Colour accuracy is among the best we've seen in a digital camera, and overall image quality is wonderful, partly attributable to the D3's 14-bit analog-to-digital conversion, which feeds into a 16-bit internal processing pipeline. Images show oodles of fine detail, especially at lower sensitivities, and have plenty of contrast. If Nikon is going to take any criticism for the D3, it's likely to be that the 12-megapixel sensor leaves it far behind Canon's 1Ds Mark III, which offers 21 megapixels and produces similarly excellent images. Of course, it also costs a shed-load more than the D3 and tops out at an equivalent of ISO 3,200.
We have to give Nikon a slight edge over the 1D Mark III for its remarkable noise profile, which enables shooting photos that couldn't be captured as they can now. It's more expensive than the 1D, but even in the murky depths of night clubs, the D3 can shoot at speeds fast enough to stop the swaying motion of drunken mates.
If you're among the Canon crowd whose faith has wavered amidst this year's onslaught of incredible image-making machinery from Nikon, the D3 might be worth the trouble of switching brands (though Canon seems to swear that it has some interesting things in store for us over the next year or so). And if you don't need some of the D3's speed and power, you might want to wait and see how the D700 stacks up as a smaller, less-expensive alternative. But if you're a Nikon shooter and you want the best that the company can offer, the D3 is a no-brainer and significant step up from the D2Xs.
Edited by Marian Smith