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The D3S: on assignment
Bill Frakes
Sports/Photojournalism (U.S.A.)
From the bustling metropolis of Sydney to aboriginal villages in
the Outback, from a cold and dusty Aussie rules football pitch
in Tasmania to the sun-baked desert in Nambung National
Park, Sports Illustrated staff photographer and award-winning
photojournalist, Bill Frakes roamed Australia for three weeks,
testing the D3S relentlessly to serve his seemingly limitless
photographic imagination.
Vincent Munier
Nature/Wildlife (France)
As an artist with an immense respect for nature, award-winning
wildlife photographer, Vincent Munier waits patiently in severe
weather until his animal subjects grow to accept his presence.
Only then will he begin photographing them. Vincent recently took
the D3S on assignment with him to Norway and Finland. There, he
and the D3S sat quietly in the wind and rain while getting to know
the creatures of the Nordic forest.
Every time I put the D3S to my eye, it's like opening a surprise
present. It makes the child in me come out and play. Everything I see
can be captured accurately and luidly, and by combining still capture
and D-Movie, I can meld motion and emotion into multidimensional
expressions of visual and audio exploration.
I make career-deining decisions in milliseconds, and I want the best
possible image quality every time I push the button. No matter who you are, or how you work,
you never know when the cosmos will align in such a way that the perfect image is available.
When it happens, I have to be ready in every conceivable way. This is why the D3S excites and
motivates me. I need a camera that responds precisely, quickly and consistently. The D3S does
that and more, and this kind of power gives me enormous freedom.
Animal photography is a passion more than a profession. Sometimes
I sit in the rain and snow for weeks just to experience a single brief
moment with an animal. I need the best and most reliable equipment
available so that I can take full advantage of the rare opportunities
inherent in my work.
Many of my subjects are active only after the sun goes down. Yet
with the D3S, I managed to photograph things that my eyes were practically unable to see. For
example, I remember a brown bear that was just meters from my cabin in the Finnish taiga. It was
the middle of the night, but just a short glimpse of his wet nose permitted me to focus, resulting
in a surprisingly sharp picture. Capturing images like this is what makes the D3S invaluable.
Specifications and equipment are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer . October 2009 2009 Nikon Corporation
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What would you do if the laws of photography changed? With the introduction of the new Nikon D3S,
professional photographers around the world will reconsider this question entirely, and re-examine the
power, potential and reach that photography can now achieve. The D3S's abilities are so revolutionary
that photographers will experience an entirely new level of performance and creativity, pushing them
further into the uncharted waters of possibility. Standing on the shoulders of the incredibly fast and
versatile D3, the new D3S makes spectacular improvements that will enable you to think and shoot in
ways you never thought possible: commercial-quality low-noise images as high as ISO 12800, the ability to
Redraw Your Boundaries
shoot HD movies at high ISOs with stereo sound*, saving a selected frame from D-Movie as a JPEG for immediate
print and web publication, light sensitivity beyond what your own eyes can see clearly, and the consistent
accuracy and reliability that Nikon is known for. All of these things are now at your command. The new Nikon
lagship will quite literally make you see things differently, and help you approach your next assignment with a new
sense of excitement. It's time to redeine the true power of photography and the future of imaging. What could you
accomplish if you could redraw the boundaries of photography? Find out, with the D3S.
* When using an optional external stereo microphone.
• Sensitivity: ISO 12800 • Lens: AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR • Image quality: 14-bit RAW (NEF) • Exposure: [M] mode, 1/1,000 second, f/4 • White balance: Cloudy • Picture Control: Standard ©Bill Frakes
• Sensitivity: ISO 12800 • Lens: AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8G ED VR • Image quality: 14-bit RAW (NEF) • Exposure: [A] mode, 1/500 second, f/2.8 • White balance: Cloudy • Picture Control: Vivid ©Vincent Munier
Evolution of the D3: Standard ISO 12800
ISO performance: ISO 12800 as standard,
expandable to 102400 equivalent (Hi 3)
Whether shooting indoor sports, stadium events at
night, theatrical and concert performances, weddings,
dimly-lit spot news or in any condition where light is
limited and Speedlights are not an option, the D3S will
change how you are able to approach assignments,
even more dramatically than its predecessor, the
legendary D3. Photographers can now depend on
ISO 200 to ISO 12800 as the professional standard.
Imagine: tack-sharp action images in low light at
action-freezing shutter speeds without worrying about
excessive, image-degrading noise – even at ISO 12800.
When needed, the D3S expands into uncharted
territory, reaching the amazing ISO equivalent of
102400. At this setting, the D3S lets you still reveal
color and detail, even in extremely low-lit places. The
D3S's exceptional low-noise performance also applies
to D-Movie capture. What can you accomplish with
still or movie images in extremely low-light situations?
Consider the new possibilities.
Images taken at Hi 3 (ISO 102400 equivalent)
©Vincent Munier
D-Movie: new dimensions to your creativity
From well-lit scenes to
extremely low-lit situations,
Nikon's D-Movie mode
delivers unique versatility.
Its Motion-JPEG gives you
HD quality (1,280 x 720
pixels) movies at 24 fps.
By controlling the aperture
from the widest f-stop,
the large FX-format sensor
renders low-noise images with beautiful bokeh effects
from a large selection of NIKKOR lenses. Use High-
Sensitivity Movie mode to shoot at up to ISO 102400
in places too dark to see clearly with your own eyes.
