Make Room For Daddy – The New Nikon D3x! 24.5 MP And Solid!

After months of rumors, and a tiny leak this weekend, Nikon has announced the new top of the line addition to the line of Professional DSLRs: D3x.
So to start, we have a 24.5 megagpixels FX (full frame) unit with a ship date of well, Dec.. Right around the corner.
Coming in at a hefty $8000. USD retail, the D3x joins the line at the head of the table instead of replacing any units.
It is being positioned as a studio, medium format quality, digital SLR, as opposed to the D3 which stays around for $3000. less.

As you can see there is not much difference in the cosmetic look between this unit and the D3.

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FEATURES

THE SENSOR
The D3x has an exclusive 35.9 x 24mm (FX format) 24.5MP image sensor with unique OLPF (optical low pass filter) and high-speed channel readout. ISO range covers the equivalent of 50-6400. With a boost function to over 25,000 ISO as in the previous D3.( sure, there will be noise but sometimes you can deal with the grain, depending on your usage.)

IN FOCUS
The widely acclaimed speed and accuracy of the MultiCAM3500 AF system with 51-AF points. Individual selection assumes a new importance in combination with the high resolution: it’s easy to isolate and focus on small details in the scene.

SPEED AND RESPONSE
At full 24.5MP resolution, the D3x shoots at 5fps, 7fps is possible in DX Crop mode. The camera is as responsive as the superfast D3. 12ms start up with a shutter release lag time of just 41 ms (CIPA standard). It writes files to the dual CF slots at about 35MB per second.

IMAGE PROCESSING
The D3x’s 16-bit EXPEED engine is specially tuned to deliver detail-rich, colorful files with low levels of noise and high detail. It is also tuned to minimize the effects of color fringing with older F-mount Nikkor lenses, and to minimize the effect of unnatural-looking (digital) noise patterns. Vignette (peripheral fall-off) can also be controlled for creative effect.

ACTIVE D-LIGHTING

The D3x features a new Extra High Active D-Lighting setting, designed to better manage extremely high-contrast scenes, especially tonal gradation in highlights.

SCENE RECOGNITION SYSTEM
Information from the 1005-pixel RGB sensor with diffraction grating is used to recognise the subject position and color prior to capture. The results are then used by autofocus, auto exposure and auto white balance.

LIVE VIEW
The D3x is the highest resolution digital SLR yet to offer Live View. Allowing photographers to compose and shoot via the 3in monitor instead of the viewfinder brings a variety of practical advantages both in the studio and on location. Two modes are offered: Handheld and Tripod. Contrast-detect autofocus is available in Tripod mode.

MONITOR

3-inch wide-angle (170deg) rear viewing screen, with 922,000 dots, is ultra-high definition, and proven to exhibit extraordinary levels of damage resistance.

THE INTERFACES
USB 2.0 downloads images off the camera fast when tethered, and flexibly when connected with the WT-4 wireless transmitter. With both HDMI and AV/Out ports GPS data can be captured into the EXIF as before. The new, compact Nikon GP-1 GPS unit can also be attached via the 10-pin terminal and mounted in the hotshoe, or clip on the camera strap.

POWER MANAGEMENT
The D3x uses the same high performance lithium-ion battery (EN-EL4a) as the D3. Thanks to efficiencies in the camera’s onboard EXPEED image-processing system, battery performance is comparable with the D3.

THE BODY
Extremely durable magnesium construction with ergonomically optimized and weather-sealed buttons, dials and LCD displays. Extensive use of high-grade rubber grips means the body is comfortable to handle for long periods of time, and in a wide range of temperatures.
The D3x is the highest resolution digital SLR yet to offer Live View. Allowing photographers to compose and shoot via the 3in monitor instead of the viewfinder brings a variety of practical advantages both in the studio and on location. Two modes are offered: Handheld and Tripod. Contrast-detect autofocus is available in Tripod mode.

So….which way to go?
As always, it all depends on your needs. How has your workflow been with the massive files you are using now? Have you been trolling the ads for the biggest hard drives you can find? And in pairs? ( best to do mirror back-ups. Seriously).
With dual CF card slots, so can either double your capacity OR have one card record RAW, one card record Jpeg simultaneously, OR a back-up card on-board. D3 and D3x both do that.
And you best have the most rippingly fast CF cards and readers, because with file sizes that big, shoot-and-wait will totally suck. With the capability of 138 mp processed files, make sure you have the bandwidth.

After using the D3, there is a sweetness of handling that can’t be beat. Like when you get behind the wheel of a precision, top-of-the-line car, and can just feel the expert mechanics. Plus a full frame viewfinder. I like to crop at the eyepiece, thank you very much.

