The 12.4-megapixel Nikon D2Xs digital SLR sports no fewer than 20 improvements over its predecessor, the D2X.
This is a replacement for the Nikon D2X, and the fundamentals of that camera remain unchanged. The camera still has the 12.4million pixel CMOS sensor in Nikon DX format (essentially APS-C sized, to the non-Nikon community), and has the same photographic controls and functionality of the original – such as PASM control, same 1/8000sec top shutter speed and top natural ISO of 800 with an added two-stop boost mode up to ISO 3200.
Closer inspection reveals that the viewfinder has been improved. It may still offer the same 100% viewing of the scene and the 0.86% magnification, but the screen is brighter, says Nikon, thanks to the new Brite-View Clear Matte Mark III viewing screen. And the screen is available as both a clear option or gridded, for compositional aid.
Better still, Nikon has improved the viewfinder’s functionality in the high-speed crop mode. Both this camera and the previous model use just 6.7-megapixels in high-speed mode to pass the 8fps images through the buffer. This smaller image size meant that, for accurate composition, a separate viewfinder screen had to be used, with lines showing the image edges. Now, the D2Xs shades the extraneous area in the viewfinder, making it much easier to switch between image sizes and continuous shooting speeds. Furthermore, the Colour Matrix Metering has been improved to allow for the smaller image format, instead of metering from the full area.
Another obvious addition is the 2.5inch LCD. This isn’t larger than the previous version, but offers a wider viewing angle both horizontally and vertically of 170° – the same as the D200 and new D80.
AF Speed Boost
Regular users of the Nikon D2X may notice an improvement to AF speed in the new model, with improved tracking in continuous AF mode and better subject finding, thanks to the Multi-CAM2000 AF module. Another major improvement is the inclusion of Adobe RGB in all three-colour modes; previously this was limited and sRGB was the predominant colour space.
Nikon has also added more custom curves and custom-function options as well as an in-camera crop feature to the D2Xs. Similarly there is now a black-and-white option, which is available as a NEF and JPEG file, so you can also return the colour using the NEF file if the image isn’t working for you.
Better Battery Performance
Nikon also claims to have lengthened the battery life, and the D2Xs can now shoot up to 3,800 images on a single charge. An improved battery gauge shows the number of shots taken since the last charge, the percentage of power left and overall battery status.
Finally, there have been improvements to the image data, with better EXIF data, additional GPS information (if used with a GPS system), and the system is now Image Authentication compatible. Incidentally, the D2Xs uses a new NEF format, so Raw files need to be converted via the new Nikon NX software we reviewed last month. Nikon Capture 4.0 won’t work, though other Raw processing software is sure to be upgraded pretty quickly.