Firmware update version 1.03 for the Nikon D3s camera released

Nikon released firmware update version 1.03 for the Nikon D3s DSLR camera that fixes the following issues:

  • The battery level indicator would on rare occasions flash if the camera was turned on with Clean at shutdown or Clean at startup & shutdown selected for SETUP MENU > Clean image sensor > Clean at startup/shutdown.
  • Two different pictures with the same file number would on rare occasions be recorded to both memory cards if two cards were inserted with Overflow selected for SHOOTING MENU > Slot 2.

There is also a new firmware update version 1.1 for the Nikon Coolpix S2900 camera.

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  • Stormwatch

    It’s wonderful how this is still a relevant pro camera these days, a true workhorse.

    • peter w

      and you can get it very cheap.

      • in comparison to D5 yes, very cheap and still very capable and reliable camera ….

        • outkasted

          LOL so is the D3!

    • it is. 😉

    • Psycownage

      I’m thinking of upgrading to full frame, this and the D750 are about the same cost, what would be better?

      • Alvis Ozols

        do not be fooled by “old pros” praising D3s… D3s is overpriced – D750 smokes D3s in all department AF, ISO, IQ, video- exect one the “ability to throw it on tarmac deliberately” department – there d3s is winner, but guess what happend to your lens (no matter what body you use) if you do that (and as I recall we shoot with body and lens alllways). speed of these are about the same (D3s has like 1 frame advantage), buffer for D750 is smaller, tough.

        • mark hoffler

          D3s is far superior to the D750 in ISO, and it’s a workhorse.

          • Stormwatch

            You can’t explain that to the people that had never really use it nor know how to use it. In my humble opinion, that is the best ever Camera from Nikon’s digital kitchen.

          • AKH

            The D3s is not far superior to the D750 in high ISO performance according DxoMark.
            I had the D3s and compared it to my D810. When down sampling the D810 files, the high ISO performance was about the same at ISO 6400 and ISO 8000.

            • Mike Gordon

              Bill C chart supports you. D750 smokes the D3s until ISO1600 then they are the same


            • My own test confirm what can be seen over at Imaging Resource– the D3s still has the best high ISO when you’re dealing with difficult reds. It has the lowest noise in the red channel.

              Maybe the noise overall isn’t as good, but when you’re dealing with ambient light, the D3s still wins.

              The D750/D7100/D7200 also have far inferior AF precision to the D3/D3s/D700. The newer cams will sometimes find focus and fight less, but the older CAM3500 is faster and more accurate. The newer non-pro bodies just miss very slightly with 2.8 and wider lenses too often for my needs. The older nail it ever time.

              And THAT makes them workhorses.

              Well, that and the D3/D3s is more resistant to moisture–they have no flash with a large capacitor to fail catastrophically.

              But hey, you do what you do. Don’t let anybody with more experience tell you otherwise. You’ll probably be happy with any camera.

            • AKH

              Not sure why you wrote that reply to me Micah? My comment was more to mark hofflers unsupported claim that the D3s was “far superior in ISO” to the D750.

              The D3s can be a very fine tool for some people and of course it is a workhorse which some people need, but it is a dated camera which is also reflected in the “used price”.

            • “The D3s is not far superior to the D750 in high ISO performance according DxoMark.”

              As I said, in the real world the D3s has a superior sensor in terms of noise. The D750 is barely better than the APSC sensors. Heck, even the D3x sensor is better at all ISOs. “Dated” seems an irrelevant term if it means superior performance.

              DX0 tests are irrelevant. Show me the images. I suggested looking at Imaging Resource’s images, as they back up what I said, even in optimal light. In difficult light, the difference is even more dramatic.

              “I had the D3s and compared it to my D810. When down sampling the D810 files, the high ISO performance was about the same at ISO 6400 and ISO 8000.”

              Your testing was obviously too limited to expose the difference. And you’re saying “same” not superior. In fact, I believe the D3s to be superior in low light to pretty much everything, under tough lighting conditions. Tungsten would be one of those instances.

            • AKH

              You are fully entitled to have your opinion, but I doubt many will agree.
              My testing is not scientific at all, just a quick test in quite low light.
              Anyway, the D3s is a fantastic camera considering how old it is and the high ISO performance is really great.

            • Yanny Nao

              I cant believe D3x is better than D750 for low light.

            • I was surprised myself. I wonder if it’s something to do with the red channel filtering? Even though it’s capped at 6400, it looks a lot cleaner to me at every ISO.

