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Nikon D3s Specs and Scores

Storage & Battery
Nikon D3s
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
Camera Type
Camera Size
Camera Weight

The Nikon D3s scores a solid 57/100 in our evaluation. Announced on October 14, 2009, and released the same year, this DSLR camera came out with a hefty launch price of $5,510. Measuring 160 x 157 x 88mm and weighing 2.73lbs (1240g), the D3s has a substantial presence.

Although the Nikon D3s is over a decade old, its specifications remain respectable, especially for photography enthusiasts. However, compared to more recent cameras, the D3s may not be the most competitive choice in today’s market.

Nikon D3s Overview and Optics

The Nikon D3s received a score of 55/100 for its optics. With 12.1 megapixels, it has a lower resolution compared to modern cameras. The shooting speed of 11 frames per second is decent, yet not exceptional in today’s market. The camera has a full-frame CMOS sensor, which contributes to its DXOMARK score of 82. This score shows that the sensor performs well, but there are better options available.

The Nikon D3s uses an Expeed processor and is compatible with the Nikon F FX lens mount. Unfortunately, it lacks image stabilization, which is a disadvantage for photographers requiring steady shots. Its aspect ratio of 3:2 is standard for most cameras.

While the Nikon D3s has a few strong features, its optics do not stand out in the current market. Its lower resolution and absence of image stabilization make it less competitive compared to the latest camera models.

The higher the number of megapixels, the more detail the cameras sensor can capture.
12.1 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
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
Sensor Format
Refers to the most commonly used sensor sizes.
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
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
Image Processor
The image processor in the camera converts the information collected on the sensor for digital storage on the memory card.
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
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
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)

Nikon D3s Video Performance

While most modern cameras boast video capabilities, the Nikon D3s does not offer this feature. However, it compensates with a built-in time-lapse function, allowing users to create captivating time-lapse sequences easily.

Indicates if this camera is capable of recording video.
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.

Nikon D3s Features and Benefits

The Nikon D3s features a score of 54/100. With a 3-inch screen size and a resolution of 921,000 dots, the display is decent but lacks modern amenities. The absence of a touchscreen, flip screen, GPS, WiFi, and Bluetooth capabilities shows that this camera falls behind contemporary models.

Despite its limitations, the Nikon D3s remains a solid choice for photographers seeking a camera with essential features. However, those who require advanced connectivity and convenience may find the lack of modern specifications a drawback. The Nikon D3s is a reliable camera but may not fulfill the expectations of users who are accustomed to recent technological advancements.

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
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 Storage and Battery

The Nikon D3s storage and battery capabilities score an impressive 87 out of 100. The camera comes equipped with two memory card slots, allowing for ample storage and easy switching between cards. It is compatible with CompactFlash (Type I) and UDMA memory cards, providing fast and reliable storage options.

In terms of battery life, the D3s boasts an impressive 4200 shots per charge, using the EN-EL4a battery type. This long-lasting battery performance is a significant advantage for photographers who need to capture many images without constantly changing batteries. However, the camera does not have USB charging capabilities, which may be inconvenient for some users who prefer this charging method.

Considering these specifications, the Nikon D3s storage and battery features hold up well in today’s market, providing photographers with reliable and efficient options for capturing and storing their images.

Storage and Battery
Storage and Battery
Memory Card
CompactFlash (Type I), UDMA
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
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
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
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'
User Scores

Nikon D3s Alternatives

Do you want to know how the Nikon D3s compares to its competitors? Have a look at the most popular comparisons for this camera below:

Nikon D3s photographed on a colored background

Nikon D3s FAQ

Does the Nikon D3s Have Built-in Image Stabilization?

The Nikon D3s does not have built-in image stabilization. However, it supports lenses with Vibration Reduction (VR) technology that helps minimize camera shake and blur.

Does the Nikon D3s Support 4K Video Recording?

The Nikon D3s does not support 4K video recording. It can record 720p HD videos at 24 frames per second, but it lacks more advanced video capabilities like 4K resolution.

What Size Sensor Does The Nikon D3s Have?

The Nikon D3s features a full-frame sensor, which measures 36 x 24 mm. This large sensor size enables better low-light performance and a shallower depth of field compared to smaller sensors.

Does the Nikon D3s Have a Dual Memory Card Slot?

Yes, the Nikon D3s has a dual memory card slot, allowing users to utilize two CompactFlash cards for more storage and backup options while shooting.

Does the Nikon D3s Have a Touch Screen?

No, the Nikon D3s does not have a touch screen. It features a 3-inch fixed LCD monitor for image review and menu navigation, but it does not support touch functionality.

Does the Nikon D3s Have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth?

The Nikon D3s does not have built-in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth capabilities. To wirelessly transfer images, users need to invest in an additional accessory, such as the WT-4A Wireless Transmitter.

Does the Nikon D3s Have GPS?

No, the Nikon D3s does not have built-in GPS functionality. However, it is compatible with external GPS units, such as the GP-1 GPS Unit, for geotagging purposes.

Is the Nikon D3s Weather Sealed?

Yes, the Nikon D3s is weather-sealed, making it resistant to dust and moisture. This rugged design allows for reliable performance in various shooting conditions and environments.

Does the Nikon D3s Have a Built-in Flash?

No, the Nikon D3s does not have a built-in flash. Instead, it has a hot shoe for attaching external flashes and other compatible accessories to enhance lighting options.

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