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Thread: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

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    Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    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!

    Whewwwwww!

    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.

    Photos soon!
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Enjoy! I've got a friends 1D mkIII on loan for a couple of weeks and my 1Ds mkIII is arriving tomorrow - the feel of a pro level camera can't be beat! Machine gunning at 10fps is quite something isn't it! it keeps shooting for a second after you release the button
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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Congratulations Carsten!

    Enjoy this beautiful tool

    I am still back and forth between the D700 and the D300s - I know the difference, but the smaller sensor of the D300s would make lot of sense for me shooting wildlife. On the other side I never wanted to step back into Crop DSLRs

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Carsten, just in case you are not yet at page no. 220 in the Manual I recommend you take a look at p. 220 - 222.

    SETUP MENU >> Non-CPU lens data >> Lens number >> Focal length (mm) >> Maximum aperture >> Done.

    After you have specified your Non-CPU lenses, you can just select the relevant Non-CPU lens in the SETUP MENU >> Non-CPU lens data >> Lens number.

    Later on you can decide whether you want to assign the Non-CPU lens selection to a Camera Control (Function button).
    (Personally I have chosen another solution, but that's just me).

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    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    The Archivist is right.

    In the above mentionned menu you'll find out that re the 21mm, the FW doesn't provide this exact FL in the menu. Entries are only for 20 (or 24, but of course you want 20 here). It's of no importance since the only shooting automation is related to the lens min. aperture (when using the A shooting mode). The "20" value will simply be displayed on the EXIF data.

    While we're at it, even though bought new you might want before all things to check the FW version. If not done yet, of course. Just in case, you want v.2.02 for the more natural colors and much improved AWB performance (and, in my opinion, noise perception, but that's an open topic on which not all agree). Anyway, alike the recent update for the D700, the new FW is a must.
    Of course, maybe it's already there in your new camera

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Thanks everyone, I appreciate the warm welcome. Gorgeous and very capable camera, and I am very happy to have it.

    Steen, ja tak, I did indeed find that page. I was digging around on the first few pages, looking through the Q&A section until I found the reference to pg. 378 ("what lenses can I use"), where hint 14 pointed me at pg. 220, and further on to pg. 337, where I learned how to set up the Fn button + scroll wheel to choose lens. I am curious what other solution you found?

    Thanks Corlan, I have firmware 2.01, so I will be looking for how to install 2.02 immediately. I saw that there is no 21mm setting for my ZF21, and instinctively chose 20, even though the manual asks you to choose the next higher value. I wonder why they skipped 21mm, a very common focal length (which Nikon may never have used, admittedly, but still).
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Carsten, congrats and I bet you will have fun with that camera.

    Peter-go for the d700 not the d300s.
    I just have explored the 70-200VRII as my favorite lens for the d700, nearly as good as the 200/2.0VR and even with TS very good.
    However I read that on the D300s the 70-200VRII shall not deliever the same quality images.
    Also the D300s slows down when using it in 14bit mode.

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Carsten: Congratulations. I picked up a D3 at the camera store yesterday. It really does feel more substantial then the D700. I sold my D3 last summer and got the D700. Just felt more comfortable, sizewise, in the city. Looking forward to your posts. Cheers, Matt.

    http://mdriscoll.zenfolio.com

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    Carsten, congrats and I bet you will have fun with that camera.

    Peter-go for the d700 not the d300s.
    I just have explored the 70-200VRII as my favorite lens for the d700, nearly as good as the 200/2.0VR and even with TS very good.
    However I read that on the D300s the 70-200VRII shall not deliever the same quality images.
    Also the D300s slows down when using it in 14bit mode.
    Does the D700 have 14bit mode? Sorry for my ignorance....

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    Does the D700 have 14bit mode? Sorry for my ignorance....
    Yes, it does. Cheers, Matt

    http://mdriscoll.zenfolio.com

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    Does the D700 have 14bit mode? Sorry for my ignorance....
    yes, and it doesnt slow down the camera.
    I am not talking only about fms/sec but also about shutter lag.

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Thanks, Matt, unfortunately with a full-time job and a little daughter, it is hard to find the time. Today I will do a test HDR-panorama, spherical, and HDR for the sake of using as environment lighting in computer graphics, i.e. the usual final phase for photographers of tone-mapping the HDR back into an LDR image will not be done. I will probably also try to make a QuickTime VR image from it, but I am not sure if my software will do that. If not, I might see if I can find a web-plugin which takes a 360/180 image and displays it like that. Fun fun fun.
    Carsten - Website

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Thanks WRT D300s vs D700!

