Best Nikon D3S SD Memory Cards
The Nikon D3S uses Compact Flash memory cards. 64GB is the largest card storage capacity that is compatible with the camera.
A CF card over 64GB will either not be recognized or cause the D3S to display an error message.
Recommended CF Cards
SanDisk Extreme Pro CF 64GB
- Records and captures cinema quality 4K and Full HD video.
- Transfer speed of up to 160MB/s (1067X) read speeds.
- Industry leading shot speed performance of up to 150MB/s (1000X) write speeds.
- Designed for professional photographers and videographers
SanDisk Extreme 64GB CompactFlash Card
- Write speeds of up to 85 MB/s for faster shot-to-shot performance.
- Transfer speeds of up to 120 MB/s for increased efficiency.
- Video Performance (VPG-20) for Full HD video recording.
- RTV silicone coating protects card from shock and vibration.
Lexar Professional CF Card 64GB
- High speed performance—leverages UDMA 7 technology to deliver a read speed up to 1066x (160MB/s).
- Supports the VPG-65 specification for professional-quality video.
- Captures high-quality images and extended lengths of stunning 1080p Full-HD, 3D, and 4K video.
- High-speed file transfer to dramatically accelerate workflow.
Dual Card Slots
Do Both Memory Card Slots Need to be Used?
No, the camera is usable with just one CF card. When you use two CF cards you’ll have additional settings.
- Mirror the Cards. Both memory cards will have the same files written to them.
- Overflow. Once the first card is full, files will be written to the second card.
- RAW+JPEG. Raw files will be written to one card and JPEGs of the same images will be written to the second card.
Do CF Cards Need to Match?
No, the Compact Flash cards are not required to match. You can use cards that have different storage capacities.
Having the two cards be the same helps to avoid compatibility concerns. In particular, one slow card can bottleneck the camera’s memory buffer.
Compact Flash Card Types
Compact Flash cards come in two physical sizes. The cards are known as Type I or Type II.
The difference between the types of cards is how thick they are. The length and width of the cards are the same.
- Type I - 3.3mm thick
- Type II - 5mm thick
The Type II spec were thicker so Microdrives could be used in the Nikon D3S. A Microdrive was a little mechanical harddrive.
When CF memory cards were first launched they had high prices and very small storage capacities. Microdrives were the only solution to have large amounts of storage.
Microdrives are no longer produced. Because they were mechanical, they often failed. So they are virtually impossible to find used.
Another use of the Type II slot is for Compact Flash adapters. The adapters allow you to use SD or Micro SD cards in a Compact Flash slot.
The UGREEN 4-in-1 card reader is what I use with my CF cards.
The UGREEN reader is compatible with USB 3.0. Using the card reader will allow transfer speeds that are faster than what the Nikon D3S can do.
The card reader can read the following card types:
- CompactFlash Cards
- SD, SDHC, & SDXC Cards
- Memory Stick (MS), MS Pro, MS PRO-HG, & MS XC DUO
- MicroSD, Micro SDHC, & Micro SDXC Cards
Avoiding Card Read Errors
A frequent problems with cameras that use CF memory cards are damaged card slot pins. If a pin is bent, you might see a ‘unable to use card’ error.
To avoid damaged pins, don’t force a CF card into the Nikon D3S. The extra space for a Type II card allows a Compact Flash card to be misaligned.
If the CF card will not easily slide into the slot, take it out and check the positioning of the card. Also, check to see if the card is damaged.
If everything looks fine, carefully align the CF card and try inserting it again.