D2X Testing experience
Posted 23 May 2006 - 02:01 PM
Iīm a experienced photographer with the Nikon D70 which i use for some 2 years with great success. The lenses used in this non-scientific "review" will include my lens line-up consisting of the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4, 17-55DX f/2.8 and the 70-200 VR f/2.8 as well as the TC17E-II teleconverter.
Day 1 - 23rd May 2006 - 8:40 pm
When i stopped my Triumph Tiger in front of the store and removed my helmet the shop-owner gave me this look saying "oh my god - and this guy is going to have such a precious body for testing?!?" Iīm not looking that wild but some people may have strange feelings as far as bikers are concerned. After the formalities i left the shop heading back to my office. One meeting and solid three hours i had to withstand the temptation to open the golden shiny Nikon box and start playing with the D2X i picked up before.
Arrived at home i opened the box, grabbed the battery pack and power supply to get it charged. Fortunately the enclosed 2nd battery pack was a bit loaded and quickly the 50mm f/1.4 was mounted. I inserted my 2GB microdrive and started to make the usual settings (thanks to Darrell for his great review on the AF system which helped to get faster to the right settings).
Really amazing in the first shots was the Whitebalance. The D70 does a good job but the D2X is really, really great in this respect. The Kelvin setting is something iīve to figure out - first changes didnīt make the results better (but thatīs a user problem then the one of the D2X).
What i also noticed is the different shutter sound. To be honest it sounds strange - like the mechanism is defect but i think iīll get used to it. Totally different is the feeling when pushing the trigger - a really sweet feeling where nearly no force is needed. Then the next surprise - this machine shots away like an Uzi! (and it was set to slow!!!). Without measuring it i would say that the D70 is slower then the slow-mode on the D2X (at the max equal).
AF is really amazing once it is correctly set up. With the 17-55DX f/2.8 itīs so incredible fast i canīt put it into words. I guess if it goes on like this i run out of superlatives i could use :-)
One last thing i did was a quick series of shots in available light. Folks - i wasnīt surprised at all. For sure AF was spot-on and WB was ok but i got loads of blurred shots. That confirmes that the D2X is unforgiving to shake - especially if shutter-speeds are not even close to the 1/focal range rule.
Well - thatīs all for today ... the women in my life thinks itīs time to notice her and put the D2X away - hard decission - believe me but iīm better off
Donīt miss tomorrowīs report ...
Posted 23 May 2006 - 02:12 PM
PhotoJazz - Just Capturing Life
PlanetNikon Member 141
I photo-shoot with film, digital and medium format cameras, which includes the following:
Nikon D605, D200, F4E, F5, FE2 (Black & Silver), EM
Mamiya C330 Professional, M645 1000s, RB67
And I have some lenses.
Additional: Video editing with Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro X 10.4 and LumaFusion
C&C Is Always Welcome!!
Posted 23 May 2006 - 03:32 PM
Posted 24 May 2006 - 12:15 AM
Day 2 - 24rd May 2006 - 7:07 am
Slept well, read Luis comments and rearranged the dividers of my Billingham-Bag to get the D2X with 17-55DX f/2.8 mounted in the bag as well as the 70-200VR f/2.8 and the TC17E-II. Not an easy task but it worked out. Today the weather-forecast sayīs cloudy and some rain for Vienna dmnd! Not the conditions i was looking for my testshooting. Anyway - iīll use lunchbreak to get some shots.
One thing i couldnīt write yesterday - it became obvious with the indoor shots that the D2X isnīt only prone to shake but also needs more light as the 12MP sensor isnīt as light sensitive then the 6MP sensor of the D70. I needed to crank up ISO at a earlier stage then iīm used to do when shooting my D70 - hmmm. Guess iīve to explore that more detailed. The other thing i noticed is that the front dial doesnīt turn as easy as the rear dial does - a feature? a bug? weīll see.
Now iīve to go off to work - will report later ...
