Used D3 or used D700?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by kavan_murphy|2, Dec 2, 2012.

  1. A wedding pro in the area is selling his D3 with 236k shutter count for $1700 and his D700 with 98k shutter count for $1400. Both
    cameras come with 2 batteries and the D700 has the battery grip. I know the D3 is tested to 300k shutter count and the D700 to 150k. I'll
    also be buying his 24-70 FX lens for $1500.

    I mostly shoot weddings and portraits, and with the rate I shoot I would probably reach either camera's tested shutter count in 2-3 years.
    I'm currently rocking a D300 and D200 when I shoot weddings, and I've been wanting to upgrade to full frame for a while. I like the idea
    oh having one FX and one DX camera when shooting, so I'd be selling the D200 and keeping the D300. I know it's about $300-$400 to
    get a shutter replaced, and that it could fail at 240k or 500k (the 300k rating obviously isn't definitive).

    High ISO performance is my main concern, and dual card slots would be awesome. So, the question is, which of the two is the better
    deal? I really like the dual slots in the D3 to backup cards while shooting weddings. But, are the shutter counts too high on either camera
    to make them worth it? Would I be better off with a new D600?

    Thanks all
  2. For weddings, reliability and handling are critical. I'd be minded to go for a new D600 (dust / oil issues notwithstanding).
  3. Yeah, the D600 is attractive and being able to record video would be cool. The one thing holding me back on the D600 is
    the massive file size of each RAW image and how it might slow down processing 1,000+ images from a wedding.
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If I where you, I would buy a new D600 instead, much better technology. It is unfair to your paying customers to use very
    old and may be abused cameras.

    Today, even the bottom of the line D3200 has 24MP. If your computer cannot handle image files of that size, it is time to upgrade the computer.
  5. I wouldn't worry about file size - just throw more hardware at the problem (relatively cheap). You could always batch process in Capture NX or DxO overnight. More important is to delight your customers.
  6. Since High ISO performance is your main concern, I would suggest a D800 over any of the bodies you mention because of its superior AF, especially in low light and noticeably improved IQ, especially at high ISO. Refurbs are available for $2500. My 2nd choice would be a D3, again because its AF performance is superior to that of a D600. IQ is still respectable even today.
    Considering that the used D3 total cost would be close to $2200 (including future service and shipping), it may make sense to invest in a D800 now for $2500. Can you really afford shutter failure to fail during a paid event? Keep in mind that a low usage D3 is likely available for just a few hundred dollars more than the offers you are considering.
    FWIW, I have shot around 250k images with my D3 (enjoyed it immensely) but have used it once since I began using my D800 in July - it is that much better!
  7. I agree with the D600 direction to a certain extent. The D600 is better except for the focusing system. I'm not sure about the D200, but the D600 is a step back on focusing compared to the D300. Also, those prices are kind of high given those shutter counts. I recently paid $1600 for a D700 that only had 5000 actuations to back up a D800. If you buy either of these cameras, negotiate the price down another 10% or so. Elliot is right - if you buy that D3 and have to put $300-400 into a new shutter, it makes more sense to buy a refurbished D800 for a couple hundred dollars more. My recommendation would be to work with what you have until you can afford a new D600 or D800 (testing them both as choosing the one you want).
  8. A Nikon D7000 for less then $900.00 would be perfect. Keep the overhead low and a nice warranty.
  9. Don't buy a D3 with over a quarter million cycles on it when for about two or three hundred dollars more you can easily get one with 20 or 30 thousand cycles on it.
    If you focus by eye, the D3 is superior to all other models mentioned in all the replies.
  10. Keith -- I'm curious, with no horse in the race (I have a D700 and won't be changing soon) why, if one focuses by eye, is the D3 superior to all the other models mentioned? Certainly I don't believe as Shung does that a couple will be ripped off by D3 image quality -- it was state of the art not too long ago. A National Geographic editor or advertising firm doing billboards might notice the difference between a D3 and a D800 (maybe) but very few newlyweds, all foggy with desire and whatnot, are going to. But why is the D3 superior?
  11. D7000 + a new 17-55/2.8.

