Nikon D3X In-depth Review
Body & Design
The D3X is the D3's identical twin; the only visible difference on the exterior of the body is the new 'X' on the label. The design is an evolution from the D2 series and therefore photographers familiar with the previous Nikon pro series will feel immediately at home with the D3/D3X. The button layout is almost identical and the control changes made are sensible improvements rather than completely new concepts. This is good news for working professionals switching bodies - as is the fact that the control layout consistency extends down the range to the D700 and D300, making them perfect as backup bodies.
The D3X's proportions make it almost square, and thanks to a magnesium shell it is almost literally as solid as a brick. Robust surfaces, soft rubber on the grips, oversized buttons, locked controls and environmental seals add up to a purposeful camera which has been designed with the requirements of the professional photographer in any situation.
Side by side
Below we have the D3X beside its main competitor in the pro segment of the market, the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III (21 megapixel). Both of these cameras feature professional bodies with integrated vertical grips and have comparable dimensions.
In your hand
The D3X feels comfortable and sturdy in your hand, the grip is just the right size, depth and shape to be both comfortable and easy to hold. Careful shaping of the rear and the use of soft rubber add to the overall feeling of solidity, buttons and other controls are positioned to be used easily. We said in our D2X review that we felt Nikon had the edge over the Canon EOS-1D series for 'real world ergonomics', that remains true with the D3/D3X.
The D3X features the same screen as most recent Nikon DSLRs. It covers 100% of the frame, has a 170º viewing angle and with its 921,600 dots (VGA resolution x 3 for each color channel) the display is very smooth and detailed. When magnifying an image in playback mode you can easily see sharpness, focus accuracy and even noise without zooming in too much.
Top & Rear Control Panels
Just like the D2 series the D3/D3X has two status/control panel displays, one on the top of the camera and one on the rear. Both panels have a green back light which can be illuminated by flicking the power switch to the lamp position, it's spring loaded and returns to 'ON', the back light stays on for the 'auto meter-off' time (CSM c2). You can also choose to have the back lights come on with any button press (CSM d7). You can customize the information displayed on the rear control panel and viewfinder display via CSM d5. Each panel is shown below along with a diagram of all information displayed.
Top Control Panel
Exposure compensation value
Number of shots in bracketing sequence
Number of intervals
Focal length (non-CPU lens)
Flash compensation value
|*2|| Aperture (f-number)
Aperture (number of stops)
Number of shots per interval
Maximum aperture (non-CPU lens)
PC mode indicator
|*5|| Electronic analog exposure display
Bracketing progress indicator
PC mode indicator
|*3|| Number of exposures remaining
Number of shots remaining before buffer fills
Camera control indicator
|*6|| Remaining indicator
Continuous remaining indicator
Rear Control Panel
|*1|| ISO sensitivity
Number of exposures remaining
Length of voice memo
White balance fine-tuning
White balance preset number
PC mod indicator
Diagram reproduced with permission from the Nikon D3X user manual.
- 18 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 19 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 20 Photographic tests (DR)
- 21 Photographic tests (DR)
- 22 Photographic tests (Falloff)
- 23 Photographic tests
- 24 Compared to
- 25 Compared to (JPEG)
- 26 Compared to (JPEG)
- 27 Compared to (JPEG)
- 28 Compared to (RAW)
- 29 Compared to (RAW)
- 30 Compared to (RAW)
- 31 Compared to (Higher ISO)
- 32 Compared to (Resolution)
- 33 Conclusion
- 34 Samples
Feb 19, 2009
Dec 1, 2008
Feb 14, 2012
Feb 14, 2012
|DSC_9643 by NOWHITELENS|
from Best Photo of the Week
|Thailand Sunrise by ozziebadger|
from Ships and Boats
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and sitting pretty at #5 is the Fujifilm X-T20.
See some of the most iconic black-and-white photographs throughout history brought to life by a community of colorization enthusiasts and professional retouchers in the new book Retrographic.
Shopping for a photographer? Whether you are one yourself or not, chances are you could use some ideas. From stocking stuffers on up, we've got some photography gift suggestions for every budget.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Drum roll please... the #6 spot belongs to none other than the Sigma 85mm F1.4 DH HSM Art.
