Nikon D700/D3 vs D3s High ISO Noise Comparison

In this Nikon D700/D3 vs D3s High ISO Noise Comparison, I will be focusing on providing information and image samples from the first-generation Nikon full frame cameras (Nikon D700 and Nikon D3) as well as from the current high ISO king – Nikon D3s. High ISOs are needed in low-light environments, where the amount of ambient light is insufficient for hand-held photography at standard ISO sensitivity values. While doubling the ISO number doubles the shutter speed to freeze motion or prevent camera shake, it also introduces noise into the picture.

All tests below were performed on a sturdy tripod, with timed exposure to prevent camera vibrations. Both Nikon D700 and Nikon D3s were set exactly the same way, shot in manual mode with Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G at f/8.0. Exposures were exactly the same on both cameras, depending on ISO value. I shot in RAW (Active D-Lighting: Off, High ISO NR: Normal), then imported into Lightroom, cropped and exported with “Camera Standard” camera profile. The rest of the data is available via EXIF in the files to those who are interested in technical details.

Here is the full area that I shot for these tests:

Sample

The first test is at ISO 800. The image on the left is Nikon D700 and the image on the right is Nikon D3s (click to enlarge). Both are extremely good at ISO 800, but Nikon D3s is a little cleaner in the background areas.

Nikon D700 ISO 800 Nikon D3s ISO 800

At ISO 1,600, the Nikon D3s starts to shine, showing a significantly less amount of noise in the background.

Nikon D700 ISO 1600 Nikon D3s ISO 1600

The same thing at ISO 3,200 and this time Nikon D3s is showing a 1-1.5 stops of improvement over Nikon D700.

Nikon D700 ISO 3200 Nikon D3s ISO 3200

At ISO 6,400 we are already seeing some loss of details on the Nikon D700, while Nikon D3s is still super sharp, with a slight amount of noise.

Nikon D700 ISO 6400 Nikon D3s ISO 6400

ISO 12,800 looks pretty darn good on the Nikon D3s, while the image from Nikon D700 is almost unusable with color blobs appearing in random spots.

Nikon D700 ISO 12800 Nikon D3s ISO 12800

As expected, the image is unusable at ISO 25,600 on the Nikon D700, while Nikon D3s is still kicking butt at ISO 25,600 with very few, barely noticeable color spots.

Nikon D700 ISO 25600 Nikon D3s ISO 25600

As you can clearly see from the above images, the Nikon D3s outperforms D700/D3 by approximately 1.5 stops. I cannot say that the difference is full two stops, because the Nikon D3s has a little more noise/grain at two stops than Nikon D700. For example, here is what we see when Nikon D700 @ ISO 3,200 is compared against Nikon D3s @ ISO 12,800:

Nikon D700 ISO 3200 Nikon D3s ISO 12800

Sharpness-wise both images are very similar, but when you look at noise levels, Nikon D700 @ ISO 3200 is a tad better than Nikon D3s @ ISO 12,800, which is already remarkable. The ISO on Nikon D3s can also be “boosted” to ISO 51,200 and 102,400 for those, who need to be able to shoot in extremely dim environments or want to get faster shutter speeds. Let’s take a look at those crazy ISOs:

Nikon D3s ISO 51200 Nikon D3s ISO 102400

ISO 51,200 is not bad at all and is much more usable when compared to Nikon D700′s ISO 25,600. I wouldn’t use ISO 102,400 though, because it is not only too grainy, but there seem to be issues with blue and red color blobs getting added to the picture (nearly impossible to deal with in post-production).

Conclusion:
The Nikon D3s is labeled as “high ISO king” for a reason – it clearly delivers outstanding results on high ISOs when compared to the first generation Nikon FX sensor. Nikon did the right thing by keeping the resolution the same as in Nikon D3 and not chasing after more megapixels like Canon has been lately. Keeping the number of pixels low allowed Nikon to use the same pixel size, also known as “pixel pitch” as in Nikon D3 (8.4 µm), while significantly increasing the sensitivity of the sensor. The difference between DX and FX has been shifted to a new level now, making it a whopping 3 full stops of light! This means that ISO 1,600 on a DX sensor will look very close to ISO 12,800 on a D3s FX sensor.