    The D7000 is close to the dynamic range of the D800 & D600.
    It has the additional benefit of having a relatively quite shutter, especially used in the quiet mode. But keep an eye on the mode dial.
  12. those shutter counts are way too high for the prices quoted. maybe if the wedding pro replaced both shutters himself, before selling. otherwise, you're stuck with replacement cost. as others have mentioned that's around the price of a refurb or new FX body. the one advantage to using a d300/d700 combo is they share batteries and grips; also both use CF cards. for weddings the redundancy and similar controls could be a plus. but neither have dual memory slots.
  13. I've had to wet clean my friends D3 sensor about 5 times in the last 2 years. No Auto-Clean function means the dust bunnies will gang up on you, probably on the bride's or mother-in-law's face!
    Another vote for the D600. I think that high-mileage D3 is trouble waiting to happen. Why are they selling? Future reliability issues?
  14. I know the D3 is tested to 300k shutter count and the D700 to 150k​
    Just to be clear: they aren't tested per individual camera. The quoted figures are the MTBF, meaning on average Nikin expects the shutter to fail after resp. 300k and 150k actuations. Meaning some cameras will fail after one, some cameras will never fail. They do not garantue that you will get 150k/300k of actuations. So, I'd never put too much into "it had this many actuations" other than a sign of how much use it has seen.
    In this case, both cameras are obviously well used. It's not only the shutter to worry about (batteries wear out too, and the D3 batteries aren't cheap). The D600 sounds a whole lot more attractive.
  15. Get a D3 or D700 with much less use if you want one of those cameras. They are fine cameras for the work that you want to do. If you have the money go for a D800 and never look back.
  16. The problem with shutter failure is that there is typically no warning. There is no 'gas' gauge telling you that the tank will be empty soon. When it fails, it just fails. The shutter on my D3 failed after less than 100K actuations. Fortunately, I was not at an event. It was replaced under warranty (outside the 1 year warranty period but fortunately Nikon still took care of it) and I now have well over 150k on the 2nd one. This graph is quite revealing as to the shutter life of D3 bodies:
    While several have mentioned a D7000 option, I would not even consider it over the D3 mainly but not only because of its AF ability as compared to the D3/D3S/D700/D800 (which is why I also rule out the D600). (My reasons have nothing to to with IQ and more to do with ergonomics/lack of specific advanced features.) Keep in mind that lighting is typically not the best at most wedding. The AF module in Nikon's D3/D3S/D700/D800 bodies is far superior in adverse lighting over the D7000/D600 bodies. The D800, like the D4, offers Nikon's best. For such a small amount of money (and peace of mind), why consider 2nd or 3rd best?
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    While several have mentioned a D7000 option, I would not even consider it over the D3 mainly but not only because of its AF ability as compared to the D3/D3S/D700/D800 (which is why I also rule out the D600).​
    Elliot, how much experience do you have with the D600?
    I used one for a month and half, and I found its AF very good, perhaps not quite as good as the D3, D700, and D800, but it should be far more than enough for wedding photography. My main problem with the D600's AF is that the AF points are too concentrated in the center of the FX frame. That has also been my main complaint about the D3, D700, and D800 ever since the D3 was introduced back in 2007.
    I have also owned a D7000 since it was introduced a little over two years ago. I have no problem recommending the D7000 and D600's AF for wedding photography. For shooting sports and action, it is still good but clearly not the best. I have replaced the D300 by the D7000 for all of my wildlife action photography.
    I would rather not use the D800 for weddings because 36MP is too many. Wedding photographers tends to capture a lot of images and you need to duplicate those images on different hard drives for safety. The space adds up quickly. Except for studio-style images from a tripod, if you hand hold and your subjects not completely still, the difference between 24MP and 36MP is mostly meaningless.
    Since the OP specifies a budget at below $2000, a new D800 ($3000) is going to be more than $1000 over-budget. For those who can wait until December 15, you can wait a little and see why Thom Hogan is asking people to hold off their D800 purchase:
    At this point the D600 is a lot more cost effective and won't blow the OP's budget.
  18. If you focus by eye, the D3 is superior to all other models mentioned in all the replies.​
    If I'm shooting a wedding, I would pick a D800 over a D3 question. D3s or D4 (better ISO on both) is a different story.
  19. Shun, I have zero experience with the D600. But isn't it the same AF module as the D7000 or am I missing something? (not that there is anythings wrong with it but given the placement of the AF points of the D600 are even more concentrated in the center than other FX bodies like the D3/D800, and given that is is a lesser system than Nikon's current best, I would not recommend it for a bonafide wedding/event photographer OVER a lesser system).
    Considering the relatively small difference in cost between the D600 and D800, about $500 right now (new D600 vs refurb D800), I think the choice for a D800 is a better one because of the improved AF performance, and is only slightly higher in cost than the what the OP is considering to buy right now for the used body and anticipated shutter repair (I don't believe he has stated a definitive budget).
