Nikon D3s Review

For the opportunity Nikon D3s Camera Review many thanks to the project Photo rental.com.ua.

Nikon D3s Review

Nikon D3s Review

Nikon D3s Is a professional full-frame flagship reportage camera, that says it all. The camera was released in the fall of 2009, two years after the first full-frame Nikon D3.

Sample photo on Nikon D3s

Sample photo on Nikon D3s

The main feature of the Nikon D3s is a matrix with very low noise at high ISO. Even after the release Nikon D4 Nikon D3s camera remains one of the best for working in poor lighting conditions. Nikon D3s has a 12.87MP sensor at its disposal, of which only 12.1MPforming images 4256 on 2832 pixels (totaling 12.052.992 pixels in total). Exactly the same number of megapixels have cameras Nikon D3 и Nikon D700.

Nikon D3s uses Nikon's proprietary matrix. Often lovers think that in all three chambers Nikon D3, D700 and D3s use the same matrix, but it’s not, Nikon D3s use modified matrix from Nikon D3 и D700which really works much better at high ISOs. I can judge this from personal experience with Nikon D700 and Nikon D3s. Although the development of the sensor is Nikon's business, the sensor is manufactured at the SONY factory (information may not be accurate). Nikon D3s uses a sensor codenamed Nikon NC81361A, and the two previous models Nikon D700 и D3 use Nikon NC81338L. Letter 'S' in the name of the camera, Nikon D3s just talks about finalizing the camera Nikon D3True, other cameras Nikon D300 / D300s, Nikon D70 / D70s, Nikon D2h / D2hs, Nikon D2x / D2xs in the first and second versions use exactly the same matrix, therefore, I separately dwelled on this feature of Nikon D3s.

Nikon D3s camera sensor can work at ISO 200-12,800 and the range can be extended to ISO 100 (called Lo1), and before  ISO 102,400 (called Hi3). For example, full-frame cameras Nikon D3, D700, D800, D800E, D600 can only squeeze ISO 25600, which is 4 times lower than the Nikon D3s limit value. Nikon D3x generally has a maximum ISO 6400 (Hi 2 mode).

Photo on Nikon D3s

Photo on Nikon D3s

Only high ISO speeds for Nikon D3s Nikon D4, which is a new round of development of this line Nikon D4 accelerates ISO to 204,800 (Hi4), such an ISO figure is also 2 times higher than the ISO limit for Nikon D3s. Although the base ISO limit for Nikon D3s and D4 the same - 12.800. Important Noticee - the limiting ISO values ​​very poorly reflect the real picture of the noise level, it is rather difficult to navigate by them, a more real picture in terms of the noise level can be viewed here.

Example photo on Nikon D3s

Example photo on Nikon D3s

Before the release Nikon D4 the Nikon D3s camera could be safely called best reporting camera. Nikon D3s can shoot at speeds:

  • 9 frames per second in FX mode (full-format mode), and in 5: 4 and 1.2x crop modes.
  • 11 frames per second in DX mode (in cropped mode), while the image size is reduced to 5.1MP (2784 by 1848 pixels)

Believe me, the speed of 11 k / s is just an incredible achievement. The Nikon D3 predecessor has exactly the same continuous shooting speed. True, for such a huge shooting speed, a good frame buffer. Frame buffer - is one of the most important indicators of camera performance.

Sample photo on Nikon D3s

Sample photo on Nikon D3s

The buffer is

  • 35 frames per RAW (NEF) out depending on compression level or color depth, when additional settings are disabled, such as noise reduction at slow shutter speeds, noise reduction at high ISO, ADLauto ISO
  • 14 frames per RAW (NEF) regardless of the compression level and color depth, with all of the above additional settings turned on.

So 35 RAW frames at a speed of 9k \ s can provide continuous shooting in the best quality for as long as 6 seconds. Such a continuous shooting duration does not have any camera level lower.

