Field Review: Nikon D3s (Day 3)

Day two of the Nikon D3s field review focused on doing some street photography over at South St Seaport since it was a beautiful day in NYC. Street photography, you say? Isn’t that better served with a smaller camera? To be honest with you, this one worked perfectly fine and some of the new features on it are things that I’m really, really liking. I’ve got a bit of personal problems with it as well, but they’re all just based upon opinion.

Editor’s Note: All photos are unprocessed

As I stated earlier, I love the Canon 24-105mm F4 L IS lens. The cool thing about the D3s is that it allows you to have a cropped field of view when shooting. That means that the 24-70mm F2.8 ED can become a 36-105mm F2.8. effectively. So you do get that extra reach which is nice so you don’t always need to go right up to your subjects and get in their faces.

This is demonstrated in the above two photos where I went from full frame to a 1.5x crop. Combine this with the programmable buttons and you’ll really get some major flexibility.

This works well with street photography when you need to do things on the fly. Especially when photographing puppies. Who doesn’t like puppies!

Nikon’s way of tracking a subject moving through the frame can be done with one of the auto focus modes. This really works best when the camera is combined with the photographer panning to keep the subject in the specific part of the frame. So far, I’m personally preferring the approach taken by Canon with the 7D and 1D Mk IV, but that could change.

As stated by my mentor, this camera is a tank. The camera and lens fell twice. How you ask? The strap. The strap is god awful, and that’s something I rarely say. Thankfully I caught the camera the second time and the first time it fell onto some wooden boards. The camera and lens were both fine and I’ve now taken to tying knots to keep it on. The reason for this is because the camera is so heavy. It’s a little odd, really.

I’ve gotten used to the muscle memory issues talked about in the first posting. However, I’ve got problems shooting vertically and the way that some of the information is displayed in the viewfinder. I’d prefer for the light meter to be along the bottom rather than the side. It makes it a bit hard to shoot at times.

The shutter can be a little loud though and I don’t particularly like that. It can set off and distract the people that you are photographing. Sure, it’s music to the ears of a photographer. However, I’d rather have the music silenced than disturb my subjects.

Something I’m also not liking very much: Bridge can’t open the files. Nor can photoshop elements. I have to open up Lightroom and process the files into DNG before I can edit them. This once again is part of my wish that all camera manufacturers will just agree on a damned file format and make it easy for us photographers.

More to come in the next couple of days!

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.