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Nikon D3s vs D4 Comparison

Storage & Battery

Nikon D3s

Nikon D3s

Nikon D4

Nikon D4
Nikon D3s
Nikon D4
Refers to the year this camera was officially made available for sale.
Announcement Date
Refers to the date the manufacturer publicly announced the upcoming release and general specs of this camera.
October 14, 2009
January 06, 2012
Camera Type
Camera Size
Camera Weight

The Nikon D4 outperforms the Nikon D3s with a score of 63/100 compared to the D3s’s 57/100. Both cameras are DSLR models, released in 2012 and 2009 respectively, with the D4 having a launch price of $5999 and the D3s at $5510. They share similar dimensions, with the D4 being slightly heavier at 1340g, compared to the D3s’s 1240g.

The Nikon D4’s higher score reflects its overall better performance and features. However, the Nikon D3s, despite its lower score, has some advantages, such as being lighter in weight. This could be beneficial for photographers who prioritize portability and ease of use.

Taking into account their scores and specifications, the Nikon D4 stands as the superior camera, offering improved performance and features. The Nikon D3s, on the other hand, provides a more lightweight option for those who value portability.

Nikon D3s vs D4 Overview and Optics

The Nikon D4 outperforms the Nikon D3s in optics, scoring 63/100 compared to the D3s’s 55/100. Both cameras share several specifications, including an 11 frames-per-second shooting speed, a CMOS sensor, a full-frame sensor size, a Nikon F lens mount, and no image stabilization.

The D4’s higher score is due to its superior megapixels and processor. With 16.2 megapixels, the D4 captures more detail than the D3s, which has 12.1 megapixels. The D4 also features the Expeed 3 processor, an improvement over the D3s’s Expeed processor. This contributes to better image quality and faster processing. Additionally, the D4’s sensor has a higher DXOMARK score of 89, while the D3s’s sensor scores 82.

Despite its lower score, the D3s has a slight advantage in low-light situations. Its fewer megapixels allow for larger individual pixels, which capture more light and reduce noise. This makes the D3s a viable option for photographers who prioritize low-light shooting.

Comparing the optics of the Nikon D3s and D4, it is evident that the D4 offers better overall image quality due to its higher megapixel count and improved processor. However, the D3s remains a strong contender for low-light photography. Ultimately, photographers should consider their specific needs and preferences when deciding between these two cameras.

The higher the number of megapixels, the more detail the cameras sensor can capture.
12.1 MP
16.2 MP
Image Resolution
Image resolution is measured in pixels and megapixels, width by height. The higher the number, the higher its resolution.
4256 x 2832 px
4928 x 3280 px
Sensor Type
The camera sensor captures light and records the image. Sensors vary in physical size, the number of pixels, and quality.
Sensor Size
The sensor size contributes to the overall quality as well as the dynamic and tonal range a camera can capture. As a rule of thumb, the more surface there is to read the light, the more information it will capture.
24 x 36 mm
23.9 x 36 mm
Sensor Format
Refers to the most commonly used sensor sizes.
Full Frame
Full Frame
Frame Rate
The number of sequential frames per second the camera can write to the memory card when shooting in burst or continuous mode.
11 fps
11 fps
Lens Mount
The lens mount will tell you what type of lens range you can fit onto the camera body. Often the same camera company will have different lens ranges for different cameras.
Nikon F FX
Nikon F
Image Processor
The image processor in the camera converts the information collected on the sensor for digital storage on the memory card.
Expeed 3
Aspect Ratio
The aspect ratio refers to the proportional difference between width and height. The most popular aspect ratios are 3:2 and 4:3.
Minimum ISO (Native)
Refers to the lowest native (or 'base') ISO setting. Lower ISO are less sensitive to light but make a cleaner image.
Maximum ISO (Native)
Refers to the highest native (or 'base') ISO setting. Higher ISO is necessary for low-light situations or night photography, but higher ISOs often introduce grain or noise.
Minimum ISO (Expanded)
Expanded (or extended) ISO is a digitally enhanced feature available on some cameras. It allows you to push beyond the native ISO range if necessary.
Maximum ISO (Expanded)
Expanded (or extended) ISO is a digitally enhanced feature available on some cameras. It allows you to push beyond the native ISO range if necessary.
Minimum Shutter Speed
The minimum shutter speed will tell you the longest exposure your camera can take without using an external accessory.
30 s
30 s
Maximum Shutter Speed
The maximum shutter speed tells you the length inside 1 second the camera will capture. These can sometimes be extended with accessories such as extra external batteries.
1/ 8000 s
1/ 8000 s
Autofocus Points
Autofocus points show where the camera is focusing graphically as squares or brackets in Live View or on an electronic viewfinder. These points are also used for light meter readings.
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization means the camera has a certain technology embedded that counteracts camera shake.
Viewfinder Type
The viewfinder type is either electronic or optical. Electronic viewfinders will have a small screen in the viewfinder. Optical viewfinders will use prisms and mirrors to look through the lens.
Optical (pentaprism)
Optical (pentaprism)

