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Thread: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

  1. #1
    Shelby Lewis
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    Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Hey everyone...

    Knowing that everyone here loves their a900's (including ME!)... i wanted to get some informal opinions about some things I'm seeing with the d3x. I'm only asking due to the fact that I'm thinking about picking one up in a month or so for better performance during situations where I need similar IQ to the a900 but far better AF and lowlight performance.

    I know the IQ of the d3x is nice, but I've yet to see any samples that have the look of the a900/zeiss combination. The review posted on DpReview of the new 50/1.4 reveals a total lack of 3d-mess (imo) that I've begun to enjoy from the a900. This could be the lens, though. The a900 is the only cam I've ever owned that actually like how it looks at 100%. Even the nice stuff deepdiver has posted in the Nikon forum doesn't have the bite (but detailed smoothness) I've come to see in the a900.

    So... I guess I'm asking... where I can find d3x samples that have the zeiss look, or something close. Nikon's samples don't do it... Marcus Bell's don't do it... I just can't find any. It's not a deal breaker for me at all, as having a usable high ISO and AF (in fast action) is going to trump the "look"...

    ... but I'm just curious.

    Thanks,
    Shelby

    (please... no flame wars... this is a request for meaningful info)

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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Shelby,

    The 3d-ness is from the zeiss drawing style so you can get the 3d-ness you want on a Nikon or Canon if you use some of the Zeiss ZF primes. Just won't have AF.

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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Check out these shots from Peter using D700 and ZF100 Makro Planar:

    http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/top.../1#lastmessage

  4. #4
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Wow... fantastic... but alas, manual focus isn't going to help me very much in fast action, lowlight situations.

    Thanks for the samples though... the look of the zeiss glass is just killer!

    Thanks Wayne.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Well Shelby, I am shooting tomorrow's wedding with the D3X/D3 combo. First one with the D3X. It's an important gig with the country club set here, and could lead to more high-end work. I absolutely must use a dual card camera ... if I had a catastrophic card failure it'd be curtains for me. Plus, it's supposed to be crapo dark and rainy weather, and the church is an uninspired 1970's "cave". Thus the Nikons.

    I will be very interested myself in the results. The A900 has produced very nice wedding images so far, yet for certain styles of images I like the D3 look better. And I've seen some commercial work with the D3X that I liked a lot. Very realistic, and sort of film like in feel. In many ways it all fits my style a bit better.

    I guess if I had to characterize it, the Nikon images have a bit more "urban" look to them which is pretty hot right now in wedding photography. And I like the B&W conversions which is 75% of my wedding work and why most clients hire me.

    Now, the question I would have for you is why the D3X? For speed and low light work to compliment the A900 why not the D3? (or D700 if dual cards is less important to you).

    Here are a few D3/D700 shots that the Sony would struggle with in more ways than one:

    Bride hugs the groom during the first dance done at ISO 10,000; Guests at table/guy lights cigarette @ ISO 5000 ; color ambient shot of bride with flowers bokeh background @ ISO 2000 ... (I added the corner vignetting).

    Then that sort of "urban look of the Bride sneaking away for a slice at a pizza joint, and the B&W look I like of the B&G exiting the church.

  6. #6
    Senior Member ryc's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    i can send you some raw files from my d3x and zeiss glass. really nice set up but I prefer the auto focus zeiss

  7. #7
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Now, the question I would have for you is why the D3X? For speed and low light work to compliment the A900 why not the D3? (or D700 if dual cards is less important to you).

    Here are a few D3/D700 shots that the Sony would struggle with in more ways than one:

    Bride hugs the groom during the first dance done at ISO 10,000; Guests at table/guy lights cigarette @ ISO 5000 ; color ambient shot of bride with flowers bokeh background @ ISO 2000 ... (I added the corner vignetting).

    Then that sort of "urban look of the Bride sneaking away for a slice at a pizza joint, and the B&W look I like of the B&G exiting the church.
    Nice work Marc (as always)... lovely images.

    TBH, a few factors are at play here. First... resolution. As nice as the d3 files are (and I think they are very nice), my cameras play double duty too much with commercial work to be shooting 12mp anymore. Much of this is due to money, in that I don't have enough to carry multiple systems right now so I'd rather have a single high-end system that could pull double duty (and a sensible backup) than two high-end systems for different purposes. I'm also the type of shooter who likes minimal kit and maximal duty. Wedding days are often an 85mm and a 35mm. My quandary right now is whether to stay in the Sony system. Even though I like the files much better than essentially all of the d3x files I've seen... I'm still going to continue shooting weddings for another studio for the next year or so... so I have someone else's reputation relying on my solid work. The a900 makes me a bit nervous on wedding days.

