• 35mm 860.4mm2
  • 12.1 megapixels
  • ISO 200 - 12,800
  • APS-C 369.0mm2
  • 14.8 megapixels
  • ISO 100 - 6400

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Differences

Nikon D3S advantages over Sigma SD1 Merrill

  • Lens selection
    Excellent vs Limited
    Better lens selection gives you more options
  • Larger sensor
    35mm vs APS-C
    More sensor area. Bigger is (generally) better.
  • Bigger pixels
    ~ 8.46 vs 5.00 microns
    Better low-light and dynamic range (all else equal)
  • Fast startup
    ~0.30 vs 4.5 sec
    Faster startup lets you catch the moment
  • Top deck display
    Yes vs No
    Check settings with a screen on top of the camera
  • HDMI out
    HDMI out vs None
    Use an external screen to monitor or review video
  • Shoots 24p video
    Yes vs No
    Gives your movies a big-screen feel
  • More dots on screen
    920k vs 460k dots
    Can mean greater resolution or a brighter screen
  • Less shutter lag
    0.20 vs 0.38 sec
    Focus and take a photo quickly (wide angle)
  • More viewfinder magnification
    0.70x vs 0.63x
    Get a bigger view of the scene through the eye-level viewfinder
  • Dual card slots
    Yes vs No
    Gives you more storage flexibility
  • Faster JPEG shooting
    9.0 fps vs 4.1 fps
    Faster JPEG shooting (burst mode)
  • Bigger JPEG buffer
    90 vs 7 shots
    Take more JPEG shots before waiting (burst mode)
  • Higher extended ISO
    102400 vs 6400 ISO
    Higher extended ISO can give more low-light flexibility

Sigma SD1 Merrill advantages over Nikon D3S

  • Internal flash
    Internal flash vs None
    Useful in a pinch for fill flash
  • Lighter weight
    796g vs 1410g
    Lighter weight
  • More pixels
    14.8 vs 12.1 megapixels
    Higher resolution photos
  • Doesn't require an AA filter
    Yes vs No
    A unique sensor design provides sharp photos without moiré

Similarities

Common Strengths

  • Eye-level viewfinder
    Both provide
    You'll be able to frame photos even when the sun is out
  • Pentaprism viewfinder
    Both provide
    Much better viewfinder picture fidelity
  • Hot shoe
    Both provide
    Off-camera flashes open new possibilities
  • 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
  • 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
  • External Mic Jack
    Neither provide
    Improved sound fidelity when shooting video
  • Headphone jack
    Neither provide
    Monitor audio recording while you shoot video
  • Slow-motion videos
    Neither provide
    Shoot slow-motion videos

User reviews

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Review Excerpt

The Competition

Compared to Nikon D700

Nikon D3S
Nikon D700
  • $5200
  • 35mm
  • Fast startup
  • Higher effective ISO
  • $3000
  • 35mm
  • Less expensive
  • Internal flash
Sigma SD1 Merrill
Nikon D700
  • $2049
  • APS-C
  • Lighter weight
  • More pixels
  • $3000
  • 35mm
  • Lens selection
  • Larger sensor

Compared to Nikon D300S

Nikon D3S
Nikon D300S
  • $5200
  • 35mm
  • Larger sensor
  • Bigger pixels
  • $1299
  • APS-C
  • Internal flash
  • External Mic Jack
Sigma SD1 Merrill
Nikon D300S
  • $2049
  • APS-C
  • More pixels
  • Doesn't require an AA filter
  • $1299
  • APS-C
  • Lens selection
  • Less expensive

Compared to Sony DSLR-A550

Nikon D3S
Sony DSLR-A550
  • $5200
  • 35mm
  • Lens selection
  • Larger sensor
  • $859
  • APS-C
  • Less expensive
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization
Sigma SD1 Merrill
Sony DSLR-A550
  • $2049
  • APS-C
  • Pentaprism viewfinder
  • More viewfinder magnification
  • $859
  • APS-C
  • Lens selection
  • In-Camera Image Stabilization

Compared to Canon 1DX

Nikon D3S
Canon 1DX
  • $5200
  • 35mm
  • Bigger pixels
  • Fast startup
  • $5499
  • 35mm
  • External Mic Jack
  • Newer
Sigma SD1 Merrill
Canon 1DX
  • $2049
  • APS-C
  • Less expensive
  • Internal flash
  • $5499
  • 35mm
  • Lens selection
  • Larger sensor

Compared to Nikon D4

Nikon D3S
Nikon D4
  • $5200
  • 35mm
  • Bigger pixels
  • Longer stills battery life
  • $6248
  • 35mm
  • External Mic Jack
  • Shoots 1080p video
Sigma SD1 Merrill
Nikon D4
  • $2049
  • APS-C
  • Less expensive
  • Internal flash
  • $6248
  • 35mm
  • Lens selection
  • Larger sensor
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