Nikon D3S vs Ricoh WG-6
The Nikon D3S and the Ricoh WG-6 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in October 2009 and February 2019. The D3S is a DSLR, while the WG-6 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (D3S) and a 1/2.3-inch (WG-6) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 12.1 megapixels, whereas the Ricoh provides 20.2 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 Nikon D3S and the Ricoh WG-6? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D3S and the Ricoh WG-6 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 WG-6 can be obtained in two different colors (black, orange), 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 Ricoh WG-6 is considerably smaller (69 percent) than the Nikon 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. More than that, the WG-6 is water-proof up to 20m and can, thus, be used for underwater photography.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the WG-6 has a lens built in, whereas the D3S is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the D3S and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
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 power pack in the WG-6 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. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.
|Nikon D3S||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1240 g||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199|
|Ricoh WG-6||118 mm||66 mm||33 mm||246 g||340||Y||Feb 2019||399|
|Canon SX740||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||299 g||265||n||Jul 2018||399|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1230 g||1500||Y||Oct 2009||4,999|
|Canon 1D Mark III||156 mm||157 mm||80 mm||1155 g||2200||Y||Feb 2007||4,499|
|Nikon D5||160 mm||159 mm||92 mm||1415 g||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499|
|Nikon D4S||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1350 g||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499|
|Nikon D4||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1340 g||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999|
|Nikon D300S||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||938 g||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799|
|Nikon D3X||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1260 g||4400||Y||Dec 2008||7,999|
|Nikon D700||147 mm||123 mm||77 mm||1074 g||1000||Y||Jul 2008||2,999|
|Nikon D3||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1300 g||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999|
|Nikon D2Xs||158 mm||150 mm||86 mm||1252 g||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699|
|Panasonic FT7||117 mm||76 mm||37 mm||319 g||300||Y||May 2018||449|
|Sony HX99||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||449|
|Sony HX95||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||242 g||370||n||Aug 2018||429|
|Sony WX800||102 mm||58 mm||36 mm||233 g||370||n||Oct 2018||399|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The WG-6 was launched at a lower price than the D3S, despite having a lens built in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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 imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D3S features a full frame sensor and the Ricoh WG-6 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the WG-6 is 97 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 5.6. The sensor in the D3S has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the WG-6 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the WG-6 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 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 1.18μm versus 8.43μm for the D3S). However, it should be noted that the WG-6 is much more recent (by 9 years and 4 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 WG-6 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Ricoh WG-6 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the WG-6 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 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 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 Ricoh WG-6 are ISO 125 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
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. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||APS-H||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||22.8||12.0||1320||74|
|Canon 1D Mark III||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||none||22.7||11.7||1078||71|
|Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
|Nikon D4S||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/60p||24.4||13.3||3074||89|
|Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
|Nikon D3X||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||24.7||13.7||1992||88|
|Nikon D700||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2303||80|
|Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the WG-6 provides a better video resolution than the D3S. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the Nikon is limited to 720/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D3S has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the WG-6 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D3S and Ricoh WG-6 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Canon 1D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
|Canon 1D Mark III||optical||Y||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
One feature that is present on the D3S, but is missing on the WG-6 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The Nikon D3S and the Ricoh WG-6 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 WG-6 uses SDXC cards. The D3S features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the WG-6 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 Nikon D3S and Ricoh WG-6 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon 1D Mark IV||Y||stereo||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Canon 1D Mark III||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the D3S has a hotshoe, while the WG-6 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D3S (unlike the WG-6) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the WG-6 has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
The WG-6 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Ricoh. In contrast, the D3S has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D3S was succeeded by the Nikon D4. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Ricoh websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D3S and the Ricoh WG-6? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3S:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control 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 1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (4200 versus 340) on a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- 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).
Advantages of the Ricoh WG-6:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 12.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 27%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 720/24p).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 921k dots).
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D3S requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (118x66mm vs 160x157mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the D3S).
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Water-proof: Is rugged and sealed and can thus be used for underwater photography (up to 20m).
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 9 years and 4 months of technical progress since the D3S launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3S emerges as the winner of the contest (16 : 14 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 sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape 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 Nikon D3S and the Ricoh WG-6 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D3S and the WG-6 in practical situations. 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 adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.
|Nikon D3S||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199|
|Ricoh WG-6||..||..||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||Feb 2019||399|
|Canon SX740||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Jul 2018||399|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||..||89/100||..||5/5||..||Oct 2009||4,999|
|Canon 1D Mark III||..||..||..||o||..||Feb 2007||4,499|
|Nikon D5||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499|
|Nikon D4S||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||6,499|
|Nikon D4||..||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999|
|Nikon D300S||+ +||82/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799|
|Nikon D3X||..||86/100||4/5||5/5||5/5||Dec 2008||7,999|
|Nikon D700||89/100||+ +||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2008||2,999|
|Nikon D3||..||+ +||5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999|
|Nikon D2Xs||..||..||..||o||..||Jun 2006||4,699|
|Panasonic FT7||+||..||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||May 2018||449|
|Sony HX99||..||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||Aug 2018||449|
|Sony HX95||..||..||..||..||..||Aug 2018||429|
|Sony WX800||..||..||..||..||..||Oct 2018||399|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon T7i vs Nikon D3S
- Fujifilm X-A10 vs Nikon D3S
- Fujifilm X-Pro1 vs Nikon D3S
- Leica S Typ 006 vs Ricoh WG-6
- Leica X2 vs Ricoh WG-6
- Nikon D3300 vs Nikon D3S
- Nikon D3S vs Panasonic GF2
- Nikon D3S vs Panasonic GX85
- Nikon Z6 vs Ricoh WG-6
- Panasonic FT7 vs Ricoh WG-6
- Panasonic FZ2000 vs Ricoh WG-6
- Panasonic G5 vs Ricoh WG-6
Specifications: Nikon D3S vs Ricoh WG-6
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||Nikon D3S||Ricoh WG-6|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||28-140mm f/3.5-5.5|
|Launch Date||October 2009||February 2019|
|Launch Price||USD 5,199||USD 399|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D3S||Ricoh WG-6|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 23.9 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||860.4 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.2 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12.1 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4256 x 2832 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||8.43 μm||1.18 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.40 MP/cm2||71.80 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||720/24p Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 12,800 ISO||125 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 102,400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||82||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.5||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.0||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||3253||..|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D3S||Ricoh WG-6|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D3S||Ricoh WG-6|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||1 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D3S||Ricoh WG-6|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon D3S||Ricoh WG-6|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Waterproof body (20m)|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||4200 shots per charge||340 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
160 x 157 x 88 mm
(6.3 x 6.2 x 3.5 in)
118 x 66 x 33 mm
(4.6 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||1240 g (43.7 oz)||246 g (8.7 oz)|
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