I will be posting a full high ISO noise test between Nikon D300 (DX), Nikon D700 (FX) and Nikon D3s (FX) tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Comments

  1. 2
    ) Игонин Алексей
    March 20, 2010 at 2:56 am

    Насим, спасибо за сэмплы. Для себя я оценил, что у D3s рабочим является ИСО 6400, на 12800 все уже очень заметны шумы, но хотя они все еще приемлемы. Как я понимаю никакой обработки не проводилось. Кроме того, это снималось в РАВе или камерном JPG с шумодавом?

    • March 20, 2010 at 3:09 am

      Алексей, все снималось в RAW и без обработки (кроме White Balance). Я поставил Auto ISO на 12,800 и очень рад результатам :)

      • 3
        ) Игонин Алексей
        March 20, 2010 at 7:13 am

        Тогда все очень круто. Просто на 12800 мне показалось, что изображение немного начинает рыхлеть.

  2. March 20, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Based on DPreview review of the D3s when they compared (with samples) the performance at high iso – at settings 3,200 and 6,400 there was a very small difference between the D3 (same sensor as D700) and the D3s. They used High ISO NR on standard and shoot JPG. Its quite different from what you got… interesting.

    • March 20, 2010 at 11:10 pm

      Avi, I checked out the DPreview article and I am not sure why they could not see much difference between ISO 1,600 and 3,200 between D3 and D3s. As you can see from my screenshots above, D3s definitely has less noise in ISO 1,600 and 3,200 in the background if you pixel-peep. Maybe DPreview used a pre-production version of the D3s that had some issues…

      My test is based on D3s with the latest firmware 1.0.1. Let me know if you would like me to send you the full-size JPEG or RAW files for ISO 3,200 and 6,400 from both cameras (I didn’t post them here because the files are huge).

      • March 20, 2010 at 11:44 pm

        Thanks for the reply.

        Perhaps that might be the case as they back their conclusion with screenshots as well.

        I would really like to see original files of the cameras without any NR settings of both cameras at 3,200 and 6,400 (most used ISO settings in low light situations i think…). By that we can eliminate any software algorithm that is executed on the files which can be done in post processing anyway.

        The reason it is so interesting for me is because I just bought a D700 and the new 70-200 VR II with the current instant rebate in the US which was 400$ price reduction. Meaning, i got the D700 for 2100 US$. But one of my main reason to not hold back anymore was the conclusion that up until iso 6,400 the differences are small.

        Thanks in advance! –Avi

  3. 5
    ) Vern
    March 20, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    I feel you should have tested D3 vs. D3s. Even though many claim results from D3 and D700 are identical, I don’t believe that. I feel that the d3 would do better. Even though, as you claim, the sensor could be identical to that in the D700 they are two different cameras with different internals. The D700 has the internals of a D300. It is a great camera, but my conclusions have been that the top of the line D3 bettered it. People assume a lot.

    Just a differing opinion.

    • March 20, 2010 at 10:55 pm

      Vern, whether you believe it or not, the sensor on the Nikon D700 is identical as the one on D3 – from resolution and pixel pitch to EXPEED processor. I have done direct comparisons between D700 and D3 in the past and they yield exactly the same results in low-light high ISO.

      Nikon D3 is surely a better camera than D700, but the sensors on both are exactly the same. If you do not believe me, just do some research online and see for yourself :)

      • 53
        ) Harv.!
        March 29, 2012 at 11:28 am

        Hi Nasim,
        Thanks for the interesting articles, I’m always keen to hear the view of other photographers.
        I, like Vern, was curious if the D3 and D700 sensors were identical or if they were tweaked differently. The reason I’m unsure is because of the DxOMark scores everyone has been talking about in the past few days regarding the D800. If you compare the ISO Sensitivity, SNR 18%, Dynamic Range, Tonal Range and Color Sensitivity charts of the D3 and D700 they are not identical.
        Maybe the DxOMark scores are wrong, maybe I’ve missed something and I’m wrong but the scores are definitely not identical.

