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Archive 2012 · Used D3x vs. D800?
  
 
allstarimaging
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Used D3x vs. D800?


I've been watching a couple of D3x bodies for sale in my local market that are in excellent conditon from original owners. Based on some conversations I've had with the sellers looks like I could pick one of them up for close to $3,000. At that price point basically equal to a D800. Very tempted by the pro body and ergonomics of the D3x at that price. For those that have used a D3x and now moved on to the D800 does the D800 blow away the D3x or not so much. Use of the camera is wildlife and landscape. Thanks for your input.

Jack



Jul 14, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Steve Perry
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Used D3x vs. D800?


The D800 is a step up from the D3x in terms of color, resolution, and dynamic range. No two ways about it, the D800 has a better sensor. The files are also better to work with (and that's saying something cuz D3x files pretty much rock).

OTOH - I would not hesitate to shoot with a D3x if I still had one (the D4 / D800 is a better combo for my use). I used the D3x for landscapes and wildlife, just like you're proposing.

For landscapes, it was fantastic. Rugged, great IQ. But - I do like the D800 better in this dept. It's lighter and like I said, better sensor. It's not worlds better, but enough.

For wildlife, I'd shoot the D3x over the D800 if light levels weren't an issue. It's got a slightly faster frame rate and in a "must get the shot" situation it is a "faster" camera to handle. It's close between the D800 and the D3x, but a slight nod to the D3x.

Then there's the difference between a integrated grip pro series Nikon and the pro sereis D800. I think the D3x had a better viewfinder, butter battery door, it used the same friggin' cards in both slots, etc etc.

Tough choice, but in the end I sold my D3x bodies in favor of a pair od D800s and a D4.



Jul 14, 2012 at 08:56 PM
m_appeal
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Used D3x vs. D800?


I'm curious... is the D800 really better than D3x in terms of color? Is that something that is easily perceived?


Jul 14, 2012 at 09:14 PM
allstarimaging
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Used D3x vs. D800?


Hi Steve,
I was hoping you would contribute to this post. I follow your posts and your website I know you were a D3x shooter. I think what has me so intrigued with the D3x is the body. I just think the ergonomics are great and all the lenses just seem to balance so much better on those big Nikon bodies. The thing that has held me back on the D800 is the file size, the need for new cards, and storage. Plus if I can wait the mythical D600 may be more than enough for half the price. The D4 is just off the charts in price for me. So that leaves me looking at

D3x used for about $3200
D800 for about $3000
D3s at $4000
D3 at $2400

The D3s seems overpriced relative to a D3x and you can get just about the same performance from a D3. That's why the D3x in the pro body seems like a better "value" to me right now. Thanks again.
Jack



Jul 14, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Bruce Sawle
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Used D3x vs. D800?


The d3x was and still is a wonderful camera with the second best resolution on the market today for full frame dslr. With that being said the d800 files, color, noise and even focusing are superior. The only thing the d3x wins in is ruggedness. Even FPS is less in 14 bit 1.5 to 4 to the d800. And in 1.2 crop the d800 has 24mp and 5fps. So for me the choice was easy go with the d800. I sold my d3x's back in February to KEH and bought a d3s to pair with the d800. D3s is a much bigger upgrade from the d3 then the d3s is to a d4. The noise and color of the d3s is far better then any camera I have seen at high ISO.


Jul 14, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Taoguy
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Used D3x vs. D800?


Bruce Sawle
D3s is a much bigger upgrade from the d3 then the d3s is to a d4

+1 , It seems like the D3s was relegated as the ugly sister and just minor improvement over the D3, but my experience is the same as your's Bruce. Those that passed on the D3s thinking it was a minor upgrade. If I had to choose between my D3s, D3x and the D800E, it would be hands down the the D3s. It's the best body I've ever owned.

I broke down an ordered a D4, hoping the resolution and possibly focusing is an upgrade. Every D4 owner I have spoke with speaks well of it, some had a D3s and others not. When it arrives I'll decide which one of my body(s) will be sold, Steve sums up the differences very well, for whatever reason I'd feel a little uncomfortable heading out with just the D800E, where I have with the D3x many times, could be just familiarity but the D3 models are tested, rugged and they perform.

Ideally, I hope there is a D4x that shares the cards, batteries, etc. Just throw the D800E sensor in an old D3x, one type card would be great, whatever it is, vs the three types, present needed. Then I would be back to two bodies D4 & body not yet available.

