Updated (June, 2014): Compare the Nikon D810 vs Nikon D4

Nikon D800 vs Nikon D3S

Winner
Nikon D800

93

Nikon D3S

90

Runner-up

Reasons to buy the Nikon D800

Great image quality
Overall image quality
95.0
Full HD
Movie format
1080p @ 30fps
Wide dynamic range
Dynamic range
14.4 EV
Large screen
Screen size
3.2"
 

Reasons to buy the Nikon D3S

Low light performance
Low noise at high ISO
3,253 ISO
Continuous shooting
Rapid fire
9 fps
Battery life
Great battery life
4200 shots
Fastest shutter speed
Fast shutter speed
1/8000 of a second

galleries

Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Nikon D800. Explore our gallery of 50 sample photos taken by the Nikon D3S.

differences

Advantages of the Nikon D800

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Movie format
Higher resolution movies
1080p @ 30fps vs 720p @ 24fps
Help
Shoots higher resolution Full HD (1080p) video at a higher frame rate
Overall image quality
Significantly better image quality
95.0 vs 82.0
Help
Around 20% better image quality
HDR
Has in-camera HDR
Yes vs No
Help
Combines multiple exposures to capture high dynamic range
Screen size
Significantly larger screen
3.2" vs 3.0"
Help
Around 10% larger screen
True resolution
Much higher true resolution
36.2 MP vs 12.1 MP
Help
Capture around 3x more detail in your photos
Dynamic range
More dynamic range
14.4 EV vs 12 EV
Help
2.4 f-stops more dynamic range
Autofocus
Video autofocus
Contrast detection vs None
Help
Automatically focuses shooting video
Color depth
Better color depth
25.3 bits vs 23.5 bits
Help
Distinguishes 1.8 more bits of color
Size
Much smaller
146x123x82 mm vs 160x157x88 mm
Help
More than 30% smaller
Lowest price
Significantly cheaper
$2,555.51 vs $4,994.99
Help
The best price we've seen is $2,439 cheaper (around 50% less)
Built-in flash
Built-in flash
Yes vs No
Help
A built-in flash is useful for taking indoor shots where there is little light
Thickness
Significantly thinner
3.2" vs 3.5"
Help
Around 10% thinner
Weight
Lighter
1,000 g vs 1,240 g
Help
Around 20% lighter
Nikon D800 Learn more about
the Nikon D800

Advantages of the Nikon D3S

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Battery life
Much longer battery life
4200 shots vs 900 shots
Help
More than 4.5x more shots per battery charge
Continuous shooting
Shoots much faster
9 fps vs 4 fps
Help
Around 2.5x faster continuous shooting
Low light performance
Lower noise at high ISO
3,253 ISO vs 2,853 ISO
Help
The D3S has a slight edge (0.2 f-stops) in low noise, high ISO performance
Light sensitivity (boost)
Better boost ISO
102,400 ISO vs 25,600 ISO
Help
The D3S's boost ISO is 2 f-stops better
Light sensitivity
Better maximum light sensitivity
12,800 ISO vs 6,400 ISO
Help
The D3S's maximum light sensitivity is 1 f-stop better
Startup delay
Slightly less startup delay
120 ms vs 200 ms
Help
40% less delay when turning on
Shutter lag
Slightly less shutter lag
197 ms vs 209 ms
Help
Around 10% less delay when taking photos
Nikon D3S Learn more about
the Nikon D3S
vs

recommendations

Which camera do we recommend? Relative to the best recent pro DSLRs, and ignoring price

