Thom Hogan D3X review

Started Jan 12, 2009 | Discussions
Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Re: all camera sales are down

Octane wrote:

all camera sales are down

I don't believe that's actually true. I'm still waiting to see NPD's numbers for Q4, but some camera makers shipped more cameras into retail in Q4 (Nikon, Fujifilm) and at least in preliminary numbers, that has seemed to work for them.

Now, average selling price is almost certainly down, but that's a different metric.

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Thom Hogan
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Toermalijn
Toermalijn Forum Pro • Posts: 15,860
Re: just post 100% crops Re: have done the MF comparison!

Mel wrote:

Just out of curiosity Bernard, do you know the comparative frame rate
for the back?
Also, when adding the body for the back and the necessary lens, what
would the price difference be between a 39MP back, body and even one
lens, vs a D3X and someone who has several good pieces of glass?
If the gap is huge, I am wondering if Nikon may have been thinking
along these lines?
--
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http://www.mellockhartphotography.zenfolio.com
http://www.mellockhart.com

Frame rate for MF or LF backs is in ageneral rather slow, usually between 1 and 2 frames per second?!

digital back alone is much more then a d3x setup with some nice lenses!

Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Re: I'm not going to argue...

Mel wrote:

"I'll take the cleaning system,"
I have read at other times where you didn't feel this system was "all
that" Thom. After using it on the D700, have you changed your
position some?

Yes, I've changed my position after analyzing my data. I clean less often now, somewhere around half as much. Given that manual cleanings are not without risk and take time, I've changed my position.

Do you feel now that "it does" remove the tougher
specs and lessens swab cleaning?

"Tougher specs" no. The in-camera systems seem very good at keeping "dust" and other physical particles like hairs off the sensor. They do not deal with humidity issues, pollens, oil thrown by the shutter, and a host of other problems, all of which require a wet cleaning. Essentially, the in-camera systems have minimized my having to do blowing (Rocket Bulb) and dry brush (Arctic Butterfly) cleanings.

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Thom Hogan
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Rick Diaz Regular Member • Posts: 305
Re: What is Canon's Customer relations like for their flagship?

That would seem to be where the "bar is set" as far as
expectations for customer relationships wouldn't it?

If you set a goal to only equal your competitors, that's all you ever
do. Nikon is a camera company now (most of its sales come from
cameras and associated equipment). Nikon has the chance to be the
DEFINING camera company, which would put great pressure on the others
and set expectations of what defines a good camera and a good camera
company for years.

I personally hate "copycat" tactics. They don't distinguish you from
the competition. Apple is a relatively good example of a company
Nikon needs to think more about mimicking. Consider Apple's Genius
Bar versus Microsoft's outsourced in India limited telephone tech
support, for example. Even my mom has figured out the difference
there.

Apple only became a great example to you under the leadership of Steve Jobs, but only when they invited him back to lead. They kicked him out during the early 80s and actually stagnated. I mean, speaking of expensive computers, the Macintosh Lisa went for $10,000 and not to mention the ill-fated Apple III! Remember the clone program they initiated with Daystar and Umax?!? A complete disaster. It took them about 2 decades to right the wrongs they did. That's experience they've got today to make them a better company. You made it sound like Apple is a perfect company. It ain't! In fact, you could buy Apple shares for less than $15 at one time. Today, it's incredible.

I think Nikon and Canon are going through what personal computer did in the early 80s. Remember Wang Computers, found by Dr. Wang in 1951 went from nothing to a $3 billion dollar company and employing I think 30,000 people only to flounder and went under. The Wang towers costed 60 million to built and went on foreclosure for only $525,000. Their downfall. Lack of innovation, which they apparently had on their earlier days. Their customer service, however, was one of the best btw.

Apple's current high is full of innovation, but they are not without pitfalls. Certain Performa series need to have a LIFE time guarantee, the problem with the iMac G5 caps blowing off, the leaking coolant of the Dual G5 tower and issues with some Macbooks and certain customer issues on the phone.

So, please don't paint a rosy picture of Apple just because the genius bar is helpful. Yes it is, but like any company it does have imperfection.

Rick.

Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Re: the price is right

TOF guy wrote:

Morale: people are waiting for the $3,500 D3X's little brother.

Yes, they are. How much time is Nikon going to give Canon's 5DII? Once demand is met for the 5DII, it's going to slide in price, too.

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Thom Hogan
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Mel Veteran Member • Posts: 3,716
Re: I'm not going to argue...

Interesting!
Should be a good plug for the vibrating sensor (filter in front), system then.

Thank you,
--
Mel
http://www.mellockhartphotography.zenfolio.com
http://www.mellockhart.com

Mel Veteran Member • Posts: 3,716
Re: just post 100% crops Re: have done the MF comparison!

I guess that I already knew this in a general sense. But we are getting so technical here that I thought it would be nice for everyone to see the actual numbers difference. This would also go along way in justifying for some, the DSLR vs MF as a more versatile system that can deliver "near equal" quality in prints.
--
Mel
http://www.mellockhartphotography.zenfolio.com
http://www.mellockhart.com

fredericFahraeus Regular Member • Posts: 302
Re: just post 100% crops Re: have done the MF comparison!

