter. The test showed the 20D to be considerably superior but he withdrew it because "enough errors in my methodology were pointed out to me that I've decided to withdraw the piece until a more rigorous and comprehensive test can be undertaken. I regret any inconvenience that this premature publication may have caused. "

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Other features (reading DPreview its easy to forget that there are other features on a camera).

 

"The autofocus is better than the D2H which I have always found extremely good. Just for fun. I did a little test with a 400 2.8 on the camera and I followed a rider from the point that I could first seem them to the point that the rider was so close that the lens could no longer focus which amounted to 16 frames and the camera held focus for 15 of the 16 frames. Now if this was just a cyclist coming at me you'd expect any camera to be able to do that but in this cased there were other riders moving between the camera and the one I was shooting. There were poles and signage that got in the way as well as the heads of track officials and monitors. So for me this was truly new and exciting."

Rick Rickman (Nikon User) http://www.rickmanphoto.com/about_txt.html

 

Interestingly the Finnish magazine also mentionned the camera is very good at blues. Could be useful underwater...

 

"D2X produces accurate colours (also blues look real, unlike any other DSLR models tested on the same magazine)."

Kamera Magazine, Finland. http://www.kamera-lehti.fi/index2.html

 

 

Hope people find concentrating all this together is helpful. I reiterate I do not wish to start a DPreview style one-eyed argument.

 

Alex

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Thanks Alex for putting this all in one place. It's hard to find some of this information. Sounds promising, look forward to you personal feedback.

 

Rand

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Excellent research and synthesis skills Alex - demonstrative of your science training I guess :)

 

Sounds like there are some useful characteristics to this camera and that it should work well underwater (the blues comment by the Finnish mag was very interesting). The improved AF and viewfinder will be a boon too.

 

Really looking forward to hearing your comments in a couple of days too.

 

Thanks again.

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Thanks so much Alex for this report, maybe the D2X could actually be my next camera if this all pans out :)

 

cor

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I was planning on skipping a generation (at least), but now I may have to reconsider.

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Alex

 

Thanks for the reposting and all the info. I always intended to get the D2X (im a d100 & d2h user now), but typically wait a few months. Since its still winter here, I will probably get it in april, which will give the early birds plenty of time to point out the kinks.

 

Also helps that Nikon HQ is 10 minutes from my home.

 

Thanks again !

 

Stu

www.stuartphotography.com

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Just remember that all the quotes are gossip. Posted by people who I have never met!

 

Also I have selected sources that I feel are reliable. But remember it is the Internet. It caters to every leaning! What ever you want you can find it in google-land. I'm sure that with a bit of a hunt I could have found quotes from the internet (although not from such credible sources) that said the camera was junk.

 

Official reviews will be out in a few days. Written by professional camera reviewers, who don't have an axe to grid, and checked by their editors. I would certainly advise reading these, then trying the camera for yourself, before parting with any of the folding stuff.

 

Alex

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Thanks Alex for your postings....It looks like the D2X is gonna be a terrific camera with all those features. But it will be very expensive, at least for my pocket. So, in your opinion, which of these features are likely gonna be really useful UW? And, just in terms of uw photo, which are the biggest advantages of the D2X over the D70? I would like to know your opinion.

Thanks

Matetes

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Hola Matetes,

 

Please consider that this is my opinion. i have only used the D2X on one controlled occasion and do not own one yet. So I will just put my opinions in note form.

 

Advantages of D2X over D70

12 vs 6 MP

ISO 100

Improved colour

2 generations of Autofocus (big advantage for macro)

Built for pro-workload

Buffer and frame rate (in certain situations)

Viewfinder

 

Advantages of D70 over D2X

Price

Fast flash synch with UW strobes (upto 1/8000th)

Smaller, cheaper housings

 

Please don't be distracted by the megapixels. 6MP is very good. I have 3metre print up in a shop window in central London taken with a D100. The client's art people asked me if it was medium format because they were so impressed by the quality. My last two cover shots from the D100 were both significantly cropped and still look good. 6MP shot well, post processed properly, is still plenty. Magazines are not increasing in resolution!

