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  • Writer's pictureIan Miller

The Nikon D3 and D3s

The Nikon D3 and D3s are very similar cameras but what are the significant differences?


If you are a professional photographer who needs a high-performance camera that can handle any lighting situation, you might be interested in comparing the Nikon D3 and D3s. These two cameras are both flagship models of Nikon's full-frame DSLR line, but they have some essential differences that could affect your decision. In this blog post, we will look at the main features and specifications of the Nikon D3 and D3s, and highlight their advantages and disadvantages.

The Nikon D3 was introduced in 2008 as the first full-frame DSLR from Nikon, and it quickly became a popular choice among sports, wildlife and news photographers. The D3 has a 12.1-megapixel sensor that can shoot up to 9 frames per second (fps) in continuous mode and has a native ISO range of 200-6400, expandable to 25600. The D3 also has a 51-point autofocus system, a 3-inch LCD screen, dual CF card slots, and a magnesium alloy body that is weather-sealed and durable.

The Nikon D3s was announced in 2010 as an update to the D3, with some significant improvements in sensor technology and video capabilities. The D3s has the same 12.1-megapixel sensor as the D3, but it can shoot up to 11 fps in continuous mode and has a native ISO range of 200-12800, expandable to an incredible 102400. The D3s also has an image sensor cleaning feature that reduces dust on the sensor, a new 1.2x crop mode that gives a telephoto effect, and a 720p video mode that reduces the rolling shutter effect. The D3s has the same autofocus system, LCD screen, card slots, and body as the D3.

So, which camera should you choose? The answer depends on your needs and preferences, but here are some general guidelines:

- If you need the best low-light performance possible, the D3s is the clear winner. The D3s have a 1.5 to 2-stop advantage over the D3 in terms of noise reduction and dynamic range at high ISOs, which means you can capture more details and colours in dark environments.

- If you need to shoot fast action or sports, the D3s is also better than the D3. The D3s has a faster burst rate, a larger buffer, and a quieter shutter-release mode than the D3, which means you can capture more shots without missing any decisive moments.

- If you need to shoot video, the D3s is again superior to the D3. The D3s can record HD video at 24 fps with reduced rolling shutter effect, while the D3 cannot record video at all. The D3s also has an external microphone jack and an HDMI output for better audio and video quality.

- If you need to shoot landscapes or portraits, the D3 and D3s are both excellent choices. The D3 and D3s have the exact same resolution and image quality at low ISOs, which means you can produce large prints with fine details and colours. The D3 and D3s also have a full-frame sensor that gives a wide angle of view and a shallow depth of field for creative effects.

In conclusion, the Nikon D3 and D3s are both outstanding cameras that can handle any professional assignment. However, if you want to get the most out of your camera in terms of low-light performance, speed, and video capabilities, the Nikon D3s is worth the extra $200 over the Nikon D3.

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