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Tearing out my hair: D3x or D800
  
 
mindcandy
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p.1 #1 · Tearing out my hair: D3x or D800


My wife surprised me for my birthday (today!) with a D3x since she knew I've been wanting to upgrade from my D7000 for a while now. While the camera looks very nice, I'm torn between keeping this, or returning it and going for the cheaper D800E.

I'm mostly a landscape photographer, and very rarely an indoor party photographer when a friend needs photos for a special occasion.

From everything I have read online over the last 4 hours of research, I've seen many differing opinions about D3x vs the D800E. It seems to me that unless I'm looking at very large prints, the D3x might be overkill. Also, for lower light photography, the D800E seems to do really well. I also like that the D800E is lighter, since I like to carry around a camera while I'm walking around town, but I could keep my D7000 for those trips so weight isn't a deal breaker.

I could justify the huge price tag on the D3x if it was significantly better than the D800E for landscapes but I'm not seeing that in reviews online, both professional and anecdotal on forums.

Am I missing something, there must be a reason people are willing to pay almost 3x for the D3x over a D800E.

I'd really appreciate your insight here, what is a wonderful birthday present is turning into a hair tearing mess I want a camera I'll use for years, and not regret getting the right one now.



Jan 08, 2014 at 07:07 AM
Rodluvan
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p.1 #2 · Tearing out my hair: D3x or D800


Did she get you a new and unused d3x??

I bought a used d3x when the D800 came out as I was disappointed with the, for me, unnecessary resolution of the D800 sensor (and accompanied cumbersome file-size). I got it for less than a new D800. However, I would've never consider paying $8000 (or so?) for a new D3x. That's crazytalk imo (sorry).

For me the d3x the best buy I ever did and I haven't regretted for a split second choosing it over the D800. It's a lovable camera, and 24Mpx is a sweetspot for my kind of photog at, or close to, base iso. It's roughed, has vertical grip and over all built to the highest professional standard achievable by Nikon. The D800 simply is not. This may or may not be an issue for you.

However: the theoretically achievable IQ of the D800 is better by any metrics and in any situation, resolution, iso, dynamic range etc so if that is ultimately paramount for you; the D800 is the way to go. Perhaps even a D610 if you can live with a flimsy body like that.

Good luck!

Edited on Jan 08, 2014 at 07:52 AM · View previous versions



Jan 08, 2014 at 07:47 AM
Christian S
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p.1 #3 · Tearing out my hair: D3x or D800


The D800 trumps the D3X. The D3X is a very good camera but only if you can get one for $2,000. You can find used D800's for $2,100. In the beginning the D3X was the only high res option but even then it was way overpriced. Sadly, there have been quite a few D3X owners who lost out on good resale when the D800 emerged. Dump it and buy a D800. The D800 is by far one of the best cameras made at its price point. Save your hair and trade up to the D800. Personally I would love to own a D3X if I could grab one for the same price as a used D600. Even the D600 sensor is better than the D3X sensors but the ergonomics battery and long term ruggedness would be nice @24 mp's.


Jan 08, 2014 at 07:47 AM
pr4photos
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p.1 #4 · Tearing out my hair: D3x or D800


The D3x is a more rugged camera, but if you are after the best quality image its really no contest - the D800 is the better camera and sensor


Jan 08, 2014 at 09:40 AM
Slug69
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p.1 #5 · Tearing out my hair: D3x or D800


I would rather have the D3x used or new than D800.


Jan 08, 2014 at 10:24 AM
pr4photos
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p.1 #6 · Tearing out my hair: D3x or D800


The OP wants it for landscapes, and the D800 sensor is clearly the winner


Jan 08, 2014 at 10:47 AM
VinnieJ
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p.1 #7 · Tearing out my hair: D3x or D800


I've never used a D3x but I have owned a D3s. I ended up selling it because of it's size. The D800 is big as well but easier to tote around than the full size bodies. Then just use a battery grip for the times a bigger body can help. If it was for me it would be an easy decision because of this.


Jan 08, 2014 at 10:51 AM
thedruid
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p.1 #8 · Tearing out my hair: D3x or D800


The D3x was the best Nikon body I've used by far, it just feels great in my hand. Dual Cf cards, build and a battery that goes forever and 24mp is the sweet spot for me....but I'd never pay $8K for one. Used they still command over $3k and for that there are now better options sensor wise, used or new D800/e.


