Best Nikon D3S Memory Cards

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: October 9, 2019
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Best Nikon D3S Memory Cards

The Nikon D3S has two CompactFlash memory card slots that can use CF cards up to 64GB in storage capacity. The camera can be used with only one Compact Flash card. When dual memory cards are used, more memory management options are available.

To use 64GB Compact Flash card, you will need to have the most up-to-date firmware for the Nikon D3S. Trying to use a Compact Flash card bigger than 64GB will result in a camera error displayed on the top LCD.

The D3S will format Compact Flash cards using the FAT32 filesystem.

My recommendation for the best Compact Flash card to use in the Nikon D3S is:

SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash Card 32GB

SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB CF Card

  • Read speeds up to 160MB/s.
  • Write speeds up to 150MB/s.
  • Water, x-ray, & shock proof.
Best Nikon Compact Flash Memory Card

The best value Compact Flash card is going to be 32GB. 64GB cards are only compatible if you have the latest firmware. Cards below 32GB will cost the same.

A high-speed, quality card will not add a noteworthy amount to the cost. Having a high-speed card will remove the need to buy another card with a future camera upgrade.

Recommended CF Cards

Lexar Professional CompactFlash Card 1066X 32GB

Lexar Professional 1066x 32GB CompactFlash Card

  • Transfer speeds up to 160MB/s.
  • Video Performance Guarantee sepc VPG 65.
  • Limited lifetime warranty.
SanDisk Extreme CompactFlash card 32gb

SanDisk Extreme 32GB Compact Flash Card

  • Read speeds up to 120MB/s.
  • Write speeds up to 85MB/s.
  • Sustained data recording of 20MB/s.
  • Water, x-ray, & shockproof.
SanDisk Ultra CompactFlash Card 16gb

SanDisk Ultra 16GB CompactFlash Card

  • Speeds up to 50MB/s.
  • Excellent reliability and value.
  • Ideal for mid-range DSLRs.

Memory Card Reader

UGreen 4-in-1 Card Reader
There's a bright blue LED that bothered me. It is now covered in gaff tape.

The UGreen 4-in-1 memory card reader can read four common memory card formats. These include all card types camera manufacturers implement in all but their latest professional-level cameras.

The UGREEN reader has a USB 3.0 connection. The USB 3.0 transfer speeds will be faster transfer speeds than what the Nikon D3S can achieve in USB transfer mode.

There are overwhelmingly positive customer reviews for the reader, which I agree with. It is a good product because the reader has worked with all the computers (Windows, Mac, and Linux) I have plugged it into.

The cable stops card slots from interfering with other devices or accessories that are plugged into another USB or neighboring port.

When I looked for a card reader that would be lighter for travel, I had to send a couple of orders back. I experienced the most frequently found problem in customer reviews, the readers would not work with my computer.

The ugreen reader can be used with the memory card types below:

  • CompactFlash Cards
  • SD, SDHC, & SDXC Cards (UHS-I supported)
  • Memory Stick (MS), MS Pro, MS PRO-HG, & MS XC DUO
  • MicroSD, Micro SDHC, & Micro SDXC Cards

Compact Flash Card Types

Two separate types of Compact Flash cards exist. The cards are referred to as Type I or Type II.

Both types of CF memory cards will fit in the Nikon D3S.

What makes the cards different, is their thickness. All other dimensions of the Compact Flash cards are the same.

  • Type I - 3.3mm thick
  • Type II - 5mm thick

The Type II spec allowed for the use of Microdrives in the D3S. A Microdrive was a little mechanical harddrive.

Compact Flash cards had small storage capacities when they were initially released. Microdrives made it possible to get larger amounts of storage.

Microdrives have been discontinued for many years. Due to their mechanical construction, the drives had a high failure rate.

Another use of the Type II slot is for CF card adapters. The adapters can allow you to use SD or MicroSD cards in a Compact Flash slot.

Avoiding Card Read Errors

Nikon CF Memory Card Pins

The most common memory card error is due to damaged pins in the camera's Compact Flash card slot. If this occurs in the Nikon D3S, a CHA error code will be displayed on the top LCD.

Due to the LCD screen, the error can also look like CHR.

Be mindful when inserting a CF memory card into the card slot. Never force a CF memory card into the slot.

If the CF card does not slide in easily, remove it. Check the orientation and then try again.

If that does not work, try a different memory card.

Do Both Memory Cards Slots Need to Be Used in the D3S?

No, the Nikon D3S can be used with a card in only one memory card slot.

Using two cards will allow you to use additional settings to control the cards.

The following settings will be added:

  • Mirror. The memory cards will be exact copies of each other.
  • Overflow. Once the first memory card is full, files will then be saved to the other card.
  • RAW+JPEG. RAW files will be written on one card and JPEGs of the same images will be written to the other card.

Do Dual Memory Cards Need to be the Same?

No, memory cards can be different in the Nikon D3S. You can use memory cards that have different storage capacities.

Having the two CF memory cards be identical helps to reduce potential compatibility concerns. For instance, one slow card can slow down the camera's memory buffer.

Related Cameras

That's all you need to know about Compact Flash card technical specifications, which is why the SanDisk Extreme 32GB CF Card is the best Nikon D3S memory card.

Here are cameras with similar memory card requirements:

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