D2X Pictures and findings so far..

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR' started by andreasb, Mar 1, 2005.

  1. I got mine today and promptly set it up basically the same as my D2H was (sniff it is on it's way to a new good home in Portland, sent it off today) and took my second already charged battery, the 2GB card and the big 800 Sigma and 17-55 and went to shoot some birds in Juanita Bay

    You want to see pictures? Don’t kill me! They are not that great, it was getting dark and I have tried to push the limit a bit at 800 ISO etc. Go to www.pbase.com/andreasb/d2x they are in full 12.4 MP resolution and are in "good compressed" JPG format (so there will be some artifacts at great magnification) and have had basic leveling and sharpening (66, 5,4) in NC 4 but nothing else..., feel free to download them if you want and play around with them. (View in original size at Pbase then rightclick and save as…) The compressed Nef's are 10 MB's so if someone wants a few I need a place to host them on....

    Impressions:
    Overall: I think Bjorn is right when he says this is not a camera for everyone, you need to understand a lot about photography to get the most of it, If you have used the D2H it is much easier but the basic stuff like exposure, WB post processing etc is something that many will have to learn (I probably never quite will) So my prediction is that we will see a lot of gripe posts about the D2x before people learn and get used to it (have that in mind when you read this post which has a fair amount of gripe in it…)

    1. The D2X feels and mostly acts like the D2H not many surprises I'm sure you have all read the reviews... With the huge almost 20 MB Nef files it is amazing to me that it can handle them so fast - that is a feat of engineering!!!
    2. The files from the camera are enormous, almost 20GB per uncompressed NEF and about 10MB something for compressed NEF, JPG fine is about 3.5 MB, this makes for very slow transfers even with USB 2.0, and with not enough RAM in the PC it starts swapping to the Hard drive pretty soon...
    3. NC4.2 on a 1GB RAM 1.7 GHZ Pentium CRAWLS!!!. on my 1 GB Pentium 2.8 with matched memory pairs it is slightly better but in both cases it is barely usable. I'm very frustrated already. I think 2 GB RAM is minimum, so I will have to upgrade all the machines. Nikon ought to be ashamed for releasing such an incredibly slow software (and buggy for that matter). They should go to the Microsoft Performance Lab, I will be glad to help them get in through contacts if I can! Nikon View is not at all better so one can write that off! I have to explore using PSCS instead for my workflow - It's painful to use NC 4.2!
    4. Metering seems improved, my shots mostly where slightly to the left of the middle in the Histogram with default settings sticking to Nikons old conservative exposures, seems to hit the mark more often then the D2H
    5. AF feels the same
    6. I usually shoot both RAW and JPG basic to be able to view them in Windows Explorer quickly but the RAW’s and JPG's take up a lot of space. I found a litte trick: If you set picture size to small (3 MB) and shoot both NEF’s and basic JPG then the RAW is still 12 MP!!! So that way one can view them really quickly as 3 MP JPG’s then open up the RAW files one deems worthy of it to conserve space, That’s makes for really fast viewing and less space on the hard drive (I filled up 800 MB in one hour so you should consider it too )
    7. Noise: I have shot a lot of these in adverse conditions with a huge 800 mm lens so some of them are slightly blurry, and the 800 ISO does not help, but these are typical conditions for me shooting birds early in the morning or late in the afternoon so this is where the rubber hits the road for me. At ISO 800 one can clearly see the graininess, the onboard noise reduction does a decent job but you can see it WHEN you zoom to 100-200%. Consider that at 100-200% you have huge magnification so in reality the noise is quite low and acceptable for me. But you can see it: look at the wings of the Heron that posed for 2 seconds for me then flew off…. It also looks a bit plastic at large magnifications because of the NR being turned on (setting normal), but that’s at very large magnification – you be your own judge, for me it is quite acceptable I think right now at least, reserve rights to change my mind later 
    8. Resolution and picture quality when all is right is astounding, at ISO 100-200 it is smooth as silk what can I say. See the picture of the pines in the distance one can see each individual pine needle at grate magnification (it is 250 yards away and shot with the Big Sigma 800, I have several shots with the 80 1.4 and 17-55 up there that have lots of details

    I’m tired of writing let me know if you have questions or feedback

    andreas
     
  2. Thanks for a great commentary and a wonderful set of images to drool over, Andreas!
     
  3. Good Grief!!

    Just look at those file sizes.

    I cannot say how grateful I am for these initial thoughts. I have printed out your observations and need to look very carefully at them, and see JUST HOW MUCH more I might have to spend if I do decide to buy a D2X and shoot in RAW and JPEG ( Large-Fine).

    Please continue to let us know how you find this camera, as I, and I would think many others on this forum, really welcome this type of input.

    BW. Bob F. England.
     
  4. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Andreas,

    You have confirmed mine and a lot of other folks worst fears, and that is the D2X does cost much more than the base $5K purchase price. Using this cam essentially renders all of your computer systems outmoded. OTOH, we knew that this would be the case. TANSTAAFL.... 8)

    Your pictures are the best, real world illustration that I've seen yet of the power of this new cam. To me, the noise performance looks significantly better than my D2H. The extra resolution is there. The only question in my mind is whether these demonstrated benefits are worth the extra $$.

    It looks to me like the cam is going to deliver on its promise. Just a matter of whether or not each of us can come up with the price of admission.... :wink:

    Thanks for the detailed report.