Jan 08, 2014 at 12:00 PM
DGC1
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p.1 #9 · Tearing out my hair: D3x or D800


Christian S wrote:
The D800 trumps the D3X. The D3X is a very good camera but only if you can get one for $2,000. You can find used D800's for $2,100. In the beginning the D3X was the only high res option but even then it was way overpriced. Sadly, there have been quite a few D3X owners who lost out on good resale when the D800 emerged. Dump it and buy a D800. The D800 is by far one of the best cameras made at its price point. Save your hair and trade up to the D800. Personally I would love
...Show more

Could you kindly show me where I can find a D3X for $2000.00



Jan 08, 2014 at 12:45 PM
ckcarr
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p.1 #10 · Tearing out my hair: D3x or D800


Disregarding the price hyperbole, what is a nice clean, low mileage D3x going for?


Jan 08, 2014 at 12:50 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



VinnieJ
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p.1 #11 · Tearing out my hair: D3x or D800


DGC1 wrote:
Could you kindly show me where I can find a D3X for $2000.00


I read that as "if you can find one for the price of a used D800 then consider it". I could be wrong, I don't think it was a reference to the current price on the used market.

ckcarr wrote:
Disregarding the price hyperbole, what is a nice clean, low mileage D3x going for?


You'd be looking to spend around $3500. With patience you might be able land one for $3000. In other words, similar to the price of a new D800(e).


Edited on Jan 08, 2014 at 01:14 PM · View previous versions



Jan 08, 2014 at 01:08 PM
Rodluvan
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p.1 #12 · Tearing out my hair: D3x or D800


ckcarr wrote:
Disregarding the price hyperbole, what is a nice clean, low mileage D3x going for?


I bought mine about 1,5 years ago for $2700 (SEK18 000). My guess is they go for about $2500, give or take, now.



Jan 08, 2014 at 01:09 PM
gfinlayson
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p.1 #13 · Tearing out my hair: D3x or D800


The D3x has the rugged pro build, but everywhere else the D800E blows the doors off it. Dynamic range, AF performance, low light performance, you name it, the D800E is the winner.

I'd return it, pick up a D800E, buy some nice glass and something to treat your wife with the change, oh and slap the sales guy who pulled the wool over her eyes by selling it to her in the first place



Jan 08, 2014 at 01:38 PM
ckcarr
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p.1 #14 · Tearing out my hair: D3x or D800


Yes, the missing link of information.

Did she unknowingly get suckered for a full retail price on a discontinued camera by the store?
If she paid $8,500 for it, I'd call the fraud police. If she paid $3,000 that might be different (with full disclosure by same store).



Jan 08, 2014 at 01:44 PM
Steve Perry
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p.1 #15 · Tearing out my hair: D3x or D800


I just had a conversation about this with another guy at Dpreview. Here's the gist of it:

At one point I had 2 D3x bodies - just an awesome camera. Both are gone now in favor of a D800 and D800e.

From a shooting standpoint, D3x wins all day long - I almost hate my D800s by comparison.

However...

The big thing is the sensor. If it's image quality you're after, then D800 kills the D3x in dynamic range, color, and noise performance. In the end, I'm more worried about delivering the best quality image available (my D800s do landscapes for me), so the D800 wins the day.

Of course, if a D4x came out, those silly D800 bodies would be sold off ASAP.

More details about the differences:

The D3x AF seemed more aggressive and even more accurate than my D800s - if nothing else it was more consistent. The live view was better, the ergonomics were much better, the frame rate was a touch faster and I think the buffer gave me more shots (not 100% sure on that last one).

Additionally, the D3x was more rugged with real battery and card door covers, felt much more solid than a gripped D800, and I always felt like I could use it in any conditions (I had one get totally blasted by a wave once - it was like getting hit with a fire hose - the camera just kept on working - not sure my D800 would fare as well).