  4. 9
    ) AH
    April 4, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Hey there Nasim, just wanna say i find your reviews comprehensive and helpful. A question though, I am just wondering whether it is wise to get both D3s (main) and D700 (back-up)? Considering I have the available funds that is. Or a D300s instead of the D700? At the moment I have a 2yr old D90 that does not work with lens that has aperture ring (non-G) but works with everything else (faulty body? Im not sure).

    My initial plan was to get both but now come to think about it, D3s first and wait for D700 upgrade. Thus retaining my D90. I will be breaking the bank very soon for a major investment and perhaps need that extra advice from someone who already owns the gear.

    PS: Btw, I shoot across a broad range.. from landscape, portrait, events, industrial.

    • April 5, 2010 at 12:43 am

      AH, thanks for stopping by and dropping a comment!

      Having a D3s as the main body and D700 as a backup body would be much better than D3s and D300s, unless you are planning to shoot with flash with the second body. It is strange that your D90 refuses to work with non-G lenses…what is the error you are getting, if any? If you see an error on the top LCD, then try changing the aperture on the aperture ring to the minimum (typically f/16 or f/24), then set the lock on the ring. Once you do that, turn on the camera and see if anything changes. A lot of people accidentally change the aperture on the aperture ring, which causes the camera to malfunction.

      In terms of a D700 upgrade, we might see a D700s in July, but I’m not 100% sure (nobody is). I was hoping for a D700x, but I do not think it is going to happen, considering the price of D3x.

      By the way, Nikon is continuing to give away up to $450 on Nikon body + lens purchases and both D300s/D700 cameras will be included in this rebate. If you are planning on buying just the D3s body, get a lens with it anyway, since you can sell the lens and make a few hundred dollars.

      Hope this helps.

      • 11
        ) AH
        April 5, 2010 at 1:46 am

        Hi Nasim, thanks for the quick reply.. ya I won’t really count on waiting.. I rather use what I need now and resell later. I’m in Sydney and would probably be ordering my gear from HongKong. Thanks for the link anyhow.

        The problem with my D90 lies elsewhere because I tried with 2 non-G lens, the 50mm 1.8 (which i bought) and the 135mm f2 DC (which I wanted to buy from this guy who has a D300 and it works with his D300 but not my D90). Not the aperture ring either.. it was untouched. It was locked on f22 on 50mm and f16 on 135mm. Basically the aperture can’t even be controlled by my D90. The opening stays fixed on its minimum in accordance to the ring.. I’ve tried seek help everywhere, even returning the 50mm thinking that it was the len’s fault.

        I think it’s my el cheapo entry level “made in thailand” body.
        Btw, just a random question.. what would you get if you have $20k to spend on camera & lenses? Cheers!

        • April 6, 2010 at 10:06 am

          AH, I wonder if Nikon has similar promotions in Australia – I would definitely check with a Nikon authorized reseller first.

          It is really strange to hear about the non-G lens problem with the Nikon D90. Have you tried to call Nikon for support? Do you still have the warranty on the D90? It might be worth sending it back to Nikon for repair. Another thing you should definitely try, is to clean all contacts both on the body and on the lenses. Although if both non-G lenses did not work, it most likely is not the problem with the contacts, but I would still try it, especially on the D90.

          As far as “made in Thailand” – it does not matter where the Nikon body is manufactured (mine was made in Thailand as well). They all go through the same quality control and there should be no difference in performance whatsoever. The Nikon 50mm f/1.8D and 50mm f/1.4G, for example, are both manufactured in China. It does not mean that the quality is inferior to the lenses that are produced elsewhere.

          Now as far as what I would do if I had $20K to spend on photography gear, it sounds like the question in the movie office space: “what would you do if you had a million dollars?” :)))

          Jokes aside, I would get the following:
          1) Nikon D3s
          3) Nikon 600mm f/4.0 VR
          4) Nikon 16-35mm f/4.0 VR
          5) Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G
          6) Nikon 50mm f/1.4G
          7) Nikon 1.4x TC
          8) Tripod and accessories

          I think that’s already over the budget :)

          • 15
            ) AH
            April 18, 2010 at 2:11 am

            Hey there nasim, hope you are fine. Been on a major shopping spree and here’s what I got:

            - D3s
            - Nikon 300mm f2.8 VR II
            - Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR II
            - Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 VR II
            - Nikon 28mm PC-E f3.5
            - Nikon 135mm f2 DC
            - Nikon 105mm f2.8 Macro VR
            - Nikon 16mm f2.8 Fisheye
            - Nikon TC 2.0 III
            - SB900 x2
            - Memory cards, filters, remote

            The 600mm is tempting but in terms of practicality I didn’t see myself owning one. I’ve also decided not to go for 2 bodies and just get a 3Ds and use my D90 as a 2nd body. Be patient and wait till the D700 upgrade comes out and see how. Wanted 16-35mm but figured that i’ve already own the 14-24mm so I skipped it. I don’t use 50mm’s, don’t really like the focal range much. Got a good frotto tripod w a 322 head so skipped that too. Let me know what you think of my purchases :)

            Anyway do you know much about lighting? I’ve been scratching my head over a good reliable start up for a kit set (preferably 3 strobes).. Researched high and low but got mixed feelings over what to get. Thank you for your time.

            • April 19, 2010 at 12:55 am

              AH, you definitely have a very nice list! Your lens choices are excellent and looks like you have the best Nikon lenses in the arsenal.

              As far as lighting, yes, I do know quite a bit about it. Do you want small flash (strobes) or large studio flash with plenty of power?

  5. 13
    ) LWalthall
    April 16, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    I have a D3, a D2X and a D200. I am ready to trade all in for a D3S (I would even trow in an 18 – 200 DX VR lens. All of this hardware is in excellent condition. Do you think the D3S is worth the trade. I am also interested in shooting the HD video.

    • April 17, 2010 at 2:55 am

      LWalthall, I think you are giving away too much for the D3s. Your D3 is a superb camera and it is not worth parting with three bodies to get just one.

      If you are interested in HD video, wait until Nikon releases a new generation body – it will have 1080p video.

  6. 17
    ) Javad
    May 18, 2010 at 2:42 am

    “I will be posting a full high ISO noise test between Nikon D300 (DX), Nikon D700 (FX) and Nikon D3s (FX) tomorrow, so stay tuned!”

    Hi Nasim,

    Thanks a lot for your helpful reviews.
    I am still waiting to see your “high ISO noise test” between D300,D700 and D3s. I would be very happy if I can see it.

    Best wishes.

  7. May 26, 2010 at 10:53 am

    Hi Nasim,

    Lately I have been passing by your lovely comparisons.

    I am currently thinking of switching to Full frame after almost 2 years in cropped sensor D300 (which I love).

    I have 3 options:

    1- Buy brand new D700
    2- I found a guy who’s selling a used D3 for same price as New D700
    3- Wait until the successor of D700 is released.

    I am really confused, I would really appreciate your professional opinion.

    giving the fact that I am not a commercial photographer and I do photography because I love it. (but I do sell my photos every now and then that’s why I need to make sure that the quality is always good).

    ???

    • June 4, 2010 at 5:25 pm

      Ahmed, first of all, you have an amazing talent and your pictures in your gallery are simply stunning!

      As far as your options, how used is the D3? If it is at the same price point as D700 and it is relatively new, I would go for the D3 instead. I was hoping for an update to D700 this summer, but it looks like it will not happen. If in doubt, buy the D700 now and you will not regret it…I love mine.

      • June 6, 2010 at 11:13 am

        Thanks Nasim,

        I got a used D700 (looks brand New) and I saved a lot by doing that (tomorrow going to test it)

        Now, I am in a bit of dilemma , I got ma the Nikon 16-24 F4 VR (for general landscape use).

        I want something more flexible for general use something like 24-70 mm , but I found the 24-120 to be a better choice (especially that I have financial limitations).

        So, what do you recommend?

        * Squeez my wallet and get the 24-70 (no doubt about quality)
        * get the 24-120 mm for the time being , I am just not sure if it’s going to deliver high quality images or not

        Any Advice?

        • June 8, 2010 at 1:44 pm

          Ahmed, don’t get the 24-120mm and squeeze your wallet instead :) Seriously, if you compare 24-70 and 24-120 side by side, you will clearly see the difference in sharpness, contrast and overall image quality.