    Then I will go for the D700. I am a FF fan anyway, so the D700 will give me what I currently need from a DSLR. And I do not need to buy any DX lenses .....
    Last edited by ptomsu; 25th March 2010 at 00:32.

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    Thanks WRT D300s vs D700!

    Then I will go for the D700. I am a FF fan anyway, so the D700 will give me what I currently need from a DSLR. And I do not need to buy any DX lenses .....
    Dont forget to order the 70-200VRII right away with the body

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    Dont forget to order the 70-200VRII right away with the body
    It is on my list

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    The 14-24, 24-70 and 70-200VRII are all on my list too, but my spare cash will get me a Twix bar
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    The 14-24, 24-70 and 70-200VRII are all on my list too, but my spare cash will get me a Twix bar
    Carsten: Those are the three to have! Stop eating Twix bars, or any food for that matter, to get those lenses. Cheers, Matt.

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    The 14-24, 24-70 and 70-200VRII are all on my list too, but my spare cash will get me a Twix bar
    You forgot the other essential lens for the quartet - the 105 VR micro. I've taken that combo (plus 200-400VR) on many many road trips. These are the lenses that I always end up returning to.

    For the trifecta (or super foursome), there's even the ideal bag from ThinkTank Photo - THINK TANK SHAPE SHIFTER

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    The 14-24, 24-70 and 70-200VRII are all on my list too, but my spare cash will get me a Twix bar
    Now that I am so happy with the 70-200 I plan to carry the 14-24 and 24-70 less often.
    The 14-24 is a great lens but big and heay.
    Right now I plan to carry 24-50- 70-210 or sometimes maybe even just 24 and 70-210 to make the images more interesting (since it would force me to go more for the "extremes" than staying in the midlle.
    The other thing is that for the wides AF is not so important, so one can also allways bring a M8/M9 wide one wideangle lens.

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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    I know the 14-24 is an exceptional lens, but it is big!

    So I am actually looking for the 16-35, which is much smaller and almost same wide angle as 14.

    But I second the thought about moving out with just 2 lenses, either the 16-35 and the 70-200 or the 24 instead of the 16-35. Makes one more think about how to take a picture.

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    (...) how to set up the Fn button + scroll wheel to choose lens. I am curious what other solution you found? (...)

    I have just chosen to keep the FUNC. button + Dials assigned to Exposure Bracketing, simply because in that way I'm able to remember where to find the bracketing
    In that way I don't need to search. I even don't need to think (which is the best part of it and maybe the real cause why I love to photograph in the first place ).
    I stop thinking and enter the see mode.

    So I keep the Non-CPU lens selection as a menu choice and then just put it on the top of MY MENU where I add my chosen menu items in order to find them in a hurry (or find them at all).

    The high end dSLRs have become such advanced machines with countless features, so the trick is to get to know where everything is.
    And, to remember to reset it when you have adjusted something

    I still remember when I was trying to shoot Guy leaving the bank wearing some funny presidential mask.
    10 seconds later the shutter fired according to the Selftimer Release Mode setting. But never mind, they didn't need any picture.
    "Guy has left the building." the policeman calmly reported.
    "Again ?" his superior asked rhetorically.

    Now I have made it a habit checking the following buttons and settings whenever I grab the camera, in order to check where I left the settings the last time I used it.
    So next time I'll be prepared. Maybe I'll become famous, just like the man who shot Liberty Valance

    I'm moving from the top left of the camera to the top right and then down to the right on the back, finally ending up in MY MENU checking those settings (especially Non-CPU lens and a9 Exposure delay mode). Same route everytime.
    It has become a firm procedure, and it only takes 5 seconds to press the buttons and check the informations in the Control Panel - and another 5 seconds if something needs to be adjusted.


    NB: From Nikon D300 !



    Top Left: 3 things White Balance + ISO + Release Mode


    Top Right: 2 things Exposure Mode + Exposure Compensation




    . .

    On the back: 3 things Metering mode + Focus mode + MY MENU

    .

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    For the time being I have these menu items in MY MENU, but now and then I adjust the selection.



    .

