Nikon D2X SLR Review

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Nikon D2X Professional

Review posted 6/1/05

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Unlike most digital camera upgrades, the new D2X was four years in the making - its sibling, the D1X SLR was released back in 2001. Unlike other professional digital SLRs, the D2X has a split personality - it's both a high resolution camera and a high-speed camera combined into one body. The high resolution is achieved by the use of a new Sony 12.4 megapixel DX Format CMOS image sensor, capable of capturing 5 frames per second. When the action demands an even faster framerate, the photographer can switch to the 6.8 megapixel "High Speed Cropped Image" mode that increases the capture rate to a blazing 8 frames per second. And of course, the D2X has been optimized for use with the new DX lenses and is compatible with the full lineup of Nikkor lenses.

The D2X is built to take the daily abuse of today's "working pro" photographers and isn't afraid of a little weather. The lightweight and highly durable magnesium alloy body features enhanced sealing to prevent the intrusion of rain drops and dust and the shutter and mirror box assemblies have been field proven to be very reliable. The camera's large controls and buttons are positioned for intuitive control that frees the photographer to concentrate on composition. Regardless of camera orientation, operation remains consistently comfortable with virtually the same access to primary controls.

Nikon's new generation system LSI greatly improves the precision of processing over previous schemes. With optimized distribution of analog and digital white balance gain, another first, the new engine produces smoother gradations with consistent and smooth transitions, all with exceptionally pure color rendition. Two new Adobe RGB color modes further expand professional color space options with the new engine achieves beautiful reproductions of skin tones. Support for sYCC color space produces JPEG files with a gamut wider than sRGB to fully exploit the output capabilities of the latest color printers.

An improved Matrix Metering system allows Nikon's acclaimed 1,005-pixel RGB Exposure/Color Matrix Metering Sensor to better determine the position and size of shadow or highlight areas and achieve optimum exposure for each shot. Instant power-up with an almost imperceptible 37ms shutter lag matches the class-leading response of the Nikon D2H, an astounding achievement at this resolution level. Nikon's acclaimed Mutli-CAM2000 AF Sensor features nine cross point sensors placed in the rule of thirds layout with an additional two at each side of the frame. Dynamic AF options are added when using the Group Dynamic AF mode as well.

A new 2.5-inch color LCD monitor features an all-digital interface for clear, flicker-free display of preview images and logically organized Shooting and Custom Settings menus. On-demand information includes an improved histogram and new RGB Histogram displays, as well as a chronological Recent Settings list. The new Multiple Exposure function creates a single image from up to 10 exposures. The Image Overlay function merges selected NEF files already stored on the CF memory card to create a new image file within the camera.

The D2X is the first to support a secure interface between the CompactFlash card and the camera. Once configured, the stored content on the card can only be accessed by the designated D2X camera with the matching encryption keys or via password access on a PC. This provides the highest level of security for those who need to document confidential or classified information. This function is available only when using Lexar's new LockTight memory cards. The D2X can access CompactFlash (CF) cards to read and write data faster than any of its predecessors. The transfer rate of the USB 2.0 Hi-Speed interface is also improved. Simultaneous recording of NEF and JPEG files helps maximize workflow efficiency.

Gone is the D1X's big and bulky NiMH battery pack, replaced by the EN-EL4, a compact and lightweight rechargeable lithium-ion battery with extended longevity and high energy capacity capable of approx. 2,000 shots per charge, with accurate real-time system status displays.

Optional GPS units that comply with the NMEA 0183 standard can be connected to record data on latitude, longitude, and altitude, or to adjust the D2X's built-in World Time settings. New Wireless Transmitter WT-2 features include IEEE 802.11b/g support for faster transfer speeds, broader support for network protocols and greater security options. Another new feature that realizes extensive new picture taking potential is wireless Capture Control from a computer running Nikon Capture 4 (ver. 4.2).

