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  • Writer's pictureIan Miller

Nikon D3 and D3S.

The Nikon D3 and D3S are both professional DSLR cameras that offer high performance and image quality. The D3 was released in 2007 and the D3S in 2009, as an update to the D3 with some improvements and new features. Both cameras have a full-frame 12.1-megapixel sensor, a 3-inch LCD screen, a 51-point autofocus system, and a weather-sealed magnesium alloy body. However, there are some differences between them that might affect your decision on which one to buy.

One of the main differences is the ISO range and low-light performance. The D3 has a native ISO range of 200-6400, with an option to expand it to 100-25600. The D3S has a native ISO range of 200-12800, with an option to expand it to 100-102400. This means that the D3S can shoot at much higher ISOs without losing too much image quality or introducing too much noise. The D3S also has a new image sensor cleaning technology that reduces dust on the sensor.


Another difference is the video capability. The D3 does not have any video mode, while the D3S can record 720p HD video at 24 frames per second. The D3S also has a reduced rolling shutter effect, which means that fast-moving objects or camera movements do not cause distortion or wobbling in the video. The D3S also has a new 1.2x crop mode that gives you a telephoto effect and allows you to shoot at 8.4 megapixels.

The third difference is the buffer size and continuous shooting speed. The D3 can shoot up to 9 frames per second in full resolution, or up to 11 frames per second in DX crop mode. The buffer can hold up to 18 RAW images or up to 64 JPEG images. The D3S can shoot up to 9 frames per second in full resolution, or up to 11 frames per second in DX crop mode or 10 frames per second in 1.2x crop mode. The buffer can hold up to 48 RAW images or up to 130 JPEG images. This means that the D3S can capture more shots in a burst without slowing down or stopping.

The last difference is the price and availability. The D3 was launched at $4300, while the D3S was launched at $5200. However, since both cameras are discontinued, you might find them for lower prices on the second-hand market. The D3S is still more expensive than the D3, but it might be worth it if you need the extra features and performance.


In conclusion, both the Nikon D3 and D3S are excellent cameras for professional photographers who need speed, durability, and image quality. The D3S has some advantages over the D3, such as a higher ISO range, video mode, sensor cleaning, larger buffer, and lighter weight. However, the D3 is still a great camera that can deliver stunning results.


I own and use both the D3 and D3S and will continue to use them until they drop. They are still both going strong, touch wood, at the moment.

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