>I would agree that at lower ISO the increased dynamic range >of the D7000 and D600 might have some advantage in some shots, >but is less noticeable than the ability of the D3S to retain >detail in all shots at 6400 ISO and above even downsizing the >D600 and D7000 images to 12.1. MPs. That is my opinion of >course.
Again, it really depends on what you are shooting. I tend to shoot sports most often, and do some portrait, fashion, bikini work as well. For all of those in outdoor shooting, my choice of camera is as follow:
1. D800 2. D600 3. D7000 4. D3s
For pure sports work, #4 an #3 swap places.
>There are other benefits to the D3s in terms of FPS, buffer, >etc.
True, if those things are important to the shooter. The question here was solely about image quality, so I didn't factor them in.
>I don't think the IQ of either the D600 or D7x00 are clearly >better than the D3s, depends what you are shooting.
In my experience, they are clearly better. I have far better shadow gradation, more than a stop better dynamic range, better skin tones, better color rendition. The files are also easier and better to retouch.
I will be shooting the D600 and a pair of D3s in a week for night softball, and will be able to do a A/B comparison at ISO 3200 and 6400 at that time.