We laugh now, but wait til we hit 2011 or so, and ISO 102,400. At some point the ads will just start saying that we can shoot under any lighting circumstance. Like during a power outage with no moonlight. Or black holes. Ok, I’m getting silly (until 2011).
Ya, so apparently Nikon decided that we couldn’t wait for the new decade, and just released this in time to put it on your Christmas list.
I would love to say that this is the perfect camera, but I can’t. Damn close though. More after the jump, including links and my take on it.First things first: check out www.RobGalbraith.com to get the scoop on this thing. He writes it up pretty well, and includes specs and other technical goodies.
How bout pictures? the Nikon Imaging Site has a D3s page. Take a look at that shot at 12,800 ISO. Wowwowweewow (yes that’s a word. Go watch Borat).
But the D3s does video now, right? So let’s see some movies. Nikon has a D3s/D3x microsite with videos. Too bad they’re tiny and in Flash video format. Great way to show off the quality, Nikon. Epic fail.
Finally, a D3s Brochure. So, enjoy the downloads to your hearts content.
So let’s start with the “bad”. First off, 720p video at 24fps, Nikon? really. So 2007. The 5D does 1080p, has full manual, and records at a fairly nice 38mbps. So what could Nikon have done to mix things up?
Well 1080p would just be a match, but how about variable framerates? 23.96, 24, 29.87, 30, 59.94, and 60. This would really make the D3s an amazing action camera, and force people looking to spend 5-10K on video equipment to reconsider. This could almost even infringe on the RED territory.
How bout something very editing friendly. The JVC GY-HM100U can record in a Final Cut friendly .MOV format. The 5D II records in AVCHD, which is standard, but Final Cut tends to rerender that file, which can take some time.
By going in the .MOV format, Nikon could have presented itself as THE camera for media journalists on the go. Imagine taking a CF card, copying files over, and being able to drop clips right into a timeline. While others are rendering files to start editing, you’re rendering out your video to publish.
I’d ask for some sort of audio options, like XLR, but that’s physically too big to introduce to the camera without major restructuring of the shape. But how bout an addon that would take wireless audio through the same port that the WT-E4A uses to transmit files wirelessly. Possible? No clue. But that port is there, so might as well use it.
Ok enough about the video. How bout the images?
Listen, they beat what I said (102,400 ISO) by a year and a few months. I’m still amazed. I totally expected 12,800 native (which the D3s has) and ISO 51,200 for the next rendition. Not this. So, ya, wow.
But why no low ISO love? Unless you get a D3x, you can’t get ISO 100. And even then its 100-1600 native, 6400 extended. Is it too much to ask for a compromise of say, 100-12,800, with extended to 51,200?
Any hope of a true 16bit NEF file? The pipeline for image data is already at 16bit, so keeping it at 16bit could be possible. And of course, higher dynamic range is always welcome. Imagine being able to shoot one of those dreadful high noon games and actually being able to see detail under the helmet/cap/sombrero.
I can’t really gripe about the lack of change in frame rates and megapixels. To be honest, 12 is a nice sweet spot and I hoped we could stay at that. I could even forgive 15mp in a full frame camera (which is why I have no love for the 50D and its clown-in-a-volkwagen-beetle stuffing 15mp on a 1.6x crop camera. Don’t even start me on the 7D). So kudos for sticking to 12mp, Nikon.
So that’s the bad. I think I took it easy on Nikon. Most of these things seems quite possible given todays technology. I won’t go asking for anything like an electronic shutter so you could go back to high shutter sync speeds of 1/500th or 1/1,000th (CMOS sensors just can’t do that because they have a warm up and cool down time, whereas CCD can turn on and off instantly, hence the electronic shutter). I won’t ask for 15 fps or something crazy, or even RAW video (which the RED does now, but thats very proprietary and built from the ground up to do so, while Nikon is a camera company that happens to put video in their cameras now).
The good? Really, by now you should have read the links.
102,400 ISO. Anyone who’s ever shot HS football, or soccer, or volleyball, or any other sports in one of those horrible fields that’s lit by prayers and fireflies will rejoice. Once they can pony up the 5k for the camera.
Me? I’m hoping Santa has a soft spot for me. Maybe I can cash in a couple of Christmas’ worth of gifts for this one gift. Well two actually. I like two of the same camera. Maybe a third. Ya know, so I could set up a remote.
One last bit: For those of you that don’t know, I am currently using Nikon equipment, but even as recently as this weekend, also use Canon equipment. So if you think I’m biased to one or the other, I’m not. I really really want Canon to come out with something epic. Ultimately this type of competition is good for the consumer. Remember, a few years ago, if you needed to shoot at 1600 ISO and have it look good, Canon was pretty much it. Now? Not so much.
Questions, comments? lemme know.