Pushing the Nikon D3


Continuing to dig into the performance of the Nikon D3, the files it creates, and processing with Nikon Capture NX, one thing that has struck me is the very nice level of shadow recovery that is possible with Nikon's newest flagship.

In the above composite, what we have on the left is an image shot at ISO 3200, 1/500, and f/3.2 that was grossly underexposed at capture. This frame was shot as the first song ended and a spotlight on Marilyn Manson first fires up.

Judging from another final frame that followed, it only took one second for the light source to warm up, but the change in brightness was effective a three-stop difference.

Examining the file, I wanted to see how far the D3's files could be pushed. Using Nikon Capture NX, I pushed the ISO 3200 file at full-stop increments, with the following results (click for the full-resolution crops):


In viewing the above composite of crops, one should note that the image at +2EV is still about a stop underexposed, pushed to an effective ISO 12800.

While this example isn't definitive by any means, I thought it was an interesting example of how the D3's files stand up to some relatively basic but strong manipulations.

As I continue to use the Nikon D3, I'll be posting more samples like this, so stay tuned.