Pulitzer Prize winner, Rick Rickmans thoughts on the D2x

Feb 1, 2005
Thought those of you who are waiting for your new D2x to hit your hands might like to read what Pulitzer Prize winner Rick Rickman thinks about the new toy.

"I have been spending the last week or so shooting with this baby and I am extra-ordinarily pleased and surprised. This camera, as my daughter would say, is the bomb!

NIKON has done a very intelleigent thing with the release of this camera. They have made sure that the camera was right and ready for release before seding it to market. It is an absolute gem! I was able to shoot a motorcross event and some nice light painting images with the D2X and really put the camera through its paces.

One aspect of this camera that is going to be very exciting for Nikon Sport Shooters is the fact that the camera will go from a five frames per second shooting mode that produces the camera's largest file of 12 or so megapixels to a true 8 frames per second 7 megapixel file by the touch of one button. When you do this the camera converts to a 2X focal length.

What this does for you is double the lengtn of all your telephoto lens. I was sitting in the stands above the biggest jump at this motogross event Shooting with a 200 f 2.0. I would shoot the riders taking this jump in the 5 frames a second mode for a while then switch to the 8 frames a second mode just to see if it actually worked. Not only does it work seemlessly but you can actually easily hit the button bewteen shots and the autofocus doesn't loose track of the rider. There is absolutely no shutter lag!!!!

Now here's what this made me think about. The next time you are shooting football and the play begins to move out of range of your 400 or 600 mm lens and you begin to wish that you were further down field because the action that you are seeing is great, you won't have to worry. I can hit that little button and all of a sudden I'm right in the action again. the guy beside you will probably have to crop his shot to the point that quality will become an issue but not me.

As some of you know I love to shoot skiing and one problem I always encounter is the fact that some of the best pictures are just too far away to shoot even with a 600 and a 1.4. Well now with the D2X that will no longer be true.

The autofocus is better than the D2H which I have always found extremely good. Just for fun. I did a little test with a 400 2.8 on the camera and I followed a rider from the point that I could first seem them to the point that the rider was so close that the lens could no longer focus which amounted to 16 frames and the camera held focus for 15 of the 16 frames. Now if this was just a cyclist coming at me you'd expect any camera to be able to do that but in this cased there were other riders moving between the camera and the one I was shooting. There were poles and signage that got in the way as well as the heads of track officials and monitors. So for me this was truly new and exciting.

Most importantly for me, is the fact that I was shooting at ISO 800 and at that speed the quality of the image was exceptional. To give you some kind of comparison. I have been using the D2Hs now for a long time and as we all know there is some noise with those cameras at higher ISO values.

However, with the D2H there is very little noise from ISO 200 to ISO 400. The image quality of the D2X at 800 ISO is very similar to what you would expect to see from the D2H between ISO 200 and 400. The image quality is very very very good and that was at the 7 megapixel image size as well. The color quality and the skin tones are exceptional.

For the past couple days I've been here in Florida at the PMA show. I've had the great fortune to spend some time with a few great photographer like Joe McNally, Rob Van Patten, Frans Lanting, Dave Black Moose Peterson, and some other who have also been using this camera. We've been comparing notes and I can safely say that the concensus is that this camera is really going to raise the bar in digital photography.

Rob Van Patten is one of the finest fashion photographers out there and he showed me some things he's done with the camera and the detail is astonishing. Dave Black and I are a little obsessed with light painting of late and you won't believe the quality of image this camera will produce both of portrature or still life images.

I decided I'd send this out because a number of you had asked last week about the D2X and I and others had been sworn to secrecy but have been told that if someone asks it's ok to discuss at this point. I told whoever it was I'd tell them as soon as I was able about this great new camera so as I promised.

I you are shooting NIKON you really should get on the list to get your hands on this camera. You will be so pleased. I'm going to buy 3. Anyway, happy shooting!


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