According provided by note many thanks to Ivan Stanislavsky.
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 The outdated "three" with a shutter resource of up to 50% can be bought today for less than $ 1000, and the 810 will cost somewhere 30-50 percent more.
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.
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.
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 obsolete, it is unconditionally inferior to a lower-class camera in most respects, but I would not write it off. Adequate price and the complete absence of competitors in its price category in terms of continuous shooting speed leave the carcass in the list of current offers in the secondary market. In the middle segment, only the newest D850 was able to reach the D3 mark, and then only with a battery grip trailer. Continuous shooting is not a panacea, but if the D810 had at least 7 fps in your soul, this would be a serious application for versatility. The Nikon D3 has a critical advantage over the D810 in this regard. At the same time, the D810 has, in my opinion, only two critical advantages over the D3 - this is the working ISO threshold and better focusing. Where will the D810 stand out from the competition? First of all, this is shooting at night. And the point here is the dynamic range, and not the ISO at all. 810 gives categorically better results when working out contrast images, colors and details in the shadows than the "third". Where you can not 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 photography tasks, both cameras are capable of producing excellent, indistinguishable results from each other. No wonder, 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 according to the principle - the best, for which there was enough money), but also abroad.
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