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Nikon D3S vs Z6

The Nikon D3S and the Nikon Z6 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in October 2009 and August 2018. The D3S is a DSLR, while the Z6 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with a full frame sensor. The D3S has a resolution of 12.1 megapixels, whereas the Z6 provides 24.3 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D3S
versus
Nikon Z6
Nikon D3S   Nikon Z6
Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon Z mount lenses
12.1 MP – Full Frame sensor 24.3 MP – Full Frame sensor
720/24p Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 200-12,800 (100 - 102,400) ISO 100-51,200 (50 - 204,800)
Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (3690k dots)
3.0" LCD – 921k dots 3.2" LCD – 2100k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting touchscreen
11 shutter flaps per second 12 shutter flaps per second
Lens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
4200 shots per battery charge310 shots per battery charge
160 x 157 x 88 mm, 1240 g 134 x 101 x 67 mm, 675 g
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Check Z6 offers at
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3S and the Nikon Z6? 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.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Nikon D3S and the Nikon Z6 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D3S vs Nikon Z6
Compare D3S versus Z6 top
Comparison D3S or Z6 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon Z6 is considerably smaller (46 percent) than the Nikon D3S. Moreover, the Z6 is substantially lighter (46 percent) than the D3S. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

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. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.

Concerning battery life, the D3S gets 4200 shots out of its EN-EL4a battery, while the Z6 can take 310 images on a single charge of its EN-EL15b 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. In order to provide similar functionality for the Z6, Nikon provides the MB-N10 vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on ebay). The power pack in the Z6 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D3S 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1240 g 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon Z6 134 mm 101 mm 67 mm 675 g 310 Y Aug 2018 1,999ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 1D Mark IV 156 mm 157 mm 80 mm 1230 g 1500 Y Oct 2009 4,999ebay.com
4.
 
Canon 1D Mark III 156 mm 157 mm 80 mm 1155 g 2200 Y Feb 2007 4,499ebay.com
5.
 
Nikon Z6 II 134 mm 101 mm 70 mm 705 g 410 Y Oct 2020 1,999 amazon.com
6.
 
Nikon Z7 134 mm 101 mm 67 mm 675 g 330 Y Aug 2018 3,399ebay.com
7.
 
Nikon D5 160 mm 159 mm 92 mm 1415 g 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499ebay.com
8.
 
Nikon D4S 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1350 g 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499ebay.com
9.
 
Nikon D750 141 mm 113 mm 78 mm 750 g 1230 Y Sep 2014 2,299ebay.com
10.
 
Nikon D4 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1340 g 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999ebay.com
11.
 
Nikon D300S 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 938 g 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799ebay.com
12.
 
Nikon D3X 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1260 g 4400 Y Dec 2008 7,999ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D700 147 mm 123 mm 77 mm 1074 g 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D3 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1300 g 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D2Xs 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699ebay.com
16.
 
Panasonic GH5 139 mm 98 mm 87 mm 725 g 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999ebay.com
17.
 
Sony A7 III 127 mm 96 mm 74 mm 650 g 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 amazon.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. 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 Z6 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 62 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, the Z6 uses a more advanced image processing engine (EXPEED 6) than the D3S (EXPEED), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Nikon D3S and Nikon Z6 sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Z6 offers a higher resolution of 24.3 megapixels, compared with 12.1 MP of the 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 5.94μm versus 8.43μm for the D3S). However, it should be noted that the Z6 is much more recent (by 8 years and 10 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.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon Z6 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Z6 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.2 x 20.1 inches or 76.8 x 51.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.2 x 16.1 inches or 61.4 x 40.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.2 x 13.4 inches or 51.2 x 34.1 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 Z6 has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.

The Nikon D3S has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-102400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Z6 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.

In terms of underlying technology, the D3S is build around a CMOS sensor, while the Z6 uses a BSI-CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

D3S versus Z6 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the Z6 offers substantially better image quality than the D3S (overall score 13 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.8 bits higher color depth, 2.3 EV in additional dynamic range, and -0 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Nikon D3S Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382
2.
 
Nikon Z6 Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/30p25.314.3329995
3.
 
Canon 1D Mark IV APS-H 16.0 4896 32641080/30p22.812.0132074
4.
 
Canon 1D Mark III APS-H 10.1 3888 2592none22.711.7107871
5.
 
Nikon Z6 II Full Frame 24.3 6048 40244K/60p25.014.4330394
6.
 
Nikon Z7 Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.314.6266899
7.
 
Nikon D5 Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388
8.
 
Nikon D4S Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489
9.
 
Nikon D750 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/60p24.814.5295693
10.
 
Nikon D4 Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589
11.
 
Nikon D300S APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770
12.
 
Nikon D3X Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032none24.713.7199288
13.
 
Nikon D700 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2230380
14.
 
Nikon D3 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2229081
15.
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.948959
16.
 
Panasonic GH5 Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777
17.
 
Sony A7 III Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096

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 Z6 provides a better video resolution than the D3S. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the D3S is limited to 720/24p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the Z6 has an electronic viewfinder (3690k dots), while the D3S has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the Z6 has a higher magnification than the one of the D3S (0.80x vs 0.70x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D3S, the Nikon Z6, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Nikon D3Soptical Y3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0/s n n
2.
 
Nikon Z63690 Y3.2 / 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 12.0/s n Y
3.
 
Canon 1D Mark IVoptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0/s n n
4.
 
Canon 1D Mark IIIoptical Y3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0/s n n
5.
 
Nikon Z6 II3690 Y3.2 / 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 14.0/s n Y
6.
 
Nikon Z73690 Y3.2 / 2100 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0/s n Y
7.
 
Nikon D5optical Y3.2 / 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0/s n n
8.
 
Nikon D4Soptical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0/s n n
9.
 
