Field Review: Nikon D3s (Final Day)

At PAX East, I got to dabble a bit in a form of photography that I’ve gotten out of: celebrity candids. X-Play’s Adam Sessler was around on the floor making his rounds while the fanboys were too busy with booth babes. The Nikon D3s and the 24-70mm F2.8 ED lens were used. How did they hold up?

Quite well actually for the most part. I only had maybe one epic fail and you can clearly see the out of focus shot there. There were a couple of times later on in the show where he actually posed for me, so those don’t count. In the world of celebrity photography you need good candid photos that don’t always seem posed.

Here’s how this all went down: Adam Sessler passed in front of me and a couple of friends I was having lunch with. He was accompanied by a guard while heading to the bathroom. I set up to wait for him to come out. When he did, there were a couple of people coming out of the same entrance so he was covered up by people (none of which sadly recognized him.)

I screamed out (in typical celebrity photographer action) “Adam Sessler, right here!” He heard the voice, saw me and then Nikon D3s , posed for second and I shot. I said thank you, he smiled. And I continued shooting. Why? To ensure a great candid and because I knew the posed shot was out of focus and not usable. In fact, all of these photos would require cropping. Additionally, I could have done something to get some more emotion out of the guy. When he left, I realized that I should have said, “ADAM SESSLER, LET ME HAVE YOUR BABIES!”

The autofocus worked well while he was moving, not stationary. This was a bit odd. I was sitting down as well, so I wasn’t moving. Either way it worked out well for the most part.

What was nice was that the ISO didn’t need to be cranked up very high because of the convention center lighting in the area as well as the warm lighting coming from behind him. They worked out pretty well.

Can the Nikon D3s do celebrity photography? Sure can. In fact, I remember most Nikon celebrity photographers using it.

With this posting, I conclude the Nikon D3s review. Overall, I loved the camera. It was my constant companion and I almost never had any problems. My only dislikes were the new file format and loud shutter really. The rest I got over. I actually mentioned to my editors a couple of times that I’d consider trading in my Canon gear for it.

That’s where I realized something: Nikon’s bodies are simply phenomenal. However, their lenses can’t compete with Canon’s. And that’s where I’ll be steadily be making my investments. To that end, I’m sticking with Canon. Although I have to admit that I will miss the super fast autofocus and build quality of the Nikon D3s a lot.