The Nikon D3s shoots at up to 11 frames per sec, at up to ISO 102,400, but is it the ultimate DSLR?

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Nikon D3s

Overall score:95%
Image Quality:95%


  • A solid workhorse that really delivers the results. High ISO is stunning, as is the focus system, and everything else is a bonus


  • Movie mode could do more, price is limiting


Nikon D3s Review


Price as reviewed:



Nikon D3s small


To look at the D3s it’s difficult to see much of a difference from the D3, and even on close inspection there are only small physical changes in the layout, such as a larger battery latch, the dedicated live view button and the extra ports and speakers for the video functionality.

The body, like the D3, is made from an environmentally-sealed magnesium alloy for a hard-wearing and weather-resistant
finish, to cope with the working life of an action photographer.

Aside from a couple of subtleties the camera looks and feels identical to the previous model, and this is by no means a bad thing. Yes, it is a heavy piece of kit, weighing nearly 2.5kg with the well-matched 24-70mm f/2.8 on the front, but this camera isn’t designed for casual usage; this is a serious work tool and it needs to stand up to use under extreme conditions.

Everything has been designed to this purpose and most functions can still be operated when wearing gloves, while the customisation of key buttons means you can have the modes you use most to hand even quicker.

The viewfinder is large in view but is also surrounded by an interchangeable flat rubber eyepiece that is comfortable for use with glasses or the naked eye. Vertical operation is aided by a solid grip with comfortable thumb positioning. As well as a second shutter, this offers both front and rear dials and a second customisable AF-on button – however, this can be easily pressed by mistake in horizontal use. The only slight challenge for vertical operation is control of the AF selection, as the thumb pad is too much of a stretch to reach.


Nikon D3s small


The menu screens will be familiar to any recent Nikon user and offer clear easy-to-use navigation. There’s also a My Menu screen for you to add commonly used functions. The additional rear info screen also allows you to see and change (using the three buttons below it) ISO, image quality and white balance settings. The top panel also illuminates with an extended turn of the power switch.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. Design
  4. 4. Performance and Value
  5. 5. Key features
  6. 6. Image Quality
  7. 7. Verdict
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