Short Report: Nikon D2x
The top-of-the-line D-SLR from Nikon features 12 megapixels, blistering speed and a bigger, brighter LCD
For discriminating photographers, the Holy Grail in digital cameras in recent years has been the so-called full-frame image sensor. Such a sensor is the same physical size as a frame of 35mm film, and as a result, has no lens magnification factor. Nikon's newest high-end digital SLR, the D2x, isn't full frame, but with an extremely high-res sensor and professional-caliber features, it calls into question whether there's a real need for a full-frame sensor, especially in light of new wide-angle lenses designed just for digital.
The D2x has a 12.4-megapixel Nikon DX-sized CMOS image sensor, which gives a magnification factor of 1.5x to the focal length of your lenses. The image file the camera generates is huge-about 19 MB for a RAW (NEF) file. You can shoot at 5 fps for 21 consecutive JPEGs or 15 NEF files before the buffer fills up and slows you down.
Among the D2x's features is a new High-Speed Crop mode. When selected, it gives you the ability to shoot at 8 fps for 35 JPEGs or 26 NEF images. The High-Speed Crop mode essentially takes the data from a smaller portion of the sensor, resulting in a lower-resolution file (the mode uses 6.8 megapixels of the sensor instead of the full 12.4) and a higher magnification factor (2.0x instead of 1.5x). When I first read about the High-Speed Crop, I was skeptical, but during a test session at the Road Atlanta race track, I immediately saw the benefit. With my telephoto lens range extended further by the higher magnification factor, I was able to capture fast action from a great distance and still had plenty of resolution to make 11x14-inch prints.