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Nikon D3 or D3s?

Discussion in 'Nikon FX DSLR Forum' started by JR Magat, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. JR Magat

    JR Magat

    Feb 5, 2011
    I wanted to get opinions here... I currently have a D700 which i love, and have been using it for personal use, but even more so now that i'm doing sessions, and have an upcoming wedding in July

    SO... i'm looking to pick up another FF body and move my D700 to "backup" and personal use only - will most likely buy it around May/June (unless I find a steal). This new FF body will be my workhorse for photo sessions (kids, families mainly), and any other paying gig

    I have decided that I wanted a pro body which brings me to the D3 (~$2700+) or D3s (~$4500+) - i would buy used with low/moderate shutter count

    I know the D3 shares the same sensor as the D700, which works for me. Only real downside i've read on the D3 is no sensor cleaning (oil issue in some cases). D3s on the other hand is a dream machine... but is it really worth the price difference?

    I guess it makes sense to go for the D3... as I probably don't NEED the higher ISO capabilities of the D3s... but am I missing anything else that the D3s offers that the D3 doesn't?
  2. sambo.


    Mar 20, 2011
    well, i havn't actually used my D3s yet (only arrived this morning). but i'm sure looking forward to giving it a spin at the netball tonight.

    but: the lack of a sensor cleaning gizmo on the D3 is a BIG negative for me. i use the D700 sensor cleaner constantly (like, every time i change glass).

    i'd get a second D700 over a plan D3. if you can justify the cost of the D3s, then that's the way to go.
  3. rnb65p


    Feb 26, 2009
    D3s has HD video and has the D3 buffer upgrade in it.
  4. IMO, If you shoot sports, the buffer upgrade along is worth it.
  5. jonh68


    Sep 21, 2008
    I have the D700 and bought a D3s used as you are thinking. If you can afford it, get the D3s. You already have D3 performance now. I would get another D700 if you need another camera for backup over a D3.
  6. I used to own a D700 and D3. Now I have a D3 and D3s. You mentioned weddings. You know the performance you have with D700 at ISO 4,000. Imagine having that same quality image at ISO 8,000. That's what you get with the D3s.
    That low light ability was enough for me to sell my D700 and buy the D3s. Video is a nice feature, but for me, I'd rather use a dedicated HD camcorder.
  7. I was really gonna hold until the D4, but with the current situation in Japan I might just pick up a D3S now. Compliments my D300S better.
  8. Ronald M

    Ronald M

    Nov 10, 2008
    The big advantage of the D3 & D3S to me is a bit better ergonomics and 100% viewfinder and dual card slots.

    The downside is I can not put a Katz Eye screen in a D3.

    If you do not consider any of these advantages, get a second D700.

    D3 to D3S is a bit better high ISO quality and video.

    If I were looking for best quality, D3X is what I would get.

    My 6MP D40 makes amazing 11x14 prints, but I have not pushed my FX bodies to the limit yet.
  9. JR Magat

    JR Magat

    Feb 5, 2011
    Thanks all for the replies!

    I am looking at the D3 or D3s because I want to try a pro-body, i like the dual card slots, and the higher (300,000) shutter rating. I think for sessions and if I decide to do more weddings, then having a D3 or D3s would be a better fit.

    My D700 is great, and I think the performance of it is outstanding. I shot an event (indoors) at ISO 2500 - 3200 and the noise was easy to fix in LR3. I don't see myself going much higher than ISO 3200, but then again, it wouldn't hurt to be able to (with the D3s)

    I am going to wait until May/June before I pick up another body. I am leaning towards the D3 since it's basically my D700 in a pro-body which is probably good enough for me. D3s I would love to have, but I can't really justify the extra $2000.

    I was also looking forward to the announcement/release of the D4 to see if prices dropped, but that will probably be awhile now.
  10. If you don't mind the bulk, these bodies are very nice to use! 2000$ is a big difference in price, only you can decide if it's worth it...
  11. actionshooter


    Aug 26, 2008
    I have the D3s with the D700 as a backup. Great combo. I started with the D3 and D700. I got the D3s for two reasons: the increase in buffer and ISO increase. I didn't get it for the video, but I figure at some point I might like it. IF you can handle the difference in price at this point I'd say go for the D3s. I wouldn't wait for the D4 at this point. I just can't imagine they can improve much more on the ISO, so the only major thing I see coming with the D4 is better video. I hope to be surprised though.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2011
  12. JR Magat

    JR Magat

    Feb 5, 2011
    Thank you, it sounds like the concensus is that if I can afford the D3s, then it's worth it!

    Though, for $2,000 less, i'm sure the D3 is good enough... which might be my choice due to price. But i wouldn't mind eventually going to D3s if prices hit the 3K range once the D4 is released (which is TBD...) but the D3 should fit the bill for my needs (primary FX pro-body, move D700 to backup)
  13. jonh68


    Sep 21, 2008
    You say you don't go below 3200 so you wouldn't need the better performing D3s. Having a D700 and D3s, I really think getting the D3s is justifiable if you can afford it. If money is an issue, I would just get another D700 over a D3, or wait until the price drop when the D4 comes out. You will find the ISO performance does help. I had to shoot a ballet and I was able to shoot it with a 70-300 VR instead of taking a 300 2.8. Much easier to move around with a 70-300 VR. The D3s will not only give you more options when shooting in low light, it will give you more options with your lenses.
  14. Save the extra cash by getting another D700 and go buy more glass. Unless you absolutely need the extra lowlight I'd get the D3S. I shoot with other photographers with the D3S and below 3200, there isn't much difference. Above 3200 the D3S shines, but if you're shooting with good glass the D3/D700 still do pretty well.
  15. JR Magat

    JR Magat

    Feb 5, 2011
    Good point. I think I will go after a used D3 though as I'd like a pro body and like the idea of 300,000 shutter rating; though it means nothing really :) 

    As for glass. I think I'm set for now, so saving money doesn't hurt either :D 
  16. Good luck hunting down that D3 with your name on it! Your lenses seem nice indeed.
  17. JR Magat

    JR Magat

    Feb 5, 2011
    Thank you! Just pulled the trigger on a used D3 with 22K shutter count (still a baby!)
  18. congrats on the purchase, JR! I too purchased a D3! how much did you pay for your D3 by the way?
  19. My standard is to go for the best I can afford, features you may think you will never use can become the most used.
  20. JR Magat

    JR Magat

    Feb 5, 2011
    Thank you!

    I paid $3,000 for the D3 (22k on the shutter), which a few months ago I would consider way over-priced... but with the Japan situation... i just don't see prices going down anytime soon.

    I also needed/wanted a 2nd FX body before a July wedding i'm going to do. So, I just jumped on one while i could.

    I was also tempted with a D3s for $4700... BUT i couldn't convince myself to put out that kind of money... I paid that much for my D3 AND D700, so I think it's a better decision
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