              At least on raw files. Nikon’s jpeg engine has taken a nice leap forward of late. But I rarely use OOC jpegs, so for me, the D3x is superior.

            • Allen_Wentz

              DxO is just numbers. Not useless, but not worth referencing as any kind of all-around measure.

          • jstevez

            D3 is a workhorse and far superior tough camera, but get over with, the new FF including the D750 have cleaner ISO’s.

          • Mike Gordon

            Check Bill C chart. DxO is useless. D750 smokes the D3s until ISO1600 then they are the same…


          • Adnan

            I agree, In those days high ISO was the standard for a camera and I’ve used it for few days but never had the need to buy so expensive camera and as a hobbyist got the D90 after D40x .The ISO at 6400 was nearly 98% clean straight from the camera and comparing it to D8xx, D750,D610 the new gen. is pointless.
            I’m considering to get one now if I find a refurbished or in a good condition.
            DXO has shown you guys the D5 and D500 scores so if go with DXO then it’s a winner 🙂
            On D800 at ISO 12800 I try to clean noise as much as I can and then downscale the image at 6 MP to get a sharper picture which is printable at 8×10 or 12 size.
            And again ppl. are comparing 9 FPS top model camera of it’s time to cheaper models.
            I assume most of them have never tried a D3s.

            • outkasted

              Well dude with a a shutter cycle of 400,000 vs 150,000….ummmm…

          • Mateusz Antonowicz

            But isn’t in dynamic range and tonal range. And it’s only better in 1/3EV as of ISO [3253 for D3s, 2956 for D750] With better sharpness and new processor I would never even think about D3s. Also, might not be a problem, but it has ‘only’ 12MPX.

        • waterengineer

          You hammer the D3s, then say it has a faster frame rate and a bigger buffer. Funny stuff. And another thing. You can talk into the D3s. You can’t do that with the D750.

          • Charles

            Heck. You can even talk into the D2x for a Memo on a photo… Ummm The new cameras can’t do that.

        • outkasted

          Bawhawhahahahaaaa…you are not even serious are you? D3s will smoke a D750 outside of Printing and video. Everything else …..HA!

        • Allen_Wentz

          Just the lack of AF-on button alone is a huge downside making the D750 a far lesser body.

          The renowned pro level of the single-digit bodies is not simply “the ability to throw it on tarmac deliberately.” Ergonomics, weather (hot/cold water/snow sand/salt/humidity etc.), viewfinder, etc. all come into play.

      • Stormwatch

        My suggestion is D810 straight away. The only better feature at the D750 than on the D810 is the funny swivel screen with a flat cable completely exposed to the world and anything that can damage it. On the other side, D3s is a powerful machine which will never make you dissapointed (if you know what are you doing and have proper lenses).

        • Max

          doesn’t d750 have newer version of the 51pt af?

          • Stormwatch

            If I was to buy a new FF camera. I will take base ISO 64 and no LP filter any day before any flip screen (altought I adore them) and any AF system.

        • nwcs

          Yes, the internet is littered with thousands of cases of the tilt screen being easily damaged… Oh wait, it isn’t.

          • Stormwatch

            Nothing made for pro’s by the pro’s has a flat cable exposed to the all weather conditions.

            • nwcs

              And nothing made for pros by pros had wifi — until it did. That’s a total non-argument you made and one that has as much weight as aerogel.

            • Stormwatch

              No prob. Next time when you make some pictures with your iPhone or whatever you have, take the cover off and go in the rain.

            • nwcs

              Lol, I should know better than to argue with 11 year olds. Done with this.

            • Stormwatch

              But you have a baby picture on the avatar, not me. I have been making living of Photo & Videography for 20+ years. You’re the problem, not I.

            • nwcs

              I know and I’m damn proud of my son. Blocking you.

            • Stormwatch

              You should be banned for trolling.

            • Yes, Disqus now has a blocking feature.

            • nwcs

              One of my favorite things they’ve ever added 🙂

            • captaindash

              Stop arguing with Stormwatch. It’s not worth it.

            • captaindash

              Except the D750. What conditions are you in that could wreck that cable? Stop blindfolding yourself and using wire cutters around the camera and you will be fine. Seriously.

            • Stormwatch

              Ask anyone in the business with electronic components, if putting a completely non protected flat cable is ok. Nikon alone made a statement about possibility of damaging it.

        • Captain Insane-O

          The D750 has better sensor performance at iso 100+

          The D750 has a 40% faster frame rate

          It has everything but the af on, 12 extra mp, 1/8000, and viewfinder curtain

          • Allen_Wentz

            You forget the biggest thing the D750 lacks is the pro-level body of the single-digit D series.

