For 2.5K used D3 or new D600? For 3.5k used D3x or new D800?

donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,465Member
edited March 2013 in Nikon DSLR cameras
Let's say you have a budget of about $2,500 which will get you a used D3 (about 40,000 exposures) or a new D600 with battery grip. Which is the better choice?

Or let's say you have a budget $3,500 which will get you a used D3x or a D800 with battery grip. Which is the better choice?

Here is another interesting comparison: Choose between a new D3x for $8,000 or a new D600 for one forth the price. Or a well used D3x and a new D600 at half the price. Both have 24mp FX sensors. Which is the better choice?

Has anyone moved from a D3 or D3x to a D600 and can compare them?

I have been reading Thom Hogan's review of the D600 as well as his D600 Guide Book in which he points out the many improvements in IQ of the D600 over prior generations. Thom generally takes the position that newer technology trumps robust D3 build since the D7000/D600 less robust build is sufficient for any reasonable use if you are careful. KR, in his usual entertaining overstatements calls the D600 "Nikon's best digital camera ever, at any price" even though he prefers the ergonomics of the new Canons.

Once the D600 dust/oil issues are sorted out will the D600 be the best "bang for the buck" in FX? Better than any used D3 iteration choice? What do you think? I am using my D600 now to form my own opinion. At this point I still am irritated by the smaller coverage of the AF area and the sensor dust but those irritations may pass once I get use to the focus and recompose technique again (we all used it with those split rangefinder focus screens in the past, didn't we?) and frequent sensor cleaning.


  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited March 2013
    I would defiantly get a D800 over a D3x. Not too sure of the advantages of the battery grip on a D800 as unlike the D700 it does not increase fps
    if fact the only disadvantage i have found with the D800 is the relatively slow fps

    D600 vs S/H D3 s

    I would go for the D3s if I knew its history and it was in mint condition
    but the choice depends on what other camera(s) you have and are going to keep
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,465Member
    Just a point of clarification: you won't get a used D3s for the price of a new D600. A used D3s seems to sell for about $4,000 now. So the choices will be used D3 vs new D600 with battery grip or perhaps a used D3s for more than the price of a new D800 with battery grip. Is a used D3s worth more than a new D800 with battery grip? I would say only if you are a sports shooter who really needs that high ISO performance.
  • GitzoGitzo Posts: 174Member
    All I can offer is MY opinion, and it will obviously differ from the opinions of others; if I was "in the market" for a new camera right now, (and I'm not), I would absolutely buy a pre-owned D 3s, and I think if I really put my mind to it, I would be able to find one for less than 4K. Yes, the D 800 creates HUGE files; (which is one of the main reasons why I wouldn't want one, but not the only) Let's face it; no two people on this forum have the same "interests", "needs", "experience", etc, etc. And all of those things MUST enter into any decision as to, "what camera to buy next".

    I say all of this being fully aware of the fact that you are far more knowledgeable, overall, than I am about cameras; obviously, so is Thom Hogan, and so is even Ken Rockwell. I really like KR; I think he's a very bright young fellow; but when he makes such ridiculous statements in public as "I don't NEED no stinking tripod".........he tends to lose much of the credibility he already has. (IMHO) ( but back to your dilemma )

    I'm a lot older than you are; I seriously can not envision the need of myself EVER needing a camera, capable of taking pictures that the D 3s is incapable of taking. Yes, a D 800 would have been just GREAT had I had one available when I took a picture of a bridge with a $189 camera, KNOWING that the resulting image was going to end up being an $1,800 commercial printing job, and was going to end up covering four, 4'X8' aluminum panels on a 8' X 16' roadside billboard; ( it may sound crazy, but the people footing the bill are STILL quite happy, and the difference between "costs" and "budget" were in the vicinity of 3K; When it comes to cameras, I'm more inclined to think in terms of, "which camera is "good enough", rather than "which camera is the BEST?" So far, I can't remember any picture I've ever wanted to take, that a D 3s would have been "incapable" of taking. ( I should also point out, even if someone were to GIVE me a new D 3s, I would immediately need to order another GREAT camera guide by David Busch.)

    Now....having said that, if I were to win next months power ball lottery, ( which is highly unlikely, seeing as how I have never purchased a lottery ticket in the last 80 years ), I would almost certainly order a new D 4, and our "world-class" moderator (again, IMHO), would no longer be the only one on the forum (to my knowledge), taking pictures of the cardinals in the back yard with the AF S 400mm/f2.8 !

