Is the Nikon D3 next to go?

Nikon D300 is now officially discontinued. The Nikon D3 was released on the same day as the D300. And then we have all of this:

  • Nikon D3 is back ordered everywhere: AdoramaB&H and even Amazon (only one overpriced reseller).
  • Ritz Camera will no longer be stocking the D3 for their employee purchase program. Along with that camera, the d40 kit, d60 kit, d300 body, and s60 and s560 are no longer available for the employee purchase program. Interestingly enough all of those models, except the D3, are listed as discontinued.
  • Nikon D3 rebate in Romania is now active (500 EUR).

nikon-d3-mia nikon-d3-mia-1

The D3 could be the next camera to be discontinued.

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  • Do you think this means D4’s coming soon?

    • Anonymous

      Too soon for next D, but would you accept a Digital S while you wait?

  • KT

    It’s about time the D3s with all the video trappings have arrived. I can’t imagine a D4 coming at this point since a new sensor from Sony isn’t out yet so it’s time for some video games.

  • Ennan

    I would assume D3s – a D3 with video. Probably have the bigger buffer, slightly improved noise and maybe a slightly higher frame rate.

  • NikoDoby

    The Fall season is looking very interesting.

  • Mosh

    wouldn’t they all go for the D3x by now anyway?

    • Anonymous

      No, the D3 has many advantages over the D3X, higher frame rates and lower noise being two of the biggest.

    • Ronan

      D3 and D3x share the same body thats it. They are two completly different camera’s… I thought it was quite oblivious?

      • PHB

        Unless Nikon have lost their minds, the D3x will have the same software and main logic boards. They will be using a faster DSP, but I would expect it is the same family.

        I find it rather interesting that so many people can argue the advantages of full frame over DX and how the D3 and D700 are real pro cameras and the D300 is only for amateurs, then a few posts later insist that there are real advantages of the D3 over the D3x. Hmm.

        Nikon has a heck of a lot of cameras in the catalog at the moment. I can imagine that there are endless discussions on strategy at Nikon itself.

        The speed and cost advantages of the D3 over the D3x are both fixable, what is not so easily fixed is the sensor. The D3x is a stopgap, it is for photographers who really need 24MP and are prepared to put up with a few limitations.

        If Nikon has managed to get the 24MP sensor to deliver ISO 3200 performance and sufficiently high yields to make it in volume, I would expect to see a D4 come out at roughly the current D3 price point and the D3/D3x go End of Life.

        If Nikon can deliver ISO 3200 on a 24MP sensor, the exact same camera can deliver ISO 6400 at 12MP through software. You probably would prefer to shoot raw and do the transformation in photoshop, but all that those larger pixel sites give you is averaging, so its not a difficult calculation.

        In that scenario I would expect a D700s to launch either before or with the D4. I do not think it makes sense for Nikon to have two flagship cameras. There should only be one ultimate body. There will of course be people who prefer an extra ISO stop to having twice the resolution, just as there are people who prefer a 1.5x focal length multiplier to an extra ISO stop. Those people will be expected to buy the D700s just as macro photography and wildlife photography enthusiasts are expected to buy the D300s.

        On the other hand, if Nikon is still having production issues and difficulty hitting ISO 3200, then it makes perfect sense to update the D3 to use the new, faster DSP and deliver a D3s. But any update to the D3 suggests that the D4 is further out.

        I somewhat suspect that the launch of the D300s suggests that the second scenario is more likely. I am less interested in the D4 than a D400 with a 24MP sensor in DX format or a lower price D800.

        In summary, my expected roadmap for high end Nikon still cameras is:

        D700s … D4 … D400 ….. D800

        Alternatively, if the 24MP sensor still has production issues:

        D3s + D700s …. D4 + D400 …. D800

        I do not see a D700x happening.

  • Gary

    This would make more sense than an upgrade to the D700…it seems more likely to upgrade the D3 first.

    • Gordon

      There might be a D3s & a D700x announcement together in the coming months.

