67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
The three major factors that, for me, make this camera (2 of them apply to the D300) so incredible are . . . well, the full frame sensor (finally), the outstanding low-noise/high ISO performance . . . and the extraordinary color! The photographer has a greater deal of control over color than ever before and the results are stunning (use Picture Control). And noise (the digital equivalent of film grain) is at least a 2-stop improvement over the previous D2x. Actually, it's probably 3 stops, but say 2 to be conservative. Believe it or not, ISO 6400 is actually usable! (The D300 is one stop less)
While those features were the most compelling ones in my view, there are plenty of others that are a big plus, such as:
~ 9 frames per second
~ 51 point AF
~ Live View
~ 12mp CMOS sensor, self-cleaning on D300
~ A new 3" LCD--about 4x the resolution as previous LCDs.
The list goes on, but you should read the tech specs and professional reviews. Suffice it to say it is loaded with features and handles like an absolute dream!
Compared to Canon's $8000 professional models, this camera has a very clear advantage. Sure you lose some megapixels compared to the MarkIII, but that's not so important for the majority of (but not all) photographers.
Another thought . . . while this is a good deal at $4999 compared to Canon, you can get almost the same camera for $1799, with the D300. If you don't need a full frame . . . or the extra 1-stop high ISO, the D300 offers about 90 - 95% of the features and performance of the D3 for 40% of the price! If you want to get the best possible picture quality for the lowest possible price, consider the D300 and put the difference ($3200) on some of Nikon's great new professional lenses.
As of this January 2008 writing, this is listed on Amazon at $6399 through Cameta Camera. PLEASE DON'T buy at this price and allow yourself to be exploited by the backorder situation. Instead, pre-paying $4999 for it at your local camera store puts you ahead of everyone else on the waitlist who merely put down deposits on it. Or wait until it comes down here on Amazon. Again, $4999! That's the price. There is no need to pay an extra $1400 "sucker fee" for it just to have it a few weeks or maybe a month or two earlier. You survived until now without the D3, so you can make it a little longer--just don't pay more than retail. $4999! $4999. $4999. Get the point? :-)
Post Script, April 16, 2008:
I notice this is now being sold by 17th Street Photo, who I've not done business with, but at least they are charging the *correct* price of $4999. First it was a $1400 markup, then $500, and it's good to see the price gouging attempts appear to be dying down.
Post Script #2, November 2, 2008:
How times change--the gouging is gone, and so are the backorders. The price has dropped below $4500 I see. My opinion on this camera remains unchanged in the 11 months since I first got my hands on it, and it's as excellent as it ever was, but now, with the introduction of the D700, I would have a hard time spending the approximately $4300 it now sells for, when the D700 is selling for $2699. The D3 is better built, and shoots 9 fps vs the D700's 8 fps with battery pack, but I don't see it being worth the added $1600 cost unless you're a professional who shoots every day.
98 of 114 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2007
I recently sold my Canon 1DS Mark2 and the accompaning 14 mm wide angle lenses because after trying out a Nikon D3 I found the Nikons pictures so much better. True, the Canon software is easier but to me the ergonomics of the D3 are better than the Canon 1DS Mark2 while the detail, clarity and accuracy are still better. Even 24" poster comparisons between both camera's have the Nikon winning in every detail. I am now a proud Nikon owner I think although Canon has more pixels 16.3 versus 12.1 the pictures at large a simply not as good. I perform operative photography and am in the process of finishing a book on Female Reconstructive surgery this is were the comparisons became for my field so much more apparent. The colors for the Nikon are just so much more dynamic and precise while the Canon is not as vibrant and demonstrative of detail. I found for comparisons sake that the Canon videocamcorder XL H1 colors versus the Sony comparable model to again lack color precision, depth of field and to simply to the less experienced eye to lack quality needed for surgeons. So I am now going to start to build a Nikkor lens assortment. By the way I took 20000 with my Canon so I know its downside well under all conditions. The Canon was sturdy and never a problem but its performance is only 80 percent of the Nikon and Nikkor lens
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2008
Had it a week, the ability to shoot at ISO 6400 without noise means goodbye to flash. All my old manual Nikon
lenses work better on this camera than they ever did before on ones which shot film. Probably because the camera corrects the mistakes I make.
The colors are also wonderful. I like them vivid, and the D3 delivers. The dynamic lighting which tones down the
highlights and brings out the shadows without messing up to colors is also great.
I would recommend this camera to anyone who has the bucks, otherwise the D300 is nearly as good for less
than half, if you don't mind DX format.
