Nikon D3X vs Olympus E-30
The Nikon D3X and the Olympus E-30 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in December 2008 and November 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (D3X) and a Four Thirds (E-30) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 24.4 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 12.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon D3X||Olympus E-30|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Nikon F mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|24.4 MP, Full Frame Sensor||12.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor|
|no Video||no Video|
|ISO 100-1600 (50-6400)||ISO 100-3200|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0" LCD, 922k dots||2.7" LCD, 230k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5 shutter flaps per second||5 shutter flaps per second|
|Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|4400 shots per battery charge||750 shots per battery charge|
|160 x 157 x 88 mm, 1260 g||142 x 108 x 75 mm, 701 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3X and the Olympus E-30? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Nikon D3X and the Olympus E-30 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-30 is considerably smaller (39 percent) than the Nikon D3X. Moreover, the E-30 is substantially lighter (44 percent) than the D3X. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D3X is splash and dust resistant, while the E-30 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3X) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-30).
Concerning battery life, the D3X gets 4400 shots out of its EN-EL4a battery, while the E-30 can take 750 images on a single charge of its BLM-1 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 E-30, Olympus provides the HLD-4 vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on eBay).
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.
|Nikon D3X»||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||44.4 oz||4400||Y||Dec 2008||7,999||Nikon D3X|
|Olympus E-30«||5.6 in||4.3 in||3.0 in||24.7 oz||750||n||Nov 2008||1,299||Olympus E-30|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III« »||5.9 in||6.3 in||3.1 in||48.9 oz||1800||Y||Aug 2007||7,999||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Nikon D6« »||6.3 in||6.4 in||3.6 in||44.8 oz||3580||Y||Feb 2020||6,499||Nikon D6|
|Nikon D5« »||6.3 in||6.3 in||3.6 in||49.9 oz||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D4S« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.6 oz||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon D750« »||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||26.5 oz||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D4« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.3 oz||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D600« »||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.2 in||30.0 oz||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||Nikon D600|
|Nikon D3S« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||43.7 oz||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199||Nikon D3S|
|Nikon D700« »||5.8 in||4.8 in||3.0 in||37.9 oz||1000||Y||Jul 2008||2,999||Nikon D700|
|Nikon D3« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||45.9 oz||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999||Nikon D3|
|Olympus E-600« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.4 in||18.9 oz||500||n||Aug 2009||449||Olympus E-600|
|Olympus E-620« »||5.1 in||3.7 in||2.4 in||18.4 oz||500||n||Feb 2009||699||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-520« »||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||18.9 oz||750||n||May 2008||699||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-410« »||5.1 in||3.6 in||2.1 in||15.3 oz||500||n||Mar 2007||699||Olympus E-410|
|Olympus E-510« »||5.4 in||3.6 in||2.7 in||19.0 oz||750||n||Mar 2007||799||Olympus E-510|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 E-30 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 84 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D3X features a full frame sensor and the Olympus E-30 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-30 is 74 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 2.0. The sensor in the D3X has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-30 offers a 4:3 aspect.
In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.
With 24.4MP, the D3X offers a higher resolution than the E-30 (12.2MP), but the D3X nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 4.29μm for the E-30) due to its larger sensor. It is noteworthy in this context that the two cameras were released in close succession, so that their sensors are from the same technological generation.
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 Olympus E-30 are 20.2 x 15.1 inch or 51.2 x 38.4 cm for good quality, 16.1 x 12.1 inch or 41 x 30.7 cm for very good quality, and 13.4 x 10.1 inch or 34.1 x 25.6 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 Olympus E-30 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200 (no boost).