Example photo on Nikon D3s

Example photo on Nikon D3s

According focusing module Multi-CAM3500FX on 51 focus points, 15 of which are cruciform. About focusing on Nikon cameras in more detail here... The same focusing module is used by all professional full-frame cameras from Nikon - D3, D3x, D700, D800, D800E, D3s (from this review) and Nikon D4. Nikon D600 refers to amateur full-frame cameras and uses a simpler focusing system from Nikon D7000. It’s a pity, but since the release of the Nikon D3 Multi-CAM3500FX has undergone only minor changes to Nikon D4where it can focus lenses with apertures up to f / 8. Of course, 51 points is a lot, but all focus points are in the DX area of ​​the image. The same module called Multi-CAM3500DX is used on camera Nikon D300, D300s and there the coverage area is just wonderful, as the focus points cover the entire viewfinder. Focus speed is very dependent on the lens used. Focusing methods have several operating modes for use in various conditions.

Photo on Nikon D3s

Photo at Nikon D3s at high ISO

Of course, as befits a professional camera, the Nikon D3s has fine focus adjustment (focus adjustment), which is very useful when using lenses with rear or front focus. I really run into the flaws of the optics and focus adjustment is a very nice feature. The camera's viewfinder covers everything 100% coverage frame that is missing in the Nikon D700. Of course, in Live View, contrast focusing is available.

Nikon D3s is Nikon's first full-frame camera with the ability to shoot video. Of course, video is not the best horse of the camera, and the maximum quality that it supports is 720p AVI (Motion-JPEG) 1280 × 720 at 24 fps You can set the video to 640 × 424 at 24 fps and to 320 × 216 at 24 fps

Example photo on Nikon D3s

Example photo on Nikon D3s

Display the camera has a large, 3-inch on 921.000 points. The same (or very similar) display can be found on Nikon D3 cameras, D3x, D700, D300, D300s, D90, D7000, D3200, D5100 and D5200.

Ergonomics. The optical viewfinder has a green information panel not only from below, but also to the right. The camera is equipped with an additional handle for portrait shooting, this handle is very convenient and helps to quickly switch from the landscape normal orientation of the camera to portrait orientation. For simpler cameras, a special battery pack (booster) is required, which acts as such a handle. Due to the huge size of the camera, a rather large and capacious battery is placed in it, which can squeeze out very, very many pictures on a single charge.

Example photo on Nikon D3s

Example photo on Nikon D3s

In general, all controls are brought to their right places. Nikon D3s has two additional monochrome displays. One in the usual place on top of the camera, and the other under the main large display. Through additional displays, you can quickly adjust the basic functions of the camera, they do not lose their contrast in bright sunlight, do not consume the battery and are very convenient to use. True, Nikon D3s does not have a built-in flash, for me this is a slight inconvenience, since the built-in flash is a free trigger based on the system Nikon CLS.

Sample photo on Nikon D3s

Sample photo on Nikon D3s. High ISO photos.

Two slots for memory cards CF with different settings for shooting on two memory cards. My Nikon D3s made friends with 32GB memory cards without any problems. Measurement exposure It is based on a 1005-pixel RGB sensor, 3D Color Matrix Metering II works flawlessly. Most likely the same 1005-pixel metering sensor exposure available in Nikon D3, D3x, D700, D300, D300s, D2x, D2xs, D2h, D2hs, D200.

Nikon D3s has a focus motor and allows you to use AF lenses. The camera needs FX lenses, with DX lenses the camera can work in a special cropped DX mode. Of course, Nikon D3s works with manual optics without any problems, you can find more details in the section on AI-S.

Example photo on Nikon D3s

Example photo on Nikon D3s. When filmed for review, pretty frozen.

Nikon D3s has many settings and features, about which you can write a very, very long time:

  1. ADL, various image management modes, image processing menus, in particular RAW
  2. Vignetting control
  3. Matrix self-cleaning system
  4. Bracketing exposure, BB.
  5. Virtual horizon
  6. Weatherproof, however, if only used with weatherproof lenses.
  7. Shutter withstand 300.000 operations
  8. Live View
  9. Special connectors for controlling the camera and external light, USB and HDMI outputs
Example photo on Nikon D3s

Example photo on Nikon D3s. Test hours Radozhiva.