 

Finally I must say that the best way for anyone to improve their underwater images is to improve their underwater photograhic technique and also their vision for seeing/creating images. The camera really doesn't make such a big difference.

 

Alex

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Hola Matetes,  

 

Please consider that this is my opinion. i have only used the D2X on one controlled occasion and do not own one yet. So I will just put my opinions in note form.

 

Advantages of D2X over D70

12 vs 6 MP

ISO 100

Improved colour

2 generations of Autofocus (big advantage for macro)

Built for pro-workload

Buffer and frame rate (in certain situations)

Viewfinder

 

Advantages of D70 over D2X

Price

Fast flash synch with UW strobes (upto 1/8000th)

Smaller, cheaper housings

 

The D70 has a shutter speed of upto 1/8000th of a second, but doesnt it have a flash sync of upto 1/500th of a second? It may have a fast sync mode that uses a trick to do 1/8000th of a second sync flash, but do you still have TTL then? And what about battery life? The D2X only does 1/250th of a second right?

 

Another improvement on the D2X is an RGB histogram instead of just the green channel I believe.

 

I'm actually still sortof leaning to the D70 actually. Much cheaper (you can buy like 5 D70's for the price of a D2X?), much smaller/lighter, higher sync speeds. The doubling of number of megapixels on the D2X isnt going to matter much. 4200 pixels isnt significantly better than 3000 for most practical applications. The small viewfinder can be fixed by magnification on the housing. The only thing that could really make me go to the D2X is if the color is more lifelike (or should I say more slide-like), and if the AF is significantly better. I cant wait to see D70/D2X images side by side. That would be the deciding factor.

 

Cor

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Hi Cor,

I don't want to drawn into speculation, but!!!...

 

No TTL on D70 at high shutter speeds. But who wants TTL?

http://www.wetpixel.com/PNphpBB2-viewtopic...c-start-0.phtml

Also D2X (ISO 100) 1/250th = D70 (ISO 200) 1/500th for controlling ambient light.

Battery life irrelevant - both do a full day of diving (D2X better, but D70 more than adequate)

 

I'll comment more freely when I have shot the camera (underwater). I don't want to speculate and potentially mislead people.

 

Alex

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d70 flash sync at 1/500th.....was the best darn feature they tossed in there, and i was shocked it wasnt in the d2h or the d2x...as it is in the d1x. dont be confused though folks....high speed sync (fp) beyond the designated flash sync means LESS flash power.

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I think most people can seperate speculation from facts. Nothing wrong with speculation, I'll form my own opinion anyways :) As anyone should.

 

I dont use TTL right now, as I use a D100 with YS90DX strobes, but just clarifying for people that do want TTL :lol:

 

Hope to see some UW shots with the D2X soon!

 

Cor

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Alex,

 

Thank you for collecting all that gossip. The mostly very positive comments make the waiting time very comfortable.

I was happy about the good viewfinder. Must be excellent with the S45.

I do not know when I can expect THE phonecall of my dealer,- but anyway it will take a while until Seacam finishes the housing.

Unfortunately I will not be able to dive before end of May!

So I will be lost in practising topside.

 

Cheers

Thilo

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Advantages of D70 over D2X

...

Fast flash synch with UW strobes (upto 1/8000th)

 

Alex,

 

from my understanding there are two possible ways strobe light can be cut off:

 

1. the strobe needs more time to emit full power than the fastest sync speed of the camera permits (for example 1/250s). This is rarely the case although there have been a few amphibic strobe models in the past which were very slow.

 

2. using a higher shutter speed than the camera’s fastest certified sync speed.

I do understand the highest sync speed is defined in this way: The shortest possible exposure time where the curtain completely uncovers the whole sensor/film for a certain amount of time – this enables recording all of the strobe light. Any higher speed (for example 1/1000) is handled by topside strobes by emitting several flashes in a way that every area of the sensor/film receives light. This is required because a number of small parts of the sensor have to be flashed sequentially as the sensor’s area is partly uncovered only.