On the other hand, the d800 sensor is so nice - for example, high ISO really is better. I didn't like to go much above ISO800 on my D3x, that number is somewhere between 1600 and 3200 for me on the D800. I personally like the color response of the D800 better and the dynamic range is so good I actually had to change my shooting style - didn't need to do HDR bracketing nearly as often. The raw files from the D800 can be pushed like crazy and hold up better than the D3x as well. Of course, as a landscape guy the 36MP are an awesome upgrade as well.

So, yeah, it's kind of weird. I'd like to shoot with the D3x, but I want the D800 sensor. I'm probably just making this harder, aren't I?



Jan 08, 2014 at 02:24 PM
Rodluvan
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p.1 #16 · Tearing out my hair: D3x or D800


gfinlayson wrote:
blows the doors off it.


I would hesitate to use such blunt language in this respect. I would never argue that d3x beats the D800 in any one IQ specification (because, obviously, it doesn't), but the practical differences, from what I've seen, are negligible (if we ignore higher iso settings, where I feel the main difference lies). This is also supported by, say, dxo, which puts the differences in dynamic range and color depth in the "barely noticeable" range.

Never the less, in the end, the D800(e) is the camera the OP should get.



Jan 08, 2014 at 02:25 PM
m.sommers00
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p.1 #17 · Tearing out my hair: D3x or D800


If landscape is your primary subject, I believe a D800e and a nice piece of glass will produce a better image.


Jan 08, 2014 at 02:54 PM
gfinlayson
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p.1 #18 · Tearing out my hair: D3x or D800


Rodluvan wrote:
I would hesitate to use such blunt language in this respect. I would never argue that d3x beats the D800 in any one IQ specification (because, obviously, it doesn't), but the practical differences, from what I've seen, are negligible (if we ignore higher iso settings, where I feel the main difference lies). This is also supported by, say, dxo, which puts the differences in dynamic range and color depth in the "barely noticeable" range.

Never the less, in the end, the D800(e) is the camera the OP should get.


OK, maybe I was a little blunt there, and in terms of dynamic range and colour depth the differences aren't huge. Noise at higher ISO settings is a major difference between these 2 bodies. When downsampled slightly, I find ISO 6400 perfectly useable for low light stuff with the D800. I considered the D3x myself when going for a full-frame, primarily for the build, but given that the D800 outperforms it and costs about a third less new than a good used D3x, the decision wasn't a difficult one to make.



Jan 08, 2014 at 03:14 PM
unclemikey
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p.1 #19 · Tearing out my hair: D3x or D800


I don't own a D3x but have been able to borrow one from a fellow photographer I work with here in Richmond VA. I like it, it is heavy but ergonomically well suited for my hands. Very expensive so I didn't opt to get one. I did however, on the recommendation from someone on a different board, buy the D800e. I do a lot of surgical photography and sometimes can't use flash in the operating room. It was advised the it would be easier to use a lower ISO and pull the shadows up from the D800e sensor then from the D7100 I had been using. That advice was correct and I am loving working with the D800e. Only draw back is in post with my ancient computer. The 36mp files take forever to load or adjust and I am currently having a new computer built for this reason. The new 17" laptop I'm getting will be about the cost of the D3x but it will be worth it since I now have several real estate clients for whom I shoot and I am doing a lot more landscape.

For my equipment, I never worry about looking like a professional with the latest and greatest equipment. My bank account is testament to my business and my clients don't care if I use a Kodak Brownie as long as I make pictures for them.

As others have stated here, trade in the D3x for the D800e and I think you will very happy.



Jan 08, 2014 at 03:23 PM
unclemikey
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p.1 #20 · Tearing out my hair: D3x or D800


gfinlayson wrote:
OK, maybe I was a little blunt there, and in terms of dynamic range and colour depth the differences aren't huge. Noise at higher ISO settings is a major difference between these 2 bodies. When downsampled slightly, I find ISO 6400 perfectly useable for low light stuff with the D800. I considered the D3x myself when going for a full-frame, primarily for the build, but given that the D800 outperforms it and costs about a third less new than a good used D3x, the decision wasn't a difficult one to make.


+1
For the past month or so I had been experimenting with my D7100 in auto ISO up to 3200 to 6400. I find that my exposures need a lot of noise correction in that range making 11x14 prints; but with the D800e I can shoot at 6400 and create great 20x24 prints with virtually no noise and not a lot of post attention.



Jan 08, 2014 at 03:29 PM
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