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    The button layout on my D300 looks like this.
    I'm aware that the layout on the D3 is somewhat different, but you get the idea with the control strategy.





    .

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Interesting! Yes, the D3 is a bit different. The Bracketing has its own button where your QUAL button is, so I don't need to put that in a menu. I used the Fn button for lenses, and that works well on this camera.

    I did two 360 panos, with 9-shot bracketing, and neither works The one was a nightshot at Potsdamer Platz, and I was so immersed in the shooting that I didn't notice that the colour of the lighting changed every few seconds, *cough*.

    The second one was at work, and the ceiling is featureless white, and the floor nearly featureless grey, so I can't get the control points I need.

    I have been shooting in portrait mode, 6 times around and 3 rows, with an extra shot for zenith and nadir, but that is probably only enough when there is a lot of unique detail in each shot. I will reshoot them, probably either 8 shots, 4 rows, or in portrait mode, in which case I have to figure out the counts there. Probably 8-10 shots around and 2-3 rows.

    The damn thing is that 9-shot bracketing and all those shots is 180 shots a pop. That 300000 shot shutter is going to come in handy...
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Hi Carsten,

    Congrats! I got a D3 soon after they came out and it's been a fantastic machine. I still use my Leicas (spoiled by the M9) more but for pro jobs the Nikon always saves the day. Check out the UNICEF in the DR pics on my website. All with the D3, though I'd only had the thing for a week before I took them!

    The 14-24 is amazing but a serious beast. The ZF 35 f/2 is fantastic as is the ZF 50 1.4 though if I had to do it over again I might have gone for the 50 Makro (I have the Nikon 55 2.8 manual focus and it does a fine job). The Nikon 85 1.8 AFD is a great lens and less than half the price of its bigger brother. I also have the ZF 28 f/2 but I use the 35 more. May sell off a few lenses soon and pick up the 24 1.4, probably one of my fave focal lengths.

    All in all I kind of wished I had a D700 sometimes because the D3 is massive, But then I pick up a D700 and it does feel less complete. I know I will take a big hit selling it so just going to wait and see what Nikon comes out with next and then decide. Have fun and don't be afraid to shoot 1600 and 3200!

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Hey Charles, and thanks! Yes, it is really fantastic, but also daunting. A few minutes ago I was showing some photos I took on it to my girlfriend, and mistakenly pressed some button while in review mode, and suddenly review mode cancelled itself repeatedly after 1 second or so. I had no idea what I had done. I shot it off and left it for a few minutes, and now it is normal again.

    Even with my girlfriend's 18-55VR zoom, the thing is a machine when it comes to continuous shooting. My girlfriend had just asked what the camera could do which hers couldn't (D3000), and then she left the room, and I snapped the whole thing at 9 fps. That is always good for a raised eyebrow

    The AF is so good it is simply amazing. My 5D couldn't have touched this, the D3 just nails it every time. I really need to save up for the 24-70mm.

    I love manual focus lenses. The ZF50/2 sounds like something special and I would love to get one, but I can't keep piling on the non-AF lenses The 24-70 is next I think.
    Carsten - Website

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Carsten,

    I shoot with the 14-24, 24-70 and 70-200VR II as my go anywhere outfit with either my D3s or D3x. The 24-70 is an excellent lens that I've personally had zero complaints with at all. It's sharp. It's versatile. If there's a downside then it's with the bulk but that seems unavoidable.

    With my landscape outfit with my D3x I established an outfit of the Zeiss 21/35/50/100 ZF lenses and then transitioned to just the Nikon 24/45/85 PC-E lenses. I've rationalized all that back to the zooms because they are just that good!

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Yes, they sound very good. I would love each of those three zooms for different reasons: the 14-24 for less shots when doing panoramas, the 24-70 for AF speed for my daughter, and the 70-200VRII as general tele-zoom for many situations. I might have to sell the ZF21 after all, since I have no money coming for a few months, unless I can sell some older unused equipment.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    While I really like the 14-24 and 24-70 (and have used the 24-70 a lot so far) both are really bulky.
    Carsten, before you jump on them I would first see in which range you need a zoom and for what purpose a fast prime might do the job.
    The 14-24 is one of my least used lenses-just not so many times I feel I need wider the 24 and for the few 24mm shots I iften dont want to carry an additional lens and just take the 24-70 (even though I know the 14-24 is better at 24mm).

