Well… I’m not a camera reviewer, and I don’t claim to totally understand quite what happens to the light once it’s gone through the lens. I could probably learn but I’d be worried about boring people at dinner parties. Just picture it… not only do I turn up with the mother of all cameras and try to capture the guests in 24.5 mega pixel glory whilst they’re eating spaghetti, I then proceed to bore them with information on pixel density and other long words I won’t even pretend to understand. Nope. No more invites for me. Not ever.
I am however, a photographer. And as such, I take a lot of pictures with my camera and therefore know a bit about it and whether or not it’s good. In addition to the D3x, I have used or owned at some point the D3, D700 and D90. I’ve never really used Canons in a professional capacity, just a 300D when I was learning to use an SLR.
The images that come out of the D3x are unbelievable… providing you don’t screw the focus up (and you really do want to be tack sharp at this resolution), the files show you things you can’t even see with your eyes. If you happen to be shooting in a studio, tethered to a mac and a cinema display, just let the file make its way to the computer (more on that later), zoom in to the eyes (or a sharp bit) at 100% and just listen to the art director / stylist / model / tea monkey gasp and say things like “my god, look at that” or “incredible”. It is very impressive. And great if you should in fact want to make a print the size of your house.
What all this actually means if you are a photographer…
Well first of all, it really depends on what sort of photographer you are. If you shoot sports or regularly travel to warzones and then upload your images via satellite, forget it. You’ll still be there long after the invasion is over. The file sizes are really kinda big. If you’re used to working with medium format, this won’t be relevant, but this camera does give you a 50mb RAW file, which is then processed into something like a 140mb TIFF when you chuck it into photoshop. You’ll basically need a powerful computer and a lot of hard disk space. Having said that, I do a lot of work on a macbook pro as I move about and although sometimes it does get a bit painful, it generally holds up fairly well… just don’t run any other apps at the same time! It’s also not a fast camera in terms of FPS. But then, if you’re a pro sports shooter, you won’t have this camera, you’ll have the D3. This ain’t made for sports, it’s made for commercial stuff… fashion, products. The lower ISO range (100-1600) is also a reason you won’t be doing your reportage piece on “Russia’s Nightlife”… 6400 on the D3 / D700 would seem to be a much better option.
The other thing it means is… get a good makeup artist. If you don’t, you’ll spend the rest of your days working in photoshop and you’ll never have the chance to do the commercial jobs that’ll pay for the bloody thing.
That all said, this is a brilliant camera. I combine it with the D700 and I reckon that covers all possibilities. The noise levels are fine up to 1600. It really isn’t built to go over that, I don’t know why Nikon bother saying otherwise. You’ll need very fast memory cards, lots of storage, a fast computer and very good lenses. Like the D3, it is a beast and people will cower when you point it at them, but so what? The images are soooo good. I like it, I like it lot and if you shoot commercial stuff, so will you.