Nikon D3X Review – Stuck in Customs

Nikon D3X Review

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  • Nikon D3X – A truly amazing camera, it was the flagship of my arsenal for the past several years.
    • Approx Cost:   Approx $7,500 and up

The Nikon D3X – An amazing machine

This has been a great camera for me and produced countless portfolio pieces.

How’s that for a review? Need I say more?

When I go on photography adventures, this is the main tool in my arsenal.  I also carry a Nikon D3S (see my Nikon D3S Review for more).

I will tell you a little bit about my experience with the camera. If you want to geek-out on stats, dimensions, weights, optics, sensor tech, and all that BS, you can grab that off Wikipedia. I’ll simply speak from a practical and personal perspective.

D3X Out

The D3X in vertical takeoff formation

As my regular readers know, I think very intensely about photography and equipment. I want the absolute best, since I may only make it to these locations once in my life. I only have one chance to grab it, and I want to ensure the quality is as good as possible.

I’m pretty much an all-Nikon guy. I don’t get into the Canon vs. Nikon debate. I think it is a silly discussion. They are just about equal, really. Once you start down one path, just stay on that path so you can re-use lenses as new bodies come out. That’s it. End of discussion.

I started with a Nikon D70 and then moved on to the Nikon D2X. I now use the Nikon D3X exclusively.

It is dependable, fast, takes incredible images, and does it all with an eye-popping 24.5 megapixel sensor. Some people will say that is too many megapixels. I ignore those people because I like as many details as possible in my shots. Now, that is too many megapixels for a standard 8×10 print, for example. However, I believe that the future of “looking” at photography will be online. Monitors will continue to get bigger, resolutions will get bigger, and bandwidth will get faster. Imagine a day several years in the future, when people have giant art flatscreens in their house, and your high-fidelity photos will be filling them with incredible walk-up detail.

Most of my work is HDR (about 80%), and the D3X is great for that too. It, of course, has auto-bracketing. My only complaint is that I can only do steps of 1. That means that I normally have to take 5 exposures at -2, -1, 0, 1, and +2. Why I can’t program this thing to step by 2s is amazing to me. Another minor complaint is that the mirror goes up and down between each shot. That is a very silly thing, and it reminds me of some ancient Da Vinci mechanical device. I’m waiting for someone to hack it for me!

Now, in all honesty, the D3X is only, maybe, 20% better than the Nikon D700, if you do not care about megapixels. The D3X is much more expensive. But again, if you simply want the best, and you are into photography where financial reason flies out the window, then you really don’t have a choice, do you?

Photos of the Nikon D3X

I grabbed a few images of the Nikon D3X while I was out shooting.

Shooting in Tokyo. The 2.8 lens lets me shoot through those crossed metal wires and they don’t appear!

The D3X doing some street-shots

IThe huge sensor helps me to capture night images with very little noise

Hi ISO Shooting on a Huge Sensor

What does this mean? Well, the bigger the camera, the bigger the sensor. If you want to take fast pictures in dark situations, you need to increase the ISO. High ISO often means lots of noise, unless you have a big sensor. That big sensor is very sensitive to light and won’t produce as much noise as lesser camera sensors.

The D3X is also exceptional at low-light situations when you are not using a flash. Look at this shot I grabbed at Medieval Times. It was very dark inside even though this looks well lit.


The D3X in low-light conditions with no flash. The shot is at ISO 2000, F 2.8, 1/124 sec shutter speed.

More Information about my Photos

You might notice that I have a special post-processing technique. If you would like to find out more about that, you are welcome to visit my HDR Tutorial.

If you want to find out more about other equipment, I have some HDR Camera suggestions that also discuss a few other lenses.

Sample D3X Images

Last, I will finish by showing some of my favorite images I have snapped with the Nikon D3X.

Merry D3Xmas from Trey and Stuck In Customs!

I've reached the end of the world

Finding Dinner in the Alleys of Kyoto

Stopping for Lunch at the Emerald Lake in the Andes (and a new photo-sharing thing)

An Evening Stroll Around the Cabin

Natalia in Argentina

Le Tango de le Muerte

Adventuring Deeper into Patagonia

The Haunting Textures of the Hotel Sax

New York, New York

Chicago Thaws into Spring

Any questions about the nature of these reviews? Visit my Ethics Statement. It’s all quite simple!