Nikon D3 vs Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

  • Full frame
  • 12 megapixels
  • Nikon F
  • 42
    Overall
  • 18
    Imaging
  • 42
    Features
  • 66
    Size
  • 0
    Price
  • Four Thirds
  • 20 megapixels
  • Micro Four Thirds
  • 48
    Overall
  • 22
    Imaging
  • 85
    Features
  • 74
    Size
  • 0
    Price

Nikon D3 vs Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II: a Complete Review and Comparison

Are you looking for the best camera to suit your needs? Due to a wide range of options, making a wise and weighted decision can be rather challenging. Which specs to keep in mind? What are the key pros and cons of each model? This comparison should give some helpful hints!

In this review, we are going to make a detailed comparison of two cameras that fall into different categories. While the first model we are looking at, Nikon D3 belongs to a Pro DSLR category, the other model, Nikon D3 is a Pro Mirrorless camera. Nikon D3 is equipped with a 12.0 MP CMOS sensor, while Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II comes with a 20.0 MP CMOS sensor.

Both cameras we are going to look at in our overview fall into two different categories - DSLR and MirrorLess. Keeping in mind all the distinctive features of each category, it will be hard to make a detailed comparison of these two models. However, we will do our best to make this review as unbiased and detailed as possible.

To get started, let’s take a look at some of the key features of Nikon D3 and Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and, after this, we can go on to our detailed comparison of these models.

Nikon D3 Key Features:

  • 12.0 MP Full frame CMOS sensor
  • ISO 200 - 6400 (Expands to 100 - 25600)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3″ Fixed Type Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 11.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Built-in Wireless: No
  • Dimensions: 160 x 157 x 88 mm
  • Weight: 1300 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Replaced by Nikon D3S. Compare

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Key Features:

  • 20.0 MP Four Thirds CMOS sensor
  • ISO 200 - 25600 (Expands to 64)
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • 3″ Fully Articulated Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 15.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 4096 x 2160 @ 24p / 237 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM, 3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 102 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 134 x 91 x 67 mm
  • Weight: 574 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: No
  • Replaced Olympus E-M1.

Nikon D3 was substituted by Nikon D3S. Be sure to check out some of our other overviews that may also interest you:
Nikon D3 vs. D3S
Nikon D3S vs. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

Why is Nikon D3 a better choice than Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

Sensor Area 860.4 mm2 vs 226.2 mm2 73.7% larger pixel area
Battery Life 4300 shots vs 350 shots 3950 more frames with a single charge
Dxo Low Light Iso 2290 vs 1312 Better High ISO performance
Viewfinder Magnification 0.7 vs No 0.7 better magnification

What are the key reasons to pick Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II over Nikon D3

Wireless Connectivity Built-In vs No Better connectivity
Sensor Resolution 20.0 MP vs 12.0 MP 40% more pixels
Image Stabilization Yes vs No All lenses are stabilized
Continuous Shooting 15 fps vs 11 fps 4 fps faster
Flash Range 9.1 vs No 9.1 better flash range
AutoFocus Face Detection Yes vs No Very handy for portraits
Screen Type Fully Articulated vs Fixed Type Flexible shooting positions
Screen Resolution 1,037k dots vs 922k dots 11.1% higher resolution screen
Touch Screen Yes vs No Easy control of camera functions
Weight 574 g vs 1300 g 726 g lighter
Dxo Color Depth 23.7 vs 23.5 Better color depth
Dxo Dynamic Range 12.8 vs 12.2 Better dynamic range

Key PROs of Nikon D3 and Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

Screen Size 3″ | 3″ Large display
Viewfinder Optical (pentaprism) | Electronic Better framing and control
Raw Support Yes | Yes Better image quality
Timelapse Recording Yes | Yes Creative shooting
Storage Slots 2 slots | 2 slots Extra Storage Slots
Continuous Shooting 11.0 fps | 15.0 fps Nice continuous shooting
Flash Sync Port Yes | Yes Port for Flash Sync
Environmental Sealing Yes | Yes Shoot at tough conditions

Key CONs of Nikon D3 and Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

Sensor Resolution 12.0 MP | 20.0 MP Small sensor resolution
Built-In Flash No | No No built-in flash

Nikon D3 vs Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II: Comparing Two Models By Physical Characteristics

Before heading straight to the technical characteristics of each model, let’s start with comparing their physical specs. Let’s start with looking at the physical difference of the two products. Below are images that clearly show the sizes of Nikon D3 and Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II from the front view.

Nikon D3
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
HTML
BB

Now, let’s go on and see how the reviewed models are different or similar by the top view.

