Are you looking for the best camera to suit your needs? Due to a wide range of options, making a wise and weighted decision can be rather challenging. Which specs to keep in mind? What are the key pros and cons of each model? This comparison should give some helpful hints!
The goal of this overview is to provide a detailed comparison of two popular camera models from Pro DSLR category, introduced by Nikon. We are going to take a closer look at the technical and physical characteristics, features, and performance. The models we are going to assess and compare in this review are D3S and D5. Both products that we are going to review are equipped with the same type of sensor - CMOS. However, they have different resolution. Thus, Nikon D3S comes with a 12.0 MP CMOS sensor, while the Nikon D5 features a 21.0 MP CMOS sensor.
Now, before we can move on to our comparison, let's take a moment to look at the key characteristics of Nikon D3S and Nikon D5.
Nikon D3S Key Features:
Nikon D5 Key Features:
|Sensor Area||860.4 mm2 vs 855.62 mm2||0.6% larger pixel area|
|Battery Life||4200 shots vs 3780 shots||420 more frames with a single charge|
|Weight||1240 g vs 1415 g||175 g lighter|
|Dxo Low Light Iso||3253 vs 2434||Better High ISO performance|
|Wireless Connectivity||Optional vs No||Better connectivity|
|Sensor Resolution||21.0 MP vs 12.0 MP||42.9% more pixels|
|Continuous Shooting||14 fps vs 11 fps||3 fps faster|
|Number Of Focus Points||153 vs 51||102 more focus points|
|AutoFocus Face Detection||Yes vs No||Very handy for portraits|
|Screen Size||3.2″ vs 3″||0.2" larger screen|
|Screen Resolution||2,359k dots vs 921k dots||61% higher resolution screen|
|Touch Screen||Yes vs No||Easy control of camera functions|
|Max Video Resolution||3840 x 2160 vs 1280 x 720||Higher Resolution Video|
|Microphone Port||Yes vs No||High quality audio recording option|
|Headphone Port||Yes vs No||Has headphone port|
|Dxo Color Depth||25.1 vs 23.5||Better color depth|
|Dxo Dynamic Range||12.3 vs 12||Better dynamic range|
|Viewfinder Magnification||0.72 vs 0.7||0.02 better magnification|
|Screen Size||3″ | 3.2″||Large display|
|Viewfinder||Optical (pentaprism) | Optical (pentaprism)||Better framing and control|
|Raw Support||Yes | Yes||Better image quality|
|Timelapse Recording||Yes | Yes||Creative shooting|
|Storage Slots||2 slots | 2 slots||Extra Storage Slots|
|Bracketing||Yes | Yes||Useful for tough lighting conditions and HDR|
|Continuous Shooting||11.0 fps | 14.0 fps||Nice continuous shooting|
|Flash Sync Port||Yes | Yes||Port for Flash Sync|
|Environmental Sealing||Yes | Yes||Shoot at tough conditions|
|Battery Life||4200 shots | 3780 shots||Big number of frames with a single charge|
|Screen Type||Fixed Type | Fixed Type||No flexible viewing angles|
|Sensor Resolution||12.0 MP | 21.0 MP||Small sensor resolution|
|Built-In Flash||No | No||No built-in flash|
|Image Stabilization||No | No||No image stabilization|
Before heading straight to the technical characteristics of each model, let’s start with comparing their physical specs. Let’s start with looking at the physical difference of the two products. Below are images that clearly show the sizes of Nikon D3S and Nikon D5 from the front view.
Now, let’s go on and see how the reviewed models are different or similar by the top view.
After looking at these images, you should get a clear idea of each model’s dimensions and how they are different from each other. However, we are not going to stop there. The next characteristic worth looking at is the weight. Of course, not every photographer is concerned about the weight, for example, it wouldn't be a decisive point for those who shoot in a studio. However, it is still an important factor because if you happen to go on a long photo session or just love having the camera with you wherever you go, you want to be sure that the chosen model isn't too heavy.
Speaking of weight, Nikon D3S is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 175g less than the Nikon D5. This difference, in fact, can become a significant disadvantage for the photographers, who prefer to have their cameras with them wherever they go.
Sensor is, without a doubt, the most significant element of every digital camera. Its type, size, and resolution are the factors that define the quality of future shots. Thus, it is barely possible to pick a suitable camera without looking at these specs.
Are Nikon D3S and Nikon D5 any different in terms of sensor type?
In fact, that's exactly what makes these two models really different. Thus, it is a good point to consider if your are choosing between these two cameras. Nikon D3S features a 12.0 MP Full frame sized CMOS sensor and boasts of a Expeed processor . Nikon D5, in its turn, comes with a 21.0 MP Full frame sized CMOS sensor , which makes it significantly different from the first model.