Personal experience

Nikon D3s is simply a gorgeous camera, really made for professionals. The camera is very responsive to any reaction, with instant activation. The shutter is not loud. I do not recommend chasing Nikon's flagship D3, D4 line of cameras, as it takes a lot of photography skills to unleash their potential. After an hour of working with Nikon D3s, I don't want to part with it. Nikon D3s loses a little in dynamic range Nikon D3x, D800, D800E, but these cameras have slightly different tasks. Whether it is worth changing Nikon D3, Nikon D700 to Nikon D3s, everyone should decide for themselves. I believe that Nikon D3s - one of the best cameras from Nikon.

Sample Photos on Nikon D3s

All photos in this review were shot on Nikon N AF-S Nikkor 85mm 1: 1.4G and Nikon D3s, on-camera JPEG L High, VI, SD. No processing, reduced size to 3MP, imprinted data from EXIF.

If you are facing a camera choice, then in Photo rental.com.ua You can rent one of the cameras in real conditions, and not by reviews, to find out all its capabilities.
Prices for modern Nikon cameras in popular stores can look at this link.

Comments here on the site do not require any registration. In the comments, you can ask a question on the topic, or leave your feedback, or describe your experience. For the selection of photographic equipment, I recommend E-Catalog. Many little things for the photo can be found on AliExpress.


conclusions

Nikon D3s - professional full frame camera, will good helper in the hands of a photojournalist and in any tasks that create a heavy load on the camera, including for wedding photography and for shooting sports. The camera attracts low noise at high ISO. I recommend.

The material was prepared by Arkady Shapoval. My Youtube channeland Radozhiva's group on Facebook и VK.

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Comments: 174, on the topic: Review of Nikon D3s

  • ILJA

    Friends, I am interested in the universal kit d3s + 24-70 f2.8 g or d750 with the same glass.

    I understand here the issue of resolution (d750) against iso and tenacious autofocus (d3s)? Which is better to choose .. tormented ..

    And what do you say about the zoom lens I specified?

    Thank you.

    • 1Ds_mk3

      Ilya, it all depends on the goals and objectives. Based on them, a camera with a lens is taken.
      In addition to D3s, there was also a rare D3x with almost the same resolution as the D600 / 610/750, but with a completely different matrix and output.
      What can be said about the lens of this class?
      Nothing in general. It is necessary to take and remove.

  • Victor

    Arkady, please tell me if D3 (in the secondary) change the shutter is not safe to take? And, in general, any camera after the shutter replacement as it is updated or still have some - the handicap?

    • 1Ds_mk3

      It is unclear by whom and how the shutter was replaced. Whether the mechanism for raising the mirror has been replaced and it is not clear how long it will last. In order not to rack your brains, it is better not to buy frankenstein and zombies at a flea market.

      • Victor

        Thanks! I thought so, although it is not always possible to actually know all the details, even if it seems that everything is in order, sometimes the seller does not say anything at all, and it is impossible to verify this during a quick inspection, or is generally unrealistic if you yourself aren’t master.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The danger is always there. But the replacement of the shutter - it's a common thing. In addition to the shutter, there are a whole bunch of mechanical components on these cameras, which also wear out. I like the cameras are not afraid.

      • Victor

        Arkady, thank you very much for your response! Your site - it is an island in a stormy sea, everything is built on it to humans. The price was about 500 USD and it has attracted. What do you think if there d300s and a few fixes, it is necessary to invest in 17-55, or look at such proposals, perhaps now because of the influx of people take off bezzerkalok junk. At a new full frame finances do not allow. On d300s everything suits, except for dd, and sometimes colors.

        • Arkady Shapoval

          I would have sneered into the full frame, even the most budgetary one, d610 / 600/700, and on the expensive 17-55 and even to the old man d300s I do not see much point.

          • Victor

            Thank you!

          • Maria

            I read the whole thread, thanks!

  • Victor

    That is, does the d700, d3 have advantages in dd and color over d300s?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      in the basic version, there is no particular gain in dd and color, but when it comes to pulling something out of RAW, the d700 / d3 has more headroom. Well, of course, ISO and detail are significantly higher.

