Nikon D3

Released August, 2007
  • 12.1 MP
  • Full frame 36 x 24 mm CMOS
  • 3" LCD
It's worth mentioning that the D3's default tone curve is actually quite contrasty, which produces uncharacteristically (for a pro-level Nikon) 'punchy' out of camera JPEGs, but means the sensor's true capabilities (dynamic range-wise) aren't immediately obvious unless you play around with the picture settings or shoot RAW (see bottom of the page).
by DPReview (Apr, 2008)
9.7 Out of 10

Camera Rocket Review Our evaluation of the Nikon D3

Image Quality

RAW image quality independent of lens

Nikon D3
Nikon D3S
DxOMark Low light, DxOMark Color depth, DxOMark Dynamic range and 1 more


How fast and easily does the camera nail focus

Nikon D3
Nikon D3S
focus points


How much delay is there between you and your photo?

Nikon D3
Nikon D3S
continuous shooting


What do the experts think?

Nikon D3
Nikon D3S
Reviews from,, and


Camera Rocket Score

Image Quality, Focusing, Responsiveness and Reviews

Nikon D3
Nikon D3S

Benchmarks Real world tests of the Nikon D3

Low light image quality Highest ISO setting that still achieves great image quality

Nikon D3
2,290 ISO
Nikon D2Xs
489 ISO
787 ISO

Focus lag Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

Nikon D3
88 ms
Nikon D610
260 ms
251 ms

Shutter lag Delay to take a photo when prefocused

Nikon D3
43 ms
54 ms

Startup delay Delay from power on to first photo

Nikon D3
300 ms
Nikon D3S
120 ms

Continuous shooting Delay between fully pressing shutter to image capture

Nikon D3
9 fps
Nikon D2Xs
5 fps

Battery life How many photos per battery charge (CIPA)

Nikon D3
4,300 photos
Nikon D610
900 photos
950 photos

Photo Gallery Wallpaper quality closeups of the camera

Reviews Word on the street for the Nikon D3

That makes sense on some level, though, since the 1D Mark III and the D3 are really all-around cameras that combine the burst speed to handle the demands of sports shooters with ruggedness and image quality that should appeal to news photographers and many others.

For that, you can get a D3 body, one of the brand-new Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 N-series lenses and Nikon's fabulous 14-24mm N-series wide-angle zoom.


9.5 Out of 10

What People Are Saying Give it to me straight


The focusing screen also features automatic masking if you attach a DX format lens, a portion of the view is grayed out indicating the active sensor area.
by DPReview (Apr, 2008)
Noise remains well under control through ISO 1,600, and begins to creep up a bit at ISO 3,200 and ISO 6,400.
by c|net (Jul, 2008)
The Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III is the undisputed king of resolution with its 21.1 MP CMOS sensor (and price tag to match), whilst the EOS 5D is a compact, relatively affordable model (at today's prices it's about half the price of a D3) that is aimed more at the serious enthusiast than the jobbing professional (although that doesn't stop them using them).
by DPReview (Apr, 2008)


There are plenty of options to customize the controls to your needs, and you can even change the direction of the two main wheels that are used to change shutter speed and aperture, as well as the direction of the exposure compensation EV display.
by c|net (Jul, 2008)
The D3 features a new 51 point auto focus sensor, the center fifteen (3x5 grid) being cross point sensors even with F5.6 aperture lenses.
by DPReview (Apr, 2008)
Below on the left you can see the D3's lens mount with the mirror down, on the right with mirror up and shutter open (exposing the sensor).
by DPReview (Apr, 2008)


The good news is that the Normal setting offers a good balance between the desire to keep visible noise to a minimum without sacrificing fine detail, and the four settings provide a good range of options from very low to high enough to keep noise at bay right up into the highest reaches of the ISO range.
by DPReview (Apr, 2008)
But at higher ISOs, the D3 has a very clear advantage.
by TechRadar (Jan, 2008)
At ISO 1600 and over the D3 really starts to shine, leaving the competition behind and producing perfectly usable results at ISO 6400.
by DPReview (Apr, 2008)


Nikon has made it clear that they are not using etching to indicate the AF points but that all information is displayed using liquid crystal, hence when an AF point is not active there is no detrimental effect on the focusing screen.
by DPReview (Apr, 2008)
With the new firmware introduced earlier this week there is a new option to change the brightness of the illuminated AF points.
by DPReview (Apr, 2008)
On the rear of the camera we see the now isolated AF-ON button (the A-EL/AF-L button now slightly smaller and moved further down the body closer to the multi-selector).
by DPReview (Apr, 2008)

Image quality

Adjustment options have been expanded providing a much wider latitude for sharpening, contrast and saturation as well as the new brightness adjustment.
by DPReview (Apr, 2008)
We were continually impressed by the almost 'film like' grain exhibited by high ISO D3 files (as opposed to heavy digital noise reduction).
by DPReview (Apr, 2008)
At lower ISO settings the image quality isn't significantly different to most other 12 megapixel models, though Nikon's fairly conservative approach to image processing - not too much sharpening, not too much saturation, not too much contrast - means that JPEGs are a little flatter 'out of camera' than most.
by DPReview (Apr, 2008)

Specifications Full list of technical specs


Megapixels 12.1 MP
Resolution 4256 x 2832
Size Full frame
Area 36 x 24 mm
Crop factor 1.0x
Pixel size 71.7 microns
Light sensitivity 200 ISO to 6,400 ISO
Light sensitivity (Boost) 6,400 ISO to 25,600 ISO
  1. NEF 14bit
  2. NEF 12bit
  3. JPEG
Self cleaning sensor No

focus system

Type Phase detection
Focus points 51
Cross type focus points 15
Supports continuous No


Viewfinder mirror Opaque
Viewfinder Viewfinder
Type Pentaprism
Coverage 100%
Magnification 0.7x
Viewfinder size 0.7x


Max continuous shooting 9 fps
Battery life 4,300 photos
Continuous shooting 9 fps, JPEG
Focus lag 88 ms
Shutter lag 43 ms
Startup delay 300 ms


Video None


Type LCD
Size 3"
Resolution 922 k dots
Has a touch screen No
Has a flip out screen No
Supports live view Yes


Min 30 s
Max 1/8000 s

form factor

Size 160 x 157 x 88 mm
Thickness 88 mm
Weight 1,300 g
Is weather sealed Yes


Is a smart camera No
Includes a GPS No
Supports HDR No
Automatic panorama No
Create realistic 3D images No
Image stabilization None
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