I just had a real scare, but first things first.
The D3 was ordered new from England via eBay from a large-volume dealer with very good ratings. My German is quite decent, but I can still read English about twice as fast, with greater accuracy and more complete understanding. Besides, the cheapest German price is about €400 more, although shipping is of course cheaper. PayPal didn't want to take the money from my account, nor would my deliberately low credit-card limit have taken the beating from this purchase, so I had to use the slower bank transfer to PayPal method. The money arrived on Saturday, so the camera could not be shipped until Monday, yesterday. It was picked up, and all day the tracking info only said that. This morning, I checked on a whim, not really thinking that it would have gotten much further, but there was about a dozen entries, the last of which was that the courier had it. Internally cheering, I considered if I should take the day off, and also if I should take a shower, or wait for the camera until doing so, and just as I had decided to wait, the door bell rang.
The camera was wrapped very well, but unfortunately the corners of the golden box were a little worse for wear. Otherwise, everything was flawless, although there was a little dust on the battery, which made me wonder. The battery itself had absolutely no markings of any kind, so I guess the box may have been sitting open on a shelf or something.
Anyway, I examined the box contents, a little disappointed at the agricultural nature of the packing materials. I guess I am a little spoiled by my experience with Apple and Leica packaging. No harm done, I pulled everything out. It looks like I will need one bag for the camera, and another for the manual. I looked at the thickness of it, comparable to its width somehow, and thought: "ah, four languages". Nope, just English. I think by the time I have read it to the end, I will have forgotten the beginning.
I plugged in the battery and while it was charging, examined the contents. Having done that, and packed most of the stuff back in, I popped my 105/2.5 on the camera, and looked through the viewfinder. Very large and bright, I also put on my DK-17M and DK-19 (which I had bought for use with my Contax 645 AF and digital back, but which magnifies too much for film use) and the view filled my vision completely, if I squished my eye against the cup. I am not sure if I will keep it on, but for now it is there.
The camera feels like it was made from a single piece of rubberized light-weight alloy (however that would work). It is just so solid, and this is one of the reasons I went for the D3 over the D700. The D700 feels great, but the D3 is a step more solid. Fantastic. I will fend off robbers with this thing.
I then wanted to set the diopter, pulled the little knob out, and looked through. I focused the lens as well as I could, not terribly well, and then started fiddling with the knob. But... I just couldn't get it sharp. It would move towards a point of greatest sharpness, and then leave it again without reaching it. Odd. I wondered what was wrong. Not broken, hopefully... I tried again, same result. Okay, maybe the lens is off, I thought, I have never had a chance to use it. I put on the Zeiss ZF 21, a sharp lens if there ever was one. Same problem. Damn! I took off the lens, and tried without a lens, but the markings are not visible with the camera off, so that didn't work, but I did the best I could looking at the grain of the screen. Sh*t sh*t sh*t, it just arrived, and now I have to send it back or get it repaired?
I went online, and searched for "Nikon D3 diopter problem" and similar terms, but was unable to find anything directly related, so either this was a one-off problem, or something else was going on. I then went to Nikon EU's website, and found that my nearest dealer was not that far, and would cover a warranty repair.
Sitting on my chair, stewing a little, wondering what I might have done wrong, I decided to pop in the battery and check if the AF was also off (I can use my girlfriend's 18-55VR for this, in DX mode), and bam, the viewfinder got a *lot* brighter, some lines appeared, and everything was suddenly razor-sharp!
I guess the LCD layer which selectively renders or hides information is not able to be clear with no battery in the camera. Even with the camera "off", which is not really off, the screen goes clear, however.
Moving right along, focus on my window, click, figure out how to zoom. Weird, two-part zooming, hold the zoom button and scroll the rear wheel, and a little yellow border zooms in. When I let go of the button, the zoom takes effect. I guess this lets me zoom and move the frame around at the same time. Very odd, but somehow I like it, and I have a vague feeling that in a couple of weeks, I will look at all my other cameras and wonder why they don't work like the D3.
Razor-sharp. I just can't see any softness. Beautiful screen, full VGA resolution, about double the linear resolution of most normal screens, except a few other cameras. Everyone else is still catching up. I guess MF digital will get this in 2025
I put on the Zeiss again, wow! Huge beautiful viewfinder full of wide angle goodness. Mmmmm.
Okay, S mode tested, Try CL. Click-click-click at a good pace. Nice. Now CH mode. Clickety-clickety-clickclickclickclickety-click. Whoa. Slow down. How many shots did I just grab, of the identical thing? 20? No wonder Nikon put in a shutter rated for 300,000 clicks. A little over 9 hours at that pace
My RRS full panorama kit and L-bracket arrived yesterday, so I will be putting that through its paces tonight, most likely, or maybe I will take 1/2 day off and do some fun stuff today.