D3S vs D3/D700 High ISO Test

Sep 10, 2008
Toronto, CANADA
Thank you for sharing. I appreciate your effort. Would you say the D3S is about 1.5 EV better than the D3/D700?

I would say that that is VERY difficult to say. At some settings yes, and at others maybe less. The thing is that the D3/D700 up to ISO3200 are excellent, and even at ISO6400 with proper exposure are very usable. The D3s on the other hand is excellent right up to the native limit of ISO12800, and with proper exposure at ISO25600 can be usable. So at those upper limits I would say yes there could be a 1.5 stop difference. But at ISO1600 you might have a tough time in some instances discerning one from the other.

More than just clean results though, what is impressive to me is the amount of color saturation and detail the D3s still captures in very low light. I think in some settings you would say the D3s is two full stops better, in other settings you might say less than a stop. I do believe there's a gap that is visible in some areas at ISO800, but you really need to pixel peep. Check out my last comparison at ISO1600 to see what I mean.

I guess what I'm saying is that - like I believe with most camera body comparisons - there is no real way to quantify XXXX number of stops difference. The D3s is better, but it depends on the subject and the actual ISO setting you are at to get a real feel for just how much better. I can make the D3/D700 look fantastic for most subjects up to ISO6400, and even beyond that with very careful processing.

I doubt I could do this with the D3/D700 though... ISO12800:

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Aug 4, 2008
Sandy, UT
great work DJ. Love the comparisons and opinion on this. Wish I had the money to get a D3s, sounds like a wonderful camera.

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