Nikon D750optical Y3.2 / 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 6.0/s Y n
10.
 
Nikon D4optical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0/s n n
11.
 
Nikon D300Soptical Y3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0/s Y n
12.
 
Nikon D3Xoptical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s n n
13.
 
Nikon D700optical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0/s Y n
14.
 
Nikon D3optical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0/s n n
15.
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s n n
16.
 
Panasonic GH53680 n3.2 / 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0/s n Y
17.
 
Sony A7 III2359 n3.0 / 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0/s n Y
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The Z6 has a touchscreen, while the D3S has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, the Z6 is one of those camera that have an additional electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).

The Nikon D3S and the Nikon Z6 both have 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 D3S writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the Z6 uses XQD cards. The D3S features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the Z6 only has one slot.

Connectivity comparison

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 Nikon D3S and Nikon Z6 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Nikon D3SYstereo / ---mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon Z6Ystereo / monoYYmicro3.1Y-Y
3.
 
Canon 1D Mark IVYstereo / -Y-mini2.0---
4.
 
Canon 1D Mark IIIY- / ----2.0---
5.
 
Nikon Z6 IIYstereo / monoYYmicro3.2Y-Y
6.
 
Nikon Z7Ystereo / monoYYmicro3.1Y-Y
7.
 
Nikon D5Ystereo / monoYYmini3.0---
8.
 
Nikon D4SYmono / monoYYmini2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D750Ystereo / monoYYmini2.0Y--
10.
 
Nikon D4Ymono / monoYYmicro2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D300SYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D3XY- / ---mini2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D700Y- / ---mini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D3Y- / ---mini2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D2XsY- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic GH5Ystereo / monoYYfull3.1Y-Y
17.
 
Sony A7 IIIYstereo / monoYYmicro3.1YYY

It is notable that the Z6 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the D3S does not provide wifi capability.

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D3S (unlike the Z6) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the D3S and the Z6 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The D3S was replaced by the Nikon D4, while the Z6 was followed by the Nikon Z6 II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Nikon D3S better than the Nikon Z6 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3S:

  • Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (4200 versus 310) on a single battery charge.
  • 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 available for much longer (launched in October 2009).


Reasons to prefer the Nikon Z6:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (24.3 vs 12.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 42%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (13 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.8 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.3 EV of extra DR).
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (EXPEED 6 vs EXPEED).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 720/24p).
  • Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
  • More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.80x vs 0.70x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2100k vs 921k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Less disturbing: Has an electronic shutter option for completely silent shooting.
  • More compact: Is smaller (134x101mm vs 160x157mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 565g or 46 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.1 vs 2.0).
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (62 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 8 years and 10 months of technical progress since the D3S launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the Z6 is the clear winner of the contest (26 : 6 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D3S 06:26 Z6

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D3S and the Nikon Z6 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D3S or the Z6. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D3S5/5....89/1004.5/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon Z65/5..5/589/1004.5/55/5 Aug 2018 1,999ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 1D Mark IV5/5....89/100.... Oct 2009 4,999ebay.com
4.
 
Canon 1D Mark III............ Feb 2007 4,499ebay.com
5.
 
Nikon Z6 II4.5/5..4/589/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2020 1,999 amazon.com
6.
 
Nikon Z75/5+4.8/589/1004.5/55/5 Aug 2018 3,399ebay.com
7.
 
Nikon D5....4/589/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499ebay.com
8.
 
Nikon D4S5/5......4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499ebay.com
9.
 
Nikon D7505/5+ +4/590/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 2,299ebay.com
10.
 
Nikon D4........4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999ebay.com
11.
 
Nikon D300S5/5+ +..82/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799ebay.com
12.
 
Nikon D3X......86/1004/55/5 Dec 2008 7,999ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D700..89/100..+ +4.5/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D3......+ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D2Xs............ Jun 2006 4,699ebay.com
16.
 
Panasonic GH54.5/5+ +..85/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999ebay.com
17.
 
Sony A7 III..+ +4.5/589/1005/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 amazon.com
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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

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Check D3S offers at
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Check Z6 offers at
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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 make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Nikon D3S vs Nikon Z6

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D3S Nikon Z6
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon Z mount lenses
    Launch Date October 2009 August 2018
    Launch Price USD 5,199 USD 1,999
    Sensor Specs Nikon D3S Nikon Z6
    Sensor Technology CMOS BSI-CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 23.9 mm 35.9 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 860.4 mm2 858.01 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.2 mm 43.1 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12.1 Megapixels 24.3 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4256 x 2832 pixels 6048 x 4024 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 8.43 μm 5.94 μm
    Pixel Density 1.40 MP/cm2 2.84 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 720/24p Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 51,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 102,400 ISO 50 - 204,800 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED EXPEED 6
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 82 95
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.5 25.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.0 14.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 3253 3299
    Screen Specs Nikon D3S Nikon Z6
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x 0.80x
    Viewfinder Resolution 3690k dots
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.2inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 2100k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D3S Nikon Z6
    Focus System Phase-detect AF On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 11 shutter flaps/s 12 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy300 000 actuations200 000 actuations
    Electronic Shutterno E-Shutterup to 1/8000s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Image StabilizationLens stabilization onlyIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards XQD cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D3S Nikon Z6
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 3.1
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Headphone Socket no Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Nikon D3S Nikon Z6
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL4a EN-EL15b
    Battery Life (CIPA)4200 shots per charge310 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 160 x 157 x 88 mm
    (6.3 x 6.2 x 3.5 in)
    134 x 101 x 67 mm
    (5.3 x 4.0 x 2.6 in)
    Camera Weight 1240 g (43.7 oz) 675 g (23.8 oz)
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    Check D3S offers at
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    Check Z6 offers at
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