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Author Topic: stilll about the D3X  (Read 10261 times)
inissila
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« on: March 02, 2009, 05:53:30 AM »
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Just a comment with regards to the D3X review.

You cannot calculate the cost of the D3X sensor by subtracting the price of the D3 from the D3X. The pricing of the camera has little or nothing to do with production costs, as I am sure you should know. The pricing is based on how the product is perceived against the direct competition, and how the nearest competitors are priced. The Sony A900 isn't a direct competitor due to Sony offering 1) no pro support network, 2) many missing lenses in their lineup, 3) sufficient user base to guarantee longevity. If Sony had these things, then the prices of the D3X and the A900 would be more comparable. Nikon priced the D3X deliberately high, because 1) they  think the D700 and the D3 are better for most people, so the X will sell in small numbers no matter what 2) because they don't want the camera class created by the 1Ds to disappear. In their own words, "we have no intention of  starting a price war with Canon", whereas pricing the D3X, at let's say  $5000 would have meant Canon would have had to drop prices well below and the high end 35mm DSLR would be history. To kill this camera class, Sony would have to obtain about 30% market share, have more accessories and special-purpose lenses and a support network and a better attitude in service issues. If all of this happens, then there indeed might be a reduction in the top-of-the-line pricing.

The D700X, if made, would not cost $4000 over the price of the D700. The D700's flaws, the poor viewfinder accuracy, and the painfully difficult operation of the 24mm PC-E, would still be there and attract buyers to the D3 and D3X. I would guess the D700X would cost about $3500, with grip $3850. This would be reasonable considering the additional robustness, top-of-the-line autofocus etc. that the D700 has over the 5D Mk II. The D3X on the other hand was priced with the intention that it would mostly keep selling until the D700X comes out, after which they'd just sell old stock to those who need the viewfinder accuracy, more reasonable useability with the 24 PC-E, and perhaps the built in grip. This is the key to the high price:  development costs would have to be covered in a year.

My prediction is that there will be a 1Ds Mk IV, and it'll cost $7999,95 when new. Then I expect a long and vigorous bitching about the price by Michael Reichmann, Thom Hogan, etc. the lot.

Only when there is a true sensor technology saturation would prices start to come down in a serious way. Ie. when the 24 MP models have turned into 40MP with noise characteristics comparable to D3 pixels, which probably happens eventually, say within 10 years. When no one can innovate any more with respect to the sensor, then it becomes a commodity and everyone will have comparable image quality. But as long as there are serious advantages to the high end models, they'll be priced high.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2009, 05:54:47 AM by inissila » Logged
douglasf13
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« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2009, 07:55:44 AM »
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Good points; and I agree than Nikon priced the D3x according to it's perceived value, rather than actual cost. I also agree that Sony is obviously not entrenched in the pro world, yet, and they admit as much themselves.  However, I would say that their lens line-up is sufficient for many (Nikon managed many pro shooters without t/s for years,) and Sony is a solid #3 in DSLR sales now, so the user base is growing. Many of the A900 users that Ive come acrossed that have added it to their arsenal of other brands are comparing it to their Contax cameras. Easy to use, well built, and Zeiss lenses. Contax certainly wasn't the choice for options, but it was certainly competant for some pros, and I didn't have Sony money behind it.
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Marsupilami
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« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2009, 05:35:34 AM »
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a Text I just wanted to put on my website which I thinks fits to this - hope you dont mind the long post - and my english

The high price of the D3X

Still many are upset about the high price of the D3X. And also I have canceled my order when I heard the list price here in Austria/Europe will be 6990.-€ (incl. Vat.). The reason was that on delivery day (20.12.2008), there was no camera test, never mind a test model, existing. And to shop the „cat in the bag“, I found the price was too high. So I have waited, until I have got a test camera from Nikon Vienna and this camera I have tested extensively.I could lay here the attention to the image quality of the D3X, as the manuals and general operation is familiar to me by my D3. Then I have done a short calculation:
Either I go back to Canon, but I have made the change from Canon to Nikon because to me, among the rest, the optics were simply too bad with Canon, above all in the wide angle area. Since even the expensive Canon 14 mm LII could not keep up with the Nikon 14-24 zoom, and this is by far the best Canon wide angle lens. The Canon 5D was to me a loyal companion on a lot of journeys, but the viewfinder was never good enough to me for a long working day. In other respects this camera also lacks professional requirements, as the AF is subpar, or no weather sealing to mention two. But also the successor, the 5D Mark II, has similar problems, although the favorable price really shines. Sony does have a very ambitious camera with the Alpha 900, unfortunately, in the lens section some things which I need for my work are not available (Shift/Tilt for example). And a system exchange is very time-consuming (via ebay or trader) and of course also financially not a good solution. Moreover, I love many of my manual Nikkor lenses very much and dont want to give them up.

