How to get a Nikon D3 to work like a D3X

posted in Equipment Journal

How to get a Nikon D3 to work like a D3X

The D3X is Nikons flagship 24.5-megapixel FX-format D-SLR – it comes with a 24.5-megapixel 35.9 x 24.0mm CMOS sensor. It seemed such a great D-SLR that I have been itching to find a way to afford one. Instead of purchasing, I wanted to see how much the circa £3000 upgrade would improve the quality of the D3 that I currently shoot, for £3000 it had better be good.

I called Warehouse Express to go and play with theirs, setting up a shot using tripod and Nikon 14mm f/2.8 shooting same aperture and settings on the D3 I wanted to compare the raw images and see how much that £3000 would get me, results were interesting

This was the image taken by both the D3 and D3X, ironic shooting the Sony stand…




You can see that the D3X has it on quality at this crop size, text is more readable however colour, saturation and vibrancy is almost identical.

So the hypothesis is that if quality/clarity is the only main difference then it could be correctable in post processing. I put both images together and created a set of actions that made the D3 image look the same in terms of hue/saturation, brightness, contrast – the results were as such.


D3 vs. D3X Post Processed


On my hardware calibrated 27inch iMac, these are identical – in terms of the D3 image, it may even have it on IQ once its post processed but you can decide for yourself.

There is a hardware difference at play here, the D3x will shoot at native ISO100 and 6048 x 4032 vs. the D3 ISO200  and 4256 x 2832 res. If you need to shoot massive prints then post processing will not help you that much here.

When you also consider the D3 is half the price, has better high ISO shooting and is a faster camera (9FPS RAW) – I cannot see the D3X as a feasible upgrade, bring on the D4.

I’ve included the Photoshop action script if you want to try it out…



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