Both the Nikon D3X and Sony Alpha 850 have more than 24.5 million pixels, yet the D3X costs around u00a33,100 more. Richard Sibley finds out what you get for the extra cash in our Nikon D3X vs Sony Alpha 850 test

Nikon D3X vs Sony Alpha 850 at a glance

Nikon D3x:  Sony 850:
24.5 million effective pixels 24.6 million effective pixels
Live View on 3in, 920,000-dot LCD screen 3in, 921,600-dot LCD screen
100% viewfinder Approx 98% viewfinder
Street price approximately £4,800 Street price approximately £1,700

Nikon D3X vs Sony Alpha 850

Nikon D3x and Sony Alpha 850 camerasThe old adage so beloved of salesmen – and one that is often used in an attempt to sway you towards buying a more expensive product – is, ‘you get what you pay for’. In most cases this maxim is correct, but it doesn’t take into account the most important factor in a buying decision – the precise needs of the purchaser. After all, there’s no point buying the world’s loudest hi-fi system if you live in a small one-bedroom flat.

The same is true when buying a camera. While I’m sure many readers would love to own the 24.5-million-pixel, full-frame Nikon D3X, it costs around £4,800. Not only is this beyond the budget of most enthusiast photographers, but there’s also the fact that most enthusiasts are unlikely to use
all the features this money buys.

However, there is an alternative. The Sony Alpha 850 has a 24.6-million-pixel, full-frame sensor, yet it has a street price of around £1,700, which is some £3,100 less than the Nikon D3X. In our review, the Sony Alpha 850 scored 81% (AP 9 January), which is 8% less than the 89% we awarded the Nikon D3X (AP 24 January 2009). What is even more intriguing is that the Nikon D3X uses an image sensor, which, although designed by Nikon, is manufactured by Sony. This might lead you to believe that the two sensors share a lot of technology.

The 8% difference in the results of our previous tests show that, on paper, the Nikon D3X is the better of the two cameras. However, are the extra features really worth an extra £3,100 to an enthusiast photographer?

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Nikon D3X vs Sony Alpha 850 - Features
  3. 3. Nikon D3X vs Sony Alpha 850 - Build and Handling
  4. 4. Nikon D3X vs Sony Alpha 850 - Metering
  5. 5. Nikon D3X vs Sony Alpha 850 - Viewfinder, Live View and LCD
  6. 6. Nikon D3X vs Sony Alpha 850 - White Balance and Colour
  7. 7. Nikon D3X vs Sony Alpha 850 - Autofocus
  8. 8. Nikon D3X vs Sony Alpha 850 - Noise, resolution and sensitivity
  9. 9. Nikon D3X vs Sony Alpha 850 - Dynamic Range
  10. 10. Nikon D3X vs Sony Alpha 850 - Verdict
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