Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs


 

Nikon D2X/D2Xs Experience Report

A review diary by Uwe Steinmueller @Digital Outback Photo

Also photos by Bettina Steinmueller

 
 
 
 

Diary Index

 
 

Note on image processing:

As usual we work only with raw files and use RawShooter essentials 1.1.2.

All images are also sharpened using EasyS Sharpening Toolkit.

 
3/12/2005 Diary Start: Used a reader's Nikon D2x
 

We reviewed in the past all major Nikon DSLRs. We mostly bought our review cameras as Nikon does not support us with sample cameras. Kind of expensive to buy a D2X for a review but on the other side we find the Nikon D2X too important to miss an own review (we have a a short review by Laurin Rinder online). Fortunately we will be able to use a production camera owned by one of our many helpful readers.

We won't spend a lot of time discussing the body as it is virtually a slightly modified D2H (see our D2H review). We liked the D2H body a lot. Here are just a few new and revisited observations:

  • Viewfinder is slightly smaller than the full frame 1Ds2 but also brighter. Very good overall.
  • Nice new RGB channel histograms on the marvelous large LCD
  • Mirror lockup does not require a menu change
  • Battery life is known to be excellent

Some Los Gatos test shots

 


Ristorante @ISO 100


Crop @100% magnification

We used for this test our top AF-S 28-70mm f/2.8. This is one of the best zooms we know. The resulting image is very sharp and the colors are fine.


Antique store @ ISO 200


@ 100% magnification

Shadow noise at ISO 200 is very good (same lens as above).

ISO Test

We converted with RawShooter 1.1.2 (noise removal to zero) and then sharpened with the same level of EasyS.


Bear Coffee Shop

Nikon D2X
 

ISO 100
ISO 200

ISO 400

ISO 800

ISO 1600

Up to ISO 200 very smooth with low noise. ISO 400 still very good, ISO 800 not bad for 800. At ISO 1600 as expected strong noise but looking more like film grain.

As usual we provide raw files for your own inspection (of course you need a raw converter, RawShooter 1.1.1 is available for free). All raw files are our copyright and may not be published without our permission.

In our first round we have to say that the D2X is a clear winner for all Nikon photographers.

 
5/18/2005 Comparing Nikon D2x and Canon 1Ds Mk. II raw files
 

Thanks to our reader Jed Wormhoudt we had a new outing with the Nikon D2x.

We photographed the same scene with both cameras:


Nikon D2x + Nikon 60mm Micro (mirror lockup)


Canon 1Ds Mk. II + Canon 50mm Macro

You can download the original raw files from here and compare yourself. We think the D2x file shows better contrast. This can also be due to some slight light change.

Please share your findings with other readers in our news groups.

Interesting is how much further away the D2x with the 60mm Micro (effective angle of view is 90mm) to capture the same scene:


1Ds Mk. II with 50mm Macro


D2x + 60mm Micro

10/9/2005 Using High-Speed Crop mode

We now got for the first time a D2X for our own review. Before we had only limited access through one of our very helpful readers. On one side we got the D2X late in the game but on the other side it is a perfect timing to compare the D2X to Canon's latest offering the EOS 5D. We will use for the next weeks the Nikon D2X and the Canon EOS 5D side by side.

High-Speed Crop Mode

The High-Speed crop mode is actually a very clever design. Let's assume you photograph birds or wildlife that would only cover a fraction of your full frame with the lenses you have available. You could photograph them using the full frame and then crop later. What are the disadvantages?

  • Lots of space needed on your CF cards
  • Valuable space used in the camera memory buffer
  • You could not utilize higher camera frame rates

This is exactly what the D2X High-Speed Crop modes allows you to do:

  • Photograph at 8 fps
  • Store only 6.3 MP of RAW data
  • Increase the RAW buffer to 26 frames

We used the High-Speed Crop mode with our AF-S 80-200mm f/2.8 plus a 1.4x tele adapter. We assigned the FUNC button to allow the switch to this modus easily. Once switched to High-Speed Crop modus the camera only captures the content of a frame shown inside the viewfinder. This works very well. Though we would like to see the outer range to be slightly darker to make framing more convenient.


Shot in High-Speed Crop mode

Some may say that this crop is "only" about 6.3 MP in size. They forget that 6.3 MP delivers quite impressive digital files (more than the D1x, D2h, D100, D70, D60, 10D). We think that this modus is ideal for all photographers that photograph a mix of wildlife, travel, landscape and other subjects. We love this modus and would like to see it with all digital SLRs that can produce more than 10MP resolution files.

The 6.3MP we produced from our AF-S 80-200mm f/2.8 plus a 1.4x tele adapter have show equivalent of 560mm FOV (compared to a 35mm full frame camera). This means you need nearly a 600mm lens to capture the same content. Yes, with the normal mode you would get double the resolution but also have to carry heavy lenses and pay a fortune to buy them.

 

 

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