Nikon D810 vs D3X in 2018 for Portraiture Studio?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by henrik_holben, Aug 5, 2018.


Nikon D810 vs D3X in 2018 for Portraiture Studio?

  1. Nikon D810

  2. Nikon D3X

    0 vote(s)
  1. I'm considering picking up either an excellent used condition Nikon D810 or D3X since used prices have come down significantly lately, it's now an excellent opportunity to pick up a good deal on a Portrait, Fashion, mainly as new Studio setup with some light Photojournalism Street work outside. My main concern is absolute only the very best Image Quality, Color Rendition, Headroom, Dynamic Range. Then FPS , how fast, and how many MP doesn't concern me so much, anything around 24-36 MP range is just fine enough for the Portraiture stuff I do. My Main Prime lens is a Nikon 85mm 1.4 G. What would you recommend? What's the Pro and Cons with each Camera setup? Is the D3X still relevant in 2018 for Portrait and Studio work or has it been surpassed by D810? If I had the money and it wasn't an issue to spend freely on new equipment, I would go with either a Nikon D850 or Fujifilm GFX50S Medium Format, as I've been a Mamiya RZ67 Pro II and 110/150mm lens Kodak Portra 160/800 film user for years. I would appreciate all of your comments and good suggestions from your own experiences with your Nikon D810 or D3X setup. What's your advice on this?
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
  2. I have a D800, and would not in any way consider replacing it with a D3X for studio use.

    I've only briefly played with a D3X and it's decent enough for a 24mp FF camera from when it was made, but I think that the D800/D810 has surpassed it in terms of IQ in virtually every way.

    To me, it would be no contest-get the D810 and don't look back.
    henrik_holben likes this.
  3. Thanks for your opinion. Another thing I didn't mention is Work Flow! This is huge issue for me, as I've been scanning everything digitally with my Epson v700, it's a great scanner love it, but it's all about the Work Flow!! That's a main crucial issue for me now in my Nikon D810 vs D3X decision eliminating a Mamiya Leaf Aptus 22/33 or Sinarback 54M Digital Back RZ67 Pro II solution...
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2018
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The workflows shouldn’t be any different between using either the D3X or D810. You can’t benefit from the robustness of the D3X. Newer technology in the D810, (newer by 5 years, 2009 vs. 2014), should be the easy choice.
    henrik_holben likes this.
  5. Unless you have a D850 available to you, the D810 should be better in every useful way. Except perhaps the integrated grip, but you could always get an accessory one if you like shooting portrait orientation not on a tripod and you want extra battery life. I've seen new D3x bodies on shelves in the recent past (probably around a year ago) in camera stores, still priced at D4s levels, and generally thought "good luck with that" to them. You'd really have to be in love with the handling (e.g. your other body is a D3s) to even remotely justify the D3x over the D8x0 range.
    henrik_holben likes this.
  6. Thanks Andrew. Yes, I'll definitely get the extra Grip on the D810. What I really love about the D3X is it's built like a tank it's rock-solid like my RZ67 Pro II (weight is not an issue for me with 2.5+ kilos carry around used to it) and it has this Intimidation Factor which is important issue to me too with D3X... it's big, noisy, wonderful, heavy, intimidating, like a pro...
  7. :) It is that, Henrik. And there are those who just prefer the feel of the single digit bodies. But in terms of image quality, it's not close.

    Is the gripped body design better for studio use? It feels a bit cantilevered on a tripod to me, but there's something to be said for a portrait grip - and it is better integrated than with a separate grip. At least the weight isn't harmful.

    My feeling is that Nikon were right to produce a smaller megapixel and dynamic range camera with the D8x0 bodies, as Canon were with the 5D2. There are a lot more amateur landscape shooters who'd like those features in a portable body than there are pro studio shooters. I don't think the design should be all that harmful in a studio, and just be grateful that landscape shooters are subsidising your body!
    henrik_holben likes this.
  8. I'm not sure I've ever seen 'Intimidating Factor' on the list of plus-points in a camera.

    Intimidation needed as a portrait studio photographer, really? Who are you shooting Death Metal bands?

    The assumption a pro (photographer) has to be intimidating is, in itself, a bit much. I own a D3S and a 600mm f4, which, when together, do indeed make a good battering ram, but I'm never trying to scare people...:)

    PS. I'd choose a D810 any day over a D3x. Better in every way, apart from it's fear factor...
    henrik_holben likes this.
  9. Pro Intimidator Factor = Size and Look Does Matter! ;) How Big is your Gun?! :p
  10. A D810 with the battery grip is going to be larger than a D3X;)
    henrik_holben likes this.
  11. Besides for the fact that the D3X has Nikon F mount and the Sony A900 has their A mount the two of them perform quite similar to each other and while I feel the A900 fetch good money for a used one it's still a lot cheaper than the D3X as when new the Sony is only 1/3 the price of the D3X.
    henrik_holben likes this.
  12. Henrik, you should be in the Large Format Forum.....;)
    henrik_holben likes this.
  13. XL Forum!! :p
  14. For indoor portrait use, the single digit Nikons are yesterdays camera.

    Unless you have a very dark studio, I suspect any of the current FX series will give a better image than an old single digit.

    NB. This is of course assuming base ISO etc etc...
    henrik_holben likes this.
  15. I'm just curious! Comparing Image Resolution in Pixel Pitch µm = D3X with 5,92 µm vs D810 with 4,87 µm

    Wouldn't the D3X then give a much more Superior Image Resolution Quality = Much Higher µm? :)
  16. Then the D3 would have even larger pixel pitch and is cheaper.
  17. You make an excellent point indeed! Nikon D3 is at 8,42 µm ;)
  18. D3X even can not compare to D800E and stay in its noble vanity.
    My vote for D810.
    henrik_holben likes this.
  19. The assumption that larger pixels equals better quality is maybe true for sensors of the same generation at higher ISO. For studio work where you can use the base ISO of the sensor, higher resolution tends to win despite smaller pixel sites on the sensor. And then there are the generational leaps ahead, since development hasn’t stopped.... so the much newer D810 can actually equal the ISO3200 performance of a D700 with its much larger sensor sites. At lower sensitivity.... no contest.
    henrik_holben likes this.
  20. It was an old rule of thumb that bigger pixels=better low light sensitivity.

    The D800/D810 are just better than the D3 in this department. The D3s still holds an edge over the D800/D810 in this department, but at 1/3 the resolution. I've not looked at the high ISO performance of the D3X in depth, but seriously doubt its better than the D3 or D3s given the age and pixel count.

    If you're doing things right in the studio, I don't see high ISO performance as being a big concern. In fact, with what I photograph I have my lights fairly close and sometimes even need NDs to avoid diffraction limits at base ISO(or even complete overexposure). Lately-since I like having a dedicated studio camera and don't often need super high resolution, I've actually been using a Kodak DCS 14/n...and using it at its base ISO of 80.
    mike_halliwell and henrik_holben like this.

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