Nikon D3S

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Nikon D3S
Nikon D3S img 3543.jpg
TypeDigital single-lens reflex camera
LensInterchangeable, Nikon F-mount
Sensor36.0 mm × 23.9 mm CMOS, Nikon FX format|DX format
Image sensor makerNikon[1]
Maximum resolution12.1 effective megapixels (4,256 × 2,832 pixels)
ASA/ISO rangeISO equivalency 200 to 12800 in 1/3, 1/2 or 1.0 EV steps, Boost: 100–102400 in 1/3, 1/2 or 1.0 EV steps
StorageTwo CompactFlash (Type I) card slots
Focus modesSingle-servo AF (S), Continuous-servo AF (C), Manual
Focus areas51-area Nikon Multi-CAM 3500FX
Focus bracketingnone
Exposure modesProgrammed Auto [P], Shutter-Priority Auto [S], Aperture-Priority Auto [A], Manual [M]
Exposure meteringTTL full aperture exposure metering system
Metering modes1,005-pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Metering II, Variable Center-Weighted, Spot AF
Flash bracketing2-9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV
ShutterElectronically controlled vertical-travel focal-plane shutter
Shutter speed range30 to 1/8000 second and bulb
Continuous shooting9 frame/s (11 frame/s in DX crop mode)
ViewfinderOptical-type fixed eye level pentaprism
Image processing
Custom WBAuto, Presets (5), Manual, and Color temperature in kelvins
WB bracketing2 to 9 frames, 10,20,30 MIRED steps
Rear LCD monitor3-inch diagonal, 307,000 pixels (920,000 dots), TFT VGA
BatteryLi-ion EN-EL4a
Optional battery packsEH-6 AC Adapter
Weight1,240 g (2.73 lb)
Made inJapan

The Nikon D3S is a 12.1-megapixel professional-grade full frame (35mm) digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR) announced by Nikon Corporation on 14 October 2009.[2] The D3S is the fourth camera in Nikon's line to feature a full-frame sensor, following the D3, D700 and D3X. It is also Nikon's first full-frame camera to feature HD (720p/30) video recording. While it retains the same number of pixels as its predecessor, the imaging sensor has been completely redesigned.[2] Nikon claims improved ultra-high image sensor sensitivity with up to ISO 102400,[3] HD movie capability for extremely low-lit situations,[4][5] image sensor cleaning, optimized workflow speed, improved autofocus and metering, enhanced built-in RAW processor, quiet shutter-release mode, up to 4,200 frames per battery charge and other changes compared with the D3.[2] It was replaced by the D4 as Nikon's high speed flagship DSLR.


  • Full- (36 mm × 24 mm) 12.1 megapixel sensor with ISO 200–12800 (ISO 100–102400 Boost) using reworked gapless microlenses
  • 14-bit A/D conversion, 12 channel readout
  • Image sensor cleaning (dust removal with 4 frequencies)
  • Nine to eleven frames per second in continuous and FX/DX mode
  • Quiet shutter-release mode
  • Faster operation workflow
  • Automatic correction of lateral chromatic aberration for JPEGs. Correction-data is additionally stored in RAW-files and used by Nikon Capture NX, View NX and some other RAW tools.
  • Larger buffer for 48 RAW frames in one burst
  • Enhanced built-in RAW processing with extended Retouch menu for image processing without using a computer
  • 720p/24 frames HD movie mode for extremely low-lit situations,[4][5] 50/60 Hz flicker reduction, HDMI HD video output and stereo input (3.5-mm diameter) with optional manual sound level control. The Motion JPEG compression allows easy extraction of single frames afterwards as JPEG
  • Supports DX lenses (5.1 megapixels), viewfinder automatically masks. Newly added 1.2x crop factor
  • Multi-CAM3500FX Auto-focus sensor (51-point, 15 cross-type, more vertical coverage) with improved acquisition and tracking and Auto-focus calibration for up to 20 separate lens settings
  • 1005-pixel AE sensor enables Auto-focus tracking by color, highlight analysis and Scene Recognition System
  • Kevlar/carbon fibre composite shutter with a rating of 300,000 actuations
  • Live View with either phase detect or improved contrast detect Auto Focus
  • Virtual horizon indicates in Live View mode, also available during video capture
  • "Active D-Lighting" with six settings and bracketing (adjusts metering and D-Lighting curve)
  • Dual Compact Flash UDMA card slots (mirror, overflow, back-up, RAW on 1/JPEG on 2, Stills on 1/Movies on 2, copy)
  • Expeed 2 image processor with power management for up to 4,200 frames per battery charge
  • Dual battery charger as standard
  • Fully weather sealing with series of O-rings and other specialized seals available
  • GPS interface for direct geotagging, supported by Nikon GP-1


