Camera review: the Nikon D3

The flagship model camera was launched in 2007, it has been 2 years since this launch that I have upgraded and it has now been replaced by the updated D3s (or second edition). This a hands on review based upon using the camera as my main workhorse for some time now.

This camera is really a dream workhorse – it have reasonably high resolution (12.1 MP) which is plenty enough for most applications including output onto billboards. The killer features of course are its speed (9 frames/ second continuous shooting) and its amazing high ISO low light performance. Another gem that I have discovered, not mentioned in the marketing materials overly is the fine gradation skin tones. I think this must be due to the large pixel size with (8.45┬Ám pixel pitch).

In other terms, this camera just fits in the hand well and is a joy to shoot with- even on long full days shooting, it continues to be easy on the hands in that you don’t cramp up doing motions that are unnatural. The vertical grip is a big part of this feature, more so than the D700 or D300 with attachable vertical grips, the D3 fits totally snugly in the hands and smoothly transitions between vertical and horizontal.

Certainly, this is not a camera for everyone – at $5,500.00 it would not make sense for enthusiasts to sink that much capital into one camera body. I always say to invest in glass first. That being said, if you do a reasonable amount of shooting then this make make sense as the handling alone is a godsend at the end of long days shooting. I can see myself continuing to use this camera for years to come, the first time I feel that a digital body matches and exceeds the legendary F5 film camera that was the industry standard in its time.

As digital cameras evolve and change so quickly, this is already replaced by the improved low light D3s – which is the new industry standard in low light performance. For now, I am happy with the amazing step up from my old D2x camera. It’s certainly a great time to be a Nikon shooter and a photographer in general. Its not about the gear or the cameras, its about the photographers eye. Certainly helps to have a camera body that you cannot blame. Now its a matter of getting out and getting great shots!

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