Snapsort Recommends
Nikon D800 Nikon D800 93
Retailer
    Style
      Color
        You save
        vs
        90 Nikon D3S Nikon D3S
        Retailer
          Style
            Color
              You save

              similarities

              Compared to recent DSLRs

              Common Strengths
              Low light performance Very low noise at high ISO Help
              D8002,853 ISO
              D3S3,253 ISO
              Viewfinder size Above average viewfinder size Help
              0.70x
              Startup delay Minimal startup delay Help
              D800200 ms
              D3S120 ms
              Weather sealed Weather sealed Help
              Shoot in extreme weather
              Focus points Many focus points Help
              51
              Viewfinder Both have pentaprism viewfinders Help
              Pentaprism
              Built-in focus motor Both have a built-in lens focus motor, which is uncommon in cameras similar to these Help
              Autofocuses with more lenses
              Storage slots Multiple storage slots Help
              2
              Viewfinder coverage Above average viewfinder coverage Help
              100%
              Fastest shutter speed Fast max shutter speeds Help
              1/8000 of a second
              Common Weaknesses
              Weight Heavy Help
              D8001,000 g
              D3S1,240 g
              Thickness Quite thick Help
              D8003.2"
              D3S3.5"
              Lowest price Very expensive Help
              D800$2,555.51
              D3S$4,994.99
              Size Large Help
              D800146x123x82 mm
              D3S160x157x88 mm
              Screen flips out No flip-out screens Help
              Less flexible
              Image stabilization No image stabilization Help
              Risk of blur
              Touch screen No touchscreens Help
              More buttons

              Compared to recent pro DSLRs

              Common Strengths

              Snapsort is not aware of any interesting strengths shared by these two products.

              Common Weaknesses
              Cross type focus points Few cross-type focus points Help
              15
              Screen resolution Low resolution screens Help
              921k dots

              dxomark

              DXOMark

              competitors

              Shared Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              Canon EOS 5D Mark III

              Canon EOS 5D Mark III

              Pro DSLR

              $2,499 body only

              $3,099 with 24-105mm lens

              Screen resolution Has a slightly higher resolution screen
              Light sensitivity Slightly higher maximum light sensitivity
              Built-in focus motor Doesn't have a built-in focus motor
              Startup delay Has slightly more startup delay
              Nikon D750

              Nikon D750

              Pro DSLR

              $1,997 body only

              $2,697 with 24-120mm lens

              Screen resolution Has a significantly higher resolution screen
              Screen flips out Has a screen which flips out
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Nikon D810

              Nikon D810

              Pro DSLR

              $2,997 body only

              $3,300 - $3,697 with 24-120mm lens

              Screen resolution Has a significantly higher resolution screen
              Weight Is slightly lighter
              Nikon D610

              Nikon D610

              Pro DSLR

              $1,325 - $1,497 body only

              $1,699 - $1,997 with 24-85mm lens

              Size Is slightly smaller
              Lowest price Is slightly less expensive
              Fastest shutter speed Has a slower max shutter speed
              Shutter lag Has slightly more shutter lag
              Nikon D700

              Nikon D700

              Pro DSLR

              $4,030 body only

              Thickness Is thinner
              Lowest price Is slightly more expensive
              Storage slots Has fewer storage slots
              Nikon D4

              Nikon D4

              Pro DSLR

              $5,293 body only

              Continuous shooting Shoots faster continuously
              Light sensitivity (boost) Slightly higher boost light sensitivity
              Lowest price Is much more expensive
              Thickness Is thicker
              Nikon D7100

              Nikon D7100

              Entry-level DSLR

              $897 body only

              $1,160 - $1,197 with 18-140mm lens

              Screen resolution Has a significantly higher resolution screen
              Lens availability Significantly more lenses available
              Shutter lag Has slightly more shutter lag
              Viewfinder size Slightly smaller viewfinder

              Nikon D800 Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              No significant competitors found that are specific to the Nikon D800.

              Nikon D3S Competitors

              Advantages

              Disadvantages

              No significant competitors found that are specific to the Nikon D3S.

              appearance

              Nikon D800 Nikon D3S
              Nikon D800 Nikon D3S
              Nikon D800 Nikon D3S

              discussion

              Nikon D800
              D800
              Nikon

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              Nikon D3S
              D3S
              Nikon

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