The D3 has an excellent noise profile--you hardly see any artifacts up to and including ISO 3200, and at ISO 6400 noise is still low. Once you enter Nikon's "Hi" territory it starts to affect photo quality, but depending upon subject matter, photos can remain usable as high as ISO 25,600.
While young Jake innocently blows bubbles, he doesn't realize that the D3 has captured impressively accurate colors. Its 3D Matrix Metering II made the best of a tricky exposure, maintaining plenty of detail in the shadows and a surprising amount of detail in the trees in the background in the upper right corner of the image. (ISO 400; 1/50 sec.; f/8; 24-70mm f/2.8 Nikkor zoom lens at 70mm)
With the D3's high sensitivity and excellent noise reduction, Phil was able to capture this image of Rachel Cox of the Brooklyn-based band Oakley Hall at the Knitting Factory in New York City. The 1:1 inset in the upper left shows the extremely low noise in this JPEG, which was unaltered, other than resizing, from the file output by the camera set to the Neutral image style. (ISO 6400; 1/200 sec.; f/5.6; 24-70mm f/2.8 Nikkor zoom lens at 66mm)
In the right place at the right time, this photographer snags a shot of the elusive KatieK, and despite harsh bright lighting behind the subject, the D3's Matrix metering delivers a winning exposure and maintains enough detail to see this Long Island socialite's pores while she nibbles a nail in indifference to the lowly editor snapping her portrait. (ISO 400; 1/400 sec.; f/2.8; 24-70mm f/2.8 Nikkor zoom lens at 56mm)
The D3 does an excellent job preserving highlights in this wide-dynamic range shot. (1/25 second; f7.1; ISO 2000; Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 lens at 23mm; center-weighted metering)
Given the low shutter speed (1/10 sec.) and midrange ISO sensitivity setting (ISO 800), this shot is still impressively sharp. (f11; Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 lens at 70mm; center-weighted metering)
With both bright, almost blown-out, areas and deep shadows with subtle reflections, this is a tough image to get right, but the D3 does. Nor do you see any noise, despite using the ISO 3200 setting. (1/60 sec; f2.8; 14-24mm f2.8 lens at 14mm; center-weighted metering)
The D3 renders accurate, saturated colors, for both natural and man-made objects, and the automatic white balance properly compensates for the difficult mixed lighting--in this case, daylight plus indoor lamps and flash. (1/80 sec; f2.8; Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 lens at 24mm; SB800 flash on E-TTL; spot metering)