Nikon D3s

Nikon D3s

Consider the possibility of a professional-level DSLR with an image sensor that is seven times more sensitive to low-level light than the human eye. Consider the possibility that this camera can also take high-definition live-action stills at up to 9 frames per second or 720 HD video at 24 frames per second (with stereo sound) even in the most challenging lighting situations.

A camera like the Nikon D3S (Body Only) falls under this category. The Nikon D3S is built to the same high-precision, high-performance standards as its predecessor, the Nikon D3, and is intended to satisfy the converging technical needs and expectations of professional photographers, even in the most severe low-light shooting circumstances.

Featuring a weatherproof, silicon-sealed magnesium-alloy body and a re-engineered 12.0-megapixel FX-format (full-frame, 23.9 x 36mm) CMOS sensor capable of producing still images and HD video at ISO levels of up to 102,400, the D3S is an excellent choice for photographers who want to go beyond the basics.

Photographs taken with the D3S are saved as JPEG, RAW, RAW+JPEG, or TIFF picture files at up to 9 frames per second when shooting in FX-format, or 11 frames per second when shooting in DX format. Another outstanding feature is that it can handle up to 42 RAW files or 130 big JPEGs in its buffer.

The D3S’s all-glass optical viewing technology provides bright, clear seeing via the viewfinder at 100 percent zoom level. You can also compose and edit photographs while shooting in Live View mode, thanks to the camera’s 3-inch, 920,000-dot LCD.

Additionally, the D3S includes improved D-Lighting for capturing the most shadow and highlight details in still images, a D-Movie mode for achieving the same level of picture optimization while shooting video, and advanced chromatic aberration correction parameters, and in-camera RAW file processing.

A sophisticated Dust Reduction System helps to keep stray dust particles out of the picture route and away from the image path, ensuring that image files are clean from the moment of capture.

Because it has two CompactFlash (CF) slots, the D3S can take up to 4200 exposures on a single battery charge, allowing it to keep up with the action. A further advantage of the Nikon D3S is that, like its predecessor, it is compatible with a wide range of Nikon lenses that allow you to capture clear, dramatic images no matter where your work takes you.

The ISO range is 200 – 12800, with the ability to be expanded to ISO 102,400. (Hi 3)

If you shoot indoor sports, stadium events at night, or any other situation where light is limited and speedlights are not practical, you can now rely on ISO 200 to ISO 12800 as the professional standard of image quality for your assignments. This gives you a significant advantage over your competition.

Photographers will be able to capture commercial-quality, pin-sharp shots in low light with the D3S, which can shoot at ISOs as high as 12,800. This capacity will open the door to a whole new universe of photographic possibilities.

When needed, the D3S can expand to an incredible ISO equivalent of 102,400, displaying color and detail even in low-light situations where the human eye may find it difficult to distinguish individual objects. It is also possible to shoot D-Movie footage with this remarkable low-noise performance, which opens up new possibilities for multimedia projects and assignments.

D-functionality movies have been enhanced.

The D-Movie mode on the D3S provides unparalleled adaptability, allowing it to be used in a variety of lighting conditions, from well-lit settings to extremely low-light circumstances. An improved D-Movie mode produces HD quality (1,280 x 720 pixels) Motion-JPEG movies at a frame rate of 24 frames per second.

The big FX-format sensor captures low-noise photographs with lovely bokeh from a wide range of Nikkor lenses by allowing the aperture to be controlled from the widest f-stop to the lowest f-stop available on the camera. When shooting in High-Sensitivity Movie mode, users may capture images at up to an ISO equivalent of 102,400, even in the darkest of lighting circumstances.

In-camera trimming of D-Movie film is simple, requiring only the selection of the beginning and finishing points. Another advantage for sports and news photographers is the option to save chosen movie frames as JPEGs, which may be used for rapid print and online publication requirements.

A built-in monaural microphone, as well as an external stereo microphone input, are available on the D3S, allowing for higher-quality audio recording.

Image Sensor Cleaning System with Advanced Technology

Another notable enhancement over the D3 is the inclusion of the Image Sensor Cleaning feature, which emits vibrations at four precise frequencies to maximize dust removal. This is a considerable improvement over the D3. This feature may be programmed to run automatically when the camera is switched on and off, or it can be activated by hand when the camera is turned on and off.

