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Nikon D3x Gordon Laing, July 2009

Nikon D3x Gallery

The following images were taken with a final production Nikon D3x fitted with the Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f2.8 and Nikkor AF-S 50mm f1.4G lenses. As a full-frame body, the effective field of view has not been reduced. The D3x was set to RAW for these samples, with Auto White Balance and the default Standard Picture Control, Normal High ISO NR and Active D-Lighting switched off. The images were processed using Nikon Capture NX 2.2.0 using the default settings.

The individual exposure mode, RAW file sizes, shutter speeds, aperture, ISO and lens focal length are listed for each image.

The crops are taken from the original files, reproduced at 100% and saved in Adobe Photoshop CS4 as JPEGs with the default Very High quality preset, while the resized images were made in Photoshop CS4 and saved with the default High quality preset. The three crops are typically taken from far left, central and far right portions of each image.

Note: you may wish to open a number of galleries for direct comparison of detail and noise: Nikon D700 Gallery, Canon EOS 5D Mark II Gallery, Sony Alpha DSLR A900 Gallery. All are full-frame bodies.

Landscape: 28MB, Program, 1/320, f9, 100 ISO, 14-24mm at 24mm (24mm equivalent)

  This first shot was taken with the D3x at its base sensitivity of 100 ISO and under bright conditions – as such it represents a best-case scenario. We zoomed the 14-24mm to its 24mm focal length.

The crops, as you’d expect, are clean and packed with fine detail. As we saw in the results pages, the default settings for RAW conversions in Capture NX err on side of restraint, so there’s room for boosting the sharpening if desired. The lens is also performing very well, sharp to the corners of even a full-frame body.


Landscape: 34MB, Program, 1/200, f7.1, 100 ISO, 14-24mm at 24mm (24mm equivalent)

  In this second shot we've kept the D3x at its base sensitivity of 100 ISO and the lens zoomed-into 24mm. Again the bright conditions should yield decent results and once again the D3x doesn’t disappoint, delivering an image packed with fine detail that the lens keeps sharp right up the edges.

We shot this at a very low angle, and while the D3x’s screen and viewfinder are excellent, a flip-out monitor would have made life easier.


Landscape: 28.2MB, Program, 1/500, f11, 200 ISO, 50mm (50mm equivalent)

    We normally shoot the steamship approaching, but annual repairs forced a shot of it in dock. As usual though we’ve increased the sensitivity to 200 ISO while also switching to the AF-S 50mm f1.4G for a closer view.

The doubling of the sensitivity hasn’t had any negative impact and once again the crops are clean and packed with detail. The latest Nikkor 50mm prime is also performing well here, albeit stopped-down to f11.


Portrait: 27.2MB, Aperture Priority, 1/4000, f2.8, 200 ISO, 50mm (50mm equivalent)

  For this portrait shot we stuck with the 200 ISO sensitivity and 50mm lens, but opened it to f2.8 in Aperture Priority.

This has easily thrown the background out of focus, and while f1.4 would increase the effect, the depth of field was too small for the subject.

Within the shallow plane of focus, the details are sharp, and once again there’s no noise to worry about.


Macro: 31.9MB, Aperture Priority, 1/60, f8, 400 ISO, 50mm (50mm equivalent)

  For this macro shot we increased the D3x’s sensitivity to 400 ISO and positioned the camera as close at it would focus with the AF-S 50mm lens.

The AF-S 50mm f1.4G is certainly no macro lens, but has still delivered a good result at its closest focusing distance.

As you’d hope for a full-frame body, there's also no compromise with the D3x increased to 400 ISO in this particular sample.


Indoor: 29.9MB, Aperture Priority, 1/25, f5, 400 ISO, 14-24mm at 24mm (24mm equivalent)

  Our first indoor shot was taken with the D3x at 400 ISO, and here we switched back to the 14-24mm zoom.

Low light forced Program to select too large an aperture for the desired depth-of-field, so we switched to Aperture Priority and f5.

There’s the slightest evidence of very fine noise in shadow areas, but nothing to worry about.


Indoor: 28.7MB, Aperture Priority, 1/6, f4, 800 ISO, 14-24mm at 24mm (24mm equivalent)

  Our second indoor shot was taken with the D3x’s sensitivity increased to 800 ISO. As above the D3x wanted to use the maximum aperture in Program mode, so we switched to f4 in Aperture Priority to achieve a slightly greater depth-of-field.

As also seen in our High ISO Noise results pages, there’s a slight increase in noise levels, but again the textures are very fine and pretty discreet. The lower resolution D700 manages a slightly cleaner result though.


Indoor: 29.3MB, Program, 1/60, f4, 1600 ISO, 14-24mm at 24mm (24mm equivalent)

  Our final indoor shot was again taken with the 14-24mm at 24mm, but this time with the D3x’s sensitivity increased to 1600 ISO.

The noise textures are now quite visible when viewed at 100%, especially in shadow areas, but again the grain is very fine, avoiding the undesirable electronic-looking artefacts of rival models at high sensitivities. Again the lower resolution D700 has a slight edge, but it’s still a very usable sensitivity for the D3x. See this scene at all sensitivities in our D3x High ISO results page.


All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2017 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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