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Nikon D3 high ISO comments

I’m steadily accumulating experience and images for an in-depth look at the Nikon D3 (links) and Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III (links), but I’m so excited about the Nikon D3 high ISO performance that I feel compelled to share some thoughts.

The image below is a good example of what the Nikon D3 is capable of (keep in mind that my comments apply to the original 16-bit TIF; the medium-quality web JPEGs seen here lose something in the dumbing-down). I’ve seen various high-ISO noise comparisons on the web and well...just let me say this: nothing matters like shooting a variety of real images, and the Nikon D3 stands head and shoulders above anything I’ve ever used (including the EOS 1Ds Mark III and EOS 1D Mark III).

It’s not just the amount of noise, it’s that it’s subjectively pleasing noise, something one can’t evaluate with graphs and charts. If you regularly shoot in low light, the D3 is the only camera to consider—end of story. It is the camera I pick up now in the winter whenever daylight is limited and/or it’s walk-around photography—it’s a serious breakthough for available-light work. The noise in the image below is so attractive (as noise goes), that I’m not even sure I’d have wanted to make the image at a lower ISO—I like how the noise compliments the image.

Nikon D3 + Zeiss ZF 28/2 Distagon, handheld, 1/30 @ f/4, ISO 3200
(click image to see larger and crops)

The machine seen above is used to pound rice into elastic material for making Japanese “mochi”. I can testify that it does an impressive job, so long as the operator is skilled enough to avoid crushing his hand in the process. There is a lot to be appreciated about such elegant machinery, and the skilled person who can operate it.

The image was made using the new Zeiss ZF 28/2 Distagon. My Zeiss ZF Lenses review is being extended to cover this impressive new addition to the ZF line. I think the 28/2 did an outstanding job on this particular image (after all, if one just has the right camera and lens, the rest is easy*).

* like raising children

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