D3x roundup

Started Nov 18, 2008 | Discussions thread
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Dan Wells Contributing Member • Posts: 584
D3x roundup

As a probable early D3x buyer (longtime Nikon shooter, switched to Canon for the image quality when it looked like Nikon wouldn't ever release anything full-frame or with better IQ than the D200 and D2x, always preferred Nikon ergonomics and glass, haven't switched back yet because I'm waiting for Nikon's landscape body), here's what I'm gleaning from the D3x threads and rumors around the net - please correct or add to this list .

Almost for sure:

It'll be a D3x first (whether or not that's the name - it's a big pro FF body with a vertical grip and a battery that lasts all week), not a D700x or an MX body (although one or both of those may be coming in the next year).

It looks and handles a lot like a D3, and most/all of the usual D3 features are there.

It's going to be announced sometime between this week and 10-December (who knows if it's immediately available or might be as late as March before it ships).

It's 24 MP - the persistent rumor of "more than 24 mp" is contradicted by almost everyone who has seen it.

Probable:

There's something special/unusual about the imaging pipeline (weak/no AA, 16 bit processing, both or something else) that should make it the highest image quality DSLR out there (at modest ISO) by a fair margin. Several people who have seen the D3x have hinted strongly at this.

It has at least a DX crop mode, maybe more crop modes than that.

It has a Nikon sensor, or at least a Nikon modification of the Alpha 900 sensor - see special/unusual imaging pipeline above. The Sony sensor has 12-bit A/D conversion right on the chip, and in order to have an unusual imaging pipeline (or even not to be a step behind the D3 , the D3x is AT LEAST 14 bit, if not 16.

It has a "built-in D300", in that the DX crop mode should be at least as fast as a D300, with comparable or better image quality (almost as many pixels and D3x pixels should be better).

Live view with at least the features of D700 live view (can superimpose artificial horizon on live view LCD).

"Sensor shake" dust removal - added on D700, no reason to subtract on D3x.

A price tag within $500 either way of $6499

It's called a D3x - Thom Hogan hints it may not be, while several people who've seen it say it is.

Maybe:

Video (if it exists, it's somewhere between 720p and 1080p) - no reason to bother if it's not HD, and no way it could be "beyond HD" - the RED is much more expensive and much further out. If Red says a year and a half, $12,000+ and a 5 lb camera (once you add the grip, the finder and a card slot) to get full-res video, Nikon hasn't done it NOW, in a camera under 3 lbs, for around $6000.

Body VR - this one's persistent enough that there has to be at least some chance - in its favor is that many other makers have it and it works well, while against it is that Nikon (and their closest competitor Canon) seem committed to lens VR.

Some minor but entirely new to Nikon DSLRs new features like built-in GPS and/or wireless image transfer.

Unlikely, but possible:

Something REALLY new about the image sensor or pipeline (e.g. something significantly more unusual than a 24 mp 24x36 sensor with both 16 bit processing and weak, no or even variable AA). Examples would include a 3-layer (Foveonesque) sensor, an interchangeable/modular sensor or any sensor larger than 24x36 mm.

Any body significantly different from a D3 (significantly different doesn't mean an extra button or two, a moved or added switch, or the like - those things are at least moderately likely). A significantly different body would be anything with a touch screen, a major change to the grips, a different battery or anything else on that scale.

A significantly new AF system (it may well be tweaked, but something really new - more points or broader coverage - would go in the unlikely category).

Some kind of built-in wireless flash control, whether or not it also serves as a built-in flash.

Please feel free to add to this list or move things around. At least personally, if it has everything on the "for sure" and probable lists, it's my next camera, and I'm very satisfied with it (assuming that image quality holds up to its promise), as I'm sure many other "waiting for Nikon" landscape and other high resolution photographers will be - a lot of high-end Nikon shooters will buy one or more. The only Canon shooters it will cause to switch are those who went Canon a bit reluctantly in the first place and really prefer Nikon (it eclipses the 1Ds III, but is likely to be caught by the 1Ds IV). Add anything significant from the maybes or unlikelies and Canon is a bit scared. Add a bunch of the maybes and unlikelies and Nikon has something really big on their hands, a camera that will cause wholesale switching from Canon, and even from medium format.

-Dan

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