D2X Major Features:

  • Lightweight and durable magnesium alloy body with enhanced sealing that protects against drops of water and dust
  • High resolution 12.4-Megapixel effective Sony CMOS imager
  • Instant power up and same 37ms shutter release time as the D2H
  • 12.4 megapixel High Resolution @ 5fps up to 21 JPEG/15 NEF
  • 6.8 megapixel High-Speed Cropped mode @ 8fps up to 35 JPEG/26 NEF
  • Accepts Nikon F-mount lenses (with 1.5x/2x FOV multiplier)
  • Compressed RAW, JPEG and TIFF file formats
  • Program AE, Shutter-priority, Aperture-priority and Manual exposure modes
  • Creative in-camera effects, Image Overlay and Multiple Exposure
  • Advanced 3D-Color Matrix Metering II prevents highlight blowouts and loss of detail in shadow areas
  • White balance: hybrid with 1,005-pixel RGB sensor, CMOS image sensor and external Ambience Light Sensor. WB Bracketing of 2-9 frames
  • Shutter speeds from 1/8,000 to 30 seconds, flash sync to 1/250
  • 11 area AF (9 area AF in High-Speed crop) with dynamic tracking, single or continuous servo modes
  • Adobe sRGB and 2 sRGB color spaces with support for sYCC color range
  • 2.5-inch color LCD with 235,000 pixels and white LED backlight
  • Onscreen menu for Playback, Shooting, Custom functions and Setup
  • A total of 41 Custom settings available
  • Four banks to store frequently used camera settings
  • ISO sensitivity from 100 to 800 plus 1600 and 3200 options
  • Noise Reduction for long exposures, High ISO Noise Reduction for ISO 400 and above
  • i-TTL with the SB-800 and SB-600 Speedlights for Nikon's Creative Lighting System compatibility
  • CompactFlash Type I or II storage, Microdrive and FAT-32 compatible
  • Faster CF read/write speeds than any previous Nikon dSLR
  • Secure interface with memory card via Lexar LockTight CF cards
  • Selectable video output with NTSC or PAL format
  • USB 2.0 hi-speed data and control interface
  • Compact, high-capacity EN-EL4 Li-ion battery for up to 2000 shots per charge
  • GPS support for the recording of location information with shooting data
  • Support for the Wireless Transmitter WT-1A and the new WT-2A

The D2X will be bundled with Nikon's PictureProject software, an intuitive software application that provides image transfer, image organization, simple image editing (NEF plug-in included), and print layout functions. The D2X is also compatible with Nikon Capture 4.2 software (optional), that features improved functions as well as Nikon Capture Camera Control that can now be used to control the camera from a computer over a USB connection or a wireless LAN (requires WT-2A).

Physical Views

Nikon D2X SLR

Nikon D2X SLR

Nikon D2X SLRNikon D2X SLR

Nikon D2X SLR

Nikon D2X SLR

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Nikon Digital SLR Camera D2X Specifications
Type of Camera Lens-interchangeable digital SLR camera
Effective Pixels 12.4 million
Image Sensor Sony CMOS sensor, 23.7 x 15.7mm size, 5.49µm pixel pitch
12.84 million total pixels
Recording Pixels Full Image:
[L] 4,288 x 2,848-pixel
[M] 3,216 x 2,136-pixel
[S] 2,144 x 1,424-pixel

High-Speed Crop Image:
[L] 3,216 x 2,136-pixel
[M] 2,400 x 1,600-pixel
[S] 1,600 x 1,064-pixel

