Hi Camera Lovers 👋 If you buy a camera through our referral links, you support our site at no cost to you 😉 Full info here.

Nikon D3s vs D5 Comparison

Storage & Battery

Nikon D3s

Nikon D3s

Nikon D5

Nikon D5
Nikon D3s
Nikon D5
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, 2016
Camera Type
Camera Size
Camera Weight

The Nikon D5 outperforms the Nikon D3s with a score of 74/100 compared to the D3s’s 57/100. Both cameras are DSLRs and have similar sizes, with the D5 being slightly larger and heavier. They also share a common launch price difference, with the D5 priced at $6,500 and the D3s at $5,510.

The Nikon D5 excels with its higher score, which is due to its better specifications and overall performance. On the other hand, the Nikon D3s has its advantages, such as being lighter in weight, making it easier to carry around for extended periods.

Taking all factors into consideration, the Nikon D5 is the superior camera, offering higher quality and performance. However, the Nikon D3s remains a viable option for those seeking a lighter camera at a lower price point.

Nikon D3s vs D5 Overview and Optics

The Nikon D5 emerges as the winner in optics with a score of 72 out of 100, compared to the Nikon D3s, which scored 55. Both cameras share some common specifications, such as the CMOS sensor type, full-frame sensor size, Nikon F FX lens mount, and the absence of image stabilization.

The Nikon D5 outperforms the D3s in several aspects. It has a higher megapixel count of 20.8 compared to 12.1 in the D3s, which results in sharper and more detailed images. The D5 also has a faster shooting speed of 12 frames per second, as opposed to the D3s’s 11 frames per second, allowing for better continuous shooting performance. Furthermore, the D5 boasts an Expeed 5 processor, while the D3s has an older Expeed processor, which contributes to the D5’s improved image processing capabilities. Lastly, the D5 has a higher DXOMARK sensor score of 88, compared to the D3s’s score of 82, indicating better overall sensor performance.

Despite the overall higher score, the D3s does not have any specific advantages over the D5 in terms of optics. The D5 simply outperforms the D3s in all the key optical specifications.

Taking all these factors into account, it is clear that the Nikon D5 is the superior camera in terms of optics. Its higher megapixel count, faster shooting speed, more advanced processor, and better sensor performance make it a better choice for photographers seeking optimal image quality and performance. The Nikon D3s, though a capable camera, falls short when compared to the D5’s optical capabilities.

The higher the number of megapixels, the more detail the cameras sensor can capture.
12.1 MP
20.8 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
5588 x 3712 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 35.9 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
12 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 FX
Image Processor
The image processor in the camera converts the information collected on the sensor for digital storage on the memory card.
Expeed 5
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 D5 Video Performance

When it comes to video capabilities, the Nikon D3s does not offer any video functionality. This lack of video capabilities sets it apart from the Nikon D5, which does provide video features.

The Nikon D5 has a video score of 70 out of 100, making it a capable option for those interested in capturing video. The camera has a maximum video resolution of 4K, with dimensions of 3840 x 2160 pixels. This high resolution allows for clear and detailed footage. The maximum video frame rate for the Nikon D5 is 30 frames per second (fps), providing smooth motion in the captured video. An additional feature of the Nikon D5 is its built-in time-lapse functionality, which enables users to create stunning time-lapse videos with ease.

Taking into account the video capabilities, the Nikon D5 stands out as the better choice for those who require video functionality in their camera. While the Nikon D3s lacks video features, the Nikon D5 offers a range of options, including 4K resolution, 30fps frame rate, and built-in time-lapse functionality. This makes the Nikon D5 a more versatile camera for users who need both high-quality photography and video capabilities.

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.
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.
3840 x 2160 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 D5 Features and Benefits

The Nikon D5 outperforms the Nikon D3s in features, scoring 74/100 compared to the D3s’s 54/100. Both cameras share some specifications, such as a screen size of 3 inches for the D3s and 3.2 inches for the D5, and neither has a flip screen or GPS. However, the D5 surpasses the D3s in several aspects, making it the superior choice for photographers looking for advanced features.

The D5 offers a significantly higher screen resolution, with 2,359,000 dots compared to the D3s’s 921,000 dots. This results in a sharper and clearer display, which can be essential for reviewing images and ensuring accurate focus. Additionally, the D5 has a touchscreen, allowing for quicker and more intuitive navigation through menus and settings. The D3s lacks this feature, requiring users to rely on buttons and dials for adjustments.

Another advantage of the D5 is its connectivity. The camera includes built-in Wi-Fi, enabling wireless image transfer and remote control through a smartphone or tablet. This can be particularly useful for sharing images quickly or shooting in challenging environments. Unfortunately, the D3s does not offer Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capabilities, limiting its versatility in this regard.

While the D3s falls short in these areas, it is still a reliable and capable camera. It may be suitable for photographers who prioritize simplicity and do not require advanced features or connectivity options.

Taking these points into consideration, it is clear that the Nikon D5 is the better choice for photographers seeking advanced features and connectivity. The D3s, while still a solid option, does not compete with the D5’s range of capabilities.

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
2,359,000 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 D5 Storage and Battery

The Nikon D3s and Nikon D5 both score 87/100 for storage and battery, showcasing their similar performance in this aspect. Both cameras have two memory card slots and do not support USB charging. They differ in the types of memory cards accepted, with the D3s taking CompactFlash (Type I) and UDMA cards, while the D5 accepts Compact Flash and XQD cards.

The D3s outperforms the D5 in battery life, providing 4200 shots per charge with its EN-EL4a battery compared to the D5’s 3780 shots using the EN-EL18a battery. This longer battery life makes the D3s more suitable for extended shooting sessions.

On the other hand, the D5’s compatibility with both Compact Flash and XQD cards offers more flexibility in storage options, catering to different user preferences and potentially faster data transfer speeds with XQD cards.

Both cameras excel in storage and battery performance, with the D3s having an edge in battery life and the D5 providing more versatile storage options. The choice depends on the user’s priorities and requirements.

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
3,780 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
25.1 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
12.3 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 D5 – Our Verdict

Nikon D3s vs D5 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 D5:

User Scores
B&H photo video
Spotted a mistake with these camera specs? Please let us know so we can update it!