I have hoped for a price of the D3X in the 5500.-€ range, after all I have paid 6700.-€ incl. Vat. As a professional photographer I am allowed to do a countercalculation of the the sales tax, so 5583.-€ remain. The camera is of course a company device, so saves me thus approx. 30-35% of income tax, of course only if I earn during the next years also well. So at a rough calculation about 3730.-€ which are to be paid by me. However, this is not at all the most interesting part. If I apply this calculation to the price difference between the price I hoped for and the actual price I paid, which is approx. 1200.-€, what remains are approx. 670.-€ of extra charge!
And now it is maybe clearer, why professionals on account of this high price of the D3X are not happy though, but nevertheless buy the camera. For photographers who need such a high resolution, it is simply a possible and sensible investment. And as said, a system change comes, all in all, hardly cheaper.

What hurts many Nikon photographers is the fact that there is still no D700x, the small brother to the D3X. But every Nikon photographer should know by now that Nikon always needs a little longer than the competition. But when it is ready then, mostly a very mature product puts on the market. Therefore I find boycott calls like from Ken Rockwell a little bit childish, and whinings about the price from photographers who pay three times the price for a medium format camera system without hesitation a little bit funny.

As one photographer stated it: „If you can´t afford this camera, you dont need it !

There are so many good cameras out there for a cheap price, that today really nobody should have a problem to get a camera for his needs and his wallet.

Christian Handl, March 2009
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michael
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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2009, 06:09:40 AM »
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There is a difference between price, cost and value, which many seem to confuse (or do so deliberately)

I'll be writing more on this in the days ahead.

Michael

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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2009, 07:49:31 AM »
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Michael,

Are you still shooting Canon? You made a major investment in Canon glass and bodies.

Regarding the Nikon D3x I share some of your opinion. IMHO it may be that a 5DII,  A900 or future D700x is all we need. The sports/reportage kind of guys may need an undestructabale camera like the D3 or the 1DIII but that may not need the extra resolution.

Different photographers have different needs, landscape shooters generally need the best lenses but normally shoot at low ISOs, and action photographers need high ISO but perhaps not the very highest resolution or absolutely sharpest lenses. The problem is that the Nikon 3DX is not ideal to any of those categories, whereas a D700x / D3 combination may be. By not being ideal I may mean lacking the FPS, being to heavy or to expensive. It's quite obvious that Nikon has lost a few customers to Sony and probably also to Canon, because lagging on fulll frame, full res camera at a price most people afford.

Canon has probably a "3D" sitting on the shelf to meet the D700x, once it arrives. The 5DII beats the A900 easily in almost all test, mostly based on the weakness of the A900 on high ISO noise. So I guess that Canon doesn't need to put much effort in competing with Sony right now.

I have an Alpha 900 and it is a nice camera. I'm essentially a low ISO shooter. The A900 may have less DR than the Nikon D3x but I still can pull out a lot of details in the shadows.

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: michael
There is a difference between price, cost and value, which many seem to confuse (or do so deliberately)

I'll be writing more on this in the days ahead.

Michael
« Last Edit: March 03, 2009, 10:31:27 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

eronald
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« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2009, 01:48:30 PM »
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Before Michael writes on article on value, he might consider taking his Alpha 900 to a soccer or basketball game; sports shooters don't seem to be flooding to the Sony system yet, whatever its "value" to the landscape crowd

For the record, I have a D3x, and I fully agree that the A900 image quality probably is at least as good as the Nikon (vibration reduction) when imaging objects that don't move, in decent light.

Edmund
« Last Edit: March 03, 2009, 01:50:02 PM by eronald » Logged
Panopeeper
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« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2009, 02:18:36 PM »
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Quote from: eronald
For the record, I have a D3x, and I fully agree that the A900 image quality probably is at least as good as the Nikon (vibration reduction) when imaging objects that don't move, in decent light.
You will be happy to hear, that the A900 is much overrated due to misevaluations. On the other hand, for $5000 less than the D3X, plus image stabilisation, it is a no brainer. Although some lenses seem to be at least as expensive as the competitors with IS in lens.
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Gabor
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« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2009, 02:36:39 PM »
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Quote from: Panopeeper
You will be happy to hear, that the A900 is much overrated due to misevaluations. On the other hand, for $5000 less than the D3X, plus image stabilisation, it is a no brainer. Although some lenses seem to be at least as expensive as the competitors with IS in lens.