Read the story behind this gorgeous wedding photo captured at Trolltunga in Norway by husband and wife duo Priscila Valentina Photography. The 14 hour hike in the rain that preceded this shot was TOTALLY worth it.
Go behind the scenes with filmmaker Nick Arcivos, who recently created a beautiful cinematic short film in Paris using only the iPhone X, a couple of gimbals, and a few lights. The results are very impressive.
A Bay Area startup offering a pay-by-the-photo camera service cleverly addresses the pain points photographers experience when they pick up their first DSLR. But can it survive the smartphone?
It's been a big year for software innovations, dual cameras and huge displays. Take a look at our picks for the top smartphone cameras and why we think they stand out.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At the #7 spot is the ready-for-any-weather Olympus Tough TG-5.
By combining his skills as a time-lapse filmmaker and an engineer, Julian Tryba created this out-of-this-world creative 'layer-lapse' of New York City that alternates between night and day in time with the music.
Canon Japan's new lineup of novelty camera-themed gifts was just revealed online, including a lens mug and lens thermos, two retro camera-themed USB drives, and a picnic mat.
The Profoto A1 most certainly isn’t for everyone [...] But for those who are used to using the Profoto systems, and want something that pairs seamlessly with the strobes you already have, there is no better companion.
Fujifilm has asked a US district court to clear it of any wrongdoing, after allegedly being threatened with trademark litigation by Polaroid.
While a couple of our reviewers are out testing the Sony a7R III in Arizona, back in Seattle we slapped the camera in front of our studio scene to get a close look at its image quality. See how it stacks up against the competition.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #8 ranking belongs to the Nikon D7500.
B+W has announced a new aluminum filter holder that offers three slots so users can use multiple filters at the same time. The holder goes with the 2mm thick 100mm square filters it launched earlier this year.
8K video is coming a lot faster than you think, and Blackmagic is ready for it. Meet the DeckLink 8K Pro, a new high performance PCI-E capture and playback card built to handle 'real time high resolution 8K workflows.'
"Glass is everywhere in photography. From Eugène Atget’s reflective vitrines to Lee Friedlander’s sly self-portraiture, photographers have long been in thrall to the visual complications glass can inject into a composition."
Former Apple Aperture lead developer Nik Bhatt has designed an iOS app called RAW Power that lets you edit raw photos from your professional camera using your phone and tablet.... color us intrigued.
Advertising photographer Blair Bunting got his hands on the new Microsoft Surface Book 2, and it blew him away. Bye bye MacBook Pro...
The OnePlus 5T retains many of the 5's features and specs, but comes with an edge-to-edge display and a dual-camera that is optimized for low light.
Sony's recently announced IMX461 backside illuminated medium format sensor will bring 100MP resolution and almost 2x the speed to the next-gen Fuji GFX and Hasselblad X1D.
With the ‘Rent a Hasselblad’ camera equipment renting program, the camera makers is aiming to give enthusiast and professional photographers easier access to its medium-format photography products.
They say seeing is believing, and that's exactly what happened when one DPR staffer took the Google Pixel 2 out for an afternoon shooting under challenging conditions.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At the #9 spot we have the Fujifilm GFX 50S, a medium-format camera that took CP+ 2017 by storm.
Instagram is testing a new feature that lets you follow hashtags in addition to people, making it possible to keep track of your favorite #landscapes or #portraits without leaving your home feed.
Despite the gigantic volume of second hand film bodies in existence, it seems there is still a demand for new 35mm SLRs with a retro feel. The latest is a remake of the Ihagee Elbaflex from the 1960s, but with a Nikon F mount.
The Polaroid Insta-Share Moto Mod straps an instant printer directly to your Moto Z smartphone, so you can print your photos as soon as you've captured them.
The Mitakon Speedmaster 135mm F1.4 lens is being relaunched in 7 different mounts, including: Sony A, Sony E, Canon EF, Nikon F, Fujifilm G, Pentax K, and Leica L. Got an extra three grand lying around?
In January, Kodak announced it would bring back the beloved slide film Ektachrome. The timeline has been pushed back a bit, but Kodak says you can expect to purchase Ektachrome again in 2018.