Nikon D3s vs D4 Video Performance

When comparing the video capabilities of the Nikon D3s and the Nikon D4, it is important to note that the Nikon D3s does not have any video functionality. Therefore, the focus of this comparison will be on the video capabilities of the Nikon D4.

The Nikon D4 has a video score of 57 out of 100, which is a solid score for a camera with video functionality. It is capable of recording Full HD video with a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. This high resolution ensures that the videos captured are of good quality and suitable for various purposes. Additionally, the Nikon D4 has a maximum video frame rate of 30 frames per second (fps), which allows for smooth video playback and is a standard frame rate for most video content.

A notable feature of the Nikon D4’s video capabilities is its built-in time-lapse functionality. This feature enables users to create stunning time-lapse videos by capturing a series of images at specific intervals and then combining them into a single video. This can be particularly useful for documenting events or capturing the beauty of nature over a period of time.

To sum up, the Nikon D4 offers solid video capabilities with Full HD resolution, a maximum frame rate of 30fps, and built-in time-lapse functionality. While the Nikon D3s does not have any video functionality, the Nikon D4 provides users with the tools to capture high-quality videos for various purposes.

Indicates if this camera is capable of recording video.
Max Video Resolution
The best resolution this camera can capture video in. Modern cameras can capture up to 8K video.
Full HD
Max Video Dimensions
Video resolution measured by the greatest number of pixels possible in each frame, width by height. A higher resolution means more detail or clarity in your video.
1920 x 1080 px
Max Video Frame Rate
How many frames per second your video will capture. Most cameras have options for multiple frame rates, depending on the resolution you shoot in. For a general video, 24p or 30p is the standard, but more serious filmmakers may need a higher frame rate for creative effect.
30 p
Time-Lapse Built In
A built in time-lapse mode will allow continuous shooting throughout a prolonged period of time to be compressed into a sped up video.
Video File Format
Different cameras can record in various video file formats. The File format you record in can impact how you edit and use the files.

Nikon D3s vs D4 Features and Benefits

The Nikon D4 triumphs over the Nikon D3s with a feature score of 57/100, while the latter scores 54/100. Despite this difference, both cameras share several specifications, including screen resolution (921,000 dots), lack of touchscreen, flip screen, GPS, WIFI, and Bluetooth capabilities. Nevertheless, the Nikon D4’s higher score reveals its superiority in certain areas, which we will discuss further.

The winning camera, Nikon D4, boasts a larger screen size of 3.2 inches compared to the Nikon D3s’s 3-inch screen. This larger screen provides photographers with a more comfortable and precise viewing experience while composing and reviewing images. It is a notable advantage that contributes to the Nikon D4’s higher feature score.

