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:















Images: Using the Nikkor 80-400mm VR lens without a support would normally prove a challenge. However, as image noise was not a concern I set the D3S to ISO 3200 to avoid camera shake and was able to capture the eyelashes of this deer in focus

Although Nikon claims that the autofocus has been improved in the D3S, it uses the same Multi-CAM3500FX system as the earlier D3 and D3X. This system, or its DX-format equivalent, is used in the majority of Nikon’s DSLR cameras, and again it is a case of Nikon utilising an already tried and tested piece of equipment and further refining it.

In use, I didn’t notice any difference between the autofocus of the D3S and that of the D3. Needless to say, it is extremely fast and responsive, particularly when used with the Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8 ED-IF AF-S lens.

When switching the autofocus to 51-point 3D matrix tracking, it can be locked to a particular subject in the frame. As this subject moves, so does the AF point. This can be seen through the viewfinder and is extremely useful when photographing moving subjects.

While photographing deer, I was able to focus on a deer isolated against a background and, without moving the camera, the autofocus tracked the deer until it moved out of the frame. Sports and wildlife photographers should find the 3D tracking great for helping to frame images, without having to readjust the focus.


  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 6 of 11 - Show Full List