Nikon D3 and 200-400mm f4 VR for a weekend

A couple of weekends ago Nikon Professional Services were kind enough to lend me a Nikon D3 and the 200-400mm f4 VR zoom lens to play around with.
It was a last minute thing and so I quickly tried to arrange to shoot as much as possible in the two days I had this amazing set up.
In the one weekend I shot a game of Rugby league, Tony Hawk demoing at Monster skatepark, a NSW Premier League Soccer match that evening and the following day I shot a handfull of overs in the final match of the Women’s World Cup Cricket in India, and then another Soccer game that night. I definitely put the camera to the test, especially the high ISO capabilities. Most small club fields in Sydney have terrible lighting and I was shooting at ISO 6400 at f4, and shocked at how well the camera not only handled the noise at that ISO but also how well the camera was able to focus the long lens in such crappy light and keep up. On my D2x when shooting sports like soccer, the keeper rate is probably about 2-3 sharp shots in a burst of 10. The D3 was 9-10 tack sharp in a burst of 10! Seriously worth every cent.The other thing worth noting is how sharp this lens is for a zoom! You would think the images came from a prime 2.8.
It has been pretty hard to go back to the old cameras after using the D3.
Time to sell everything I own!!
lot’s more shots after the cut.

3 Responses to “Nikon D3 and 200-400mm f4 VR for a weekend”

  • This camera is the only reason I would consider the jump… please please canon bring out something half as good so I don’t have to sell out!!!

    Good work mate.

  • G’Day Dan,

    I saw your blog by searching “sport D3 200-400. I am a Canon user for quite some time, but I am switching to the Nikon camp for the exact combo that you tested from NPS.

    Hope this is not too much hassle, but is it possible that you could send me some 100% cropped sample of the images you took on the weekend? especially high ISO and at the evening and late arvo soccer.

    The images, you are more than welcome to chop off the heads or anything to make the images absolutely useless to me, except for viewing the sharpness and noise of this D3+200-400 combo.

    Thanks mate,

    info [at]

  • I have been the proud owner of the D3 for nearly a year now. I keep on asking myself how can Nikon improve on this camera. Then they brought out the D3s and the D3x. Still the D3 will be more than a good work horse for me for a few years yet. Maybe I will be saying the same about the D4 in the next couple of years.

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