Nikon D3X vs Sony A6300
The Nikon D3X and the Sony Alpha A6300 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in December 2008 and February 2016. The D3X is a DSLR, while the A6300 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a full frame (D3X) and an APS-C (A6300) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 24.4 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3X and the Sony Alpha A6300? 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 Sony A6300 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The A6300 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D3X is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony A6300 is considerably smaller (68 percent) than the Nikon D3X. Moreover, the A6300 is substantially lighter (68 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. 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 Sony E-Mount Lens Catalog (A6300). Mirrorless cameras, such as the A6300, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.
Concerning battery life, the D3X gets 4400 shots out of its EN-EL4a battery, while the A6300 can take 400 images on a single charge of its NP-FW50 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 A6300, there are third party battery grips available as optional accessories (see here on eBay). The power pack in the A6300 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. 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.
|1.||Nikon D3X||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1260 g||4400||Y||Dec 2008||7,999|
|2.||Sony A6300||120 mm||67 mm||49 mm||404 g||400||Y||Feb 2016||999|
|3.||Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|4.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||150 mm||160 mm||80 mm||1385 g||1800||Y||Aug 2007||7,999|
|5.||Nikon D5||160 mm||159 mm||92 mm||1415 g||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499|
|6.||Nikon D4S||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1350 g||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499|
|7.||Nikon D750||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299|
|8.||Nikon D610||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999|
|9.||Nikon D4||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1340 g||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999|
|10.||Nikon D600||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|11.||Nikon D3S||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1240 g||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199|
|12.||Nikon D700||147 mm||123 mm||77 mm||1074 g||1000||Y||Jul 2008||2,999|
|13.||Nikon D3||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1300 g||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999|
|14.||Sony A6400||120 mm||67 mm||50 mm||403 g||410||Y||Jan 2019||899|
|15.||Sony A6500||120 mm||67 mm||53 mm||453 g||350||Y||Oct 2016||1,399|
|16.||Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
|17.||Sony A6000||120 mm||67 mm||45 mm||344 g||360||n||Feb 2014||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The A6300 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 88 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.
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. 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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D3X features a full frame sensor and the Sony A6300 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the A6300 is 57 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 24.4MP, the D3X offers a slightly higher resolution than the A6300 (24MP), but the D3X nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.94μm versus 3.91μm for the A6300) due to its larger sensor. However, the A6300 is a much more recent model (by 7 years and 2 months) than the D3X, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The A6300 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
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 Sony Alpha A6300 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-51200.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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.
|1.||Nikon D3X||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||24.7||13.7||1992||88|
|4.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Full Frame||21.0||5616||3744||none||24.0||12.0||1663||80|
|5.||Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
|6.||Nikon D4S||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/60p||24.4||13.3||3074||89|
|7.||Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|8.||Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|9.||Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
|10.||Nikon D600||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||94|
|11.||Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|12.||Nikon D700||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2303||80|
|13.||Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81|
|16.||Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The A6300 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D3X does not. The highest resolution format that the A6300 can use is 4K/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the A6300 has an electronic viewfinder (2359k dots), while the D3X has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), as well as the same magnification (0.70x). The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D3X and Sony A6300 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Nikon D3X||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|2.||Sony A6300||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon 80D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||optical||Y||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|5.||Nikon D5||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||fixed||Y||1/8000s||14.0||n||n|
|6.||Nikon D4S||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n|
|7.||Nikon D750||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon D610||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon D4||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n|
|10.||Nikon D600||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D3S||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n|
|12.||Nikon D700||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D3||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n|
|14.||Sony A6400||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n|
|15.||Sony A6500||2359||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||Y||1/4000s||11.0||Y||Y|
|16.||Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0 / 1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
|17.||Sony A6000||1440||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/4000s||11.0||Y||n|
One feature that is present on the D3X, but is missing on the A6300 is 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.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the A6300 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
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 A6300 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards. The D3X features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the A6300 only has one slot.
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 Sony Alpha A6300 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon D3X||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Sony A6300||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|3.||Canon 80D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||Y||mono / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Nikon D5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Nikon D4S||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Nikon D750||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Nikon D610||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D4||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D600||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D3S||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D700||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D3||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Sony A6400||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|15.||Sony A6500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|16.||Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|17.||Sony A6000||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the A6300 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the D3X does not provide wifi capability.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D3X (unlike the A6300) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the D3X and the A6300 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The A6300 was replaced by the Sony A6500, while the D3X does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Sony websites.
So how do things add up? Is the Nikon D3X better than the Sony A6300 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3X:
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.5 stops ISO advantage).
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- 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 400) on a single battery charge.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- 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).
Advantages of the Sony Alpha A6300:
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/30p video.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (120x67mm vs 160x157mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 856g or 68 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (88 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 2 months of technical progress since the D3X launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the A6300 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 10 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D3X and the Sony A6300 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D3X or the A6300 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
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 (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.
|1.||Nikon D3X||..||..||..||86/100||4/5||5/5||Dec 2008||7,999|
|2.||Sony A6300||4.5/5||+||..||85/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2016||999|
|3.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||4.5/5||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|4.||Canon 1Ds Mark III||..||..||..||+ +||4.5/5||..||Aug 2007||7,999|
|5.||Nikon D5||..||..||4/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499|
|6.||Nikon D4S||5/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||6,499|
|7.||Nikon D750||5/5||+ +||4/5||90/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299|
|8.||Nikon D610||4/5||+ +||..||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999|
|9.||Nikon D4||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999|
|10.||Nikon D600||4/5||+ +||..||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|11.||Nikon D3S||5/5||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199|
|12.||Nikon D700||..||89/100||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2008||2,999|
|13.||Nikon D3||..||..||..||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999|
|14.||Sony A6400||4/5||+||4/5||85/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jan 2019||899|
|15.||Sony A6500||5/5||+ +||3.5/5||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2016||1,399|
|16.||Sony RX100 IV||4.5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|17.||Sony A6000||5/5||+||4.5/5||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2014||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. 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 use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Nikon D3X vs Sony A6300
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||Sony A6300|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Sony E mount lenses|
|Launch Date||December 2008||February 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 7,999||USD 999|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D3X||Sony A6300|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.9 x 24.0 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||861.6 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.2 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.4 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6048 x 4032 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.94 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.83 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 51,200 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED||BIONZ X|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||88||85|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.7||24.4|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.7||13.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1992||1437|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D3X||Sony A6300|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||922k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D3X||Sony A6300|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||5 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||300 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Electronic Shutter||no E-Shutter||YES|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||MS or SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D3X||Sony A6300|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon D3X||Sony A6300|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||4400 shots per charge||400 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
160 x 157 x 88 mm
(6.3 x 6.2 x 3.5 in)
120 x 67 x 49 mm
(4.7 x 2.6 x 1.9 in)
|Camera Weight||1260 g (44.4 oz)||404 g (14.3 oz)|
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