Shot a D3 Tonight

Started Sep 8, 2007 | Discussions
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edbetz Regular Member • Posts: 431
Shot a D3 Tonight

I was covering the Mets game tonight and there were 2 D3's there.

I was allowed to shoot with one for a bit and I have a few comments.

First, let me say, that several years ago, I was a Nikon shooter, and when the D2H came out, I was VERY vocal about it's problems.

I did detailed testing (if you search the messages you'll find some of the stuff) and the results were not good news for Nikon. As the result of that, I became a Canon shooter, and still am.

Tonights experience with the D3 has really changed my mind about Nikon.

The camera "FEELS" great in your hand. The controls are really well placed (as they have been in most Nikon Cameras). The Auto focus was SPOT on and VERY VERY fast (even under night time baseball lighting)

While all of that I expected from the camera, there was something I never expected. The image quality was BY FAR the BEST I HAVE EVER SEEN in a digital camera. The detail in the images was STUNNING.

The camera was set for iso 2000 when it was handed to me, and I must be honest and say that they looked BETTER then the iso 800 I was shooting with my Canon Mark II. The color was pure and rich.

Just for fun, I turned up the iso to 3200 and to my astonishment, it still looked BETTER then my 800 iso on my Mark II. Both in color and in noise.

The noise is NOT ONLY very low, BUT, the quality of what noise there is (unlike the D2H) was pleasing. One of the problems I had with the D2H was not only the amount of noise, but the QUALITY of it. The D3 changes all of that.

The final test came when I opened the images in Photoshop. I must say, if I didn't shoot them myself, I never ever would have believed that they were iso 2000 and 3200. They look like 400 and 640 (only better) then my Mark II.

Finally, the level of detail that the camera captures goes FAR BEYOND anything I have ever experienced in ANY digital camera .

So, my hats off to you NIKON.... I only wish you would have done this sooner, before I spent tens of thousands switching to Canon.......

Perhaps there is a Nikon switch in my future.

Ed
--
Ed Betz

smhagger Senior Member • Posts: 1,418
Re: Shot a D3 Tonight

Thanks for the 'user report'; it's good to hear your positive experience with the D3 and it being consistent with everything else floating around on the net right now. I'm actually a little surprised (and a little not) that there were D3's already out being tested at a ball game here in the US--but I guess Nikon is working closely with Pro's out in the field to finalize the firmware and thoroughly test the new camera before releasing it to the public--for which I'm very grateful.

By any chance, would you happen to have any examples you could post at higher ISO's for us to take a quick look at? I would certainly be grateful...

Sean

DMT Regular Member • Posts: 234
Re: Shot a D3 Tonight

Ed,

Thanks for posting this. I well remember your D2H tests and I think we even exchanged emails at one point. I was glad I stuck it out when the D2X finally arrived.

Now the D3 creates a real quandry for me. It really looks like the ultimate wedding and PJ camera ever made. Your post confirms the rumors about image quality I've been hearing. The "problem" is that I'll still need to use my D2X bodies for motorsports work for their reach/res.

The compelling things about the D3 compared to the D2X from what I can tell:

1) Huge pixels for incredible image quality
2) Best high-ISO quality of any camera yet made

3) FX-sized sensor for shallow depth of field (only real advantage of "full frame")
4) Dual CF card slots (nice touch)

Of course, there are many other things too, but pixels, high ISO and shallower DOF compared to DX make this an amazing piece. Too bad it weighs a little more...

DMT
--
dmtimaging.com

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edbetz OP Regular Member • Posts: 431
Re: Shot a D3 Tonight

Sorry about not having images to post. I have some here, but I promised the Nikon rep (who let me use it) that I would NOT post images on the net (at least NOT as samples for review)....

Please take my word, as a real Nikon D2H critic, that the D3 is the BOMB!!!!!!! when it comes to image quality....
--
Ed Betz

gonzalu
gonzalu Forum Pro • Posts: 10,389
Ed, this is a very well written and thoughtful post

and respectful etc. Kudos on your report. It adds credibility unlike that of some other folks in these forums.

Thanks for your candor and professionalism.
--
Manny
http://www.pbase.com/gonzalu/
http://www.mannyphoto.com/
FCAS Member - http://manny.org/FCAS

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gonzalu
gonzalu Forum Pro • Posts: 10,389
No need, your word is fine with me :-)

I already have the money aside for the new D3 as soon as I can grab one off the guy at B&H LOL

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alabaster Senior Member • Posts: 1,581
Re: Shot a D3 Tonight

edbetz wrote:

I was covering the Mets game tonight and there were 2 D3's there.

I was allowed to shoot with one for a bit and I have a few comments.

First, let me say, that several years ago, I was a Nikon shooter, and
when the D2H came out, I was VERY vocal about it's problems.

I certainly remember Ed Betz and the IR image problems!! You're famous for you're commentary on the D2H. Red and yellow hands and jackets with purple instead of black.

I did detailed testing (if you search the messages you'll find some
of the stuff) and the results were not good news for Nikon. As the
result of that, I became a Canon shooter, and still am.

Tonights experience with the D3 has really changed my mind about Nikon.

STAGGERING.

The camera "FEELS" great in your hand. The controls are really well
placed (as they have been in most Nikon Cameras). The Auto focus was
SPOT on and VERY VERY fast (even under night time baseball lighting)

While all of that I expected from the camera, there was something I
never expected. The image quality was BY FAR the BEST I HAVE EVER
SEEN in a digital camera. The detail in the images was STUNNING.