  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    @donaldejose: I like bigger bodies thus part 1) I would go with the D3 vs D600. part 2) D3x ISO and body wins here again over the D800, part 3) D3x. Needless to say, should I be in the market for a new body in the near future, it will most likely be...D4x. :P

    The purchase to a FF body, requires the end user to do his or her "due diligence." Moreover, the purchase of a FF body should be conduct in a fashion where the photographer can get the most bang given his or her current lens ownership as well. Otherwise, the model you have offered us is mute.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • SquamishPhotoSquamishPhoto Posts: 608Member
    Golf, not sure where you got the idea that the D3x has good ISO performance, let alone any where near as good as a D800. And I think donalds prices are a lot higher than what the going rates are for used D3 series cameras. I picked mine up for $2000 which is high compared to some sellers that are closer to $1600-1900, however mine has the buffer upgrade that allows for a 36 shot buffer in RAW and it was in excellent condition at 40,000 or so actuations. D3x bodies get listed anywhere from $3000-$6000, yet they often end up going for $3000 and under. D3s bodies hover around or above $3000 depending on wear and tear, yet low shutter counts get the price up around $3500 or more.
    D3 • D750 • 14-24mm f2.8 • 35mm f1.4A • PC-E 45mm f2.8 • 50mm f1.8G • AF-D 85mm f1.4 • ZF.2 100mm f2 • 200mm f2 VR2
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,465Member
    I took my prices from watching E-bay auctions for a few weeks and from Adorama and KEH prices. If D3 series bodies are going for less that is great. Personally, I think a D3 should sell for less than a D600. While I was initially attracted to a used D3 body I became convinced a D600 would produce better image quality. However, if someone needs speed or ruggedness those may trump IQ. As far as size differences go, just put a battery grip on the D600 or the D800 and you have about the same size as a D3.

    Gitzo: Yes "I don't need no stinking tripod" is one of KR's more stupid overstatements. You have to take many of his statements as an attempt to make a point by overstating it with humor. That is part of Ken's "stick" and those poor soles who don't realize that can be sadly mislead. But if you look at some of his hand held shots at 100% they do have impressive sharpness. Ken is part fact, part opinion and part entertainment!
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited March 2013
    @SquamishPhoto: Sorry for the miss understanding on the I do believe the D3 bodies should be as good as the D800. I know you have both bodies, thus I yield to you for which you believe has the better noise.

    Having the battery grip on my D7000 does add a much better feel (highly recommended), however, IMHO it does not compare to the feel of the D3's & the D4 bodies which has it's over all structure built around both vertical and horizontal grips.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,465Member
    edited March 2013
    To use just one standard (for what it is worth) DxOMark rates the D3 as good to ISO 2290, the D800 as good to ISO 2853 and the D600 as good to ISO 2980. However, when you reduce the D800 and D600 larger file sizes down to the D3 12 mp file size the noise grain will likewise be reduced so when all three are compared at the same 12 mp file size the D800 and the D600 would likely do even better: perhaps a stop better than the D3? This relates to the question of used D3 vs D600 with battery grip? You likely get one stop clean higher ISO choosing the D600 over the D3 when both are compared at 12 mp images.

    I have used battery grips on my D80, D90, D7000, D800 and D600. As long as the grip remains firmly attached I doubt there is much difference between the feel of it and the D3 or D4 body. However, I have noticed when I used third party battery grips they did not stay as tightly attached as the Nikon grips producing a bit of flexing after a while and had to be frequently tightened. The genuine Nikon grips remained firmly and solidly attached. Now I am sure if I were using the camera body to pound nails the one piece D3 and D4 body would remain in one piece while the attachable battery grips would loosen. However, under reasonable uses I have found the attachable grips robust enough if they were genuine Nikon parts.
    Post edited by donaldejose on
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 4,493Member
    edited March 2013
    The feel of the bodies with built in grips is totally different than the add on grips, very solid and comfortable. Even the first party ones have some flex, I've never bought a 3rd party grip. The grips are also not as well shaped, and slightly less comfortable to use.

    There are a few reasons to take the D3 over the D800 or D600. Smaller files, better build quality, dual CF card slots, and faster burst rate / larger buffer.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    edited March 2013
    Squamish I'm not sure what pawn shops you find your camera gear in ;) , and donaldejose your prices are too low.

    Ebay D3x are not going under $3,500 for something you would want to buy (Battery/charger/manual/ included, <200k, etc.) There have been some that have high shutter counts going right at $3k. Most D3x's are going for $4,000. D3s are going for $3,700 for good ones, down to about $3,100 for very well used ones (that I would pass on.) D3 cameras are going for $1,700-$2,300 depending on accessories/batteries. D700's are the big bargain and what I'm watching now - $1,100 to about $1,700 again depending on use, batteries etc.

    I kind of see this thread as "Would you buy a 2006 Mercedes E-class sedan for $15,000 with no warranty, no clue if the previous owner was hard on it OR a new Volkswagen Jetta?" It all depends on use, and vanity.

    Post edited by TaoTeJared on
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
    It's a difficult one, As been said, you have to look at what your intended use is, problem is we all change our styles of photography. I love my D3X and it's four years old now, however on a personal choice I decided to skip a generation D4/D800 and wait for the next crop. I have to say I use the D3X mainly in studio conditions and have found noise not a problem even with low light conditions
    I think if I was starting from scratch I would be tempted with the D800,plus a new computer
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
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