Nikon D3
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
HTML
BB

After looking at these images, you should get a clear idea of each model’s dimensions and how they are different from each other. However, we are not going to stop there. The next characteristic worth looking at is the weight. Of course, not every photographer is concerned about the weight, for example, it wouldn't be a decisive point for those who shoot in a studio. However, it is still an important factor because if you happen to go on a long photo session or just love having the camera with you wherever you go, you want to be sure that the chosen model isn't too heavy.

Speaking of weight, Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 726g less than the Nikon D3. This difference, in fact, can become a significant disadvantage for the photographers, who prefer to have their cameras with them wherever they go.

Comparing Nikon D3 and Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II by the type of Sensor and Resolution

Sensor is, without a doubt, the most significant element of every digital camera. Its type, size, and resolution are the factors that define the quality of future shots. Thus, it is barely possible to pick a suitable camera without looking at these specs.

Are Nikon D3 and Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II any different in terms of sensor type?

In fact, that's exactly what makes these two models really different. Thus, it is a good point to consider if your are choosing between these two cameras. Nikon D3 features a 12.0 MP Full frame sized CMOS sensor and boasts of a Expeed processor . Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, in its turn, comes with a 20.0 MP Four Thirds sized CMOS sensor and TruePic VIII processor , which makes it significantly different from the first model.

Take a look below to find the comparison of Nikon D3 and Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II by the size of their sensors.

Nikon D3
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
HTML
BB

One more distinctive feature of compared models is the sensor size. Nikon D3 has a sensor area 0.3x bigger compared to Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. What does it mean? This basically means that if you these cameras them with the same aperture and focal length, the first model will give you more control in terms of the blurry background and depth of field.

For Which Fields Of Photography Are Nikon D3 and Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Suitable?

If you are interested in photography or has made a career in this field, you should know that different types of shooting actually require different camera characteristics. While one model can produce outstanding portraits, at the same time, it can be terrible for shooting landscapes, and so on. Thus, before you purchase a specific camera, it is vital to decide, which type of shooting you do most often and consider an option that suits it the most.

This section of our comparison is devoted to the performance of Nikon D3 and Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II in different fields of photography. Here we are going to look at the five main areas and evaluate how well each of the reviewed models performs in them. This will help you choose an option that suits your needs the most depending on your interest in one or several of these fields.

Photography Type Nikon D3 Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
Portrait Photography
83%
71%
Street Photography
76%
99%
Sports Photography
98%
96%
Daily Photography
93%
93%
Landscape Photography
94%
92%

Nikon D3 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (36 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)

Disadvantages:

  • You might not like Nikon skintone
  • No Image Stabilization

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Image Stabilization
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • Small Four Thirds (17.4 x 13 mm) sensor

Nikon D3 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Large Full frame(36 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • Big battery life (4300 shots)

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (160 x 157 x 88 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Fully Articulated Screen
  • Image Stabilization
  • Large Four Thirds(17.4 x 13 mm) sensor

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (134 x 91 x 67 mm)

Nikon D3 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Fast Continuous Shooting (11.0 fps)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2290)
  • Big battery life (4300 shots)
  • Big size (160 x 157 x 88 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Bad Max Native ISO (6400)

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Fast Continuous Shooting (15.0 fps)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big Number of autofocus Points (121)

Disadvantages:

  • Small battery life (350 shots)

Nikon D3 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (36 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (1300 g)
  • Big size (160 x 157 x 88 mm)
  • No Built-in Flash
  • Video is not available

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Small Four Thirds (17.4 x 13 mm) sensor
  • Big weight (574 g)
  • Big size (134 x 91 x 67 mm)
  • No Built-in Flash

Nikon D3 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (36 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • Good Dynamic Range (12.2)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2290)

Disadvantages:

  • Low resolution sensor (12 MP)
  • Bad Max Native ISO (6400)

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Good Dynamic Range (12.8)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support

Disadvantages:

  • Small Four Thirds (17.4 x 13 mm) sensor
  • Low resolution sensor (20 MP)

Comparison of Nikon D3 vs Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II: Final Verdict

Hopefully, our detailed overview of these models has helped you consider all the main specs, pros and cons of each cameras. Maybe, after reading this comparison, some of you have already decided which option to opt for depending on your needs and preferences. However, if you are still wondering which option is a better choice, Nikon D3 or Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, below you can see what scores each of them received in five different aspects. To wrap up, we have used our unique Decision Algorithm that assesses different camera models upon 63 different factors including their price, and, if possible, DxO Mark scores. This algorithm allows us to make our verdict more consistent and objective.