          • outkasted

            and an inferior shutter cycle that is doubled by the D3s

          • Allen_Wentz

            “Everything but the AF on” is like saying a truck comes with everything but the steering wheel.

      • Nemmondom Meg

        Can you buy it as new? If only in used, than note what pros are telling :”Work horse” all used D3 were a work horse of a pro. They are selling when they don’t dare to use it any more. And D750 should be better in all aspect. Maybe you can not hit in a nail with it as comfortable as with d3.

        • Allen_Wentz

          No, all used D3 have _not_ necessarily been the workhorse of a pro. Six months ago I considered buying a second D3/D3s and found that low-mileage used bodies, although infrequent, are available.

          I bought a D500 instead of a second D3 and (except for the lame SD in the second card slot) am totally thrilled with the D500. I already knew from years of D2x usage that DX works for commercial photography.

          Personally I have always found that having FX+DX kit makes total sense, literally making every lens available somewhat dual-purpose. The 20mm lens lives on the D3 while the 16-80mm f/2.8-4 VR (a good lens, despite being dissed by some ignorant folks simply because it also is available as part of a D500 kit) lives on the D500.

      • Patrick5150

        I have, and use, both the D750 and the D3. Both are great cameras. I use the D3 for all sporting / action shots with the D750 as my backup – second lens camera. I use the 750 for all portrait, landscape, most everything else with the D3 as my second lens camera. The 750 shoots a few frames less (6.5) vs the D3 (9-ish). I love my D3 and it really has been a workhorse for everything I have done the past several years. If you are looking to shoot action / sports you may want to consider the D3 / D4. If you don’t shoot that then D750 may be your route. I like both but both have their strong points depending on your needs.

      • NicP

        D750 lacks many features and build quality nowhere near, get the D3/D3s far better cameras, you will be very pleased with it, probably you will never feel the need to sell it. Only downside is the size.

      • Lee

        D3s can handle much more rugged environments and is much faster (mainly meaning FPS, but viewfinder blackout and general control operation is also speedier) and image quality is no slouch. D750 image quality and resolution are far superior however. So it depends on your needs.

    • Hardcore_Fanboy

      Stormwatch – false;
      peter w – false;
      it is okay camera and can get the work done (though if we talk like this – then D700 still can everything what this can, if you attach grip), but main disadvantage for this camer is – PRICE, that is still high, because there were not many made of these and lot of pros and wanabees still have sentiment around it…. for money that is been asked for used (and many times abused) D3s – you can buy beter cameras both new and used. for example if you are with moto “pro body, that I can split hazelnuts with or i wana hear nothing” (for whatever reason, but there are many people who thinks like that – and that is beside the point) then you can buy D3 for that price and pocket like 600-800$… and do not give me “D3 vs D3s has like full stop iso – I need that, pros need that… right?”, because then there are many cameras that make look your d3s iso as not the argument anymore.

      • fanboy fagz

        U own the d3s?

      • Stormwatch

        🙂 Sorry, can we get again on this message of yours at the time when you will be using the same digital body for almost 7 years without any flaws (except cleaning). When the time comes, we can speak about PRO and not pro, and about sillyness of changing the body every year or two. I have my arguments , do you have your?

      • catinhat

        Yes, D700 is till very capable too, if this is your point, but shooting over ISO 3200, D3S files hold much better. That’s the main thing, no other difference is a showstopper (for me).

        • Allen_Wentz

          Plus the single-digit Nikon bodies are in a class all their own in terms of durability/usability under rigorous field conditions.

      • Oh Fanboy you have no idea what you are talking about 🙂 I have D3s, D4s, D810 as daily workhorses in my roller and use them for my work as specialty tools for particular reasons. D3s cannot be compared to cameras such D700 because it is different league just to let you know. It is still my the most used camera, and it makes me income just because it does what it is supposed to do excellent way. Despite it has 6 years, “only” 12 MP, and shutter close to 200K on it. Had been dropped in front of clients on marble floor by my mistake, survived adventure travels you can only dream about and it is running without flows which some of the latest new released cameras cannot do even if they are brand new since the quality control in 6 years has changed a lot !!! 🙂 Just my 50 cents, but there is no chance I am selling my D3s, since for what it does no one would actually paid me enough in my eyes for it :)… And this is not a pathetic reply from someone who plays with cameras, I make living by using them and feed my family and I am able to do it because cameras like D3s still exist and make you money a long time after their lifespan is supposed to be at the end. IT IS NOT :)… happy shooting guys!

