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Contax N Digital vs Nikon D2X

The Contax N Digital and the Nikon D2X are two professional cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2002 and September 2004. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (N Digital) and an APS-C (D2X) sensor. The Contax has a resolution of 6.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 12.2 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Headline Specifications
Contax N Digital   Nikon D2X
Contax N Digital Nikon D2X
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Contax N mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
6.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor 12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 50-1600 ISO 100-800 (100-3200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.0" LCD, 200k dots 2.5" LCD, 235k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
Not weather sealedWeathersealed body
100 shots per battery charge3800 shots per battery charge
152 x 138 x 80 mm, 990 g 158 x 150 x 86 mm, 1252 g

Body comparison: Contax N Digital vs Nikon D2X

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Contax N Digital and the Nikon D2X is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Compare Contax N Digital and Nikon D2X
Compare N Digital versus D2X top
Compare N Digital or D2X rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D2X is notably larger (13 percent) than the Contax N Digital. Moreover, the D2X is markedly heavier (26 percent) than the N Digital. It is noteworthy in this context that the D2X is splash and dust-proof, while the N Digital does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

As can be seen in the images above, both cameras have a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Contax N Digital» 6.0 in 5.4 in 3.1 in 34.9 oz 100 n Feb 2002 7,399- i Contax N Digital
 
Nikon D2X« 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999- i Nikon D2X
 
Canon 10D« » 5.9 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 500 n Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
 
Canon Rebel« » 5.6 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 22.9 oz 400 n Aug 2003 899- i Canon Rebel
 
Canon 1Ds« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 44.6 oz 600 Y Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds
 
Canon D60« » 5.9 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 30.2 oz 620 n Feb 2002 2,999- i Canon D60
 
Leica M10-P« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 n Aug 2018 7,995 i i Leica M10-P
 
Leica M10« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 23.3 oz 210 n Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
 
Leica SL« » 5.8 in 4.1 in 1.5 in 29.9 oz 400 Y Oct 2015 7,450 i i Leica SL
 
Leica M9« » 5.5 in 3.1 in 1.5 in 20.6 oz .. n Sep 2009 7,999- i Leica M9
 
Nikon D2Xs« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D200« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 32.5 oz 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
 
Nikon D2H« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 37.7 oz 2900 Y Jul 2003 3,499- i Nikon D2H
 
Nikon D100« » 5.7 in 4.6 in 3.2 in 27.5 oz 370 n Feb 2002 1,999- i Nikon D100
 
Nikon D1X« » 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999- i Nikon D1X
 
Nikon D1« » 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz .. Y Jun 1999 5,499- i Nikon D1

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D2X was launched at a markedly lower price (by 32 percent) than the N Digital, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Contax N Digital vs Nikon D2X

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Contax N Digital features a full frame sensor and the Nikon D2X an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D2X is 57 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Contax N Digital and Nikon D2X sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the D2X offers a higher resolution of 12.2 megapixels, compared with 6.1 MP of the N Digital. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 5.52μm versus 11.90μm for the N Digital). However, it should be noted that the D2X is much more recent (by 2 years and 6 months) than the N Digital, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The Contax N Digital has a native sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 1600 The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D2X are ISO 100 to ISO 800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200..

N Digital versus D2X MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Contax N Digital» Full Frame 6.1 3040 2008-----Contax N Digital
 
Nikon D2X« APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.110.947659Nikon D2X
 
Canon 10D« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.110.957157Canon 10D
 
Canon Rebel« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-21.010.854455Canon Rebel
 
Canon 1Ds« » Full Frame 11.0 4064 2704-21.811.095463Canon 1Ds
 
Canon D60« » APS-C 6.3 3072 2048-----Canon D60
 
Leica M10-P« » Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992-----Leica M10-P
 
Leica M10« » Full Frame 23.8 5952 3992-24.413.2213386Leica M10
 
Leica SL« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.013.4182188Leica SL
 
Leica M9« » Full Frame 18.1 5212 3472-22.511.788469Leica M9
 
Nikon D2Xs« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.210.948959Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D200« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.558364Nikon D200
 
Nikon D2H« » APS-C 4.0 2464 1632-18.910.035240Nikon D2H
 
Nikon D100« » APS-C 6.0 3008 2000-----Nikon D100
 
Nikon D1X« » APS-C 5.9 3008 1960-----Nikon D1X
 
Nikon D1« » APS-C 2.6 2000 1312-----Nikon D1
Neither the N Digital nor the D2X offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Contax N Digital vs Nikon D2X

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The N Digital and the D2X are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the D2X offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the N Digital (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the N Digital has a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.57x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Contax N Digital and Nikon D2X in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Contax N Digital»optical Y 2.0 200 fixed n 8000 4.0 n n Contax N Digital
 
Nikon D2X«optical Y 2.5 235 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D2X
 
Canon 10D« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon 10D
 
Canon Rebel« »optical n 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 2.5 Y n Canon Rebel
 
Canon 1Ds« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 8000 3.0 n n Canon 1Ds
 
Canon D60« »optical Y 1.8 114 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Canon D60
 
Leica M10-P« »optical n 3.0 1037 fixed Y 4000 5.0 n n Leica M10-P
 
Leica M10« »optical n 3.0 1037 fixed n 4000 5.0 n n Leica M10
 
Leica SL« »4400 Y 3.0 1040 fixed Y 8000 11.0 n n Leica SL
 
Leica M9« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 2.0 n n Leica M9
 
Nikon D2Xs« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D200« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 8000 5.0 Y n Nikon D200
 
Nikon D2H« »optical Y 2.5 211 fixed n 8000 8.0 n n Nikon D2H
 
Nikon D100« »optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D100
 
Nikon D1X« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 16000 3.0 n n Nikon D1X
 
Nikon D1« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 16000 1.5 n n Nikon D1

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the N Digital and the D2X write their files to Compact Flash cards. The D2X features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the N Digital only has one slot.

