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Nikon D800 versus Nikon D3s; A Product Comparison

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 2
Nikon D800 Full Frame DSLR

On February 6, 2012 Nikon finally announced the highly anticipated and long awaited D800 full frame digital single lens reflex (DSLR), which are anticipated to be on store shelves by late March 2012.  These new camera bodies will be the successor to the extremely successful D700 which was released back in 2008. 

New camera means new features, and the D800 at first glance appears to a heavyweight contender for professional camera bodies without the heavyweight camera price tag.  With more than double the amount of pixels than the D700, the new Nikon D800 is more akin to the previous year’s flagship model, the professional Nikon D3s.  There are numerous subtle and obvious differences between these two camera bodies.  The following table highlights a side-by-side breakdown of some of the major features between the two cameras and what buyers can expect.



Nikon D800

Nikon D3s




Body size



Effective megapixels



Screen size



In Camera HDR



Frames per second (fps)

4 fps – 6 fps

9 fps – 11 fps

Max Resolution

7360 x 4912

4265 x 2832


8 Settings

8 Settings

Manual focus



Sensor size

35.9 x 24mm (Full frame)

36 x 23.9 mm (Full frame)

White balance presets



Uncompressed format



Total # of focus points



Minimum shutter speed

1/30 sec

1/30 sec

Maximum shutter speed

1/8000 sec

1/8000 sec


1080p @ 30 frames per second

720p @ 24 frames per second

Video format

MPEG – 4, H.264

Motion JPEG

Built in flash

Yes – pop up flash





Metering modes

4 (Multi; Center; Spot; Average)

3 (Multi; Center; Spot)

Storage types

Compact Flash I; SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS-1 compliant

Compact Flash I and II; UDMA

Battery Life

Approx. 800 shots per charge

Approx. 4,200 shots per charge

Nikon D3s Full Frame DSLR

Benefits of the Nikon D3s

With a larger sensor, higher rate of continuous framers per second (9 fps vs 4 fps standard), and 5x more shots per battery charge, the Nikon D3s sets itself apart as a high end professional camera and lives up to its title as being among the Nikon flagship bodies. 

Cons of the Nikon D3s

Slightly bigger body than the D800, significantly bigger price tag (approximately $2,200.00 more), and no HD video capabilities are among the drawbacks for the D3s,….which are not really drawbacks except for the increased cost.

Benefits of the Nikon D800

Jam packed with professional grade features including a large full frame sensor, HD video capabilities, and compact body size make this camera an excellent option for the semi-pro/pro photographer, while also appealing to the growing cinematographer market.

Cons of the Nikon D800

Significantly less shots per single battery charge, low rate of frames per second, and slightly smaller sensor size despite the high volume of available megapixels (36.3). 

Best uses for the Nikon D3s

Given the high burst of frames per second, bulk of the camera body, and long battery life, the D3s is a professional grade camera which will be best used at photo shoots which are several hours in length and have a need to capture a high degree of detail and motion, such as sporting events, photojournalism, weddings, wildlife/outdoor, and event photography.  For secondary uses, this camera body is an excellent resource for capturing short videos for reproduction on the web.

Best uses for the Nikon D800.

With a more compact body, high megapixel count, and affordable price tag, the D800 is an excellent camera body for use with portrait/fashion/glamour shoots, travel excursions, outdoor stills, photojournalism, and product photography. Secondary uses for this camera include videography/cinematography for weddings, events, short films, or any other video needs of the user.

For more information or a detailed looking into any other Nikon camera bodies visit the Nikon USA Website



Mar 29, 2012 11:03am
Any chance you could publish a review based on the Pentax K-r and its Nikon counterpart? Thank you for the info!
Mar 29, 2012 9:39pm
I am actually not familiar with Pentax, but I love the suggestion, and since I am slightly fanatical with learning about cameras I will have to read up and see about publishing a review b/w the two camera bodies.

Thanks for reading and leaving a comment!
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