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    For what I intend to use the lenses for, there is a good chance that I would nearly always be carrying just two of them. I would not travel with such a heavy (and flashy) kit, for example, and I would not need ultra-wide and long tele at the same time either.

    The 24-70 is a must, for what I want it for. No prime could replace it. The 14-24 I could replace with a prime, possibly, but I find the wide end very interesting, and there is no equally good prime for much less in that range. I could consider the 16-35VR instead, but apparently the 14-24 is that much better, so...

    The 70-200VRII I will wait with a bit. Apparently the 70-300VR is quite decent, especially for the price, and I could pass it to my girlfriend later on, so I will probably start there. Again, I could get a 200/2.8 or 180/2.8, but the zoom gives a lot of flexibility, and 200 is quite long for general use. I am also considering a 300/4 as a zoo lens, and for limited other uses, so the three-zoom kit plus the 300 seems like a nice setup (or I could get the 1.4x TCII, which apparently works very well with the 70-200VRII).

    I am not intending the D3 for daily use, just for very specific things that my other cameras don't do well. I thought for a long time about the A900, the M9 and so on, and in the end, knowing that I will one day get the M9 (or M10), the D3 makes more sense (ISO, speed, bracketing, etc.). If I were concerned with weight and size for these uses, I would have bought the D700 instead, but the D3 is actually better for some of the things I want to do, like the HDR panoramas, and action.

    I always found it difficult to put together DSLR kits I think of the DSLR as a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none, and it isn't really in my nature to go that route. Buying the D3 was from me an explicit admission that owning a DSLR can round out an otherwise somewhat impractical camera collection, such as my eclectic combination of Leica M8, Contax 645/Hasselblad 2000FC/M and 4x5 Linhof Master Technica. I love all those cameras, but there is lots I can't do with them. The D3 wraps up all the loose ends for me, and let's me live happily with my crazy cameras
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    I understand Carsten, abd as I said before the 24-70 is indeed a very usefull range.
    By the way I recently think to have found a solution for my "problem" that I wasnt 100% happy how the Nikon files render skin. (yellowish and I missed some microcontrast and tonality)
    I now feel that C1 and choosing a little colder WB works quite well for me for the D700 files.
    I would be interested what other think about C1 for Nikon. (I have tried CS4, LR, Nikon Capture2).

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    @Carsten

    Why do you conclude that the 14-24 is so much better in IQ than the 16-35?

    I rather doubt that! And if the 2mm in focal length at the wide end are not needed, then the 16-35 is the cheaper, lighter and more flexible solution.

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    I know the 14-24 is an exceptional lens, but it is big!

    So I am actually looking for the 16-35, which is much smaller and almost same wide angle as 14.

    But I second the thought about moving out with just 2 lenses, either the 16-35 and the 70-200 or the 24 instead of the 16-35. Makes one more think about how to take a picture.
    Peter

    You may want to read Lloyd Chambers article on Nikon wide angles. He thinks the 14-24 is Nikon's best lens and he is extremely disappointed with the 16-35. Just his opinions of course and YMMV

    Woody

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    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    I understand Carsten, abd as I said before the 24-70 is indeed a very usefull range.
    By the way I recently think to have found a solution for my "problem" that I wasnt 100% happy how the Nikon files render skin. (yellowish and I missed some microcontrast and tonality)
    I now feel that C1 and choosing a little colder WB works quite well for me for the D700 files.
    I would be interested what other think about C1 for Nikon. (I have tried CS4, LR, Nikon Capture2).
    From my experience it depends more on the actual camera than just "Nikon".

    IMHO, C1 excels for D700/D3 files, but they did not get the profile (as) right for the D3X.

    The difference is noticeable, and quite possibly they did not take into account the D3X in-camera base processing differences. A simple test seems to support this theory: D700/D3 files looks pretty good when opting for the D3X profile, with little difference.

    With the latter camera, C1 produces mixed results depending on the type of shot. As mentionned before, looks like NX2 really shines there IQ wise, thanks to the embedded original profiles. Too bad the larger files makes it even clumsier in terms of computing performance, requiring a careful workflow.