On the other hand, the Nikon D3s does not surpass the Nikon D4 in any significant aspect. Both cameras lack modern features such as touchscreens, flip screens, GPS, WIFI, and Bluetooth. These missing features limit their overall appeal and utility, but the D3s does not offer any additional advantages over the D4.

Taking into account the shared specifications and the larger screen size of the Nikon D4, it is evident that the Nikon D4 is the superior camera in terms of features. However, both cameras could benefit from incorporating modern features to enhance their functionality and appeal to a broader range of photographers. The Nikon D3s, though slightly inferior to the D4, still offers a decent set of features, but potential buyers should consider the advantages of the Nikon D4’s larger screen size before making a decision.

Built-in Flash
A built-in flash will often be positioned right above the lens. This will automatically pop up when you activate it.
External Flash
External flashes are often connected through a hot shoe at the top of a camera, or a cable at the side of the camera.
GPS features in a camera will include location metadata to each of your photographs.
Weather Sealing
Weather sealing capabilities will give you more confidence when shooting in unfavourable conditions.
Screen Type
Touch Screen
Touchscreen allows you to change camera settings and access menus with a swipe of your finger, instead of using buttons.
Screen Size
Screen Resolution
Screen dots indicate the resolution of the LCD screen by including each sub pixel.
921,000 dots
921,000 dots
Flip Screen
A flip screen (or articulating screen) is a second screen which can flip out from the side or top of the camera. This rotating screen allows you more freedom to take photos at different angles.
Live View
Live View feature allows you to see a continuous live video of what is being seen through your lens.
Bluetooth capabilities allow you wireless control of your camera with other external devices.

Nikon D3s vs D4 Storage and Battery

The Nikon D3s and Nikon D4 both score 87/100 in storage and battery. They share similarities, such as having two memory card slots and lacking USB charging capabilities. The D3s accepts CompactFlash (Type I) and UDMA cards, while the D4 is compatible with Compact Flash and XQD cards.

The Nikon D3s outperforms the D4 in battery life, providing 4200 shots per charge, using the EN-EL4a battery type. This is 1600 more shots than the D4, which has a battery life of 2600 shots with its EN-EL18 battery. The D3s is advantageous for photographers who require longer shooting sessions without needing to change batteries.

On the other hand, the D4 offers more versatility in memory card options, allowing users to choose between Compact Flash and the faster XQD cards. This may be beneficial for photographers who prioritize higher storage capacities and faster transfer speeds.

Therefore, the Nikon D3s is superior in terms of battery life, while the Nikon D4 provides more flexibility in memory card choices. Both cameras offer reliable storage and battery performance, catering to different user preferences.

Storage and Battery
Storage and Battery
Memory Card
CompactFlash (Type I), UDMA
Compact Flash, XQD
Dual Memory Card Slots
Battery Type
Battery Life
Approximately how long this cameras battery will last measured by how many photographs you will be able to take.
4,200 shots
2,600 shots
USB Charging
Sensor scores tested by DXOMARK
Overall Score
DXOMARK overall sensor score.
Portrait (Color Depth)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Portrait score in our camera sensor reviews defines color depth performance and its unit is a number of bits. A color depth of 22 bits is excellent; differences below 1 bit are barely noticeable.'
23.5 bits
24.7 bits
Landscape (Dynamic Range)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Landscape score in our camera sensor tests defines the maximum dynamic range of the camera sensor and its unit is an exposure value (EV). A value of 12 EV is excellent with differences below 0.5 EV usually not noticeable.'
12 EVs
13.1 EVs
Sports (Low-Light ISO)
Described by DXOMARK as 'The maximal value of ISO sensitivity needed to reach a given value of Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR). The greater the value, the better'

Nikon D3s vs D4 – Our Verdict

Nikon D3s vs D4 Comparison image.

Are you still undecided about which camera is right for you? Have a look at these popular comparisons that feature the Nikon D3s or the Nikon D4:

User Scores
B&H photo video
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