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D2H/D2X Connundrum - Please help.

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by triangular, Aug 5, 2005.

  1. Others have asked the question, "D2H(s) or D2X?" But answers Ive read are so varied I still don't know how to appy them to my situation. I would most appreciate responses from those with experience of both cameras in a variety of situations.

    I currently own a D2H (not the D2Hs). I'm considering several points in the decision to either keep it or sell and replace with a D2X.

    I know it's possible to print large images with the quality of D2H 4.1 MP (up to 24X36), but it often requires much processing, limited editing, and the source image must be tack sharp with perfect lighting to begin with. Some would say that makes for better photography. That may be so, but already there are improvements to noise, WB and color with flash that have been implemented in the newer D2Hs. These are improvements I would also gain by making the switch to D2X, but I dont really think its worth the cost to sell a D2H just to buy a D2Hs.

    With a D2X, I might not print my shots any larger or cleaner than I already do with my D2H, but the greater value of having 14 MP is during multiple edits, as every manipulation further degrades the original image. With only 4 MP to begin with, the extra pixels have to come from somewhere and there's only so far you can stretch them while maintaining quality after enlarging.

    I have an independant project to photograph Asian models in exotic locations. Some will be outdoors with daylight but much will be indoors with studio type lighting. Most of the edits will be touching up skin blemishes, lightening whites of eyes, trimming thighs, tonal adjustments, etc. Contrasting light patterns are also a potential concern, where noise might be seen in the shadows. The final output would need to be at least of high enough quality to print full page in book format, such as a commercial coffee table type book. Some pieces will have a looseness about them, so we are not necessarily talking about fine art, but the overall collection should not have any roughness that wasn't intended.

    Aside from portraiture...nature shots, exotic landscapes and local cultural events are a secondary opportunity that could be used in travel or advertising markets. I would like if some of these finished pieces could be printed larger and maintain high quality, such as exhibition peices for sale.

    The final consideration concerns my lighting situation. I don't want to carry a lot of heavy studio lighting all over Asia, not to mention it's also 220V. Nikon's Creative Lighting System utilizing groups of SB800's and SB600's is capable of great results comparable to studio lighting kits when used correctly. I plan to take 2 film cameras as well; one medium format and one 35mm. However, that lighting system requires I-TTL and only works with the D70, D2 series and the new F6. I've thought about this and decided it's still worth it for the portability of packing only flash strobes with stands when travelling from country to country. But if my lighting system will work completely with only one of my cameras, should it be the D2H or would the additional MP of the D2X be more worthwhile?

    In real world terms, considering the D2H can also print larger under ideal circumstances, what do the extra MP really give you and where do you see it more capable?

    I've never seen anyone say they're doing something with the D2X they necessarily can't do with the D2H, but I don't want to take the wrong camera and be limited, or wish I had taken lighting for the 645 camera instead.

    I know this is a long post but I will appreciate all your feedbback, I have a lot more than the added expense riding on my final decision.

  2. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Hi Christian. When I read 'commercial coffee table type book' I thought, talk to some picture editors for those type of books. They will want 35-50 megabyte image files. While the D2x is in this rage, out of the camera, the D2h(s) will need considerable uprezzing. That is the reason you need to have the focus, exposure, WB etc. exact for that camera in order to achieve the minimum image file size. With the D2x, you'll be getting 42MB files right out of the camera.

    (PS folks - I'm talking megabytes here, as in the TIFF image size, or the size reported by Photoshop internally, not megapixels. It's approximately three times the megapixel size. That is the measure of information in a picture file that printers and editors use.)
  3. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    I own and use D2H and D2X. They are supplements to each other, not replacements. Concerning image resolution there is no doubt: D2X blows the D2H away any time. Does this mean D2X is superior to the D2H? Yes and no. It all depends what you intend to do with the image files afterwards. I find that D2X should not be used indiscriminately unless you really need all the extra resolution, otherwise you quickly fill up terabytes with image files you never get time to edit and enjoy.

    Each camera for its own [purpose]. Since they share most accessories including battery and charger, they can happily co-exist.
  4. I have both cameras but am nowhere near the competence of many here. As Bjorn says, they compliment eachother. I tend to take the D2H to "events" where it's necessary to capture the moment (e.g. birthday, celebrations, sports, etc.). The high frame rate, superb focus and relatively small file size affords you the ability to ensure you "get" that important shot which cannot be posed.

    For example, two weeks ago we took the family to a medieval style dinner with jousting, etc. enterntainment. (Actually it was sort of like WWF only with horses and armor). I used the D2X and because of the criticality of making each shot deliberate too many were soft. Further the camera apparently has some focus/tracking kinks which need to be resolved; finally the large file size meant I lost more than a few potentially great shots while fumbling for another CF card. The D2H would have been perfect for this.

    It does sound like the D2X is the camera of choice for the type of work you're going to be doing.

  5. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  6. Hi Christian,

    There is no doubt whatsoever that you can get more detail out of the X than the H. And in reading your post, it sounds like you can use the extras that the X has to offer for your shooting style. If you can get by with just the one digital body then for sure sell the H you have and go ahead and get the X. When you see what this thing does in a studio setting, you will not regret at all your decision.

    Good luck with making a choice!
  7. This MP issue - D2H/X

    Thanks for your response, the issue of resolution is probably my greatest concern.

    For the studio shots I'm concerned about maintaining image quality of delicate lighting against the subtle yellows and golden browns of the Asian models, after these shots have been either processed or enlarged for publication in a coffee-table sized book. The D2H is quite capable of acquiring these images, although some similar photography I've seen from D2X users does seem to look much better to me. Perhaps I am just not as good a photographer, but I do wonder if the 4MP of the D2H are really enough to maintain those delicate light balances and detail of the skin tone once they are processed and enlarged.

    As you said, "unless you need all the extra resolution." This is what I'm trying to find out. It's my only real concern. Having used both cameras, where do you find you need the extra resolution? Can you give me examples of things you actually do with the X that you necessarily can't do with the H, or where the X makes it much more efficient? If this were your project and you could only use one of them, but money was also a consideration, which one would you choose and why?

    From what I understand about the X, I cannot shoot with it as casually as I can with the H, and I suppose its not as easy to capture fast action sports and event photography either. I would hate to give up my H just to get what I need out of this studio environment, and that's what makes my decision more critical. I don't think I can keep both cameras, I'll need to sell my H if I get the X. But I've also begun to wonder if I could do it well enough with the D70 (a $900 body). It's not in the same league obviously, but that's a 6 MP camera and I've actually seen better color portraiture from the D70 in-camera, than I can usually get out of the D2H without post processing. Of course if I move to the D2X I would assume improved color as well, from more detail and the improved WB. Remember I'm coming from the H, not the Hs.

    Any further thoughts about this MP issue? All other abilities of the D2X aside, the MP issue is where I'm not sure what I will need.


  8. digitalfrog

    digitalfrog Guest

    My answer is very un-scientific but I magically and significantly increased my photography level since I switched.... very significantly....

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