35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2008
After having used Canon for years (from film based EOS -1 to IDMKII, a 5D, and even a 1D MK III), there is just no comparison! This camera handles like it was designed by a photographer, not a tech. It's easy to do everything you want, and the quality is simply outstanding. If you're debating it - don't. Just get one and you'll understand!
It has a TON of incredible features, but here are some of my favs:
I know everyone praises the low light abilities and they are outstanding. I am able to get landscapes that would have been impossible before. I normally had to shoot ISO 100, so a tripod was mandatory. Now I routinely use 400 and even 800! I can get into tight spots and hand-hold now! This feature alone has completely changed the way I do photography!
Another feature that I really like was the smaller AF areas. If you're doing wildlife, it makes it much easier to lock on to your subject when the animal is in heavy brush (you know, like all the time). The Canons would always have a hard time in these situations, the Nikon grabs the focus immediately.
One last feature I'm really excited about is the virtual horizon. It makes keeping the camera level just so much easier. It has two ways of showing it - the first is a big display on the back that looks like it's out of a 747 and is kind of useless. The second is to set your function button on the front of the camera for virtual horizon. Just press that in with your pinky while you look through the finder and the exposure meter turns into your virtual horizon. Just get it to "0" and you're level. Much easier to do than it sounds. I always thought My shots were level, but I was really surprised how often I needed a little tilt one way or the other.
The camera has incredible autofocus, a viewfinder so good you can actually manually focus with it if you like, an incredible screen on the back you can use to check focus accurately (impossible with any current Canon, at least by comparison), and so much more. Just a fantastic overall camera.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2008
Yes, it's expensive. Yes it's heavy. Yes, it's unbelievable! If you make your living as a photographer this is the camera for you. You can get a very good image in almost total darkness! The images that you get with this camera are fantastic. If you can't afford the five grand, get the D300, it's almost the same camera at less then half the price. I know I own both, and use both. As great as the D300 is, the D3 is even more so. It's like driving a Mercedes Benz as opposed to a Bentley! If you want all the technical reviews and specs go to the Nikon web site. I am a professional photographer and make my living with a camera. I have it pressed to my face all day long. The D3 makes my day easier. I use the D300 as my back up camera. Cannon has finally been out classed by Nikon. What took Nikon so long?
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2013
Chances are, if you're looking at spending on a D3, you already know enough about photography and cameras to make a smart decision. However, beware of certain sellers like Wall Street Photo who have marked the D3 up to a ridiculous $9,999.00. There is not a DSLR in the world that should cost $10,000, not even the amazing Pentax 645 40mp medium-format DSLR. Realistically, you should not pay more than $6,500 for this camera. Find a reputable seller instead of buying from these Amazon sharks.
Addendum: I just saw a refurbished D3 being sold through the official Nikon store for just $3,350. That's 1/3 of what Wall Street Photo is trying to rip you off for.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2008
Nikon D3 FX 12.1MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) - includes Mack 3-Year Diamond Warranty The D3 is a solid built, on the heavy side, intuitive camera. I prefer the heavy feel, I disliked the light plastic, cheap feel of so many of the cheaper SLR's. I owned the Minolta 7D before which is a very good camera, but can't compare to the D3. I was told the D3 was such a complex camera from a friend that read a review, that you couldn't just take it out of the box and take pictures. I disagree. If you can charge a battery, and read the quick start section, this camera can take good pictures almost by itself. Your only task is to read the quick start, which makes sure some of the buttons, default, have not been moved. You point and push a button, if all the buttons, and little switches have not been moved you take a good shot. I know my experience with the Minolta helped but I was taking pictures within 10 to 15 minutes. A complete novice would have to take more time. I understood many of the control dials and settings and loved the positioning and feel of the controls. To take what I hope is great shots, will take more time and effort, this camera can do so many things. I couldn't believe that when using an ISO setting of 3200 you could see the object and as clear as you can see it. The shutter lag to me compared to my film camera is none existent, could'nt tell the difference. Couple this camera with the famous renouned Nikon lenses and you have in my opinion an unbeatable combination. I know Nikon will probably come out in a few years with a camera of same caliper with more pixel count. My only wish is that the D3 had a few more pixel count but I don't know why. I think I have been brian washed with pixels, because when I print the pictures on my wide EpsonEpson Stylus Pro 4800 Color Inkjet Printer the results are amazing. I would highly recommend this camera to those that are Pro's or like me a serious want to be Pro who has been taking pictures for almost 50 of my 58 years.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 2008
We (my wife and I) have been using Nikon cameras and glass since the early '70s. Over the years we have accumulated a good collection of glass and while we recognized we would have to migrate from film eventually, we hesitated (actually resisted) because of the value of our glass. You who understand such things can emphathize.
