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Nikon unveils 12.21MP D2X digital SLR - Continued

Nikon D2X

Nikon D2X major features include:

  • A 12.84 million pixel CMOS image sensor with bayer pattern RGB filter array, 5.49 micron pixel pitch, microlenses and optical low pass filter generates 12.21 million actual image pixel photos at full resolution. Image dimensions are 4288 x 2848 pixels on the [L] resolution setting, 3216 x 2136 pixels on the [M] resolution setting and 2144 x 1424 pixels on the [S] resolution setting

  • The D2X will also operate in a 6.87 million image pixel Hi-Speed Crop mode, capturing photos with a smaller central area of the sensor only. Image dimensions when shooting in Hi-Speed Crop mode are 3216 x 2136 pixels on the [L] resolution setting, 2400 x 1600 pixels on the [M] resolution setting and 1600 x 1064 pixels on the [S] resolution setting

Choosing an image size when the D2X is operating at full resolution

Choosing an image size when Hi-Speed Crop mode is enabled

  • At full resolution, the D2X will fire at 5 fps for up to 21 JPEG or 15 NEF frames; in Hi-Speed Crop mode, the camera will fire at 8 fps for up to 35 JPEG or 26 NEF frames. Note that these numbers are preliminary and are subject to change before the camera ships. In addition, Nikon hasn't yet released a specification for the number of TIFF frames the camera will shoot in a burst

  • The sensor is Nikon DX-size (23.7 x 15.7mm); field of view magnification is approximately 1.5x relative to 35mm film when operating at full resolution, or 2x when operating in Hi-Speed Crop mode

Nikon D2X CMOS sensor

  • Real-time noise reduction is applied during image processing, as well as optional, additional non-real-time long exposure noise reduction and optional, additional real-time high ISO noise reduction (both are enabled/disabled in the camera's menus). Long exposure noise reduction uses the dark frame subtraction method, but requires only about 1/3 the time of the actual exposure to perform the dark frame processing (previous Nikon digital SLR models require an amount of time about equal to the exposure duration to do this image crunching). High ISO noise reduction, when enabled, kicks in at ISO 800 and above

CSM d4: Long exposure noise reduction

CSM d5: Enable noise reduction at high sensitivities

  • 12 bits per colour image capture (converted to 8 or 16 bits per colour, depending on file format and processing); a new image processing engine has refined both the analog-to-digital conversion step as well as improved the processing that occurs once the image data is digital. Improvements are said to include smoother gradations in both highlights and shadows and fewer instances of highlight/shadow colour crossovers

  • File format options include JPEG (three levels of compression or a fixed file size), TIFF, RAW NEF (compressed or uncompressed) and simultaneous RAW + JPEG

Choosing a fixed JPEG file size

Quality and compression options

  • Three Color Mode settings for different colour looks: Mode I, Mode II and Mode III. Color Mode I or III JPEG or TIFF files generated in the camera can be processed into the sRGB or Adobe RGB colour spaces; Color Mode II JPEG or TIFF files are Adobe RGB only. The sYCC colour space is also supported, though only for direct printing of JPEGs to compatible printers

  • Auto White Balance (AWB) range is 3500K to 10,000K; AWB combines data from the 1005 pixel metering sensor, external Ambience Light Sensor and from the image sensor itself to determine white balance;  the AWB system can detect the flicker of artificial light sources such as fluorescent and apply colour compensation to account for that (though this feature is limited in its effectiveness in the D2H); the Speedlight SB-800 communicates colour information to the AWB system based on flash duration. D2X AWB is designed to function the same as the D2H with firmware v2.00 installed in that camera

  • Six Manual White Balance Settings, plus Kelvin (31 increments from 2500 to 10,000K in steps approximately equivalent to 10 Mireds); White Balance Bracketing (2 to 9 frames in 10, 20 or 30 Mired steps)

  • Up to 5 Preset White Balance (PWB) settings may be stored; each one can have a unique name (up to 36 characters); PWB can be determined from an existing photo on a CF card, from a measurement with the Ambience Light Sensor and more

  • Automatic Tone Compensation combines data from the 1005 pixel metering sensor, external Ambience Light Sensor and from the image sensor itself to determine the tone curve to be applied; there are three manual Tone Compensation settings (Normal, Less Contrast, More Contrast) plus Custom

  • In-camera sharpening options are Auto, 5 manual increments plus None

  • Magnesium alloy body with environmental protection. From a distance, and even from close up, the D2X is almost the D2H's twin. There's one change of note: the vertical grip has been improved since the D2H with the addition of a contour in which the AF-ON and Main Command Dial are now nestled

Vertical grip - Nikon D2H

Vertical grip - Nikon D2X

  • 11 area Multi-CAM2000 AF system (9 sensors are cross-type); AF sensors cover 75% of the frame horizontally and are arranged in a "rule of thirds" grid. In Hi-Speed Crop mode, the outermost two non-cross-type sensors are not used, regardless of the AF pattern or mode selected, as they fall outside the captured image area

  • 4 AF Area Modes: Single Area AF, Dynamic AF with Focus Tracking and Lock On (Lock On can be disabled), Closest Subject Priority Dynamic AF and Group Dynamic AF

  • 150,000+ cycle shutter made from duralumin, an aluminum alloy commonly used in the building of aircraft

  • Near-instantaneous camera startup time (Nikon has not released a precise startup time specification)

  • 5 fps firing rate (adjustable from 1-5 fps in 1 fps increments) on the full resolution 12.21MP setting; 8 fps (adjustable from 1-8 fps in 1 fps increments) when the 6.87 MP Hi-Speed Crop mode is enabled

  • Consistent 37ms shutter lag (that's Nikon's specification for both the D2X and D2H; we've measured the D2H to be a consistent 44ms); shutter lag plummets to 2ms with mirror lockup engaged (that's also Nikon's specification for both cameras; we've measured the D2H's mirror lockup lag to be 8 ms);  

  • 80ms mirror blackout time

  • Top shutter speed of 1/8,000; standard top flash sync speed of 1/250 (plus full i-TTL flash at up to 1/8000 with the SB-800 set to Auto FP High-Speed Sync). It's not possible to cheat the flash sync well above the standard top flash sync speed with non-dedicated strobes, as it is with D1-series cameras

  • ISO range of 100-800 in 1/3, 1/2 or 1 step increments, plus 1600, 3200 and Auto

  • nikon_d2x_sb800.jpgAmbient metering using the 1005 pixel metering CCD (also found in the F5, F6, Nikon D1-series, D70 and D2H). The ambient metering algorithm processing the light and colour information from the 1005 pixel CCD in the D2X is new, and has been dubbed 3D Color Matrix Metering II

  • i-TTL flash exposure metering using the 1005 pixel metering CCD and revamped 5-segment TTL Multi Sensor
  • Wireless TTL multiple flash possible (requires Speedlight SB-800 or Speedlight SB-600)

  • Flash exposure may be locked with Flash Value Lock (FV-Lock) function (requires Speedlight SB-800 or SB-600)

  • Powered by removable, rechargeable 11.1V, 1900mAH EN-EL4 Lithium-Ion battery pack (shown below with the included Quick Charger MH-21 and optional AC Adaptor EH-6); battery information screen in the camera shows charge remaining in 1% increments, number of frames shot since the last charge, service life indicator and calibration status


  • Built-in microphone for recording voice memos; built-in speaker for playing them back

  • Built-in interval timer (with configuration options similar to the Time Lapse Photography function of Nikon Capture Control)

  • Viewfinder shows approximately 100% of picture-taking area and incorporates two information displays beneath and to the right of the viewing area; right information displays shows ISO, file format, white balance setting and whether the voice memo feature is activated

  • Eyepiece cover locks in place to prevent loss

  • FUNC button on front of camera near lens mount is programmable; it can be set to act as the FV-Lock button, to switch metering modes temporarily, change from full resolution to Hi-Speed Crop mode and more

  • Orientation sensor indicates whether the camera is horizontal or vertical (90 left or 90 right) at the time the picture is taken; the image file is optionally tagged with this information.

  • Camera includes a single CompactFlash Type I/II slot; cards over 2GB, as well as Lexar's Write Acceleration technology, are supported. Secure writing to a new series of Lexar CompactFlash cards will be possible, using 160-bit encryption technology (see Lexar's press release for more information)

  • Optional WT-1/1a 802.11b wireless LAN accessory enables Wi-Fi transmission of photos directly from the camera; the optional 802.11b/g WT-2/2a, announced along with the D2X, increases the speed of transmission relative to the WT-1/1a, beefs up the wireless security options, supports both FTP and the new PTP/IP protocols and allows for remote control of the camera using Capture 4.2 software for Mac and Windows

Wireless Transmitter WT-2/2a

  • USB 2.0 port for tethered operation and connection of the WT-1/1a and WT-2/2a

  • Video out supports NTSC and PAL, as well as audio only (for playback of voice memos)

  • External GPS units that adhere to the NMEA 0183 specification are supported (the new MC-35 adapter cable, which connects to the 10-pin remote port on the camera and provides both an RS-232 serial port and 10-pin remote port, is required); latitude, longitude and altitude can be stored in a photo's metadata. The D2X's date and time can also be set automatically when a GPS unit is connected

Nikon MC-35 GPS cable

  • 2 to 10 multiple exposures may be recorded on a single frame, while a new Image Overlay mode allows two NEF photos to be blended to create a third photo, with control over the opacity of each frame in the blend

Multiple exposure setup screen

The result of two photos combined with Image Overlay

  • Playback is via a 2.5", 235,000-dot, "flicker-free" TFT LCD with white LED backlighting; brightness is adjustable

  • Playback modes include a 30X multi-step zoom, single image with AF area overlay and separate RGB, red green and blue saturated highlights and histogram displays (in addition to Nikon's usual complement of viewing modes)

  • PictureProject software to be included with the camera (development of Nikon View has all but ceased); Capture 4.2 will be an optional, extra-cost accessory
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