Would it be crazy to buy a D3s now?

Swame_spSwame_sp Posts: 58Member
edited September 2014 in Nikon DSLR cameras
With all the new advancements in the Digital photography world, would it be crazy to buy a used Nikon D3s as a primary full frame camera?

Low light performance and 9fps is something that i'm interested in.
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  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    Not at all. The D3s is awesome.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    I think you would have to appreciate the qualities that do not relate to image quality, otherwise buy a D750. It is almost triple the price.
  • kanuckkanuck Posts: 1,293Member
    edited September 2014
    Good question. The D3s is a fantastic camera and built to last forever. I like how it has the duo CF card slots instead of those Mickey Mouse XQD cards or even SD+CF option that is common today. While it's specs are beginning to become dated, if you can get a good deal on one with actuation s in the 20,000~110,000 range I would jump on it. It's hard to beat Nikon's pro bodies. Notice how the prices of a used D3s are still the same or more than a new D810 and just $1200 less than a used D4? This is not by accident ;)
    Post edited by kanuck on
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    The non-image quality qualities are certainly fantastic. If a D4x with the 36 megapixel sensor existed, I would own it.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited September 2014
    Final use of images always dictates what IQ one wants. If the pro ergonomics and other features you mentioned are primary and you are happy with the IQ of a D3s, which really is excellent, then go for it. Remember, however, the optics are what will dictate final IQ. And these may cost five times what the body cost is, especially if you want a good, fast long telephoto lens..
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • HipShotHipShot Posts: 472Member
    I've been looking for a cheap one for a while now, mainly for its fps rate.
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,084Member
    I think if you purely need the D3s for the frame rate and the pro build and you've seriously considered that the most recent DSLRs cannot help you, then yes.

    But if you can live with the D610, the D750 and the D810's slower frame rates, then I would say no.
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,199Member
    Unfortunately, I fall into the camp of thinking the D3/D4/etc body is "too robust" for anyone who does not shoot more than at least 50,000 exposures each and every year. Those bodies have a shutter good for about 300,000 exposures and I have spoken to repairmen who have replaced the shutters for about $400 and say the body is then good for another 300,000 exposures. The "problem" is those bodies "last too long" for an "ordinary shooter" when technology changes at its current fast pace. People who shoot less than 50,000 exposure per year are better served by a body which costs half the price of a D3/D4 and is replaced every 3 or 4 years to keep pace with technology.
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,584Member
    +1 @donaldejose - well said. You bring a good perspective considering shutter count.

    Also agree with @PitchBlack - technology is old and the D750/D810 are better choices unless you really have to have a high number of frames per second. Then consider the D3s. I still think the D750 is the best pick and make do with the 6.5fps.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • SquamishPhotoSquamishPhoto Posts: 608Member
    If battery life means something to you then its worth considering. You get nearly twice as many shots with a D3s as you do with a D4 per charge.
    Mike
    D3 • D750 • 14-24mm f2.8 • 35mm f1.4A • PC-E 45mm f2.8 • 50mm f1.8G • AF-D 85mm f1.4 • ZF.2 100mm f2 • 200mm f2 VR2
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    The D3s is a very good choice for event (weddings etc) photography.

    12 mp is enough - very few large prints are ordered nowadays.
    A charged battery will last through any conceivable event (still carry a spare)
    12 mp PP is easy
    great available light performance
    Nikon large pro bodies are as reliable as anvils.

    I still use my D3x for events and leave the D800/810 as backups or with secondary lenses.

    Recent camera bodies re so good that they remain useful even after 'better' comes out.

    .... H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • framerframer Posts: 491Member
    The D3s is a great tool I own it. I won't sell it. Just got the D810 when they came out and have not picked up the D3s in three months. Yes, the D3s has value for me down the road but it will now be used for what it was intended fast and extreme photography. I will be using the D810 for 90% of my photography for the foreseeable future. Unless you need extreme performance of the D3s consider the D810 for the same money.

    framer
  • SquamishPhotoSquamishPhoto Posts: 608Member
    Exactly. My D3 is for hanging from a rope next to a granite wall when the possibility of smacking it cleanly against said granite is ever present.
    Mike
    D3 • D750 • 14-24mm f2.8 • 35mm f1.4A • PC-E 45mm f2.8 • 50mm f1.8G • AF-D 85mm f1.4 • ZF.2 100mm f2 • 200mm f2 VR2
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,584Member
    Exactly. My D3 is for hanging from a rope next to a granite wall when the possibility of smacking it cleanly against said granite is ever present.
    Just sell that D3 and use the funds to buy more glass or another body. But please don't smash it against the granite. :((
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • ElvisheferElvishefer Posts: 329Member
    Depends on how much it's selling for.

