• 35mm 860.4mm2
  • 12.1 megapixels
  • ISO 200 - 12,800
  • APS-C 366.6mm2
  • 24.4 megapixels
  • ISO 100 - 51,200

Buy From

Differences

Nikon D3S advantages over Pentax K-3

  • Larger sensor
    35mm vs APS-C
    More sensor area. Bigger is (generally) better.
  • Bigger pixels
    ~ 8.46 vs 3.91 microns
    Better low-light and dynamic range (all else equal)
  • Fast startup
    ~0.30 vs 0.9 sec
    Faster startup lets you catch the moment
  • Higher effective ISO
    3,253 vs 1,216 iso
    Take photos in low light with less noise
  • Longer stills battery life
    More info 4200 vs 560 shots
    Capture more photos
  • More viewfinder magnification
    0.70x vs 0.63x
    Get a bigger view of the scene through the eye-level viewfinder
  • Faster JPEG shooting
    9.0 fps vs 7.1 fps
    Faster JPEG shooting (burst mode)
  • Faster RAW shooting
    9.1 fps vs 7.1 fps
    Faster RAW shooting in burst mode
  • Bigger RAW buffer
    41 vs 24 shots
    Larger buffer for RAW shots (burst mode)
  • Higher extended ISO
    102400 vs 51200 ISO
    Higher extended ISO can give more low-light flexibility

Pentax K-3 advantages over Nikon D3S

  • Focus peaking
    Peaker vs Non-peaker
    Your camera will highlight what's in focus
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
    Yes vs No
    Reduces the effects of camera shake at slower shutter speeds
  • More dynamic range
    13.4 vs 12.0 evs
    Retain detail in highlight and shadows
  • Internal flash
    Internal flash vs None
    Useful in a pinch for fill flash
  • External Mic Jack
    Jack vs No jack
    Improved sound fidelity when shooting video
  • Newer
    4 years vs 8 years old
    Newer cameras often support more advanced features
  • Shoots 1080p video
    Yes vs No
    You'll want this if you shoot video
  • More pixels
    24.4 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
  • Optional anti-aliasing filter
    Optional vs Fixed
    Lets you choose sharper photos or reduced moiré

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

  • Tilt-swivel screen
    Neither provide
    Tilt and swivel the screen for maximum shooting flexibility
  • Touchscreen
    Neither provide
    Interact with your camera just like your smartphone
  • 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
  • Slow-motion videos
    Neither provide
    Shoot slow-motion videos

User reviews

Buy From

Your purchases support this site

Review Excerpt

  • Top-notch image quality; Great ergonomics in a compact body; Unique on-demand low-pass filtering; Broad sensitivity range; Large and bright viewfinder for an APS-C camera; Dual card slots; Optional Wi-Fi remote control

  • AE Lock button is poorly located; Below-average battery life for a DSLR; Rather dated-looking menu system; Requires a different battery grip accessory than its predecessors; Less third-party support than some rivals

The Competition

Compared to Nikon D700

Nikon D3S
Nikon D700
  • $5200
  • 35mm
  • Fast startup
  • Higher effective ISO
  • $3000
  • 35mm
  • Less expensive
  • Internal flash
Pentax K-3
Nikon D700
  • $875
  • APS-C
  • Focus peaking
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
  • $3000
  • 35mm
  • Larger sensor
  • Bigger pixels

Compared to Canon 1D Mark IV

Nikon D3S
Canon 1D Mark IV
  • $5200
  • 35mm
  • Larger sensor
  • Bigger pixels
  • $4599
  • APS-H
  • External Mic Jack
  • Shoots 1080p video
Pentax K-3
Canon 1D Mark IV
  • $875
  • APS-C
  • Less expensive
  • Focus peaking
  • $4599
  • APS-H
  • Larger sensor
  • Bigger pixels

Compared to Nikon D4

Nikon D3S
Nikon D4
  • $5200
  • 35mm
  • Bigger pixels
  • Longer stills battery life
  • $5997
  • 35mm
  • External Mic Jack
  • Newer
Pentax K-3
Nikon D4
  • $875
  • APS-C
  • Less expensive
  • Focus peaking
  • $5997
  • 35mm
  • Larger sensor
  • Bigger pixels

Compared to Canon 70D

Nikon D3S
Canon 70D
  • $5200
  • 35mm
  • Larger sensor
  • Bigger pixels
  • $799
  • APS-C
  • Tilt-swivel screen
  • Touchscreen
Pentax K-3
Canon 70D
  • $875
  • APS-C
  • Focus peaking
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
  • $799
  • APS-C
  • Tilt-swivel screen
  • Touchscreen

Compared to Sony A77 II

Nikon D3S
Sony A77 II
  • $5200
  • 35mm
  • Lens selection
  • Larger sensor
  • $1198
  • APS-C
  • Tilt-swivel screen
  • Focus peaking
Pentax K-3
Sony A77 II
  • $875
  • APS-C
  • Lens selection
  • Less expensive
  • $1198
  • APS-C
  • Tilt-swivel screen
  • In-camera panoramas
Compare Other Cameras?