back to article Nikon D3s

Since the launch of the D3, Nikon has released a studio version, the D3x with its unsurpassed full frame resolution of 24Mp, and now comes the D3s intended for the photojournalist, sports and wildlife photographer. Nikon D3s Full-frame feast: Nikon's D3s Like the original D3, the D3s features a 12.1Mp, 36 x 23.9 mm FX- …


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  1. S 10

    Screw video

    I don't understand the wingeing about the video resolution. Who the hell uses a pro DSLR for video anyway? It's like moaning about boot space in a sports car. If you're serious about results, you will of course use the right tool for the job. Nikon should have resisted adding these consumer level features to their pro line - who cares what Canon do.

    1. Ian Michael Gumby
      Thumb Up

      Some pros do use video

      I have a friend who is a cinematographer who like me swears by Nikon.

      He explained his need for video, but it wasn't necessary to do 1080.

      Nikon is right in focusing on developing the body for a specific niche and make it the best that it can be.

      Note that this is a *pro* camera and that it is designed for sports/nature niche. I mean if I could afford one I'd rather have a camera that had these features plus 24mb resolution. (How many years will that take?)

      Oh and I swear by Nikon because I grew up using Nikon. Anyone see a Nikon F (yes the original F) take a 3.5" fall on to the ground and survive with only a minor dent in the head? Still usable, although it sits on a shelf in my brother's house because no one uses film these days.

      Oh and I want one, except my wife keeps spending me in to the poor house. ;-)

  2. Scott Mckenzie
    Thumb Up

    Agreed on the video...

    ...but i'd like to add some praise for the quality of the photos, no doubt expected from a pro but they were excellent. It's nice to have someone who clearly knows what they're on about reviewing things on here also!

    The Morris Minor shot was stunning!

  3. Dick Emery

    I came!

    I saw. I wanted.

    Those ISO noise levels are pretty impressive. But at that price they should be. The good thing is these will filter down to consumer cameras eventually.

    BTW the white balance looks off on those night shots.

  4. John 62


    I think the 1Ds MkIII is the closest full-frame rival. The 1D MkIV is 1.6 crop, but I assume the 1Ds IV when it arrives will be full-frame. Sony has one, too, but I don't think I've seen a review of it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: rivals

      The 1D mkIV is a 1.3 crop, not 1.6, as with all previous 1D models

      Stop whinging about video. If you don't use it, then ignore it. Believe it or not, there are professional video companies using DSLRs to produce their videos now as they offer the cheapest way to get shallow depth of field images. For pro HD video cameras, you would need to pay upwards of £15k to get the level of quality you can get from £2-3k spent on a DSLR and a couple of good lenses.

      Good review though, loved the shot of the baby. Glad you've finally got a pro to do your DSLR reviews! Would like to see the same level of quality applied to your Canon and other DSLR reviews too.

  5. robert cooke

    still happy with my D90

    nearly a year later and I still can't fault it. Love the analogy of sports car boot space and video. Nobody that uses the camera properly or professionally will never care about video, it truly is a motorbike ashtray type of feature.

  6. Dazed and Confused


    Those 12800 ASA photos looked amazing.

    I love my D300 but those were in a different league.

  7. Stu

    Call me a perfectionist...

    ...but I have to say I was somewhat disappointed by the noise levels in those night time shots.

    I've never used a pro level DSLR, I have a D90, and sure enough if I ramp it up to ISO 6400 and take a night time shot with areas of black, it would look REALLY noisy.

    But for aroundabouts 6 to 8 times the price of my D90 for this, I expected more, even at double ISO 6400. Also combined with the high quality optics in a lens that you simply MUST buy with a pro camera like this (add at least £1000), the value element goes out the window.

    The sharpness looked a litte out too - I like to validate shots at 1:1 pixel ratio and get right down to the pixel data. Look at the front section of the stationary Morris Minor, for instance. I dump all shots on my D90 that aren't perfectly sharp. And I can get sharp(er than those) even with my relatively cheap lenses.

    I'm presuming a tripod was used for the morris minor shot as it looks like a 10+ second exposure?

    Sure you still get the 10fps shooting rate and hundreds of shots in burst mode, plus all the other advantages over my D90. I suppose it really is very similar to going out and buying a ferrari, indeed.

