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Nikon D3, D700 and D300
ISO 3,200 Comparison

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August 2008      More Nikon Reviews


As we say in racing, the BS stops when the green flag drops.

Let's have a race at ISO 3,200 for the techies and see how the Nikon D3, Nikon D700 and Nikon D300 run against each other.

Here are crops from 100% images directly from each camera. This childish self-portrait is actually rather devious. There is fuzzy-faced me, to show how much detail is retained at ISO 3,200 (many cameras cheat by smudging details to hide noise), and the out-of-focus background lets us see the noise and any potential weird tiling, posterization or other uncomfortable artifacts in the dim and dark areas.

Nikon D3

Nikon D700

Nikon D300

Analysis back to top

As expected, I've confirmed that the D3 and D700 look identical, as expected since they use the same full-frame FX sensor and technology. They have the same noise, and the same excellent level of detail.

Also as expected, the small-format (DX) D300 is inferior. The noise isn't much worse, but what is much worse is that the details are smeared over by the strong noise reduction. Look at the fur. It looks fine in the D300, until you look at the D700 or D3 and see what was smudged over. If you somehow reduced the noise reduction of the D300 to recover the lost detail, you'd have an hellacious amount of noise.

Technik  back to top

Tripod. Center post used to collocate front nodal points, since each camera has a different height.

Manual exposure, 1/500 at f/8, ISO 3,200.

Diffuse overcast window light. Daylight WB. Sharpening set to 5, saturation set to +3. ADR set to NORM for D3 and D300, set to AUTO in D700. Please ignore small differences in exposure; you'll always see these between cameras.

Nikon Zoom-NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8 AF-S. Set to 70mm for D3 and D700, 47mm for D300 to give the same framing.



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