D3 first impressions

jstuedle

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Just got home with the D3. It was about 75 min. drive from the dealer, so my wife opened up the box and got to play a little before the un-charged battery gave up. My/our first impressions:

1) The body is about as wide and tall as the D1X I am used to shooting, but it's a little thicker. Very small hands might have an issue with it. Although my wife is small and has smallish hands and didn't seem to mind. I think she would fatigue a little faster with the D3. I know this body is slightly heavier than the D1, but it does not feel like it. Most likely due to better ergonomics's.

2) The 3" view screen is absolutely awesome. Color is bright and the zoom feature is easy to access and allows checking focus and sharpness with extreem ease. The screen is bright and contrasty, enough so that I might find myself relying less on histo's than in the past.

3) Lag time is almost non-existent. Very fast shutter release, and super fast startup time. I never thought the D1 series was slow, but this camera puts it to shame.

4) Major controls are where I am used to finding them. Without reading the quick start manual I picked it up and fired off a few quick shots in the store. Typical Nikon button and control placement. This body is true to Nikon's traditional form-factor. But it fits my hand even better than the D1's did. It's hard to explain, but it is like putting on a fine form fitting glove when I pick it up.

5) Battery charger is much better than the D1 style. It uses the same batteries as the D2 series. I am not sure what charger comes with the D2, but the D3 charger has docking space in the charger for 2 batteries. Very nice.

Well, I have both batteries in the charger (bought a spare) and am waiting to play some more. I will find something to shoot and post full size files on my pbase account later. I really think I am going to like this camera.... a lot!
 

Sw1tchFX

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Antithesis

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Luckeee! Sounds like an amazing camera, congrats. It seems like the viewing screen is one of the many major improvements, it's supposed to be sharp enough so you don't have to zoom much, if at all, to see if your image was sharp.
 
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jstuedle

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I posted my first couple of pix with the D3 at: http://www.pbase.com/jstuedle/testing

These are full resolution images, 56K users beware. They are also very lame images simply to use for illustration.


The first image was taken with a D1X. All settings were set the same with both cameras except the D1 was shot raw to get a 10 MP image instead of it's native 5.47 MP in jpeg mode. The next or middle pic is from the new D3 set at ISO 6,400 and the last or right most is shot at 25,600 ISO in jpeg mode. (Jpegs were saved at 10 compression in PShop.) Even at that high ISO the D3 image is more usable than the D1X image even though it has more noise. The D1 image shows a lot of hot red and blue pixels from the long exposure. Wide open shots with exposures less than 10 sec. seldom have hot pixels on the D1, but I expect to be able to shoot much longer exposures with the D3 without this issue. Light was from a single 48" fluorescent overhead fixture. Auto white balance is much better with the D3 as can be seen here. (Auto WB on the D1 series was very primitive and I choose to never use it. It was used here only to keep settings the same for comparison) all three shots were taken on a tripod in the same location. The same 35mm f/2.0 lens was used in all pix. As was matrix metering, aperture priority at f/16. Although both cameras were shot in the exact same position, the full frame chip accounts for the larger field of view in the second and third pix.

More to come, I'm sure. To say I'm impressed so far is an understatement.
 
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jstuedle

jstuedle

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P.S. No editing in Photoshop was done. The file opened, renamed and saved only! No noise reduction, cropping, sharpening, color correction, nothing.
 

soylentgreen

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The ISO 6400 wasn't bad. Similar to the ISO 1600 on my 40D. The third image was pretty bad, but hey, it was ISO 25000. Did you use a different light on the first test image with the D1? There was no exif data so I could not tell which settings it was on. But either way, D3 way better than the D1.
 

Antithesis

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The images at 6400 are amazing. Look slightly better than the ISO 800 with the d1x, it's cool to see the older technology next to the newer one.

I didn't know the d1x could shoot at 10mp in raw, is that like real usable resolution? Or does it not compare to 10mp on a modern sensor?
 
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jstuedle

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The ISO 6400 wasn't bad. Similar to the ISO 1600 on my 40D. The third image was pretty bad, but hey, it was ISO 25000. Did you use a different light on the first test image with the D1? There was no exif data so I could not tell which settings it was on. But either way, D3 way better than the D1.

The settings and light were the same. The D1X as mentioned has a terrible auto WB, but I used it here to show a comparison. I normally never shoot auto WB on the D1 series. The only reason to use or have the 25,600 setting is for photo journalism work. You either get a noisy pic, or nothing at all. Although noise ninja would probable clean it up into a very serviceable image.
 
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jstuedle

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The images at 6400 are amazing. Look slightly better than the ISO 800 with the d1x, it's cool to see the older technology next to the newer one.

I didn't know the d1x could shoot at 10mp in raw, is that like real usable resolution? Or does it not compare to 10mp on a modern sensor?

The D1X in normal mode is 3008 X 1960 rez. The sensor is actually 4016 X 1308. Rather long and narrow, but the pixels are tall, rectangular shaped. Back when the D1X came out, the authors of Bibble software and others found they could double the vertical pixels and come up with a good quality image with 10 MP at almost the image quality of what became the new native 10 MP sensors. Ya, it was sort of cheating, but doubled the file size and resolution without upsampling clutter.
 
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jstuedle

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Another test image. Shot at ISO 6400, 55mm f/1.2 AIS MF lens @ f/1.2, 1/60th sec. Auto WB in fluorescent light. Full size image can be found at:
http://www.pbase.com/jstuedle/image/89757461


5135-Turbo-test-web.jpg
 

Trenton Romulox

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Wow. If I had $5000, I'd be all over that body. Like, all over it. Maybe by the time there is like, a D3X or something, I'll have enough money. Then again, I'm not a professional, so it'd probably be stupid of me to get one. That low-light performance just has me flippin' out...damn. Do you think it'd be worth getting for a serious amateur who plans on going to school for photography?

By the way, thanks for the impressions man, as a Nikonian, those test shots have me freakin' out. Lucky, lucky man.
 

itoncool

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WOW... Impressive!
I like the DOG picture, beautifully taken, well done... :thumbup:

Now I'm confused, I was planning to get the D3 in about 6 months (or more) later. But, after seeing all your samples I don't know if I could hold it that long... I'm in a big trouble :lol:
 

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