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:



With the number of cameras launched every year it’s easy for some to get forgotten. Some, however, stand out because of a unique feature.

The D3s will be difficult to forget as the first to offer an ISO range that makes almost any lighting condition a shooting potential. It builds on the proven success of the D3, with its 51-point AF system, build quality and sensor, but with the addition of this new ISO range and movie functionality it deserves recognition in its own right.

This is a professional camera, designed to be a work tool, but it produces such beautiful images and works so well, it inspires photographers and leaves them drooling at its very sight.

We will have to wait for next month’s test of its latest nemesis, the Canon 1D Mk IV, to see how the two compare, but the Nikon D3s is one of the finest cameras of our time.


Lens Mount:Nikon F
White Balance:Auto, 12 presets, 5 manual preset storage, all with fine tuning
ISO:200-12,800 (100-102,400 expanded)
Built-in Flash:No
Compression:3stage (JPEG), 2stage (Raw), 1stage TIF
Memory Card:Dual CF card slots
Exposure Comp:+/- 5EV in 1/3, ½, 1EV
Cable Release:Yes (optional)
PC Socket:Yes
Viewfinder Type:Pentaprism
Output Size:4256 x 2832 pixels (FX) 2784 x 1848 (DX)
LCD:3in 920k-dot VGA
Field of View:100%
Colour Temp Control:Yes
AF Points:51 (or 11 point selectable)
White Balance Bracket:2-9 frames in 1, 2, 3EV
Sensor:12.1MP FX CMOS
Max Flash Sync:1/250
Focal Length Mag:1x (FX) 1.5x (DX)
Built-in Image Stabilisation:No (lens based)
Dust Reduction:Yes
DoF Prview:Yes
Metering System:1005px RGB sensor TTL, 3D colour matrix II
Movie Mode:Yes
Live Mode:Yes, contrast detect and phase detect options
Exposure Modes:M, A, S, P (flexible program mode)
Weight:1,240g (without battery)
Connectivity:USB, HDMI, AV out, Mic-in, DC-in
File Format:JPEG, NEF (Raw), TIF, AVI (Motion-JPEG)
Power:Rechargeable Li-ion EN-EL4a/EL4
Drive Mode:Single, cont (low speed), cont (high speed), quiet, self-timer, mirror up
Focusing Modes:Single, Continuous, Manual; single point, dynamic, auto area
Dimensions:159.5 x 157 x 87.5mm
Shutter Speeds:1/8000-30secs at 1/3, ½, 1EV
Colour Space:sRGB, Adobe RGB
  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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