  8. 20
    ) Bruce
    May 31, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Greatly enjoyed your review of I can not afford either but can dream a little.vs D3x.

    • June 4, 2010 at 5:26 pm

      Thank you for your feedback Bruce!

      Join the club, I’m also dreaming of the D3x for my landscape photography :)

  9. 25
    ) Rob
    July 8, 2010 at 6:33 am

    This is a great comparison! Thanks for taking the time to do it.

    Quick question: You stated you used RAW for all of these samples. From what I understand, in-camera noise reduction isn’t applied to RAW files (only JPG). How does the D700 and D3S compare when shooting JPG with NR? Are their NR algorithms essentially comparable, so that the 1.5 stop improvement that you’ve identified still holds true with JPG?

    • July 9, 2010 at 4:53 pm

      Rob, yes, the algorithms are very comparable and you will see very similar performance when shooting in JPEG as well.

  10. 27
    ) Elle
    August 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Nasim, Thank you for the article. It’s great article.

    I’m thinking about purchasing D3S but afraid that there will be D700 replacement that will do exactly same (performance and perhaps, even better video?) than D3S. Now that Nikon just announced new DX camera (3100), Many are expecting either D90 or D700 replacement.

    Should I wait and consider the new D700 replacement (if any comes out) or just go ahead and get D3s since D4 won’t probably be out until late 2011 or even 2012.

    Btw, currently, I own D5000 and I don’t wanna get DX camera anymore.

    • September 1, 2010 at 9:58 pm

      Elle, I had the same dilemma as you before I got my D3s. I went ahead and purchased mine, although there were heavy rumors that a new D700 with the same ISO performance as the D3s would come out this summer. Well, the summer is over and there is no D700s and I don’t think we will see it anytime soon this year.

      If you need a good camera now, buy it now and enjoy it. Next year, they will have better cameras and even better ones the year after. I really love my D3s and I would certainly buy it again ;-)

  11. 28
    ) Jimmy
    August 31, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Nasim,
    I have a similar problem as Elle whether to get D3s right away or just a D700. I recently sold my D300 for a D700 replacement but it seems that there will be no replacement in the next few months. I shall be spending a week in Kyoto in early October and wish to take a decent camera with me. I only have the Olympus EP-L1 in hand right now.
    I currently have a Nikon 16-35mm F4 VR, Nikon 50mm F1.4, Zeiss 100mm F2 and Zeiss 28mm F2. I wish to buy a new DSLR and a new lens (probably 24-70mm F2.8 or 180mm F2.8) but is it wise to get a new D700 now? The functions provided by D700 is probably enough for me but it is the devil inside me that asks for more. The D3s is my dream camera (video, high dynamic range, high ISO and 100% VF) but probably a bit heavy for me.
    I consider myself as only a beginner but enthusiast in photography. Do you think it is appropriate for me to get such a high end camera for future development?

    • August 31, 2010 at 7:44 pm

      Well,

      I kinda had the same issue when I wanted to upgrade from D300 to full-frame. I was waiting for the D700 replacement, but I got fed up from waiting. High-ISO performance wasn’t the issue, I wanted more MegaPixel for large prints that I “MIGHT RARELY” do.

      But then decided to go for the D700 (I took Nasim’s Advise on this one). And honestly, I think the D700 should keep me going for the next 3 years at least. It’s a wonderful camera from all aspects. the High-ISO performance is just amazing and the image quality is superb (I use the 16-35 F/4 and 24-70 F/2.8). And I think the D700 is a worthy camera.

      Jimmy, I think the best thing to do is to try to use the D700 (if you know a friend who can give it to u for a day or so).

      • September 1, 2010 at 10:05 pm

        Ahmed, I’m glad that you are enjoying your D700 – I love mine and I’m planning to keep it until it dies…

    • 30
      ) eric
      September 1, 2010 at 6:28 am

      I heard that no new fx camera this year. However, many are telling me that september 15th, Nikon is preparing to announce new camera (D90 replacment which is D7000, and new Flash, SB-600 replacement).

      I’m always conflicted with D3s and D700. because of the rumors about D700 replacement, I ended up getting USED D3 (not D3s) and decided to wait until D4 come out late next year or even early 2012.

