Ilse Jurriën : October 14th 2009 - 06:00 CET
Nikon D3s professional digital SLR camera : Nikon introduces its newest FX-format digital SLR flagship: the Nikon D3s. Standing on the shoulders of the world-renowned Nikon D3, the D3s takes the potential of Nikon’s proprietary FX-format to incredible new levels designed to meet or exceed a professional’s high standards. The Nikon D3s SLR camera delivers ISO 200 to ISO 12800 as standard, with the excellent noise control and wide dynamic range that the Nikon D3 is famous for. This provides photographers of any discipline with additional latitude to achieve quality images in most lighting situations. When needed, ISO sensitivity can even be expanded from Lo 1 (ISO 100 equivalent) up to Hi 3 (ISO 102400 equivalent).|
Nikon D3s FX-format SLR camera
In a first for an FX-format flagship, the Nikon D3s SLR incorporates the HD-quality D-Movie function, letting users take full advantage of the wide dynamic range and high ISO performance, including the breakthrough High Sensitivity Movie mode. The Nikon D3s’s D-Movie also offers compatibility with an external stereo recording microphone, as well as convenient in-camera editing functions such as the ability to select the starting and ending points in order to trim D-Movie footage, as well as the ability to save selected movie frames as JPEGs.
Professional photography with the Nikon D3s DSLR
The Nikon D3s DSLR flagship shoots approximately 9 frames-per-second high-speed continuous shooting in FX-format and 11 fps in DX-format, with a buffer twice the size of the D3’s. These features, along with a 0.04-second shutter release time lag and improved AF accuracy work seamlessly for lightning-fast responses. Various improvements in ergonomics, operation, and reliability, such as image sensor cleaning, will help photographers focus on shooting under any conditions. When combining the Nikon D3s digital SLR with state-of-the-art Nikkor lenses and the Nikon Total Imaging System, which includes Nikon Speedlights, wireless transmitters and various software, the Nikon D3s delivers exceptional quality and versatility for an unprecedented variety of professional and personal assignments.
12.1 megapixel Nikon D3s sensor
The Nikon D3s’s image sensor has been completely redesigned from the one found in the professional Nikon D3. This new sensor’s inner structure has been further optimized, with the pixel count and large pixel pitch maintained for even greater latitude in high ISO performance. As a result, the Nikon D3s camera captures and renders light in ways that no other ordinary digital SLR camera have yet achieved, with a significantly higher signal-to-noise ratio and a wide dynamic range for unmatched image quality for both still images and movies throughout the broadened ISO sensitivity capabilities.
ISO performance of the Nikon D3s digital SLR
Professional photographers can now rely on ISO 200 to ISO 12800 as the professional standard of image quality for their assignments - an incredible advantage when shooting indoor sports, stadium events at night, dimly-lit spot news or any other shooting situation where light is limited and Speedlights are not applicable. Shooting at ISOs as high as 12800, the Nikon D3s professional SLR can take commercial-quality, tack-sharp images in low light at action-freezing shutter speeds - a capability that will open a new world of photographic opportunities. When needed, the Nikon D3s dSLR expands to the amazing ISO equivalent of 102400, still revealing colors and details even in extremely low-lit places where human eyes may find it difficult to discern objects. This exceptional low-noise performance also applies to D-Movie capture, which creates new potential for multimedia projects and assignments.
Nikon D3s image sensor cleaning
Another important improvement from the Nikon D3 is the employment of the Image Sensor Cleaning function, which generates vibrations at four specific frequencies to optimize dust removal. This function can be set to operate automatically when the D3s camera is turned on and off, or manually.
HD movie capture with the Nikon D3s
From well-lit scenes to extremely low-lit situations, the Nikon D3s’s D-Movie mode delivers unique versatility. The newly refined Nikon D-Movie feature offers HD quality (1,280 x 720 pixels) Motion-JPEG movies at 24 fps. By controlling the aperture from the widest f-stop to the smallest, the large FX-format sensor renders low-noise images with beautiful bokeh effects from a large selection of NIKKOR lenses. High-Sensitivity Movie mode allows users to shoot at up to ISO equivalent of 102400 in places too dark to see clearly with their own eyes. D-Movie footage is easy to trim in-camera by simply selecting the starting and ending point. An extra bonus for sports and spot news photographers is the ability to save selected movie frames as JPEGs for immediate print and web publishing needs. The Nikon D3s SLR camera has both an internal mono-aural microphone and an external stereo microphone input, enabling higher fidelity audio recording.
