Nikon D3S In-depth review
Body & Design
Our comments about the D3 and D3X in their respective in-depth reviews apply equally to the new D3S. The three cameras share essentially the same body shell, and all three are designed for durability. A tough magnesium alloy body shell keeps the weight down as much as possible, although compared to a D300S or D700, the D3S is a substantial weight, partly due to the integrated vertical grip. This lower portion of the chassis also holds the powerful EN-EL4a battery, which is interchangeable with all of the D2 and D3-series professional Nikon DSLRs. The removable battery compartment door is interchangeable with the D3 and D3X, but not the earlier D2 series, which are a slightly different shape.
In the hand
The D3S is a large, heavy camera, but it is very comfortable to hold. An integral vertical grip adds to the feeling of solid reliability that is characteristic of Nikon's high-end SLR products, and thick rubber accents on the front, rear and side of the camera aid handling in wet conditions. Very few cameras can be operated comfortably when wearing gloves, but the large buttons and redesigned battery door catch help to make the D3S one of the rare exceptions.
Side by side
The most obvious ergonomic differences between the D3S and D3/X (the latter shown left) concern the layout of controls on the rear of the camera. A dedicated 'LV' Live View button sits where the button for voice memo used to be, and this in turn is shifted to the left. A new 'info' button joins the larger four buttons ranged to the left of the LCD screen, and the secondary rear LCD screen is shifted slightly to the left, the speaker outlet now being hidden underneath the catch for the memory card door.
The D3S (right) occupies roughly the same amount of space as the D300S when the optional MB-10 grip fitted, although the more solid construction of the D3S gives it considerably more heft. Ergonomically, the D3S and D300S are closely related, but not identical. Although most of the controls are in the same place, ISO, white balance and image quality settings are accessed from buttons on the back of the D3S, below the secondary LCD screen, whereas they are clustered on the top plate of the D300S.
Top & Rear Control Panels
Just like the D3 and D3X, the D3S has two status / control panel displays, one on the top of the camera and one on the rear. Both panels have a green back light which can be illuminated by flicking the power switch to the lamp position, it's spring loaded and returns to 'ON', the back light stays on for the 'auto meter-off' time (CSM c2). You can also choose to have the back lights come on with any button press (CSM d7). You can customize the information displayed on the rear control panel and viewfinder display via CSM d5. Each panel is shown below along with a diagram of all information displayed.
Top Control Panel
Exposure compensation value
Number of shots in bracketing sequence
Number of intervals
Focal length (non-CPU lens)
Flash compensation value
|*2|| Aperture (f-number)
Aperture (number of stops)
Number of shots per interval
Maximum aperture (non-CPU lens)
PC mode indicator
|*5|| Electronic analog exposure display
Bracketing progress indicator
PC mode indicator
|*3|| Number of exposures remaining
Number of shots remaining before buffer fills
Camera control indicator
|*6|| Remaining indicator
Continuous remaining indicator
Rear Control Panel
|*1|| ISO sensitivity
Number of exposures remaining
Length of voice memo
White balance fine-tuning
White balance preset number
PC mod indicator
Diagram adapted with permission from the Nikon D3S user manual.
- 18 Photographic tests (Noise)
- 19 Photographic tests (DR)
- 20 Photographic tests (DR)
- 21 Photographic tests
- 22 Movie Mode
- 23 Compared to
- 24 Compared to (JPEG)
- 25 Compared to (JPEG)
- 26 Compared to (JPEG)
- 27 Compared to (RAW)
- 28 Compared to (RAW)
- 29 Compared to (RAW)
- 30 Compared to (Higher ISO)
- 31 Compared to (Resolution)
- 32 Compared to (Resolution)
- 33 Conclusion
- 34 Samples
Nikon turns 100 years old today, and the company is celebrating with a wacky music video, some tributes to its history, and a new vision presented by president Kazuo Ushida.
Phottix just released the Premio Parabolic Umbrellas series, replacing their Para-Pro line with a stronger, deeper and better made set of parabolic umbrellas.
The Moto Z2 is Motorola's first dual-camera smartphone and, compared to its predecessor, comes with a number of improvements and new camera features.