By the way, Gabor, I'm forwarding an email about  standardising noise measurements in a way that takes into account how humans look at it ...

Edmund
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Panopeeper
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« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2009, 06:33:33 PM »
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Quote from: EPd
I wonder in what way the A900 is "overrated due to misevaluations"
I am working on a very technical evaluation, and I will explain this there. It is not an easy subject; this camera is a nightmare for the IQ evaluation. Anyway, I am referring to the published evaluations by DPReview and DXO.

Quote
So far this camera has exceeded my expectations positively, in both IQ and mechanical senses
My coming "counter-evaluation" will not affect your satisfaction, and I was not referring to and I am not dealing with anything else but dynamic range and noise characteristics.
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Gabor
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« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2009, 08:25:19 AM »
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great summation.  having previously worked at the vp marketing level for a number of years for f500s, your market driven perspective is most fresh.

cheers.


Quote from: inissila
Just a comment with regards to the D3X review.

You cannot calculate the cost of the D3X sensor by subtracting the price of the D3 from the D3X. The pricing of the camera has little or nothing to do with production costs, as I am sure you should know. The pricing is based on how the product is perceived against the direct competition, and how the nearest competitors are priced. The Sony A900 isn't a direct competitor due to Sony offering 1) no pro support network, 2) many missing lenses in their lineup, 3) sufficient user base to guarantee longevity. If Sony had these things, then the prices of the D3X and the A900 would be more comparable. Nikon priced the D3X deliberately high, because 1) they  think the D700 and the D3 are better for most people, so the X will sell in small numbers no matter what 2) because they don't want the camera class created by the 1Ds to disappear. In their own words, "we have no intention of  starting a price war with Canon", whereas pricing the D3X, at let's say  $5000 would have meant Canon would have had to drop prices well below and the high end 35mm DSLR would be history. To kill this camera class, Sony would have to obtain about 30% market share, have more accessories and special-purpose lenses and a support network and a better attitude in service issues. If all of this happens, then there indeed might be a reduction in the top-of-the-line pricing.

The D700X, if made, would not cost $4000 over the price of the D700. The D700's flaws, the poor viewfinder accuracy, and the painfully difficult operation of the 24mm PC-E, would still be there and attract buyers to the D3 and D3X. I would guess the D700X would cost about $3500, with grip $3850. This would be reasonable considering the additional robustness, top-of-the-line autofocus etc. that the D700 has over the 5D Mk II. The D3X on the other hand was priced with the intention that it would mostly keep selling until the D700X comes out, after which they'd just sell old stock to those who need the viewfinder accuracy, more reasonable useability with the 24 PC-E, and perhaps the built in grip. This is the key to the high price:  development costs would have to be covered in a year.

My prediction is that there will be a 1Ds Mk IV, and it'll cost $7999,95 when new. Then I expect a long and vigorous bitching about the price by Michael Reichmann, Thom Hogan, etc. the lot.

Only when there is a true sensor technology saturation would prices start to come down in a serious way. Ie. when the 24 MP models have turned into 40MP with noise characteristics comparable to D3 pixels, which probably happens eventually, say within 10 years. When no one can innovate any more with respect to the sensor, then it becomes a commodity and everyone will have comparable image quality. But as long as there are serious advantages to the high end models, they'll be priced high.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2009, 08:37:45 AM by harlemshooter » Logged
Tony Beach
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« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2009, 01:22:48 PM »
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Quote from: inissila
The D700's...painfully difficult operation of the 24mm PC-E

The D3X on the other hand... [has] more reasonable useability with the 24 PC-E

You have direct experience with this?  Please tell me more, I'm interested in the specifics as I have that lens and use it on my D300; I didn't realize I was enduring painful difficulties with this combo.
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eronald
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« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2009, 05:21:30 AM »
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Quote from: Tony Beach
You have direct experience with this?  Please tell me more, I'm interested in the specifics as I have that lens and use it on my D300; I didn't realize I was enduring painful difficulties with this combo.

