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

AWB Colour:
LCD viewfinder:
Dynamic Range:


Nikon D3S review


Price as reviewed:


White balance and colour

Image:  Taken at ISO 6400, this night shot of St Paul’s Cathedral shows virtually no sign of chroma noise and very little luminance. Given the sensitivity and the low level of light, the amount of detail that the Nikon D3S has been able to resolve is very impressive 

By using the Nikon Expeed processor and allowing raw files to be captured in 14-bit colour depth, the D3S renders colour excellently. There are a number of preset Picture Control settings that allow you to alter the brightness, contrast, sharpness, saturation and hue of JPEG images. These parameters can be altered and saved so you can have your own bank of custom Picture Control settings.

These settings can also be loaded to and from other compatible cameras. Using the Picture Control Utility on Capture NX2 software, you can adjust all the above settings as well as create a custom image curve. These can then be loaded onto the D3S.

The custom Picture Control facility is useful should you wish to replicate the particular look of a film or if you already have a set of Picture Controls from another compatible Nikon camera. The styles can even be applied to video footage, and viewed live while the footage is being shot. A 1005-pixel RGB sensor is used to judge the white balance.

Colours are well rendered and the white balance is correct when images are shot using AWB and preset white balance settings. However, pictures taken in overcast conditions look slightly better with the camera set to the standard daylight setting rather than the cloudy setting.

  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
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