Image Processor using EXPEED Technology

By using 14-bit A/D conversion and 16-bit image processing, Nikon’s in-camera image processing approach maintains the integrity of the rich initial data while allowing for greater creative possibilities. NEF (Nikon Electronic Image Format) files are shot in a format that is fast, comprehensive, and energy-efficient, allowing for greater creative possibilities.

When used in conjunction with Nikon’s FX-format sensor, the D3S delivers images with a wide tonal range and few tone leaps. In challenging color combinations, such as skin tones and powerful reds in the same frame without over-saturation, users may anticipate more precision and better tonal gradation in highlights, especially when working with the highly bright subject matter.

Lateral Chromatic Aberration Reduction ensures sharpness from edge to edge of the image.

Using the D3S, you may fix color fringes created by chromatic aberrations that might develop at the margins of different subject components in some cases. All NIKKOR lenses, independent of their focal length, wide-angle focal length, CPU or non-CPU status, have their lateral chromatic aberrations corrected by the lens manufacturer.

Active D-Lighting preserves high levels of detail in both the highlights and shadows.

Nikon’s Active D-Lighting technology intelligently controls the dynamic range of high-contrast situations, bringing out shadow details and retaining highlights while maintaining the desired level of contrast and brightness. Photographers may pick from six Active D-Lighting settings on the D3S, including the newly introduced Auto and Extra High, as well as the more traditional High, Normal, Low, and Off settings.

Also included is the ability to bracket the strength of Active D-Lighting levels for up to five frames and then choose the best rendition

Pitched Pixels in a Big Way Sensor with a resolution of 12.1 megapixels in FX format

The image sensor of the D3S has been totally overhauled in comparison to the D3; the inner structure has been further improved, but the pixel count and huge pixel pitch have been preserved, allowing for even more latitude in the high-speed shooting.

This allows the D3S to capture and render light in ways that no other ordinary digital SLR camera has yet accomplished, resulting in an unrivaled signal-to-noise ratio and wide dynamic range for unrivaled image quality for both still images and movies throughout the camera’s expanded ISO sensitivity capabilities.

Controlling the image is possible.

Sharpness, saturation, and other factors may be tailored to fit your creative objectives with Picture Control to help you define the appearance and feel of your photographs in a variety of ways. Photographers may fine-tune and store new custom Picture Control profiles to meet their unique shooting styles or specific shooting settings.

The D3S comes with four pre-installed Picture Control profiles, which can be fine-tuned and saved as new custom Picture Control profiles. These profiles may be readily duplicated to other cameras if necessary..

Responsive From the beginning,

Throughout the entire shooting process, the D3S increases workflow speed and fluidity by using a single camera. The start-up time is around 0.12 seconds, and the release time lag is approximately 0.04 seconds, making it just as quick as the D3, but with a buffer memory that is twice as large as the D3’s.

Furthermore, the D3S’s autofocusing, picture processing, memory card access and recording, USB interface, and optional wireless transmitter all work together to keep professional photographers focused on their tasks.

Furthermore, for sports and news photographers, many of the D3S’s JPEG files are print-ready with little or no post-processing, giving them a further advantage when time is of the essence.

Live View Mode is easily accessible.

Using the dedicated Live View button, you can quickly switch between two Live View modes: Tripod mode for precise AF operation and Hand-held mode for a wider range of shooting angles. The Contrast-detect AF speed in Tripod mode has also been increased to make it more usable in everyday situations.

System for Advanced Scene Recognition (ASR)

Nikon’s exclusive 1,005-pixel RGB sensor accurately reads brightness and color information, increasing the overall accuracy of AF, AE, i-TTL flash control, and auto white balance. This is made possible by Nikon’s Scene Recognition System, which recognizes objects in the scene and adjusts the camera’s settings accordingly.

The D3S’s autofocus (AF) system provides excellent subject tracking and subject recognition capabilities. The use of highlight analysis for AE ensures that brightness is reproduced as accurately as possible, and light source detection ensures that auto white balance is very exact and dependable.

Auto-Focus using a 51-point system

Despite rapid and/or irregular subject movement, the D3S’s 51 AF points are carefully placed to offer quicker autofocus, even while shooting in low light. The remarkable performance of the 15 cross-type sensors in the center of the frame is maintained while using any AF NIKKOR lens with an aperture of f/5.6 or faster.