      • Victor

        All clear! Thanks!

  • Alexander

    Good afternoon. Need advice on choosing. I found two carcasses in good condition. D3 and D800 that are similar in price. Everything is fine in the d800, but there are a couple of straining moments: the large file size and the need to purchase a powerful computer for processing, reviews of blurry photos. D3 has attracted a long battery, a small picture size, but the same battery is out of date, no flash, a large mass. Use for landscapes, occasionally reportage, weddings and similar events

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Nevertheless, the landscape is definitely d800. The computer isn’t so powerful, it’s necessary, and maybe update the hardware on your old one, it’s often not expensive at all.

      • Alexander

        Thank you, I always read your feedback with interest.

  • Alexander

    Hello! Please tell me where you can see, or download, pristine RAVs shot by this camera. Everywhere alone dzhipegi.
    Thank you

  • Marina

    Hello Arkady. With d3s had such a problem from time to time it becomes a focus bad. Sometimes even in normal lighting conditions, there began to crawl -syuda Fok. Slows down and thinks. It so happens that simply refuses to focus on fairly well-lit face. Lenses of the AF - D screwdriver series. Everything was fine at the XNUMX, no problems.

  • Master

    There is such a problem in D3 D4. Mostly with high mileage. Due to wear in the absence of lubrication. The second (smaller) focusing mirror is periodically incorrectly fixed. Accordingly, phase autofocus does not work correctly. I have come across this more than once.
    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100027394936866

    • Alexander

      Please tell me what mileage for these cameras is large? (2 or more shutter release cycles from 300 thousand negotiated by Arkady), in terms of getting into repairs with focus problems, etc.

  • Alain

    Arkady, good afternoon! I’m a reporter, I shoot on the crop d90, I’m wildly tired of squeezing all the juices out of it and I want to buy ff, but I don’t have money :) I found a good offer in my city about buying D3 for 19 thousand rubles, carefully read your review about Nikon D3s, and I wanted to to find out how fundamental the differences between them are? (D3 and D3s).

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The difference is not fundamental. D3s works better at high ISO. I recommend changing the d90 to D610, d3, d3s rather old cars

      • Alain

        thanks a lot!))

    • Pokemon

      Different matrices and different working ISOs.
      On D3s iso 3200 (sometimes slightly higher, depending on shooting conditions) working, D3 has a matrix similar in characteristics to d700. D3 for 19k is a millionaire. There are already all killed.

  • Marina

    Hello! Tell me please. There is an option to buy Nikon D3 (native shutter, mileage 56 thousand)
    Or Nikon D600 - there are many options in the secondary market with low mileage.
    I now have a nikon d7000. But I already feel that I need a full frame. Here's what will be better in the picture? Nikon D3 or Nikon D600? The difference in price there is not very big. More interested in the difference in the photo. It is embarrassing that Nikon D3 is said to be “brick” .. that it has not been produced for a long time and that even if the mileage is not large and was lying on a shelf, it might still break down from time to time after a month of use .. Or is it not?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      In general, the picture d600 will be better. D3 is taken by those who know exactly what it is

    • Michael

      Marina, D3 with mileage of 56000 in 2020? I do not believe in these superstitions. Or shutter replacement was either shot down by a run. Although the machine is fighting. At the very same, only add a zero to the run))). Yes, and the "six hundred" must be watched carefully. Let's not forget about her "oil" disease ...

      • koba

        In China, you can buy cameras with much less mileage. I bought her last year, mileage was 12400, the camera was not what the new and the new in the package, even under a magnifying glass it was impossible to find a single scratch. Everything still works as it should. Now you can also sometimes buy this. It is not possible at this level to restore the camera, which has passed through the replacement of the shutter, it is impossible to fully clean the dust in the viewfinder, making shoe flash is fully intact, remove micro scratches from displays, restore gum to the level of the new, make a bayonet also intact ... The cameras are able to almost new always come across, not only in China, even 30 years ago, the history of non-use of cameras can be different.