    D3s is a great camera at the right price.

    In my opinion, the 'right price' is a LOT lower than it used to be (relative to the newer offerings on the market).

    Where are you at budget wise, vs. needs, vs. the cost and condition of the used D3s in question?
    D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 24-70mm f/2.8, 14-24mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4G, 200mm f/4 Micro, 105mm f/2.8 VRII Micro, 35mm f/1.8, 2xSB900, 1xSB910, R1C1, RRS Support...

    ... And no time to use them.
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,199Member
    There is a place for those D3 and 4 pro bodies: massive numbers of yearly exposures, very high fps and very rugged shooting conditions. They are niche bodies these days and SquamishPhoto identified one of the valid niches. I would love to have one at the right price but I just don't shoot in any of the niches.
  • adsads Posts: 93Member
    There is a place for those D3 and 4 pro bodies: massive numbers of yearly exposures, very high fps and very rugged shooting conditions
    I'd also throw in using big telephotos - the big pro bodies balance those beautifully.
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,199Member
  • isowhatisowhat Posts: 7Member
    I was recently wondering the same thing. I'm a university student who's starting working for my school's athletic association taking sports photos for advertising and promotional purposes (collegiate football, basketball, swimming etc). I need a full frame body to pair with my D7200 and I'm torn between a used D3s and a used D750.

    If I could, I would buy a used D4 and be done with it, but those are still out of my price range. Mainly it's a battle between IQ and more recent technologies vs. higher fps and ruggedness (since they're both about the same price). I've used older cameras (my friend's Canon 5D) and have gotten good images out of them, so having a D3s wouldn't be the end of the world, I just don't know if it'd be worth it to invest in an older camera, especially with an update just around the corner. Plus the idea of only 12 megapixels makes me cringe.

    I've read reviews of professionals substituting the D3s with the D750, but I'd love to know what you guys think!
  • janjan Posts: 7Member
    If you can get one at low shutter usage and a good price why not. My only advice would be to wait 2-3 more months until the D5 is announced / shipping, which will maybe decrease the price of a used D4 to a price range that you can afford. Just a thought.
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,584Member
    The trade ins at the local dealer have already started. The manager has one D3 and a couple of D4 owners who have obtained trade in prices for a D5. I would expect to see some great prices on D4's.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited December 2015
    Yes, big guns work well with D4 bodies....

    Cherry_Grove_iPhone_04.15.14

    I would even think a second D4 may be useful when conditions are right....mainly in action situations requiring very high ISO or lots of FPS....neither really the long suite of my D800E.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • kanuckkanuck Posts: 1,293Member
    The D3s is definitely still relevant I even see D3 and yes D2H and D2Xs bodies occassionally sprinkled in with the regular D4 and D4s setups at events around the city here :D
  • SnowleopardSnowleopard Posts: 244Member
    Not really sure how to answer this one..... I have a D700 and a D810..... The D700 sits on the shelf... Next to the D70.

    For me it would not make sense to get a D3s. If you haven't gone full frame yet, a D3s would be nice, but then I would have to argue that with the right glass, the sensor and noise in the D610 would out weigh anything the D3s can do, unless you need a very specific feature that the D3s has.
    ||COOLPIX 5000|●|D70|●|D700|●|D810|●|AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED|●|AF Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D|●|AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D|●|AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G|●|AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D|●|AF-S Micro Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED|●|AF-S VR Zoom-NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED (Silver)|●|AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III|●|PB-6 Bellows|●|EL-NIKKOR 50mm f/2.8||
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,199Member
    No. Technology advances too rapidly to purchase bodies more than a generation old (which the D3s will be once the D5 appears early next year) unless that body has a very specific feature you need. Generally, current mid-level bodies will produce better images than old top level bodies. For example, take the money you would put into a D3s and put it into a D750 instead.
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