Nikon D3S vs Samsung NX30
The Nikon D3S and the Samsung NX30 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in October 2009 and January 2014. The D3S is a DSLR, while the NX30 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. The cameras are based on a full frame (D3S) and an APS-C (NX30) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 12.1 megapixels, whereas the Samsung provides 20 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon D3S||Samsung NX30|
|Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Nikon F mount lenses||Samsung NX mount lenses|
|12.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor||20 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|720/24p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 200-12,800 (100 - 102,400)||ISO 100-25,600|
|Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder (2359k dots)|
|3.0 LCD, 921k dots||3.0 LCD, 1036k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Swivel touchscreen|
|11 shutter flaps per second||9 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|4200 shots per battery charge||360 shots per battery charge|
|160 x 157 x 88 mm, 1240 g||127 x 96 x 58 mm, 375 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3S and the Samsung NX30? 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 Nikon D3S and the Samsung NX30. 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Samsung NX30 is considerably smaller (51 percent) than the Nikon D3S. Moreover, the NX30 is substantially lighter (70 percent) than the D3S. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D3S is splash and dust resistant, while the NX30 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. 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.
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 NX30 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, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|Nikon D3S||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1240 g||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199|
|Samsung NX30||127 mm||96 mm||58 mm||375 g||360||n||Jan 2014||999|
|Canon M5||116 mm||89 mm||61 mm||427 g||295||n||Sep 2016||979|
|Canon M3||111 mm||68 mm||44 mm||366 g||250||n||Feb 2015||679|
|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 D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||420 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|Nikon D4S||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1350 g||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499|
|Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||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|
|Sony RX100 IV||102 mm||58 mm||41 mm||298 g||280||n||Jun 2015||999|
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.
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 NX30 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 81 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.
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. 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 Samsung NX30 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the NX30 is 57 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the NX30 offers a higher resolution of 20 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 4.30μm versus 8.43μm for the D3S). However, it should be noted that the NX30 is much more recent (by 4 years and 2 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 NX30 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Samsung NX30 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the NX30 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 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 NX30 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 Samsung NX30 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (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. Of the two cameras under review, the D3S has a notably higher overall DXO score than the NX30 (overall score 6 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. 0.4 EV of lower dynamic range, and 1.7 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.
|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|
|Sony RX100 IV||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||4K/30p||22.8||12.6||591||70|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the NX30 provides a better video resolution than the D3S. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, 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 NX30 has an electronic viewfinder (2359k 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 D3S has a higher magnification than the one of the NX30 (0.70x vs 0.64x), 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 Samsung NX30, and comparable cameras.
|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|
|Sony RX100 IV||2359||n||3.0||1228||tilting||n||1/2000s||16.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the D3S, but is missing on the NX30 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 NX30 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the D3S does not have a selfie-screen.
The Nikon D3S and the Samsung NX30 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 NX30 uses SDXC cards. The D3S features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the NX30 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 Samsung NX30 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||-||-||-|
|Sony RX100 IV||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the NX30 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 NX30) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the D3S and the NX30 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D3S was replaced by the Nikon D4, while the NX30 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 Nikon and Samsung websites.
So how do things add up? Is the Nikon D3S better than the Samsung NX30 or vice versa? 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: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (1.7 stops ISO advantage).
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.64x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 9 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (4200 versus 360) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- 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 Samsung NX30:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 12.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 29%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/60p vs 720/24p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1036k vs 921k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- More compact: Is smaller (127x96mm vs 160x157mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 865g or 70 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (81 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 2 months of technical progress since the D3S launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the NX30 is the clear winner of the contest (17 : 13 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.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D3S and the Samsung NX30 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 NX30. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
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 (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|
|Samsung NX30||..||77/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||999|
|Canon M5||+||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||979|
|Canon M3||o||75/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2015||679|
|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 D5500||+||79/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|Nikon D4S||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||6,499|
|Nikon D3300||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||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|
|Sony RX100 IV||+ +||85/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2015||999|
|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. 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? 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. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 800D vs Nikon D3S
- Canon SX420 vs Nikon D3S
- Canon T1i vs Samsung NX30
- Leica S Typ 007 vs Nikon D3S
- Leica X2 vs Samsung NX30
- Nikon D1X vs Nikon D3S
- Nikon D3100 vs Samsung NX30
- Nikon D3S vs Nikon D5500
- Nikon D3S vs Olympus E-420
- Nikon D3S vs Olympus E-M5
- Nikon D3S vs Panasonic FZ80
- Nikon D3S vs Panasonic G3
Specifications: Nikon D3S vs Samsung NX30
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||Samsung NX30|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Samsung NX mount lenses|
|Launch Date||October 2009||January 2014|
|Launch Price||USD 5,199||USD 999|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D3S||Samsung NX30|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 23.9 mm||23.5 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||860.4 mm2||368.95 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.2 mm||28.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||12.1 Megapixels||20 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4256 x 2832 pixels||5472 x 3648 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||8.43 μm||4.30 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.40 MP/cm2||5.41 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||720/24p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 12,800 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 102,400 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Image Processor||EXPEED||DRIMe IV|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||82||76|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||23.5||23.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.0||12.4|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||3253||1014|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D3S||Samsung NX30|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2359k dots|
|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||1036k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D3S||Samsung NX30|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||On-Sensor Phase-detect|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/8000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s||9 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||Samsung NX30|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon D3S||Samsung NX30|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||4200 shots per charge||360 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)
127 x 96 x 58 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 2.3 in)
|Camera Weight||1240 g (43.7 oz)||375 g (13.2 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.