The Nikon D3 and D3x


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Nikon D3


Presented in August 2007, the Nikon D3 is dedicated to the professionals. This first full-frame digital SLR from Nikon, the new 12.1 megapixel D3. The D3 is all about speed and sensitivity, twelve megapixels on a big CMOS chip means large pixels (8.45 µm pitch to be precise) and that adds up to base sensitivity of ISO 200 to 6400 with an additional two stop boost over that (up to ISO 25600). This CMOS ship is designed by Nikon and Manufactured by an other company than Sony. It authorizes the use of format DX and also a 5:4 mode (30 X 30 mm).
The other side of the speed story (apart from blistering AF and shutter lag) is that the D3 can shoot at nine frames per second with AF tracking or eleven frames per second without. Other headline features are a newly branded EXPEED image processor, a new 51-point AF sensor, color AF tracking, dual CF compartments (with UDMA support), an amazing 3.0" 922,000 pixel LCD monitor with Live View (including contrast detect auto-focus), HDMI video output and even a virtual horizon function which can tell you when you're holding the camera perfectly level. There's too much to fit here so we crammed as much as we can into a preview. It has also a dual CompactFlash TM compartments (with UDMA support) and can receive a module WiFi (WT-4) and is compatible with the GPS and the authentification of image. It receives the EN-EL4a battery and its autonomy is better as its predecessor.
All these functions allow Nikon to propose only one general-purpose camera and either versions X or H.
The D3 will be available in November, at around US$ 5000

Nikon has presented in November 2008, the Nikon D3x, a new professional high-definition DSLR which joined the catalogue in complement of D3 and which comes to compete with the EOS 1Ds Mark III of Canon or the Alpha 900 of Sony.
This new DSLR has the same Sony sensor full format of 24,5 million pixels than the Alpha 900 , a definition twice higher than D3, The D3 and D3X share the quasi-totality of the characteristics.

By revealing Nikon D3, the Japanese manufacturer had surprised the world of the photograph by integrating into his top-of-the-range case a sensor of only 12,1 million pixels, a definition close to that proposed on the entry line DSLR. This weak definition nevertheless was largely compensated by a capacity to photograph with sensitivities ever reached before, able to climb until 6.400 ISO in native mode and even until 25.600 ISO into wide mode.

With a doubled image definition and consequently reduced microsites by half, Nikon D3x is built for other uses (studio, nature) and is more reasonable with a sensitivity range from 100 to 1600 ISO in native mode and from 50 to 6400 in extend mode. The speed of motor is 5 images a second is also slightly reduced compared to D3. D3x generates rough files (RAW) of 16 Mo allowing to obtain after development of 16 bits TIFF, images of 140 Mo each one.

For others points, Nikon D3x and Nikon D3 share the same specifications, including the autofocus system with 51 collimators or VGA rear screen of 3 inches.

The principal specifications are the following:

  • Full format (24 X 35,9 mm) Sensor CMOS of 24,5 million pixels (6 048 X 4.032 pixels)

  • Sensitivity from 100 to 1.600 ISO (from 50 to 6.400 ISO in extend mode)

  • Speed of 5 images per second

  • Viewfinder that covers 100%

  • VGA Screen(640 X 480 pixels) of 3 inches

  • Recording on Compact Flash card (double decks with overflow modes, safeguard or separation RAW/JPEG).


  • Dedicated to some demanding professional photographs, this camera had an selling price of 7.500 euros for its launching. Nikon D3X is now available for 6700 € whereas D3 is available for 3500 € (May 2009). This tariff is quasi-identical to its competitor l' EOS 1Ds Mark III that had been launched to 8.650 euros in August 2007.

     pierre j.


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    Created June 6, 2007, Updated May 14, 2009
    © Pierre J.