        • Ivan

          Koba, you are surprised! Theoretically, you can change the body parts to look like new. The viewfinder changes with a single tweezers movement. What does intact mean? There is no such word. Did you mean good contact? And what is wrong with the flash shoe contacts? In fact, the contacts on the flash itself are spring-loaded and provide a connection with a slight backlash. If the shoe is completely killed, then there are two ways - replacing the entire top cover, or the shoe itself can be unsoldered and put another. So what's wrong with the mount contacts? This is generally beyond comprehension. If the contacts are dirty, then everything is wiped with alcohol. The display can be changed. Gum can also be cleaned with alcohol from dirt. If there is no mechanical damage, then the appearance will also be decent.

          • koba

            Well, yes, and then if still camera runs 1,2 million and is still running, it is how to explain? Second circle? The word "intact" - a word there and it is widely used in Nike means "intact", you can look in the dictionary. Also, okay, let's say someone completely restores the camera, and that this camera cannot be used? What about the fact that I personally met 10 Nikon D3s cameras, which are still lying around in one of the branches of a bank in China, where my friend is the boss, and which are completely new, and which sooner or later the bank will sell. How was this, and how do they fit into your theory? Yes, in Georgia or Ukraine, or even in Russia it is unlikely, but I'm talking about a country, a great country and a rich country, which sells almost half of all produced photographic technique where where photographers are buying just two top-end camera when changing your technique. Have you heard about the children of Chinese wealthy people who suddenly decide to study photography, buy the most top-end cameras, and then quickly their hobby goes away and these cameras lie around for years, do not even sell, sometimes they give it to someone, and they have less than 5000 mileage, and those in China for hundreds of thousands, while China has 440 million of the rich, for whom to buy photo equipment at $ 10000 - that's nothing. And I still do not know everything. It was from us, the poor, that I bought the old D300 and I would rather die myself than the camera, and if not, then my children will use it. I did so, there is no money like the Chinese. Recently, an acquaintance took off in a group of tourists to Iceland, they first ran into photoshop, each of them bought a technique about 5000-15000 dollars, and took off. Non-professional photographers! Tell me now, can you understand them? This we can be, even if people have enough money? No, it can not be! So believe it is not necessary, come up to me in China, and I'll personally show the camera with minimal mileage, they do not even sell, knowing that prices are falling, and that for the sake of selling, but the owners are new, so old anymore hunt to enjoy. I beg you, do not make mnya write answers to the unfounded suspicions, I do not write speculation, I write what I see with my own eyes and check the many years of experience. You know, because of my personal positive experience, I can not even imagine how the camera can be damaged? I know that every technique deteriorates, and I saw these from the masters here, but I also have all the cameras I bought in my hands (and I never buy new ones, I am not rich and not photography

            • koba

              I haven’t earned for a long time) they still really work, even the old soapbox Ricoh GX100, which looks awful for the last 13 years. Sorry for the long messages, it is simply impossible to reply shortly.

            • Ivan

              About the "intact" did not know. Then the meaning of your text changes slightly.

        • Ivan

          In the automotive market, jams on wheels look like they are just off the assembly line. It’s the same here. The game is worth the candle. You can invest and tweak the appearance, twist the camera’s mileage (just by connecting to a computer) and pack it beautifully. Why are you so blindly trusting the run?

          • koba

            That's especially today call "my" the seller, he confirmed that there is now a Nikon D4, mileage of about 22000, received the camera for more than 20 days ago, but so far no one has bought, and sold it for 1220 dollars (about 8500 yuan). Now we have to look for conspiracy theorists? Isn't it better to take and bring it to a million ... By the way, if such cameras were stamped, then they would be constantly on sale, but sometimes they cannot be found in 2 months, they do not come across, or there would be as many of them as you want, but no, if they come across, then one, maximum two, at the same time no longer happens in the whole of China, and this is very easy to check here.

          • kolodiazniy

            No one trusts the run blindly.
            But there are traces of exploitation that the blind will notice.
            Traces speak of a run much more eloquently than numbers.
            But the latest is also no problem - open at least AVITO.

