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Nikon D3X vs Df

The Nikon D3X and the Nikon Df are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in December 2008 and November 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 Df provides 16.2 MP.

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

Headline Specifications
Nikon D3X   Nikon Df
Nikon D3X Nikon Df
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
24.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor 16.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1600 (50-6400) ISO 100-12800 (50-204800)
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 5.5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
4400 shots per battery charge1400 shots per battery charge
160 x 157 x 88 mm, 1260 g 144 x 110 x 67 mm, 760 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3X and the Nikon Df? 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: Nikon D3X vs Df

The physical size and weight of the Nikon D3X and the Nikon Df are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The Df can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D3X is only available in black.

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

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon Df is considerably smaller (37 percent) than the Nikon D3X. Moreover, the Df is substantially lighter (40 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 Df can take 1400 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14 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 Df, there are third party battery grips available as optional accessories (see here on eBay).

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3X» 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 44.4 oz 4400 Y Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X
 
Nikon Df« 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.6 in 26.8 oz 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749 i i Nikon Df
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » 5.9 in 6.3 in 3.1 in 48.9 oz 1800 Y Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Nikon D850« » 5.7 in 4.9 in 3.1 in 35.5 oz 1840 Y Jul 2017 3,299 i i Nikon D850
 
Nikon D5« » 6.3 in 6.3 in 3.6 in 49.9 oz 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
 
Nikon D4S« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.6 oz 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499- i Nikon D4S
 
Nikon D750« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 26.5 oz 1230 Y Sep 2014 2,299 i i Nikon D750
 
Nikon D810« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 34.6 oz 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
 
Nikon D610« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610
 
Nikon D4« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.3 oz 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
 
Nikon D600« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Nikon D600
 
Nikon D3S« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 43.7 oz 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D700« » 5.8 in 4.8 in 3.0 in 37.9 oz 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
 
Nikon D3« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 45.9 oz 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The Df was launched at a markedly lower price (by 66 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Nikon D3X vs Df

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, the Df 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 Df sensor measures

With 24.4MP, the D3X offers a higher resolution than the Df (16.2MP), but the D3X has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 7.29μm for the Df). Moreover, the Df is a much more recent model (by 4 years and 11 months) than the D3X, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D3X implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3X for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.2 x 20.2 inch or 76.8 x 51.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.2 x 16.1 inch or 61.4 x 41 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.2 x 13.4 inch or 51.2 x 34.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon Df are 24.6 x 16.4 inch or 62.6 x 41.7 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inch or 50.1 x 33.3 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inch or 41.7 x 27.8 cm for excellent quality prints.

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 Df are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.

D3X versus Df MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3X» Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032-24.713.7199288Nikon D3X
 
Nikon Df« Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280-24.613.1327989Nikon Df
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III« » Full Frame 21.0 5616 3744-24.012.0166380Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Nikon D850« » Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.414.82660100Nikon D850
 
Nikon D5« » Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388Nikon D5
 
Nikon D4S« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489Nikon D4S
 
Nikon D750« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/60p24.814.5295693Nikon D750
 
Nikon D810« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397Nikon D810
 
Nikon D610« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594Nikon D610
 
Nikon D4« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589Nikon D4
 
Nikon D600« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.2298094Nikon D600
 
Nikon D3S« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D700« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2230380Nikon D700
 
Nikon D3« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2229081Nikon D3
Both the D3X and the Df offer Live View, so that they make it possible to use the rear screen for framing. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
 

Feature comparison: Nikon D3X vs Df

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D3X and the Df 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 following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D3X, the Nikon Df, and comparable cameras.

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
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3X»optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Nikon D3X
 
Nikon Df«optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n n Nikon Df
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Nikon D850« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 n n Nikon D850
 
Nikon D5« »optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0 n n Nikon D5
 
Nikon D4S« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D4S
 
Nikon D750« »optical Y 3.2 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D750
 
Nikon D810« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D810
 
Nikon D610« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D610
 
Nikon D4« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D4
 
Nikon D600« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 Y n Nikon D600
 
Nikon D3S« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D700« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n Nikon D700
 
Nikon D3« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D3

The Nikon D3X and the Nikon Df 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 Df uses SDXC cards. The D3X features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the Df only has one slot.

 

Connectivity comparison: Nikon D3X vs Df

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 Df and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3X»Y----mini2.0---Nikon D3X
 
Nikon Df«Y----mini2.0---Nikon Df
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Nikon D850« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYYNikon D850
 
Nikon D5« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D5
 
Nikon D4S« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D4S
 
Nikon D750« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y--Nikon D750
 
Nikon D810« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--Nikon D810
 
Nikon D610« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D610
 
Nikon D4« »Ymonomono--micro2.0---Nikon D4
 
Nikon D600« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D600
 
Nikon D3S« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D700« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D700
 
Nikon D3« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D3

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

The Df is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the D3X has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). There has not been a direct replacement model for the D3X from Nikon. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.


Review summary: Nikon D3X vs Df

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D3X and the Nikon Df? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3X:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (24.4 vs 16.2MP) with a 23% higher linear resolution.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (0.6 EV of extra DR).
  • 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 1400) on a single battery charge.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in December 2008).


Arguments in favor of the Nikon Df:

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.7 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (EXPEED 3 vs EXPEED).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More compact: Is smaller (144x110mm vs 160x157mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 500g or 40 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (66 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D3X launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the match-up finishes in a tie (7 points each). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D3X 07:07 Df

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D3X and the Nikon Df 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D3X or the Df perform in practice. 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: Nikon D3X vs Df

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3X»-86/1004/55/55/5 Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X
 
Nikon Df«-81/1004/54/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749 i i Nikon Df
 
Canon 1Ds Mark III« »-+ +4.5/5-- Aug 2007 7,999- i Canon 1Ds Mark III
 
Nikon D850« »+ +89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jul 2017 3,299 i i Nikon D850
 
Nikon D5« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
 
Nikon D4S« »--4.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499- i Nikon D4S
 
Nikon D750« »+ +90/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 2,299 i i Nikon D750
 
Nikon D810« »-86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299- i Nikon D810
 
Nikon D610« »+ +87/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610
 
Nikon D4« »--4.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
 
Nikon D600« »+ +87/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i Nikon D600
 
Nikon D3S« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D700« »89/100+ +4.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999- i Nikon D700
 
Nikon D3« »-+ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
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 comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Nikon D3X:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon Df:
Check Amazon price

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 Df

    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 Df
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date December 2008 November 2013
    Launch Price USD 7999 USD 2749
    Sensor Specs Nikon D3X Nikon Df
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.9 x 24.0 mm 36.0 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 861.6 mm2 860.4 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.2 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 24.4 Megapixels 16.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6048 x 4032 pixels 4928 x 3280 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.94 μm 7.29 μm
    Pixel Density 2.83 MP/cm2 1.88 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 100-12800 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-6400 ISO 50-204800 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED EXPEED 3
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 88 89
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.7 24.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.7 13.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1992 3279
    Screen Specs Nikon D3X Nikon Df
    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 3.0 inch 3.2 inch
    LCD Resolution 922k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D3X Nikon Df
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 5.5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy300 000 actuations150 000 actuations
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D3X Nikon Df
    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
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D3X Nikon Df
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL4a power pack EN-EL14 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)4400 shots per charge1400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 160 x 157 x 88 mm
    (6.3 x 6.2 x 3.5 in)
    144 x 110 x 67 mm
    (5.7 x 4.3 x 2.6 in)
    Camera Weight 1260 g (44.4 oz) 760 g (26.8 oz)

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