EDIT to insert:
Couldnīt have lunch-break so i decided to took some quick snaps in the morning before i entered the office. All shots done with the 17-55 DX f/2.8 at Vienna Prater (some sort of entertainment park). The one shot with this green goblin is just a 100% crop of the orignal image i post here as well for reference. Astonishing was that - though in-camera sharpening is set to "medium high" every shot takes 50/5/0 in NC 4.4 without jaggies or other artifacts / problems (at least to my eyes). I could never sharpen D70 pics at this "high" level as they started to show jaggies /artifacts at 30/5/0 (and even sometimes before) when in-camera sharpening was set to "medium high". Seems that there is a real hughe difference between CCD and CMOS technology.
Enjoy the shots (but donīt judge me based on them )
Posted 24 May 2006 - 12:22 PM
Posted 24 May 2006 - 12:43 PM
@ Luis - Morning :-) thanks for your input as i shoot JPEG iīm used to use the highest setting for sharpening to get out of the box what i want (donīt tell me off cos of that but iīll never become a RAW shooter )
....- it became obvious with the indoor shots that the D2X isnīt only prone to shake but also needs more light as the 12MP sensor isnīt as light sensitive then the 6MP sensor of the D70. I needed to crank up ISO at a earlier stage then iīm used to do when shooting my D70 - hmmm. Guess iīve to explore that more detailed.
....Astonishing was that - though in-camera sharpening is set to "medium high" every shot takes 50/5/0 in NC 4.4 without jaggies or other artifacts / problems (at least to my eyes). I could never sharpen D70 pics at this "high" level as they started to show jaggies /artifacts at 30/5/0 (and even sometimes before) when in-camera sharpening was set to "medium high". Seems that there is a real hughe difference between CCD and CMOS technology.
Enjoy the shots (but donīt judge me based on them )
Shooting JPG vs. RAW is a matter of taste for me. Shooting RAW is not for everyone. No problems there. I will however, suggest you bring the sharpening down to a low level in camera. Regardless of model. Then sharpen in your PC. You'll get better results in most cases. The in camera sharpening is more generic and not suited for all shots.
As for the light sensitivity, that's strange to me. I must be missing the point. Are you saying that the D2X needs to be set to a higher ISO than the D70 for the same light, in certain cases? That should not be the case. Could it be that you have more exposure latitude on the D2X? There could be a difference between the sensors, but usually not enough to warrant increasing ISO.
As for the ability to sharpen more.... This is a reseult of the MP count being higher. The higher the MP count the more sharpening you can apply. Using Photoshop's sharpening, it is not uncommon for me to sharpen portraits to Amounts of 175 to 200, Radius 1 to 1.5 and a threshold of 1. How that translates to Capture, I don't know, but you will definately see added ability to sharpen.
Posted 24 May 2006 - 01:10 PM
Posted 24 May 2006 - 06:46 PM
...what i did was to shoot in my living-room with the D2X and the D70 at similar settings and found that i needed to increase ISO on the D2X to get similar shutter-speeds which lead me to the idea that - due to the higher pixelcount - the sensor of the D2X isnīt as sensitive to light then the D70īs sensor. Dunno if that is correct or not - will investigate.
The capture sensor sensitivity is not an issue. You are dealing with standards. Assuming you are metering the same thing, at a given ISO you should get the same shutter speed and aperture on both cameras. Within reason. There can be a slight difference becuase you have different metering systems.
For example, if you are using the matrix meter, forget it. They could easily be different b/c the cameras have different systems that are determining the exposure. However, if you are spot metering a grey card in the light you have, you should be the same.
You'll also find that the D2X has a slightly larger exposure lattitude. You'll have about an 8 stop range on it. The D100, D70, etc. have about a 7 stop lattitude. This can also lead to getting deeper shadows which could make the photo look darker.
Best bet to really figure this out is to spot meter a grey card. You should be almost perfectly matched. At worst 1/3 stop difference.
Posted 25 May 2006 - 05:44 AM
Day 3 - 25th May 2006 - 12:19 pm
Today is the day - though weīve a public holiday today i got up early. I checked everything twice - the battery pack and spare, the speedlight, the lenses and the microdrives. The latter ones are really causing me a headache. The 2 GB shows approximately 187 shots - the 1GB some 90 shots. Iīm not used to the file-size the D2X produces as the D70 figures are over 500 shots for the 2GB and roughly 250 shots for the 1 GB. Guess iīve to carefully review todayīs shots and delete at the scene the ones i wonīt keep. I hope i donīt run out of disk space ...
