Fujifilm X-M1 vs Nikon D3S
The Fujifilm X-M1 and the Nikon D3S are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2013 and October 2009. The X-M1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D3S is a DSLR. The cameras are based on an APS-C (X-M1) and a full frame (D3S) sensor. The Fujifilm has a resolution of 16 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 12.1 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Fujifilm X-M1 and the Nikon D3S? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Fujifilm X-M1 and the Nikon D3S. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The X-M1 can be obtained in three different colors (black, silver, brown), while the D3S is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3S is considerably larger (220 percent) than the Fujifilm X-M1. Moreover, the D3S is substantially heavier (276 percent) than the X-M1. It is noteworthy in this context that the D3S is splash and dust-proof, while the X-M1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Fujinon X Lens Catalog (X-M1) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3S). Mirrorless cameras, such as the Fujifilm X-M1, have moreover the advantage that they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance and can thus use many lenses from other systems via adapters.
Concerning battery life, the X-M1 gets 350 shots out of its NP-W126 battery, while the D3S can take 4200 images on a single charge of its EN-EL4a power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D3S has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Fujifilm X-M1||117 mm||67 mm||39 mm||330 g||350||n||Jun 2013||699|
|2.||Nikon D3S||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1240 g||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199|
|3.||Fujifilm X70||113 mm||64 mm||44 mm||340 g||330||n||Jan 2016||799|
|4.||Fujifilm X-E2S||129 mm||75 mm||37 mm||350 g||350||n||Jan 2016||699|
|5.||Fujifilm X-A2||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||350 g||410||n||Jan 2015||399|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T10||118 mm||83 mm||41 mm||381 g||350||n||May 2015||799|
|7.||Fujifilm X20||117 mm||70 mm||57 mm||353 g||270||n||Jan 2013||599|
|8.||Fujifilm X-A1||117 mm||67 mm||39 mm||330 g||350||n||Sep 2013||399|
|9.||Fujifilm X-E2||129 mm||75 mm||37 mm||350 g||350||n||Oct 2013||999|
|10.||Fujifilm X-E1||129 mm||75 mm||38 mm||350 g||350||n||Sep 2012||999|
|11.||Nikon D5||160 mm||159 mm||92 mm||1415 g||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499|
|12.||Nikon D4||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1340 g||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999|
|13.||Nikon D3X||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1260 g||4400||Y||Dec 2008||7,999|
|14.||Nikon D700||147 mm||123 mm||77 mm||1074 g||1000||Y||Jul 2008||2,999|
|15.||Nikon D3||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1300 g||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999|
|16.||Panasonic G6||122 mm||85 mm||71 mm||390 g||340||n||Apr 2013||599|
|17.||Panasonic G5||120 mm||83 mm||71 mm||396 g||320||n||Jul 2012||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The X-M1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 87 percent) than the D3S, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Fujifilm X-M1 features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon D3S a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D3S is 134 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Fujifilm X-M1 offers a higher resolution of 16 megapixels, compared with 12.1 MP of the Nikon D3S. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 8.43μm for the D3S). However, it should be noted that the X-M1 is much more recent (by 3 years and 8 months) than the D3S, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the X-M1 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Fujifilm X-M1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the X-M1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.5 x 16.3 inches or 62.2 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.6 x 13.1 inches or 49.7 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.3 x 10.9 inches or 41.5 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D3S are 21.3 x 14.2 inches or 54.1 x 36 cm for good quality, 17 x 11.3 inches or 43.2 x 28.8 cm for very good quality, and 14.2 x 9.4 inches or 36 x 24 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Fujifilm X-M1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D3S are ISO 200 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-102400.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
| DXO |
|2.||Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|11.||Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
|12.||Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
|13.||Nikon D3X||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||24.7||13.7||1992||88|
|14.||Nikon D700||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2303||80|
|15.||Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81|
|16.||Panasonic G6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||21.3||11.5||639||61|
|17.||Panasonic G5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||..||..||..||..|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the X-M1 provides a higher video resolution than the D3S. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the Nikon is limited to 720/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the D3S has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X-M1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Fujifilm X-M1 and Nikon D3S in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The X-M1 has one, while the D3S does not. While the built-in flash of the X-M1 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The Nikon D3S has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The X-M1 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D3S uses Compact Flash cards. The D3S features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the X-M1 only has one slot.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Fujifilm X-M1 and Nikon D3S and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
It is notable that the X-M1 offers wifi support, while the D3S does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D3S (unlike the X-M1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the X-M1 and the D3S have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D3S was replaced by the Nikon D4, while the X-M1 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Fujifilm and Nikon websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Fujifilm X-M1 or the Nikon D3S – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Fujifilm X-M1:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (16 vs 12.1MP) with a 15% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/24p).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x67mm vs 160x157mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 910g or 73 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (87 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 3 years and 8 months of technical progress since the D3S launch.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3S:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 5.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (4200 versus 350) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in October 2009).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D3S comes out slightly ahead of the X-M1 (12 : 11 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Fujifilm X-M1 and the Nikon D3S place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the X-M1 or the D3S perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Fujifilm X-M1||3/5||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2013||699|
|2.||Nikon D3S||5/5||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199|
|3.||Fujifilm X70||4.5/5||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||799|
|4.||Fujifilm X-E2S||4.5/5||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2016||699|
|5.||Fujifilm X-A2||4/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||399|
|6.||Fujifilm X-T10||4.5/5||+ +||80/100||5/5||5/5||May 2015||799|
|7.||Fujifilm X20||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2013||599|
|8.||Fujifilm X-A1||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||399|
|9.||Fujifilm X-E2||4/5||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2013||999|
|10.||Fujifilm X-E1||4/5||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||999|
|11.||Nikon D5||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499|
|12.||Nikon D4||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999|
|13.||Nikon D3X||..||..||86/100||4/5||5/5||Dec 2008||7,999|
|14.||Nikon D700||..||89/100||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2008||2,999|
|15.||Nikon D3||..||..||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999|
|16.||Panasonic G6||4/5||+ +||..||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||599|
|17.||Panasonic G5||3/5||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2012||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Fujifilm X-M1 vs Nikon D3S
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Fujifilm X-M1||Nikon D3S|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Fujifilm X mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2013||October 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 699||USD 5,199|
|Sensor Specs||Fujifilm X-M1||Nikon D3S|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.6 x 15.6 mm||36.0 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||368.16 mm2||860.4 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16 Megapixels||12.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4896 x 3264 pixels||4256 x 2832 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.80 μm||8.43 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.34 MP/cm2||1.40 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||720/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 6,400 ISO||200 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 102,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXR Processor II||EXPEED|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||82|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||3253|
|Screen Specs||Fujifilm X-M1||Nikon D3S|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Fujifilm X-M1||Nikon D3S|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||5.6 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Fujifilm X-M1||Nikon D3S|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Fujifilm X-M1||Nikon D3S|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||350 shots per charge||4200 shots per charge|
117 x 67 x 39 mm
(4.6 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
160 x 157 x 88 mm
(6.3 x 6.2 x 3.5 in)
|Camera Weight||330 g (11.6 oz)||1240 g (43.7 oz)|
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