Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs


Nikon D2X Reader Report

A review note by Laurin Rinder



Hello friends, below is my personal views on NIKON'S new powerhouse the D2X. These comments are just the "highlights" of what this machine can do. There is so much more.

First let me qualify myself by saying that in 45+ years of taking pictures with possibly every camera made since the 1950's, Shooting every subject from astro to micro, beautiful women in europe to bugs in the studio, teaching at the college level , owning successful studios And, since I was the first to get a production over the counter D2X here in los angeles that it was prudent of me to chime in with my thoughts on this camera. Let me start off by saying i've always shot nikon and leica since the beginning, I've never received anything from them for free nor any other camera maker. I currently shoot for and am sponsored by TAMRON so I use all their lenses which I find to be of excellent quality especially the 28-300DI, 17-35 and the 90 2.8 macro and all of my shots and views are with these lenses.

A small Rant first

First and foremost I must start off by saying that "THE CAMERA YOU USE MEANS NOTHING." This is absolutely true. You can buy a $10,000 necklace but, that will not make you a better photographer. You can buy a $200 camera on E-Bay that will shoot sharper images than any $8,000 DSLR, but that means you must put in the time and actually learn photography. A $200 used Rolleiflex, Yashicamat or Rolleicord can blow away a $4000 doctor Leica. (sorry - we call those doctor cameras.)

If you want to shoot 4x5 or larger, god bless you. I just am not able to deal with that anymore....paying for Polaroid film, for regular film (which is disappearing quickly) and processing. It's too expensive and time consuming for me now and, who wants to wash fiber based prints at 3 am for 2 hours?!

Photography is and will always be "about the light" not the camera, film, or a gazillion pixels. I have seen stunning 18x24 inch prints made with 3 and 4 megapixel cameras and I've seen horrible 8x10 inch prints from $30,000 22 megapixel cameras. What does that tell you?

Like a lot of the so-called 'old timers', I had a real problem with digital at the beginning. Looking back just four years I would scoff at the notion of not using film. Well, I guess you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. What did it for me was on one of those endless nights at 4 am after standing up for ten hours in the darkroom, with the smell, falling asleep waiting for prints to wash so I could dry them. I figured I should check this digital thing out - tough decision after 45+ years!

For the last three years or so, if I wasn't off in Europe shooting for a client, I would take to the road at every chance I could get. I would go for a few weeks and shoot everything I saw. Each time I would take the newest state-of-the-art digital camera, as well as many film cameras. I would shoot both formats to do my own testing on the subjects. Every time I returned from one of these trips, I'd end up selling another film camera, then another. Until the last time I went with only one which was sold upon my return. (Hooray for E-Bay!) Needless to say digital has changed my life. Now, at least I can sit at my computer and process images. BUT, it has not made me a better photographer.


As soon as I could charge the batteries [101 min each] I shot every thing I could for 10 solid days and nights. Approx. 5000 images , Just for speed sake everything was shot on JPEG/FINE mode. I figured if it wasn't good at this setting then what's the use. I don't shoot RAW and really cant figure out why anybody does unless you cant get it right the first time or, you love to twiddle on your computer. According to nikon there is a 4x loss in image quality shooting JPEG, I have yet to see the difference between the two file formats, if I shot raw it would take me forever to process the volume of work I must do daily. Just don't ever save anything as a JPEG, work on it then save as a tiff.

I find the viewfinder to be extremely easy to see through with no tunnel effect, nice and bright also as I am a glasses person one would need to get the rubber eyecup if not, the monitor gets all foggy. It comes with a clear matte focusing screen and in the box is a type b brite view screen replacement , I put it in and it is quite good . I tried every white balance setting and found the AWB the best by far of all the nikons I've used and I like very warm over saturated images being an old film guy, you can also set WB in kelvin ''very cool'' . Auto focus is to say the least, "Amazing".

The cameras overall feel is quite powerful and ''tank'' like which I prefer, The high speed crop mode is a one button push and a turn of the command dial, Sports guys are gonna love this as a 300 lens becomes a 600 lens and is clearly defined in the viewfinder with a highlighted grid. Also Very cool! The monitor is huge and extremely good, just remove the monitor protector and get those Hoodman stick-ons, they are great.

Depth of field preview is very good also as is the control panel screen, I love the ability to zoom in on the image to check focus , I think it's 27/30 times, Awesome!.

Image Quality

"ABSOLUTELY BREATH TAKING" almost 3 dimensional. Like I've said I shot everything at JPEG/FINE and found at iso 100 I could blow it up to over 300% in photoshop before it came apart, Quite amazing!! NOISE? ...of course at that size, either it was noise or artifacts something was there but at real world print sizes as large as 24 x 36 and larger you would be hard pressed to see them. ISO 200 as you would imagine about 5% worse, ISO 400 noticeably worse, ISO 800 not very exciting without noise reduction software which I personally don't like as I find it puts a ''plastic'' look on the images and i've tried them all and prefer to use the blur tool around the shadows if it needs to be or despeckle in photoshop.

Here's a new one for you, while I was spending time with one of the developers of this camera who has been with nikon for over 20 years, he said something that changed everything and went against all that I've heard and done. He said to turn the sharpening ON in the camera not off like we have always heard, guess what, he was RIGHT!!!! I'm not going to go on and on about why, just try it.

Battery life is astounding and, lastly there are 2 very cool items like image overlay, putting one image on top of or behind another and 7 image auto multiple exposure.

In Conclusion

Remember, I shoot in day to day real world conditions and don't get cameras for free to test in the high country clean air or with million dollar lenses at my disposal and I don't shoot that many sports so my criteria is a lot different from some but the same for most.

This is the best camera nikon has come up with yet for my needs and I find it to be a lot of fun to shoot and I look forward to many years of service. And yes I've shot the new canon and yes the canon is in my opinion better in some areas, Is the nikon worth $5000.00?, NO! Is the Canon 1DSMK2 worth $8000.00? absolutely not. Did I have to buy it? YOU BET!

Any other questions I can help with just ask



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