If you are a photojournalist, the D3 or D700 should be the units of choice in the Nikon line. In an upcoming review, we’ll give you some hands on feedback on the D700. Lots of photojournalists I know only use jpeg anyway, so file size is not as critical.

Look, we want you to know about the best products out there, and what they can do for you. But be clear with yourself as to the right tool for the right job.
A pro should use the most capable tool out there, because that is the way they make a living. This camera will fly out the door.
As an enthusiast, look at the big picture.
Have you made the move away from DX lenses? If you haven’t, you may be a little disappointed when using them on these full frame units. Sure, they will frame for your lens, and let you know. But the adjusted frame lines just got to me a bit. Distracting.
However, one huge advantage is the wide angle lenses that will come back into your repertoire with full frame beauty, if you change up your lenses. Plus your old glass will be fine on these new FX units. Maybe those primes will find their way bag into the bag.
Heck, I still love the bokeh on the old 500mm F/8 mirror lens.

So, it’s some amazing news here from a prime mover in photography. And if you are going to sell off your D3′s before that 300,000 shutter clicks, I think you’ll find some ready buyers out there.
(can you see my hand up from where you are?)
And I’m asking Hannukah Harry and Santa for a D3x. Double the odds, right?

Full Nikon Press Release follows:
NIKON UNVEILS A DIGITAL MASTERPIECE: THE D3X DIGITAL SLR

With Extreme 24.5-Megapixel Resolution, Processed Image Files Exceeding 138 MB, Five Frame-per-Second Burst Speed and Nikon Core Technologies, the D3X Ushers in a New Level of Image Quality

MELVILLE, N.Y. (Nov. 30, 2008) – Nikon Inc. today announced the D3X, an FX-format digital SLR featuring extreme 24.5-megapixel resolution and superb low-noise capabilities, which provides professional photographers with commercial-quality image performance in a familiar and extraordinarily versatile D-SLR form factor. In conjunction with the groundbreaking Nikon FX-format D3, the D3X tops off a collection of flagship level, rugged, professional caliber digital single lens reflex cameras engineered to excel in all types of professional photographic disciplines from photojournalism and sideline sports, to commercial in-studio applications.

The foundation of the enhanced performance of the D3X is its FX-format, 24.5-megapixel (6048 x 4032) CMOS sensor providing commercial, high fashion, fine art and landscape photographers with the extreme resolution, dynamic range, color depth, detail and sharpness that clients demand. Whether creating catalogs, magazine covers, billboards or gallery prints, the large 5.49-micron pixel size and high signal to noise ratio produces vibrant images with breathtaking image fidelity while reducing lost highlights and shadows, and ensuring smoother tone reproduction with minimized noise. With full resolution shooting speeds of up to five frames-per-second (fps), and 14-bit files, that when processed are approximately 138 MB, the D3X offers today’s photographic artists an extreme level of performance and versatility ready for demanding assignments in the studio or on location.

“In 2007, the 12.1-megapixel FX-format D3 delivered groundbreaking digital SLR image quality, coupled with incomparable high ISO, low noise performance and high-speed handling. In doing so, the D3 broke photographic barriers, enabling photographers to work in ways never before possible,” said Edward Fasano, general manager for Marketing, SLR Systems Products at Nikon Inc. “Now, the new 24.5-megapixel FX-format D3X D-SLR provides the extreme resolution and high dynamic range capabilities needed to meet the extraordinary needs of photographic disciplines such as high fashion, commercial advertising and fine art. The D3X delivers this remarkable capability while fitting seamlessly within the Nikon system, taking full advantage of Nikon’s world-renowned collection of NIKKOR lenses and Speedlights.”

Image Quality Takes Center Stage
To re-emphasize the importance of image quality above all else, the D3X delivers an incredible level of digital SLR performance to provide photographers with extremely high resolution, exceptional dynamic range, phenomenal total gradation and outstanding color reproduction. Image files can be recorded as TIFF, JPEG or NEF (RAW) formats in either 12- or 14-bit compressed or uncompressed formats, and recorded to UDMA compatible CompactFlashâ„¢ cards for optimum speed. Photographers can save image files directly to the dual card slots as overflow, backup, or as separate file formats to different cards. Building on the D3X’s flexibility, users have the creative option to shoot in the 5:4 crop mode with 20.4-megapixel resolution, the ideal format for creating 8 x 10-inch portraits. While using DX-format lenses, faster continuous shooting of up to seven frames per second can be achieved at a resolution of 10.5 megapixels.

The exceptionally low noise of the D3X is essential to any professional commercial application, and it provides photographers with an ISO range of 100 to 1600, expandable to 50 (Lo-1) and 6400 (Hi-2). The ultra smooth tones and lack of grain at ISO 1600 as well as at low sensitivity settings result in smooth, natural skin tones and exacting detail that, before the D3X, required larger and far costlier studio-bound camera systems.