 

This means for underwater manual strobe trigger: Above the fastest sync speed there is always a smaller amount of strobe light recorded because the whole sensor is never completely uncovered. This is completely independent from the strobe’s burning duration. Even if the strobe dumps its load very fast, it can not be recorded completely.

 

I think you can always use a faster sync speed than the camera’s certified but light cut off is present – no matter how fast the strobe is. So even my 10D triggers the strobes if they are on manual with 1/4000s. This is the fastest speed the camera can do at all. The camera does it because it does not know when an amphibic strobe is connected. Maybe this is different to Nikon and you mean the D70 accepts strobing with 1/8000s while knowing there is a strobe connected? Maybe other Nikon models would refuse such high speeds with a strobe connected?

 

Julian

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Julian, there was a thread on this subject awhile ago. I couldn't find the link.

 

While what you are saying is technically correct, in testing it was shown that foreground (strobe exposure) remained consistant with very high shutter speeds effecting the background exposure.

 

I'm sure someone can find the link. It was done in a pool with the 10.5 mm fisheye trying to capture sunrays at high shutter speeds.

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2. using a higher shutter speed than the camera’s fastest certified sync speed.

I do understand the highest sync speed is defined in this way: The shortest possible exposure time where the curtain completely uncovers the whole sensor/film for a certain amount of time – this enables recording all of the strobe light.

 

Your CMOS is showing Julian :)

 

The D1/1H/1X and d70 all use electronic shuttering for speeds >1/250 of a second. The curtains are open for 1/250, and the imager does the rest. This is possible because CCD's can be globally switched fast enough, while CMOS is switched and read out line by line, which can not be done fast enough for effective electronic shuttering.

 

When using a camera with a CCD type imager, if the camera is aware that there is a strobe present, it is arbitrarily limited by the firmware to the 1/500 max sync speed that is specified for these cameras. Covering the rear two contacts on the hotshoe prevents the camera from detecting the strobe, so shutter speeds >1/500 can be used. The strobe fire pin still goes low and triggers the strobe even if the camera does not "know" there is a strobe there....

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Craig,

 

thank you for explaining. I have to admit my little CMOS world has just proven to be kind of limited. :)

 

fast electronic shutters permitting extraordinary high strobe sync speeds, DX fisheyes, … perfect for underwater.

I get to know more and more nice things about Nikon DSLRs. If Canon continues its poor and odd lens lineup for DSLRs (except for full frame 1Ds) for a few more years (no fisheye, etc.) … opposite to the general trend I really would start considering the Nikon system.

 

regards,

 

"CMOS-Julian" :wink:

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So let me see if I got this right...

 

The D2X has a mechanical shutter?

 

I understand that the CMOS needs more "write" time, but couldn't that still be controlled with an electronic shutter?

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Thanks for the lesson on sensor design Craig and Jolly. I leaned something from your comments.

 

In practice the limiting factor is the strobe dump. Ikelite claims that their strobes take 1/250 s for a full dump. Setting shutter speeds for 1/8000 s works on the D70 (I've done it) but you are not likely to get very much light from what you expect from the strobe settings.

 

This is where digital and manual strobe power comes in. If you shoot like most people do in the digital era getting the correct strobe power is a trial and error process. If you don't like the result change the settings and re-shoot. You just have to keep in mind that if you don't like the exposure at f8 and 1/8000s strobes at 1/2 power increasing the strobe power isn't probably going to help. Depending upon your strobe power you might have to decrease your shutter speed with a constant flash power to increase your forecround exposure (and live with the increased background exposure). This could be very complicated to figure out but fortunately you don't have to just try it and re-shoot!

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CMOS -> Greater possible frame rate, lower sync-speed

CCD -> Lower possible frame rate, possible higher sync-speed

 

No?

 

~Matt Segal

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