Today I had the opportunity to test raw-file conversion speed on a PowerMac Quad. Converting 59 D2x NEF files took 6:14 on the Quad, and 6:23 on a PowerMac G5 dual 2.5GHz machine, about a 2.4% difference. Both computers used the same Firewire drive for the test; neither machine used the CPUs more than about 150% (out of 200% and 400% max). Both the Quad and the dual 2.5GHz machine run at 2.5GHz, so we can conclude that at the same clock speed, the Quad might be slightly faster (probably due to its faster RAM).
A look at the CPU Monitor graph (in Activity Viewer) showed that Nikon Capture does a poor job of utilizing the Quad’s four cores. Utilization does improve somewhat when noise reduction is enabled, with higher utilization of all 4 cores about 1/3 of the time; it seems to be a staged process which is single-threaded for a good part of the time, which limits the performance improvement.
In this blog’s January 22 entry, I showed a problem with optical misalignment of my Nikon 17-35/f2.8 EDIF. It appears that I might have been mistaken, as I began to suspect during a comparison of several Nikon wide-angle zooms (part of a future diglloyd review). While examining frames from each lens, I observed pronounced blurriness on one side of the frame with my trusted 17-55/f2.8 DX EDIF. At first, I groaned inwardly, assuming that another Nikkor had gone whacko. But because the 17-55 had always been tack-sharp, the facts didn’t add up, and I determined to investigate.
The problem appears to be a lens mount and/or sensor misalignment issue. I determined this today after a careful test with four different lenses.
For a detailed write-up on this problem, please see Lens Mount Misalignment. Unfortunately, this means my Nikon D2X will need to go into Nikon service, a really unhappy situation after receiving a defective Nikon D200.