Well, after several months hesitating, i bit the bullet and got the Nikon D3x. A FX beast of a camera, packed with 24 megapixels. It has been just a few days since it arrived. The first thing that struck me was its weight and size. However, very soon it started to fit very well in my hands and very quickly the D300 was the camera that felt really small in comparison. During the last couple of days I have been testing my whole arsenal of lenses with this new beauty, and have seen myself some of the things already said by other users:
-The nikon 14-24 behaves extremely well with this format and new resolution level. Even at the corners at 2.8 the behaviour has been excellent. This lens is the perfect combo for the camera. The “only” problem (and that is a huge problem for a landscape photographer) is its inability to take filters. I am working on a filter holder prototype though, so perhaps in a near future i might have a solution for this…(stay tuned!)
-The nikon 24-70 really shines from 28 mm on. At 24 mm and wider apertures it can be seen some corner softening. Probably due to the curvature of field this lens has shown at this focal lenght. Anyway, at 24 mm i would be most of all using my 14-24 which outperforms this lens.
-The nikon 17-35 works quite well. Not the performance of the 14-24, but still at the level of a pro lens. Therefore, it takes filters, essential stuff for landscape photography, and that is the reason it is still on my bag.
-The nikon 70-200 suffers a little from extreme corners softening (most of all at longer focal lenghts) and vignetting. You have to take into account this limitation, and take it as another compromise, till Nikon comes with a new model for this lens. As opposed to the Canon counterpart, this beauty of lens was designed specifically with the DX format in mind…and now with the D3x, you have FX format with an extreme resolution power looking for the minimal flaw to let you know about it…tough stuff.
As far as the quality of the files produced by this camera, the colour gradation, the level of detail in the shadows and the general fine detail level is outstanding. However, this comes at a price (a price that decreases more and more i must reckon): the files eat your hard disks. When using this camera, I will try to imagine i am using expensive film and need to save my efforts to the very best compositions and situations. This brings again the subject discussed in one of my last post (“digital demons”) , but with some extra reason!
Another thing you must take into account is that every single flaw (99% from the photographer and 1% from the lenses and equipment) will show up without mercy in your photos. Never before a sound technique, a robust tripod and good lenses were so essential to produce a good result. This camera is just the tip of the iceberg. You need a pro arsenal of lenses and a perfect tripod to squeeze its potential.
My comments could not finish without tackling the price “issue”. There has been some raving on the internet due to the price of this camera, to the extent of talking about “boycott” to Nikon. In my case, from a long time ago i really wanted to have a 35 mm system that could produce files that enable me to blow up the prints to the maximum, being comparable to the old medium format in film. This is the point of this camera, and investing on a medium format system will cost you a lot more of money, a lot of new lenses and you will surely lose the flexibility that 35 mm provide. You are not just paying for meagapixels as some people claim, the 14 bits images this camera can produce give you a big difference in terms of tone and colour gradation and a level of detail in the dark tones that belongs more to the medium format realm than to the 35 mm one. Therefore, with the big rise in price of the Canon flagship camera, this one from Nikon does not “look” as expensive as it was some time ago. Of course, i could have waited to the new Nikon D700x or D800 model to come with a 24 MP sensor packed in a smaller body,…but the trip to Namibia is getting closer and i have big plans for this camera :) That being said, of course Nikon did not make my day when they announced the price tag of this camera, and maybe i could be just trying to convince myself about the purchase! :)
All in all i am really pleased with this camera, and i I will come with more posts related to the Nikon D3x as I am playing with it. Stay tuned!