    Just shot a catalog this last week, and some of the images are also going to be used as huge enlargements... I also run into clients consistently cropping verticals out of horizontals... and there's just a smoothness of tonal transition that only seems to come with higher resolution.

    On wedding days, I'm happiest with a single body and a few primes that I switch out throughout the day (with a zoom or two for good measure)... and with a less expensive b-up (maybe a d700).

    As it stands right now... I LOVE my a900, but it continues to be a hard camera to use in action sequences... so I'm keeping my options open as far as considering the other systems available. Canon is out... I've had enough troubles with them to feel burnt. Nikon is a consideration, but I've never liked the nikon "look", especially now that I've had the a900 and zeiss. But, in the end, getting the shot counts more than the look... so I'm doing some pretty tough deliberating right now.

  8. #8
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Quote Originally Posted by ryc View Post
    i can send you some raw files from my d3x and zeiss glass. really nice set up but I prefer the auto focus zeiss
    I'd love a few... and I'll definitely not rule out ZF glass if I make a switch.

    And so I'm clear... I'm not switching right now. I'm going to try not to as I love the a900's files more than any camera I've owned. But... man, it's a finicky beast in tough conditions.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Understood Shelby. It's a bitch when reality rears its head.

    The "look" is definitely a more subtile aspect that we can see more than the clients may. All these brands of recent digital cameras deliver stunning images to their eyes. With clients its content and capturing that content that matters most ... weddings or otherwise.

    I do think the Nikon look has evolved some. The jury is still out on the D3X for me as I need to shoot with it for a while and work with the files. A few of the lenses have gotten better, particularly the AFS 14-24 & 24-70 workhorse zooms, and my huge 200/2 is a killer optic. But there is no AF equivalent to the ZA 135/1.8.

    However, not all shots have to be AF at a wedding ... specifically manual focus ceremony shots on a tripod using focus confirmation in the viewfinder ... today I am taking an adapted Zeiss 110/2 FE and Zeiss 1.4X with me to fill that 135/1.8 gap. (There isn't a ZF mid-range long lens available). The extra reach and close focusing ability of this Zeiss lens provides beautiful OOF Bokeh and edge definition that's unique, and all Zeiss. We'll see if I get a chance to use it, and how it performs on the D3X. Its plus advantage is that it stands upright in my little Airport Think-Tank roller

    The tiny Leica M8 system and it's incomparable optics will be with me also. The Sony sits this one out since it is really a gloomy day for a wedding shoot.

    -Marc

  10. #10
    Senior Member ryc's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Having owned the d3x I would say that if you are contemplating a switch, wait for the next version of the d700. more features, probably same sensor and iso performance better price and better size. it's just a matter of time before it is announced.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Quote Originally Posted by ryc View Post
    Having owned the d3x I would say that if you are contemplating a switch, wait for the next version of the d700. more features, probably same sensor and iso performance better price and better size. it's just a matter of time before it is announced.
    Dual card?

  12. #12
    ddk
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Quote Originally Posted by ryc View Post
    Having owned the d3x I would say that if you are contemplating a switch, wait for the next version of the d700. more features, probably same sensor and iso performance better price and better size. it's just a matter of time before it is announced.
    Jorge,

    I've seen your other posts regarding the D3x and you seem somewhat cold towards it, please tell us more about your about your experience and the reason for not liking it.

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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    Wow... fantastic... but alas, manual focus isn't going to help me very much in fast action, lowlight situations.

    Thanks for the samples though... the look of the zeiss glass is just killer!

    Thanks Wayne.
    Well if you want AF Zeiss lenses then the only options are Sony ZA and
    Conurus converted Zeiss Contax N lenses for Canon.

    I think you are going to need another camera for low-light gigs like Marc is doing and you only have D3x and 5D2 to choose from right now until Sony comes out with a new full frame with high iso capabilities.

    Like you say, getting the shot and having a cleaner file are most important to the client and not the subtle stuff like color response. Even the drawing style of the lenses like Zeiss's 3-d look are more noticeable than the IQ differences between these three cameras, high iso performance aside.
    Nikon and Canon also have TS-E/PC-E lenses which I feel you need to use for those wide angle inside the church shots or shots of the bride and groom coming out of the church instead of trying to fix it in PS.

