The Shape Of The Heart

An advantage that I formally had and before virtual video conferencing that is part of all of our lives today. Anytime a camera manufacturer launched a new camera, we would be invited by that camera manufacturer to attend these launches.

A breakthrough in 2007 was the launch of Nikon’s stunning D3. A full-frame 12.1 megapixel digital single-lens reflex camera. Nikon Corporation announced the D3 at a press launch that I was privy to on the 24th August 2007 in Sendai Japan.


In the photograph of the press contingent am sitting in the front row the forth from the far right–follow the pointy arrow!.

Hardly a year after this camera was announced Nikon launched the Nikon D3X. The D3X was a 24.4 megapixel full-frame digital single reflex DSLR, launched on the 1st December 2008. You may note that the pixel resolution of this camera’s sensor doubled from its predecessor, the D3. This sensor, in turn, meant that the quality, dynamic range, processing speed and imaging speed increased exponentially as well.

Nikon was so confident with the photographs that would be achieved with this new camera they invited a number of very well known and successful professional photographers from across the world to put the camera to the test. The Nikon distributor in South Africa was given a CD of some of these images that we in turn could use to market and promote this camera.

There were 6 professional photographers that were chosen and of the 6 I am using some of the work from Frank P Wartenberg, John Shaw and Tim Andrew.

Having been discontinued, you might be asking why I am referring to the D3X now and replaced by cameras with much larger sensors such as Nikon’s D850. The D850 arguably must rate as one of the best DSLR’s ever produced. The D850 has a 45.7-megapixel Full-Frame sensor and, at that time, their latest EXSPEED 5 processor. The D850 launched in August 2017, 19 years after the launch of their D3X. Nikon did produce several other DSLR cameras before the introduction of their D850. The sensor used in the D850 almost doubled again relative to the D3X.

One of the most frequent questions that gets asked of me now is should I move to mirrorless. The problem is debatable, and this is determined from where you are coming from and your own experience. If you already own a working and relatively recent DSLR and you have all the lenses for the camera. You have been delighted with the images that the camera produces, and you also don’t shoot video; there would be no reason to change.

If you are just starting out I would suggest that you consider starting with a mirrorless camera. Although this video clip refers to Canon’s professional cameras the video clip has just so much useful information that will get you thinking so when you have finished working through this article come back to it and watch this.

It’s worthy to mention that Nikon have produced their Z7 top of the range mirrorless camera with the same full frame sensor that they have in their D850. I have deliberately extracted this information for the Z7; Evolution never ends for high-pixel-count cameras. Featuring 45.7 effective megapixels in a compact body, the Z 7 — Nikon’s brand new, FX-format mirrorless camera — fully exploits the unprecedented optical performance offered by the new NIKKOR Z lenses and delivers overwhelming edge-to-edge detail in both stills and videos. In addition, its wide, 493-point hybrid AF system with superb focusing accuracy and the new EXPEED 6 image-processing engine contribute to achieving sharper images than ever. The 3690k-dot Quad-VGA electronic viewfinder provides a clear view and an amazingly comfortable shooting experience, thanks to Nikon’s advanced optics and imaging expertise. And with 10-bit N-Log as well as 4K UHD and 8K time-lapse* movie, it meets the needs of demanding video creators too.

Take a step up in video post-production and enjoy the finer details in editing with 12-bit Full-HD or 4K UHD raw output enabled by Firmware version.2.20 for the Z 7.


Although quite a lengthy introduction the reason why I produced this article is the CD from Nikon’s D3X that I have had in my files for all these years. The crux of photography is in the images that you are producing irrespective of the equipment that you are using. Photography is an art, and it is art-based. No more digressing as this will form a whole new discussion for a later edition. We will spend some time looking and studying some of these images that were produced at the time the D3X was launched. We will also do some pixel peeping (looking at the picture at 100% of its resolution and looking for other artefacts and failures that may exist.) All that I have done is taken the picture to 100% of the resolution that it was when taken and disregarded all of the rest.

We are now going to spend some time examining some of these breathtaking images produced by these three photographers.


Frank P Wartenberg

Nikon D3X ISO100 24-70 f2.8 @ 35mm  f9 @ 1/250th second

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Nikon D3X ISO100 60mm f2.8   f8 @ 1/250th second

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John Shaw

Nikon D3X ISO100 70-300 f4.5-5.6 @98mm   f8 @ 1/500th second

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Nikon D3X ISO100 24-70 f2.8  @ 60mm  f9 @ 1/400th second

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Tim Andrew

Nikon D3X ISO100 24-70 f2.8  @ 31mm  f10 @ 1/200th second

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Nikon D3X ISO100 24-70 f2.8  @ 44mm  f9 @ 1/160th second

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The D3X was manufactured with a 24.4-megapixel sensor, and the quality in my personal opinion was mind-blowing. I know that I have stirred a hornet’s nest, but you now have something to think about when viewing the images. Imagine now how the pictures that are being produced by Nikon’s latest Z7 mirrorless camera, their latest lenses and the newest EXSPEED 6 processor, absolutely mind-blowing quality. The moment we can get our hands on a sample unit, I might do the same again.




The mind has to boggle to think that Canon is in the process of producing a 90-megapixel sensor. I won’t go there now!