Sensitivity ISO equivalency 100 to 800 (H1, H2)
Storage System NEF (12-bit RAW uncompressed or compression),
Exif 2.21, compliant DCF 2.0 and DPOF (uncompressed TIFF-RGB or compressed JPEG)
Storage Media CompactFlash™ (CF) Card (Type I / II) and Microdrive™
Shooting Modes 1) Single frame shooting [S] mode: advances one frame for each shutter release
2) Continuous high shooting [CH] mode: Full Image; 5 frames per second (fps) / High-Speed Crop Image; 8 frames per second (fps)
3) Continuous low shooting [CL] mode: Full Image; 1 to 4 frames per second (fps) (selectable in menu) High-Speed Crop Image; 1 to 7 frames per second (fps) (selectable in menu)
4) Self-timer mode: time duration can be set
5) Mirror up mode: first press: mirror up, second press: release
White Balance 1) Auto (hybrid with 1,005-pixel RGB sensor, CMOS image sensor and external Ambience Light Sensor)
2) Manual (6 steps with fine tuning)
3) Preset (5 settings)
4) Color temperature setting in Kelvin (select from 31steps)
5) White Balance Bracketing (2 to 9 frames adjustable in 10, 20, 30 MIRED steps)
LCD Monitor 2.5-in., 235,000-dot, low temp. polysilicon TFT LCD with white LCD backlight
Backlight/brightness adjustment available
Playback Function 1) Full frame,
2) Thumbnail (4/9 segments),
3) Zoom,
4) Slideshow,
5) RGB Histogram indication, Shooting data and Highlight point display
Delete Function 1) Card format,
2) All frames delete,
3) Selected frames delete
Video Output NTSC or PAL (switchable)
Interface USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed) (Mini-B connector)
FTP file transfer available with optional Wireless Transmitter WT-1/1A (IEEE 802.11b) and WT-2/2A (IEEE 802.11b/g)
CF card slot Type II+: supports firmware updates via CF cards
Voice Memo Record mode: Automatic or manual recording at shooting or playback, Max. recording time: 60 seconds
Playback mode: Built-in speaker or Audio Video cable
File format: Mono WAV file
Text Input Up to 36 characters of alphanumeric text input is available with LCD monitor and multi-selector; stored in Exif header
Usable Lenses 1) AF Nikkor (including AF-S, DX, VR and D-/G-type) : All functions possible
2) D-type Manual-Focus Nikkor: All functions except autofocus and some exposure modes available
3) AF Nikkor other than D-/G-type: All functions except 3D-Color Matrix Metering II and 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash possible
4) AI-P Nikkor: All functions except 3D-Color Matrix Metering II, 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash and AF possible
5) Non-CPU AI Nikkor: Usable in [A] or [M] mode with Matrix-Metering, Center-Weighted and Spot Metering available.
Indication of aperture No., after user inputs the aperture f/No. and focal length f=mm by multi-selector operation. Electronic Rangefinder usable with maximum aperture of f/5.6 or faster
Picture Angle Full Image: Approx. 1.5x focal length in 35mm [135] format equivalent
High-Speed Crop Image: Approx. 2x focal length in 35mm [135] format equivalent
Viewfinder Optical-type fixed eye-level pentaprism; Built-in diopter adjustment (-3 to +1m-1), Eyepiece shutter provided
Eyepoint 19.9mm (at -1.0m-1)
Focusing Screen Type-V BrightView Clear Matte Screen III for High-Speed Crop and Type-B BrightView Clear Matte Screen III; Interchangeable with optional type-E finder screen with grid
Viewfinder Frame Coverage Approx. 100%
Viewfinder Magnification Approx. 0.86x with 50mm f/1.4 lens set to infinity and -1.0m-1
Reflex Mirror Automatic, instant-return type
Lens Aperture Instant-return type, with Depth-of-field Preview Button
Autofocus TTL phase detection, Nikon Multi-CAM2000 autofocus module; Detection range: EV -1 to +19 [Right edge and Left edge AF range: EV0 to +19] [at normal temperature (20°C/68°F), ISO 100 equivalent]
Lens Servo 1) Single Servo AF [S], 2) Continuous Servo AF [C], 3) Manual focus [M]Focus Tracking automatically activated by subject's status in [S] or [C] AF
Focus Area Selectable from 11 focus areas (High-Speed Crop: 9 focus area)
AF Area Modes 1) Single Area AF, 2) Dynamic AF with Focus Tracking and Lock-on™, 3) Closest Subject Priority Dynamic AF, 4) Group Dynamic AF
Focus Lock Focus is locked by pressing AE/AF Lock button or lightly pressing shutter release button in [S] AF.
Exposure Metering System TTL full-aperture exposure metering system;
1) D-/G-type Nikkor lenses support 3D-Color Matrix Metering II using the 1,005-pixel RGB sensor while other AF Nikkor lenses with built-in CPUs support Matrix Metering (Non-CPU lenses require manual input of lens data)