  14. #14
    Senior Member ryc's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    ddk,

    I thought the D3x was a phenomenal camera as far as build and feel. It is built like a tank and when the shutter fires it feels and sounds like a solid shutter. I did not like the size and weight although the weight contributed to its solid build and feel. But as with all other Nikons I have owned, the files needed a lot of post processing to get a look I was happy with. Noise was controlled well with the D3x but it certainly was no where near the performance of the D700. The autofocus on the D3x and D700 where top notch wich even focused on faces. Although the A900 lacks a lot of the D3x features, what I like about the A900 compared to the D3x is the rendering of the files. They are much more pleasing for me to look at without having to doctor them up in LR or PS. I shoot a lot of film and the ONLY reason I like digital is due to the instant results. Having said that, I try to make my digital images look as much like film as I can and the A900 gets darn close.

    JT

  15. #15
    ddk
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Jorge,

    I always felt that way towards both Nikons and Canons so I went to Fuji & Kodak. I also prefer the look of film and that's where I made my peace with digital. Unfortunately, at this point neither company is active in the dslr market, so I'm stuck with older bodies, the resolution is a none issue for me.

    The Sony is very tempting but I held off due to lack of primes in the 14mm to 50mm range which is most of my photography. I guess my other reason is that I'm very heavily invested in F mount glass and the thought of selling everything at a loss to just buy again isn't that appealing either.

  16. #16
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Compelling thoughts from everyone... and I do appreciate them.

    So... I've not been shooting a lot this week, which leads to much "introspection" (ie... thoughts about more and better gear) ... but I went out and shot two sessions today (all in good light) and DAMN if the files aren't sssoooooooo nice. Which is now leading me towards an expanded a900 kit and a small (but lethal) low-light kit from (probably) nikon.

    I'll be waiting for marc's report on the d3x today, but come to think of it, my low-light files are never my own (I shoot weddings for another studio), so my thoughts about a single "all-everything" system is IMO a bit misguided. The idea of a small d3/d700 low-light kit seems more workable now.

    And after seeing the results of the a900 today doing my bread-and-butter work (portraits)... it leads me to rethink how much I love this camera. I shot for 6 hours today and most of the files are just fabulous. AF occasionally "does it's own thing", but when I don't try to push it, it's incredibly accurate. Color... fantastic. Sharpness... like no other camera I've owned. I'm still very interested in the d3x, if anything just to see if I can find examples of it matching the a900 IQ, but I feel better after getting out and shooting today.

    As an architect, the lack of t/s lenses is killing me though.

    Every time I get fed up with the af and all and convince myself to go elsewhere, the Sony files keep me coming back, lol. I guess more than one system is probably the way to go if you're really picky about these things! This one, from today, is just killing me... NO localized work on this file. Only WB and global contrast/sharpening.



    and a couple more:



  17. #17
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    BTW, the "green-ness" of the second file is not sony's fault, lol... i have a mild "vintage" color curve I apply to some images that subtracts blue from the highlights and adds blue to the shadows... only in the second shot, it added (perceptually) to the green-ness, lol.

    Gotta go back and rework that one.

  18. #18
    Senior Member ryc's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Shelby, These are awesome. There is no way in hell I would be considering a switch to another system when you are getting these results!

    I have a couple of questions for you if you dont mind. After moving to the A900 I am now using AF lenses which is something I never did before. When you autofocus, do you use wide spot or local. On the portrait of the child did yo focus on eyes and recompose or do you just let the a900 pick where to focus. I guess I should do some reading up on this but I have no idea what is the best method for auto focusing.

    Thanks

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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Shelby,
    Wow! First shot is outstanding! Love the light and reflections in his eyes.
    Which lens, the CZ 24-70?

  20. #20
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Thanks Jorge... Yeah... a switch, as far as portrait work goes, would be ridiculous. And my original request was to see if I could find d3x files that look like that first shot. I get many shots just like this one, day in and day out, during portrait work. Simply fantastic.

    It's only weddings in low-light (which is often) where i have ANY problems. The shots are still sharp IF the af keeps up with the moving subjects (which it won't). I use local AF and I manually select the af point closest to the eye with the joystick on the back of the camera which keeps focus/recompose to an absolute minimum. In good light, all of the points work fine and are accurate. Focus/recompose with those fast lenses is a sharpness destroyer. I never noticed this with my older canon equipment (5D) because of lower resolution and because I always foc/recomp. and therefore never had the opportunity to see what consistently VERY sharp images were like, lol.

    I never let my camera pick anything... I actually am shooting in manual exposure mode almost 100% of the time now as well, since (in portrait sessions) intelligent preview lets me meter so accurately.

    Thanks Wayne... the first shot was with the sigma 50/1.4 at f/4. That lens doesn't focus as accurately as the zeiss, but dude is it sharp when stopped down a tad (even at f/2). Don't own the 24-70 yet...only the sigma 50mm, the zeiss 135/1.8, and the lowly sony 28/2.8.

