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Used D3s or D3 ?

Hoi Kwong , Jul 01, 2012; 12:20 a.m.

I've been searching for used D3s locally for sometimes but no luck after 6 months.
Yesterday, my favorite used camera shop told me they have used D3 in stock for $2700. Since my target is always focus on D3s, D3 is never on my list. I only know 720p video feature is not on D3. If video feature is not significant in my lowlight indoor event, soccer, landscape, wildlife photo shooting, shall I take this used D3 rather than waiting forever for D3s ? What are the differnce between D3 and D3s ?
Thanks.

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ross b , Jul 01, 2012; 01:28 a.m.

Nikon claims these improvements on the D3s from the D3 per wikipedia:
Nikon claims improved ultra-high image sensor sensitivity with up to ISO 102400,[2] HD movie capability for extremely low-lit situations,[3][4] image sensor cleaning, optimized workflow speed, improved autofocus and metering, enhanced built-in RAW processor, quiet shutter-release mode, up to 4,200 frames per battery charge and other changes compared with the D3.[1] It was replaced by the D4 as Nikon's high speed flagship DSLR.

I looked up the D3 at KEH.com and they want $2444.00 for one in EX+ condition. Also KEH offers a 6 month warranty with their used camera's. KEH does have a D3s for sale also and It is $4400.00 for an EX+ model. I do not know if you live in an area that allows shopping at KEH but it does give an idea of the used retail value of the camera's in US dollars.

The last point is that I have never owned, used or even held these camera's. Just info from the net is all that I have to offer.

Hoi Kwong , Jul 01, 2012; 01:41 a.m.

Thank you Ross for your detailed information. I'm living in Canada. No way to have shipping or warranty from KEH. For a used $4400 D3s, I will break my piggy bank for extra $600 to get a new D3s in $5000. It seems that I have to stick to D3s and forget about D3..... but again $2500 looks like a good price for a used FX camera.

Rick Chen , Jul 01, 2012; 01:56 a.m.

My 2 cent. I own a D3s and use to own a D3 before I had a D700. For your specified uses (sports, lowlight indoor, wildlife) I would definitely go with D3s. My former D700 D3 starts to get noisy at ISO1600ish, while I had some real clean shots of D3s at 5000-6000. That's assuming you have the fastest lenses available. In my area D3 is selling about 2200-2500 max., and D3s about 3500-3800. So that's about a grand of difference. Still I say 3500-3800 is much better than 5k for a brand new one. But yeah my area is different than yours no doubt.

ross b , Jul 01, 2012; 01:57 a.m.

Your welcome, good luck with your camera when you find the right one.

Matthew Brennan , Jul 01, 2012; 04:27 a.m.

If your shooting workload is weighted strongly in favour of indoor sports with low light conditions then I'd be hanging out for a D3s and it's extra higher ISO noise suppression. If you are happy with the resolution of the Nikon 12 MP FX sensor then I'd be pushing to be able to shoot cleaner images whilst pushing the ISO out further - handy for long lens wildlife shooting too.

Wouter Willemse , Jul 01, 2012; 05:58 a.m.

Hoi, looking at some of the previous threads you started on choosing your camera, it seems you've been contemplating this camera choice already a lot.... and for some reason, you seem to keep the D700 of your list of cameras. Can I ask, is there is a specific reason why?
The D3s has a more or less a full stop advantage over the D3 and D700 (unlike previous poster, my D700 does not get noisy at ISO1600, more around D3200 I'd say. If you find ISO1600 on the D300 usable, you're fine with ISO3200-4000 on the D700). Is that one stop worth the extra money? Or could the saved money be better spent on a lens that is one stop faster than what you currently use?
I bought a brand new D700 a few weeks ago for less than 2000 euros, with full warranty and everything. That is about as much as your 2nd hand D3... and frankly, secondhand professional bodies usually saw intensive use. Consider what you really give up going to a D700 - it's not a big step down from the D3. And since you currently have a D300, you will find the transition incredibly easy, as it's an identical body. So, unless you have a strict reason why you don't want the D700, it's really worth considering.

Dave Petley , Jul 01, 2012; 09:44 a.m.

If you are from canada look at Henrys I pick one up 2.200 with 1900 Actuations on it camera was mint like new .

Shun Cheung , Jul 01, 2012; 10:13 a.m.

When the D3S first came out, I tested its high-ISO capability against my D700 very carefully. (The D700 has essentially identical electronics as the D3 so that they have the same high-ISO results.) The D3S will give you about one extra stop, perhaps a little more. Nikon rates the D3S' top ISO to be 12800 vs. 6400 for the D3/D700; that is about right. Anything in those extended Hi range beyond 12800 is pretty much useless anyway.

Other than that, the D3S has:

  • Deeper image buffer built in, on the D3, that was a $500 aftermarket optional add on.
  • Auto sensor cleaning
  • Quiet shutter mode
  • 720p HD video

The D3S' video is pretty much useless now since the cheapest DSLRs and mirrorless cameras have 1080p HD video.

If you are into high-ISO photography such as weddings, indoor sports, etc., that extra stop is important.

Another reason that used D3S tend to be more expensive is that they are newer. Nikon started shipping the D3 around November 30, 2007. Therefore, the oldest D3 are now four and half years old. There can be a lot of usage on those cameras.

Elliot Bernstein , Jul 01, 2012; 10:37 a.m.

While there appears to be a small difference at the high ISO range, whether you can actually see the difference or not depends on a number of factors including how you shoot (RAW vs JPG), which software you use to process your images, your ability to use that software to maximize your results and or course your print size.

There are several sites online that you can download comparison shots and evaluate them for yourself. I suggest you do that. Here is a link to one of them:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikon-d800-d800e/33

(you need to select the bodies and ISO manually)

There are still many low mileage, perfect condition D3 bodies available for at very reasonable prices compared to the D3S. For the difference in price between the D3 and D3s, I would go for the D3 (as it appears you don't need video) and get a new lens or two if you want with the money you save.


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