Is Nikon preparing to launch a 25MP D3 successor?

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Following on from rumours earlier in the week that Samsung is working on a full-frame DSLR come whisperings that Nikon could be preparing the way to launch a more powerful version of its flagship D3 model.
According to Engadget the rumours began circulating after hackers levered open Nikon’s latest D3 firmware update and discovered a number of references to a new D3x model within the update code.
Naming convention
According to Nikon naming convention, each new model is usually superseded by an ‘X’ model (D40-D40X, D2-D2X and so on), so the rumour certainly has plausibility.
What seems much more like pure conjecture at this point, however, is speculation that the D3X could employ a 24.4MP sensor – the very same full-frame sensor that Sony will be fitting in their A900 semi-pro model when it’s launched later in the year
Pixel
Given that Sony supplies Nikon with DSLR sensors, it’s entirely possible that a D3X could extend to 24.4MP. However, with the 12.5MP D3 still at an early stage in its lifecycle, Nikon would almost certainly want to dampen down any talk of a camera with twice the pixel count – even though it’s now well established that pixels aren’t everything.
What seems most likely is that a D3X with an increased pixel count would be made to ‘suffer’ in other areas of performance, for example a slower frame-rate or increased noise. This would then allow Nikon to market the two models as very different beasts.
It’s either that or the D3X will come in at nearly double the price of the (£3000) D3 to compete pound for pound with Canon’s (£5000) EOS-1Ds MkIII behemoth…


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