For a (more) level playing field for comparison we also shot our studio scene in RAW mode with each camera and converted it using Adobe Camera RAW. Because Adobe Camera RAW applies different levels of sharpening to different cameras (this confirmed) we had to use the following workflow for these conversions:
Load RAW file into Adobe Camera RAW (Auto mode disabled)
Set Sharpness to 0 (all other settings default)
Open file to Photoshop
Apply a Unsharp mask: 80%, Radius 1.0, Threshold 0
Save as a TIFF (for cropping) and as a JPEG quality 11 for download
This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F). Camera settings as per previous pages.
Nikon D3 (RAW) vs. Nikon D300 (RAW)
Nikon D3 (RAW)
Nikon D300 (RAW)
3.3 MB JPEG (4256 x 2382)
3.1 MB JPEG (3888 x 2592)
Switching to a standard RAW converter (in this case our benchmark; Adobe Camera RAW) means that the image processing pipeline is equalized between the cameras. Both cameras get a sharpness and detail boost but the differences are so minimal (especially considering they're taken with completely different lenses) that there's really not a lot to say here. There are slight color mapping differences any difference in detail or sharpness across the frame is almost certainly down to the optics on the front of the camera.