Movie footage is easy to trim in-camera by choosing
the starting or ending points for easy transfer. You
can even save selected movie frames as JPEGs for
immediate print and web publishing needs. The D3S
has both an internal monaural microphone and an
external stereo microphone input, enabling higher
idelity audio recording.
• Sensitivity: 3 EV above ISO 12800
• Lens: AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8G
ED VR • Image quality: 14-bit RAW
(NEF) • Exposure: [A] mode, 1/500
second, f/2.8 • White balance: Auto
• Picture Control: Standard
• Sensitivity: 3 EV above ISO 12800
• Lens: AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8G
ED VR • Image quality: 14-bit RAW
(NEF) • Exposure: [A] mode, 1/50
second, f/2.8 • White balance: Cloudy
• Picture Control: Vivid
Still image saved from D-Movie
©Vincent Munier
Large pixel pitch: the 12.1-megapixel
FX-format advantage
Dedicated to raising the bar of the legendary D3
performance, Nikon engineers completely redesigned
the image sensor of the D3S, further optimizing the
inner structure while maintaining the pixel count and
the large pixel pitch for even greater latitude in high
ISO performance. As a result, the D3S captures and
renders light in ways that no other camera has yet
achieved*. This in turn contributes to a signiicantly
higher signal-to-noise ratio and a wide dynamic
range, which translates into unmatched image quality
throughout the broadened ISO sensitivity range
for both still images and movies.
Combined with the unmatched
accuracy of NIKKOR lenses, the D3S
and its FX-format sensor deliver a
quality all their own.
ISO 200
ISO 400
ISO 800
ISO 1600
Image Sensor Cleaning: assured protection
After relentless testing, Nikon engineers successfully
developed the Integrated Dust Reduction System that
will satisfy high expectations. The
D3S's Image Sensor Cleaning
function generates vibrations
at four speciic frequencies to
optimize dust removal. This function
can be set to operate automatically
when the camera is turned on and off,
or manually.
* Among digital SLRs, as of September 2009.
©Bill Frakes
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
ISO 12800
• Sensitivity: ISO 12800 • Lens: AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED • Image quality: 14-bit RAW (NEF) • Exposure: [M] mode, 1/20 second, f/6.3 • White balance: Auto • Picture Control: Standard ©Bill Frakes
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Image Quality Further Reined: EXPEED
EXPEED: Nikon's comprehensive
approach to quality digital images
Nikon understands that image quality, accuracy
and speed are equally critical to professional
photographers. Further reining these essential
performance requirements is what brought about
EXPEED, Nikon's fast, comprehensive, and energy-
eficient approach to in-camera image processing.
The rich initial data maintains its integrity through
14-bit A/D conversion and a 16-bit image-processing
pipeline, which shows the enormous creative potential
inherent in the NEF (Nikon Electronic Image Format).
Combined with Nikon's FX-format sensor, the D3S
produces an exceptional tonal range, and minimized
tone jumps. Expect iner tonal gradation in highlights
even with extremely bright subject matter – as well
as colors that were once considered altogether
impossible, such as skin tones and strong reds in the
same frame without over-saturation.
Lateral chromatic aberration
©Bill Frakes
Picture Control: custom-tailored tone and color
Nikon's powerful and intuitive image adjustment tool
helps you deine the look and feel of your images
by custom-tailoring sharpness, saturation and other
parameters to match your creative intentions. Think of it
like selecting certain types of ilm for speciic shooting
situations. The D3S comes with four pre-installed
Picture Control proiles, which can be ine-tuned and
saved as new custom Picture Control proiles that
match your personal preferences and shooting style or
particular shooting conditions. Fast, easy and powerful,
custom proiles are easily copied to additional cameras.
Lateral chromatic aberration reduction:
edge-to-edge sharpness
The D3S corrects color fringes caused by chromatic
aberrations that, in some instances, can appear at the edges
between differing subject elements, thereby improving
image quality throughout the entire frame. Because lateral
chromatic aberrations are corrected regardless of lens
type – whether telephoto, wide-angle, non-CPU and other
types of NIKKOR lenses – this important aspect of the
D3S contributes substantially to the highly reined image
integrity that professionals demand.
Active D-Lighting: rescuing tone in highlights
and shadows
The days of choosing between shadow or highlight
detail are over. Nikon's Active D-Lighting automatically
regulates the dynamic range of high-contrast scenes to
pull out shadow details and preserve highlights. Simply
choose the appropriate setting – Auto, Extra high, High,
Normal, Low or Off – prior to shooting. Auto setting
controls the regulation value appropriately. You can
also bracket Active D-Lighting strength levels up to ive
frames and select the best rendition afterwards.
©Bill Frakes
©Vincent Munier
©Bill Frakes
©Bill Frakes
• Lens: AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II • Image quality: 14-bit RAW (NEF) • Exposure: [M] mode,
1/2,500 second, f/18 • White balance: Auto • Sensitivity: ISO 200 • Picture Control: Standard ©Bill Frakes
Active D-Lighting [Off]
Active D-Lighting [High]
©Vincent Munier
Portrait *
©Bill Frakes
Landscape *
©Bill Frakes
• Lens: AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED • Image quality: 14-bit RAW (NEF) • Exposure: [M] mode, 1/320 second, f/10 • White balance: Cloudy • Sensitivity: ISO 640 • Picture Control: Standard ©Bill Frakes
* Can be downloaded from the Nikon website.
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