Nikon D3S – New Low Light King

2009 PhotoPlus Featured News Nikon Uncategorized

Conclusion & Nikon D3S Availability
Based on the few sample images posted and the ISO range, the Nikon D3s is a very exciting camera. Like the D3 that came before, it looks like it will be a serious game changer when it comes to low light shooting and smooth, low-noise image quality. The D-Movie mode is a nice addition to Nikon’s pro FX-format camera line. However, the video specs aren’t nearly as compelling as the image quality. If the ISO 6400 sample on the Nikon site is truly representative, then the D3s will be a force to be reckoned with in low light – especially for low light action photos. Sports photographers, photojournalists and concert photographers – get your pre-orders in now!

The Canon rumor mill has been pretty active for the past few days. We’re due for an updated version of the Canon EOS-1D Mark III, their high-speed sports and photojournalist camera body. It will be interesting to see if Canon announces a new 1D and if they do, how it measures up against the D3s.

The Nikon D3S is supposed to be available at the end of November. The expected retail price for the D3S is $5,199.95 US. Along with the D3s, Nikon is introducing a new telephoto macro lens, the AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED VR. The new lens will be available in December and will sell for about $530 US.

Nikon D3S Press Release >>

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Nikon Web Site

Nikon D3S digital SLR - Front
Nikon D3S digital SLR - Back
Nikon D3S - right front
Nikon D3S - left front

About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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  • Jon says:

    That 6400 shot is awesome. I see about the same noise in my 3200 shots (D700). I would love to play with some video, but I wonder what the max record time is ….5 minutes?

  • Photo-John says:

    I can’t remeber any numbers off the top of my head and I couldn’t find a limit listed in the D3S specs. But other VSLR video clip limits are in the neightborhood of 5 minutes. That may seem short. But unless you’ve got your camera set up on a tripod to shoot a dance recital, it’s not really a big problem. Most video clips end up being a lot shorter than you’d expect. I haven’t shot a ton of video. But in all the box opening and other videos I have done, I’ve yet to hit the clip time limit with a digital SLR.

  • feraudyh says:

    Yyou should be using the logarithm of the iso when comparing sensitivity with human sensitivity, I have thereforer have doubts that 100K iso corresponds to a pitch black room.
    This sounds overly enthusiastic to me.

  • Photo-John says:

    Enthusiastic hyperbole, definitely. I am curious to find out what the actual low light measures it can capture in will be. It’s three times the previous limit of 12,800, though. And I know people were already describing that ISO setting as able to take pictures in a dark room. But yeah, if we have to be scientific about it, it may not work in a pitch black room. But maybe it will…

    Thanks for your comment :-)

  • fas says:

    This camera is awesome. It looks weird thought and costs alot too.

  • Photo-John says:

    For a pro-level digital SLR the price is high, but not out of line. As for looks, well, it pretty much looks like a profession DSLR.

  • Hubert says:

    I was looking for more pixels too.. but I enjoy the low noise tremendously .. One feature I would welcome from nikon is the ablility to turn off the shutter .. The clicking drives me crazy.. In theater situations/Opera

  • Photo-John says:

    But Hubert, if you turn off the shutter, you have no shutter. The D3S does have a new quiet mode. Not sure how quiet. But I think they’re addressing your needs :-)

  • When is the D700 has taken VDO once.
    Like D700x or D700s or D700 Upgraded Firmware ?

  • Photo-John says:

    There are lots of rumors about an upgraded Nikon D700. I don’t know anything about it. But I’m curious to see what kind of specs they’ll give it to position it so it’s a real upgrade but one that doesn’t compete with the D3S. We’ll have to wait and see, though. That introduction will probably happen in March of 2010.

  • Mattbikeboy says:

    Oh, I want one. Gimme, gimme, gimme! ;) I love the D700 and have been waiting for the new D3 for a while now. I would have liked the same ISO range with a 15 megapixel sensor though. Granted, most of my work is re-sampled down to 6 mega-pixel for printing anyway.

  • Marvin Rivera says:

    I use the Nikon D2X. Only issue I ever had was the ISO noise. I have compared the D3 images and I was impressed with the low noise. I did a few tests at 3200 ISO on the D3 and I was partially impressed. I would say it was about 2.5 stops better than the D2X in the noise department…. for example the noise I see at ISO 400 on the D2X equals what I saw on the D3 right below the ISO3200 mark. Now when I saw the Images from the D3S… quality and noise wise… I said to my self “I am sold on this one! I think I will upgrade to the D3S. I am impressed.


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