Nikon D3S 12.1 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3-Inch LCD and 24fps 720p HD Video Capability (Body Only)
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- 12.1 megapixel FX(full frame) CMOS sensor
- ISO 200 - 12800 extendable up to 102,400 (equivalent)
- 9 fps consecutive shooting (11fps in DX crop mode)
- D-movie records high definition (HD) movie clips in stereo sound
- EXPEED image processing engine
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Nikon D3S Feature Highlights
ISO performance: ISO 12800 as standard, expandable to ISO equivalent of 102400 (Hi 3)
Professional photographers can now rely on ISO 200 to ISO 12800 as the professional standard of image quality for their assignments — an incredible advantage when shooting indoor sports, stadium events at night or any other shooting situations where light is limited and Speedlights are not practical. Shooting at ISOs as high as 12,800, the D3S can take commercial-quality, pin-sharp images in low light at action-freezing shutter speeds — a capability that will open a new world of photographic opportunities. When needed, the D3S expands to the amazing ISO equivalent of 102,400, still revealing colours and details even in extremely low-lit places where human eyes may find it difficult to discern objects. This exceptional low-noise performance also applies to D-Movie capture, which creates new potential for multimedia projects and assignments.
Large pixel pitch: the 12.1-megapixel FX-format advantage
The D3S’s image sensor has been completely redesigned from the D3; the inner structure has been further optimised, with the pixel count and large pixel pitch maintained for even greater latitude in high ISO performance. As a result, the D3S captures and renders light in ways that no other ordinary digital SLR cameras has yet achieved, with a significantly higher signal-to-noise ratio and a wide dynamic range for unmatched image quality for both still images and movies throughout the broadened ISO sensitivity capabilities.
9-frames-per-second* shooting rate in FX-format, 11 fps* in DX crop
The D3S’s continuous shooting rates are impressive, and the D3S’s powerful stepping motor allows for a more steady delivery of fast continuous shooting speeds at a wider range of aperture settings than lesser cameras can claim. Professionals will now have greater control and fewer limitations when making the images they desire. With the DX crop, photographers can also add a 1.5x picture angle and a faster frame rate to their arsenal. Furthermore, the factory-installed buffer memory is twice the capacity of the D3, dramatically increasing the power of continuous shooting.
New and improved D-Movie function
From well-lit scenes to extremely low-lit situations, the D3S’s D-Movie mode delivers unique versatility. The newly refined D-Movie offers HD quality (1,280 x 720 pixels) Motion-JPEG movies at 24 fps. By controlling the aperture from the widest f-stop to the smallest, the large FX-format sensor renders low-noise images with beautiful bokeh effects from a large selection of NIKKOR lenses. High-Sensitivity Movie mode allows users to shoot at up to ISO equivalent of 102,400 in places too dark to see clearly with their own eyes. D-Movie footage is easy to trim in-camera by simply selecting the starting and ending point. An extra bonus for sports and news photographers is the ability to save selected movie frames as JPEGs for immediate print and web publishing needs. The D3S has both an internal mono-aural microphone and an external stereo microphone input, enabling higher fidelity audio recording.
Image sensor cleaning: assured protection
Another significant improvement from the D3 is the employment of the Image Sensor Cleaning function, which generates vibrations at four specific frequencies to optimise dust removal. This function can be set to operate automatically when the camera is turned on and off, or manually.
51-point AF: fast and accurate subject acquisition
The D3S’s strategically positioned 51 AF points deliver faster focus, even with quick and/or erratic subject movement. The 15 cross-type sensors in the centre of the frame maintain the same outstanding performance with any AF NIKKOR lens f/5.6 or faster. There are four Dynamic-area AF options, including 51 points (3D-tracking), which accurately follows your subject by shifting focus points using colour and brightness information from the Scene Recognition System. This gives users an extra advantage when composition is important but your subject’s movement is extremely erratic. Single-point and Auto-area AF modes are also available.
* Based on CIPA Guidelines.