      • Rangefinder Bob


  • kentucky

    i tell u what… Nikon D3 or D3x or what so ever, still loses to Canon 1Ds Mark III. Believe it or not?

    • arz

      Obviously, Canon didn’t agree with you on this one. They are rushing 1D mark IV for the very reason…

    • Anonymous

      ummm, how?

    • low


    • jbl

      Wrong, the D3x and D3 are very different cameras and they will live side by side.

      The D3x is the high resolution low speed, bad low light performance camera while the D3 performs better in low light and has very high speed but only 12mp. One works for studio shooters, the other one for photojournalism.

      Also, we won’t see a D4 now. It’s the D3s that is coming.

      I personally hope that it will come with a D700s (most likely D700x since the D700 is so new) as I won’t be able to purchase a D3s.

      If both D700x and D3s have the same video feature and sell for the same price (but D3s = 12mpx and D700x = 24mpx) I’ll get a D3s. But that would mean they sell for about 5000-6000… while I’m expecting a D700x to be about 3000-4000

      • Peter

        The D700x better not be any more than $3000 otherwise nikon will truly be out of touch with the market. 5DII is 2700 at B&H

        D3x has bad high ISO?? it’s the 3rd best high iso camera nikon has ever made, and the 4th best anyone has ever made! with the 5DII sneaking in 3rd.

        • PHB

          I think the complaints about the ISO on the D3x are overblown, but I also think that there is a reason Nikon called it the D3x and not the D4 and that they priced it at $8000 rather than to sell. That name and that price says to me ‘hey, we got a high res camera if you really need it, but the camera we really want to make will come out later’.

          Thats why I think talk about a D700x is premature. I think that we will see a D4 next.

          The D300 has almost exactly the same sensor pitch but manages ISO 3200. That is the reason that people think the D3x should have made the same. My guess is that it is a heat issue, more pixels means more heat and more heat means more noise.

          When the D3 was launched, Nikon had a problem, some photographers prefer the DX format over the FX. So the D300 came out at the same time so that they were assured that their needs would continue to be catered for.

          When the D4 comes out there will be an expectation that it will be followed by a less pricey version. So launching the D4 and the D800 at the same time might well make sense.

  • As the Olympics are coming early 2010 and this is a great way to showcase new pro bodies, I think we’ll see more than a D700 sidegrade. And I think a new pro body from Canon too. Just my guesses.

    • zzddrr

      you meant World Cup

      • Gustav

        and the winter olympics

        • zzddrr

          good point

      • Michael

        2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, February

        • Tomaocron

          Yaay Canada!

          • Mikael

            *Singing* Seems like everything’s gone wrong, since Canada came along!

  • WoutK89

    We will get: D700s, D700x, D3s, and 20 new lenses 😛 and then I woke up and wasnt even dissatisfied….

  • The time is ripe for a D3s. A D3 with advanced video capabilities, giving us finally good stereo sound, above all. Many perhaps won’t appreciate such a professional still camera sporting video capabilities, but journalists surely will.

    • Freezah

      Yea I’m sure the D3s will be the next ghetto blaster.

  • c0heed

    I hope there will be a d700x or something like that in the near feature! i want it so bad 😀

  • The next big announcement from Nikon will be to coincide with the FIFA world cup.

    Of course, I am just making this up.

  • Anonymous

    700x needed. And I would buy one tomorrow. 12 million pixels is ok just about if you dont need to straighten the horizon, crop a little, etc. But generally I do…

    And it would match the latest 3 nano zooms lenses 14-24 24-70 70-200* perfectly and the as these are exceptional and way better than a 12m pixel sensor. (*if the 70-200 is half as good as the first two I already own)

    And you still get a 10m pixel built in walk about holiday snap camera with an 18-200 do all lens attached… Which is all its good for.

    I am not remotely interested in video or swively screens…

    • Freezah

      People were straightening the horizon even with 12m. It’s like your horizon became tighter all of a sudden?

