Nikon D3x On The Verge Of Release?

I happen to see this post on Engadget about Nikon outing itself with the new D3x. There’s nothing too shocking from the specs, 24.5 megapixel CMOS sensor in the same body. Sounds like the newly released Sony sensor that they are using in their Sony Alpha A900 will also be in the D3x. Here are some quick specs:

  • 24.5 megapixel in a 35.9 x 24 mm CMOS sensor
  • 16-bit EXPEED system
  • 5.0 frames-per-second in it’s full size mode, and 7 frames-per-second in a cropped 10 megapixel mode (I guess they want to encourage people who need the extra 2 frames-per-second to purchase the D3)
  • ISO 50-6400, which I’m guessing means that, like the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III (highest ISO is 3200), this dSLR is not intended for low light situations as with the D3 is. There doesn’t seem to be any mention of any higher ISO range such as 12,800 or 25,600.
  • Same 3 inch 922,000 LCD
  • Live View
  • 12ms startup time with a 41ms shutter lag
  • Dual Compact Flash slots capable of 35MB/second write times

For pictures of the Nikon Pro magazine and how the D3x stacks up against the Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III, click in to read more.

Comparison of Nikon D3x and Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III

SLR Cameras Nikon D3x Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III Winner
Year Introduced TBA August 20, 2007
Cost TBA (definitely won’t be $7,999) $ 7,999 (when introduced)
Sensor Size 35.9 x 24 mm with new OLPF (optical low pass filter) 36 x 24 mm
Viewfinder 100%, 0.7x magnification (?) 100%, 0.76x magnification
Max Resolution 6,048 x 4,032 (as indicated in a botched Nikon v1.10 firmware released on April 15, 2008 5616 x 3744 D3x
Megapixels 24.5 21.1 D3x
ISO rating 100-3200 in 1/3 stops, with 50 and 6400 as options 100-1600 in 1/3 stops, with 50 and 3200 as options D3x
Auto Focus type Nikon Multi-CAM3500 FX 51-point focus point CMOS sensor TTL-AREA-SIR with 45-point CMOS sensor D3x
Metering 3D Matrix metering II, Center weighted, Spot (potentially same metering as D3?) 63 area eval, partial, spot (center, AF point, multi-spot), center-weighted average
Crop Factor 1.0 1.0
Continuous Drive 5 fps, 7 fps in 10 megapixel “cropped” mode 5 (or 3) fps for 56 JPEG or 12 RAW D3x
Storage Types (2) Compact Flash (Type I or II) Compact Flash (Type I or II) and SD/SDHC slot
LCD 3.0 inches 3.0 inches
LCD Pixels 922,000 230,000 D3x (by a huge margin)
Battery Nikon EN-EL4a battery (same as D3) Canon Lithium-Ion
Weight 1300 g (45.9 oz) [weight of D3] 1385 g (31.6 oz)
Dimensions 160 x 157 x 88 mm (6.3 x 6.2 x 3.5 in) 150 x 160 x 80 mm (5.9 x 6.3 x 3.2 in)
Live View Yes Yes
Video none none
Mirror Blackout Time TBA 80 ms
Shutter Lag 41 ms 40-55 ms
Startup Lag 0.12 s 0.2 s D3x

As always, this comparison is only a comparison based on specifications. Colors, performance, ergonomics, and other features are subjective and can’t quite be measured without bias.


Nikon definitely doesn’t disappoint with their high resolution D3x. The D3 was aimed at photojournalist, wedding photographers and sports photographer, much like the D2h and D2hs was. The D3x is aimed at those who need higher resolution such as studio and landscape photographers. This is not to say the D3x can’t be used for photojournalism, wedding photography, and/or sports photography. I’m pretty sure a number of wedding photographers will pick up a D3x to complement their D3.

Canon has certainly fell a bit further behind with their 1Ds Mark III compared to the (yet-to-be-released) D3x. Things such as the outdated, crappy 3.0 LCD screen with a laughable 230,000 pixel and maximum ISO of 3200. The D3x has the same ISO levels (performance will be another thing to be seen) as the Canon EOS 1D Mark III, a 10 megapixel dSLR. I certainly like the D3/D3x’s dual Compact Flash slots, but I can see the advantages of having a Compact Flash slot and a SD/SDHC slot as a) if you are shooting in situations where your memory card can be confiscated, at least with the SD/SDHC, it’s not as easily noticed; b) SD/SDHC has attained (and in some cases surpassed) Compact Flash speeds; and c) more laptops are more likely to have a SD/SDHC built in reader than a built-in Compact Flash reader.

I’ve always liked how Nikon has offered a “cropped” mode, first introduced in the D2x, and has remained in the D3, and now also seen in the D3x. By allowing the photographer to switch to a lower megapixel selection, they can attain extra frames-per-second.

One thing of interest is that the HD video feature first introduced in the D90 does not appear in the new D3x. Does Nikon not feel it’s ready for the pros? So us Canon shooters will now continue to wait and see what is in store with the Canon EOS 1D/1Ds Mark IV. Kudos Nikon, you certainly are listening to your users.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *