Nikon D3S: Noise-Free Photos at ISO 8000

Have you ever wanted a camera that could shoot exceptionally well in low-light? I have. And a long time ago I spent a considerable sum acquiring a Canon 20D body and a 35mm f/1.4 L lens. I was able to take some fairly decent low-light shots at ISO 800 with the lens wide open. But the setup was large and heavy, reasons that kept the monster locked inside my home most of the time. I sold the pair and got myself a quaint Canon S90 mostly because it was eminently more portable than the 20D and 35mm lens. Now, I take the S90 almost everywhere, and it’s pretty good in low-light. The Nikon D3S makes me think it would again be not only okay but more than worth it to haul heavy industrial equipment for the chance to get exceptional pictures in very low-light environments. Of course even when you decide you could deal with the weight the D3S isn’t for everyone. The financial burden is heavy: US$5199.95 on Amazon. But maybe it is worth selling your worn out car for one of these.


For now, if versatility and speed are of more use to you than a little extra resolution, the Nikon D3S will serve you very well indeed.

I would go without a little extra resolution for better low-light capabilities any day.


So, is the Nikon D3S the world’s best digital camera then? Well, statements like that are always controversial to say the least, but for most intents and purposes; yes, it is.

From what I can tell after reading review after review of the Nikon D3S is this: Nikon’s D3S is the king of low-light. There is nothing like it on the market. Nothing from Canon even comes close. Just like the title says you can get photos without a trace of noise at ISO 8000. You can find the full specification on Nikon. About the only feature that is a glaring disappointment is the video capture limitation of 720/24p. Was 1080/24p not possible? Nonetheless there is no video capture device on the market that is able to record motion picture in such low-light conditions as the D3S. If 1080/24p is a must then I would consider the Canon EOS-1D Mark IV for a little less than the D3S but you do lose a full frame sensor.

All photographers who are somewhat serious about photography know the importance of having a fast lens to get good pictures in low-light photography. I think with the D3S that fact has become less important and you might even say that it has become not important at all. Steve Jobs called the iPad magical; it does have a newness in the way we interact with it that we have not experienced before. But the real magic is found here: the 12.1 megapixel full-frame (36×24 mm) CMOS image sensor used in the D3S makes any lens take fantastically amazing photos in any light condition, even in almost complete darkness. The D3S sucks in every single photon available and makes light out of darkness. Now that’s magic!