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Nikon D3x vs Nikon D3s

Making interesting comparisons at dusk between the 24MP Nikon D3x and 12MP Nikon D3s is difficult because the light changes greatly in even 30 seconds, not enough time to swap the lens, focus, match the composition, etc. I might have to use a boring daylight shot instead. And tonight’s hope for consistent conditions for at least a few minutes was thwarted by ever-changing fog.

I’m working on an comparison for my D3s review in DAP of just what you get in a D3x as compared to a D3s in terms of additional resolution, along with noise and color. My impression based on tonight’s shooting is that the D3x definitely comes out ahead at low ISO values (100/200/400), perhaps up to ISO 800 or so. With twice the pixels, higher noise is magnified less in a print, and the greater resolution is a win, though the difference is less than one might think. Beyond ISO 800 it’s a tougher call, but there is a case to be made that the D3x might still be preferred up to ISO 1600, at least for some shooting.

This image below is presented in AdobeRGB color space to avoid squashing the reds; it will look garish in many browsers, quite wrong. The only browser that displays images reasonably accurately in my testing is Apple Safari for Mac or PC, details. More on that in the next blog entry below.

Looking for good color gamut and uniform grayscale? Then you want the NEC 30" with calibrator, which has dropped in price to under US$2000 now! It’s a fabulous monitor, here’s why. Remember, if you can’t see it, your chances of making a print that matches your vision diminish greatly. Today’s DSLRs, especially Nikons, have a very wide gamut, and the latest Epson printers have a wider gamut in some colors than even the best monitors.

Golden Gate Bridge at dusk
Nikon D3x + Zeiss ZF.2 50/2 Makro-Planar @ f/5.6, 13 seconds, ISO 50 +1 push

Here’s another, but with the Canon 5D Mark II and the new Zeiss ZE 100/2 Makro-Planar.

Golden Gate Bridge, early night
Canon 5D Mark II + Zeiss ZE 100/2 Makro-Planar


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