What is our final verdict? Based on our comparison and the final scores of Nikon D3 and Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II here is what we can say in conclusion:

According all the factors that we considered in the process of comparing these two cameras, Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II deserves a higher Total Score than the Nikon D3. Thus, if you are choosing between these options, we would recommend you to choose the first model over the other one.

Nikon D3 vs Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Table Of Technical Specs

For better understanding of each model’s technical characteristics, find the detailed comparison below:

Nikon D3 Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
General
Brand Nikon Olympus
Model D3 OM-D E-M1 Mark II
Announced Apr 18, 2008 Sep 19, 2016
Body Type Large SLR SLR-style mirrorless
Sensor
Sensor Type CMOS CMOS
Sensor Size Full frame Four Thirds
Sensor Dimensions 36 x 23.9 mm 17.4 x 13 mm
Sensor Area 860.40 mm2 226.20 mm2
Sensor Resolution 12.0 MP 20.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 4256 x 2832 5184 x 3888
Max Native ISO 6,400 25,600
Max Boosted ISO 25,600 n/a
Min Native ISO 200 200
RAW Support Yes Yes
Lens
Manual Focus Yes Yes
Lens Mount Nikon F Micro Four Thirds
Number of Lenses 287 94
Focal Length Multiplier 1x 2x
Macro Focus Range
AutoFocus
AF Touch No Yes
AF Continuous Yes Yes
AF Single Yes Yes
AF Tracking No Yes
AF Selective Yes Yes
AF Center No Yes
AF Multi Area Yes Yes
AF Live View Yes Yes
AF Face Detection No Yes
AF Contrast Detection Yes Yes
AF Phase Detection Yes Yes
Number of Focus Points n/a 121
Number of Cross Focus Points n/a n/a
Screen
Screen Type Fixed Type Fully Articulated
Screen Size 3″ 3″
Screen Resolution 922k dots 1,037k dots
Live View Yes Yes
Touch Screen No Yes
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Optical (pentaprism) Electronic
ViewFinder Resolution 0k dots 2,360k dots
ViewFinder Coverage 100% 100%
ViewFinder Magnification 0.7
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 30 s 60 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 s 1/8000 s
Continuous Shooting 11.0 fps 15.0 fps
Shutter Priority Yes Yes
Aperture Priority Yes Yes
Manual Exposure Mode Yes Yes
Exposure Compensation Yes Yes
Custom White Balance Yes Yes
Image Stabilization No Yes
Built-in Flash No No
Flash Range 0 9.1
Flash Modes Front curtain, Rear curtain, Red-Eye, Slow Sync Redeye, Fill-in, Flash Off, Red-eye Slow sync.(1st curtain), Slow sync.(1st curtain), Slow sync.(2nd curtain), Manual
External Flash Yes Yes
AE Bracketing No Yes
WB Bracketing No Yes
Exposure Modes
Multi-Segment No Yes
Average No No
Spot No Yes
Partial No No
AF-Area No No
Center Weighted No No
DxO Sensor Scores
DxO Sensor Score 81 80
DxO Color Depth 23.5 23.7
DxO Dynamic Range 12.2 12.8
DxO Low Light ISO 2290 1312
Video Features
Video Resolutions n/a 4096 x 2160 @ 24p / 237 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM, 3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 102 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
Max Video Resolution 4096 x 2160
Video Formats n/a MOV, H.264
Microphone Port No Yes
Headphone Port No Yes
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity No Yes
HDMI Yes Yes
USB USB 2.0 USB 3.0
Physical
Environmental Sealing Yes Yes
Water Proof No No
Dust Proof No No
Shock Proof No No
Crush Proof No No
Freeze Proof No No
Weight 1300 g 574 g
Physical Dimensions 160 x 157 x 88 mm 134 x 91 x 67 mm
Battery Life 4300 shots 350 shots
Battery Type Battery Pack Battery Pack
Battery Model n/a n/a
Other Features
Self Timer Yes Yes
Timelapse Recording Yes Yes
GPS Optional
Storage Type Compact Flash (Type I or II) x2 Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC slots
Storage Slots 2 2

Most popular cameras

Fujifilm X-T1 IR 16.0 MP CMOS X-TRANS II
APS-C
Fujifilm X-T1 16.0 MP CMOS X-TRANS II
APS-C
Samsung NX20 20.0 MP CMOS
APS-C
Canon EOS M3 24.0 MP CMOS
APS-C
Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S 10.0 MP CMOS
Four Thirds