D3 dilemma

Started 6 months ago | Discussions
Dee50
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D3 dilemma
6 months ago

Hi all

Am thinking of buying a used D3(been offered one in great condition with around 10k on the clock at a tempting price) but would appreciate some feedback and insight before pulling the trigger.

I currently use a D300 with grip (which has given me some wonderful photos in good light) but am looking for something with better low light capability up to around 6400 and better af acquisition and accuracy. D300, although great, not cutting it in the high iso department. This D3 could fit the bill as I have also been thinking of moving to FX for some time now.

Have also considered a D610 but might get frustrated with its auto focus capabilities if it can't keep up with the action. I know its image quality is excellent though and 24mp could be useful from time to time (especially for landscapes).

As regards image quality, is the D3 that much better than the D300? And if printing A4/A3 sizes, would I see noticeable IQ differences between the D3 and D610?

What I'm trying to balance here is my need for speed, low light capability, great af and excellent IQ without breaking the bank.

Any constructive feedback and insight much appreciated.

Nikon D3 Nikon D300 Nikon D610
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bikinchris
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Re: D3 dilemma
In reply to Dee50, 6 months ago

The D3 is a better camera for low light and fast focus. It has lower noise at all ISO settings. Buy with confidence as long as you have the glass you need,

I love the new D4S coming out. It will lower the D3S price for me.

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rgolub
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Re: D3 dilemma
In reply to Dee50, 6 months ago

As far as landscapes are concerned, consider doing panoramas - you get the advantage of using better lenses, a better format (for many, certainly not all scenes) and as many megapixels as you care to throw at it.

Just need a good tripod / head and some cheap software. Then 12 MP isn't a 'problem' anymore.

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jfriend00
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Re: D3 dilemma
In reply to Dee50, 6 months ago

I'd suggest you check out this recent thread about a D300 owner's impressions after renting a D3.

Also, the D700 (available used for $1300-$1500) has the same sensor as the D3 so if you don't need the built-in grip, you may want to go for a D700.

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khaledgawdat
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Re: D3 dilemma
In reply to Dee50, 6 months ago

D3 is a great camera. I would look harder for a D3s that is better on every aspect. Both will give you IQ and performance that will blow your mind.
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lickity split
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Re: D3 dilemma
In reply to jfriend00, 6 months ago

jfriend00 wrote:

I'd suggest you check out this recent thread about a D300 owner's impressions after renting a D3.

Also, the D700 (available used for $1300-$1500) has the same sensor as the D3 so if you don't need the built-in grip, you may want to go for a D700.

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Thank you for such a detailed review....  

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wasserball
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Re: D3 dilemma
In reply to bikinchris, 6 months ago

bikinchris wrote:

The D3 is a better camera for low light and fast focus. It has lower noise at all ISO settings. Buy with confidence as long as you have the glass you need,

I love the new D4S coming out. It will lower the D3S price for me.

-- hide signature --

"Transport is a subtly political business. Left-wingers like trains
(central planning, low fuel consumption, largely egalitarian seating).
Right-wingers like cars (freedom, independence, individualism). Only
the bicycle crosses the political divide: it embodies both liberty
and equality." This is the first paragraph from a short article titled
"The Bicycle is Best" by Emma Duncan

Those who shoots with the D3s (sports guys) like me didn't replaced it with the D4, and probably will not buy the D4s because there isn't any justification to get it to improve in frame rate or pixels. We are happy with the D3s. Need more pixels for shooting flexibility? I got the D600 hanging around. You will see the D3s natural progression of depreciation, but I doubt there will be a big price drop for a used D3s when the D4s comes out.

Waiting for the D5 with better low light, faster AF, and more pixels.  

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Thomas Kolenich
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Re: D3 dilemma
In reply to khaledgawdat, 6 months ago

As a D3 owner, i cannot say enough good things about the D3. Superb focus and low light capabilities. One of the finest cameras ever made.

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MPA1
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Re: D3 dilemma
In reply to jfriend00, 6 months ago

jfriend00 wrote:

I'd suggest you check out this recent thread about a D300 owner's impressions after renting a D3.