... 2 hours left before weīre heading to the location ... iīm a bit nervous as the band expects to get great shots like the last time. Though they are not paying for them (weīve a payment in kind deal) itīs my reputation and their expectations which put some pressure on me ... calm down ... take a deep breath ... these are the thoughts flashing thru my mind. Iīve never been on assignment with a tool i didnīt know a 100%. The D2X is a machine which has my full respect and today will show for sure deficits i may have ... not the sense / eye for scenes rather then sloppy techniques ... the X will today weigh and measure me and hopefully i will be adjudged for good.
Letīs see what iīve to report tonight ...
... arrived at home and some 24 minutes later (transfertime microdrive -> notebook) the 269 shots i did today are a mixed bag. After a first review i deleted more then 120 shots - the two major reasons have been: wrong focus and blurr due to camera shake (read: too slow shutter-speed). Definately my faults as i donīt fully understand the auto-focus and was so nervous that i obviously forgot some basics (shutter-speed). I didnīt expected to master the D2X with one shooting but iīm not used to have 50% trash and 50% so-so results cos even when i started shooting with my trusty D70 i never had such a miserable rate
Lesson learned: i need to re-read the AF review of Darrell and have to work more concentrated
Fortunately i was clever enough to tell the band-leader/manager about my new tool and that i canīt guarantee for the results. The other thing is that they are until Sunday in Vienna. So iīll spend tomorrow with reading and shoot them on Saturday again with the hope that i work much better then today.
Posted 26 May 2006 - 12:40 AM
Couldnīt sleep well this night and reviewed the pictures i took over and over again. I picked a view shots and resized them to let the members have an idea which shooting situation i faced. A few notes - the long haired guy in front of the big drum is their frontman called Laghras, next you see their drummer Wulf. I was in front of the one guy spitting fire and had to cover myself as most of the mixture he spitted out got in my direction The other guy playing with the fire-stick is some sort of Joker - a funny guy (look in his face - was happy to capture this expression - heīs for sure a bit crazy ). Hope you enjoy them though they are any good.
Posted 27 May 2006 - 03:58 AM
I re-read the AF review from Darrell and found that i didnīt do to much wrong. That doesnīt change my results but added a bit convenience. I reviewed my shots again and found that theyīre not really bad at all. Itīs more that i need to get acustomed to the new tool i use. Checking the settings over and over again i noticed that the body iīve got had the old firmware version installed which i upgraded yesterday. Fortunately iīve a CF card for that as this operation doesnīt work with microdrives. Maybe that also helps to overcome the one or other focus-error? Who knows ...
After i couldnīt read the AF review anymore i started to do some comparisons between my trusty D70 and the D2X. The first thing i noticed is the stiffness of every control on the D70. Itīs strange as i got quickly used to only tip any button of the D2X slightly and the function turns on/off or whatever and then switch to the D70 using much more force to get a button to work. Shutter sound is different but i wouldnīt like to decide which one sounds better - i got used to both. The D2X - due to her ease of use - grew on me during the last days and as Luis noted - it will be a hard time when iīve to give it back.
I did also some shots indoors and my original impression that iīve to crank up ISO more on the X then on the 70 wasnīt confirmed - using the same metering they both deliver the exact same results. Maybe the X exposed more to the right whilst the 70 exposes more to the left. I also compared noise a bit and would say that the 70 does a pretty good job in this field (even if the X pics are downsized to 6MP). Differences are there (in favour of the X) but i wouldnīt base my buying decission on that alone. The X has so much more to offer that each point for itself (WB to mention one) would justify the purchase.
I never had the impression that the D70 is small but if you handle both cameras the 70 seems to be shrunken in the last few dayīs i used the D2X - strange. Balance with mounted 17-55DX f/2.8 or 70-200VR f/2.8 is much better with the D2X then the D70. Using the X wasnīt a pain at all during the whole day - it was much more a sort of relief though its double the weight of the D70. Handling the X is a real joy - everyone no matter if interested in buying the X or not should see his local dealer and grab one - itīs a real lifetime experience
Today weather is mixed but i hope sun comes out soon then iīll go back to the stage and try again with hopefully better results then i brought home from the first run.