Nikon D3s in-camera image processor
Nikon’s fast, comprehensive, and energy-efficient approach to in-camera image processing maintains the rich initial data’s integrity through 14-bit A/D conversion and a 16-bit image-processing pipeline, which shows the enormous creative potential inherent in the NEF (Nikon Electronic Image Format). Combined with Nikon’s FX-format sensor, the Nikon D3s DSLR produces an exceptional tonal range and minimized tone jumps. Users can expect more accuracy with difficult color combinations such as skin tones and strong reds in the same frame without over-saturation and finer tonal gradation in highlights, even with extremely bright subject matter.
Chromatic aberration reduction feature
The Nikon D3s corrects color fringes caused by chromatic aberrations that, in some instances, can appear at the edges between differing subject elements. Because lateral chromatic aberrations are corrected regardless of lens type - whether telephoto, wide-angle, non-CPU and other types of Nikon Nikkor lenses - this important aspect of the Nikon D3s contributes substantially to the highly refined, edge-to-edge image integrity that professionals demand.
Nikon D3s active D-Lighting function
Nikon’s Active D-Lighting automatically regulates the dynamic range of high-contrast scenes, pulling out shadow details and preserving highlights while maintaining proper contrast. The Nikon D3s professional SLR allows photographers to choose from six Active D-Lighting settings, including the newly added Auto and Extra high, as well as High, Normal, Low and Off. You can also bracket Active D-Lighting strength levels up to five frames and select the best rendition afterwards.
Nikon D3s equipped with Picture Control
Picture Control helps you define the look and feel of your images by custom-tailoring sharpness, saturation and other parameters to match your creative intentions. The Nikon D3s digital SLR comes with four pre-installed Picture Control profiles, which can be fine-tuned and saved as new custom Picture Control profiles that match your personal shooting style or particular shooting conditions. These profiles can easily be copied to additional SLR cameras.
Continuous shooting with the Nikon D3s
The Nikon D3s’s continuous shooting rates are quite impressive, and what makes them truly unique is that the Nikon D3s’s powerful stepping motor allows for a more steady delivery of fast continuous shooting speeds at a wider range of aperture settings than lesser cameras can claim. Professional photographers will now have greater control and fewer limitations when making the images they desire. With the DX crop, photographers can also add a 1.5x picture angle and a faster frame rate to their arsenal. Furthermore, the factory-installed buffer memory is twice the capacity of the Nikon D3, dramatically increasing the power of continuous shooting.
Optimize your workflow with the Nikon D3s
The Nikon D3s SLR camera optimizes workflow speed and fluidity throughout the entire shooting process. Start-up time is approx. 0.12 seconds and release time lag is minimized to approx. 0.04 seconds, exactly as fast as the D3, but the Nikon D3s’s increased buffer memory is twice as large as that of the Nikon D3’s. In addition, the D3s’s autofocusing, image processing, memory card access and recording, USB interface and optional wireless transmitter all work together to keep professional photographers focused and moving forward. And for sport and spot news photographers, many of the D3s’s JPEG files are print-ready with little or no post-production: an extra edge when time is short.
Nikon D3s digital SLR incorporates 51 AF points
The Nikon D3s’s strategically positioned 51 AF points deliver faster focus, even with quick and/or erratic subject movement. The 15 cross-type sensors in the center of the frame maintain the same outstanding performance with any AF Nikkor lens f/5.6 or faster. There are four Dynamic-area AF options, including 51 points (3D-tracking), which accurately follows your subject by shifting focus points using color and brightness information from the Scene Recognition System. This gives users an extra advantage when composition is important but your subject’s movement is extremely erratic. Single-point and Auto-area AF modes are also available.
