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|| News Item: Posted 2005-05-31

Hands On With Nikon's New D2X
By Andrew Tucker, Augusta Chronicle

Photo by Andrew Tucker / Augusta Chronicle

Photo by Andrew Tucker / Augusta Chronicle

Tiger Woods wins The Masters. Nikon D2X, 500 ASA, 1/500 @ 2.8.
Our staff was lucky enough to have Nikon loan us a D2X to try out in the early spring of this year. I ran it few a through tests and shot a few assignments with it and was very pleased with the results. We also borrowed a few of their cameras during the Masters Golf Tournament in April and we also bought two cameras before the tournament began.

I am very pleased with the D2X since we have been using them and it has many improvements over the D2H cameras that we have had since the before Masters in 2004.

Image Quality
Without a doubt this is by far the biggest improvement on the camera. The file size is enormous. In shooting for a newspaper we use in the jpeg fine quality setting and in the high-speed crop mode you get a 19.7 meg file and without a 34.9 meg file. That is more than big enough for newspapers.

In some early tests that I shot in the studio of one of our employees I was amazed. I could zoom in on the image in Photoshop at 300% and the image was still holding its detail. The detail in the images is amazing and much better than the D2H.

The color in the images seem to be much richer and pop in the screen when you take the camera right out of the box. The shadow detail is much better. There is much more information in an image underneath the brim of a golfers hat or in the shadow on the chest of a baseball player.

High ISO
When shooting sports at night the camera responded very well. I shot a college softball game and we very pleased with the image quality and auto focus under the not so bright lights.

Like all digital cameras, as the ISO went up the image quality began to diminish. ISO 800 still looked great and 1600 was still very usable for our newspaper. It did not seem to have nearly as much noise as what I was used to with the D2H. I even pushed it to 3200 and we still could have used the image in the paper.

High Speed Crop
The high-speed crop mode is very useful, especially for shooting sports. You first have to set the function button on the front of the camera in the custom function menu to apply the high-speed crop. Then you can shift between modes on the fly by holding down the button and rotating the dial on the back of the camera. An icon inside the viewfinder and on the screen on top of the camera will tell you if you are in the cropped mode or not.

When using the cropped mode the edges inside the viewfinder light up when you press halfway down on the shutter to remind you that you are shooting with less of the viewfinder. You can see everything inside the viewfinder screen but you have to remember that only what is inside the cropped edges will be on your image. That takes a little getting used to.

The camera has several functions that make shooting easier. I love the audio function. Adding audio to an image for marking purposes is great for sports. You can review the audio that you recorded and delete it and record a new one. I have even recorded audio of a musical performance or the like that I was covering for the paper and we were able to put up a sample of the audio on our paper's website along with the photos.

The buttons are in the right places. The control dials on the front and back of the camera are ideal for adjusting the shutter speed and aperture. The auto focus seems to be much more responsive and more accurate.

When you immediately touch the shutter half way down the focus it dead on. The D2H seemed to have a little bit of a lag and sometimes the first frame was out.

(Andrew Tucker is a staff photographer at the Augusta Chronicle.)

Related Links:
Tucker's member page

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