The GetDPI Photography Forum

Great to see you here. Join our insightful photographic forum today and start tapping into a huge wealth of photographic knowledge. Completing our simple registration process will allow you to gain access to exclusive content, add your own topics and posts, share your work and connect with other members through your own private inbox! And don’t forget to say hi!

  • Recently, there has been an increased activity from spammers, which may result in you receiving unwanted private messages. We are working hard to limit this activity.

D3x vs D800E - today. I'm thorn


Hi there,

I'm quite lost here... I'm about to buy a DSLR and I'm thorn from the D800E and the D3x.

Different animals, I know and for different needs. And no, I do not need the extra protection that the D3x provides.

However I downloaded several NEF files from both cameras and I find the D800E "harder" to work with.

I own a Leica M9 and I find the RAW's a pleasure to work with, just minor adjustments to get very nice results. Of course I own the M9 since launch and therefore I'm more than used to develop the raws, know by heart the camera limitations and what it can and cannot do. And I dont own neither of these Nikons.

But I find the D3x files similar to the M9 in terms of just needing minor adjustments. D800e files although gigantic they need quite a bit of work to get the most out of them.

So d3X :

- much heavier vs d800e
- older tech vs d800e
- I will benefit from weather sealing, not that I need it
- small mp bump from M9 - 18mp vs 24mp
- no video, but then again my interest in video is nill
- how is the AF compared to the D800 ?
- ISO a modest upgrade from the M9. I can use the M9 with clean ISO's until 640.. D3x I understand that 1600 is the limit to get clean files, 3200 if you expose and post process carefully but you are having detail/sharpness loss nonetheless
- grip integrated

D800e :

- lighter than D3x
- new kid in the block ( well 810... )
- video and all that jazz
- big upgrade 36mp vs 18
- great ISO at higher iso's

Anyone here had a D3x, bought a D800 and found it to be a dissapointment ? and went back to using the D3x ? Again, I do not need the D3x pro body, although I love it ( I still own a D2h and a D1x ). But I do not need it.

Found a used D3x , mint, very low clicks, for around 400 usd less than a D800. I'm a fool for considering this ? D3x ( apart from ruggedness and AF ) offers a modest upgrade from my M9.. but... but :) help !

Jorgen Udvang

Subscriber Member
I could have asked this question myself. I have the D2Xs and the D700 and the upgrade paths are D810 or D3X. I tend towards the D3X. It's a lovely camera. 36MP? If you need that, by all means...


Well-known member
Would the D800 (non-E version) be a better fit for you? I imagine the images will be minutely less sharp than the D800e but I remember early on some people had an easier time working with the files. If it's a color issue though than the solution is either batch processing off a pre-developed recipe if your RAW convertor allows or to choose another camera.


Well-known member
Detail wise the difference between a 800 and 800e are splitting hairs. I have never really seen much difference.

Colorwise. What profile what raw conversion software?

LR has at least 6 separate profiles now to try not just Adobe standard. Some can be a bit harsh but you might try "camera neutral" Most times "camera landscape" is too much.

C1 only offers 1 default profile. I find it's a bit muted but overall OK. You can also apply the Phase One IQ250 profile to the 800 files. Works very well but can push the blues to more of a reddish hue at times.

Can't offer too much on the D3x. Great body but no warranty and very old sensor. But if it works.........



New member
I had both and I've been working with Nikon files since '09, my humble opinion only is Nikon NX2 gets the most from Nikon NEF files, I open and make basic adjustments there and then open as a TIFF in PS.

The D3x/D800, I had both and the D3x body was my favorite Nikon body, dual CF cards, 4000 shots per charge and the files some say have a sort of organic look to them, not sure how to explain it,I'd say ISO 1600 is the limit. The D800 files are different more clinical maybe part of the initial attraction but your technique needs to be better. Part of the reason I stick with 24mp Nikon bodies is I feel it's the sweet spot for my lenses and I can shoot hand held more often than I could with the D800. Either way these bodies will feel really big after using an M9.


New member
I've had both and sold the D800, kept the D3x.

For me it was all in the body. It fits me far better and I enjoyed using it more. I love the files I have been getting out of my D3x. Plus battery life is a big winner. The bigger body feels far more solid when shooting handheld and balances much nicer than the small bodies. Also depending on what you are shooting I find the inbuilt grip a real bonus for portrait orientation. After using one it's hard to go back to the "prosumer" bodies D800.

Now I have tracked more into landscapes and shoot from my tripod 95% of the time I am selling the D3x soon to fund a D810. I have a Df as my walk around camera now so it is time to let the big beauty go. It will be a sad day though, I love that camera.


Well-known member
If you use the grip on the D800 it will take one of bigger batteries of the pro bodies like the D4. I was going to do that but the charger is around 300.00 so I stayed with AA's in the grip. Does add weight but you gain quite a bit if extended life.



