Nikon D3S vs Z6ii - Catherine Guidry Photography

June 2, 2021

Nikon D3S vs Z6ii

If you know me, you know how IN LOVE I am with the Nikon D3S. I’ve photographed with it consistently since 2013! In fact, I’ve purchased this exact same camera FOUR TIMES because of how much I love to shoot with it! You may be wondering, “If you’re so into the Nikon D3S, why did you buy a Z6ii??” Here’s my Z6ii journey:

Deciding to go in a different direction

Like I just mentioned, the D3s had been my saving grace for the longest time. In the past, I’d gone for the Nikon D750 and the D5, but I just kept coming back to the D3S. My favorite shooting combo of all time had been the D3S and the f/2.8 24-70 fixed lens. This camera just gave me such great color, sharpness, and durability…and it still is a great camera! But, it is a very large and heavy camera; overtime, I started to feel the adverse effects of lugging it around with me.

I tried the Spider Belt strap, the Holdfast Moneymaker, and a handheld strap. Yet still, I found that after a shoot I was feeling pain in different areas depending on how I was holding the camera! Another important thing to note: the Nikon D3S is a 12 megapixel camera. I rarely need anything higher than that, but it just so happened that a unique situation arose in which a client had needed me to shoot with a camera at 24 MP or higher. This was really the deciding factor for me; I needed to start looking for something new! I know that after all these years there have been many improvements in quality (including better ISO capabilities) so I was wanting to make the jump.

Shopping around

I considered Sony and Canon cameras, but it ultimately did not make sense for me to invest in a different brand. I would need to rebuy a lot of the gear I already own that had been compatible with Nikon (flashes, lenses, etc.). Sticking with Nikon was just the best option for me at this time…”if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it..right?!”. I considered the D850, which is pretty much the DSLR version of the D3S, but I decided against it because of the sharpness and speed the lenses of Nikon’s newest Z mirrorless line offered. SO, that’s where I looked next!

First, I tried the Z5… but as soon as a realized it’s lack of dual SD card slots, I returned it. I need TWO SD card slots (and this is not something I’m willing to negotiate on). It’s just to scary to think of losing a card or images being corrupt. And wouldn’t you know, within that 30 day return window, Nikon released its Z6ii and Z7ii! I decided I’d try the Z6ii, and boy am I glad I did! Here’s why:

Why I landed on the Nikon Z6ii (PROS)

I actually ended up really falling in love with this camera. With a Nikkor 50 mm lens, I can shoot an entire wedding day from beginning to end! In fact, all of the lenses that are compatible with this camera are just incredible. They’re fast and sharp, which are two things I value greatly as a wedding photographer. The ISO capabilities are also pretty amazing, which is another thing I find very helpful as I often have to shoot in less-than-optimal lighting conditions!

Some other good things about this 24MP camera are that it shoots great quality images, it’s lightweight, sharp, and compatible with both Nikon’s newer and older lenses (so long as you use the adapter)! Another really cool feature that Nikon included in this camera is that the screen will automatically brighten as your surroundings brighten, that way you can easily see what your photos are looking like real-time! I’ve got to say, I think my favorite feature about the Z6ii that the D3S didn’t have is its bluetooth capabilities. It’s SO EASY to share photos directly to my phone on the go (both personally and professionally), and I can even set my photos to sync to other devices AS I’m taking them! It’s so awesome and I’ve had a ton of fun with this feature.

***Another thing to note: the Z6ii offers wonderful capabilities for its price point, and I would definitely recommend it to somebody looking for a camera to start out with or for anybody wanting to move into shooting with a mirrorless camera!

CONS of the Z6ii

Although I’ve noted many pros, the Z6ii also has its cons, the first being its battery life. If you want to take this camera out for a full day of shooting, you’re going to need to invest in more batteries! You’ll also need more memory cards, as the file sizes are much bigger (that’s why I usually steer away from shooting with a 24MP camera)! Just for cards and batteries I’ve spent approximately $2k more than the price of the camer and lenses.

Another con, and this is more of a personal preference, is that the Z6ii has an electronic viewfinder, whereas the D3S has an optical viewfinder. I don’t mind this so much now, but at first it actually made me feel dizzy as I got used to looking through it. However, over time I’ve become used to the LCD screen and when it’s too bright out I am able to use the viewfinder just fine!

Have you too considered switching to a mirrorless camera or even the Z6ii specifically! I hope you found some helpful information, and if you have any questions about the Z6ii, the D3S, or any other gear, I’d LOVE to hear from you! Shoot me an email at catherine@catherineguidry.com. Thanks for reading!

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