Active D-Lighting: rescuing tone in highlights and shadows
Nikon’s Active D-Lighting automatically regulates the dynamic range of high-contrast scenes, pulling out shadow details and preserving highlights while maintaining proper contrast. The D3S allows photographers to choose from six Active D-Lighting settings, including the newly added Auto and Extra High, as well as High, Normal, Low and Off. You can also bracket Active D-Lighting strength levels up to five frames and select the best rendition afterwards.
EXPEED: Nikon’s comprehensive approach to quality digital images
Nikon’s fast, comprehensive, and energy-efficient approach to in-camera image processing maintains the rich initial data’s integrity through 14-bit A/D conversion and 16-bit image-processing, which demonstrates the enormous creative potential of NEF (Nikon Electronic Image Format). Combined with Nikon’s FX-format sensor, the D3S produces an exceptional tonal range and minimized tone jumps. Users can expect more accuracy with difficult colour combinations such as skin tones and strong reds in the same frame without over-saturation and finer tonal gradation in highlights, even with extremely bright subject matter.
Lateral chromatic aberration reduction: edge-to-edge sharpness
The D3S corrects colour fringes caused by chromatic aberrations that, in some instances, can appear at the edges of differing subject elements. Lateral chromatic aberrations are corrected regardless of lens type — whether telephoto, wide-angle, non-CPU and other types of NIKKOR lenses.
27x enlargement via 3-inch hi-res screen
3-in., approx. 921k-dot color, 170º viewing angle LCD monitor
The D3S’s large, high-resolution LCD monitor delivers bright, crisp image playback with up to 27x enlargement for immediate and precise image confirmation. Each LCD is covered with scratch resistant tempered glass and individually calibrated and fine-tuned at the factory to deliver consistent performance.
Picture Control: custom-tailored tone and colour
Picture Control helps you define the look and feel of your images by custom-tailoring sharpness, saturation and other parameters to match your creative intentions. The D3S comes with four pre-installed Picture Control profiles, which can be fine-tuned and saved as new custom Picture Control profiles that match your personal shooting style or particular shooting conditions. These profiles can easily be copied to additional cameras.
Speed and readiness throughout the workflow
The D3S optimises workflow speed and fluidity throughout the entire shooting process. Start-up time is approx. 0.12 seconds* and release time lag is minimised to approx. 0.04 seconds*, exactly as fast as the D3, but the D3S’s increased buffer memory is twice as large as that of the D3’s. In addition, the D3S’s autofocusing, image processing, memory card access and recording, USB interface and optional wireless transmitter all work together to keep professional photographers focused. And for sport and news photographers, many of the D3S’s JPEG files are print-ready with little or no post-production: an extra edge when time is short.
* Based on CIPA Guidelines.
Scene Recognition System: enlightened accuracy and intelligence
Nikon’s exclusive 1,005-pixel RGB sensor precisely reads brightness and colour information to raise the overall accuracy of AF, AE, i-TTL flash control and auto white balance to new heights, thanks to the Scene Recognition System. The D3S’s AF delivers superb subject tracking and subject identification performance. Highlight analysis used for AE reproduces brightness faithful to the eye, and light source identification makes auto white balance uniquely precise and reliable.
Sophisticated AE with highlight analysis
Nikon’s exclusive 3D colour matrix metering II is highly praised for its outstanding performance and faithful exposure results — even in complex, unforgiving lighting conditions. The D3S takes accurate exposure further, using highlight analysis from the Scene Recognition System and then carefully selecting from a database containing information from over 30,000 actual shooting situations.
Informed auto white balance
Leading professionals often note that Nikon’s auto white balance exhibits remarkable results, even in challenging conditions with mixed light sources. With the D3S, auto white balance makes even further progress. Professionals can expect white as truly white in a wider variety of settings.
Approx. 100% frame coverage
The D3S’s large prism gives you the FX-format visual advantage when you shoot. The viewfinder image is not only larger and brighter, but the focusing screen is also carefully designed to help you to more intuitively sense sharp focus, be it manual or autofocus.
alloy body, O-rings and specialised seals
for maximum durability and protection
For the reliability professionals demand, the shutter of the D3S has been tested for up to 300,000 cycles in fully assembled cameras under rigorous conditions. The ruggedly constructed D3S employs a strong yet lightweight magnesium alloy for its body, exterior cover, chassis and mirror box. Furthermore, a comprehensive series of O-rings and other specialised seals, combined with additional Nikon engineering, protect the D3S against invasive moisture, dust and even electromagnetic interference.
