The Nikon D3s Can Survive Getting Wet, Muddy, Frozen, Dropped, and Burned


High-end DSLRs by major camera manufacturers are made to be durable. After all, photographers find themselves in all kinds of environments documenting all kinds of subjects, so their cameras need to have serious protection against accidents and the elements.

Ruggedness is often a characteristic that’s touted in new camera announcements, but exactly how rugged are flagship DSLRs? French Nikon photographer site Pixelistes recently decided to find out by torture testing a Nikon D3s.

By “torture,” we mean subjecting the D3s to the far end of the abuse spectrum. The camera they tested went through all kinds of extreme situations that normal cameras likely never see.

First off, they snapped photographs with the camera while standing in a shower:


They then tested the camera against mud and shocks, dropping the camera (attached to a tripod) into a muddy puddle and onto a hard dirt path:


As if that weren’t enough, they decided to immerse the camera in a container of water and freeze it into a solid chunk of ice…



…and then burn the camera in a pile of paper:


What’s amazing is that the camera did indeed survive all the durability testing. It emerged unscathed, and appears to be functioning just fine.

Here’s the entire 15-minute video showing the various tests. It’s in French, but you’ll get the gist just by watching what happens:

(via Pixelistes via Nikon Rumors)

  • Duke Shin

    Cool story, bro. Tell it again.

  • photosforus

    I knew the body was weather sealed, but even inside without the lens mouted? Is that right? Wouldn’t the sensor get destroyed?

  • Duke Shin

    Cool story, bro.

  • Adam Correia

    That is incredible! I wouldn’t expect it to be submerged and/or frozen, thawed and be working again. I have always Nikon equipment to be built like tanks, but this is just incredible.

  • Zamfirescu Vladimir-Alexandru

    How the effin hell would it survive FROST?!

  • Mansgame

    I don’t think this test holds any real value other than to show this guy has an extra camera to throw away. No photographer will do this by accident and if a real accident happens, they’ll deal with it at that time. If you want to throw away a good D3s, donate it to local school.

  • Caca Milis

    Finally My French degree is coming in handy lol hmm I’ll stick with my Pentax K-5 even though it probably isn’t as resistant.

  • ichigo

    Well. Diz was done with a canon non flagship model. A 7d. It survived. So diz only shows dat a nikon flagship model can survive all diz. D non flagship models are not dat durable?

  • Chris Newhall

    What do you mean? All of these tests are things that could easily happen to a professional camera in real-life. Even getting submerged in water and freezing. Plus it’s a website, not just some random guy.

  • Lee

    well, I am not convinced. Since the video was edited, more than one camera body could be used in the filming. No proof that the same camera was used up to the burning test, isn’t it?

  • Mansgame

    Well now, they don’t just let ANYBODY have a website! If you’re the type of photographer who gets assignments in Alaska and accidentally drop your camera in the ocean, would you ever trust that camera again for your must have shots? No! You fish it out and file an insurance claim whether the thing looks like it works or not.

  • Orlando 林安徒生 Andersson

    through a long period of waiting for it to dry!

  • AGuest

    Yeah, cause they obviously had one D3s for every test they performed just for the hell of it. Seriously, dude. It’s a $4000 camera, used.

  • Guest

    Did you actually look at the website? I did before making my comment and it looks pretty legit (maybe you assume that it can’t be popular and have more than one person running it since it’s not in English).

  • Chris Newhall

    My argument wasn’t about what you would do after one of these things happened, only that it is possible that they could all happen in the real world (if I remember correctly you said “no photographer will do this by accident”). You are arguing just to argue, troll.

  • Heie

    I think the K-5 is up to the challenge ;)

  • Belinda James

    It was like a horror show. Superb testing!

  • alex

    pixeliste is a well known website in the french community…

  • Monteraz

    Marketing donating it to a local school= 0
    Marketing doing this= you are in Petapixel, Nikon Rumors, etc, etc

    PS Sure it works, but in what condition.

