3) Image Sensor
The Nikon D3s has a modified full-frame sensor from the legendary Nikon D3 camera. While the size and the number of pixels remained the same, Nikon found a way to push high ISO performance to new limits with the D3s. As can be seen from the next page of the review, it is roughly 1-1.5 stops better at high ISOs, which is incredible. Shooting at ISO 6400 on the Nikon D3s gives better results than shooting at ISO 3200 on the original Nikon D3 and Nikon D700 cameras! As I have already pointed out, the Nikon D3s has been the king of low-light photography since it was announced in 2009. However, this incredible high ISO performance comes at a cost – the Nikon D3s still has the same 12 Megapixel sensor as the original Nikon D3. Considering that most new cameras from other manufacturers now have at least 16-18 MP, 12 Megapixels is definitely on the low side (the new Sony A77/A65/NEX 7 cameras have a 1.5x crop factor sensor with a whopping 24 MP!), so Nikon needs to start catching up with a higher resolution sensor. Sure, many of us rarely need more than 12 MP, but for photographers like me that shoot nature and events it would be nice to have one camera that sort of sits in the middle, having a good balance of resolution and high ISO performance.
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