Gerard



Jul 14, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Steve Perry
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Used D3x vs. D800?


allstarimaging wrote:
Hi Steve,
I was hoping you would contribute to this post. I follow your posts and your website I know you were a D3x shooter. I think what has me so intrigued with the D3x is the body. I just think the ergonomics are great and all the lenses just seem to balance so much better on those big Nikon bodies. The thing that has held me back on the D800 is the file size, the need for new cards, and storage. Plus if I can wait the mythical D600 may be more than enough for half the price. The
...Show more

The D600 may be the answer, but the only bad thing is it's probably months down the road.

As for your D800 concerns, in my opinion:

File size - It's bigger than the D3x, but it's not crazy. You may just need some more memory for your existing PC - my i7 Sandy Bridge performs about the same as it did with the D3x - I just added some RAM so I didn't max out.

New Cards - No biggie at all. You can still use your old CF cards and you can grab a 64GB card from B&H (sandisk) for $58 - $160, depending on speed. Way less than $100 a pop if you don't need a huge capacity like that.

Storage - No biggie here either, drives are pretty cheap and those D3x files would take up a lot of space anyway, so I think you're looking at more storage either way.

All that said, the D3x, in my opinion, is more rugged and can take more abuse. Plus, buying it used for $3K you can probably get most of your money out of it down the road if you have it for a few months and change your mind.

I sure can't argue about the ergonomics and balance - my D800 just doesn't feel as good with the big glass on it, but it is REAL nice on long hikes. Can't wait to take it backpacking!

Oh, and one thing I forgot in my first post - for me, I didn't like the D3x over ISO 800. I'd sometimes tolerate 1600, but 800 was my normal cap. I would use the D800 at 1600 without a thought (and I'd probably push to 3200 if I really needed it)

I think it really comes down to how much ruggedness / handing vs ultimate image IQ. The D3x can still produce stunning photos for sure, but the D800 sensor is noticeably better. At the same time, the D3x can take pictures, pound your tent stakes in, beat off a grizzly, then take more photos.

Tough call.

And I may have exaggerated about that griz...



Jul 15, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Bruce Sawle
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Used D3x vs. D800?


+1 anything over 800 on the d3x was for emergency and or I'd the light was good enough and you just needed a bit more ahutter speed. The D3x was very unforgiving at ISO over 400 of you underexposed.


Jul 15, 2012 at 12:52 AM
allstarimaging
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Used D3x vs. D800?


Hi Bruce and Steve,
Thanks for your insights and good info to consider. Regarding the D3s as others have noted I do agree the files from that camera were awesome. Great colors and super clean. When I was considering my options here a lot of my thought is based on "value". The D3x at $3,000 just seems like a better value than a D3s at $4000. Although, your comments on the higher ISO limits of the D3x are at lower levels than I thought. So that was good info for me to dwell on. Thanks again.
Jack



Jul 15, 2012 at 01:01 AM
snapsy
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Used D3x vs. D800?


allstarimaging wrote:
Hi Bruce and Steve,
Thanks for your insights and good info to consider. Regarding the D3s as others have noted I do agree the files from that camera were awesome. Great colors and super clean. When I was considering my options here a lot of my thought is based on "value". The D3x at $3,000 just seems like a better value than a D3s at $4000. Although, your comments on the higher ISO limits of the D3x are at lower levels than I thought. So that was good info for me to dwell on. Thanks again.
Jack


IMO value is based on what a camera offers at a given price vs what else is available. The D3x is an awesome imaging machine but the D800 at $3000 makes the D3x a tough sell even with its pro-body advantages. The D3s on the other hand offers IQ that matches its D4 successor in all regards except for low ISO DR and 4 extra MP but at $2000 less. To me that's value.



Jul 15, 2012 at 01:14 AM
 

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Howard Kearley
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Used D3x vs. D800?


Steve Perry wrote:
The D800 is a step up from the D3x in terms of color, resolution, and dynamic range. No two ways about it, the D800 has a better sensor. The files are also better to work with (and that's saying something cuz D3x files pretty much rock).

OTOH - I would not hesitate to shoot with a D3x if I still had one (the D4 / D800 is a better combo for my use). I used the D3x for landscapes and wildlife, just like you're proposing.

For landscapes, it was fantastic. Rugged, great IQ. But - I do like the D800 better
...Show more

I'm with what Steve says here.
Howard.



Jul 15, 2012 at 07:34 AM
Thomas73
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Used D3x vs. D800?


Very interesting posts! Thanks guys for sharing your thoughts about this issue.

I was also hesitating between a used D3x (I see some of them in like-new condition with box and low actuations) or a new D800E. I think this second body would be my choice. Moreover, as I own some Zeiss glasses, this combo seems to be amazing with Zeiss stellar optics (e.g. 100/2).