    The 85/1.4 and 24-70mm are next on the list.

    BTW... I just shot a summer catalog for a local designer that's going to be distributed nationally... the first commercial shoot I've done with the a900. The files are just fanatstic... of course, we shot it in great light.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Follow up to today's wedding.

    As is often the case, the weather man is dead wrong and it turns out to be a hot, muggy, but sunny day.

    So I take along the sony kit which all fits into a Think Tank Urban Disguise bag. I figure I can use it outside in nicer light.

    I shoot the getting ready stuff with the A900 at the Bride's home and take the Nikon kit to the church (because they shoot to 2 cards). My plan is to mostly shoot the D3X to see how it does. Exactly 2 minutes before the procession starts, the power grid goes down. This church has zero windows. None. Put away the D3X and grab the D3 and jack up the ISO.

    Afterwards, we go into town where I use the A900 again because it's outside photos.

    I did some stuff with the D3x later at the reception ... which is downloading now. I'll look at the files in the AM. It was a non-stop 10.5 hour shoot and I'm beat.

  22. #22
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    ...the power grid goes down. This church has zero windows. None.
    My worst nightmare... both as a photographer and an architect!


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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    One remark regarding the AF hunting of the A900 in low light, there is a setting in the menu to switch from fast to slow AF that Sony claims improves AF lock in difficult lighting conditions. It might be worth a try.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    My worst nightmare... both as a photographer and an architect!

    Funny thing was that I had talked to the Priest 15 minutes before the ceremony about the unusual architectural design ... and he the lamented the lack of windows ... I didn't think anything about it until the lights went out.

    The only light we had came from 6 candles and the emergency flood lights pointed down over the entrances.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Quote Originally Posted by edwardkaraa View Post
    One remark regarding the AF hunting of the A900 in low light, there is a setting in the menu to switch from fast to slow AF that Sony claims improves AF lock in difficult lighting conditions. It might be worth a try.
    That is a good tip and certainly worth a try. Maybe assign it to a low light group of settings for the selector dial so it's easy to toggle back and forth. Not sure it's going to help with things like wedding reception dancing where you need low light lock on .. and fast lock on moving subjects. But in other situations it may be very valuable.

    I also tried the manual focus Zeiss 110/2FE on the D3X and will not do that again until I can get a split diagonal microprism screen for the D3X AND/OR a view magnifier. Too many slightly miss focused shots with it.

    Another "interesting" thing that happened during this wedding was that ALL of the flashes we were using locked out due to heat. Both my partner's Canon 580EXs went down for the count, my Sony gave up, and so did the SB900 even with the new firmware. The SB900 conked out right as the reception speeches started and the SB800 was in another room. Trust me, I WILL now pay more attention to the little thermometer in the SB900s LCD window.

    The only piece of gear that worked with a hitch was my M8 ... which produced the best images of all the cameras we had with us including the A900. Never, ever thought I'd be saying that.

    Toodles ... back to processing.

  26. #26
    Super Duper
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Okay, now I can talk about this in a bit more informed manner having used the D3X on the job shooting a wedding.

    Here's my take on it Shelby. I skip all the handling and Pro features of the D3X which are the reason I got the camera in the first place. I need what it does, some stuff that the A900 can't do. So the following is about IQ:

    This is not a slam-bam camera. It's different, and requires retooling your thinking a bit. Now I admit that I had to do the same thing with the A900 before the images began to sparkle in the manner we are getting accustomed to. But the learning curve was short because the A900 files are there from the get-go. However, you can't apply what you did for one camera to another and get the same results. That may sound obvious, but when you first start off using a camera like this D3X you don't know what to do right away, and tend to fall into familiar post processing habits.

    So one wedding hasn't revealed all the secrets of the D3X ... but it has given me where to go as I move forward with it.

    The D3X RAW files are more neutral in almost all respects compared to the A900. Its left up to you to go where you want creatively. It reminds me of comments made about the Sinar digital backs compared to others. This is probably the source of comments made about us A900 users having more fun while D3X users are working the files. In reality, it's just a different approach to what get delivered initially. Once I figured that out, the processing got a lot quicker.

    My over-all impression is that the files are some of the most negative film looking I gotten from a 35mm DSLR yet. I know others have commented that the A900 does that, but I've never personally agreed with their observations. I love the A900 files for what they are, but I do not see them as film like ... unless the people are referring to low ISO transparency films ... which may well be the case given that there are so many landscape shooters. I don't shoot transparencies, I use color and B&W neg film scanned on a Imacon 949. That's my personal experience that I use for the "film like" observation.

