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
The 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?