2) Center-Weighted Metering (75% of the meter's sensitivity concentrated on the 8mm dia. circle) given to 6, 10 or 13mm dia. circle in center of frame, or weighting based on average of entire frame
3) Spot Metering (4mm dia. circle, approx. 2% of entire frame); metering position can be linked to the focus area when using Nikkor lenses with built-in CPU
Exposure Metering Range 1) 3D-Color Matrix Metering II: EV 0 to 20
2) Center-Weighted Metering: EV 0 to 20
3) Spot Metering: EV 2 to 20 [at normal temperature (20°C / 68°F), ISO 100 equivalent, f/1.4 lens]
Exposure Meter Coupling CPU and AI (Automatic maximum aperture Indexing)
Exposure Modes 1) [P] Programmed Auto (Flexible program possible)
2) [S] Shutter-Priority Auto
3) [A] Aperture-Priority Auto
4) [M] Manual
Exposure Compensation Exposure compensated in ±5.0 EV range in 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV steps
Auto Exposure Lock Detected exposure value locked by pressing AE-L/AF-L button
Auto Exposure Bracketing Number of shots: 2 to 9 frames Compensation steps: 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, or 1EV steps
Shutter Electromagnetically controlled vertical-travel focal-plane shutter, 30 to 1/8,000 second and bulb
Sync Contact X-contact only: flash synchronization up to 1/250 second
Flash Control 1) Creative Lighting System: i-TTL Balanced Fill-Flash controlled by TTL Sensor with Nikon Speedlight SB-800/SB-600: Advanced Wireless Lighting, FV (Flash Value) -lock, Flash Color Information Communication for Auto White Balance, Auto FP High-Speed Flash Sync, Modeling Flash
2) D-TTL Balanced Fill-Flash: When used with the Speedlight SB-80DX/50DX and in accordance with the mounted lens, five-segment TTL Multi Sensor control makes available 3D Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash, Multi-Sensor Balanced Fill-Flash, and Standard D-TTL Balanced Fill-Flash
3) AA (Auto Aperture) -type Flash available when used with SB-800/80DX and lens with built-in CPU
4) Non-TTL Auto Flash (A-type Flash) with a Speedlight such as SB-800/30/27/22s etc.
5) Range-priority manual available with SB-800
Flash Sync Modes 1) Front-Curtain Sync (normal sync), 2) Red-Eye Reduction, 3) Red-Eye Reduction with Slow Sync, 4) Slow Sync, 5) Rear-Curtain Sync
Ready-light Lights up when flash fully charged with Speedlight SB-800/SB-600/80DX/50DX/30/28/27/22s; blinks for full output warning
Accessory Shoe ISO 518 standard-type hot shoe contact; Safety lock mechanism provided
Sync Terminal ISO 519 standard terminal, lock screw provided
Self-timer Electronically controlled; Timer duration: 2, 5, 10, and 20 seconds
Depth-of-field Preview Button Stop-down lens aperture by pressing Depth-of-field Preview Button
Remote Control Via 10-pin remote terminal
GPS NMEA 0183 Interface standard supported with GPS cable MC-35 (Optional)
Supported Languages English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Simplified Chinese, Korean, Japanese (Selectable in menu)
Power Requirements Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL4 (11.1V DC), Quick Charger MH-21, AC Adapter EH-6 (optional)
Battery Monitoring System The LCD monitor on the camera back displays the following information about the EN-EL4 battery: 1.) Remaining charge (%); 2.) No. of shots taken since last charge; 3.) Calibration status (Recommended/Not required); 4.) Battery life (5 stages)
Tripod Socket 1/4 in. (ISO1222)
Dimensions (W x H x D) Approx. 157.5 x 149.5 x 85.5mm (6.2 x 5.9 x 3.4 in.)
Weight (without battery) Approx. 1,070g (2.4 lbs)
Supplied Accessories* Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL4, Quick Charger MH-21, Body Cap, Camera Strap AN-D2X, Audio Video Cable EG-D2, USB Cable UC-E4, LCD Monitor Cover BM-3, Battery Chamber Caver BL-1, Focus Screen Type-B, PictureProject Software CD-ROM
Optional Accessories Wireless Transmitter WT-2/2A/WT-1/1A, Extended Range Antenna WA-E1, AC Adaptor EH-6, Interchangeable Focusing Screen Type-E, Antifog Finder Eyepiece DK-17A, Eyepiece Correction Lens DK-17C series, Speedlight SB-800/SB-600, Nikon Capture 4 (Version 4.2) software, CompactFlash™ card

*Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area

CompactFlash™ is a trademark of SanDisk Corporation. Products and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

Specifications are as represented by the manufacturer.

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