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Archive 2012 · Buying a D3 Monday - still worth it?
  
 
Awasos23
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p.1 #1 · Buying a D3 Monday - still worth it?


I normally hate these types of posts, but with the onslaught of new cameras from Nikon, I'm having some doubts. I'm a working photographer, and as such I don't like to spend more money than necessary when buying equipment. I currently use a D300 and a D2x, and am generally happy with the quality that I get out of them, using the D2x for day assignments, and the D300 for nights and some sports. The D300 is beat though, from 4 years of heavy use for newspapers and other clients. It's getting very high on the shutter count and I'm thinking of a "new" camera to replace it. I love the feel of the D2x, but would like a camera that is full frame and better in lowlight, especially for sports work. I also use the built in mic all the time, so that when I'm running around assignments, I don't have to pause, write something down and then try to remember which name went with what photo when I get back to the office.

From looking at the new cameras that have come out - specifically the D600 and the D800, I'm still leaning towards the D3. I have a line on one for $2100, recently serviced by Nikon and with the buffer upgrade. Around 72,000 actuations though. If need be, I could stretch my budget to about $2800, but would rather keep it at $2,100 or lower. I'm somewhat hard on my equipment; It gets used in storms (i do have a thinktank cover), rarely dropped, thrown in the back of my car and used often. All of my lenses are full frame - 17-35, 50 f1.4, 80-200. I'd probably end up getting a 28-70 for the D3 at some point in the near future. I want to have the camera by the 25th latest. I have had no build problems with my D300. I've thought of the D700, but for the $500 difference between that and the D3, I'd rather have the better build quality and built in microphone, and faster FPS.

So compared to the D800 (which has more megapixels than I can imagine needing for journalism and costs more than I really want to spend) or the D600 (which is just coming out, and has no history of reliability) is the D3 still the smart choice?

Thanks,
Eric

Edited on Sep 14, 2012 at 07:51 PM · View previous versions



Sep 14, 2012 at 07:48 PM
vchowdhary
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p.1 #2 · Buying a D3 Monday - still worth it?


I would see if you can get one for a bit less. But aside from the price, I would say absolutely. I've had 3 D3 and 2 D3s over the past 3 years and I have had 0 issues from either of them.
Wish I could say the same for the new cameras (D800s 3 with 2 exhibting issues).



Sep 14, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Awasos23
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p.1 #3 · Buying a D3 Monday - still worth it?


How much less would you suggest? I've seen them from $1800-$2500, but usually fairly beat up at the lower price range. This one does have the buffer upgrade, so makes it a bit better than some other D3's for sports.


Sep 14, 2012 at 07:53 PM
vchowdhary
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p.1 #4 · Buying a D3 Monday - still worth it?


with the buffer upgrade that's a great price


Sep 14, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Kerry Pierce
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p.1 #5 · Buying a D3 Monday - still worth it?


That doesn't sound like a bad price to me, for one in good shape. A d3s will cost a lot more, maybe double that, for a low mileage body. A d700 would be cheaper, but without the goodies of the d3 body that you said you wanted.

The d3 would be a nice high ISO upgrade to your current bodies, although you'll lose the d300 DX crop factor for sports shooting.

If you don't want to spring for a d3s, the d3 is next best thing, IMO.

Kerry



Sep 14, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Mescalamba
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p.1 #6 · Buying a D3 Monday - still worth it?


Its great camera if price is right. D3 high ISO has pretty much best look of "noise" which really resembles grain. Plus they are "battle" proven, very few issues with those cams if any. Unlike some newer stuff.

I would buy it personaly over D700 (cause I think camera needs grip anyway and with D3 its integrated). And I think unless you need superhigh detailed landscapes, 12 mpix just fine (which doesnt mean it cant do it, it can..).

Buffer upgrade does help aswell.



Sep 14, 2012 at 08:10 PM
this is me
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p.1 #7 · Buying a D3 Monday - still worth it?


Speaking from using a D3 since it came out in 2007 now just bought the D800 and used it for a more than a month, the D3 still gives me the warm and fuzzy when I hold it in my hand. The pro body ergonomic is just nice. Even that I have the D800 with the battery grip, it feels off. The battery grip makes the D800 a square instead of the rectangular form I'm used to.
The D3 still gives me very satisfying files without the file size. The speed is lighting fast compare to the D800 and AF is just as good. The ISO performance is more than a lot of people need. The battery last ultra long and comes with a dual charge.
The D800 on the other hand is quite a hassle in terms of file size for the non-noticeable improvement in IQ. No one would be able to tell a picture you took from a D3 or D800 especially the web-sized image we see online. ISO on D800 is better than the D3 but only if you convert to a 12MP file. At 100%, the grain is pretty nasty at ISO1600 and up. So I'm not sure the advantage of having all the pixel when you have to downsize to see the improvement. Again, if you don't print big, it probably won't matter.