Twin CF card slots
The D3S lets you designate each card slot for certain tasks: record two full CF cards of data sequentially for a large amount of storage, record the same data onto two cards (backup), record RAW and JPEG simultaneously onto separate cards, and transfer data from one card to another. You can also designate the slot for data-heavy D-Movie recording.
The D3S uses the EN-EL4a rechargeable batteries. Power consumption and power management systems have been engineered for greater operating efficiency, so you can expect long battery life, shooting up to 4,200 images* per charge.
Easy-to-access Live View mode
The dedicated Live View button gives you instant access to two Live View modes: Tripod mode for accurate AF operation and Hand-held mode for more versatile shooting angles. The speed for Contrast-detect AF in Tripod mode has also been improved for enhanced practicality.
Quiet Shutter-release mode for non-intrusive shooting
Photographers can select “Q” on the release mode dial to substantially reduce the sound of the camera’s mirror-down during shooting. This is particularly useful when shooting in restrictive conditions such as when photographing theatrical performances or wildlife.
Additional Nikon D3S Features
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Top Customer Reviews
Bomb-proof. The D3S surely is a beast of a camera, full magnesium-alloy body, covered battery compartment release, and weather sealing on all compartment doors, buttons, slides and more. Robust would be a good word to use. It feels solid in the hand and one improvement I like over its cousins the D3 and D3X is that the battery compartment door has a larger knob, and the focus-type selector is much bigger (perfect for gloved hands, and people with chubby fingers.
Stunning. Low ISOs are clean, and high ISOs are clean. Noise only starts to become a noticeable detriment to quality at around ISO 10,000 and above. ISO 104,000 is not night-vision, or anywhere near it. But it does allow you to grab detail from scenes that the naked eye simply cannot see under restricted light conditions, and for that alone it is worth using. In video mode, it can make the difference between getting the footage of that rare nocturnal animal, or getting a pitch black video of nothing at all. The noise is almost purely luminance, so there are no bright pink or purple spots, it is all almost film-like in appearance, which is great! Compared to the D3 and D700 I would say the D3S is two to three ISO steps better in performance, but the way the D3S handles image rendering is what sets it much higher compared to the rest.Read more ›
Firstly, it's important to realise that there are a lot of similarities between the D700 and D3 cameras, meaning that the quality of images from the two cameras can be very similar. The D3s will allow you to produce this quality in a signifiantly wider range of situations.
Having recently upgraded from the D700 with MB-D10 battery grip to D3s, the immediate benefits noticed are:
* Speed of operation. Although the two cameras have very similar AF systems, the D3s is clearly faster in continuous use - an important consideration for many photographers.
* Low light/High ISO performance. The D700 is excellent in low-light, allowing me to increase the ISO to 1000, 2000 ISO+ and get publishable pictures where other photographers are having to compromise aperture or shutter speed. The D3s is simply spectacular in this respect, allowing hand-held pictures of Venus and Jupiter in the dawn and dusk skies respectively!
* Size and weight. Compared to the D700/MB-D10 combo, the D3s is noticeably lighter and feels slightly smaller.
* Quality of controls. The 'feel' of the D3s is noticeably more robust than the D700 with slightly more positive feel to the controls etc.
There are clearly very few situations which the D700 cannot handle as well as almost any D-SLR on the market. Nevertheless, the D3s manages to represent a significant step up from this high standard. Not surprisningly, access to this level of performance costs!
PS: My top tip for anyone considering the D700 to D3s upgrade is to look around for a secondhand D3 from somewhete reputable like Grays of Westminster. :-)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There is every chance that next year's Canon 1Dx will usurp the 'King' but in the meantime the D3s lets you shoot faster, easier and in lower light than anything else at anywhere... Read morePublished on 15 Nov. 2011 by Justice Peace
I have 2 Nikon D3, no need to say what has been said before, IMHO if you can get your hands on a D3 for less money then go for the D3. The increase in ISO is very small. Read morePublished on 3 Mar. 2011 by Howard Barnett Wedding Photographer