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  • Writer's pictureIan Miller

Nikon D3s can it compete with today's Pro cameras

If you are a professional photographer looking for a camera that can handle any lighting situation, you might be wondering: can the Nikon D3s still compete with today's professional cameras? The answer is a resounding yes! The Nikon D3s is a beast of a camera that offers exceptional image quality, fast performance, and amazing low-light capabilities. In this blog post, I will share with you some of the reasons why I love the Nikon D3s and why it is still one of my favourite cameras to use.

The Nikon D3s was released in 2009 as an update to the original D3, which was Nikon's first full-frame DSLR. The D3s kept the same 12-megapixel resolution as the D3, but improved on several aspects, such as adding video recording, sensor cleaning, and a new 1.2x crop mode. But the most impressive feature of the D3s was its incredible high ISO performance. The D3s could shoot at ISO settings up to 12,800 natively, and up to 102,400 in an expanded mode. That means you could shoot in near darkness and still get usable images. No other camera at the time could match that level of sensitivity.


The high ISO performance of the D3s is not just about numbers. It is also about image quality. The D3s produce images that are clean, detailed, and rich in colour and contrast, even at high ISO settings. The noise reduction algorithm of the D3s is very effective and does not smear fine details or introduce colour artefacts. The dynamic range of the D3s is also excellent, allowing you to capture both highlights and shadows without clipping or losing detail. The D3s also has a 14-bit analogue-to-digital converter and a 16-bit image processor, which ensure smooth tonal gradations and accurate colours.


Another reason why I love the Nikon D3s is its autofocus system. The D3s has a 51-point autofocus system that covers a large area of the frame and works very well in low light and with fast-moving subjects. The autofocus system is fast, accurate, and reliable, and rarely misses focus. You can choose from various autofocus modes and settings to suit different shooting scenarios, such as single-point AF, dynamic-area AF, 3D-tracking AF, auto-area AF, and more. The D3s also has a dedicated AF-ON button that allows you to activate autofocus separately from the shutter release button, which gives you more control over when and where to focus.


The Nikon D3s is also a very fast camera. It can shoot at up to 9 frames per second in full-frame mode, and up to 11 frames per second in DX mode (with some limitations). The buffer of the D3s can hold up to 48 RAW images or 130 JPEG images before slowing down, which means you can capture long bursts of action without missing a shot. The shutter of the D3s is also very durable and tested to 300,000 cycles. (although mine has gone way past 500,000) The D3s also have dual CF card slots that allow you to write images to both cards simultaneously or separately, or use one card as a backup.


The Nikon D3s is not just a camera for low-light and action photography. It is also a very versatile camera that can handle any type of photography, from landscapes to portraits to macro to video. The D3s has a large 3-inch LCD screen with 921k dots of resolution that offers a clear and bright view of your images and settings. The D3s also has a live view mode that allows you to compose your shots on the LCD screen and use contrast-detect autofocus or manual focus with magnification. The D3s also has a video mode that can record HD videos at 720p resolution and 24 frames per second, with manual exposure control and audio input.


The Nikon D3s is also a very well-built camera that can withstand harsh conditions and rough handling. The body of the D3s is made of magnesium alloy and sealed against dust and moisture. The grip of the D3s is comfortable and ergonomic, and the buttons and dials are well-placed and easy to access. The menu system of the D3s is intuitive and customizable, and you can assign various functions to different buttons according to your preference. The battery life of the D3s is also superb, allowing you to shoot up to 4,200 shots per charge.


As you can see, the Nikon D3s is a camera that has it all: image quality, performance, versatility, durability, and usability. It is a camera that can handle any challenge and deliver stunning results every time. It is a camera that I trust and enjoy using for my professional work and personal projects. It is a camera that still competes with today's professional cameras in many ways.


If you are looking for a camera that can do it all, you should definitely consider the Nikon D3s. It might be an older model, but it is still a great camera that will not disappoint you.

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