It is huge, more then twice the price.

Mel Veteran Member • Posts: 3,716
Re: Camera movement in the diffraction test?

And I truly hope this is not the case as it seems. But folks being so upset at Nikon for asking the price they are, might perfrom such tests more lax than otherwise would occur without being upset at them. Not purposely flawed, just not with the same attention to such detail.

Now having said all of that for a general statement to many of these tests we have seen here both pro and con. Are you speciifcally speaking now about Thom's findings?
--
Mel
http://www.mellockhartphotography.zenfolio.com
http://www.mellockhart.com

Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Re: What is Canon's Customer relations like for their flagship?

Rick Diaz wrote:

Apple only became a great example to you under the leadership of
Steve Jobs, but only when they invited him back to lead. They kicked
him out during the early 80s and actually stagnated.

Actually, I think you're proving my point. Customer relations and distinguished products are the result of setting goals to do that, period. You don't get there "just by being in business" nor do you get there by just copying what the others are doing.

I mean,
speaking of expensive computers, the Macintosh Lisa went for $10,000
and not to mention the ill-fated Apple III! Remember the clone
program they initiated with Daystar and Umax?!?

You seem to forget something. I covered Apple in the media starting in 1979 and remained active and very visible in doing so until 1992. And just as I'm criticizing Nikon's efforts today, I was criticizing Apple's during that time.

I think Nikon and Canon are going through what personal computer did
in the early 80s.

Absolutely. And it's not just Nikon and Canon. The companies that survived out of the PC business were: well capitalized, prepared for changes in market growth, got close to their customer, and innovated.

Apple's current high is full of innovation, but they are not without
pitfalls. Certain Performa series need to have a LIFE time
guarantee, the problem with the iMac G5 caps blowing off, the leaking
coolant of the Dual G5 tower and issues with some Macbooks and
certain customer issues on the phone.

No company is perfect. But you don't survive being imperfect if you disengage your customers.

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Thom Hogan
author, Complete Guides to Nikon bodies (19 and counting)
http://www.bythom.com

Mel Veteran Member • Posts: 3,716
Re: just post 100% crops Re: have done the MF comparison!

So that one fact in itself, (if the D3X truly delivers "near" MF quality) is a major consideration. I mean, afterall, Nikon is promoting this camera "also to" the MF crowd or those that want such quality. The frame rate being lower than the 1Ds or anything else becomes irrelevant then. It is not a match for match in bodies and would continue along Nikons previous path of "not" trying to meet the competitionj but rather leaping ahead of it. At least seemingly so.
--
Mel
http://www.mellockhartphotography.zenfolio.com
http://www.mellockhart.com

Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Re: My thoughts about the review and the price of the D3X

C_4 wrote:

First off, the D3X cannot have the same buffer upgrade as the D3;

I said "upgrade." The D3 standard buffer is smaller than the D3x buffer in terms of RAM. Nikon offered an optional D3 buffer upgrade, and that makes the memory in the D3 equal to what's in the D3x. The likely cost difference to Nikon is US$100-150, which is less than the cost difference of removing the ADCs.

The sensor, I could see costing another
$300-500 (or more- on a piece of silicon that big, getting acceptable
yields is incredibly difficult).

I'm not sure how you "see" that. Such a difference wouldn't happen at the wafer. The only place it could happen is in the "toppings" (Bayer, microlens). But it appears that Nikon does both the D3 and D3x toppings themselves. So you're essentially trying to say that alignment on smaller photosites costs them US$300-500 more. I don't believe that.

Moreover, everyone seems to believe that Nikon will have a lower priced D700x with the same sensor, yet they all then try to argue that the D3x sensor is higher priced by a huge amount! You can't have it both ways. If the sensor alone justifies the full US$3000 differential between the D3 and D3x, then you must make the same assumption for a D700 versus D700x.

As a result, I find it entirely plausible
that they have $1000 of extra costs vs. the D3.

I don't. I've done disassembly of Nikon cameras. The difference for the D3x would have to come almost entirely at the sensor. I find it very difficult to believe that the sensor would cost Nikon US$1000 more. That would also imply that Sony is not making any profit on an A900, by the way.

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Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Re: Video = missing element?

lovEU wrote:

While I agree with you on sensor cleaning I’m still skeptical
about the video.

Personally, I'm not a fan of adding video to DSLRs. But I think the floodgates have opened. Certainly a D400 and D700x would have to have it, because the 5DII does. At what point does it just become another feature?

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Thom Hogan
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Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Re: To D3x or not to D3x....

fredericFahraeus wrote:

Thoms review, I feel is based on the general photographers needs (
which is ofcourse very nice).

As I wrote:
Not Recommended (for most) Recommended (for some)

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Thom Hogan
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Mel Veteran Member • Posts: 3,716
Thank you elgreco!

Had not seen these comparisons.
Pretty clear actually.
--
Mel
http://www.mellockhartphotography.zenfolio.com
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jljones Regular Member • Posts: 422
Re: I'm not going to argue...

