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Nikon D3 color rendition

My Nikon D3 is back from repair, and I took a few snapshots on the way to a conference today in San Francisco. Having been shooting the 21MP Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III for the past 3 weeks while the D3 was away, I had gotten used to the dullness of the 1DsM3 images (well, not really). Examining the D3 images this evening, I was once again struck by the dramatic difference in the vibrancy in both color and tone. Viewing D3 images is like viewing the original, looking at the 1DsM3 images is like looking at a copy. At least that’s the way it feels to me, though I admit to the idea that different raw-file conversion could narrow the gap. But I don’t think it would close it.

Judge for yourself below, keeping in mind that smaller images and JPEG compression don’t aid the comparison. The image has been processed straight from Capture NX (“Standard”, -0.17EV) with no effort at further post-processing. It exemplifies the color and tone I see from the D3.

Nikon D3 + Zeiss ZF 28/2 Distagon @ ~f/8
(click for larger image)

On my to do list: side-by-side comparison to prove what I’m seeing. And please don’t misinterpret my remarks: the EOS 1Ds Mark III is an outstanding camera, with much higher resolution than the Nikon D3—a different “animal”.

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