      I knew that I will regret getting D700 instead of D3s. So I went with an used D3 (found really nice used one about same price as D700 new) and am very very happy with it.

      in year 2012, I might sell my now D3 and get D4 or even get D3s for cheaper price. Who knows.

      • 31
        ) eric
        September 1, 2010 at 6:33 am

        The reason behind why I would’ve (or not) regretting D700 is that I always wanted the those extra features on D3 like Faster shutter speed (I do shoot alot of indoor sports for fun, I’m not a pro, just casual photo lover), 100% viewfinder, slightly better build quality etc.

        I would not bought D3 new over D700 new. But I got D3 used instead of D700. I could’ve gotten D700 used but like said above, I probably regret getting D700 no matter how much money I’d saved.

        In the end, it’s really what YOU want!

        I know I will enjoy and regret free for many years to come, Many years meaning unless I get tempted again in 2012 for D4… ha ha.

      • September 1, 2010 at 10:08 pm

        Eric, yes, no new FX this year. I was hoping for the new D700s, but it didn’t happen. Looks like Nikon will be working on a D800 instead, sometime next year. D90 replacement will be called D7000 and it is rumored to be released before Photokina…but nobody knows for sure at this point.

        I’m glad you are enjoying your D3. I have a D700 which has the same sensor as D3 and I love it to death…D3 is even better with more features and more FPS.

        • 36
          ) Eric
          September 2, 2010 at 5:52 am

          Thanks Nasim! I love my D3 !

    • September 1, 2010 at 10:04 pm

      Jimmy, if you can afford getting the D3s, go for it. If it is a stretch to your budget, go for the D700. Both are superb and I own and use both all the time. I got the D3s for high ISO and speed…D700 is obviously no match in that regard. However, if you shoot during daytime mostly and the speed (FPS) is not very important to you, then go for the D700 and invest in lenses instead.

      Either way, Nikon will be releasing better cameras year after year. If you want another year, your new camera will be outdated again in 2 years, so what is the point of waiting? :)

  12. 37
    ) Jimmy
    September 8, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Nasim,
    Thanks for you reply. I guess I’m going to get the D700 and use the rest of the money for a 24mm f1.4.
    Would the images from D700 for star trails be too noisy and how would you advise the aperture/shutter combinaton?

    • September 9, 2010 at 1:26 am

      Jimmy,

      I am still practicing star trail and stars photography (since the visibility is really an issue here and have to go to high lands to get better one)..

      Anyways, I haven’t used a 1.4 lens , but I have used the 24-70 F2.8.

      at F=2.8, I would go to ISO: 600 to 800 and shutter from 20 to 30 Seconds :)

      I think the Long Exposure noise are tolerable at this level, but I went to ISO 1600 at F/4 (using the 16-35 F/4 VR) and the noise is more evident and requires some noise removal (Nik Define is a good software for that) and some manual spots removal).

      This is my personal poor experience in this field.

      • September 17, 2010 at 1:09 am

        One more thing – the shorter the focal length, the more time you can expose the shot. If shooting with a longer lens, need to keep exposure speeds to a small number to prevent star trails…

    • September 17, 2010 at 1:08 am

      Jimmy, no, star trails should show up perfectly well on the D700. I would open up the aperture of the lens to the smallest number and keep ISO below ISO 800.

  13. 39
    ) Jimmy
    September 15, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Nasim,
    Currently I have the 16-35mm f4, 50mm 1.4G, Zeiss 100mm f2. From one of your reviews, you said you preferred 16-35mm to 24-70mm. Is that any point to get one? I don’t do birding, but looking for a lens to cover the tele range. Should I get 70-300mm or 28-300mm?
    Thanks.
    BTW, I eventually ended up with D3s, though heavy but loved it.

    • September 17, 2010 at 1:11 am

      Jimmy, I would go with the 70-300mm instead of the 28-300mm for two reasons – the focal length at 300mm on the 28-300mm is really not 300mm and the bokeh is much better to look at on the 70-300mm.

  14. 43
    ) Andrea Redd
    September 18, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    What would be your pick for a all around camera for everything a D3s or a D700? I am looking at both I need an upgrade from my D90.