I'm somewhat stuck with the D800 because I'm shooting birds and the D800 is the best DX camera at the moment. And if I want to switch to landscape, I'll have the 36MP if needed but really 12MP is all I need.

If I don't need the extra reach of a DX format camera and don't already have the D3, I will not hesitate to buy a used D3. You'll love it!



Sep 14, 2012 at 08:19 PM
anomalyconcept
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p.1 #8 · Buying a D3 Monday - still worth it?


In my (underqualified) opinion, the only options that you would truly be happy with are the D3, D3s, and maybe the D4. Since it doesn't sound like you need the high ISO performance of a D3s, the D3 really seems like the best fit, especially since you've found one with the buffer upgrade.

Given how well you like the D2x, you would feel right at home with the D3.



Sep 14, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Awasos23
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p.1 #9 · Buying a D3 Monday - still worth it?


Thanks for the thoughts folks. Regarding the D700 and the grip - I already have the grip for my D300, along with ENEL4 batteries and a charger. No need to purchase one of those. I'll check out the camera on monday and hopefully bring it home, unless something cheaper pops up in the mean time. He's also offered a 30 day return policy in the case the camera develops a problem. For landscape photography, I have a complete Hasselblad kit that I use.


Sep 14, 2012 at 11:23 PM
SRFast
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p.1 #10 · Buying a D3 Monday - still worth it?


The D3 buffer upgrade was $500 when it was available. $2100 for a D3 with the upgrade and in good/very good condition is an excellent price. The D3 shutter is rated for 300,000 clicks so there is plenty of life left on the current shutter. I owned a D3 for two years and it is a great camera.

Regards....JL



Sep 15, 2012 at 12:02 AM
 

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mfletch
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p.1 #11 · Buying a D3 Monday - still worth it?


I would say it's a really good deal. Anyone who ante'ed for the buffer upgrade and sends in for service takes good care of their gear. And while the D3 isn't the newest kid on the block it's definitely a proven workhorse. If you feel the D3 specs fit your shooting style/needs, I wouldn't hesitate.


Sep 15, 2012 at 02:28 AM
trenchmonkey
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p.1 #12 · Buying a D3 Monday - still worth it?


My all-time favorite body, sweet price....GL


Sep 15, 2012 at 10:58 AM
Frode
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p.1 #13 · Buying a D3 Monday - still worth it?


trenchmonkey wrote:
My all-time favorite body, sweet price....GL


+1!



Sep 15, 2012 at 01:00 PM
Steve Perry
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p.1 #14 · Buying a D3 Monday - still worth it?


Yeah, I'm thinking a D3 is your best bet too. I have a D800 and have owned a d3 and a pair of d3x bodies, and the construction / durability of the D3 is simply better. D800 is a great camera and I love mine, but it just doesn't seem as rugged as a d3 series body. A D600, from what I've seen, will likely be even less rugged than the 800 - it looks more like a FF version of a D7000.




Sep 15, 2012 at 01:14 PM
dj dunzie
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p.1 #15 · Buying a D3 Monday - still worth it?


D3 was one of the most sorted bodies to ever leave the manufacturing plants saying "Nikon" IMHO. They really did get it right. Some bodies are evolutionary (which isn't to say they're 'bad')... some are REVOLUTIONARY. The D3 is one of them. It's why I still own a D700 today, the sensor was just so far ahead of its time. I'd buy another D3 if I found the right deal on one, without hesitation.


Sep 15, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Awasos23
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p.1 #16 · Buying a D3 Monday - still worth it?


Thanks folks. You've allayed my fears on purchasing.


Sep 16, 2012 at 03:50 AM
s14brent
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p.1 #17 · Buying a D3 Monday - still worth it?


wish more d3's with buffer upgrades would show up on FM. just sayin'




Sep 16, 2012 at 12:40 PM
davidnholtjr
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p.1 #18 · Buying a D3 Monday - still worth it?


I just got a D3 and must say I'd take it over a D800 or D600 any day. It's a great camera and worth getting and blows away the D300 and D2x you have. You'll be very happy you got it.


Sep 16, 2012 at 11:39 PM
M635_Guy
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p.1 #19 · Buying a D3 Monday - still worth it?


Depending on what lenses you shoot, you could get TC's for shooting sports, too.

+1 on a D3 at that price w/ the buffer upgrade.



Sep 16, 2012 at 11:53 PM
huddy
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p.1 #20 · Buying a D3 Monday - still worth it?


That's a nice price that leaves you some money to put towards that 28-70 or a longer lens for sports. The D3 is a great camera, and I would have loved to be able to wait until now to go FF so I'd have the option of a D3 at the $2K price point. I really like my D700, but I love the feel of integrated grips.


Sep 17, 2012 at 12:22 AM
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