Nikon D3 Tips

First published on: Sunday, 15 February 2009

Last update (Apr 30, 2009): Nikon D3/D3X extended service program in Canada.

This page is a collection of Nikon D3 tips, tricks, techniques, camera settings and hacks by users and owners that I’ve across in forums, online communities, blogs and related websites.

Full attribution is given by linking to the source and where available, the author’s homepage or photo gallery.

Nikon D3 / D3X extended service program in Canada

The extended service program covers the following:

  1. Unlimited preventative maintenance cleanings – Image Sensor Cleaning

  2. Two comprehensive check-ups and cleanings; one in the first year of ownership and one in the second

  3. Routine adjustments as necessary resulting from normal usage, excluding cosmetic “wear and tear”

  4. Firmware updates that may be available from time to time from Nikon

Visit Nikon Rumors for the full scoop.

Todd’s gear guide for concert photography

Todd has some amazing rock concert photos at

His main cameras are the D3 and Nikon D700.

Read his gear guide page to get a good idea of the equipment and lenses he uses to shoot gigs with.


You might have heard about high-ISO D3 images having a banding problem.

Stany’s post illustrates that this is a non-issue, as it crops up only when you shoot photos with two stops of underexposure over ISO 3200 with strong highlights in the image, and you recover that photo in the post-processing stage.

On the other hand, if you suspect that your camera is exhibiting the problem under normal conditions, consider having Nikon check your camera.

How to calculate the equivalent ISO

On the D3, ISO values above 6400 are represented in the EXIF as a specific number of stops above ISO6400. The formula to use in calculating the equivalent ISO for say, 0.3 over 6400 is given by the formula 6400 * 2^0.3 = 7879.32425 (thanks to Andrew DB’s post), which is approximately ISO 8000. You can always use Google Calculator to help you with the calculation — to find out what the equivalent ISO for 2 EV above 6400 is, just enter 6400*2^2= in the Google search box, like this, and the answer is ISO 25600.

Want to know whether your old Nikon / Nikkor lens is compatible with the D3?

This post by LilKnytt has a link that points to a Nikon Lens Serial Numbers site where you can determine the year of manufacture and type of your lens by serial number, and other lens construction details and features. Basically, if your lens is an AI Nikkor lens or a lens type manufactured after the AI series, you can use it on your D3 (but check your manual first). AI Nikkor lenses (see this Nikon Camera and Lens Compatibility Chart for details) were manufactured in 1977 to mid 80’s. In conclusion, it’s reasonably safe to assume that any lens manufactured by Nikon on (as long as it’s an AI lens — designated as Type Ai lens at the Nikon Lens Serial Numbers site) or after 1977 is compatible with your D3. Of course, this summary is still subject to speculation, because if you look carefully at the Compatibility Chart, you’ll notice that pre-AI lenses CAN be mounted on the D40 / D40x, so who knows?

UDMA CF Cards?

The Nikon D3 is able to take advantage of the blazingly fast write speeds of UDMA CompactFlash cards such as the SanDisk Extreme IV which utilizes Mode 3 to achieve I/O speed of 40 MB/s. Pradipta shares a link to a a site explaining the specs behind UDMA cards.

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