Conclusion: 10. Summing Up While most people might consider the "full-sized" FX sensor the biggest news with the Nikon D3, I for one am not that much preoccupied with the FX format on its own. The size factor isn't that decisively great between DX and FX if you have worked with 35mm and 4x5" cameras anyway. The FX/DX systems see a lot of overlap in their targeted applications.
Excerpt: Nikon has always been a major force in the digital SLR market, but in the last year or so, it has seen its popularity increase and the gap between it and rival Canon shrink. The 12.1-megapixel D3 is its latest flagship model and the first to boast an FX-format sensor, which is the same size as a 35mm film frame. How good is it?
Summary: If you’re serious about photography and about having the best kit, the Nikon D3 demands your attention. It’s sophisticated, yet remains fairly straightforward to operate, so the only major decision you have is on whether to commit to this big an investment.
Excerpt: The superlatives and accolades accorded the Nikon D3 Professional Digital SLR (DSLR) camera are nothing short of spectacular. The D3 is Nikon's flagship (as of this writing) professional DSLR and sports a 12.1 megapixel, full-frame CMOS sensor (Nikon's FX sensor), low noise performance at settings up to 6400 ISO, and 9 frames-per-second shooting at full FX resolution. The D3 has an integrated vertical grip complete with AF-On, command and master settings dials.
Conclusion: The D3 is Nikon's first installment to full-35mm-frame FX-sensor DSLRs, and they chose to introduce a sports and news DSLR that has excellent low-light performance. Those were precisely the major weaknesses previously in Nikon's DSLR line up. For those who would like a DSLR optimized for sports, news, and wedding photography, the D3 is probably the top choice.
Summary: The D3 has forced me to have a rethink in terms of scoring, as it is almost certainly the best D-SLR I’ve yet had the pleasure of testing. If you ask, what does it lack in terms of features? The answer is, well, nothing. If you ask, what about build and handling? Again, you’re left scratching around to find an issue.
Pros: Image quality, ergonomics, design and control layout, menu system, comprehensive feature set and customisability.
Cons: Fastest frame rate only available in DX format mode, Low(ish) resolution compared to its Canon competition the EOS 1Ds Mk III.
Summary: There’s a lot of debate over which is better, the Nikon D3 or the Canon 1D Mk III. The Nikon does seem to have much in its favour, not least the price. While the D3 has arguably a rather conservative resolution by comparison, its performance shows that it isn’t all about the pixel count, and makes a strong case for fewer, but bigger pixels.
Conclusion: When we first saw the D3 before it was officially launched I'll admit there were some raised eyebrows, and the first question was 'is this a replacement for the D2Hs, the D2X, both or neither?'. The truth of course is that it's not that simple, and Nikon's long-awaited first foray into the world of the full frame sensor is essentially in a class of its own. For one thing it is, without a doubt, built for speed - in every sense of the word.
Pros: Class-leading high ISO performance and incredibly versatile ISO 100-12,800 sensitivity range, Very good resolution and detail without looking over-processed, Better balanced noise reduction than most; more chroma NR, less luminance NR (film-like grain), Incredibly fast (instant power-up, short shutter lag and short viewfinder black-out), Superb continuous shooting capabilities buffering and card writing, Compatible with DX lenses with auto crop mode (only 5.1MP, howev...
Cons: No timed mirror lock-up function (could be automatic with self-timer), Focus points somewhat concentrated in the center of the frame, Metering struggles to keep up if you shoot at the very fastest continuous rate (i.e. in manual focus mode at 9fps or 11fps in DX mode)., Slightly washed-out flash exposures at short distances (tested with SB-600), No in-camera dust removal system