Also, the D700 (available used for $1300-$1500) has the same sensor as the D3 so if you don't need the built-in grip, you may want to go for a D700.

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Note also that I think the D700 has sensor cleaning - something the D3 and D3x do not have (the D3s does).

The best thing is the toughness and the battery life but if neither of those things are especially necessary for you then the D3/D4 platform is a heavy thing to carry around at 1.3kg (about 2.7 lbs) per body.

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Dee50
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Re: D3 dilemma
In reply to jfriend00, 6 months ago

jfriend00 wrote:

I'd suggest you check out this recent thread about a D300 owner's impressions after renting a D3.

Also, the D700 (available used for $1300-$1500) has the same sensor as the D3 so if you don't need the built-in grip, you may want to go for a D700.

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Many thanks for the link, John. That was very informative. Thanks for taking the time to write up your observations.

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Wanchese
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Re: D3 dilemma
In reply to Dee50, 6 months ago

I migrated from the D300 to a D700. After the D4 arrived, a client sold me his D3 for a song. I am EXTREMELY happy with the D3. Rugged, fast AF ( I shoot auto, moto and cycling), great high ISO performance and excellent ergos...it is slightly more compact than a D700 w/grip. My only gripe with the camera is the sensor's tendency to attract dust. I shoot outdoors in the dirt. Even though I never change the lens (200-400) and clean my kit every week, the sensor dirties up after around 3 weeks.

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brick33308
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Re: D3 dilemma
In reply to Wanchese, 6 months ago

Wanchese wrote:

My only gripe with the camera is the sensor's tendency to attract dust. I shoot outdoors in the dirt. Even though I never change the lens (200-400) and clean my kit every week, the sensor dirties up after around 3 weeks.

That too was my only complaint with the D3. Mine seemed like a dust magnet. Other than that and it' size which over time became a bit too much for me, I thought my D3 was superb.

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bikinchris
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Re: D3 dilemma
In reply to brick33308, 6 months ago

brick33308 wrote:

Wanchese wrote:

My only gripe with the camera is the sensor's tendency to attract dust. I shoot outdoors in the dirt. Even though I never change the lens (200-400) and clean my kit every week, the sensor dirties up after around 3 weeks.

That too was my only complaint with the D3. Mine seemed like a dust magnet. Other than that and it' size which over time became a bit too much for me, I thought my D3 was superb.

I learned how to clean the D3 sensor, but since I shoot sports and almost always shoot wide open, dust hasn't been a problem for me. When I am ready to go on vacation and shoot landscapes, I pull out the kit and clean.

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"Transport is a subtly political business. Left-wingers like trains
(central planning, low fuel consumption, largely egalitarian seating).
Right-wingers like cars (freedom, independence, individualism). Only
the bicycle crosses the political divide: it embodies both liberty
and equality." This is the first paragraph from a short article titled
"The Bicycle is Best" by Emma Duncan

 bikinchris's gear list:bikinchris's gear list
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Bill Fagan
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Re: D3 dilemma
In reply to Dee50, 6 months ago

The D3 is INDEED that much better. 10K actuations is very very low. The D3s would be just a bit better but usually quite a bit more expensive. Get a new battery, they deteriorate after about 3 years even with little use. You will be amazed at the difference in shots per charge over your current camera. The handling is a dream. The build quality is in a completely different league. You will need to get an SB910, though. No pop up toy flash included. I actually use mine most for fill in bright sunlight. I even get better service from Nikon with the single digit machines.

Just don't overpay-

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joeybob
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Re: D3 dilemma Similar situation... D3x
In reply to Dee50, 6 months ago

Dee50 wrote:

Hi all

Am thinking of buying a used D3(been offered one in great condition with around 10k on the clock at a tempting price) but would appreciate some feedback and insight before pulling the trigger.

I currently use a D300 with grip (which has given me some wonderful photos in good light) but am looking for something with better low light capability up to around 6400 and better af acquisition and accuracy. D300, although great, not cutting it in the high iso department. This D3 could fit the bill as I have also been thinking of moving to FX for some time now.