  8. Anonymous Coward


    excuse me for making a suggestion but...

    whilst the protogs are not likely to use the vid, they really should welcome the additional sales that the vid feature will encourage, I have a 'videographer' friend who has just invested in a 7d specifically for its video capabilities, why? because these cameras can do tricks that the video cameras can't. Anyone who saw the John Lewis program the other night wil have seen tilt shift video scenes filmed from an slr, these features are welcomed and are being used in mainstream tv already!

  9. danieluk


    Nice review. Just a minor glitch: The lens pictured where it says "The bright Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens..." is actually the AF-S 28-70 f/2.8G ED, not the 24-70.

    1. Steve Evans


      That 28-70 lens is not a G series, it's a D... It's got an aperture ring... Oh, and the label says f/2.8D :-)

      Plus the "new" instant focus override is a standard feature of all AF-S lenses.

  10. Hayden Clark Silver badge

    Ludicrous ISO modes...

    .. here seem to be useful. The ISO test shots show that the colour errors, instead of being random violently coloured splodges over the image, are a rather pleasing mosaic of colour - rather like very old-fashoned colour film. I can see some people shooting at 102400 ISO just to get that effect.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    stop it, you bastards

    I only just bought a D90. Low light performance is like monkey crack to me. I could afford the D3s when I get paid on Monday.. GAH NO.

    Just stop it, ok? Fuckers! (exit, whimpering)

  12. Marvin the Martian
    Paris Hilton

    So the news is...

    So there's apparently only 30.000 essentially different pictures that exist in this world?

    1. Liam Johnson


      There are only 30.000 different photos before you get out of automatic exposure and into manual mode...

  13. JB

    Pro DSLR

    The high-ISO sample shots might not have been all that impressive technically (it's hard to get correct white balance under street lighting), but when you consider you can do nightime shots like this hand-held, that is impressive.

    I would love to play with one of these professional-level cameras, but even if i had the money, i don't think I'd bother buying one - it's overkill. DSLRs are a pain, I find I take loads more pics when I take my old Canon A620 with hacked firmware, and I suppose actually pushing the shutter button and taking the pics is the most important thing, whatever camera you have.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      "Pushing the shutter button and taking the pics" is not the important thing. If it were, the mass upload of out of focus pub shots, depicting the pores in some tedious drunk's nose would be thrilling.

      Taking good or interesting pictures is more important, and often requires slightly more than just "pushing the shutter button and taking the pics". Either that, or maybe Henri C-B, Robert Mapplethorpe, William Egglestone, Jane Bown and co are just making a lot of fuss about nothing.

      You may find the following thrilling info-graphic fact felch instructive:

  14. Giles Jones Gold badge

    About time

    It's about time Nikon sorted out low light performance, it has been a weakness of theirs for ages (mainly due to them using Sony sensors in many previous models).

    At least those shooting concerts (no flash allowed) now have a choice of Canon or Nikon.

  15. A 20

    A couple of things...

    Nicely done on the whole!

    First, page 6 with the ISO Tests sequence - the ISO200 shot looks to be slightly shaken. Even if you use a remote, a solid tripod and MLU this happens from time to time. If you can't re-shoot, just note it on the article.

    Second, I feel it would be useful to note what conditions you took some of the shots under. Were they handheld or tripod?

    The resolution doesn't seem particularly high (compared to my 5D2 at any rate); might be worth doing a DPReview style resolution test, and/or let us know which lenses you were using for each shot.

    Interestingly, since the arrival of my 5D2 I find I do a lot more of my landscape work on a tripod using magnified live-view to focus. How well does the live view handle that? How well does live view work in a dark environment, i.e. night shots by starlight? For that matter how does it hold up for long exposures (1 min+).

    Those of you of a camera geek disposition might also find the EXIF plug-in (FxIF) for Firefox useful:

  16. Steve Evans


    I'm in lust!

    HD Video? Pah, it's a DSLR, not a video cam-corder!

    Next you'll be complaining it's not comfortable to hold against your eye for 30 minutes and why can't it have a forward eyepiece halfway down the lens and sit over your shoulder like a real pro video camera!

    The video mode is a nice to have, not its reason d'etre, and 720p is perfectly good. Only a few years ago we were all happy watching 625 interlaced in the UK (512 in the states I believe) until someone convinced us all that we were watching pixels the size of tennis balls. Even now I'm sure that many of us are still "only" watching 720p. Hell I've still got several CRTs and they still don't make my eyes bleed despite all the hype.

    I moved from a D80 to a D300 for better low light gig shooting, but this beasty is in another league! Just look at the pictures that baby takes, at that ISO, wow.... Droooooool...

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