    I don't know how this was accomplished ... maybe a weaker AA filter and 14 bit or something. Taking a file up to 200 or 300% shows enormous amounts of detail using the newer zooms (14-24 & 24-70).

    What counts is the prints, so I did a 17 X 22 print that was shot with the D3X and 24-70. This proved out my suspecion that this camera is better than what's on a computer screen ... very natural looking feel which reminds me a lot of film prints from the same printer. Not the same as the A900 images, not better, just different. Beautifully different.

    Gotta run, here's just one from the D3X ...

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Thanks for the nice initial observations, Marc. You may be on to something in regards to slide vs. negative "look," although I too am unsure as to why this is. I believe the A900 has a weaker AA filter, so maybe it's that extra DR? None of these companies write a true "raw" file, so Id be interested in the special sauces that are applied. Maybe Andrey knows??

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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Marc, what astute observation/revelation about Nikon digital files you have made. For years I shot F5’s teamed with 600mm & 300mm lenses for wildlife shooting. Astia and Velvia were my “go to” films. The images always “popped” on the light table. When I switched to D2X bodies, I never could get that transparency vibrancy “look and feel” - consequently I quit shooting digital wildlife AND landscapes and switched to MF film bodies (with Astia and Velvia).
    I think all will agree that Shelby’s outstanding images have a vibrancy and pop lacking in the Nikon files. However, historically speaking, the film purists have always looked upon many of the transparency images with disdain.
    What do customers say (if anything)?
    (PS: I do notice that Shelby’s images are primarily of the “young and beautiful” members of society – which is always refreshing but perhaps not representative of the general populace).

  29. #29
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Marc... thanks for the observations, and I appreciate the non-technical review. I do know how quickly and accurately the nikon cameras perform as I made a brief switch last year. Ultimately I didn't like the interface or the colors... but I will admit to not spending the time to really dig into Nikon file processing. NX was useless at the time... slow and clunky (but great files)

    Maybe it's the lenses (and the AA/CFA combination). The family/baby portraits I posted had very little done to them other than global contrast (curves) and sharpening, and a bit of vintage color tratment on one of them... yet they sing right out of the camera.

    No offense, but the bridal shot you've posted (and it is beautiful!) just doesn't sing for me. However... I will agree it has a wonderful tonality and "smooth cripsness" that I think is very fitting for people shooting. I also bet the d3x would be a fantastic architectural camera where color is important, but detail and a somewhat broad tonal range is fitting. ie, not too contrasty, but still pops... with detail.

    Thanks also for making a comment on the amount of detail that the d3x captures. This is something I've not seen from the number of 100% crops I've been exposed to. Don't get me wrong, the resolution has been there... but again, 100% is just not that pretty compared to the Sony files.

    I guess, in the end, it is the print that counts... and I'll take your word that it is a lovely camera. As primarily a portrait photographer, I regularly print to 20x30 and beyond (cha-ching!)... so detail is important.

    Ah... decisions, decisions

  30. #30
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tex View Post
    I think all will agree that Shelby’s outstanding images have a vibrancy and pop lacking in the Nikon files. However, historically speaking, the film purists have always looked upon many of the transparency images with disdain.
    What do customers say (if anything)?
    (PS: I do notice that Shelby’s images are primarily of the “young and beautiful” members of society – which is always refreshing but perhaps not representative of the general populace).
    Thanks Tex... funny stuff... "young and beautful", lol. they're also mostly under-age , so I have to keep my thoughts on the job at hand

    What's wild is that it takes VERY little for me to get the vibrancy and pop (which isn't as heavy handed as many high-school senior photographers). Customers love my images and generally really like the pop, vibrancy, and slightly vintage tones look. I do try for a "film look" by not compressing the tonal range much (via use of curves instead of normal compressed levels)... but maybe marc is right... film look means such differnt things to different photographers. Velvia? Portra 160? Neopan 1600 (love it!).

    One thing I will say... the detail and drawing of the Zeiss lenses, as nice as it is, can be brutally honest. I do have to retouch skin a bit more with the Sony as it captures, warts and all, most of the details in the scene.

    It's one step shy of MF IMO, but tones it down just enough for nice usage as a portrait cam.

    Lastly... I do lament the unavailability of things like RadioPoppers and exotic lenses, but that was something I knew coming into the system. I'm still not sure which way I'm leaning. Part of me wants to stay Sony and pick up a d3/d700. Part of me wants to upgrade to MF, and also pick up a d700 for wedding work. Again... decisions, decisions.