            • Pokemon

              I never tire of repeating - Avito is full of scammers.
              And there I came across an announcement about the adjustment of the mileage on Nikon:
              Full-frame D700, D3, and all crop, except those that are 24MP matrices.
              Fully retouched photos in ads or just shot in the dark on a cheap Chinese phone.
              Sometimes it comes to the ridiculous - you ask the owner of the camera the mileage - he does not know it and does not know (?) How to calculate.
              A lot of photographic equipment "with surprise" that before you buy you need to carefully examine the person himself (before this reading of the weak points of purchased goods).

      • Ali

        You are wrong. A lot of people bought those who had no relation to photography, and even more so to sports reporting. They bought it only because there is money and this is a top camera. I’m taking off until I'm tired, then they’ll abandon me. These are the ones that sell with low mileage. Last year, I bought four D3s. Two to myself, I changed clicking on two and a half hundred. The runs were 171, 000, 74, 000, frames. I also bought a D56X with a mileage of 000 frames. It is possible to change the linings, but the gray plastic painted in black is impossible. And it’s not worth changing everything. And now there is on sale with mileage up to ten thousand, a new condition. But the price tag is under a hundred. It’s impossible to hide traces of operating a camera with high mileage. Once I came across a camera with mileage of 41 frames, in very good condition. And this is because a fragile girl was shooting for her, and very carefully.

  • Nicholas

    I felt today that the "beast". And that's what I say, of course the camera is good, but I take it myself I will not :) First of all I did not like grip. Especially in a vertical orientation. My d7000 and d750 with boosters in the hand is much more convenient. Also in the vertical orientation with one hand is almost impossible to reach navipada and quickly change the focus point without removing the camera from the face. For a little contrast scene (gray wall) AF showed no advantages over d750, some "magic" has not happened. I would say he is just a little inferior to the younger 750th. But definitely better than af d7000 in st.
    In liveview AF, it’s more cheerful than in the d300, but slightly inferior to the d7000, although there is 1 bun that is not in the d7000. The button iso, as for me, is not at all convenient, small, I think you can’t quickly find it in the dark. It would probably be much more convenient for many to make it as in the d300.
    Weight…. no comment ... But probably nothing else is possible.
    Sound 9k \ s is a mini orgasm for hearing of course. ISO 3200-6400 is very worthy.
    The diopter adjustment range is only quite a bit larger than in the d750, I would say 1-2 clicks, it really surprised me. When I get old I expected that in the top DSLRs this parameter is wider :) Well, perhaps that's all I managed to find out in an hour of acquaintance.

    • Pokemon

      Ergonomics - it depends on the hands. If your hands are small and are not suited to something like this, it will be uncomfortable.
      The D3s AF module differs from the D750 in working with screwdriver lenses right away.
      D3s spin them faster than the D750.
      D3s / D4 twists screwdriver lenses better in the cold and the battery lasts for more shots.
      The thoughtfulness of the D750 freaked me out, or rather the lag in time when the camera focused, but the screwdriver had not yet twisted the lens. D4 does it almost instantly, D3s almost as fast.
      On motor lenses, the difference is little noticeable.
      And one more thing - if you “develop” NEF with the standard Nikon program (both the old Capture NX2 and the new NX-D), subjectively, the standard D3s color profile did not require attention. Could leave AvtoBB and not to touch the output color almost always was very pleasing to the eye and did not require attention.

      • Nicholas

        Yes, I tried to "fresh" glasses (50 1.4G, sigma135 1.8)
        Hand ... well, they do not strangle a bear of course, but his fingers a little longer and a little thinner on average man's hand. Perhaps a matter of habit, but probably Nikon is doing the right thing to change the grip from such a "bloated" to a "narrower and deeper"

        Yes, it would be interesting to compare the batteries, even in the cold, even in the warmth. Let's say take 1 in d3s and 2 enel15 in d750 (one per carcass, one per booster), I think that by the weight of the cameras, that by the price of the batteries, such a comparison would be fair.

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