Nikon D3S Sample Images from Times Square

by on January 21, 2010

in Nikon

ISO 6400 – HDR Composite of 9 Bracketed Images

I’ve just been getting to know the Nikon D3S a bit, but I brought it along with me on a quick trip to NYC to visit my good friends at B&H Photo. I had some time to kill last night and I couldn’t resist a walk down to Times Square with the D3S to see what the high ISO handling looked like in a real world environment. 

While I shot NEF + JPEG, all of the following samples are JPEG from the camera, as I haven’t had the opportunity to process the NEF files yet.  All images were shot using the Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.

You can download the full-res file (for personal use and inspection only) by right-clicking any of the following images and choosing “Save Image as…” from your menu. Please do not republish any of these images on the Internet or elsewhere without permission.

Nikon D3S Sample Image
ISO 1600 – f/4 at 1/30s

Nikon D3S Sample Image
ISO 3200 – f/4 at 1/60s

Nikon D3S Sample Image
ISO 6400 – f/4 at 1/125s

Nikon D3S Sample Image
ISO 12800 – f/4 at 1/250s

Nikon D3S Sample Image
ISO 25600 – f/4 at 1/500s

Nikon D3S Sample Image
ISO 51200 – f/4 at 1/1250s

Nikon D3S Sample Image
ISO 102400 – f/4 at 1/2500s

Nikon D3S Sample Image
ISO 3200 – f/4 at 1/60s

Nikon D3S Sample Image
ISO 3200 – f/4 at 1/500s

Nikon D3S Sample Image
ISO 6400 – f/11 at 1/80s

Nikon D3S Sample Image
ISO 12800 – f/8 at 1/125s

Nikon D3S Sample Image
ISO 12800 – f/4 at 1/500s

Nikon D3S Sample Image
ISO 12800 – f/4 at 1/160s

Nikon D3S Sample Image
ISO 102400 – f/4 at 1/5000s

Nikon D3S Sample Image
ISO 102400 – f/4 at 1/2000s

Nikon D3S Sample Image
ISO 102400 – f/4 at 1/8000s

All of these images were taken at night; however, due to the brightness of Times Square and the incredible sensitivity of the Nikon D3S, some might fool you and appear to be during the day.  Also remember that these are JPEG files that came straight out of the camera with no edits or additional noise reduction.  The D3S internal noise reduction was set to Normal.

Again, I shot these in NEF + JPEG format and I’ll get a closer look at the processed NEF files soon, which I’ll be sure to pass along.  As it stands now, the D3S really knocked my socks off in the way it handles noise at higher ISOs.  This camera looks to be a stop or two better at noise control than any other DSLR on the market right now.

I know there are plenty of sports shooters out there pushing the ISO limits of the D700 and D3 in the 3200 to 6400 range in order to get a sufficiently fast shutter speed.  I can see you guys moving up to ISO 12800 with the D3S for shots that were either missed or soft before.  Same thing for wedding shooters – this camera sets a new bar for “available light.”

If that’s not enough for you, I’ve got several more images in a sample gallery, which you can access here.

Stay tuned for more as we look at NEF results for the D3S and take it into some darker environments.

You can find the Nikon D3S at B&H Photo.  I’ve trusted B&H for years with my own online purchases and was glad to finally meet these guys face to face this week.  If you’ve never been to the B&H store in New York, it’s something to behold.  I highly recommend checking out the store the next time you are anywhere near NYC.




1 Erik January 21, 2010 at 6:17 am


2 Dan January 21, 2010 at 12:07 pm

That’s pretty amazing. Those 102400 shots look like 800 on my old canon rebel.

3 Samantha January 21, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Wow…I hope some day ISO performance like this can be had in a consumer body! This is just awesome.

4 Eric January 21, 2010 at 9:19 pm

I’m a bit confused as to how the first shot of Times Square was composited. I think you said you took (9) bracketed images and then ran them through an HDR program. If you did composite (9) photos, did you dissect the image into various pieces in photoshop so that the cars and people worked out properly between the various frames? Or did you shoot (9) frames at a very high frame rate?



5 Eric January 21, 2010 at 11:08 pm

@Eric – I put the bracketed images through Photomatix, then opened the resulting HDR and other images as layers in Photoshop and used masks to reveal portions of moving subjects. Trey Ratcliff has a great tutorial of this technique, which you can find here:

6 Leo January 22, 2010 at 6:10 am

Very impressive! I never go higher then 1600 on my Canon 5d Mark II.It is enough for me, but these result are from another planet. And Samantha, you can bet that in 2 years this comes in a consumer body.

7 Steve January 22, 2010 at 8:15 am

Pretty amazing results.
Unfortunately I cannot go to the expense of the D3S (I am an amateur photographer only) and I am biding my time for the D700 upgrade, assuming it is coming!

8 John January 22, 2010 at 5:35 pm

When is nikon going to go to 1080p my friend has a canon and i’m thinking on going to canon and dumping all of my nikon equipment. nikon can not compare to canon resulation of pictures and color adjustment on camera settings.

9 mezeus January 23, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Can anyone tell me what percentage of the digital S.L.R. market Canon has and what percentage Nikon has? Just curious.

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