        • Stormwatch

          Finaly someone with a reason.

    • Tommy Brown

      I still use 2- D3 cameras and a D4s for studio work and the local paper and that I shot for and can say they function as needed. I love the D3 as the results have been what keeps me working. Yes, they are still relevant pro cameras to me and others I’m sure.

    • still shoot all my weddings with it alongside the 810

      • Stormwatch

        Yes! A dream team.

  • fanboy fagz

    I wish theyd fix the hanging shutter release problem. It will hang forever to release the shutter. I havr to shoot with one finger on the focus lever. Horrible flaw

  • catinhat

    If you have a functional D3S there is very little incentive to upgrade to anything, as I have found. Still expensive? — I don’t think so, not if you compare it to D5 or even D500. Paying big bucks for the latest and greatest and trying to split hairs to see the supposed improvements — that is expensive.

    • Shutterbug

      Obviously a several year old camera is cheaper compared to it’s successor. There is no comparison between the D3S and D5 if you’ve truly used both for what they are intended – it’s not splitting hairs. The D3s is still a great body but it does not compare to a D5.

      • catinhat

        No, I don’t have a D5 and won’t any time soon. It is a poor value proposition for me.

        • Shutterbug

          Curious, then, how you can say there is little incentive to upgrade if you have not even used one for any length of time? Or how is it that it’s splitting hairs when you have no real comparison? If you are a working professional using the camera for what it is intended, the differences are quite significant and immediately noticeable – all professional reviews I have seen in addition to my own experience echo this as well.

          • catinhat

            This is simple to answer. First, from everything I have seen, D5 only has a meaningful advantage over D3S at high ISO if you’re a jpeg shooter, which I’m not. And second, the advantage D5 has over D3S in AF only makes a difference if you’re finding the D3S AF deficient for what you do. As it happens, D3S AF doesn’t leave too much to be desired from my perspective, even shooting sports in poorly lit venues. Would I get a few percentage more keeper shots with the D5 over D3S, — perhaps. Would it make a huge difference for me personally, — probably not. I’m not arguing that the D5 is not an improvement over D3S, I’m only arguing that for my use cases the improvement is probably not worth the expense, which makes D5 a poor value proposition. If from your perspective the cost/benefit analysis is different, then by all means get the D5.

            • Allen_Wentz

              A D3 was my primary camera, with a D2x and a D5100 as backup. Then I test shot the D5 and the D500, and immediately preordered the D500. Although I will not be dumping the D3 any time soon, I do consider the real-world improvements in the two new bodies over the D3 to be significant.

  • Scott Taylor

    I‘ve used two of these D3s cameras for press work and they are great cameras.

  • Jerry Friedman

    Sucks that they stopped providing flashes for the D800E…The bastard child of the Nikon line up 🙁 that out performs all the cameras mentioned here (except in speed and hazel nut cracking.

  • Blah Blah Blah, my camera is better than yours. Something something ISO.

  • AlanSmithe

    I love my D3, but my repair shop says Nikon no longer sells nor makes the shutter for my D3. So once it dies it becomes a brick. Best to buy a newer camera with an extra warranty.

    • I asked my local Nikon repair shop and they assured me that the D3s shutter is NOT the same as the D3 so they would be able to replace them for many years to come as he already had several in stock and Nikon also had them.

  • Ned Gerblansky

    And still not a damn thing for the D4.

    • faocisco

      No”bugs” on mine.
      Maybe it does´t need bug fixes.

  • Been using two of my D3s cameras for wedding work, EVEN after owning/trying the following cameras: D4s, D810, D800, D600 and DF. None of these cameras, I repeat, NONE beat the D3s in terms of ISO performance. The DF came close though but it’s a joke compared to D3s features, ergonomics, etc.
    My favorite camera of all time.

  • Littlelio

    I am still using D3 and D3s as my working horse. Recently I was wondering whether I should upgrade to D4(s) even D5. Thanks to this article, so I can … spend money on something else. 😀

    • peter w

      Something else? Like a D810?

      • Littlelio

        Actually that’s exactly my another delimma: I have the third body D800… I feel it works all right although I know D810 is good.

        I guess I will just stick with my current system. Because the $$$ of new D5 can also get me a MF + digital back :P.

  • Yanny Nao

    D3 & D3s are superb cameras. Nikon cameras of that era has overexposing problem. If the light is controlled its results are superb. I am a pro wedding photog and I am using it for the last many years. Rest is superb. 12MPx and still great. I have posted about this problem here to inform all of you who are interested in buying used cameras. Before buying you should check it.

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