Nikon D3S Review

February 3, 2010 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | |

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#1 cheap r4i

I loved the review - confirming what I have read about the D 3s. That will be my next step up. I am interested in low light photography and I reckon the D3s would a great start. I also loved the review because it does not contain too may technical terms etc which I find off-putting in reviews.

5:01 am - Thursday, February 4, 2010

#2 Marshal

To the Reviewer:

What lenses were used with these sample images?

6:04 am - Friday, February 5, 2010

#3 Zoltan Arva-Toth


The lenses used included one AF-S lens - the AF-S 50mm f/1.4G that was introduced a bit more than a year ago -, two older zooms - the 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G mentioned in the review for its extremely fast focusing on the D3s and a 70-300mm telezoom, plus one manual-focus 135mm f/2.8 lens used wide open to take the portrait shot.

10:00 am - Friday, February 5, 2010

#4 Jan

Main rivals of Nikon D3s are Canon 7D, Leica 8.2 and Nikon D3X ?! :-) Are you joking, people?
Non of those 3 cameras are jurnalist’s and sport photographer’s photo gear ( and I hope, that you know why is it so… ).
Where is Canon 1D Mk.III or IV? And where is the good old Nikon D3? Are you really thinking that someone who’s every day shootin’ concerts, football or news, would ever think to go to manual and archaic Leica 8.2 ( and what about 8.2’s poor output @ ISO 1000 and above ), or be shooting primary to “semi-professional” APS-C camera ( no integrated vertical grip, poor battery life comparing to professional bodies, POOR ISO output, AF speed, and etc.), like D300 or your 7D? No way ;)
And the D3X? :-) Maybe for weddings. But certnainly not for sports, wildlife and any kind of action in low light… Simply not for things, for which has been D3/D3s designed and made for.

Anyway, I’m happy to read something about D3s, so thank you ;) I would prefer some comparing shots with 1DIII/IV though.

12:13 pm - Friday, February 5, 2010

#5 ht

I suppose the only reason why they didn’t include the 1D Mark IV on the main competitors page is that they haven’t reviewed it yet, so I wouldn’t get too hung up on that.

As for the M8.2, of course it’s a journalist’s camera - M series Leicas have always been among the photojournalist’s most valued workhorses. Yep they are a bit of a stretch for sports, but a hell of a lot of great news photographs have been shot with Leicas in the past, and I’m sure many PJs are still using them on magazine assignments. And the M8.2 is in the same price league as the D3s.

12:41 pm - Friday, February 5, 2010

#6 Jan


They didn’d 1D IV because it was not reviewed yet? So what? It is better to compare apples with pears, instead of comparing what’s belongs to each other? I don’t think so.

You’re right, M series Leicas has been the photojournalist’s most valued workhorses. It’s true. So as the Nikon F4 in eightees and F5 in ninetees ;) But for today’s standards is “M” outdated. And not only a bit. Today is Leica’s M system great for lanscapers and “goog” for rich collectors or someone, who still don’t trust something, what was not made in Deutschland ;) But go and say to anyone in redaction, who’s shooting sport or news: Hey folks, return your D3/1DIII gear, ‘cause tomorrow you’ll be shootin’ MANUALY :-) And forget any ISO higher than 800, forget VR/IS and forget great viewfinders ( I have Konica Hexar RF too, so I think I know, what’s rangefinder all about… ). That’s simply, history, to shoot news and action. For today’s standards is “M” the same as F4, F5 or D1. Outdated… My opinion, of course.

1:25 pm - Friday, February 5, 2010

#7 Jan

didn’d = didn’t
“goog” = “good” shoot news and action with Lieca’s M.

Sorry for faults, it was written very fast ;)

1:39 pm - Friday, February 5, 2010

#8 Marshal

Actually, given good light, especially with a fast lens, the D3X could be a great wildlife camera. It can’t shoot in low light as well or as fast as the D3/D3s, but 5fps can still get the job done nicely and at anywhere from 100-800 ISO it should give excellent to outstanding results, especially @ 100 of course with a fast lens in bright daylight like in the Serengeti, or Yellowstone for instance.