But, I will probably go for a D4 first to replace my D3. As evocated, the perfect choice could be a D4 for low-light or sports photography and a D800E for day-light & landscapes!!



Jul 15, 2012 at 10:11 AM
thedruid
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Used D3x vs. D800?


One thing not mentioned is that the D3x is tried and tested with no AF issues...the last one I saw locally was on CL for $3500.


Jul 15, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Dan Bellyk
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Used D3x vs. D800?


One of the big downfalls for me with the D3X is the constant dirty sensor, otherwise a very great camera!


Jul 16, 2012 at 04:51 AM
Matt OHarver
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Used D3x vs. D800?


I recently had a D3s and D3, and was deciding between the D800 and D3x as a replacement for the my D3 which was my studio camera.


For me the D3x was the right choice. I now have a D3s and the D3x as my studio camera. I still use it and am not scared to go up to 1600ISO with some noise reduction. I just didn't like the feel of the D800, nor did I need the extra 12MP.


Matt



Jul 16, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Alan321
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Used D3x vs. D800?


These days I'd hate to be stuck with a camera that is pretty much limited to ISO 800 for hand-held wildlife or landscape work, and that rules out the D3x more so than the slower continuous frame rate of the D800. Quite often I need to capture shadow details and bright details too, so that DR is an important factor that limits a D3x. I'd be more concerned about getting a D800 with AF problems.

I use a D3s but sometimes I wish for a higher resolution in lieu of a longer lens. Trouble is that the D800 loses some or all of its advantage at smaller apertures needed for larger DOF due to diffraction. It's never worse than the D3s but also not giving as much extra detail as the pixel count suggests.

How good is your Shooting technique ? If not excellent then you'll never get the best from a D800. Ditto for the lenses. Nevertheless, you could do a lot worse than a healthy D800.




Jul 21, 2012 at 05:35 PM
Christian S
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Used D3x vs. D800?


I shoot with the D3s and D800 and love them both. Ive ben tempted by the D3X bug as well, but the D800 is just to good at it's price point. Ergonomically I wanted a smaller body, even though it bugs me sometimes to not be full size. Plus the high ISO is much improved. The longer you shoot with the D800 the more you smile. The D3x is perfect for studio only. I need way more versatility. this is why the D800 and D3s work so welll togther.

The D3s is by far the best camera I have ever used and worth the extra coin. The D800 is just as good but a very diffrent kind of tool. I do get caught up in which one to choose for sports coverage. Over all the D3s is my worn in leather glove but I still enjoy using the D800 for sports. It really depends on the sport. The D800 is very capable. The following is from the D800.




All Stars Softball Coverage

  NIKON D800    240mm    f/4.5    1/800s    140 ISO    -1.0 EV  




Jul 21, 2012 at 11:01 PM
thedruid
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Used D3x vs. D800?


I use the D3x outdoors all the time, to say it's a studio only camera?? Some of us don't need crazy high iso's I'd rather a body with the best native iso 50...look at the work of Bryan Peterson another D3x user most of it out of the studio.


Jul 22, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Jan Brittenson
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Used D3x vs. D800?


One thing to keep in mind is the D3x doesn't have any self-cleaning functionality - although the D3s does. Less dust is always better IMO.

Personally I'd bring my D800E anywhere. But I'd use a rock for tent stakes and bring a gun for the grizzlies. It's about a sturdy as my Mamiya 7 workhorse used to be. This is a different situation from a reporter who has to juggle multiple cameras on straps and a monopod - those end up getting banged around a lot no matter how careful you are. Just dash through a doorway a few times chasing a shot. Doorways hate cameras. But for nature and wildlife... nah.

For international travel or such I'd always bring a backup anyway. Same for lenses, a couple of small primes can save the day if the big zoom comes apart, take little space, and bring shooting options of their own so aren't entirely dead weight.

Finally, the EN-EL15 batteries are small and last well for this kind of uses where the camera is off most of the day.

Yeah, I drank the cool-aid on this one...



Jul 23, 2012 at 04:43 AM
RedOak
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Used D3x vs. D800?


I'M rather late to the conversation, but very cool topic guys, i've been fighting this exact question for a while now.

The main concern i find is the Grip. The D3 (series) body is by far the most comfortable body i've ever held in my hands.

Now the D800 is smaller and i require a grip to help, battery storage doesn't hurt either. Although i do have to try the D800 with the grip to get a better feel.

From what i read here, the D800 is the choice it seems.



Feb 11, 2013 at 10:10 PM
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