It is possible to choose from four different Dynamic-area AF modes, including 51 points (3D tracking), which precisely tracks your subject by altering focus points based on color and brightness information from the Scene Recognition System.

When the composition is critical, yet your subject’s movement is exceedingly irregular, this provides an additional benefit to the photographer. There are other AF modes for single-point and auto-area shooting.

Nikon’s 3D Color Matrix Metering II is a color-based metering system.

Known for its remarkable performance and accurate exposure results even in difficult lighting settings, Nikon’s proprietary 3D color matrix metering II is widely regarded in the photographic community. Using highlight analysis from the Scene Recognition System and then carefully picking from a database containing information from over 30,000 actual shooting conditions, the D3S takes correct exposure to a new level.

Among the additional features of the Nikon D3S are:

  • Image area of 1.2x crop (30 x 20) format with about 8.4 megapixels has been uploaded to the site.
    When the bracketing button is assigned to the function, it allows for many exposures to be performed in succession.
  • When filming with Live View, you may use the electronic virtual horizon that is accessible.
  • Menu banks with a maximum of four combinations of exposure mode, shutter speed, and aperture value are available in the extended menu.
  • In-camera lighting that is adaptable Images may be enhanced without the need of a computer utilizing Retouch Menus, which includes RAW processing.
  • Compatibility with HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) output is supported. It is necessary to use a Type C connection (mini size).
  • A GPS unit, such as the optional GP-1, automatically records position information such as latitude and longitude as well as altitude and time to each image’s EXIF data. The GP-1 may also be used to access the Time Adjustment function, which allows you to change the time zone of your camera. This feature is especially handy for group assignments that need the synchronization of many D3S cameras.
  • Nikon Software includes the Nikon Transfer and ViewNX software packages (supplied) for a variety of basic photo browsing and editing operations; Capture NX 2, Camera Control Pro 2, and Image Authentication Software (all optional) for more advanced operation and image editing; and Nikon Transfer and ViewNX software packages (supplied) for a variety of basic photo browsing and editing operations.

Nikon D3s Specs

Body typeLarge SLR
Max resolution4256 x 2832
Other resolutions3552 x 2832, 3552 x 2368, 3184 x 2128, 2784 x 1848, 2656 x 1776, 2128 x 1416, 2080 x 1384, 1776 x 1416, 1776 x 1184, 1392 x 920
Image ratio w:h5:4, 3:2
Effective pixels12 megapixels
Sensor photodetectors13 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (36 x 23.9 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ISO200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800 (100-102400 with boost)
Boosted ISO (minimum)100
Boosted ISO (maximum)102400
White balance presets12
Custom white balanceYes (4)
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW + TIFF
JPEG quality levelsFine, Normal, Basic
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaSelective single-pointSingleContinuousLive View
Digital zoomNo
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points51
Lens mountNikon F
Focal length multiplier
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3″
Screen dots921,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeLow-temperature polysilicon TFT color LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeOptical (pentaprism)
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.7×
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Aperture priorityYes
Shutter priorityYes
Manual exposure modeYes
Subject/scene modesNo
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (Hot-shoe plus Sync connector)
Flash modesFront curtain, Rear-curtain, Red-Eye, Slow Sync
Continuous drive11.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2 to 20 sec)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±3 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes (2 to 9 frames in either blue/amber or magenta/green axis))
Resolutions1280 x 720 (24 fps), 640 x 424 (24 fps), 320 x 216 (24 fps)
FormatMotion JPEG
Storage typesCompactFlash (Type I) x 2, UDMA supported
Storage includedNone
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Wireless notesOptional
Remote controlYes
Environmentally sealedYes (Water and dust resistant)
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion EN-EL4a rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)4200
Weight (inc. batteries)1240 g (2.73 lb / 43.74 oz)
Dimensions160 x 157 x 88 mm (6.3 x 6.18 x 3.46″)
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes
GPS notesGP-1

Nikon D3s Price

About Author


Freelance journalist Corey has been writing about digital photography since 2006, first as a deputy editor and then as the editor of a variety of photographic journals. Featuring expert product reviews and in-depth features

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