  • Monteraz

    Not only the sensor, think about the mirror or shutter curtains, I would like to see a closer inspection

  • freddy

    My Canon 5D mkII has fell out of the back of my van twice. Once with a 100-400 lens on it – the vas was stationary.

    The second time it fell out was with the van moving at about 10 miles per hour with a 17-35L & a EX580 attached.

    The flash broke it’s hot-shoe mount, (easily repaired with a new hot-shoe) but the lens is toast.
    However apart from a few dings and gravel rash the cameras is working perfectly.
    Just backs up the fact that camera gear is quite durable.

  • nate parker

    freddy you might want to think about closing the back door to your VAN!
    thanks and have a nice day.

  • Gman

    not really an original idea is it?

  • kelvin

    The one thing it can’t survive? Obsolescence.

  • Emtee

    In English?

  • aj1575

    I have seen this kind of “testing” over at DigitalRev TV. They abused some old Canon and Nikon consumer Cameras (the best part is where they use the lens as a hammer to put nails into a piece of wood). They later did it again with a Canon 7D (let it fall down a long stair, put it in the fridge, set it on fire… It also worked afterwards.

    My conclusion, our cameras are pretty tough and do not need to be treated like raw egg (like some “photographers” do).

  • KeeFyBeeFy

    They would have had the battery out and dried out the camera completely before turning it on.

    IMO, want to test REAL weather sealing put it in some sea water for a few days to prove a point.

    Soft water does not harm electronics at all if it’s not powered up. Even pure water will not short circuit electronics when powered up as it’s non-conductive.

  • dlo

    I dont believe him.

  • Veston

    Canon did it first!

  • Veston

    This is Frenglish. Don’t hate.

    Oh wait… no it’s not. Drat.

  • zaak

    the canon 7d survived a similar test and is only $1300 new

  • Foobar

    Will it blend?

  • 324324234

    i dont believe it…..

  • dorn

    Hogwash for clicks.

  • Mansgame

    That is true. The only reason why I started watching DigitalRevTV was because I saw Kai destroy a perfectly good D90 that I had just paid $1000 for while he painted it pink.

  • Richard Mui

    I seriously doubt dropping the camera on fire is one of the things that could accidentally happen to any professional photographers…

  • Nikon Guy

    Well, that seals it for me!!!! I am going to throw away all my Nikon gear and Buy Canon!!!! rotfl

    No wait….. I won’t!

  • agour

    digitalrev did the same thing with a canon 7d a while back :)

    It’s amazing to see that cameras can put up with this sort of abuse though

  • esiu

    This is clearly a lie. My Nikon D3s took some splashes while kayaking. Initially it was fine after some heavy drying, but few months later the shutter wouldn’t go off. Initially I didn’t relate these two and I sent it to Nikon for a warranty repair, but they refused the service claiming the camera is completely corroded inside.


    Amazing,still proud to be Nikon.

  • suulo

    canon fan…

  • Hernan_San

    I didn’t know that it rained salt water


    There is no need for this kind of test

  • Chriskay

    Herman, you are correct – it in fact does not rain salt water. The point is not every one shoots photos on dry land, Photographers have been known to venture out to sea from time to time.

  • Roman

    unless you are working for a fire dept. ;)

  • Matthew Neumann

    Wow, that was painful to read.

  • Mike

    it’s people like you that cause world wars.

  • KeeFyBeeFy

    I’m not brand loyal (whilst i am a canon user). I’ve many a time redirected people to sony, nikon and pantex. I personally won’t do it to any camera/electronics weather sealed or not.

    Unless applied with hydrophobic sealing… now that’s a whole different ball game.

  • KeeFyBeeFy

    I didn’t know rain accumulates in the camera and freezes on it’s own.


  • Hernan_San

    I do know you’re a complete moron, where in the video or who is saying that that’s what happened? Because I sure as hell know that I didn’t say something as stupid as you just did