    Still have to check LR beta2 out, as per Lloyd's recommandations. The match with the D3 looks pretty good. Hopefully it'll prove to perform as well as NX2 with the D3X, adding along some useful extras such as browsing, cataloging, and of course probably faster. Time will tell...



    edit: i agree on your take re C1 WB settings for the D700 with the lastest FW. In-camera WB is so much improved that it's more a matter of taste, i.e. sticking to the standard rendering (more low/artificial light dependant, as fim does btw) or choosing to go for a neutral result by compensating with a cooler temp. Using a grey card also brings much better results than it used to( with the former FW).
    Last edited by Corlan F.; 28th March 2010 at 09:12.

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    Why do you conclude that the 14-24 is so much better in IQ than the 16-35?
    I don't conclude that, but I have read a few places that the 16-35VR is quite good, but that the 14-24 is fantastic, possibly the best wide angle zoom ever made. Since I am intending to use it quite a lot at the widest setting, this could make a big difference to me.

    If I were travelling with my D3, the 16-35VR would make a lot more sense, both with the smaller size and weight, and also with the VR, but I will be travelling with my Leica M8, and later, M9/M10.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Corlan F. View Post
    IMHO, C1 excels for D700/D3 files, but they did not get the profile (as) right for the D3X.
    I am more the conspiracy-theory type, and I think that it is quite unlikely that Phase One could not get the D3x profile right, and much more likely that it is simply not in their best interest to do so. The D3x is nibbling at the bottom end of the MFDB market...

    Still have to check LR beta2 out, as per Lloyd's recommandations.
    I quite like Lightroom 2, and LR3 is meant to be significantly better, so I think the likelihood that I stay with it is quite high. LR2 already gives really good results with the D3.

    I am not looking for the absolute highest per-pixel and so on quality, just something very good. I am unwilling to spend lots of money and effort getting the last pixel a little sharper, or to improve the colour a little bit (and I have never seen a comparison which was night and day), and thus I never made the step to Capture One, like so many have. I just plod along with my great cameras and decent software, and focus on the images.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    @Carsten

    Why do you conclude that the 14-24 is so much better in IQ than the 16-35?

    I rather doubt that! And if the 2mm in focal length at the wide end are not needed, then the 16-35 is the cheaper, lighter and more flexible solution.
    A quick search of the current trusted user reviews out there of the 16-35 vs 14-24 will confirm the consensus that the 14-24 remains arguably the best super wide zoom bar none. Even Canon folks covet and convert this lens.

    Quote Originally Posted by Corlan F. View Post
    IMHO, C1 excels for D700/D3 files, but they did not get the profile (as) right for the D3X.

    The difference is noticeable, and quite possibly they did not take into account the D3X in-camera base processing differences. A simple test seems to support this theory: D700/D3 files looks pretty good when opting for the D3X profile, with little difference.

    With the latter camera, C1 produces mixed results depending on the type of shot. As mentionned before, looks like NX2 really shines there IQ wise, thanks to the embedded original profiles. Too bad the larger files makes it even clumsier in terms of computing performance, requiring a careful workflow.
    With Nikon D3 & D3x files I find that C1 v5 does a very decent job in rendering files but I still find myself using Nikon Capture NX2 for my keeper master files, despite the slower user experience. Put simply, the default rendering I get from NX2 appears to pull more out from my NEF files and I seem to get better headroom out of Nikon files in terms of highlights than C1 manages for me. I literally only have to perform minor adjustment of the file compared to C1 to produce an accurate master file that in many cases can produce a final image without any further PS work.

    In the case of D3x files, the colour and DR I get from NX2 is significantly better than C1 Pro, especially when the built in lens CA/vignette corrections are enabled. C1 has a tendency to indicate blown highlights in D3x files that NX2 can render smoothly with minimal highlight adjustment.

    Don't get me wrong though, C1 is my preferred raw converter as it handles my Leica files so well and for 95% of Nikon files is similarly excellent. However, if I want the very best results from a NEF file I will always end up running it through NX2 (which I admit is slower and a somewhat clunkier workflow and UI experience). I still can't use ACR comfortably with Nikon files - it's not that it's bad but it just doesn't render tones with the same subtlety when I use it as either C1 or NX2. I personally find that I have to work the files harder to achieve the same results - that may just be me, but that's what I find.
    Last edited by GrahamWelland; 28th March 2010 at 10:30.

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    A quick search of the current trusted user reviews out there of the 16-35 vs 14-24 will confirm the consensus that the 14-24 remains arguably the best super wide zoom bar none. Even Canon folks covet and convert this lens.