      • rhodium

        In fact, people were straightening the horizon with 6 MP. More megapixels is nice, but not necessary. 12 MP is really more than enough for most uses.

  • mikeymike

    Hey anon how does the pixel count affect horizon straightening? Unrecorded data is unrecorded data…. sort of like rectilinearizing a fisheye image, the missing spots are missing…. Maybe I don’t follow you…. Even if you meant just straightening the distortion i don’t follow how more pixels will enable this…. and lack of pixels disable this…..

    18-200 sucks. Who uses DX on a FX camera….

    • Gustav

      When you straighten horizon you lose pixels at the corners. You have to crop to get a level rectangular image. However, the cropping is minor unless your horizon is really slanted. 12MP is fine for this, unless you are printing some gigantic.

      And lots of people use DX on an FX – that’s why there’s a DX mode. When you travel, you may not want to take several lenses. The 18-200 is a convenience lens for this purpose. Until they make an FX version (doubtful), this will continue.

    • Anonymous

      Because as you straighten the horizon the amazingly sharp image detail down to better than pixel level that the new nano lenses give is lost as the image is re interpolated in its new position. And it looks fuzzy in comparison to the original non straight image…

      With twice the original resolution to work with this is only half as much of a problem. Since the new image is “finer” in detail. Its easy to demonstrate. Same with corrected perspective architectural shots or townscapes.

      After you fix the image then feel free to downsize to 12 million pixels if you wish. More original data to work with means less sharpness is lost when correcting.

  • segerman

    Who uses DX on a FX camera? Not so many now, because it’s a mayor step backwards (12MP > 5 MP). And the cost of new glass is *the* mayor hindrance for making the switch from DX to FX. And you can’t just easily “grow” into FX, just like many build up a collection of lenses over time, step by step. A 24-70 or an 17-35 is not so useful for someone with only an DX-Camera, so they gain not much if they buy FX-Lenses before investing in a FX_camera. But with FX, your DX-glas throws you back to the D50/D70s. So…. Going FX is getting expensive very fast, which means many people won’t/cant’t upgrade.

    BUT… If an FX-camera gave me the option to keep what i have (good DX-Glass and 10 MP) AND would offer me all the FX-bonuses as well (with the right lenses) – this would make the DX-FX-switch much easier, because it would not force you to shell out so much €€€ at one time.

  • El Aura

    I had exactly one DX lens to sell when I moved to FX, the Nikon 12-24 mm f/4, which was incidentally the only zoom I was using. All my primes were always FX (there are only two DX primes from Nikon anyway).

  • Theodore

    I view this with some trepidation – the 12 MP D3 is so excellent as an event camera. I don’t want 18 or more MPs unless the noise / speed is the equal or better of the D3.

    • jbl

      This makes a lot of sense.

      Nikon seems to have found the sweet spot with 12mp and they love it.

      The D300s is also 12mp. I believe there are good chance for the D3s to keep the 12mp.

      However, I believe that as 12mp on full frame is so low, it would be possible to see a 18mp upgrade with the same low light performance.. and same speed. I’d like that a lot… but it sounds more like a weak D4.

      • Freezah

        They would need a much better sensor to be able to pack 18mp and still get same or better performance. Not sure things have changed so much in 1 year.

        • Jane

          The D3 was announced on August 23, 2007, that’s more than 2 years ago. I’m pretty sure Nikon could get the same performance from an 18MP version of this sensor after 2 years of optimization and improvement, but I actually expect much more. The 5D Mark II’s sensor is 21MP and it’s pretty close to the the D3/D700 sensor regarding high ISO performance. After the release of the D300s, it is clear that Nikon doesn’t have (or have access to) a new APS-C sensor. This got my hopes up for a new pro camera with a new FF sensor, not just a D700X with the old Sony sensor used in the D3X. I’m sure Nikon has not been sleeping, and there is so little new technology in the D300s that they must have been working on something else, and I think it is a new pro body.