 

Connectivity comparison: Contax N Digital vs Nikon D2X

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Contax N Digital and Nikon D2X and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Contax N Digital»Y-----FW---Contax N Digital
 
Nikon D2X«Y-----2.0---Nikon D2X
 
Canon 10D« »Y-----1.1---Canon 10D
 
Canon Rebel« »Y-----1.1---Canon Rebel
 
Canon 1Ds« »Y-----FW---Canon 1Ds
 
Canon D60« »Y-----1.1---Canon D60
 
Leica M10-P« »Y------Y--Leica M10-P
 
Leica M10« »Y------Y--Leica M10
 
Leica SL« »YstereomonoYYfull3.0Y--Leica SL
 
Leica M9« »Y-----2.0---Leica M9
 
Nikon D2Xs« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D200« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D200
 
Nikon D2H« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D2H
 
Nikon D100« »Y-----1.1---Nikon D100
 
Nikon D1X« »Y-----FW---Nikon D1X
 
Nikon D1« »Y-----FW---Nikon D1

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the N Digital and the D2X have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D2X was replaced by the Nikon D2Xs, while the N Digital does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras, as well as related accessories, can be found on the Contax and Nikon websites.


Review summary: Contax N Digital vs Nikon D2X

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Contax N Digital or the Nikon D2X – has the upper hand? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Contax N Digital:

  • Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
  • Richer colors: Larger pixels generate images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Capable of capturing a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can be used in poorly lit environments and still produce good images.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.57x).
  • More compact: Is smaller (152x138mm vs 158x150mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
  • Less heavy: Is lighter (by 262g or 21 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2002).

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Advantages of the Nikon D2X:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (12.2 vs 6.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 41%.
  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.5" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (235k vs 200k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (3800 versus 100) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (32 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 6 months of technical progress since the N Digital launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D2X emerges as the winner of the match-up (10 : 8 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

N Digital 08:10 D2X

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the N Digital and the D2X in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews: Contax N Digital vs Nikon D2X

This is why expert reviews are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Contax N Digital»----- Feb 2002 7,399- i Contax N Digital
 
Nikon D2X«-++-o- Sep 2004 4,999- i Nikon D2X
 
Canon 10D« »-++-o- Feb 2003 1,999- i Canon 10D
 
Canon Rebel« »-++-o- Aug 2003 899- i Canon Rebel
 
Canon 1Ds« »-++--- Sep 2002 8,999- i Canon 1Ds
 
Canon D60« »-++o-- Feb 2002 2,999- i Canon D60
 
Leica M10-P« »----4/5 Aug 2018 7,995 i i Leica M10-P
 
Leica M10« »--4/5-4.5/5 Jan 2017 6,595 i i Leica M10
 
Leica SL« »-84/1004.5/54/54/5 Oct 2015 7,450 i i Leica SL
 
Leica M9« »--4.5/54.5/5- Sep 2009 7,999- i Leica M9
 
Nikon D2Xs« »---o- Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D200« »++++o5/5- Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
 
Nikon D2H« »-++-o- Jul 2003 3,499- i Nikon D2H
 
Nikon D100« »-++oo- Feb 2002 1,999- i Nikon D100
 
Nikon D1X« »-++-o- Feb 2001 5,999- i Nikon D1X
 
Nikon D1« »-++--- Jun 1999 5,499- i Nikon D1
Notes: ++) highly recommended; +) recommended; o) reviewed; -) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Contax N Digital:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D2X:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Contax N Digital vs Nikon D2X

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Contax N Digital Nikon D2X
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Contax N mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2002 September 2004
    Launch Price USD 7399 USD 4999
    Sensor Specs Contax N Digital Nikon D2X
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 24.0 mm 23.7 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 864 mm2 372.09 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.3 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 6.1 Megapixels 12.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3040 x 2008 pixels 4288 x 2848 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 11.90 μm 5.52 μm
    Pixel Density 0.71 MP/cm2 3.28 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 50-1600 ISO 100-800 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100-3200 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 59
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 22.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 10.9
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 476
    Screen Specs Contax N Digital Nikon D2X
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.73x 0.57x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    Rear LCD Size 2.0 inch 2.5 inch
    LCD Resolution 200k dots 235k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Contax N Digital Nikon D2X
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Contax N Digital Nikon D2X
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector Firewire USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Contax N Digital Nikon D2X
    Environmental SealingNot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type 4xAA power pack EN-EL4a power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)100 shots per charge3800 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 152 x 138 x 80 mm
    (6.0 x 5.4 x 3.1 in)
    158 x 150 x 86 mm
    (6.2 x 5.9 x 3.4 in)
    Camera Weight 990 g (34.9 oz) 1252 g (44.2 oz)

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