There's a sticker on that lens when you buy it which warns that users "may" pinch their fingers with cameras other than the D3/D3x.
I only read the Japanese and Italian text on the sticker for entertainment, didn't bother with the english version, so am just guessing. Correct me if I'm wring about Nikon's recommendation.

Edmund
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inissila
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« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2009, 06:23:47 AM »
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Quote from: Tony Beach
You have direct experience with this?  Please tell me more, I'm interested in the specifics as I have that lens and use it on my D300; I didn't realize I was enduring painful difficulties with this combo.

I don't have a D300 so I can't comment on that and see no relevance to the discussion. I'm talking about work which involves using the shift. In order to switch from vertical to horizontal operation with the D700 body, in many cases you need to reset the shift and in some cases turn the camera 180 degrees to be able to achieve the movement you want (just because of the stupid popup flash housing which interferes with the shift). Same thing when you mount or unmount the lens; shift has to be reset. Have done this a few thousand times and my fingers were bleeding from doing it. On the other hand on the D3/D3X you never have to reset the shift to rotate the axis of movement or to attach/detach the lens from the camera. Much easier to use and the shift lock will last longer.

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Rob C
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« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2009, 08:34:44 AM »
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Quote from: inissila
(just because of the stupid popup flash housing which interferes with the shift). Same thing when you mount or unmount the lens; shift has to be reset.


I understand your anger. It is exactly the same with the D200 when you want to work the aperture ring on manual lenses. The need for a built-in flash can be overcome by carrying a separate flash in your camera bag; the need for rapid diaphragm changes cannot be overcome - but Nikon obviously doesn´t consider that important even though it permits the use of non-af optics, which all of mine are. As it should allow, considering how many faithful Nikon owners have them. So far, I have never used the built-in flash and it has been opened once only - by accident.

A poor inclusion which, for me, downgrades the camera where it needed not be downgraded, and represents yet a further feature for which I have to pay but do not want. Makes me wonder about whether to upgrade to that D700 either, which is a pity because it offers a lot of other excellent values...

Rob C
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markhout
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« Reply #14 on: March 05, 2009, 09:50:14 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
A poor inclusion which, for me, downgrades the camera where it needed not be downgraded, and represents yet a further feature for which I have to pay but do not want. Makes me wonder about whether to upgrade to that D700 either, which is a pity because it offers a lot of other excellent values...

Rob C

Fair enough - horses for courses as they say. I am using the pop up flash almost all the time as a wireless commander to the Nikon flash system (the flash doesn't work as a flash, but as a commander) and am quite disappointed that for the "pro" D3(x) I need to buy an additional gadget to get the same functionality...

Mark
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Tony Beach
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« Reply #15 on: March 05, 2009, 10:36:52 AM »
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Quote from: inissila
I don't have a D300 so I can't comment on that and see no relevance to the discussion. I'm talking about work which involves using the shift. In order to switch from vertical to horizontal operation with the D700 body, in many cases you need to reset the shift and in some cases turn the camera 180 degrees to be able to achieve the movement you want (just because of the stupid popup flash housing which interferes with the shift). Same thing when you mount or unmount the lens; shift has to be reset. Have done this a few thousand times and my fingers were bleeding from doing it. On the other hand on the D3/D3X you never have to reset the shift to rotate the axis of movement or to attach/detach the lens from the camera. Much easier to use and the shift lock will last longer.

Since you brought it up, I wanted to hear what your painful experience were, and I'm sorry to hear about those.  The reason my experience with this lens and the D300 is relevant is that the D300 has the same body as the D700 (although the D300 is slightly smaller) and it is one of the three cameras listed as compatible with the PC-E lenses, and because you brought up the lens' problems on the D700.  Presumably, a "D700x" will also have this body; although I agree with others here that it would be nice if Nikon skipped the built in flash.

