- Nikon D3 Specs
- Nikon D3 Body & Design
- Nikon D3 Build & Handling
- Nikon D3 Video Performance
- Nikon D3 Lenses
- Nikon D3 Price
- Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S – A great low-light lens with a zoom range from wide-angle to short telephoto.
- Nikon 24-120mm f4G ED VR – A zoom lens with huge reach from wide-angle to telephoto.
- Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4 LD – A great wide-angle lens option.
- Nikon Micro-60mm f2.8D – A macro lens to get you up close and personal with the subject.
photo by rdonar via iStock
The Nikon D3 is now twelve years old, but it’s still worth buying in 2019. The main reasons for this are its good image quality, super-strong build, and relatively low price.
Although now it is definitely outdated in certain fields, in the year of its release, this camera was a game-changer. First of all, it was Nikon’s first full-frame DSLR camera. Moreover, it brought many improvements in DSLR technology.
The Nikon D3 is bigger and heavier than something like the Nikon D3500, but it is mostly because it was built in order to survive even the harshest environments. This camera is super strong and it was designed to last for decades. Even those cameras that were sold in 2007 should work without an error if you use them today.
In this Nikon D3 review, we don’t want to brag about its former glory. Quite the opposite, we will show you that you can still use this camera to take outstanding professional-like images.
Table of Contents
Nikon D3 Specs
Before the release of the Nikon D3, Canon had a monopoly on the market of full-frame DSLR cameras. By releasing this model, Nikon ended Canon’s dominance and started a “cold war” between these two companies.
The Nikon D3 features a 12.1-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and EXPEED processor. It is the same amount of resolution that you can find in the iPhone 7, but the Nikon D3 has large individual pixels so it can gather more light and work superbly in low-light conditions.
The camera has a native ISO sensitivity range of 200-6400 (expandable to ISO 25600) and it produces good image quality even if you shoot at high ISO settings. Outstanding results in low-light conditions were actually the main thing that made this model so popular in the first place.
In terms of autofocus capabilities and speed of operation, this camera can still do pretty well. It has 51-Point autofocus system and 1005-pixel RGB metering sensor. Additionally, the camera offers burst shooting up to 9 fps or 11 fps in DX crop mode.
Learn more about the Nikon D3 in the video above by Steve Huff.
Nikon D3 Body & Design
The Nikon D3 measures 6.3 x 6.2 x 3.4 inches and weighs 49.9 oz (including batteries). In other words, this camera is quite big and heavy. Although there are rational reasons for this, a lot of photographers nowadays prefer more compact models so its size come as one of its big disadvantages.
As it is the case with all DSLR models, the Nikon D3 features an optical viewfinder and rear LCD display. Its viewfinder is big (18 mm eyepoint) and bright. It has 100% frame coverage and offers a 0.7x magnification.
The LCD screen measures 3 inches and it has a resolution of 922k dots. Unfortunately, it is fixed so you will need to put some effort into shooting images from different angles.
The camera also features a top LCD display which is useful for quickly checking the camera’s settings. Additionally, it also has a rear control panel LCD which shows different information such as image quality, ISO settings, color temperature, and other useful things.
The Nikon D3 doesn’t have a built-in flash, but you can add an external one through a flash shoe.
Nikon D3 Build & Handling
Oisa [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)] via Wikimedia Commons
Whether you are taking images in heavy rain, a dust storm or in freezing temperatures, the Nikon D3 will do its job the best it can. Of course, this does not mean the camera is water-proofed or indestructible. Take basic precautions while using it and it will stay with you for years.
Although it’s a bit bulky, the Nikon D3 has very nice ergonomics and it feels good in the hand. Its grip and body style were designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, a famous Italian automobile designer who worked for BMW, Maserati, Ferrari, and other car manufacturers.
The camera has a lot of different functions and options, but it is not complicated to use, especially since it has an additional top and rear control panel LCD. Overall, the camera is very user-friendly and although it was designed for professional photographers, beginners will not have struggles to work with it.
Nikon D3 Video Performance
Imm808 [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)] via Wikimedia Commons
The Nikon D3 does not feature video recording functionality. However, with a little bit of creativity, you can use this camera to create short films. In burst shooting mode, you can create up to 11 images per second and you can use them to create a stop-motion video.
Of course, if you need a camera that is capable of shooting professional video, the Nikon D3 is not what you are looking for. If you really want video recording capabilities, you should check out the Nikon D3S. It is very similar to the D3, but it allows you to shoot 24 fps HD video.
Nikon D3 Lenses
The Nikon D3 uses Nikon F mount lenses and there is a wide choice of lenses to choose for this camera. Of course, using full-frame lenses will allow you to enjoy the full potential of an FX DSLR camera. Every photographer should find the perfect lens for its needs, but some of the most popular ones for the Nikon D3 include:
Nikon D3 Price
In the year when it was released, the Nikon D3 had a price tag of $4999. It was the best camera at that time and it changed everything in the photography business.
Now, twelve years later, this camera is still useful. Although it lacks some features that became standard in the past decade, it is great at shooting high-quality images.
Many people have used the Nikon D3, so it is not hard to find a used one in good condition. If you visit MPB, a platform for selling and buying used equipment, you will find many models from which to choose. At the moment, you can buy a used Nikon D3 for the price as low as $619.00.