    Frank
     
  5. Second Day first impressions

    So I have slept on it and just wanted all to make sure they knew that my gripes are not with the camera, it's an amazing feat of engineering, so fast with these huge files, and noise seems better then D2H. So far it has been much better to ge the right exposure, with the histogram slightly to the left most of the time. My initial take on dyncamic resolution is that it is similar to the D2H, I have seen similar blown highlight against the sky and against flowers, so underexposing to get them without blow highlightsd and then lifting them in NC or PS is still the way to go it seems, a bit disapointed with that, but it is still in the early stages..... I will try some more...

    As for the files sizes and performance issues with NC, lets work the problem!

    1. The JPG's out of this camera seems so smooth and well exposed many times and I worked a few in NC, simple leveling and USM, and they looked pretty good for a fast job, good for any regular family picture outing for sure. Maybe one needs to have two-three banks of settings, A being optimized for great JPG's, B for Raw only, C for Small 3 mp JPG's for viewing, with RAW's if one really likes the picture and can go in and fiddle in full resolution and so on....
    2. What is driving the performance (lack there of..) of NC 4.2?
    a. Seems to be very processor related (which means they did not code it well it should offload to the Graphics processor if it is available)
    b. Running two NEF's on a 2 GB machine is not doable, machines crawls to a halt for minutes sometimes., so 2 GB Minimum, since super matched meory etc does't do that much of a difference in performance on a PC if ones has a regular PC 2GB wont be that expensive
    c. I still wonder how much a better graphics card will do, I have 64 and 128 cards in my laptop and PC no slounches bit not really fast, will se if I can borrow a 256 and maybe even 512 card and see if it helps
    d. Hard drive speed is obvioulsy important but one cant go and upgrade the PC forever, might be easier to get a new one then.... I will offload to DVD's to get room enough on my harddrive
    e. Well what about PS CS? My initial tryouts indicate that although it takes quite bit of time to load a NEF files into it (on my 1.7 GHZ, 512MB RAM machine (with the MSN client loaded taking up valubale memory) it was actually about a minute, on my Laptop with 1.7 Pentium M and 1 GB it was more like 10-15 seconds. But when it had loaded I ran a midtone sharpening action and it was not to bad performance at all. MOST of all the SCREENWRITES are almost instantaneuous on either machine, so it seems that I need to get into using PSCS instead of NC4 (sigh)

    I'm going down to Juanita Bay today to shoot some more in real daylight, I'll be back with more comments.
     
  6. JC

    JC

    72
    Jan 27, 2005
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Andreas,

    Thanks for the tip about the 3 MP jpeg's. I'll try it.

    I found that the NEF's load into NC 4.2 quickly, but it can be slow in certain tasks, such as D-lighting. It was time for me to get serious about editing, and not leave it for the laptop screen, so I got a 3.2 GHz P4 with 2 GB of ram. So far it's OK, although I've done very little on it.

    Here's hoping I get to really use it this weekend.

    Joel
     
  7. My, my, my

    The resolution on 011fs (I assume with 17-55) is simply amazing. I didn't look any further. I can't look any further. I simply MUST STOP looking at D2X images NOW. ((sigh))

    Phil (hey, Nikon -- save me. PLEASE HURRY with the D200. These guys are killing me.)
     
  8. NC Capture 4.2

    There appears to be a memory leak problem with Capture 4.2. Reznick told me that a release is due out shortly (hopefully) that will resolve this problem along with some compatability issues as well.

    I'm running 3ghz P4 processor, 2GB 400DDR hyperthread RAM, and 120GB WD hard drives in a stripped array and it is a dog.

    Hopefully Nikon will fix this quickly.

    FWIW, there are also install issues on some computers as well with 4.2. I went through major hell getting it installed on my laptop. Nikon tech support was of little help. Apparently, there is a conflict with XP SP 2. Hopefully they'll resolve that as well.
     
  9. jfenton

    jfenton

    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    I'm running a P4 3.0 with 1 gig of PC2700 and the NEF's open in 5 seconds on the nose. D Lighting takes a bit but as long as I'm not using that tool, I see no slowdown as compared to what I was achieving with my D2H files.

    Jim
     
  10. Mine open quick too; however, if you open multiples and do batch processing on those, it bogs down. Then, when you have one open and you're zooming in or out on it, it bogs down to a near stand still. I've had it crash twice so far.

    Others have posted similar experiences.
     
  11. Did test a different graphics card

    I did test a card today, an ATI 9600 based card with 256 MB Ram. It did not make any difference whatsoever, in graphics redraw speed in NC. I timed a couple of operations and the time came out exactly the same.
    This means that it is all CPU processor, and available RAM.

    It is very surprising that a lareg company like Nikon does not know how to write their applications to offload graphics intensive tasks to the graphics processor, that sound pretty basic to me....

    I did another test, loading a 35 MB TIFF file into PS-CS was basically instantaneous, so Nikon has some optimizing work to do (and memory leak fixing)

    I would not be hoping for a fast resolution to this problem, the whole applciation needs a rewrite....
     
  12. Anybody running a double processor 2.5Gig Mac out there? Wonder how that will handle these big files.

    Steve
     
  13. I have a dual 2Ghz Mac with 3.5 GB Ram and 12 MP NEFs in NC arent all that much slower than 6 MP ones. I didnt time them when I opened them so I'm not sure of the difference. I hardly ever use NC anyway, but when I get my X I will have to until PS Raw supports them. I also have an nVidia 6800 graphics card driving a 30" Cinema Display at 2560 X 1600. I think the card is a 256MB card.

    In any case I will be upgrading my machine to 5 GB of Ram soon as I regularly open and edit 400MB Aerial photo TIF files. These files make the 12MP D2x images look like postage stamps.
     
  14. I don't think it will be very long before Adobe gets PS up to speed.

    Steve
     
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