Nikon D3S Review

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Nikon D3S Sample Videos

Click on the links below to view/download our sample clips. You should have no problems playing the Motion JPEG files with most video players, including QuickTime.

(NOTE that these are extremely large files: If you think you'll be inclined to want to refer back to them, please download copies to your local hard drive, to save our bandwidth!)

Nikon D3S Sample Videos










All the videos above are 1,280 x 720 resolution, 24 frames/second, shot by Dave Etchells at a Nikon PR event in New York City on 10/20/2009. I unfortunately don't have notes on the ISO each was shot at (way too much going on at the time, and there doesn't appear to be any ISO information embedded in the AVI files to identify them), but to the best of my recollection, all were shot at ISO 5,000 - 12,800, with most in the range of 10,000 to 12,800. I didn't go lower than ISO 5,000 or so, in order to maintain high enough shutter speeds, and didn't go over 12,800 because it looked like the shutter speeds I was getting were high enough to freeze the motion adequately, without introducing additional image noise.

For an action situation like this, I found myself a little frustrated with AF: Contrast-detect AF was way too slow to adjust quickly enough as the acts moved around, and I didn't feel my eyes would be able to discern accurate focus, looking at the LCD screen: The screen was probably sharp enough to do so, but I'd need some sort of a magnifier to be able to see it clearly enough to judge focus from it. What I really would have liked would have been an AF feature in Live View mode that would briefly drop the mirror to perform a phase-detect AF cycle, then return to Live View mode. As it is, my workaround was to try to keep my thumb on the Live View button, to quickly pop back to normal view, hit the AF button, then pop back into Live View.

Other than the limitations of my own eyes, in not being able to see acutely enough to focus manually, the camera's recording capabilities in this low-light situation were little short of incredible. The light levels on the performers were actually fairly bring in some cases, but most of what I recorded as movies was probably closer to typical concert lighting than bright theatrical lighting. This would be an incredible camera for anyone shooting concert or club performances, or other even lower-light venues.

Shooting still images, the Nikon D3S just blew me away. For stills, I mostly stayed at ISO 10,000 and below, but the resulting images were remarkably low in grain for that ISO level. And the couple of shots I grabbed at ISO 102,400 were just amazing. Sure, they have a lot of noise, but you have to understand just how dim the surroundings were: Even allowing for the noise, the camera was seeing way more clearly than I was. And the two 102,400 shots in the still samples were also shot at 200mm using VR, no less. - Amazing enough to get a stable image at that light level, let alone with a 200mm tele. Pretty incredible...


All images copyright © 2009 by The Imaging Resource. All rights reserved.

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