In the best Nikon tradition the D3s has an eye-level pentaprism viewfinder with 100 per cent coverage in full frame mode and 97 per cent in the 1.2x cropped or DX mode. The viewfinder is bright, clear and accurate, with a 0.7 magnification at 50mm and interchangeable focusing screens. For those who are used to frame with the aid of an overlay grid, Nikon has not included an electronic one, so the only option is to buy a separate grid screen.
Shutter speed ranges from 1/8000sec to 30secs
The viewfinder is still the preferred composing tool of the professional photographer and as such Nikon provides it with indicators for nearly every setting. When not shooting in the native FX mode, a translucent LCD screen is activated in the viewfinder that partly masks out the inactive areas of the frame to enable accurate composition in crop modes.
At a glance the D3s is almost identical to its older brother, the differences with the D3 being arguably minor. A dedicated Live View (LV) button is now located on the rear of the camera, which makes much more sense than the LV position on the Drive Mode dial, as presented in the D3. For the first time in Nikon’s pro line there is an Info button recalling all shooting information on the rear status display, and a mic input on the front of the camera.
However the most significant departure from the D3 is the much needed inclusion of a Dust Reduction sensor cleaning system, which works by activating, automatically or manually, four different frequencies of vibrations on the filter over the sensor in order to remove any dust particle trapped in it.
The LV functionality is similar to that of the D3, having a Hand-held or a Tripod option. While the Hand-held mode uses the same phase-detection Autofocus as the D3 – activated by the AF-ON button or by half-pressing the shutter release in the Tripod option – Nikon employs a new contrast-detection auto-focus. In the hand-held mode Live View briefly switches itself off to allow the AF sensor to come into play but it is still faster than the Tripod mode, despite Nikon’s claims to have improved the latter’s speed by 30 per cent.
The viewfinder is packed full of information and there's always the Live View option
It is a shame that Nikon has still not found a way to permit direct access to playback from LV. As in previous models, you need to exit the Live View application before you can review your shots. A new Quiet Mode allows you to muffle the noisy sound of the mirror-return cycle and now takes the place of the LV position on the Drive Mode. Although the mode is far from silent, it does make a difference and will be a welcome addition among wildlife and stage photographers.
Next page: Sample Shots
I don't understand the wingeing about the video resolution. Who the hell uses a pro DSLR for video anyway? It's like moaning about boot space in a sports car. If you're serious about results, you will of course use the right tool for the job. Nikon should have resisted adding these consumer level features to their pro line - who cares what Canon do.
Agreed on the video...
...but i'd like to add some praise for the quality of the photos, no doubt expected from a pro but they were excellent. It's nice to have someone who clearly knows what they're on about reviewing things on here also!
The Morris Minor shot was stunning!
"Pushing the shutter button and taking the pics" is not the important thing. If it were, the mass upload of out of focus pub shots, depicting the pores in some tedious drunk's nose would be thrilling.
Taking good or interesting pictures is more important, and often requires slightly more than just "pushing the shutter button and taking the pics". Either that, or maybe Henri C-B, Robert Mapplethorpe, William Egglestone, Jane Bown and co are just making a lot of fuss about nothing.
You may find the following thrilling info-graphic fact felch instructive:
I'm in lust!
HD Video? Pah, it's a DSLR, not a video cam-corder!
Next you'll be complaining it's not comfortable to hold against your eye for 30 minutes and why can't it have a forward eyepiece halfway down the lens and sit over your shoulder like a real pro video camera!
The video mode is a nice to have, not its reason d'etre, and 720p is perfectly good. Only a few years ago we were all happy watching 625 interlaced in the UK (512 in the states I believe) until someone convinced us all that we were watching pixels the size of tennis balls. Even now I'm sure that many of us are still "only" watching 720p. Hell I've still got several CRTs and they still don't make my eyes bleed despite all the hype.
I moved from a D80 to a D300 for better low light gig shooting, but this beasty is in another league! Just look at the pictures that baby takes, at that ISO, wow.... Droooooool...
Some pros do use video
I have a friend who is a cinematographer who like me swears by Nikon.
He explained his need for video, but it wasn't necessary to do 1080.
Nikon is right in focusing on developing the body for a specific niche and make it the best that it can be.
Note that this is a *pro* camera and that it is designed for sports/nature niche. I mean if I could afford one I'd rather have a camera that had these features plus 24mb resolution. (How many years will that take?)
Oh and I swear by Nikon because I grew up using Nikon. Anyone see a Nikon F (yes the original F) take a 3.5" fall on to the ground and survive with only a minor dent in the head? Still usable, although it sits on a shelf in my brother's house because no one uses film these days.
Oh and I want one, except my wife keeps spending me in to the poor house. ;-)