    With Nikon D3 & D3x files I find that C1 v5 does a very decent job in rendering files but I still find myself using Nikon Capture NX2 for my keeper master files, despite the slower user experience. Put simply, the default rendering I get from NX2 appears to pull more out from my NEF files and I seem to get better headroom out of Nikon files in terms of highlights than C1 manages for me. I literally only have to perform minor adjustment of the file compared to C1 to produce an accurate master file that in many cases can produce a final image without any further PS work.

    In the case of D3x files, the colour and DR I get from NX2 is significantly better than C1 Pro, especially when the built in lens CA/vignette corrections are enabled. C1 has a tendency to indicate blown highlights in D3x files that NX2 can render smoothly with minimal highlight adjustment.

    Don't get me wrong though, C1 is my preferred raw converter as it handles my Leica files so well and for 95% of Nikon files is similarly excellent. However, if I want the very best results from a NEF file I will always end up running it through NX2 (which I admit is slower and a somewhat clunkier workflow and UI experience). I still can't use ACR comfortably with Nikon files - it's not that it's bad but it just doesn't render tones with the same subtlety when I use it as either C1 or NX2. I personally find that I have to work the files harder to achieve the same results - that may just be me, but that's what I find.
    Ditto.


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    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    I am more the conspiracy-theory type, and I think that it is quite unlikely that Phase One could not get the D3x profile right, and much more likely that it is simply not in their best interest to do so. The D3x is nibbling at the bottom end of the MFDB market...
    Not always "the bottom".





    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    I quite like Lightroom 2, and LR3 is meant to be significantly better, so I think the likelihood that I stay with it is quite high. LR2 already gives really good results with the D3.

    I am not looking for the absolute highest per-pixel and so on quality, just something very good. I am unwilling to spend lots of money and effort getting the last pixel a little sharper, or to improve the colour a little bit (and I have never seen a comparison which was night and day), and thus I never made the step to Capture One, like so many have. I just plod along with my great cameras and decent software, and focus on the images.
    You should be happy then with LR3.

    Just to make things clear, i have to point out that with ~12Mb D700/D3 files, one can also achieve a terrific job with NX2 for relatively little money, provided that you own a reasonnably powerful computer.

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by Corlan F. View Post
    Not always "the bottom".
    Well, the definition of "the bottom" is changing rapidly, and no surprise there. The 22MP backs still have the advantage in IQ, but the difference is not so huge that one could not live with the D3x. The 30+ MP backs are noticeably better.

    It is not surprising to see how fast the MFDB market moved to larger "smallest" backs when the D3x came out. Somehow the reaction to the 1Ds3 doesn't seem to have been as strong, but maybe I am just imagining that.

    You should be happy then with LR3.

    Just to make things clear, i have to point out that with ~12Mb D700/D3 files, one can also achieve a terrific job with NX2 for relatively little money, provided that you own a reasonnably powerful computer.
    Once I start printing more and more regularly, I will re-evaluate, but LR is getting very good. I don't own a reasonably fast computer, doing almost everything on my 15" MBP, and having only a dual 2.5GHz PowerMac as alternative. This is partly on purpose. I don't find that my photography has gotten better with more megapixels, so I am deliberately lagging a little behind, saving a load of money in the process.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    I quite like Lightroom 2, and LR3 is meant to be significantly better, so I think the likelihood that I stay with it is quite high. LR2 already gives really good results with the D3.

    I am not looking for the absolute highest per-pixel and so on quality, just something very good. I am unwilling to spend lots of money and effort getting the last pixel a little sharper, or to improve the colour a little bit (and I have never seen a comparison which was night and day), and thus I never made the step to Capture One, like so many have. I just plod along with my great cameras and decent software, and focus on the images.
    I also like LR2, convenient workflow and so on. IMO it is ok for D3 files but I think not really great.
    C1 light (or however its called ) one got even for free when buying a sundisk card. Its not so mucj money involved.
    Not only for Nikon files but also for M8/M9 files it delievers more detail IMO.

