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Nikon D3X vs D610

The Nikon D3X and the Nikon D610 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in December 2008 and October 2013. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The D3X has a resolution of 24.4 megapixels, whereas the D610 provides 24.2 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D3X
versus
Nikon D610
Nikon D3X   Nikon D610
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
24.4 MP – Full Frame sensor 24.2 MP – Full Frame sensor
no Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-1,600 (50 - 6,400) ISO 100-6,400 (50 - 25,600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD – 922k dots 3.2" LCD – 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 6 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
4400 shots per battery charge900 shots per battery charge
160 x 157 x 88 mm, 1260 g 141 x 113 x 82 mm, 850 g
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Check D610 price at
amazon.com

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3X and the Nikon D610? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D3X and the Nikon D610. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D3X vs Nikon D610
Compare D3X versus D610 top
Comparison D3X or D610 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D610 is considerably smaller (37 percent) than the Nikon D3X. Moreover, the D610 is markedly lighter (33 percent) than the D3X. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D3X gets 4400 shots out of its EN-EL4a battery, while the D610 can take 900 images on a single charge of its EN-EL15 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D3X has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the D610, Nikon provides the MB-D14 vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on ebay).

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D3X 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1260 g 4400 Y Dec 2008 7,999ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D610 141 mm 113 mm 82 mm 850 g 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 amazon.com
3.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III 150 mm 160 mm 80 mm 1385 g 1800 Y Aug 2007 7,999ebay.com
4.
 
Nikon D5 160 mm 159 mm 92 mm 1415 g 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499ebay.com
5.
 
Nikon D500 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 860 g 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 amazon.com
6.
 
Nikon D4S 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1350 g 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499ebay.com
7.
 
Nikon D750 141 mm 113 mm 78 mm 750 g 1230 Y Sep 2014 2,299ebay.com
8.
 
Nikon D810 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 980 g 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299ebay.com
9.
 
Nikon D7100 136 mm 107 mm 76 mm 765 g 950 Y Feb 2013 1,199ebay.com
10.
 
Nikon D4 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1340 g 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999ebay.com
11.
 
Nikon D600 141 mm 113 mm 82 mm 850 g 900 Y Sep 2012 2,099ebay.com
12.
 
Nikon D3S 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1240 g 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D700 147 mm 123 mm 77 mm 1074 g 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D3 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1300 g 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The D610 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 75 percent) than the D3X, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

Sensor comparison

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, the D610 uses a more advanced image processing engine (EXPEED 3) than the D3X (EXPEED), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Nikon D3X and Nikon D610 sensor measures

While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the D3X offers a slightly higher resolution of 24.4 megapixels, compared with 24.2 MP of the D610. This megapixels advantage translates into a 0.5 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the D3X has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 5.97μm for the D610). Moreover, it should be noted that the D610 is much more recent (by 4 years and 10 months) than the D3X, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of individual pixels.

The Nikon D3X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 50-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D610 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-25600.

Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

D3X versus D610 MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the D610 has a markedly higher DXO score than the D3X (overall score 6 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.4 bits higher color depth, 0.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.6 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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
1.
 
Nikon D3X Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032none24.713.7199288
2.
 
Nikon D610 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594
3.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744none24.012.0166380
4.
 
Nikon D5 Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388
5.
 
Nikon D500 APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483
6.
 
Nikon D4S Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489
7.
 
Nikon D750 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/60p24.814.5295693
8.
 
Nikon D810 Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397
9.
 
Nikon D7100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.213.7125683
10.
 
Nikon D4 Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589
11.
 
Nikon D600 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.2298094
12.
 
Nikon D3S Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382
13.
 
Nikon D700 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2230380
14.
 
Nikon D3 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2229081

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D610 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D3X does not. The highest resolution format that the D610 can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D3X and the D610 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), as well as the same magnification (0.70x). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D3X and Nikon D610 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
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Nikon D3Xoptical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s n n
2.
 
Nikon D610optical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0/s Y n
3.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark IIIoptical Y3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s n n
4.
 
Nikon D5optical Y3.2 / 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0/s n n
5.
 
Nikon D500optical Y3.2 / 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n n
6.
 
Nikon D4Soptical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0/s n n
7.
 
Nikon D750optical Y3.2 / 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 6.0/s Y n
8.
 
Nikon D810optical Y3.2 / 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y n
9.
 