Thom Hogan wrote:

No doubt. Now, how many of those photographers are there and how
close should Nikon be maintaining customer relations with them? ; )
The answers are "not many" and "much closer than they are."

Please tell me how you know? Seems a little vague to me - if someone can quantify that would be helpful and presumably here in the UK, figures will be lower but no less important.

For certain photographers, presumably Nikon's target, the D3x is the
business.

Again, no doubt. But Nikon themselves seems a little uncertain who
these folks are and why the D3x is the right camera for them.

Seems pretty clear to me - Nikon want to attract people away from high-spec Canon, Sony, Leica cameras and allow existing users a path to their high MP offering. And possibly tickle some MF users...

Tell me, what happens to the dust that sensor cleaners shake off?

It's captured on an adhesive strip. Since I use a D3 and D700 I can
compare the net cleaning needs of the two side-by-side. I'll take the
cleaning system, thank you. It's not perfect, but it saves me time
and work in the field.

Forgive me Thom but many of us on this and other forum use the D3 and D700 side by side including me. It's a pretty standard combination. Whilst I welcome the cleaning system in some ways, it makes the D700 viewfinder less precise and useful. And presumably, the adhesive strip has a limited capacity and won't keep hold of everything...In my opinion, sensor cleaning is not going make me buy a camera. I have other priorites.

The D3x is a good camera. probably great and I want one. It won't have the market clout of the D3 because Nikon was late in introducing it into it's lineup and the D3 hit a particular spot. In my view, it has little if anything to do with price.

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Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Re: Thom, it would be interesting for you to,

John Ricard wrote:

It would be interesting for you to do a piece on how one should test
a camera after he/she buys it. In the case of the D3x, as the proud
(-well maybe not anymore) owner of one, I'm curious as to how you
discovered that the viewfinder/pixel correlation was off.

The alignment is far enough off that it was obvious the first test chart I aligned with the viewfinder then started Live View to check focus.

But in a
broader sense, it would be interesting to see a piece on basic things
we should test when we first buy a camera.

Yes, I agree, that would be a good article. It'll go on my list ; ).

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Thom Hogan
author, Complete Guides to Nikon bodies (19 and counting)
http://www.bythom.com

Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Re: I'm not going to argue...

jljones wrote:

Please tell me how you know?

Many of the US professional photography associations publish statistics on average income, etc., of their members. Your assertion was that a D3x would pay for itself in a week. That would imply that annual profit would be 50x that ; ). But all the statistics I see show that the mean or median is ALWAYS less than US$60,000 annually. Some significantly less.

I can also tell you that I don't know of an assignment I could take that would pay for my D3x in a week. Moreover, for an assignment that would be high enough in revenue to bring me that much profit, I'd be tempted to rent MF equipment.

Forgive me Thom but many of us on this and other forum use the D3 and
D700 side by side including me. It's a pretty standard combination.
Whilst I welcome the cleaning system in some ways, it makes the D700
viewfinder less precise and useful.

While Nikon says that the viewfinder reduction is due to the cleaning system, frankly, that's a cop-out. We have other full frame dust systems that didn't need a viewfinder reduction.

In my opinion, sensor cleaning is not going make me buy a camera.

I didn't say it would. I said the lack of it made the technology in the camera feel "dated."

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J Mankila
J Mankila Veteran Member • Posts: 4,234
Quite evident, I'd say...

Thomas Comerford wrote:

If you take a vertical selection through the center of the concentric
circles in the f/22 diffraction test and then take a horizontal
selection through the center, rotate it, and compare them side by
side the difference is pretty stark. Surely that's due to camera
movement? The f/16 test also seems to be affected.

No need to do the editing, as the vertical camera movement is quite readily apparent even in the f/16 sample. Mirror shake would be the obvious culprit, but I'd have thought Thom knows perfectly how to deal with it, so I wouldn't wager on it.

Interesting, for sure, but renders a part of the comparison useless. I wouldn't look into the f/11 crop either, as I think I see a difference in contrast in the outermost circles at 12 and 3 o'clock. I might just try the trick you suggested...

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jljones Regular Member • Posts: 422
Context...

Thom Hogan wrote:

jljones wrote:

Your assertion was that a D3x would pay for itself in a week. That would imply that

annual profit would be 50x that ; ). But all the statistics I see
show that the mean or median is ALWAYS less than US$60,000 annually.
Some significantly less.

Thom - you've taken me out of context here because I was careful to say that some photographers could pay back in a week, month or year. Depending on their business plans, that could represent sound investment if it attracts other/more work.

I can also tell you that I don't know of an assignment I could take
that would pay for my D3x in a week. Moreover, for an assignment that
would be high enough in revenue to bring me that much profit, I'd be
tempted to rent MF equipment.

Could it be that the D3x isn't aimed at people like you?

In my opinion, sensor cleaning is not going make me buy a camera.

I didn't say it would. I said the lack of it made the technology in
the camera feel "dated."

Why? I still use pen and paper and that's dated. We still use rubber blades on metal arms to clean the windscreens of our cars. Hopelessly dated but cost based engineering.

IMHO, FWIW and now time to have a cup of tea.

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