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Nikon hits 24.5 megapixels with D3X

The company's high-resolution pro becomes official.

The Nikon D3X is identical to the D3.
The Nikon D3X's body is identical to the D3.
Nikon USA

Though almost everything you need to know about the new Nikon D3X leaked Friday, the 24.5-megapixel dSLR Nikon dubs its "extreme professional" model formally debuts today, November 30. What didn't leak was the price: $7,999.95. Start saving your pennies now.

There's quite a bit of speculation as to how similar the sensor in the D3X is to that in the Sony Alpha DSLR-A900; Nikon says it's "a Nikon designed sensor" that may (or may not) be manufactured by Sony, which usually means they're pretty similar. However, the A900's sensor has a pixel pitch of 5.9 microns, while Nikon's is surprisingly smaller--5.49 microns. So, they're pretty much different sensors, with different performance characteristics. The D3X's sensitivity range runs from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with a Lo 1 of ISO 50 and Hi 1 and 2 of ISO 3200 and ISO 6400. The camera will also offer a 5:4 (8x10) crop mode at 20.4 megapixels, along with the same 10.5-megapixel DX crop mode as the D3, and support.

With all that extra data to process, it's no surprise that the D3X isn't quite the speed demon the D3 is for burst shooting, though 5 frames per second at full resolution is certainly zippy enough for most. (Nikon didn't provide info on the number of frames, however.)

The rest--body, AF system, viewfinder, and Expeed image processor--is all identical to the D3, and Nikon claims you should expect similar performance. It's also compatible with the D3's accessories.

Pitting the D3X against the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III when the Nikon becomes available in late December will certainly make my cold winter days a little more interesting.