When the FX D3 was announced we rented one for a week and shot about 1800 shots using our legacy AI and AI-S lenses (16mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 105mm, 135mm, 180mm, 200mm and 300mm, and 80-200 Zoom, all with f1.2 to f2.8 maximum openings) to verify the compatibility.
Using Aperture metering for most of our shots as we have done with our FE, FA, F4, and F5, manual metering as we did with our F, FM, and F3 to really test the camera's ability to give us what we are used to seeing with Kodachrome film (asa 25, 64, 100, 200) we came away from the week completely satisfied. We shot in low light, night light, bright light, into the sun, into the moon, in fog, in rain, indoors, in offices, in museums, and at Camden Yards watching our beloved Oryuls get beat again (sigh). We both feel the camera and lenses ought to be completely transparent to what we are trying to do. If you know how to take photographs, the camera really doesn't matter as long as it can physically interpret what your eye is seeing. Our film Nikons with Kodachrome did that. Our fear was that there would not be a digital camera that could perform to the Kodachrome standard.
We have found our mother lode. We have purchased the D3 and a backup D700 for our final cameras. We will gladly go into our retirement knowing we can still do the shooting that gives us pleasure and not be hamstrung with $30 per roll costs for film.
We would not have considered digital until the FX cameras emerged. Now we know our most cherished pastime will continue to entertain us and Nikon wins again.
A word of caution: This camera is not for the faint of heart. It is not a novice photographer's camera. It requires a reasonably steep learning curve. You will not like the D300, D700, or D3 if you do not know HOW to take pictures with an SLR Camera.
19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2008
It's about time Nikon got its act together to deliver a high speed, high ISO, full-frame camera. I had semi-switched to Canon with the purchase of the EOS 1D Mark III. Despite reports over focusing issues, I haven't had any real problems with it. The frame rate and high ISO on it is phenomenal. Anyhow, the D3's 9-fps at full frame, impressive high ISO, and a wealth of other features on it were enough to lure me and my wallet back to the Nikon camp. After some comparison test shots at different high ISO settings on the D3, D2Xs, and Mark III, I have to say that the D3's noise level is as good, maybe even a tad bit better than the Mark III. The D2Xs was a very distant third, clearly unacceptable at ISO 1600. Also, the D3's auto white balance appears to be more accurate than the Mark III. I haven't had extensive use of the D3 yet, but so far, it performs as good as Canon's best offering in terms of speed and noise level.
8/27/08 - After having used it for 7+ months, the D3 is better than the Mark III in just about every aspect - focusing, color, white-balance, low noise, ergonomics. But the only thing I haven't gotten down is flash exposure with the SB-800. The flash tends to overexpose, unlike the D2Xs which had almost perfect exposure every time.
40 of 55 people found the following review helpful
While Nikon may not win top prize in the full-frame digital sensor department with its new Nikon D3 (12.1MP vs. 21.1MP in the new Canon EOS 1DS Mark III), it still wins ample praise for being a full-frame sensor digital SLR camera that's quite capable of lowlight photography with lenses that are moderately high to very high contrast and resolution (I am referring of course to Nikon's current line of autofocus Nikkors optimized for both digital and film photography, and also, the brand new Carl Zeiss ZF manual focusing lenses which can be used on every Nikon SLR camera made since 1959, when the Nikon F mount was introduced.). This is a very rugged, quite dependable, camera that is capable of 9 frame-per-second bursts and an ISO range up to 25,000, coupled to an extremely sophisticated 51-zone AF system (There is also an impressive-looking 3-inch LCD monitor located on the camera back, that's capable of almost instantaneous live-view.). In short, this is the dream camera for any professional or serious amateur photographer who was seeking a rugged, full-frame sensor digital SLR camera from Nikon.
I was extremely delighted with how well it handled, when I tried it over at the 2007 Photo Plus East Nikon booth back in late October. Much to my amazement, this camera was unusually quieter than what I've expected from most digital SLR cameras. It truly felt that this is a camera that could run virtually by itself in some kind of autopilot mode. However, I was especially impressed with how easily I could use it without resorting to a camera manual, as though the camera itself was an intuitive accessory permanently attached to my body. If I had any doubts about this camera's capabilities, they were soon dispelled after I saw photographer Joe McNally's slideshow presentation demonstrating how hard he put this camera through its paces during a nocturnal photo shoot in Times Square. My only regret is that I couldn't march off to the Zeiss USA booth and request an instant loan of several Zeiss ZF lenses to try with this camera; however, I am quite optimistic that this combination would have yielded some spectacular images. I am also willing to wager that this brand new Nikon digital SLR camera will soon acquire a legion of fans, who will be quite interested in its extensive abilities, starting, of course, with its full-frame digital sensor.