Take a look below to find the comparison of Nikon D3S and Nikon D5 by the size of their sensors.
Nikon D3S and Nikon D5 are identical by this indicator, as each feature a sensor of the same size. Thus, both cameras will provide the same level of control in terms of the depth of field if you use them with the same focal length and aperture.
If you are interested in photography or has made a career in this field, you should know that different types of shooting actually require different camera characteristics. While one model can produce outstanding portraits, at the same time, it can be terrible for shooting landscapes, and so on. Thus, before you purchase a specific camera, it is vital to decide, which type of shooting you do most often and consider an option that suits it the most.
This section of our comparison is devoted to the performance of Nikon D3S and Nikon D5 in different fields of photography. Here we are going to look at the five main areas and evaluate how well each of the reviewed models performs in them. This will help you choose an option that suits your needs the most depending on your interest in one or several of these fields.
|Photography Type||Nikon D3S||Nikon D5|
Disadvantages:No Significant Disadvantages
Hopefully, our detailed overview of these models has helped you consider all the main specs, pros and cons of each cameras. Maybe, after reading this comparison, some of you have already decided which option to opt for depending on your needs and preferences. However, if you are still wondering which option is a better choice, Nikon D3S or Nikon D5, below you can see what scores each of them received in five different aspects. To wrap up, we have used our unique Decision Algorithm that assesses different camera models upon 63 different factors including their price, and, if possible, DxO Mark scores. This algorithm allows us to make our verdict more consistent and objective.
What is our final verdict? Based on our comparison and the final scores of Nikon D3S and Nikon D5 here is what we can say in conclusion:
According all the factors that we considered in the process of comparing these two cameras, Nikon D5 deserves a higher Total Score than the Nikon D3S. Thus, if you are choosing between these options, we would recommend you to choose the first model over the other one.
For better understanding of each model’s technical characteristics, find the detailed comparison below:
|Nikon D3S||Nikon D5|
|Announced||Feb 16, 2010||Jan 05, 2016|
|Body Type||Large SLR||Large SLR|
|Sensor Size||Full frame||Full frame|
|Sensor Dimensions||36 x 23.9 mm||35.8 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||860.40 mm2||855.62 mm2|
|Sensor Resolution||12.0 MP||21.0 MP|
|Max Image Resolution||4256 x 2832||5588 x 3712|
|Max Native ISO||12,800||102,400|
|Max Boosted ISO||102,400||3,280,000|
|Min Native ISO||200||100|
|Lens Mount||Nikon F||Nikon F|
|Number of Lenses||287||287|
|Focal Length Multiplier||1x||1x|
|Macro Focus Range|
|AF Multi Area|
|AF Live View|
|AF Face Detection|
|AF Contrast Detection|
|AF Phase Detection|
|Number of Focus Points||51||153|
|Number of Cross Focus Points||n/a||99|
|Screen Type||Fixed Type||Fixed Type|
|Screen Resolution||921k dots||2,359k dots|
|ViewFinder||Optical (pentaprism)||Optical (pentaprism)|
|ViewFinder Resolution||0k dots||0k dots|
|Min Shutter Speed||30 s||30 s|
|Max Shutter Speed||1/8000 s||1/8000 s|
|Continuous Shooting||11.0 fps||14.0 fps|
|Manual Exposure Mode|
|Custom White Balance|
|Flash Modes||Front curtain, Rear curtain, Red-Eye, Slow Sync||Auto, Red-eye, Slow sync, Rear curtain|
|DxO Sensor Scores|
|DxO Sensor Score||82||88|
|DxO Color Depth||23.5||25.1|
|DxO Dynamic Range||12.0||12.3|
|DxO Low Light ISO||3253||2434|
|Video Resolutions||1280 x 720 (24 fps), 640 x 424 (24 fps), 320 x 216 (24 fps)||4K (UHD) 30p/25p/24p, 1080/60p/50p/30p/25p/24p, 720/60p/50p|
|Max Video Resolution||1280 x 720||3840 x 2160|
|Video Formats||Motion JPEG||MPEG-4, H.264|
|USB||USB 2.0||USB 3.0|
|Weight||1240 g||1415 g|
|Physical Dimensions||160 x 157 x 88 mm||160 x 158.5 x 92 mm|
|Battery Life||4200 shots||3780 shots|
|Battery Type||Battery Pack||Battery Pack|
|Storage Type||Compact Flash (Type I or II) x 2, UDMA||Dual CompactFlash or dual XQD|