Nikon D7100optical Y3.2 / 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0/s Y n
10.
 
Nikon D4optical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0/s n n
11.
 
Nikon D600optical Y3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5/s Y n
12.
 
Nikon D3Soptical Y3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0/s n n
13.
 
Nikon D700optical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0/s Y n
14.
 
Nikon D3optical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0/s n n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D610 has one, while the D3X does not. While the built-in flash of the D610 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The Nikon D3X and the Nikon D610 both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

The D3X writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D610 uses SDXC cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.

Connectivity 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 Nikon D610 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
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Nikon D3XY- / ---mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D610Ymono / monoYYmini2.0---
3.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark IIIYmono / ----2.0---
4.
 
Nikon D5Ystereo / monoYYmini3.0---
5.
 
Nikon D500Ystereo / monoYYmini3.0YYY
6.
 
Nikon D4SYmono / monoYYmini2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D750Ystereo / monoYYmini2.0Y--
8.
 
Nikon D810Ystereo / monoYYmini3.0Y--
9.
 
Nikon D7100Ystereo / monoYYmini2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D4Ymono / monoYYmicro2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D600Ymono / monoYYmini2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D3SYstereo / ---mini2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D700Y- / ---mini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D3Y- / ---mini2.0---

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

The D610 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the D3X has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on ebay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the D3X from Nikon. Further information on the features and operation of the D3X and D610 can be found, respectively, in the Nikon D3X Manual (free pdf) or the online Nikon D610 Manual.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D3X or the Nikon D610 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3X:

  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (4400 versus 900) on a single battery charge.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in December 2008).


Advantages of the Nikon D610:

  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.6 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (EXPEED 3 vs EXPEED).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More compact: Is smaller (141x113mm vs 160x157mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 410g or 33 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (75 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 10 months of technical progress since the D3X launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D610 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 4 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D3X 04:12 D610

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D3X and the Nikon D610 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D3X or the D610. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D3X......86/1004/55/5 Dec 2008 7,999ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D6104/5+ +..87/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 amazon.com
3.
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III......+ +4.5/5.. Aug 2007 7,999ebay.com
4.
 
Nikon D5....4/589/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499ebay.com
5.
 
Nikon D5005/5+ +4.7/591/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 amazon.com
6.
 
Nikon D4S5/5......4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499ebay.com
7.
 
Nikon D7505/5+ +4/590/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 2,299ebay.com
8.
 
Nikon D8105/5..5/586/1005/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299ebay.com
9.
 
Nikon D71005/5+ +..85/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 1,199ebay.com
10.
 
Nikon D4........4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999ebay.com
11.
 
Nikon D6004/5+ +..87/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099ebay.com
12.
 
Nikon D3S5/5....89/1004.5/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D700..89/100..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D3......+ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999ebay.com
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. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

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Check D3X offers at
ebay.com
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Check D610 price at
amazon.com

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Nikon D3X vs Nikon D610

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D3X Nikon D610
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date December 2008 October 2013
    Launch Price USD 7,999 USD 1,999
    Sensor Specs Nikon D3X Nikon D610
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.9 x 24.0 mm 35.9 x 24.0 mm
    Sensor Area 861.6 mm2 861.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.2 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24.4 Megapixels 24.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6048 x 4032 pixels 6016 x 4016 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.94 μm 5.97 μm
    Pixel Density 2.83 MP/cm2 2.80 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost 50 - 6,400 ISO 50 - 25,600 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED EXPEED 3
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 88 94
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.7 25.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.7 14.4
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1992 2925
    Screen Specs Nikon D3X Nikon D610
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x 0.70x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.2inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D3X Nikon D610
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 6 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy300 000 actuations150 000 actuations
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDXC cards
    Single or Dual Card Slots Dual card slots Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D3X Nikon D610
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Headphone Socket no Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D3X Nikon D610
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL4a EN-EL15
    Battery Life (CIPA)4400 shots per charge900 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 160 x 157 x 88 mm
    (6.3 x 6.2 x 3.5 in)
    141 x 113 x 82 mm
    (5.6 x 4.4 x 3.2 in)
    Camera Weight 1260 g (44.4 oz) 850 g (30.0 oz)
    logo
    Check D3X offers at
    ebay.com
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    Check D610 price at
    amazon.com

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