    Mass storage is no longer costly- I just bought a 3TB drive for $120. Memory cards are also quite inexpensive. With the best within reach, and considering that the OP keeps his cameras for a long time, why settle for 2nd best?
    +1 to KJ - I have come to the exact same conclusion which is why I don't use my D3 any more.
  20. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Shun, I have zero experience with the D600. But isn't it the same AF module as the D7000 or am I missing something?​
    Elliot, so you recommended against the D600 despite the fact that you have "zero experience" with it?
    Yes, the D600 uses the same AF module as the D7000, and my experience with it is that AF is very good on both cameras. I am glad that they both have the Multi-CAM 4800.
    Didn't you keep telling us that you were happy with the Canon 5D Mark II's AF despite it only has one cross-type AF point? Why is the D600 with 9 cross-type and 39 altogether insufficient all of a sudden?
    Considering the relatively small difference in cost between the D600 and D800, about $500 right now (new D600 vs refurb D800)​
    That is an apples to oranges comparison. If you want to compare prices, compare new vs. new or refurb vs. refurb. The OP is talking about spending $1400 to $1700 for a used D700 or D3. Even the price for a new D600 is a stratch already.
  21. These cameras have been heavily used, much better off with a newer model or same models with less use. I have a vague recollection from reading something online that the actual shutter assembly in the D700 is the same as the D3 but Nikon claim a lesser life span on it to make the D3 seem more professional. The D700 was virtually the same technically as the D3 with only a few differences. A mint D700 or a new D600/ D800 would be ideal for what you need.
  22. It seems we agree that the D7000/D600 AF module is very good. I never had AF issues of any kind with my D7000. It appears what we are in disagreement over is whether 'very good' is good enough for someone who is making a living using his equipment. For paid work, I would not settle for 2nd best in the AF or IQ departments nor would I recommend such a camera.
    For personal use I have no problem recommending the D600 or the 5D/5dMKII. I know both are excellent bodies. But for commercial use, which is the case here, I would never recommend the the former because of the AF module (and lack of certain other advanced features) or the latter for the same reasons as well as lack of dual memory card slots.
    With regard to apples vs oranges, as soon as refurb D600s are available in the next 4-6 months, we will be able to do that. At this point, we cannot. The prices are what they are. I personally would never choose a new D600 over a refurb D800 over a $500 difference IF I needed the advantages that the D800 offers, and there are many. To me it does not make sense for someone that needs the numerous advantages the D800 offers over the D600 (there are many and I am not referring to IQ which appears to be the same between the two). And to me, I am speculating that a wedding photographer would want the AF module of the D800/D4 in their hands over the lesser d600 AF module.
    The bottom line is he will be happy regardless of which upgrade path he takes. Which one is best obviously is subjective.
  23. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Elliot, professional photography is generally a low-pay job. Not every professional photographer can afford the highest-end equipment. Take the OP as an example, he is using a D300 and a D200 to shoot weddings. The D600 is already going to be a huge improvement over his current equipment.
    Based on my experience with the D600, I would have absolutely no problem using one to shoot weddings professionally. And since Elliot you have no experience with the D600, I think it is best that you try that camera out for a few weeks first before commenting on it.
    P.S. Given the relatively high rate of left AF issues on the D800, IMO it is a questionable idea to buy refurbished ones. There is no doubt that some of the returned ones eventually are sold again as refurb. Unfortunately, I found out first hand that Nikon does not always make a thorough check up before putting something back into the refurb market. IMO, those who buy refurb D800 should definitely check it out thoroughly within the first few days.
  24. The D300 AF is superior to the D600 and D7000. Or to avoid controversy, let's just say the D300 AF is
    excellent and more than good enough. I really like the wide array of AF points compared to the later

    Frankly if everything is working well, why not get a second low-milage D300 and better lenses/flash so
    you have a good quality, redundant set-up that produces professional quality images? The resolution,
    range, and low-light performance are more than sufficient to make professional quality images for years
    to come. And it is really nice to have to identical cameras that you know really well.... Long lens on
    one, wide on the other, easy to switch on the fly and not as heavy that you can't carry both at the same

    Put the rest into personal savings or smart marketing for your wedding business.

    If you are going to get a FX body, hold out for an amateur's D700 with under 20K clicks for a hundred
    bucks more.

    But really, until the wedding photography is so profitable that you can buy two of whatever you want,
    brand new at retail, then skimping by to get into FX is a mistake. Better to have a good pro DX system
    that works well than an FX system that's only half there.
  25. Get the new D600 forget that old tech used stuff,prices are too high anyway...

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