Nikon D810 vs Nikon D3. Forehead in the forehead. Note from the reader Radozhiva

According provided by note many thanks to Ivan Stanislavsky.

Nikon D3 vs Nikon D810

Nikon D3 vs Nikon D810. Photo taken here.

Nikon D810 и Nikon D3 - Professional FX cameras. In 2007 D3 was Nikon's first full-frame digital ink. The model became a legend, setting the bar for reportage cameras to new heights and forcing some news agencies to change their technology park. In 2014 D810 just replaced D800 and did not make a special revolution. Both devices have been at my disposal for a long time, have been in different situations and have established themselves as reliable workhorses. Practical experience already allows me to form an opinion about the advantages and disadvantages of each model, as well as to prioritize the application. This comparative description is an attempt to answer the question: which is better - an old top-end camera or a new one, but with a lower class? D3 refers to the top line, but it is quite old. D810 - newer, but somewhat inferior to the old woman. Cameras are separated by seven whole years of technological progress (and in our time it is almost an eternity). But the sharp drop in prices for old cameras makes us remember the "veterans". The outdated "three" with a shutter resource of up to 50% can be bought today for less than $ 1000, and the 810 will cost somewhere 30-50 percent more.

It is worth mentioning right away that the main field of photo activity for me is reportage photography. First of all, sports events, concerts, performances, street, sometimes architecture and genre, some landscapes for the soul and of course cats. I don't shoot any studio, wedding or family photosets. This is just a subjective assessment in terms of use specifically in my work. But, nevertheless, I'm sure these thoughts will help you draw your own conclusions.


Both cameras are made in the best traditions - magnesium alloy, rubberized handles and control discs. In both cases, weather and dust protection is declared. D3 made in a large case with controls duplicated for vertical orientation. In terms of functional qualities, both cameras are familiar and flawless. In the “third” there are a couple of functions “dead” as a result of evolution and lacks flexibility of settings on additional keys. But these differences do not make special weather. I also want to point out that I never really appreciated the benefits of a dual-control case. When rotated to portrait orientation, access to some important buttons is lost. So I blocked it and forgot it. Carcass weight D3  with a battery of 1417 grams. D810 - weighs only 980 grams. When working, this difference is clearly noticeable. The extra pound makes itself felt when you need to carry a pair of lenses, a flash, backup batteries, commutation, etc. all day long. Either you wear a strap around your neck, or wind it around a wrist - D3 immediately lands. In addition, this “tank” normally does not fit far into any photo backpack or bag. Sadly, the “rubber” issue remains relevant for Nikon. On the D810 for a year of operation, the gum has peeled off more strongly than on D3 for 9 years. In terms of everyday use D810 spares the photographer’s back more, and this trivial circumstance sometimes becomes decisive.


In both cases, this is Nikon FX CMOS 36 × 23,9 mm, only the D3 has 12,1 megapixels on board, and the D810 has 36,3 megapixels. Which is exactly three times more. What profit from this is hard to say for sure. If we are talking about the margin for cropping, then practice shows that the result depends more on a number of other factors. For example, on the resolution and sharpness of the optics, as well as the quality of the image itself. With both cameras, I was able to get images without losing quality, reducing the frame size by 50% and sometimes even more. Here, of course, everything is individual, but I cannot say that the 810 gives much more room for cropping. But the losses from 36,3 megapixels are clearly expressed. Working with RAW requires much more computing resources, you can upgrade your computer, you can somehow still, but buying a new laptop in a pair with a camera will cost a pretty penny. Well, here it is, as they say: if you like to ride, love to carry sledges. Be that as it may, it takes more time to work with large images, and when efficiency comes first (which is always important for a reporter) 36 megapixels become an anchor. The solution may be to switch to on-camera JPEG, or to a reduced RAW file of only 9 megapixels, but both options have known drawbacks. I don't know if there is a direct connection between the number of megapixels and dynamic range, but here the 810th leaves the old man far behind. Sometimes the difference can be noticed even with the “naked eye”. A very nice bonus in the 810 is the die cleaning system. D3 needs to be flushed more often.

Shooting speed

D810 can shoot 5 frames per second (predecessor D800 in general - 4) and no gadgets can raise this indicator (DX mode does not count). For reporting, this is critically insufficient. I suspect that megapixels are again to blame for everything. The camera processor just can't run faster. For example, Nikons of the 5000 series shoot at such a speed, and “seven thousandths” and “six hundredths” give 6 fps. For the D810 with its price tag, the indicator is shameful, even taking into account that the camera is not positioned as a reportage one. Another thing D3 - shoots at a speed of 9 frames per second. The rate of fire turns out to be a decisive factor when shooting fleeting situations. The percentage of not just suitable, but unique personnel is growing. Sometimes it turns out that you have completely different pictures than those of colleagues standing nearby. Poses, facial expressions, moments of movement, birdwatching, dynamics in sports or on stage - it turns out to capture much more. However, for a studio or shooting clouds, 5 fps is above the roof.


Nikon D810 can hold 19 shots in RAW format when additional functions are turned off, (noise reduction at high ISO values, noise reduction at slow shutter speeds, ADL, autoISO, vignetting control). If all this is included, it will become just one frame less. Given the speed of shooting, the buffer is enough for a continuous series of four seconds. If you set the minimum color depth and turn off RAW compression, the buffer holds as many as 27 frames. Excellent performance, although if you shoot landscapes and people in the studio, you won’t be able to check out this bonus from 810. Such a buffer on D3. For the old woman, the maximum size is 16 frames, which is enough for a series of a little less than two seconds. Today it’s not so hot, but most often this is enough.