  • rhodium

    Excellent news. I sincerely hope that it comes out before the end of the year – I’m hoping to upgrade in time for an event at the start of next year.

    I’m fine with the 12.1 MP remaining as it is – what I want is better low-light performance (hopefully one stop better). Nikon shouldn’t feel pressured by the jokers over at Canon to cram as many pixels onto their sensors as possible (*ahem* 7D *cough*). I’m also hoping for 10 or more FPS, but this isn’t essential. 9 FPS is really pretty damn fast already.

    If they include video, they’d better fix the issues first (particularly the Jell-O effect). This is a pretty severe issue that makes it useless for most video purposes.

    • Anonymous

      got that point right!! They better come out with a full frame full hd and px upgrade or they re goin to sink under Canon!!!!!!!

  • EG

    I wish for a D3000L as in LowLight with a 6 MPix-sensor with insane high sensitivity that allows iso25600 or hopefully even more in a small (and somewhat cheap) camera. Please Nikon don’t cripple highiso but let the user decide how bad quality that can be accepted even if You have to call it Hi1, Hi2, StupidHi3, InsaneHi4 and so on so that nobody can blame You for the quality.

    That would make me abandon the trusty D40.

    If it also has a useful movie (VGA is enough) mode it would be perfect for me as the only camera I need.

    • Rangefinder Bob

      I’d also want “high-on-drugs Hi5” and “is there a picture behind all that noise?” Hi6. I want the ISO to go so high that I get a nosebleed when I engage it. 😉

    • fry26

      You are already able to get to StupidHi3 by underexposing 3 steps and correcting it in post.

  • Lord Kimbo

    A D3s … 16 megapixel, same noise control as current D3, 1080p video … stereo sound (with external boom-mic jack). Same price as current D3.

    That is what is expected and they must do to stay with the same tech as Canon with their 5DMK2 and 7D and whatever else Canon may release in the next 6+ months.

  • Mikeg76

    If its a D3s they won’t touch the sensor. They will prolly just add video

    • 3space

      which is what they need to do… keep the photosites big… I hope is shoots greater then 1080p like the red. The 5Dm2 pixels skipps to get the 1080p video rez. So photosite vs photosite a D3 should have better video performance then the 5D… plus I can use all my nikkor glass…. please nikon get it right!!!

      Anyone want to buy a used D3 ?

  • 2 years is enough, where’s the D4!?

    I don’t think they will release a d700x, then nobody will buy the d3x.
    Probably a d700s.

    • Adam

      unless they announce a price drop of the D3x and announced the D700x? That will send shockwaves and of course it will still reduce D3x sales, but wtf, D700 already cannibalize some of D3 sales, and if it means giving Nikon more money, why don’t they do the same with the D700x 😀

    • Anon

      “I don’t think they will release a d700, then nobody will buy the d3.”
      “I don’t think they will release a d200, then nobody will buy the d2x.

      Think about what you just said there for a moment.

      • Ok.. I guess you could be right…
        Still I will wait until the D800 is released, only because I don’t have the money to det a D700 now hehehe.
        I will settle with my d300 for a couple of years more, gathering lenses like there’s no tomorrow.

  • Like others have stated, Nikon seems to follow a pattern on their more successful cameras. For instance D70/D70s, D300/300sm D2H, D2Hs, etc. I personally do not think we will see a D4 until sometime in 2011 or 2012, just in time for the Olympics.

    I’m thinking a D3H is plausible, maybe even a D3s. Bigger buffer, records video, higher caliber CF slot (More Mb /sec.) and general tweaks.

  • Gra

    I reckon D3sx…

    With a projector…

  • Nandub

    Is it possible that Nikon re-use the focus system of D2x and put it into a 24MP D700x? That way D700x will have a significant shortage compared with D3x so that make a deeper gap between the two, and possibly put a smaller impact on D3x?

