The D3's high ISO performance still amazes me, several months on...the other evening I went out with a 50/1.4 and just started taking pictures. The combination of the high ISO performance, auto-iso and fast and sure autofocus really opens up a different world for hand held night photography on the street. I have done this sort of thing with the M8, but it gives up the ghost at anything over 640 ISO (for my tastes anyway). It's not that I mind grain -- grain is fine, muddiness is not. I have pretty good eyesight and quick reactions with a rangefinder, but there is absolutely no contest compared to the D3 AF -- I just set it on center point, place it on the subject, and it is in focus.
I have mostly been using the 50/1.4 AFD, which while ok, is certainly not the best fast lens I have used -- iffy bokeh, lots of vignetting (which I actually like at times), and a good deal of softness. On the plus side, it is small, light, cheap and focuses quickly. It does make me hope for some new AF primes at photokina. Just thinking of what the D3 could do with the 35/1.4 Summilux ASPH or a comparable lens attached is enough to start me drooling.
Anyway, here are a few shots, nothing special, just my neighborhood. All are shot between f/2.5 and f/1.4 (most at 1.8) and ISO 1400-3200 (most at 3200).
(yes, I know it is not focused on the person...that was intentional, ill-advised as it may have been)
That says "Save Domino" -- my neighborhood contains the old Domino Sugar factory, which is going to be knocked down for development. The people in that building are hoping to get it turned into a cultural center like the Tate Modern in London. It seems unlikely to happen.
The Kool Man ice cream trucks live down the street from me. If I was able, I would love to fire rocket launchers at them and watch them explode -- their saccharine music rings in my ears all summer long as they endlessly circle my block, fattening up construction workers (narry a schoolchild in sight around here).
Oven Fresh **** is Coming! Truer words were never spoken.
To give an idea in the difference in clarity, here is the M8 at 640:
While I probably like that photo better than any of the others, technically it is no comparison to the D3 files, which are better at 3200 than the M8 at 640.