Many independent reviews[6][7] and comparisons[8][9][10] show that image noise was improved up to 2 stops compared to the Nikon D3 or D700. Other functions, especially autofocus and speed, support this, causing PhotographyBlog to conclude: “hand-held photography anytime, anywhere, without flash”. There are comparisons with the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV,[11] which is rated 1.3 stops lower by DxOMark on their low-light ISO score (1320 ISO vs. 3253 ISO for the D3s).[12]

Low-noise videos[4][5][13] are valuated useful. While not officially documented in user's manual, D3s indeed features the full manual control in D-Movie mode, including aperture, shutter speed and ISO. This feature was reported and posted by various users and eventually confirmed officially.[14]

On 21 December 2009, Nikon announced [15] that NASA had purchased 11 D3s bodies and assorted lenses for use in the United States space program, including on the International Space Station. The D3s cameras are identical to the model sold to terrestrial users and will be used unmodified.

In April 2010, the D3S received a Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) 2010 Award in the category of "Best Digital SLR Professional".[16] In August 2010, the European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) presented the D3S with the European Professional Camera 2010-2011 award, citing high ISO sensitivity combined with low noise and a high level of detail.[17][18]


  1. ^ Full Frame DSLR Cameras Part I - Nikon vs Sony Chipworks
  2. ^ a b c "Digital SLR Camera Nikon D3S". Nikon Corporation. October 14, 2009. Retrieved December 16, 2009.
  3. ^ "Nikon D3S Sample Images". Nikon Corporation. Archived from the original on 2010-11-04. Retrieved December 16, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c Melanson, Donald (October 14, 2009). "Nikon D3S shows its high ISO prowess in two sample videos". Engadget. Retrieved October 16, 2009.
  5. ^ a b c "NIKON D3S TEST". October 13, 2009. Retrieved December 16, 2009.
  6. ^ "Nikon D3S – Digital Camera Reviews". Digital Camera Tracker. Retrieved January 7, 2010.
  7. ^ "Nikon D3S review summary". Dcviews. Retrieved January 7, 2010.
  8. ^ A first look at Nikon D3S high ISO image quality, plus the new 70-200mm f/2.8 Rob Galbraith digital photography
  9. ^ Review: Nikon D3S & 70-200VR II Webshooter: Joe McNally
  10. ^ Nikon D3s Image quality comparison (German)
  11. ^ Canon 1D Mark IV vs. Nikon D3s ISO Comparison Eric Reagan on Photography Bay
  12. ^ Canon EOS 1D Mark IV vs Nikon D3s Dxomark
  13. ^ Atherton, Nigel (October 14, 2009). "Video: Nikon D3s First Look". What Digital Camera. Retrieved December 16, 2009.
  14. ^ Rob (Dec 8, 2009). "Nikon officially confirmed D3s with manual settings for video". Retrieved Jan 1, 2010.
  15. ^ "NASA Orders D3S Digital SLR Cameras and Interchangeable Lenses from Nikon". Nikon. Dec 21, 2009. Retrieved Oct 31, 2010.
  16. ^ "Nikon receives 2 TIPA Awards 2010". Nikon Corporation. 2010-04-27. Retrieved 2010-05-01.
  17. ^ "European Professional Camera 2010-2011 - Nikon D3S". European Imaging and Sound Association. Archived from the original on 2010-08-18. Retrieved August 16, 2010.
  18. ^ "Nikon D3S Digital SLR camera and AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II interchangeable lens for SLR cameras receive EISA awards". Nikon Corporation. August 16, 2010. Retrieved August 16, 2010.

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