Nikon D3 Advicea

Discussion in 'Nikon Cameras' started by JoeW, Dec 31, 2017.

  1. JoeW

    JoeW Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I have the opportunity to pick up a used Nikon D3 that is in pretty good shape (body only). I'm looking at using it for available light, wildlife, and sports. My question though is about the 12 megapixels (which just about every DSLR has moved past in the last 5 years).

    Any advice from anyone about this (particularly to what extent I may be limited by the 12 megapixels)? I don't blow up my work to tremendous size (and I've got a couple of good distance lens so for wildlife I can get pretty close--"fill the frame"). But stuff that was pretty revolutionary when the D3 came out (ISO range, performance in low light) are now attributes that a lot of other cameras may have caught up with. And while the FPS is a plus for me, I'm not sure if my next camera decision is going to be primarily about fps possibilities--I don't shoot that much sports.

    Advice?


     
  2. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    When I retired for the last time and sold my business my D3 bodies were part of the deal.
    The D3s is for sports.

    Ever since I have used my D300s, a D200, and a 6 MP D50.
    I have no image quality issues even using the D50.
     
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  3. jaomul

    jaomul Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You answered your own question in a way. You don't blow up big and you don't crop a lot.

    A 12mp file should print at approx 9 X 13.5 inches at 300ppi, a kind of industry benchmark.

    It's very easy to get great looking prints at smaller ppi, lightroom default to 240ppi which would allow a print of approx 12 x 18 inches
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The last 12-MP d-slr I bought I still own...the even-older 2004-2005 era Nikon D2x...12-megapixels on APS-C size sensor...still makes good images at Base ISO of 100. Made good prints, had a lot of fine newspaper sports shots published with the D2x, where we would size the images at 200 ppi, 10- inches on the longer axis, set the black point, and my published images looked great.

    I never owned the D3 nor the D3s...as I understood it, the D3s was a cut above the initial D3 body.

    I dunno what the price is; I see a used Nikon D700 for sale this week, a same-era, 12-MP body being sold at PPS for $495 with charger and accessories.

    What I can tell you is that the D3 and D3s had good autofocusing systems, and extraordinary battery life. I shot the 2009-introduced D3x from 2012 to 2016...a superb camera in terms of battery life, and extremely rapid trigger response, file writes, and so on. Incredible viewfinder clarity and crispness! One thing to know, and this has been true for me with the D1,D1h,D2x,and D3x: the true flagship Nikons, the highest-priced models of their respective eras, were ALL, to a body, the absolute _BEST_ possible performers in terms of all body feature sets, and were in most cases, better than the "enthusiast" bodies, in some or all metrics of performance. Bigger buffers, faster buffer flushes, faster fps,and so on.

    Honestly...I think the best camera to buy for shooting NON-sports is the D800 around $850, or the D3x for $1395 or so...for action work, the D3s would be a good choice, but I really think that the D600 and D610 have the better sensor, and the better file-utility than the 12-MP cameras. But again...Fx is FX...and in good light, with a good exposure, the 12-MP cameras like the D3,D3s,and D700, and to an extend the D2x APS-C camera, are good at lower ISO settings.

    Price is a factor; a D3 at $500 is a nice camera, with a battery that can shoot 3,500 frames...
     
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  5. wezza13

    wezza13 TPF Noob!

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    I shoot two D3s' bodies for my football (soccer you boys call it). It's amazing for low-light and I used to use a Nikon D500 but after testing and seeing the image quality, I sold the D500 and bought the two D3s'. The AF is still fantastic, even though the D500 is top of the line AF, these D3S' AF still works perfectly. I say this as the D3, that you're looking to purchase, is still used by a couple of my friends and we've all blown up prints to a big canvas size for our clubhouse walls.

    12mp is plenty, if it's a bargain - go for it (y)
     
  6. wezza13

    wezza13 TPF Noob!

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    Interestingly, I did use a D600 for half a season and, whilst the image quality is very good, I find the D3S infinitely better than the D600. The AF was far too sluggish in tracking BiF and fast moving players, etc.
     
  7. JoeW

    JoeW Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Thanks folks, this is EXACTLY the kind of input I was looking for. Still not sure if I'll get it (it's a matter of finances). But you've reassured me that 12 megapixels is not too skimpy and that even though sensors and technology have advanced since the D3 series have come out, this particular body isn't out there collecting dust.

    Oh...and Happy New Year to all of you!
     

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