NOTE: donīt hesitate to pop in and give me your thoughts and advise - thx
Posted 28 May 2006 - 01:02 PM
as iīve to return the D2X on monday iīll try to draw my personal conclusion about this 6 dayīs with the D2X.
First thing iīve to note is that we donīt had full 6 dayīs as it took me 2 days to understand how the AF system works (reading without the camera wasnīt enough). Weather was lousy so i had only 3 outings with the X with some rain-breaks inbetween.
I was most impressed by the handling. The D2X - or better phrased - the D2 series is definately unmatched in this area. Neither by competitors nor by other lines of their own heritage. Everything works with ease and is naturally located. From the very first time i grabbed this body i felt at home and after today i didnīt need to think about the functions i needed - i simply pushed the right button and that was it. Buttons work on the slightest fingertip - the shutter button is not the one to push rather then to roll over with your fingertip to let the D2X fire like heck. Speed is a dream - whether itīs the AF or the shutter speed - i never had the feeling that the X didnīt let me achive what i wanted (i guess she waited more often for me). AF was nearly hunt-free even in very bad light conditions - really great! That all might have added that i forgot what caliber iīm shooting ...
Itīs the most demanding and unforegiving body iīve ever the pleasure to shoot. If you came away with a slightly too slow shutter-speed using your D70 you wonīt with the D2X. Results are simply blurred - period. If there is camera shake - and i mean the slightest kind of - blurr is the result. Getting sharp results - even if you do anything right - is a bit like roulette as the AF is demanding too and will exhibit sloppy techniques due to not being a 100% concentrated without mercy. Getting the one shot far superior to what is at the max possible with the D70 and therefore would justify the purchase of the X without doubt wasnīt possible for me in everyday situations. I should have used a tripod to clearly work out the superiority of the 12MP sensor compared to the 6MP sensor of the D70 but i didnīt so iīll never know. The X turned - at least for me - the fun and joy the D70 gives me more into something like hard work with lesser fun and joy. The more trash results i produced the lower i felt ...
Bottomline - the X grew on me as far as handling is concerned but couldnīt convince me a 100% in the result area. Maybe my expectations were far to high. The other point is that i had far too less time to really get into everything the X offers which might add to my medicore results. However - it was a really great experience for me and iīm happy that i didnīt missed this opportunity. To give the X back leaves me still undecided whether or not iīll upgrade as it could be that this tool isnīt for me (or vice-versa). I wonder if the next dayīs and weeks working again with my D70 change my current feeling. To be continued ... maybe ...
Encl. some shots of yesterday.
Posted 30 May 2006 - 11:40 AM
Posted 30 May 2006 - 12:36 PM
Posted 31 May 2006 - 08:35 AM
Posted 31 May 2006 - 10:36 AM
Posted 31 May 2006 - 02:46 PM
Posted 02 June 2006 - 09:02 AM
I knew it...that's the spirit. The D2X is a superb camera Virgil...you already know what your heart is telling you. It is all a matter of time...I remember my d70 and d70s days...there were situations where I demanded more...more is better-dang it =) Resolution, speed and better AF...your hands do not foget the right fit. I had the D200 in my hands, it was not the same...mind you for the individual who is on a budget...I'm sure it is a fantastic camera. Good luck.
well - i wonīt go into it as itīs not my personal camera but i guess iīm infected by the X - shooting the D70 just for fun wasnīt the same then before - what a pitty ;-)
thanks for the encouragement - Darrell told me something similar concerning tiem to get used to it. I know perfectly what you mean (cold hands and so on :-) ).
I tested the D200 and didnīt felt at home the same way i did with the D2X so itīs not an option for me. It is for sure a great camera but it doesnīt give me the same feeling i had with the X.
@ All - i assume iīll end up with an X - not this month or next month but pretty soon before my vacation or so ...
Posted 03 June 2006 - 12:34 PM
Posted 03 June 2006 - 01:10 PM
Posted 05 June 2006 - 10:06 AM
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