Four years is a long time, especially in the digital photography business. When the D1X was announced back in February 2001 (along with the D1H) it was certainly cutting edge, offering almost six megapixels in the D1's proven quality body the D1X caused quite a stir. We reviewed the D1X in June of that year, in September (some seven months after the D1X's announcement) Canon introduced the four megapixel EOS-1D, followed by the EOS D60 in February 2002. So here we are almost four years since we reviewed the D1X with its successor the twelve megapixel D2X, and a lot has changed in those years.

When preparing this introduction page I had started to put together a table comparing the specification and feature differences between the D2X and the D1X but soon realized that I would have to include almost every specification to cover everything. The changes first introduced with the D2H and then refined in the D2X mean that Nikon's new professional digital SLR's have significant step-change improvements pretty much across the board.

One of the most significant and obvious changes is the sensor, Nikon utilized h a JFET sensor in the D2H/D2Hs (with mixed results) but with the D2X have moved to a new APS sized CMOS sensor (just like Canon). The D2X's CMOS sensor packs 12.84 million pixels into a 23.7 x 15.7 mm area, a pixel pitch of 5.5 x 5.5 µm. The D1X had a slightly odd rectangular photosite layout with a pixel pitch of 5.9 x 11.9 µm (twice as many horizontal photosite's as vertical), the 'input pixels' of 4028 x 1324 were then interpolated to 3008 x 1960 which produced very good horizontal resolution but slightly less vertical resolution (the overall results however were very impressive).

In addition to resolution other primary improvements include a new eleven area AF module (Multi-Cam 2000), 37 ms shutter lag and just 80 ms viewfinder blackout, a new ambient external WB sensor, an orientation sensor, RAW + JPEG format, a huge 2.5" 230,000 pixel LCD monitor, a new lightweight Lithium-Ion battery (with detailed in-camera readout) and USB 2.0. And of course just like the D2H the D2X can use Nikon's WT wireless transmitters, either the WT-1 (802.11b) or the WT-2 (802.11b/g).

Sensors compared, a microscopic view

Viewed like this it really makes you realize what a microscopic technology producing modern image sensors really is. What you're looking at here is a 0.1 x 0.05 mm view of each sensor (a diagram view obviously).

Nikon D2X (click here for a 1.0 x 1.0 mm view)
CMOS 12.8 MP, 5.5 x 5.5 µm
Nikon D1X
CCD 5.5 MP, 5.9 x 11.9 µm
Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II
CMOS 17.2 MP, 7.2 x 7.2 µm
Canon EOS 1D Mark II
CMOS 8.5 MP, 8.2 x 8.2 µm
Canon EOS 20D
CMOS 8.2 MP, 6.4 x 6.4 µm
Nikon D2H / D2Hs
JFET 4.2 MP, 9.4 x 9.4µm