Nikon D2Xs Review

 
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Nikon D2Xs Performance


Timing and Performance

Excellent speed for a digital SLR.

Startup/Shutdown
Power on
to first shot
~0.2 second
Very fast, really limited by our own reaction times.
Shutdown
~0.2 second
Very fast, really limited by our own reaction times.
Buffer clearing time
42 seconds
(13 seconds buffer clearing in LF JPEG)
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. In the case of the D2Xs, worst-case buffer clearing corresponded to 30 RAW shots captured in HS Crop mode.
Mode switching
Play to Record,
first shot
~0.1 second
Time until first shot is captured
Record to play
~0.8 second
Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture
Display
recorded image
~0.3 second
Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.
Shutter response (Lag Time):
Full Autofocus
0.045 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position. (Very fast, no difference whether AF was engaged or not, but note that this measurement doesn't include time for the lens optics to slew to a new focal distance, which will be highly dependent on the lens used.)
Prefocused
0.045 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.
Continuous AF
0.045 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects
Manual focus
0.045 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused"
Cycle time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
0.20 second
18 frames total;
13 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length.
Single Shot mode
640x480 JPEG
0.21 second
5 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.
Single Shot mode
RAW
0.20 second
17 frames total;
38 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length.
Early shutter
penalty?
No
Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer
Continuous mode,
HS Crop off,

Large Fine JPEG
0.19 second (5.32 frames per second);
>20 frames total;
18 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.
Continuous mode,
HS Crop off,

640x480 JPEG
0.19 second (5.32 frames per second);
>20 frames total;
5 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.
Continuous mode,
HS Crop off,

RAW
0.19 second (5.32 frames per second);
16 frames total;
38 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over 16 shots.
Continuous mode,
HS Crop on,

Large Fine JPEG
0.12 second (8.1 frames per second);
>20 frames total;
14 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.
Continuous mode,
HS Crop on,

640x480 JPEG
0.12 second (8.1 frames per second);
>20 frames total;
5 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.
Continuous mode,
HS Crop on,

RAW
0.12 second (8.1 frames per second);
>20 frames total;
42 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, clearing time was for 30 shots in the buffer.
Download speed
Windows Computer, USB 2.0
1,905 KBytes/sec
Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-770=USB 2.0 Low;
Greater than 770=USB 2.0 High

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a Kingston Ultimate 100x CF memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode.

The Nikon D2Xs' performance was impressive overall, starting with a startup time that was really faster than our human reflexes. Shutter lag was excellent regardless of lens position or "prefocus" (halfway pressing and holding the Shutter button before firing the shutter) status. Shot-to-shot cycle times were very good, at about 0.2 seconds for large/fine JPEGs, and the camera captured as many as 18 frames at this rate before it needs to slow down and clear the buffer. Continuous-mode speed was impressive as well, at a bit over five frames/second, for over 20 shots in succession in large/fine mode. In the reduced-resolution "HS Crop" mode, continuous frame rates were just over 8 frames/second. Connected to a computer, download speeds were very fast, so you won't feel a need for a separate card reader. Bottom line, the Nikon D2Xs is quite responsive, enough to satisfy most advanced users, even sports photographers. Excellent performance overall!

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Excellent battery life with the rechargeable LiIon battery pack.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
LiIon rechargeable battery, depending on shooting mode, focus mode, LCD use, etc.
1,150 - 3,800

The Nikon D2Xs uses a custom rechargeable LiIon battery for power, which is included with the camera, along with a charger. Though runtimes are excellent, I still recommend picking up a spare battery and keeping it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings.

Being an SLR, power consumption will depend a lot on what lens is being used, and how much the autofocus motor is used. For this reason, the usual CIPA battery-life test methodology doesn't really apply. Nikon does offer some specifications which follow the general spirit of CIPA, in trying to show realistic battery life under specified usage conditions. Here are Nikon's figures for the D2Xs for two different usage profiles:

Case 1
At room temperature (20 °C/68 °F), approximately 3800 shots can be taken with a fully-charged (2500 mAh) EN-EL4a battery and an AF-S VR 70–200 mm f/2.8G IF ED lens (VR off) under the following standard Nikon test conditions: continuous high-speed shooting mode; high-speed crop mode off; continuous-servo autofocus; image quality set to JPEG Normal; image size set to Large; shutter speed 1/250; shutter release pressed halfway for three seconds and focus cycled from infinity to minimum range three times; after six shots, monitor turned on for five seconds and then turned off; cycle repeated once exposure meters have turned off.

Case 2
At room temperature (20 °C/68 °F), approximately 1150 shots can be taken with a fully-charged (2500 mAh) EN-EL4a battery and an AF-S VR 24–120 mm f/3.5–5.6G IF ED lens (VR off) under the following standard Nikon test conditions: single-frame shooting mode; high-speed crop mode off; single-servo autofocus; image quality set to JPEG Normal; image size set to Large; shutter speed 1/250; shutter release pressed half way for six seconds and focus cycled from infinity to minimum range once with each shot; after each shot, monitor turned on for two seconds and then turned off; cycle repeated once exposure meters have turned off.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
The Nikon D2Xs accepts Compact Flash memory cards, though no card is included.

Image Capacity with
512 MB CF Card
Fine
Normal
Basic
TIFF
RAW
4,288 x 2,848
Images
File Size
45
11.3 MB
90
5.7 MB
179
2.9 MB
13
39.4 MB
24
21.3 MB
Approx.
Compression
3:1
7:1
13:1
0.9:1
0.84:1
3,216 x 2,136
Images
File Size
80
6.4 MB
157
3.3 MB
308
1.7 MB
23
22.3 MB
-
Approx.
Compression
3:1
6:1
12:1
0.9:1
-
2,144 x 1,424
Images
File Size
179
2.9 MB
350
1.7 MB
650
788 KB
51
10 MB
-
Approx.
Compression
3:1
6:1
12:1
0.9:1
-

We strongly recommend buying a large capacity CompactFlash memory card. at least a 512 MB card, preferably a 1 or 2 GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings. (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp.)

 

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