Originally published on: March 19, 2011

The Nikon D3s is the most technically advanced Digital SLR out there (as of the writing of this review). This beast combines lightening fast performance, superior built quality, and previously unimaginable ISO performance. It is the perfect DSLR, it combines everything that I could ever desire. I am glad that I got it and have never regretted the decision.

This camera is built like a tank. It is weather sealed, dust proof etc. It feels as solid as any non-Leica product ever could. I was surprised at the difference in the ergonomics of the Nikon D3s vs. the ergonomics of the Nikon D700. The D700 with battery grip is actually larger then the Nikon D3s. When I caressed my new love for the first time I was surprised it how it was more compact. The difference was noticeable. However one day recently after I had gotten the camera, I shot the D3s and the D700 as a backup and I did not find any difficulty switching between cameras because of a size difference. From shooting these two cameras all day I can truly say that the D3s was superior. I shot a combination of sports and event photographs and both were made easy by the technical superiority and secure build of my two trusted Nikon DSLR’s.

The technical marvels of this masterpiece will not be described accurately no matter how poetic I may be. For starters the autofocus is lightening fast allowing for capture of fast moving subjects. The ISO range yields images that are useable up into the ISO 8000 and ISO 10,000 range. These would be the “HI” settings on the D700 or lesser cameras that needless to say would be unusable. Unusable is being kind to them, they would be impossible to use trash, pieces of noisy garbage. The D3s allows all who new range of available light photographic opportunities. It allows you to shoot concerts or events in dim light without any issue. The high ISO performance combined with RAW files will allow you to use fast shutter-speeds and get astounding available light photographs in almost any situation.

Because of the High range of ISO’s that this camera can use it almost deserves the “King of the Night” title, however this is already taken by Leica’s flagship Noctilux 50mm f/0.95 lens. The D3s High ISO performance was expected at its announce because Canon had released a couple of months earlier the 1D Mrk IV which sent shockwaves around the world with its High ISO claims. However Nikon took their time and consequently created a far superior product. One thing that I was shocked to learn about the Canon 1D Mrk IV was that it is not a full frame sensor! Apparently in the Canon 1D series of cameras they always release a “1D” version and then a “1Ds” version. The 1D version it would seem is to test the waters and see how the camera is received. Only after people have bought into this do they release the full frame option, the “1Ds” version. Which is interesting since they still haven’t gotten around to releasing their full frame camera…hmm…production problems? I think Nikon was able to get a full frame sensor in there on their first try.

The Nikon D3s may be deserving of a fuller review then I have given it here, however I think I have done it justice. I cannot aim to cover every detail of the camera, or give you a lot of useless information. I wish for my website to be a stepping sone in your search for information about cameras. I would recommend for a really great review of this camera if you take a visit to Steve Huff’s review of the Nikon D3s. I think at his particular moment in time this is the best camera in the world. The Nikon D3s has won many awards including the prestigious EISA European Professional Camera 2010-2011 award. I did not mention it before but of course this camera works wonderfully with all of Nikons current lens line. It is truly a stand out and I believe that it lives up to the Legacy of the D3 which was the most important advancement in photography since Oskar Barnack created the first 35mm Film Camera.


Nikon D3s with 50mm f/1.4G at f/1.4 1/500 ISO 200

Model: Caroline Kelley


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