The range-topping 12.1-megapixel D3 is Nikon's first digital SLR with a full-frame sensor.

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Nikon D3

Overall score:95%
Image Quality:95%


  • Excellent image quality, build, low-light performance, speed, AF system, LCD


  • Could argue the resolution could be higher, Live View on fixed LCD


Nikon D3 Review


Price as reviewed:



There’s a lot of debate over which is better, the Nikon D3 or the Canon 1D Mk III. The Nikon does seem to have much in its favour, not least the price. While the D3 has arguably a rather conservative resolution by comparison, its performance shows that it isn’t all about the pixel count, and makes a strong case for fewer, but bigger pixels.

Overall, the D3 is an extremely well-specified camera with fantastic performance across the board – in the AF system, the speed, and the superb image quality that can be achieved, even at high ISOs. In short, the D3 is as good as it gets right now and as such achieves our highest ever score.


PC Socket:PC Sync flash terminal
Cable Release:GPS: NMEA 0183 (Ver. 2.01 and 3.01) interface standard supported with 9-pin D-sub cable and GPS Cable MC-35 (optional). 2) Remote control: via 10-pin terminal
AF Points:M, AF, 51-point selectable AF, Dynamic tracking AF
Built-in Flash:No
Max Flash Sync:1/250 sec
DoF Prview:Stop-down lens aperture by pressing button
Colour Temp Control:Colour temperature in Kelvin (2500 - 10000 K, 31 steps)
White Balance Bracket:2 to 9 frames, 10,20,30 MIRED steps
Colour Space:sRGB (Standard and Vivid modes), Adobe RGB (Neutral mode)
Field of View:No field of view crop (full-frame)
Connectivity:Hi Speed USB, HDMI
Power:Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL4a/EL4, Quick Charger MH-22, AC Adapter EH-6 (optional)
Live Mode:Handheld mode: TLL phase-difference AF with 51 focus areas (15 cross-type sensors). Tripod mode: focal-plane contrast AF on a desired point within a specific area
Dimensions:Approx. 159.5 x 157 x 87.5 mm (6.3 x 6.2 x 3.4 in.)
Exposure Comp:5 EV in increments of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV
Shutter Type:Electronically-controlled vertical-travel focal-plane shutter
Viewfinder Type:Optical-type fixed eye-level pentaprism. 100%, 0.7x mag
Memory Card:CompactFlash (Type I/II, compliant with UDMA); Microdrives
Metering System:3D Colour Matrix Metering II, CW, 2% spot
Drive Mode:Single-frame [S] mode,Continuous low-speed [CL] mode: 1-9 frames per second*, Continuous high-speed [CH] mode: 9 fps (9-11 fps with DX format)*, Liveview [LV] mode, Self-timer [mark] mode, 6)Mirror-up [Mup] mode *With Continuous-servo AF, S or M exposure mode, shutter speed 1/250 s or faster; other settings are set at “Default”
Weight:Approx. 1,240 g (2.7 lb.) without battery, memory card, body cap or accessory shoe cover
Built-in Image Stabilisation:No
Dust Reduction:No
Focusing Modes:TTL phase detection, 51 focus points (15 cross-sensors) by Nikon Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus module; detection range: -1 to +19 EV (ISO 100 at 20°C/68°F); AF fine adjustment possible Focal-plane contrast [in Liveview (Tripod) mode]
White Balance:Manual, auto, 7 presets, WB bracketing, Kelvin scale
Shutter Speeds:1/8,000 to 30 s in steps of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV; Bulb
ISO:200-6400 (expandable 100-25600)
Compression:Compressed 12/14 bit NEF (RAW, Lossless compressed). JPEG-baseline-compliant; can be selected from Size priority and Optimal quality
Exposure Modes:PASM
Lens Mount:Nikon F
Focal Length Mag:1x FX format/ 1.5x DX format
LCD:3-in., approx. 920,000-dot (VGA), 170-degree wide-viewing-angle, 100% frame coverage, low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with brightness adjustment
Sensor:CMOS, 36 x 23.9 mm; 12.87 MP Total/12.1MP effective; Nikon FX format
Output Size:4256 x 2832, 3184 x 2120, 2128 x 1416
  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Features: Page 1
  3. 3. Features: Page 2
  4. 4. Handling & Performance
  5. 5. Image Quality & Value for Money
  6. 6. Verdict
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