Nikon has released details of the new D3S, the flagship model in its DSLR line-up for sports and news photographers.


October 14, 2009: Nikon has released details of the new D3S, the flagship model in its DSLR line-up for sports and news photographers.
The 36.0 ø— 23.9 mm 12.1 megapixels (effective) Nikon FX format CMOS image sensor has been completely redesigned to provide a large pixel pitch for greater latitude in high ISO performance. Consequently, the D3S delivers ISO 200 to ISO 12,800 as standard and offers expanded sensitivity with a Lo 1 setting equivalent to ISO 100 plus up to Hi 3 expansion to ISO 102,400 equivalent. Coupled to the sensor is Nikon’s EXPEED image processor, which boasts 14-bit A/D conversion and a 16-bit image-processing pipeline.


Front view of the new Nikon D3S. (Source: Nikon.)


Rear view of the Nikon D3S. (Source: Nikon.)
Live view shooting is supported with two modes: Tripod and Hand-held. In a first for an FX-format flagship, the D3S incorporates the D-Movie function, which supports HD quality (1280 x 720 pixels) Motion-JPEG movies at 24 fps. A special High-Sensitivity Movie mode allows users to shoot at up to ISO equivalent of 102,400, when required. In-camera trim editing is supported and most of the camera’s still shooting functions remain accessible. Single frames can be saved on the fly as low-resolution JPEGs that are usable for basic print and web publishing needs. The D3S has both an internal monaural microphone and an external stereo microphone input, enabling higher fidelity audio recording.
In-camera functions include Nikon’s Active D-Lighting, which automatically regulates the dynamic range of high-contrast scenes. Six settings are provided including the newly added Auto and Extra high, as well as High, Normal, Low and Off plus bracketing of processing levels for up to five frames. The D3S comes with four pre-installed Picture Control profiles, which can be fine-tuned and saved as new custom Picture Control profiles. In-camera correction is also provided for lateral chromatic aberration.
The D3S’s continuous shooting rates range up to 9 frames/second in FX-format and 11 fps with DX crop. The factory-installed buffer memory has twice the capacity of the D3, dramatically increasing the power of continuous shooting. Other features derived from the D3 include Nikon’s Scene Recognition System, the 51-point autofocusing sensor with four Dynamic-area AF options, including 51 points (3D-tracking), which works with scene recognition. The 3D Colour Matrix Metering II system also uses highlight analysis from the Scene Recognition System to achieve correct exposures.
The D3S uses a strong yet lightweight magnesium alloy in its body, exterior cover, chassis and mirror box. A comprehensive series of O-rings and other specialised seals, exclude moisture and dust and protect against electromagnetic interference. The shutter in the D3S has been tested for up to 300,000 cycles. The D3S also includes a new Image Sensor Cleaning function, which generates vibrations at four specific frequencies to optimise dust removal.
Twin CF card slots give users the flexibility to record two full CF cards of data sequentially, backup data onto two cards, record RAW and JPEG simultaneously onto separate cards, and transfer data from one card to another. You can also designate the slot for data-heavy D-Movie recording.
A new ‘Q’ setting on the release mode dial can be used to substantially reduce the sound of the camera’s mirror-down during shooting. Nikon has also added a 1.2x crop (30 x 20) format with approx. 8.4 megapixels, an electronic virtual horizon that is available in Live View shooting, in-camera Retouch Menus, including RAW processing and extended menu banks for storing up to four combinations of exposure mode, shutter speed and aperture value.
Announced concurrently with the D3S is the new AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 85mm f/3.5G ED VR lens. This DX-format, medium-telephoto micro lens includes built-in Vibration

Reduction (VR II) and Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology. Containing 14 elements in 10 groups, it includes one ED glass element and accepts 52mm filters. It will be supplied with a bayonet hood and flexible pouch.


Nikon’s new DX-format AF-S DX Micro Nikkor 85mm f/3.5G ED VR lens. (Source: Nikon.)
Both products will be available in camera stores from early December. RRPs will be announced in early November. For more information, visit