Researchers at Stanford have revealed a new '4D camera system' built for robots. The system is based on the same light field tech that allowed Lytro cameras to refocus images after they were taken.
If you want 'beautiful rendition' from your lenses, follow this simple rule: only buy classic low-element prime lenses with lead glass elements—everything else is junk.
In an interview with CNBC, Leica Chairman Andreas Kaufmann said he dreams of a 'true Leica phone,' and hinted at what's next for the Leica and Huawei partnership.
Wildlife and nature photographer Peter Mather tells the story behind this exceptional shot of a mama grizzly and her cub searching for salmon in Yukon, Canada.
Popular YouTube channel TastyTuts has put together this 33-video Beginner's Guide to Adobe Photoshop—a godsend for anybody who wants to learn Photoshop from scratch.
The long anticipated replacement for the popular Rode VideoMic Pro is almost ready for shipping. The price of the upgraded VideoMic Pro+ will be £290/$300 when it goes on sale in mid-August.
A new iOS app called Explorest wants to help you find new locations to shoot. It's limited to Singapore for now, but the app is packed full of useful location scouting features.
Nikon's D850 development announcement is extremely light on details, so we assembled a wish list of upgrades and features we'd love to see.
Nikon has announced the development of the long-awaited replacement to its full-frame D810: the D850. Nikon says that the D850 will build on the strengths of its predecessor and offer 'new technologies, features and performance enhancements.'
Lens manufacturer Voigtlander has introduced a 65mm F2 macro lens for Sony E-mount that it says "rates as one of the finest in the history of Voigtländer."
The UK released a preview of their upcoming drone safety regulations, and it looks like drone pilots will have to both register their device and pass safety awareness tests.
National Geographic photographer Bob Holmes talks about light, and why you need to learn how to 'see' and not just 'look' at your subject.
Photographer Alessandro Barteletti shares the story behind his National Geographic Italia cover, shot with a 10-year-old DSLR and an iPhone flashlight.
Fashion catalog photographers in China have some next-level models to work with. In this video, you see one model hitting 30 poses in 15 seconds as the photographer snaps away.
Photographer Paul Adshead breaks down 11 photography-related smartphone apps he couldn't live without—from a pocket light meter to a lighting diagram app.
Fast-growing Chinese flash brand Godox is teasing a brand new flash trigger... for smartphones. The Godox A1 is a 'phone flash system' that can act as both flash and 2.4GHz trigger.
On July 12, Canon opened its newest Technology and Support Center, designed to serve the motion picture industry, in Burbank, CA. DPReview got a sneak peak and takes you behind the scenes.
The Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art is truly one-of-a-kind. It offers the fastest aperture of any lens that shares its focal length, produces beautiful sunstars and is incredibly sharp to boot. If you're in the market for a fast ultrawide prime, this looks to be the one to get.
In this article, expert macro photographer Thomas Shahan shares advice for successful closeup photography of bugs, insects and small animals.
DJI's new firmware makes it difficult to fly in restricted airspace, even when you have proper clearance. Is DJI placing themselves between professionals and the FAA?
Go behind the scenes with National Geographic photographer Renan Ozturk and see what it takes to capture a dangerous, harrowing, stunning Nat Geo photo essay.
Erez Marom tells the story behind this ominous photo of the sand 'reaching up' towards the mountains at Skagsanden beach in Norway. He calls this photo 'Torment.'
DPReview staffer Carey Rose has taken the Panasonic Leica DG 15mm F1.7 along for everything from a city-side boat ride to a bachelor party across the mountains. Find out how the little Leica fared.
Canon just unveiled the largest 12-ink printer on the market. The new imagePROGRAF PRO-6000 printer can make prints from 17 all the way up to 60 inches wide.
"Standing in one of the holiest places on earth, I felt uneasy," writes Wired's Jason Parham. "Most of my fellow visitors, I realized with a brief bloom of nausea, were taking selfies."
Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk has been receiving great reviews, but it's a challenge to see it in its full glory. This handy infographic reveals the aspect ratio chaos that is wrought as the industry retreats from film.
Anti-bullying organization Ditch the Label's Annual Bullying Survey 2017 reveals yet again that Instagram, more so than any other social network, has the worst effect on youth mental health.