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    I also like LR2, convenient workflow and so on. IMO it is ok for D3 files but I think not really great.
    C1 light (or however its called ) one got even for free when buying a sundisk card. Its not so mucj money involved.
    Not only for Nikon files but also for M8/M9 files it delievers more detail IMO.
    Detail is definitely C1's strongpoint with Nikon files in general.
    (though not a lot you can't eventually achieve with other RAW converters + CS4, but one stop)

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    New LR profiles. Haven't tried them yet.

    http://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjour..._camera_v.html

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    I should add that I agree that the results look better in C1, at least with the Leica M8. However, I have time and again decided that I am perfectly able to get great results with LR, in spite of its shortcomings, and I find that my time spent in pursuit of better photographic results is much better spent going out with my camera rather than adding yet another program to master, with its attendant workflow complications. It just doesn't fit that well in my current way of doing things.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    I should add that I agree that the results look better in C1, at least with the Leica M8. However, I have time and again decided that I am perfectly able to get great results with LR, in spite of its shortcomings, and I find that my time spent in pursuit of better photographic results is much better spent going out with my camera rather than adding yet another program to master, with its attendant workflow complications. It just doesn't fit that well in my current way of doing things.
    C1 Pro is just so much better overall WRT camera profiles than LR and Aperture. Plus I do NOT like the library concept of LR and Aperture. Printing is something missing in C1 Pro, but for reasonable printing nothing tops PS CS4 for me, maybe also some RIP SW, which I so far could not justify for what I am printing.

    But C1 Pro stays the best processing tool overall.

    WRT D3 and profiles, not sure if there will be so much more improvements as this camera is no longer part of the current Nikon lineup, since the D3S is available. Same should happen for the D700 once the successor becomes available.

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyspedden View Post
    Peter

    You may want to read Lloyd Chambers article on Nikon wide angles. He thinks the 14-24 is Nikon's best lens and he is extremely disappointed with the 16-35. Just his opinions of course and YMMV

    Woody
    Thanks Woody!

    Yes indeed the 14-24 seems to be better than the latest 16-35. This also reflects what I remember from the 14-24 while I owned it.

    My concern is that it is bulky and thus I did not like to use it as often. But obviously there is no other way around - at least for the moment. So I will buy one again - hopefully I can get hold of a used one as some folks are selling this to step to the 16-35 because of size and built in VR.

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    C1 Pro is just so much better overall WRT camera profiles than LR and Aperture. Plus I do NOT like the library concept of LR and Aperture. Printing is something missing in C1 Pro, but for reasonable printing nothing tops PS CS4 for me, maybe also some RIP SW, which I so far could not justify for what I am printing.

    But C1 Pro stays the best processing tool overall.
    If you do not use LR at all, then there is nothing to stop you from using whatever tool you prefer, of course. Personally, I find that most of the differences between LR and C1 are seen at the 100% zoom level, and much less so at 50%, but perhaps we are not seeing the same thing.

    WRT D3 and profiles, not sure if there will be so much more improvements as this camera is no longer part of the current Nikon lineup, since the D3S is available. Same should happen for the D700 once the successor becomes available.
    The new camera profiles posted a few posts up are apparently a real improvement, so development does seem to continue.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    The new camera profiles posted a few posts up are apparently a real improvement, so development does seem to continue.
    Hm... I hope you are right.

    I was a heavy LR user when it first came out years ago, then moved to Aperture. I had C1 Pro since 6 years or so but its original interface was so disturbing for me I moved on to LR and Aperture. Since the last 2 main versions of C1 Pro their interface improved so much and their RAW converters were always stellar for me, so I started using mainly C1 Pro again.

    I am not saying that LR has bad RAW conversion and also what we are discussing here are differences often in the top 5% - if so.

    I am meanwhile sure that I will never find my "final" post processing tool, as they all improve and all have advantages in certain areas. Even worse, since I shoot Hasselblad I added also Phocus, which turned out to be a real killer processing SW for 3F files. So currently I am running C1 Pro, Aperture 3, Phocus, Bridge and PS CS4 - I am kind of hesitating to also add LR3, which I tested in Beta and could so far not find it worth to really switch.

    But I understand it is all about personal preferences and being used to some package, although the second part becomes less important for me

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    Tried C1 pro, really really wanted to like it, and for the life of me could not wrap my head around importing files and what is where and importing, etc etc. And it seemed to crash more often than not, something that has NEVER happened to me with LR. So $300 down the drain. LR just works, and Beta 3 that much more.

    So I'm envious of those that can make C1 work for them because I do think the files are just that much better with the Leica (though LR beta 3 really closes the gap). But my brain just isn't made for it.

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    Re: Nikon D3 - Initial Impressions

    I use LR for importing the files and then convert them with c1.

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