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 review, the D3X provides substantially higher image quality than the E-30, with an overall score that is 33 points higher. This advantage is based on 3.4 bits higher color depth, 3.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and 1.9 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Nikon D3X||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||24.7||13.7||1992||88||Nikon D3X|
|Olympus E-30||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.4||530||55||Olympus E-30|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||none||24.0||12.0||1663||80||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Nikon D6||Full Frame||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon D6|
|Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D4S||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/60p||24.4||13.3||3074||89||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D600||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||94||Nikon D600|
|Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82||Nikon D3S|
|Nikon D700||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2303||80||Nikon D700|
|Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81||Nikon D3|
|Olympus E-600||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.5||10.3||541||55||Olympus E-600|
|Olympus E-620||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||none||21.3||10.3||536||55||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-520||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.4||10.4||548||55||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-410||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.1||10.0||494||51||Olympus E-410|
|Olympus E-510||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.2||10.0||442||52||Olympus E-510|
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D3X and the E-30 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 viewfinder in the D3X offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the E-30 (98%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the D3X has a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.51x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D3X and Olympus E-30 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|Nikon D3X||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Nikon D3X|
|Olympus E-30||optical||Y||2.7||230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-30|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Nikon D6||optical||Y||3.2||2359||fixed||Y||1/8000s||14.0||n||n||Nikon D6|
|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 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|
|Olympus E-600||optical||n||2.7||230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-600|
|Olympus E-620||optical||n||2.7||230||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-520||optical||n||2.7||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.5||Y||Y||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-410||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Olympus E-410|
|Olympus E-510||optical||n||2.5||215||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||Y||Olympus E-510|
One feature that differentiates the E-30 and the D3X is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-30 reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while the D3X has to rely on optical image stabilization in OIS-equipped lenses to achieve the same effect.The E-30 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the D3X does not have a selfie-screen.
The Nikon D3X has 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 E-30 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.
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 Olympus E-30 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Nikon D3X||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3X|
|Olympus E-30||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-30|
|Canon 1Ds Mark III||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds Mark III|
|Nikon D6||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.1||Y||-||Y||Nikon D6|
|Nikon D5||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D4S||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon D750||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D4||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D600||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D600|
|Nikon D3S||Y||stereo||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3S|
|Nikon D700||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D700|
|Nikon D3||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3|
|Olympus E-600||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-600|
|Olympus E-620||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-620|
|Olympus E-520||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-520|
|Olympus E-410||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-410|
|Olympus E-510||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Olympus E-510|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D3X (unlike the E-30) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the D3X and the E-30 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. Neither of the two has a direct successor, so they represent the end of the respective camera lines from Nikon and Olympus. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Olympus websites.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D3X or the Olympus E-30 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3X:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24.4 vs 12.2MP) with a 44% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (33 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (3.4 bits more color depth).
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (3.3 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.9 stops ISO advantage).
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 98%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.51x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (922k vs 230k dots).
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (4400 versus 750) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
Advantages of the Olympus E-30:
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- More compact: Is smaller (142x108mm vs 160x157mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 559g or 44 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (84 percent cheaper at launch).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3X is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 7 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D3X and the Olympus E-30 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 incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D3X or the E-30 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.
This is why expert reviews 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.
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, 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.
- Canon 20D vs Olympus E-30
- Canon 400D vs Olympus E-30
- Canon RP vs Olympus E-30
- Canon SX410 vs Nikon D3X
- Canon T4i vs Olympus E-30
- Canon XS vs Olympus E-30
- Leica M8 vs Nikon D3X
- Leica X-U Typ 113 vs Olympus E-30
- Nikon D3300 vs Nikon D3X
- Nikon D3X vs Nikon D7500
- Nikon D3X vs Olympus E-510
- Olympus E-30 vs Pentax K-1 II
Specifications: Nikon D3X vs Olympus E-30
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 Model||Nikon D3X||Olympus E-30|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||December 2008||November 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 7999||USD 1299|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D3X||Olympus E-30|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.9 x 24.0 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||861.6 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.2 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.4 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6048 x 4032 pixels||4032 x 3024 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.94 μm||4.29 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.83 MP/cm2||5.42 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100-1600 ISO||100-3200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50-6400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||EXPEED||TruePic III+|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||88||55|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.7||21.3|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.7||10.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1992||530|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D3X||Olympus E-30|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||2.7 inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D3X||Olympus E-30|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Image Stabilization||Lens stabilization only||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||CF or XD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D3X||Olympus E-30|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D3X||Olympus E-30|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||4400 shots per charge||750 shots per charge|
160 x 157 x 88 mm
(6.3 x 6.2 x 3.5 in)
142 x 108 x 75 mm
(5.6 x 4.3 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||1260 g (44.4 oz)||701 g (24.7 oz)|
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