With an extraordinarily high maximum sensitivity, a 9fps shooting rate and HD video capture, the Nikon D3S will be looked at lustfully by many an amateur photographer. But are its 12.1 million pixels still enough? the professional photographer? Richard Sibley investigates

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Nikon D3S

Autofocus:
Noise/resolution:
Metering:
Features:
AWB Colour:
LCD viewfinder:
Dynamic Range:
Build/Handling:

Product:

Nikon D3S review

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Price as reviewed:

£4,000.00

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Our verdict

At the press launch of the Nikon D3S I was very impressed with the quality of the images on display, but was eager to see how the camera would perform in my own hands. As is clear here, the D3S fared well.

Its body and many of its features will come as little surprise to those already familiar with the D3 and D3X, but it is the newly designed sensor and low levels of noise that steal the show. It is now realistic to shoot at ISO sensitivities that would previously have meant pushing Ilford Delta 3200 by two stops, and even then results were extremely grainy.

When this technology is combined with high-definition video, the D3S becomes a truly creative tool for professional photographers. As much as a higher resolution would have been nice, a 16-million-pixel, 300ppi image is only around a couple of inches larger along each side than a 12.2-million-pixel image. This resolution should be perfectly fine for most photographers, unless the images are going to be printed a lot larger than A3 in size.

For sports, wildlife and press photographers requiring speed and performance, the Nikon D3S is currently the race leader, but expect to see a strong chasing pack gaining ground next year.

Nikon D3S Key highlights

Dual CompactFlash sockets

The D3S has dual memory card sockets for storing images and video footage. The second card can be allocated to provide extra memory, a backup of the first card, to store JPEG files (when shooting raw and JPEG simultaneously) or to save video footage.

Flash

Like other professional-level cameras, the Nikon D3S doesn’t have an in-camera flash. However, the camera is compatible with Nikon’s Speedlight flashguns, and compatible wireless flashguns can be controlled using either the Speedlight SB-900 or the SU-800 Wireless Commander unit.

Quiet mode

Recently seen on the D300S, the Quiet mode raises the shutter more slowly than usual. After exposing the sensor the shutter is closed with the mirror returning more slowly to its original position and only when the photographer has released the shutter button. Noise is still audible, but the loud ‘slap’ that usually occurs is avoided.

Software

As with all Nikon DSLR cameras, the D3s comes with View NX software. This offers basic editing features for raw and JPEG files. Nikon’s Capture NX 2 software has more editing options for raw files. It is available separately for £158.99. For more details see www.nikon.co.uk.

HDMI socket

Placed on the side of the camera, this allows an HDMI cable to be plugged in so that images and video may be viewed on a compatible external display

Secondary LCD panel  

This smaller liquid crystal display shows the ISO sensitivity, WB and Image Quality.  Once again, the LCD display and viewfinder of the D3S are the same as the D3 and D3x. In fact, the 3in, 921,000-dot LCD screen is the same as the one used in the D3000, D90, D300S and D700. It is bright, clear and of high enough quality to make it possible to check that even fine details are correctly focused.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. Build and handling
  4. 4. White balance and colour
  5. 5. Metering
  6. 6. Autofocus
  7. 7. Resolution, noise and sensitivity
  8. 8. Dynamic range
  9. 9. LCD, Live View, Viewfinder and Video
  10. 10. Our verdict
  11. 11. The competition
Page 10 of 11 - Show Full List
  • Rajesh

    Hello 🙂
    I need a help, got something to ask. I own NIkon 50mm 1.8g and i have just used it 3-4 times and while using it i have found that the focus ring sometimes move”free” but the points doesn’t move, my lens work fine otherwise. Is it normal?