Have also considered a D610 but might get frustrated with its auto focus capabilities if it can't keep up with the action. I know its image quality is excellent though and 24mp could be useful from time to time (especially for landscapes).

As regards image quality, is the D3 that much better than the D300? And if printing A4/A3 sizes, would I see noticeable IQ differences between the D3 and D610?

What I'm trying to balance here is my need for speed, low light capability, great af and excellent IQ without breaking the bank.

Any constructive feedback and insight much appreciated.

I'm considering changing my lineup around...

I became the owner of a D3s about a year ago and that was an upgrade / addition to my lineup of D300 bodies that I have been using for portraits and weddings.

Having shot with the D3s for a year now I am sold. I don't mind using the d300 with grip however I would rather shoot with the D3s every time. I'm also in appreciation of the Files from the D3s. I shoot portraits and weddings primarily.

I'd like to switch over to a Full Frame kit entirely but am at a crossroads as what to do...

I want to get a D3x and here are some reasons why.

Same batteries as D3s, same ergonomics (that I have grown to love), resolution increase, file size not excessive (in contrast to D800), prices on used D3x getting affordable, similar focus/controls and I love the feel of the D3s in my hands.

I'd like to buy soon as wedding season is about to crank up and I feel that if I'm going to sell off my DX equipment that time is against me as far as getting the most $ from what I have.

I've considered both the D800 as well as the D3x. I'm not crazy about having a kit of a D3s with either of the aforementioned cameras. I'm not crazy about the feel of the add on grips, would like to have a common battery, and I'm not crazy about the file size of the D800 and the requirements/considerations in regard to that (computer/storage/etc).

Maybe I'm crazy but if I can find a D3x for close to the price of a D800 I'm tempted to go that route. Yes, I've heard many folks say that the D3x is a "dead camera" in light of the D800 and that it's slow and that files aren't useable above ISO 1600/800/400 - etc. I'd be using if for studio portraits and formals shots with strobes @ low ISO's.

Any input appreciated. Thanks

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Luke Kaven
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Re: D3 dilemma Similar situation... D3x
In reply to joeybob, 6 months ago

joeybob wrote:

Maybe I'm crazy but if I can find a D3x for close to the price of a D800 I'm tempted to go that route. Yes, I've heard many folks say that the D3x is a "dead camera" in light of the D800 and that it's slow and that files aren't useable above ISO 1600/800/400 - etc. I'd be using if for studio portraits and formals shots with strobes @ low ISO's.

Any input appreciated. Thanks

The D3x has the best colors (and skin tones) that I've seen in any Nikon DSLR to date, including the D800.  It is a great camera for portrait work.  I used mine exclusively for that.

It is good up to ISO 800, and then it isn't good at all.  But at ISO 100-200 it is wonderful.  The finder is just what you need, and much better than the D800 finder.

24MP is a sweet spot for portrait work.  You can get very good texture on the hair and skin, texture that is preserved in appearance even after downsampling.  Fewer pixels would be too few.

Far from a dead camera in my view.  I wish sometimes that I hadn't sold mine.  If you find a creampuff at a good price, I think it's a solid camera for just the work you're talking about.

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Westpix2
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Re: D3 dilemma Similar situation... D3x
In reply to Luke Kaven, 5 months ago

I still use my d3 full time, mine looks like a datsun 1970 that fell off a cliff and still ticking, I love it, I probably couldn't get 1500 for it, but who cares she is sharp and like the day I got it, never went in for service, I am bad. But d3 has been good to me. I was going to go d800e also but still get great shots, maybe d800e mirror less who knows I can wait, my brick is doing fine. A newer d3 hmm I would still consider it. I shot buddies d4 and d800, I still do good compared. Some say filled are way better, yes they are, but to me 6k could go els were  until I need to really spend it. D3 is still a machine gun for sports also.

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MartynD2oo
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Re: D3 dilemma
In reply to Dee50, 5 months ago

Hi

I own the D3 and D800.

I still use the D3 as much as the D800 if not more! D3 for portaits and general use.

D800 for landscape

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