Scene recognition feature on the Nikon D3s SLR
Nikon’s exclusive 1,005-pixel RGB sensor precisely reads brightness and color information to raise the overall accuracy of AF, AE, i-TTL flash control and auto white balance to new heights, thanks to the Scene Recognition System. The Nikon D3s’s AF system delivers superb subject tracking and subject identification performance. Highlight analysis used for AE reproduces brightness faithful to what your eyes see, and light source identification makes auto white balance uniquely precise and reliable. Nikon’s exclusive 3D color matrix metering II is highly praised for its outstanding performance and faithful exposure results - even in complex, unforgiving lighting conditions. The Nikon D3s SLR takes accurate exposure further, using highlight analysis from the Scene Recognition System and then carefully selecting from a database containing information from over 30,000 actual shooting situations.
Nikon D3s white balance & viewfinder
Leading professionals often note that Nikon’s auto white balance exhibits remarkable results, even in challenging conditions with mixed light sources. With the Nikon D3s, auto white balance makes even further progress. Professional photographers can expect white as truly white in a wider variety of settings. The Nikon D3s’s large prism gives you the FX-format visual advantage when you shoot. The viewfinder image is not only larger and brighter, but the focusing screen is also carefully designed to help you to more intuitively sense sharp focus, be it manual or autofocus.
Nikon D3s camera design
For the reliability professionals demand, the shutter of the Nikon D3s digital SLR camera has been tested for up to 300,000 cycles in fully assembled cameras under rigorous conditions. The ruggedly constructed Nikon D3s SLR employs a strong yet lightweight magnesium alloy for its body, exterior cover, chassis and mirror box. Furthermore, a comprehensive series of O-rings and other specialized seals, combined with additional Nikon engineering, protect the Nikon D3s against invasive moisture, dust and even electromagnetic interference.
Nikon D3s Live View mode
The dedicated Live View button gives you instant access to two Live View modes: Tripod mode for accurate AF operation and hand-held mode for more versatile shooting angles. The speed for Contrast-detect AF in Tripod mode has also been improved for enhanced practicality. Photographers can select "Q" on the release mode dial to substantially reduce the sound of the camera’s mirror-down during shooting. This is particularly useful when shooting in restrictive conditions such as when photographing theatrical performances or wildlife.
Nikon D3s LCD monitor
The Nikon D3s’s large, high-resolution LCD monitor delivers bright, crisp image playback with up to 27x enlargement for immediate and precise image confirmation. Each LCD is covered with scratch resistant tempered glass and individually calibrated and fine-tuned at the factory to deliver consistent performance.
Nikon D3s memory & battery
The Nikon D3s DSLR camera lets you designate each card slot for certain tasks: record two full CF cards of data sequentially for a large amount of storage, record the same data onto two cards (backup), record RAW and JPEG simultaneously onto separate cards, and transfer data from one card to another. You can also designate the slot for data-heavy D-Movie recording. The Nikon D3s uses the EN-EL4a rechargeable batteries. Power consumption and power management systems have been engineered for greater operating efficiency, so you can expect long battery life, shooting up to 4,200 images per charge.
Nikon D3s DSLR features
• Newly added image area of 1.2x crop (30 x 20) format with approx. 8.4 megapixels
• Multiple exposure operation can be repeated by designating the function to the bracketing button
• Electronic virtual horizon that is available in Live View shooting
• Extended menu banks that stores up to 4 combinations of exposure mode, and shutter speeds
• Versatile in-camera Retouch Menus, including RAW processing to enhance your images
• Compatible with HDMI output. Type C connector (mini size) is employed
• With the optional GPS Unit GP-1, location information such as latitude, longitude, altitude and time are automatically recorded to each image’s EXIF data. The Time Adjustment feature, which adjusts your camera’s time zone, is also available using the GP-1. Especially useful for group assignments that require several D3s cameras to be synchronized.
• Exclusive Nikon Software - Nikon Transfer and ViewNX software packages (supplied) for a range of basic photo browsing and editing operations; Capture NX 2, Camera Control Pro 2, and Image Authentication Software (all optional) enable more advanced operation and image editing.
Nikon D3s review
As soon as we receive a Nikon D3s test sample, we will publish a photo gallery with high resolution pictures, followed by an in-depth Nikon D3s review.