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Nikon replaces its D1X and gives the Canon EOS-1D Mark II some competition with this 12.4-megapixel professional SLR. Compatible with a broad range of Nikon lenses and accessories, the Nikon D2X's rugged body is nearly identical to the Nikon D2H's.
Upside: Nikon lets you favor resolution or speed with the D2X: At 12.4-megapixel resolution, this model lets you shoot 5fps (frames per second); by dropping the resolution to 6.8 megapixels, you can push the speed up to 8fps. A highly customizable camera, it offers improved color-space support and a strong professional feature set. The D2X supports Nikon's iTTL flash technology, which allows you to independently control multiple wireless remote flash units, as well as the new WT-2A wireless transmitter for sending photos from the camera to a remote location via the fast 802.11g wireless standard. Nikon has also improved the ability of its flagship pro camera to work with older lenses; a built-in database identifies the lens attached and accommodates the camera's metering system to it. A new version of Nikon Capture software is included with the D2X as well.
Downside: Canon's EOS-1D Mark II still has the edge for sports and action photography, with its combination of 8-megapixel resolution and an 8fps drive mode. The D2X has a relatively high lens-conversion factor of 1.5X, and that increases to 2X when you're shooting high-speed 6.8-megapixel images, since the camera uses a smaller portion of the sensor at the lower-resolution setting. On the other hand, action photographers probably won't see having their 150mm lens transformed into a 300mm lens as a downside.
Outlook: We expect professional photographers with an investment in Nikon lenses to jump at the chance to spend the roughly $5,000 it will cost when the Nikon D2X becomes available in January 2005. Canon lens owners will naturally opt for the EOS-1D Mark II, but pros who haven't already mortgaged their homes to buy a particular brand of glass may have a tough choice between the two competitors.