D3 has a working range of 200 - 6400 expandable within 100 - 25600 units. For D 810, the operating range is 64 - 12800 and will expand to 32-51200. Interestingly, in the range expanded over 12800, the buffer 810 loses as many as 7 frames, and when lowering it remains the same. On D3, three frames disappear from the buffer over ISO over 1600. And although an increase of just one stop between the cameras does not look very impressive, the level and nature of the noise proves that the Japanese spent seven years in vain. Good results without post-processing on D3 are obtained up to 4000-5000. After finishing the file with no pain in the eyes, you can look at frames with ISO up to 8000-10000. For 810, the confidence level is higher - 12800 is quite working here, up to 25600 - somewhere, somehow, not always, but you can fix it, all that is higher is fear, but it's still better than D3 at 12800.

Focus system

Both cameras use a 51-point focus system with 15 Multi-CAM3500FX cross points, but the 810 can focus on closed apertures and group four focus points into one cross-shaped area. In both cameras, all focus points are clustered in the DX zone of the image and it really infuriates. Still miss the viewfinder D300. As for the practical difference, according to my observations, the focus of the 810 is faster, more accurate and more accurate. Minimum idle runs, works much better in low light.


D3 uses old, heavy and now expensive EN-EL-4 (a) batteries, I recommend taking the carcass only with backup batteries in the kit. Then you are tormented by the search.


The 810 can shoot Full HD video, 1920 * 1080 up to 60k / s. The camera has an HDMI output, the ability to connect an external microphone and aperture control during video shooting. D3 is not just a video, but even in LiveWiew mode it doesn't work humanly. What can you do - old age. Video recording for a camera is a secondary issue, but it is a useful thing in reporting. I was convinced of this more than once.


Despite the fact that the Nikon D3 is morally and technically outdated, it is unconditionally inferior to the camera below the class in most respects, but I would not write it off. Adequate price and the complete absence of competitors in their price category for the speed of serial shooting leave the carcass in the list of current offers of the secondary market. In the middle segment, only the newest model D850 I was able to achieve the D3 indicator and that, only with the trailer of the battery handle. Burst shooting is not a panacea, but if D810 had at least 7 fps for it, this would be a serious claim to universality. Nikon D3 has in this sense a critical advantage over the D810. At the same time, the D810 has, in my opinion, only two critical advantages over the D3 - it has a working ISO threshold and better focus. Where will the D810 be out of competition? First of all, this is shooting at night. And the point here is in the dynamic range, and not in the ISO at all. The 810th gives categorically better results in the development of contrasting images, colors and details in the shadows than the "third". Where not to do without Nikon D3 - of course in sports photojournalism. Its ISO range is still enough for high-quality shooting even in low light. However, in most standard photo tasks, both cameras are capable of producing excellent, indistinguishable results. Not for nothing, despite its ten-year age, D3 can still be seen in the hands of some professionals. And not only in our country (where it is often necessary to choose it on the basis of the principle - the best that was enough money), but also abroad.

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Comments: 82, on the topic: Nikon D810 vs Nikon D3. Forehead in the forehead. Note from the reader Radozhiva

  • Dim

    Many thanks! It is very interesting to get acquainted with personal impressions.

  • Outcast

    What I really want to note is the new presentation format from a really expert. Stanislavsky, I believe you! And in this way, writings should be born - after years of struggle and torment, and not through a sundress and grandmother said that ...
    Bravo. 5 points. Write reviews - you can.

  • SashOK

    I read it with interest, thanks!
    With pleasure, D3 would take a photo, and a video on 810th ...

  • aries2200

    from practice and this is 200-1600asa more than 90% comparison with D3 there is no d3 better
    ... about 36MP question and 36MP image pixels really correspond to 36MP of the matrix SENSORS .. I think this is not so .. mathematics raised to 36MP

  • aries2200

    thanks for the review.

  • anonym

    Here I am faced with a choice, I have a nikon D700 with a mileage of 46 thousand, I turned around the opportunity to take a D3 mileage of about 12 thousand. Is it worth changing and at what price can I sell a D700 ???? Thank you in advance

    • Ali

      Watching why you want to take d3. The matrices for these cameras (d3 and d700) are exactly the same, Nikon's Nikon NC81338L design. Excess floor kilo on the neck. If we change the d700, so on d3s. There will be a gain in colors, BB and high ISO.

  • Uncle Fedor

    Once again I am convinced that it is necessary to filter any information. I doubt that the author did not know about the skinton problem, in Nikon in general and especially in the 800 series. The 850 looks especially funny here - for that kind of money. There is not only skin tone, there is all color rendering through the stump of the deck. Scam for suckers. Not a word from the author. He is ours and yours.

    • Alexey_S

      Past the mother-in-law's house ...

      Do not tell tales, Uncle Fedor. The 810th is quite normal skinton, and the 850th is usually praised or at least speak warmly about the skinton.

      Although in one, I agree with you. Information on the Internet needs to be filtered, especially the pointless evil comments.

  • Uncle Fedor

    Past the father-in-law's bath ...
    I checked everything myself and infa from the Masters, and if it's True, then it is immediately evil, that's when you sing a serenade - you like it. That's all - I no longer consider it necessary to talk and illiteracy.

    • Victor

      Fedya, you shouldn't troll here, children can read you.

      The “skin tone problem” (c) is perfectly solvable either with direct hands, or together with these profiles from kind people, and without direct hands it is better for anyone not to approach the camera, but to shoot on the phone.

  • Ruslan

    The topic died out in 20! I will lift it up! I have D3 and D750 in my hands! So I meticulously compared them on the forehead as they say! The most interesting! That on ISO 3200 D3 is clearly better than D750ka! Yes, the DD of the 750ke is higher! This is where its advantages are over! Well, even ISO 6400 is better than D3! But the color, speed of D3 is more pleasant to me! Not that I drowned for the old man, but really D3 with its all-weather and speed very much!

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