• 35mm 860.4mm2
  • 12.1 megapixels
  • ISO 200 - 12,800
  • 35mm 858.0mm2
  • 20.8 megapixels
  • ISO 100 - 102,400

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Differences

Nikon D3S advantages over Nikon D5

  • Bigger pixels
    ~ 8.46 vs 6.45 microns
    Better low-light and dynamic range (all else equal)
  • Fast startup
    ~0.30 vs 0.4 sec
    Faster startup lets you catch the moment
  • Higher effective ISO
    3,253 vs 2,343 iso
    Take photos in low light with less noise

Nikon D5 advantages over Nikon D3S

  • Shoot 4K video
    4K (UHD) vs 720p
    Make sure you have a fast computer
  • Touchscreen
    Touch vs No touch
    Interact with your camera just like your smartphone
  • External Mic Jack
    Jack vs No jack
    Improved sound fidelity when shooting video
  • Newer
    18 months vs 8 years old
    Newer cameras often support more advanced features
  • More dots on screen
    2359k vs 920k dots
    Can mean greater resolution or a brighter screen
  • Shoots 1080p video
    Yes vs No
    You'll want this if you shoot video
  • More pixels
    20.8 vs 12.1 megapixels
    Higher resolution photos
  • Shoots 60p video
    Yes vs No
    A faster framerate can give you more editing options
  • Headphone jack
    Yes vs No
    Monitor audio recording while you shoot video
  • Faster JPEG shooting
    12.1 fps vs 9.0 fps
    Faster JPEG shooting (burst mode)
  • Bigger JPEG buffer
    200 vs 90 shots
    Take more JPEG shots before waiting (burst mode)
  • Faster RAW shooting
    12.1 fps vs 9.1 fps
    Faster RAW shooting in burst mode
  • Bigger RAW buffer
    183 vs 41 shots
    Larger buffer for RAW shots (burst mode)
  • Higher extended ISO
    3276800 vs 102400 ISO
    Higher extended ISO can give more low-light flexibility

Similarities

Common Strengths

  • Eye-level viewfinder
    Both provide
    You'll be able to frame photos even when the sun is out
  • Top deck display
    Both provide
    Check settings with a screen on top of the camera
  • Pentaprism viewfinder
    Both provide
    Much better viewfinder picture fidelity
  • HDMI out
    Both provide
    Use an external screen to monitor or review video
  • Hot shoe
    Both provide
    Off-camera flashes open new possibilities
  • Dual card slots
    Both provide
    Gives you more storage flexibility
  • Bulb shutter
    Both provide
    Hold the shutter open manually for long exposures

Common Weaknesses

  • Focus peaking
    Neither provide
    Your camera will highlight what's in focus
  • Tilt-swivel screen
    Neither provide
    Tilt and swivel the screen for maximum shooting flexibility
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
    Neither provide
    Reduces the effects of camera shake at slower shutter speeds
  • In-camera panoramas
    Neither provide
    Stitches multiple shots into a panoramic photo
  • Tiltable Screen
    Neither provide
    Tilt the screen for shooting flexbility
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
    Neither provide
    Share your photos wirelessly
  • Built-in Bluetooth
    Neither provide
    Always-on wireless connectivity
  • Built-in GPS
    Neither provide
    Geotag your photos
  • On-sensor phase detect
    Neither provide
    Usually improves live view and video AF performance
  • Internal flash
    Neither provide
    Useful in a pinch for fill flash
  • Slow-motion videos
    Neither provide
    Shoot slow-motion videos

User reviews

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Your purchases support this site

Your purchases support this site

Buy the Nikon D5

Review Excerpt

  • Excellent image quality; Excellent high ISO performance; Fast 153-point autofocus system; Fast continuous shooting speeds; 4K video recording; Pro-quality camera body; Outstanding battery life.

  • Large and heavy body might not be right for all; Loud shutter; Underutilized touchscreen; Low ISO dynamic range not as good as predecessor; Extended high ISOs not very useful; Sluggish Live View AF.

The Competition

Compared to Nikon D700

Nikon D3S
Nikon D700
  • $5200
  • 35mm
  • Fast startup
  • Higher effective ISO
  • $3000
  • 35mm
  • Less expensive
  • Internal flash
Nikon D5
Nikon D700
  • $6497
  • 35mm
  • Shoot 4K video
  • Touchscreen
  • $3000
  • 35mm
  • Bigger pixels
  • Internal flash

Compared to Canon 1DX

Nikon D3S
Canon 1DX
  • $5200
  • 35mm
  • Bigger pixels
  • Fast startup
  • $4959
  • 35mm
  • External Mic Jack
  • Newer
Nikon D5
Canon 1DX
  • $6497
  • 35mm
  • Shoot 4K video
  • Touchscreen
  • $4959
  • 35mm
  • Less expensive
  • Higher effective ISO

Compared to Nikon D4

Nikon D3S
Nikon D4
  • $5200
  • 35mm
  • Bigger pixels
  • Longer stills battery life
  • $6497
  • 35mm
  • External Mic Jack
  • Shoots 1080p video
Nikon D5
Nikon D4
  • $6497
  • 35mm
  • Shoot 4K video
  • Touchscreen
  • $6497
  • 35mm
  • Fast startup
  • Higher effective ISO

Compared to Nikon D4S

Nikon D3S
Nikon D4S
  • $5200
  • 35mm
  • Bigger pixels
  • Longer stills battery life
  • $5499
  • 35mm
  • Fast startup
  • More dynamic range
Nikon D5
Nikon D4S
  • $6497
  • 35mm
  • Shoot 4K video
  • Touchscreen
  • $5499
  • 35mm
  • Less expensive
  • Fast startup

Compared to Canon 1DX Mark II

Nikon D3S
Canon 1DX Mark II
  • $5200
  • 35mm
  • Bigger pixels
  • Fast startup
  • $5999
  • 35mm
  • Shoot 4K video
  • Touchscreen
Nikon D5
Canon 1DX Mark II
  • $6497
  • 35mm
  • Fast startup
  • Longer stills battery life
  • $5999
  • 35mm
  • Higher effective ISO
  • Built-in GPS
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