Image Noise Tests on the Nikon D3

We test the new D3 from Nikon for image noise.
The new Nikon D3 is a pretty stunning camera. A 12.1Mpixel camera that is the first full frame digital from Nikon, it handles like a dream. Well built with excellent controls, we were curious to see how the images would hold up.

Nikon D3 digital camera
Nikon D3 digital camera

Firstly, image quality at the default minimum, 200ISO, is great, as you can see in this image and the 100% section from the center, unsharpened.

Nikon D3 digital camera image

Nikon D3 digital camera image

Now for some noise tests at varying ISO settings.

Firstly the daytime target test. For this I shot a greyscale target in indirect light. Exposures started at f2.8 and 1/13 sec at 100ISO and a rising shutter speed in proportion to the ISO change. Below is a 100% section down the target at each ISO setting.

Nikon D3 digital camera image noise test

You can see that the noise is pretty good through 400ISO, still good at 800ISO and rises noticeably  beyond that.

The night target test below was shot the same way but under tungsten light and a shutter speed of 15 seconds up to 1600ISO and then shortening shutter speed to 1 second at 25600ISO.

Nikon D3 digital camera image noise test

Again noise is very good in the shadow areas up to 800ISO. Note that we had all noise reduction turned off for this test.

Lastly we shot an exposure series in daylight outdoors. These are 100% crops from near the center of the image.

100ISO f7.1 1/200
Nikon D3 digital camera image noise test

200ISO f9 1/320
Nikon D3 digital camera image noise test

400ISO f10 1/400
Nikon D3 digital camera image noise test

800ISO f13 1/640
Nikon D3 digital camera image noise test

1600ISO f14 1/800
Nikon D3 digital camera image noise test

3200ISO f18 1/1250
Nikon D3 digital camera image noise test

6400ISO f20 1/1600
Nikon D3 digital camera image noise test

12800ISO f22 1/3200
Nikon D3 digital camera image noise test

With the real image you can see image quality is remarkable out to 1600ISO and pretty damn good at 3200ISO.

This is a very low noise camera.

Here are some more shots taken with this camera.

Nikon D3 digital camera image noise test

Nikon D3 digital camera image noise test

Nikon D3 digital camera image noise test

Nikon D3 digital camera image noise test

For purchasers in the US we recommend B & H Photo of NY if you wish to buy one.

RAW (NEF) files for all the varying ISO tests are available from the camera test page.

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