Advanced Technologies, Meticulously Executed
In a commercial setting or on location, imaging professionals need high performance in both speed and processing. The Nikon D3X can shoot at up to five fps at full resolution or up to seven fps in DX crop mode, allowing photographers to catch the split-second difference in a model’s expression or capture all of the action in a sequence. Just like the D3, the D3X achieves a start-up time of a mere 0.12 seconds and a shutter release time lag of 0.04 seconds.

The D3X’s speed, as well as high levels of performance, leverages Nikon core technologies including a newly enhanced EXPEED™ Image Processing System, specially designed for the D3X to provide superior image quality, faster processing speeds and lower power consumption. This advanced system is able to achieve extremely precise color reproduction for a broad spectrum of hues, in addition to vivid saturation and smooth gradation. What’s more, Nikon’s advanced noise processing function is engineered to minimize noise at all sensitivities and operate seamlessly without interfering with other image color parameters.

The D3X also features Nikon’s exclusive Scene Recognition System, which continuously analyzes information from the 1,005-pixel RGB light sensor, to further refine auto exposure, auto white balance and autofocus calculations. This results in flattering portraits and awe-inspiring landscapes that portray accurate color and fine details. Nikon’s exclusive 3D Color Matrix Metering II helps ensure accurate exposures, even in the most challenging lighting conditions. Instantly evaluating each scene before capture, input data from the system’s sensor is automatically referenced against an internal database of more than 30,000 images derived from actual photographs to calculate correct exposure values. Active D-Lighting, used in combination with 3D Matrix Metering II, helps to determines proper exposure, and creates realistic contrast while compensating for lost shadows and highlights. Prior to shooting, users can choose from Extra High, High, Normal, Low or Off settings, as well as an Auto mode.

Additionally, the D3X features Nikon’s exclusive Multi-CAM 3500FX focus module, with 51 AF points, 15 cross type sensors and 36 horizontal sensors that easily track and lock onto moving subjects, delivering the same fast and accurate AF performance that helped make the D3 immediately successful. Users can select any of the AF points, making it easy to consistently attain accurate focus right on a subject’s eyes, frame after frame. Additionally, three AF-area modes – Single point, Dynamic-area AF and Auto-area AF – are available to maximize the use of the 51 focus points by selecting the most suitable one to match subject conditions. AF is also available in one of two Live View modes optimized for the studio, including a phase detection handheld mode and a tripod mode. This feature allows the user to zoom in up to 27x on the LCD screen to ensure critical focus. While in Live View, the graphic indication of a virtual horizon is also available, making it easier than ever to confirm camera orientation.

To further ensure each photographer’s ability to balance their personal style, Nikon’s Picture Control System enables users to adjust their images to pre-set parameters such as Standard, Neutral, Vivid and Monochrome that apply tweaks to image sharpening, tone compensation, brightness, overall tone and saturation. Photographers have creative control over these image parameters with the use of up to nine available customizable presets.

Synchronizing Both Form and Function
Engineered for real-world functionality, the D3X retains a rugged shell with moisture, dust and shock resistance that has become a hallmark of flagship Nikon D-SLRs, while preserving the usability and ergonomics that allow the camera to remain an extension of the photographer’s vision. Attention to detail goes so far as to include a self-diagnostic shutter system that is tested to exceed 300,000 cycles for maximum durability and longevity. The camera’s body also maintains the resilient magnesium alloy construction and form factor of the D3, promoting consistent Nikon system synergy.

A bright and accurate viewfinder offers 100 percent coverage with 0.7x magnification. The body also houses Nikon’s acclaimed 3.0-inch super density LCD screen, now relied upon by so many photographers. The high-resolution 920,000-dot screen is viewable at wide angles up to 170 degrees, and will allow photographers to quickly zoom in to confirm critical focus. Users can also output the video signal to an external display via HDMI to allow client viewing. Thanks to incredibly efficient internal circuitry, the D3X can capture up to 4400* shots per single charge of the camera’s Lithium ion battery.

System Strength Withstands the Test of Time

The D3X is fully compatible with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (CLS) to give photographers a mobile lighting solution that is easy to manage. To further enhance mobility, the D3X is compatible with Nikon’s GP-1 GPS receiver to gather information such as latitude, longitude, altitude and date of shooting. Photographers can easily shoot tethered via USB, or use the WT-4a wireless transmitter to send images wirelessly when speed and mobility are essential. D3X users will also enjoy the system strength of more than 50 genuine NIKKOR lenses that provide outstanding sharpness and high resolution across a broad range of focal lengths.

Price and Availability
The Nikon D3X will be available at Nikon Authorized Professional Dealers starting December 2008, and will be available for an estimated selling price of $7999.95.**

* Based on CIPA Standards
** Estimated selling price listed is only an estimate. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.

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