    • October 4, 2010 at 10:33 am

      Andrea, it depends on your budget. If you can afford the D3s, go for it – otherwise, D700 is a very nice alternative. Another question is whether you shoot video or not, since D700 does not offer any video capabilities.

      I have both and I use them constantly for my photography.

  15. 45
    ) Bogdan
    November 23, 2010 at 7:35 am

    Hi Nasim,

    It’s my first posting on your site and first of all, I have to say it’s a great job what you do with this website.
    Regarding the comparison between D3s and D700, I noticed that D700 images are a little bit sharper and have more contrast than D3s images. Is there a difference in in-camera processing? Do you think that D3s might apply a little noise reduction so the images become softer?
    I’m asking these questions because lately, Nikon seemed to apply some tricks in their in-camera processing to increase images’ quality, even if they are in RAW format. For example, the new D7000 seems to increase the exposure just a little bit to avoid noise.

    • December 7, 2010 at 6:42 pm

      Bogdan, there is no sharpness difference between D700 and D3s – in the above samples, my focus is probably not 100% accurate on the D3s images, which is why they look a little less sharp. In real life situations, both cameras are equally as sharp and I cannot notice additional visible noise reduction on the D3s.

      In terms of overexposing to decrease noise – that’s a known technique called “shooting to the right”, which is basically overexposing an image to get better shadow details. I don’t think there is much surprise there – the Nikon D80/D200 and other older cameras were known to overexpose by about 0.7 EV.

  16. January 22, 2011 at 4:48 am

    Hi,

    Thank you for the effort to put this together. It’s great in showing daylight ISO comparisons. I find myself using High ISO (over 1600) mainly at night – at which time the noise performance – especially in shadows – is much different than daylight noise performance.

    I would have loved to see a comparison here for low-ligh photography as well.

    thanks!
    Keep up the good work

  17. 48
    ) nikos petof
    March 22, 2011 at 5:59 am

    Dear Nazim,

    would you suggest D700 vs D3s for landscape (tripod) and portrait work ? is the D700 picture quality as good as D3s at low , let say, ISO 200 ?

    I already have the D3S, and i am absolutely happy with it, but I am thinking about to get a second body, to not contineously switching the lenses, leaving the D3s on the 200-400 (set up i use very often) and using the second body with 14-24 etc.

    or it will be wiser to make an efford getting the second d3s ?

    i am not professional photographer, but i really love the photo…

    best regards,

    nikos

  18. 49
    ) Bhargav Boppa
    April 17, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Hi Nazim,

    It’s commendable how you take out time for this knowledge sharing on your website and it’s always been a learning experience reading through your blogs.

    I am not a professional photographer but I take photos at family events. I have a D90 with SB 600 now and I am not that happy with it’s ISO capabilities in low light conditions. I am planning to upgrade it to D700 with Sb900 as I can’t afford D3s. What do you suggest? And I would appreciate if you can share any tips to make the best use of D700 at such indoor events. Especially with ceiling being very high, I want to use ISO capabilities to ensure I don’t get underexposed photos. I will have 85mm 1.4 D, 50mm 1.8, 24-70mm 2.8 and a 70-300mm sigma as my lenses. Thank you

    Regards,
    Bhargav

  19. 50
    ) Chris Park
    November 4, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Hi Nazim,

    A question, am upgrading to D3S bodys soon and thinking lenses, been using DX 17-55 2.8 on my D300′s and wondered how much coverage loss there would be against the 24-70mm on the D3X, like you I try to carry as versatile a lens as possible to save weight by carrying lots of others :-).

    Not sure about how fdlexible the 24mm prime would be but would be interested in any comments you may have.

    Cheers Chris

  20. December 13, 2011 at 3:10 am

    How do you think when will be announced the new D800? This year?

  21. 52
    ) ron hefeeren
    January 19, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    when is the d700 going to be updated to anew model ,the d800 will it be in the shopes

  22. April 25, 2012 at 10:15 am

    I dont think that d800 is good in high ISO.

  23. November 23, 2012 at 5:45 am

    Very nice and helpful comparison!

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