Nikon D3x

Given the leaks and teasers that have appeared previously there were few surprises in the description of the Nikon D3x in the Nikon Pro magazine that came through many of our doors this morning.

What is clear is that is probably isn’t a camera I will particularly want. Nikon describe this 24.5Mp ‘FX’ model as “designed with medium format photographic applications in mind” and it has the fairly conservative ISO range of 100-1600, though with boost to ISO 6400.

Its 75Mb files would for most of us most of the time be an embarrassment of riches, although its ability to shoot these at 5 fps seems pretty astounding.  It does have what seems to be a very useful DX mode, which gives 10Mp files.

Otherwise it seems very similar to the D3. Another big heavy camera that’s already overkill in various respects. The price is yet to be announced – rumoured at around $5,500, enough to put it out of my league, but still likely to make some other manufacturers wince.  And even if you’d like one for Christmas you will be out of luck. More chance if your birthday is in February at a guess.

Nikon’s recommendation for your Christmas list is the D90, a camera that in some respects, certainly according to the DxOMarks, outguns cameras including the Canon EOS 5D and Nikon D300, despite selling (body only) for under £600. And there is a rather nice sounding new DX 18-105 f3.5-5.6 VR  lens to go with it. Compared to the D3x it seems pretty compact which for me is a big point in its favour, although it still isn’t a small camera.

Along with many photographers (though perhaps not a huge section of the market) what I am still waiting for is a true digital successor to the Leica M series. Leica’s own contender, the M8, has proved to be a whole series of disappointments – not just for me but for many other users – hardly addressed by their second edition and in several ways Epson’s rather curious earlier attempt (I always feel the need to don racing goggles and jump into a sports car when I look at its top plate)  is still the best in this area, one that Leica seems to have relinquished for their S series. But both – for better or worse –  were ‘retro’ cameras, firmly founded in the 1950s, and what I would love to see is their 21st century equivalent – including the kind of low-light capabilities we now see in the D700/D3.

2 Responses to “Nikon D3x”

  1. Jim Thorp says:

    Interesting this obsession with massive megapixel files that some manufacturers seem to be pursuing. The resulting cameras, though expensive, are still cheap in comparison to the ridiculous price of medium format digital equipment. And that’s before you even start to think about adding extra medium format lenses to your collection!

    For the last year I have been using an Olympus E3 (with a back-up E400 body), and this used with care seems to give as much quality as I could wish for, without breaking either the bank or my back. In fact, it only has one downside as far as my style of photography is concerned, and that is the fact that there is too much depth of field compared to a full-frame digital SLR.

    The use of background blurr is a very useful tool on occasions, even with reportage style photography, but it is difficult to achieve it sometimes with the E3, even at full aperture, especially with a wide angle shot. Otherwise the camera is robust, optically superb, easy to handle, and relatively unobtrusive. The swivelling viewing screen is a great bonus, enabling awkward viewpoints to be tackled as easily as with a waist level viewfinder, but without the annoying reversal of left and right. I don’t know why more manufacturers don’t include this facility.

  2. I think many photographers prefer to shoot using the viewfinder rather than the screen. Though I can see there are cases a swivel screen might be useful (and I did once own a camera with one) I seldom find myself missing it. Even with ‘Hail Mary’ shots, I think it wouldn’t usually be a great deal of use – and Nikon’s failure to provide an eyepiece blind built in to the camera (except on the most expensive model) is more of an annoyance.

    I think it would also be physically a weak point in a camera and mine do quite often get a bit of rough handling when I’m using them in very crowded spaces.

    For years I used a pair of OM4 bodies, and I looked hard at the E3, but decided against it. Shooting in gloom last Saturday afternoon the D300 did fairly well, but I would have preferred a D700. Or come to that a D3x

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