You can be shooting MF quality landscapes one minute, then see some elk, bison, moose, elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, etc and shoot them with a 200-400mm VR, and, once again, get Medium Format quality or better.

12:42 am - Saturday, February 6, 2010

#9 Marshal

Overall, the D3s is the most versatile camera and can do all things VERY well, but if you need the D3X’s 24.5MP resolution for landscapes, it can also do wildlife just as well with adequate light. And 5 fps is still very respectable for capturing action. I can easily see using the D3S and D3X side by side for nature work, including wildlife.

For architecture, and automotive and most any studio work such as portraits, glamour, product photography, that’s where the D3X truly rules.

1:00 am - Saturday, February 6, 2010

#10 Marshal


Thanks for the lens info. I assumed you had probably used the 24-70, 70-200 VRII. And maybe the 14-24 or 17-35mm, especially for many of those interior shots. Thanks for your reply. I’m still amazed by the high ISO image quality.

1:05 am - Saturday, February 6, 2010

#11 Marshal


Sorry, I keep forgetting to ask something else.

Could you or someone shoot some low to medium ISO videos and test the quality of the video? All the sample videos I’ve seen so far were at 800-8,000 ISO. I’d like to see what the video quality is like at 200-400 ISO.

1:09 am - Saturday, February 6, 2010

#12 Marshal


I just saw that video you uploaded. What lens & ISO setting were used for that?

1:18 am - Saturday, February 6, 2010

#13 Zoltan Arva-Toth

The video was shot with the AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G lens stopped down to f/11, at a low ISO speed (def. in the 200-400 range).

12:19 pm - Saturday, February 6, 2010

#14 Jonathan

When is the D700 replacement out? With HD video and D3s image quality, it will be stiffest competition for this camera for all but the most serious pros, no?

4:22 pm - Saturday, February 6, 2010

#15 Marshal


Thanks for that info on the video. Much appreciated. :)

10:24 pm - Saturday, February 6, 2010

#16 Nikcamsnapper

Hate Nikon was very happy with my D700 fantastic camera & now they come out with the D3s.
Now i have to convince wifey that we need to take out a second mortgage on the house & if i manage to get over that hurdle it’s gonna be even harder convincing the bank manager to let me have one.
Strange choice of rival cameras you’ve put together the 7D’s main competitor is of course the D300s & the D3’s main competitor is the Canon 1V

4:53 am - Monday, February 8, 2010

#17 abutz

This commercial film for a swiss musician was completely shot with a Nikon D3S - it was fun! Lenses I used: 14-24, 80-200VRII, 200-400VR

8:47 pm - Wednesday, February 10, 2010

#18 Andrew Jones

ER.. just checked the sample images. Clearly something wrong… seems to be a bus driving along in a river. That never happened with Ilford XP…

12:14 am - Thursday, February 11, 2010

#19 Zoltan Arva-Toth

:-) Andrew:

Yes that’s a bona fide amphibious sightseeing bus!

10:14 am - Thursday, February 11, 2010

#20 Leo de Groot

This was a most helpful review.  I particularly found the comparison images at progressively higher ISO settings very useful.  As a small improvement, you inadvertently left off the legend for the ISO 200 setting, which briefly confused me.  (What can I say?  I am easily confused!)

But a wonderfully instructive review.  Well done!

11:52 pm - Friday, February 12, 2010

#21 Jani

Jó cikk! Grat!

Zoli, Zoli, látom asszony jól f?z!;)

2:49 pm - Thursday, February 18, 2010

#22 vassgopu

i planing to buy nikon d3s camera
i’m a product photographer will it work for product photography, plzz suggest a camera for product photography

thank u

8:14 pm - Sunday, March 4, 2012

Entry Tags

review, nikon, 12 megapixel, DSLR, digital SLR, professional, pro, SLR, d3 s, d3s, Nikon D3S Review