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Nikon D3X Comparison Review

The Nikon D3X is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was announced in December 2008 and is equipped with a full frame sensor. It offers a resolution of 24.4 megapixel.

camera

Is the Nikon D3X a good camera? The D3X has a Camera Elo of 1591. This rating puts the D3X below average of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (full frame cameras), the D3X also ranks below average. – Well, the Nikon D3X is more than 11 years old, and there have been many other good digital cameras released since 2008.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D3X
Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses
24.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor
no Video
ISO 100 - 1 600 (50 - 6 400)
Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 922k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed body
4400 shots per battery charge
160 x 157 x 88 mm, 1 260 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

An illustration of the physical dimensions of the Nikon D3X vis-à-vis a credit card is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Nikon D3X vs credit card front
D3X versus credit card top view
D3X and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Nikon D3X alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon D3X 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 44.4 oz 4400 Y Dec 2008 7,999i
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III 5.9 in 6.3 in 3.1 in 48.9 oz 1800 Y Aug 2007 7,999i
 
Nikon D6 6.3 in 6.4 in 3.6 in 44.8 oz 3580 Y Feb 2020 6,499 i
 
Nikon D5 6.3 in 6.3 in 3.6 in 49.9 oz 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499i
 
Nikon D4S 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.6 oz 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499i
 
Nikon D750 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 26.5 oz 1230 Y Sep 2014 2,299i
 
Nikon D4 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.3 oz 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999i
 
Nikon D600 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Sep 2012 2,099i
 
Nikon D3S 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 43.7 oz 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199i
 
Nikon D700 5.8 in 4.8 in 3.0 in 37.9 oz 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999i
 
Nikon D3 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 45.9 oz 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Nikon D3X was launched in the US market at a price of $7,999. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Nikon D3X:
Check Ebay offers

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

The Nikon D3X features a full frame sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Nikon D3X among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality.

Nikon D3X sensor measures

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for most cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Nikon D3X Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032none24.713.7199288
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744none24.012.0166380
 
Nikon D6 Full Frame 20.7 5568 37124K/30p........
 
Nikon D5 Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388
 
Nikon D4S Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489
 
Nikon D750 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/60p24.814.5295693
 
Nikon D4 Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589
 
Nikon D600 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.2298094
 
Nikon D3S Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382
 
Nikon D700 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2230380
 
Nikon D3 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2229081

It should be noted that unlike many modern cameras, the D3X does not provide the possibility to capture videos.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D3X has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.70x. The adjacent tables list some of the other core features of the Nikon D3X along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Nikon D3Xoptical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
 
Canon 1Ds Mark IIIoptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
 
Nikon D6optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0 n n
 
Nikon D5optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0 n n
 
Nikon D4Soptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
 
Nikon D750optical Y 3.2 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Nikon D4optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
 
Nikon D600optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 Y n
 
Nikon D3Soptical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
 
Nikon D700optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n

One useful feature of the D3X is a presence of a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

Connection comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D3X and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Nikon D3XY----mini2.0---
 
Canon 1Ds Mark IIIY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D6YstereomonoYYmini3.1Y-Y
 
Nikon D5YstereomonoYYmini3.0---
 
Nikon D4SYmonomonoYYmini2.0---
 
Nikon D750YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y--
 
Nikon D4YmonomonoYYmicro2.0---
 
Nikon D600YmonomonoYYmini2.0---
 
Nikon D3SYstereo---mini2.0---
 
Nikon D700Y----mini2.0---
 
Nikon D3Y----mini2.0---

Expert reviews

While the specs-based evaluation of cameras is instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D3X. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is where reviews by experts come in. The following table reports the overall rankings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon D3X..86/1004/55/55/5 Dec 2008 7,999i
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III..+ +4.5/5.... Aug 2007 7,999i
 
Nikon D6....4.5/5..4.5/5 Feb 2020 6,499 i
 
Nikon D5..89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499i
 
Nikon D4S....4.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499i
 
Nikon D750+ +90/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 2,299i
 
Nikon D4....4.5/5..4.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999i
 
Nikon D600+ +87/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099i
 
Nikon D3S..89/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199i
 
Nikon D70089/100+ +4.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999i
 
Nikon D3..+ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon D3X FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the D3X.

What type of imaging sensor is used in the D3X?

The camera has a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor at its core.

Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?

Nikon equipped the D3X with the EXPEED image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the D3X?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 50-6400.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Nikon D3X?

Nikon mentions a shutter rating of 300 000 actuations for the D3X. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the D3X over, say, three years, one would have to take about 300 pictures each and every day.

How do I find the shutter count on my Nikon D3X?

Nikon embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your D3X has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the online shutter count app.

Do I need to purchase an external camera trigger to shoot time-lapse sequences?

No, the Nikon D3X has an intervalometer built-in, so that low frequency shooting (for example, flower blooming, sunset, moon rise) can be undertaken without the need to purchase a separate external intervalometer and related software.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The D3X's flash sync speed is 1/250 sec.

Which battery does the D3X use?

The camera gets its power from the EN-EL4a (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Camera to camera comparisons

If you would like to see a side-by-side review of this and another camera, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Nikon D3X
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date December 2008
    Launch Price USD 7 999
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.9 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 862 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24.4 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6 048 x 4 032 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.94 μm
    Pixel Density 2.83 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1 600 ISO
    ISO Boost 50 - 6 400 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 88
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.7
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1992
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    LCD Size 922k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking Feature
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy300 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer Built-in
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL4a power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)4400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 160 x 157 x 88 mm
    (6.3 x 6.2 x 3.5 in)
    Camera Weight 1 260 g (44.4 oz)

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