Sr. Administrator
Staff member
Answer is probably simpler than you think. Do you honestly *need* the pro-level durability of the D3X? If yes, you are done and need go no further. If no, then you're half-way there. Next question is would you *prefer* to have the pro-level durability in the D3X or the newer tech, higher usable ISO and larger MP count in the D800 or D800E or D810? And we didn't even talk cost. Add in a cost-features analysis and my guess is your real answer will surface pretty quickly, assuming you got this far :D

kapil Syal

New member
and there is of course the D610 ... just to confuse matters more

seriously though. that 800 series needs a heck of a lot of effort to make it sing - like any racing car i guess

Guy Mancuso

Administrator, Instructor
Funny I was just not a fan of the D3X colors. I used C1 for the files that I had . Never owned the camera though.


Senior Subscriber Member

and there is of course the D610 ... just to confuse matters more (...)

One more vote for the D610 as a surprisingly pleasant alternative also worth to consider :thumbup:

A burglar stole my D800E and originally I just bought the D610 as a replacement to keep me afloat until the next new wonder showed up.
The D810 is what I have been waiting for.
But in the meantime I have become so satisfied with the D610 that I think I'll just stick to it for now.

To me the D610 files seem to have more pop straight out of the camera, due to more vibrant colors and also a bit more contrast than the D800E I had.

But I need to admit I have never shot the D800E and the D610 side by side, so I cannot prove it or illustrate it.
It's just my impression in general, though also confirmed by other members who have owned both cameras and with whom I spoke about the D600 / D610 file characteristics and camera handling compared with D800E before I ended up buying the D610.
I think it's a nice camera at a nice price.

There are some NEF files you can download here, proenca, if you'd like to take a look at some D610 NEF files:


Hello :

Great post as I too find myself in a similar situation - D3x or D810 ( I currently use the D3s ).

Reasons for D3x -
1. Same body as D3s - So less of a back-and-forth.
2. Same Batteries - So on trips only need to take one charge between both bodies ( D3s and D3x )
3. 2 CF Cards, again same as D3s.
4. For Architecture, I mainly shoot at f/11 so I am close to or at the diffraction limit - This perhaps is my greatest concern as I feel 36mp will really be soft vis-a-vis 24mp.

Reasons for D810
1. Better video than D3s.
2.Newer Tech.
3. More economical.

These are the points I am struggling with - Not arrived at an answer -

Any thoughts/suggestions specially shooting at f/11 between 24mp vs 36mp ( i.e. Diffraction issues ) - Do provide inputs.



Funny I was just not a fan of the D3X colors. I used C1 for the files that I had . Never owned the camera though.
I had the same experience Guy..I had two D3X's and never really liked the colour,I prefer the D800e I have now (Which I'm planning to trade in for a D810)

The D800/D810 also has better DR and better high ISO,Only real advantage of the D3X is the ergonomics..


Guy Mancuso

Administrator, Instructor
If it was my choice I would go with the D800 series. I agree the DR is better and has some features that I like better. I also liked the files better, from memory the D3X where pretty funky yellow based. Kind of weird actually. I remember this exactly since a bunch of us shot a landscape and I had my Phase back and someone gave me a D3X file and it was so far off the mark. Phase backs and C1 are rarely off the mark.


New member

I quite like the colours from my D3x, especially the greens. Not too sure if you get much green in Arizona Guy :)

For the OP I think get the D800e and never think of it again, you won't be disappointed and you won't know what you are missing with regards to build. I used to think my D700 was awesome until I held the D3s/x. Now it feels a bit toyish. Had I never gone for the bigger body I would probably still think it was great.

jvora do you need video?? If not then a D3x could work for you. I have read it is much easier to use tilt shift lenses for architecture on the pro bodies. (I have no experience with this so please someone correct me if I am wrong). If you're not using these lenses then go for the D810. As for diffraction - are you printing at all?? Are you printing bigger than 24"?? If not then you should have no problem shooting at f/11 with a D800 / D810.


I'm quite lost here... I'm about to buy a DSLR and I'm thorn from the D800E and the D3x.

Different animals, I know and for different needs. And no, I do not need the extra protection that the D3x provides.
But you don't say what you do need/want
--i.e., why are you about to by a DSLR?

"new" vs "older" tech seems a non-statement of difference; it's not as if the thing is going to stop working sooner if older, is it? (If the diff. is really DR or high-ISO, then say that!)

The D3X apparently comes into view because of a special deal you found; otherwise, though, why D800e and not D800, or D610 as suggested, and then yet the D810 latest-greatest?

And as for ruggedness, although specs might show some difference between Nikon Dn00 & Dn bodies, how often is any difference realized in practice ?



New member
I'm still using my D3X since 2008.
The files are big enough for what my clients need.
Never liked the look and feel of the D800 series bodies.
Don't need and use video.
Haven't seen and held the D810 yet.
Ideally I would love a D4X, if that ever comes out.
I did purchase a Fuji XT-1 with the 23/1.4 + 56/1.2 lenses.
Very happy with that as well.


Well, thank you all that contributed in this thread. Really some insightful opinions here and helped me.

In the end, and as much I love the D3x body and feel, I do not love its weight ( heck, I'm a Leica M user :) ) .

Found a D800E for a really really nice price and bit the bullet :)

Thanks again everyone.