    For now, though, I love the a900 as a portrait cam

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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    You see things differently than I do Shelby, which is what makes the world go around, right?

    Where you see something "singing," I see a somewhat superficial addition to reality. I am absolutely sure this is an observation born from my advertising career where souping up reality is a daily requirement ... I personally rebel against it ... which I haven't been very successful at doing lately. I probably need to load up the film cameras and take a vacation from digital.

    I think in the end you have to be true to what you like and don't like of the images themselves and use the gear that gets you closest even if it isn't perfect. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks good or bad, it's what you think.

    Since you asked, I'd say steer clear of the D3X ... I doubt it is your cup of tea. I also doubt any amount of cooking the files will make them look like the A900 files. And I doubt I'll ever get the A900 stuff to look like the D3X stuff ... which is fine with me.

    Like the D3, it will probably take a month or two to zero in on what I want from the D3X and how to get it. To do that I may have to detox myself of all these flamboyant contaminants and get back to what's important to me.

    BTW, if you really do print a lot @ 20 X30 or more ... I wonder why you are in 35mm format at all? MFD is a whole other world.

  32. #32
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    You see things differently than I do Shelby, which is what makes the world go around, right?
    TOTALLY agree!

    (snip)... which I haven't been very successful at doing lately. I probably need to load up the film cameras and take a vacation from digital.
    I've thought about the same... in that I'm never truly happy with the images I get. Always feel like they're "almost there". I actually, get this, almost bought a 4x5 and was thinking about marketing old-school magazine quality film shooting to my seniors who would be interested, lol!

    Since you asked, I'd say steer clear of the D3X ... I doubt it is your cup of tea. I also doubt any amount of cooking the files will make them look like the A900 files. And I doubt I'll ever get the A900 stuff to look like the D3X stuff ... which is fine with me.

    Like the D3, it will probably take a month or two to zero in on what I want from the D3X and how to get it. To do that I may have to detox myself of all these flamboyant contaminants and get back to what's important to me.

    BTW, if you really do print a lot @ 20 X30 or more ... I wonder why you are in 35mm format at all? MFD is a whole other world.
    Good points... well taken on this end. If you've followed me on the other forums, you'll know that I've been waffling on the MF question for a few years. If you ask me to be totally truthful, I REALLY want to go MF. But... for the kind of work I do (and my limited newby budget"), it's a real stretch justifying the cost without selling everything I have. Plus, I'd still have to pick up a d700 and backup, plus lenses and flashes to cover my wedding work. Ouch. I have actually thought about getting a refurb p25 or a demo aptus 22 (now mid $6k from leaf) or even one of the remaining h3dII-22 kits... but the whole transiion to MF, given the utility nature of my business would be a real drain on my $$$.

    I guess there's no free lunch when you're critical about what you want from your gear.

  33. #33
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    I agree with Marc about the "film-like" thing. This quality was the first thing that drew me to the A900, but this of course from someone who has shot chrome film almost exclusively in my pre-digital time (as well as the inevitable start in BW and home printing). I love the chrome look, and consequently the A900 files, but there must be a reason why no one uses it for weddings and usually use iso 160 negative film.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Let me say at the outset that I am a D3X owner and thus somewhat biased. I recently was on a workshop where both the D3X and the A900 were represented. From a technical standpoint the shadow noise in the A900 was much worse than the D3X. I really like the color palette of the A900 but as Marc pointed out, that is a personal choice as both cameras do a more than credible job at capturing rather accurate images. The build quality of the D3X is light years ahead of the A900 but for the difference in price you might expect that. Biggest difference between the two is size and weight. The D3X is a brick and it feels like it when you tote it around all day. So for those that this is an issue I would say wait a little while as surely there is a D700X somewhere in the works.

    I don't see a loser no matter which you choose. So go for it based on what it important to you and how much you like the output files.

    Woody

  35. #35
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Thanks Woody for the report... I appreciate hearing from actual owners like you and marc.

    Much appreciated

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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    True about the shadow noise, Woody. That's why I went on a ISO 320 rampage on this forum last month, since it gets things closer for the A900. From a technical standpoint, D3x does have better shadows, and A900 has the better color separation. Maybe this color separation results in the look that many are noticing in A900 files? Regardless, we really are at a point in FF DSLR where one picks their "film," and goes for it....unless your Marc, and you have the luxury of shooting many "films." Lucky

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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    TOTALLY agree!



    I've thought about the same... in that I'm never truly happy with the images I get. Always feel like they're "almost there". I actually, get this, almost bought a 4x5 and was thinking about marketing old-school magazine quality film shooting to my seniors who would be interested, lol!