    I’ve always been curious of D2x focus system CAM 2000, it was a really nice one and can still hold some ground even today, why did Nikon give it up so quickly? Had it been kept, there is at least one more choice for top performance focus system, and make it much easier to differ camera bodies in function.

    • Jonathan F/2

      CAM2000 was not bad at all. In fact the focus accuracy is excellent. The newer AF system though does a better job in focus tracking in my opinion.

  • Jim

    I have been watching D3 availability on sites like amazon and pricegrabber for over a month. It looks like the availability has been progressively shrinking. It looks pretty clear that they are letting inventory run out before introducing a new d3s or d4.

  • Peter

    The forthcoming USB3 and firewire 3200 will need faster cards and faster connections, so on it goes. By the way wont a D4 be unlucky in China?

  • anon

    i seriously don’t think Nikon will downgrade the 700x’s AF system to that of the D2x. I don’t know why everyone thinks that the D700x will cannibalize the d3x, and i’m also not sure why the same is thought about the d700 and d3. 90% of the people who were actually (keyword) going to buy the d3 did so before the d700 came out. Probably 50% of the reminaing 10% still bought or will still buy the d3 for the other differences the d3 has over the d700. The other people wanting it wouldn’t have bought it anyway becuase of the high price. The same is going to be true about the d700x/d3x. You can’t say that the d3x sales are cannibalized when most people who aren’t buying it now won’t buy the d3x if a d700x doesn’t come out. I’m sure nikon ran a ton of sensors, put very few of that batch into d3xs, sold those to people who “need” 24 mpx right away, at a big premium at that, and now will use the remaining majority of that sensor production run for the d700x. Nikon is not stupid, they know 90% of people won’t buy an 8000 dollar pro body, but i guarantee you there is a huge profit margin for the ones that do, and won’t discount it until they need to. Maybe when the d700x comes out, maybe not. There still could be many people who are willing to spend the extra cash over the d700x to get the additional features of the d3x. Plus i wouldn’t expect the d700x to be at all different than the d700 other than the sensor. no second card slot, frame rate will most likely be slow, no video (well maybe i guess since this is “so important”) . If you are like a lot of people, you’ll think there are other features more important than megapixels, like the autofocus. If they downgrade that i certaintly will wait until the d4/d800

  • rhodium

    What I want is a D3H – a high speed version of the D3. Sensor and processor technology has definitely advanced a great deal since the D3. I believe it’s possible to squeeze another stop of ISO out of the current 12.1 MP sensor (I’d much rather have a more sensitive sensor with the same resolution rather than a sensor with a higher resolution and the same sensitivity – that said, it’d be nice to have a 18 MP sensor with an extra stop of ISO). Processor technology has also improved greatly – It should be entirely possible to shoot at 11 FPS while still churning out full-sized 14-bit .NEF files (it is physically possible for the shutter and the mirror to accomplish this, given how the D3 already does this in DX crop mode). Buffer size can also be increased to at least double the current size.

    • I think Nikon offered a $500 upgrade for D3 owners to increase/double the buffer size awhile back, for the 14-Bit RAW shooters. I’m also thinking a D3H is the next version. The updated buffer is now standard, increase fps for 14 bit raw, perhaps even better performance for ISO’s above 6400 etc. (Take the knowledge that they put into the D700 and put it in the next version of the D3.)

      The D3 is an amazing camera and Nikon isn’t going to mess with the formula that much, esp. in today’s market. Plus by releasing a D3H instead of a D3s will help differentiate the “New” D3 from the D300s, to further emphasize each class of camera.

  • Anonymous

    the d3 is the first camera that I have owned that doesn’t have me wanting others… I am very content….. I just hope they at least add the dust removal feature…. I am not sure if it works but my D3 is much more prone to dust than my D700…

  • Anon

    Having the D3 removed from the front page of the employee purchase program listing does not indicate that the product is unavailable for order. The front page usually lists new and popular models of DSLRs, lenses, flashes, and point and shoots, but you can order almost every product in their current line-up regardless of if it’s listed or not.

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