The camera was set for iso 2000 when it was handed to me, and I must
be honest and say that they looked BETTER then the iso 800 I was
shooting with my Canon Mark II. The color was pure and rich.

Just for fun, I turned up the iso to 3200 and to my astonishment, it
still looked BETTER then my 800 iso on my Mark II. Both in color and
in noise.

That's saying something coming from you.

The noise is NOT ONLY very low, BUT, the quality of what noise there
is (unlike the D2H) was pleasing. One of the problems I had with the
D2H was not only the amount of noise, but the QUALITY of it. The D3
changes all of that.

The final test came when I opened the images in Photoshop. I must
say, if I didn't shoot them myself, I never ever would have believed
that they were iso 2000 and 3200. They look like 400 and 640 (only
better) then my Mark II.

Finally, the level of detail that the camera captures goes FAR BEYOND
anything I have ever experienced in ANY digital camera .

So, my hats off to you NIKON.... I only wish you would have done this
sooner, before I spent tens of thousands switching to Canon.......

Perhaps there is a Nikon switch in my future.

WOW!

Ed
--
Ed Betz

-- hide signature --

Geoff B

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smhagger Senior Member • Posts: 1,418
Re: Shot a D3 Tonight

I understand. But you know I had to try.

Sean

surfotog Regular Member • Posts: 152
Re: Shot a D3 Tonight

Ed,

Thanks for the report on the D3. Can you tell us what lens you were using? Was it one of the new superteles with VR? If so, can you comment on the performance of the lens? Thanks.

Scott

Bill Dewey Veteran Member • Posts: 7,910
Re: Shot a D3 Tonight

Hey, Ed, I remember those good old D2H and Hot Mirror days, quite a time, eh? Thanks for all the help and tips you passed on to me back then.

Seeing this report from someone such as yourself, well, it goes a long way as an indication of what is to come.

This D3 was still the pre-production firmware I imagine? Did the Nikon Rep have any comments regarding performance of the D300 vis-a-vis the D3?

Thanks, Ed.

-- hide signature --
DMT Regular Member • Posts: 234
Did you try DX crop mode?

The clincher for me would be if DX mode visually looks as large as regular (non-crop) mode looks on the D2X, and if that image quality is as good as (or close to) the image quality of the D2X. I'd prefer to not be switching between pairs of D2x bodies and D3 bodies depending on the assignment (weddings & PJ vs motorsports & wildlife), and simply use one type of body exclusively.

How large the view is in crop mode and what he resulting file quality is like are my real questions about the new body. Any insight you have into these matters is appreciated, Ed.

DMT
--
dmtimaging.com

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HK photographer Regular Member • Posts: 461
Re: Shot a D3 Tonight

clearly writen comment
feels reliable & useful

helps to solve my doubt about waiting for a better version shortly afterwards - i do not need to consider it because this one is good enough - if it is already good enough for you (and i am not a pro)

nikon should give u a commission - cause i have decided to change from my fuji (s2 & 3) in nov
tks ed

Henry Goh Senior Member • Posts: 2,018
edbetz

I remember reading your posts about the frustrations you had with D2H. If after all that experience you now say the images from D3 is that good, I see a D3 in my future. I think there are many many Nikon shooters who have been waiting for this camera to happen. I hope this is only the beginning of better things with Nikon.

Strange that having owned Nikon F through F3HP, I have always felt it took Nikon that 3 product iterations to really get it right. I guess here it also took them 3 iterations to get digital right.

Thank you for sharing your findings.

Henry

sandy b
sandy b Veteran Member • Posts: 8,350
Wow

Ed I just googled your name, wow, the shots you have taken, impressive. And I have to believe your opinion has a lot of weight. Thanks for stopping in.

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David Chin Forum Pro • Posts: 11,670
Thanks very much for the report! ...

Even though I've only been able to view "leaked" images from the D3, your opinions of the IQ from that camera pretty much ties in with my own impressions:

Low ISO - rich detail, realism and "texture"
High ISO - Superb color and tonality are maintained

-- hide signature --

Regards, David Chin
http://nikond3.dpnotes.com/

terryfn Regular Member • Posts: 104
Re: Shot a D3 Tonight

Thanks for the report, Ed.. That's good news!
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terryfn.deviantart.com

optical_illusion Senior Member • Posts: 1,029
How was the AF accuracy for moving subject?

In case you checked its AF performace on fast moving subject, could you elaborate how it was? Was it fast and accurate enough to follow fast moving subject? Thanks.

carauction Veteran Member • Posts: 6,646
Re: supreme question for Ed?

Over three years since posting on this forum. And the word credibility comes into the responses to your post. Is 'impressive' the correct word?

Certainly you have viewed images from the full frame Kodak DSLR that has no AA filter and no microlenses. Please tell us your thoughts NOT about what we should expect from Nikon's ergonomics pertaining to the D3, but can you share your thoughts about the resolution and tonality of the D3 images as compared to those of Kodak's FF imager.

Much appreciated

Mike

David Martin Forum Pro • Posts: 17,056
A D300 would be the obvious back-up...

..for your 3D - that seems to be what it is designed for, with it's pro-level imaging system being the obvious give-away - more compact than the D2x for a back-up camera, and giving you extra 'reach'
--
Regards,
DaveMart

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Please see profile for equipment

BRJR Forum Pro • Posts: 13,641
Re: Shot a D3 Tonight

edbetz:

Thanks, for the info, as I have a D3 on Pre-Order,

-- hide signature --

BRJR ....(LOL, some of us are quite satisfied as Hobbyists ..)

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