    Good points... well taken on this end. If you've followed me on the other forums, you'll know that I've been waffling on the MF question for a few years. If you ask me to be totally truthful, I REALLY want to go MF. But... for the kind of work I do (and my limited newby budget"), it's a real stretch justifying the cost without selling everything I have. Plus, I'd still have to pick up a d700 and backup, plus lenses and flashes to cover my wedding work. Ouch. I have actually thought about getting a refurb p25 or a demo aptus 22 (now mid $6k from leaf) or even one of the remaining h3dII-22 kits... but the whole transiion to MF, given the utility nature of my business would be a real drain on my $$$.

    I guess there's no free lunch when you're critical about what you want from your gear.
    Well, I'll wager that I've been around longer than you ... Lots of time to collect all this stuff, so I can use whatever strikes my fancy.

    I've never seen a better time to jump into MF digital capture. The used stuff is less than any of the top DSLRs. With many of them now, you really only need a low light 35 DSLR and a few basic lenses to CYA. In reality, except for maybe a half dozen actions shots I now could shoot an entire wedding with my H3D-II/31 after the last update.

    Here's a side observation that continually haunts me ... after blowing through half a dozen + 35mm digital systems and updating with-in those systems, my best wedding work was, and still is done with a Leica M. I do not want to even think about all the money I spent on this stuff only to make that observation. What really irritates me is when Irakly continuously reminds me of this fact (he exclusively uses a M8 when we shoot weddings together).

  38. #38
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    True about the shadow noise, Woody. That's why I went on a ISO 320 rampage on this forum last month, since it gets things closer for the A900. From a technical standpoint, D3x does have better shadows, and A900 has the better color separation. Maybe this color separation results in the look that many are noticing in A900 files? Regardless, we really are at a point in FF DSLR where one picks their "film," and goes for it....unless your Marc, and you have the luxury of shooting many "films." Lucky
    Not just lucky ... I worked my behind off for all of it.

    Here's another thing I just noticed as I'm going through this wedding ... a lot of the first D3X stuff was shot at ISO 160. When it jumps to ISO 500 later, the files get waaaaay better. No noise and the color gets a lot better. I think I may have done some ISO 800 with it later on but I haven't got that far yet. From what I'm seeing here, the D3X doesn't seem to be an ISO 160 camera ... unless maybe in the studio with strobes. I'll have to try that out.

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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Here's a side observation that continually haunts me ... after blowing through half a dozen + 35mm digital systems and updating with-in those systems, my best wedding work was, and still is done with a Leica M.
    Marc - by best do you mean images that you like best - images that resonate with your personal aesthetic - or images that the clients like and are the ones they tend to choose? Hopefully there is overlap. I would think that many of the standard "shots" you must get at a wedding would not be done with the M but you would use the M in more casual situations (or when a second shooter is covering some of the other shots). Is that the case?

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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Shelby, that picture of the child is OUTSTANDING. Really, WOW.

  41. #41
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Quote Originally Posted by cmb_ View Post
    Marc - by best do you mean images that you like best - images that resonate with your personal aesthetic - or images that the clients like and are the ones they tend to choose? Hopefully there is overlap. I would think that many of the standard "shots" you must get at a wedding would not be done with the M but you would use the M in more casual situations (or when a second shooter is covering some of the other shots). Is that the case?
    Despite many of the images I've shown here, especially on this Sony forum, my approach is much more Leica M than DSLR. Meaning more candid and unobtrusive and usually B&W ... but most importantly it's capturing the decisive moments that everyone touts but few deliver. The M is conducive to that type of work ... at least it is for me.

    The way I do weddings is the client hires me and I shoot AND pick the pictures. They don't have a say in it. If I can't do that, I won't shoot weddings. I'm not a portrait photographer and don't want to be one ... even though I appreciate portrait work like that of Arnold Newman, whom I know and have some of his work.

    Many of my clients are art directors, designers, painters, other photographers (including wedding photographers) writers and musicians ... or someone that they know. Only recently have I branched out toward the country club set ... not sure I'm happy where that is going. Life's short, do what you love and jettison the rest.

  42. #42
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    The D3X RAW files are more neutral in almost all respects compared to the A900. Its left up to you to go where you want creatively. It reminds me of comments made about the Sinar digital backs compared to others.
    Marc, I am curious about something. I noticed that you put your H3D 39 up for sale. Does this mean that you will use the D3/D3x/A900 exclusively for your pro work now, and your CFV for private MFDB use?

    I am just coming in the other direction, waiting for a Sinar eMotion 54 LV to arrive, so I am interested to hear your thoughts leading up to this decision.