I will say that I can recall pinching my finger once, and it was only an annoyance.  The large shift knob does not allow me to put it on the side with the built in flash, but I just set it opposite to the built in flash and I can shift the lens, but then the lock knob is under the flash and has to be tightened or loosened with my fingertips (or I have to turn the lens 30° so I can more easily reach it, and then return it to under the built in flash).  Yes, I have to reset the shift to its center position when removing the lens from the D300 and the one time I pinched my finger was when I forgot to do that; however, you are also supposed to have it in that position to accurately meter with the lens, so while an annoyance it is not what I would characterize as "painful".  Finally, I have no restriction of the actual shift movement on my D300 (I get about 1mm of restriction with my D200 when the lens bumps up against the built in flash, I do not know what your experience with the D700 is).
« Last Edit: March 05, 2009, 10:39:42 AM by Tony Beach » Logged
inissila
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« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2009, 11:07:13 AM »
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The restriction of 24mm PC-E movements on  the D700 involves a diagonal shift which I don't normally use. But the need to center and decenter the shift between rotations is a problem for me. I don't use the in-camera meter with shift lenses so I don't need to go to zero for that. I have always used a hand-held meter when working with PC lenses and with digital, guessing and iterating using the color histogram is faster than shift zero, release tripod lock, point spot meter to areas of interest, adjust exposure, return to composition, shift, focus and shoot. Anyway, a lot of the time a single exposure measurement is sufficient for a series of pictures of a building, for example; the light doesn't always change quickly.

Using the lens a lot resulted in the shift lock stopping to work; they gave me a new lens as a replacement, and the lock in that seems to work better but I'm very careful not to adjust the shift unnecessarily as I don't entiraly trust the mechanism after my experience with the first lens. Having to stop using the lens on a trip because of lock failure was annoying enough. Anyway, I prefer to use the D3 with this lens because it's easier and more comfortable on my fingers, also the more accurate viewfinder helps. I would say the extra weight is a pain but the 24 is a key lens for me this is a reason for me to use the larger D3 body. Although the problem could be solved by simply leaving out the pop-up flash out of the D700(X) - and making the viewfinder housing a bit smaller to allow for more freedom with this lens. I doubt Nikon will change this though; all the double and triple digit D-bodies have the flash.

I've also found the bigger body to be easier to work with gloves on in the winter (which is 5-6 months every year) and the battery only rarely needs to be recharged even in the coldest conditions -  so there are many little things that are in favour of the bigger camera for my particular needs. Another person might need different things.

Would I buy a D700X or D3X? I plan to skip a generation as  24MP on _every image_ is just too much burden for my (two-month old quad core) computer - I process 35000 images per year and going to 24MP would mean less time for living. When the time is right and computers have become faster, I will get a D4 or D4X as my next DSLR. Not a D700X unless they drop the shaker and pop-up flash since the consequences of those features make the camera unattractive to me.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #17 on: March 05, 2009, 12:07:32 PM »
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You cannot calculate the cost of the D3X sensor by subtracting the price of the D3 from the D3X. The pricing of the camera has little or nothing to do with production costs, as I am sure you should know. The pricing is based on how the product is perceived against the direct competition, and how the nearest competitors are priced.
I don't disagree, but even by your criteria I think many if not most would agree that the D3x is overpriced. Yes, the 1Ds3 was $8K at release, but it broke new ground in resolution, and was without peer. Nikon can't come along over a year later and claim the same exclusivity, the market has changed.

The fact that Cameta Camera is already selling the D3x at $7099 shows pretty clearly that the market has spoken and the D3x is overpriced. No other Nikon DSLR has been so heavily discounted so soon after release.

Quote
The D700X, if made, would not cost $4000 over the price of the D700. The D700's flaws, the poor viewfinder accuracy, and the painfully difficult operation of the 24mm PC-E, would still be there and attract buyers to the D3 and D3X.
But the thing is, the price relationship between these two classes of body has already been established by the D3 and D700. The D700 has all of the same flaws you mentioned, and was priced $2K below the D3. To say that those same limitations now justify a $4500 price difference is absurd. This is why I don't think there will be a D700x released in 2009, at least not with the D3x sensor. I think the D700x will either be released with a different, less capable sensor (maybe something in the 18-20mp range that is optimized a bit more for high-ISO than for absolute low-ISO quality), or else it will be released much later than some people are hoping.
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« Reply #18 on: March 05, 2009, 12:11:17 PM »
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The reason my experience with this lens and the D300 is relevant is that the D300 has the same body as the D700 (although the D300 is slightly smaller)
While the D300 and D700 have the same body, the viewfinder chamber is larger on the D700 to accomodate the full-frame sensor, so it could be that the clearance is slightly worse on the D700 than the D300. I will say that on the D300 I've not found it to be an issue at all, even shifting on a diagonal. Yes you have to "un-shift" before rotating, but IMHO that's a good habit to be in anyway, lest I forget to shift it back later and shoot the lens in a shifted position when I didn't mean too.
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lisa_r
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« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2009, 12:23:20 PM »
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Out of curiosity, is anyone else matching this $7100 price at Cameta? That's the first I heard of such a low price for this camera...
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