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Nikon D3x and Zeiss ZF 100mm f/2 Makro Planar

The UPS delivery guy showed up after dark with the D3x, and with cold rain to boot, I wasn’t too keen on shooting outdoors. So I hauled out my well-used resolution chart. Yuck, I hate shooting resolution charts, but it’s not a bad place to get a reality check.

Naturally I wanted to find out if the 24.4 megapixel Nikon D3x (6048 X 4032) was really up to its rated resolution. And for that task I chose a lens that has never let me down: the Zeiss ZF 100mm f/2 Makro-Planar, reviewed with all the other ZF lenses in Zeiss ZF Lenses.

This crop is from the extreme corner, processed in Capture NX2 at Standard, and was taken wide-open at f/2 with the ZF 100/2 Makro-Planar (vignetting was compensated for). If there was a lingering doubt about the world-class resolving power of the 100/2 Makro Planar, it just evaporated. Stopping down to f/5.6 pops contrast a bit, but there’s simply no more detail to be had from the D3x sensor than seen here. (The slightly off-color result is due to mixed lighting).


Actual pixels, extreme corner
Nikon D3x + Zeiss ZF 100/2 Makro-Planar @ f/2

It’s safe to say that the Zeiss ZF 100/2 Makro-Planar will perform quite nicely with future 40-megapixel cameras. It’s also safe to say that focus accuracy, diffraction and focus shift (none on the ZF 100/2) are issues of paramount importance with resolutions this high, at least if you have any expectation of realizing 24.4 megapixels of detail.

And what of the D3x? Without a doubt, it offers the highest resolving power I’ve yet seen in a DSLR. I’ll launch my coverage of the D3x using a resolution comparison with the D3, already imaged, perhaps written up tomorrow in DAP.

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