    Edit: I see now that you also have an H3DII-31, so I guess there was no thought process there at all, other than the 31 is enough for you, and probably has the better high ISO performance.
    Last edited by carstenw; 24th June 2009 at 10:57.
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Marc, I am curious about something. I noticed that you put your H3D 39 up for sale. Does this mean that you will use the D3/D3x/A900 exclusively for your pro work now, and your CFV for private MFDB use?

    I am just coming in the other direction, waiting for a Sinar eMotion 54 LV to arrive, so I am interested to hear your thoughts leading up to this decision.

    Edit: I see now that you also have an H3DII-31, so I guess there was no thought process there at all, other than the 31 is enough for you, and probably has the better high ISO performance.
    Oh, no,no,no,no ... nope ... big fat noper.

    I put it up for sale exploring the possible move to a 50 meg H3D-II. But I haven't tried all that hard to sell the H3D-II/39. I use the 39 meg back on a view camera with digitar optics in my studio ... good as they are, none of these DSLRs are in the same league.

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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Ah, I see I was totally off. Oh well, I should get used to it.
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Oh, no,no,no,no ... nope ... big fat noper.

    I put it up for sale exploring the possible move to a 50 meg H3D-II. But I haven't tried all that hard to sell the H3D-II/39. I use the 39 meg back on a view camera with digitar optics in my studio ... good as they are, none of these DSLRs are in the same league.
    Oh ye king of camera porn, you prove each day with your images how true this is.

    I am sure that one of these first days a tech camera is in my future

    Woody

  46. #46
    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Seems I need to put my oil in the fire here

    As a Nikon owner up till D3 and having tested the D3X, this test was for me the significant outcome to go away from Nikon and move to Sony A900 with Zeiss glass.

    I was on a workshop last week where I compared a lot of the A900 shots to real MF from Phase, and I must say that the A900 is for me the camera coming closest to MF IQ if you use it under the right light, ISO and with Zeiss glass.

    And I find the build quality of the A900 superior to the D3, D3X, especially if it comes to the great viewfinder of the A900 and all the controls - for me no comparison to the Nikons, which are easily seen to be inferior.

    But maybe I am Sony biased now.

    At least I was so pleased with Sony, that I finally sold all my Nikon gear and will probably not return for several years. But I know - never say never again

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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    Seems I need to put my oil in the fire here

    As a Nikon owner up till D3 and having tested the D3X, this test was for me the significant outcome to go away from Nikon and move to Sony A900 with Zeiss glass.

    I was on a workshop last week where I compared a lot of the A900 shots to real MF from Phase, and I must say that the A900 is for me the camera coming closest to MF IQ if you use it under the right light, ISO and with Zeiss glass.

    And I find the build quality of the A900 superior to the D3, D3X, especially if it comes to the great viewfinder of the A900 and all the controls - for me no comparison to the Nikons, which are easily seen to be inferior.

    But maybe I am Sony biased now.

    At least I was so pleased with Sony, that I finally sold all my Nikon gear and will probably not return for several years. But I know - never say never again
    Inferior? Non-sense. Nothing else to say.

    The D3X is more camera than a A900. As it should be it.

    I say this as an owner/user of both cameras.

    I love them both, but I'd sell the Sony before the Nikons.

    No use arguing the point, you do your thing and I'll do mine.

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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    The D3X is more camera than a A900. As it should be it. I say this as an owner/user of both cameras.
    An argument that appeals to authority is fallacious.

    Show some pics. Destroy the images that Shelby and APY jr. posted.

    And let the forum members be the judge.

    Peace.

  49. #49
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    I'm not sure where to go with this

    I do think the build of the Nikon is quite a bit nicer and more solid - brick-like. BUT, I like the ergos of the sony, but that's totally a personal preference. I've got small hands and the chunkiness of the nikon bodies was always a bit uncomfortable to me.

    I wish the sony had the nikon's exterior cover material, though.

    Another anecdote... as if it means anything... shot a family session yesterday. Got some of my best shots to date, but MAN there were a lot of AF mistakes. What is so damned irritating about the a900 (for ME) is that the files are soooooo nice when you get the shot, it's just getting the shot that's tough with kids, weddings, et al.

    If they could figure out how to make the af work like nikon's, I'd throw a party for us all

  50. #50
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Nikon D3x (NOT trolling!)

    Oh... and Marc and I are "virtual" friends... so this ain't no Sony/Nikon pissing match as far as I'm concerned. There's not enough time in my life for that stuff.

    Marc's work is fantastic. Different than mine, but fantastic.

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