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Sunday, 29 July 2012

The Nikon D4 Review 2012

The Nikon D4 represents the dream camera of many a professional photographer. The Nikon D4 DSLR. Enter the new flagship of Nikon’s D-SLR lineup: D4. Engineered for professionals, D4 strikes an ideal balance between resolution, sensor size, image processing and ISO range. The Japanese camera maker has announced a new model, the D4, a 16.2MP,the camera promises high accuracy and speed,professional workhorse intended for hard use in a wide range of shooting environments. It claims to be able to catch any moments other cameras miss due to its harmonious accuracy and speed.With these model Nikon has introduced some significant new technology to its high-end DSLR lineup, perhaps the most significant of which is a very impressive-looking video specification.HD video-capable camera-body would be available from Nikon.The D4 offers full 1080p HD video-capture at either 24 or 30fps, or 720p video capture at 60fps.This camera offer full HD video with live audio monitoring and the option to record uncompressed footage to a harddrive via the built-in HDMI port.


Like other vertically gripped pro bodies, the D4 is big and heavy, with the same rugged and sealed construction as its predecessor. If you're a perpetual telephoto-lens schlepper, that probably won't matter to you -- most of the big glass weighs even more than the body -- but other folks should keep in mind that single-height pro bodies are pretty fast, and are lighter even equipped with an optional vertical grip, which can usually hold an extra battery as well. The D4 deviates slightly from the D3S in control design and layout, mostly to incorporate the addition of necessary video controls, but with only one exception do I think you'll need to retrain your muscle memory. On the top left shoulder are the usual bracketing, metering and flash option buttons, accompanied by the locked dial with drive modes. Joining the information-packed status LCD, power switch/shutter, and exposure compensation and mode buttons on the top right shoulder is a tiny but physically differentiable record button.

Image Quality

With the 91,000 pixel metering system, there's the choice of either 3D Color Matrix Metering III (the latest generation of Nikon's multi-zone metering system), Centre-weighted or Spot. The 3D Color Matrix metering coped very well under a range of lighting conditions - the system is clever enough that when shooting a backlit portrait, it'll balance the exposure, giving prominence to the face. Tonal range of images is very good, with smooth graduations in color. There's also a dedicated HDR mode (JPEG only), with the choice of 1, 2 or 3 EV exposure differential, as well as Auto.

Image processing features

With the camera’s more powerful processors, the D4 adds more processing options, including a time lapse movie creator. This builds on the camera’s existing interval timer mode, compiling all the frames together into a full HD movie at the end. However, a fixed playback rate (meaning long-interval shoots end up being super sped-up) and its failure to save the individual frames may limit its appeal. In a feature taken from other models in the range, the D4 gains in-camera HDR processing, with a choice of the number of frames used and a parameter for how gently all that extra data is incorporated.

Video Master

It’s vastly superior to what has come before it. So much so that it’s not even a comparison. We now get a multitude of video modes and frame rates in a completely dedicated set of menus. We even get three crop modes, meaning you can get varying effective fields of view for any given lens. The down side is that all but the 2.7x video crop mode are a little soft and lacking in detail. This makes the video mode great for wildlife shooters but less so for anyone wanting to film scenes with a wide angle.


The 51-point AF system in the D3s is one of the best AF systems going, if not the best, so it's no surprise to see that the improved system in the D4 is nothing but excellent. In AF-S mode, focus is acquired incredibly quickly and the low-light levels that it still manages to focus in is impressive. The 16-35mm lens used for the bulk of this test is also a quiet piece of glass, far quieter than the satisfying shutter clatter that the camera itself makes. A new factor to performance is that the D4’s advanced scene recognition system - which uses the new 91,000-pixel metering system to identify subject and scene types - can recognize how to focus and expose for a scene, dependent on what that scene is. A face, for example, can be identified and exposed for even if the light source is coming from behind the subject. Although the camera is never going to do all the work for you, it’s these subtle tools – that are more similar to entry-level camera models of late – that can help in some situations. One of the nice aspects of cameras in this class is the dual card slots; in the case of the D4, one Compact-flash and one XQD, a new technology that thus far has no other camera adopters. I've got mixed thoughts about its inclusion here. On the upside, it's fast -- a lot faster than SD at this point. But so is the 100MBps CF, and as far as I can tell you gain no in-camera performance improvements over that from it, and you lose compatibility. However, when using a USB 3.0 XQD reader the downloads are very fast.

Better LCD monitor

The D4's LCD monitor has been upgraded compared to the D3S - it's a slightly larger 3.2" 921000 dot unit, but according to Nikon has a substantially expanded colour gamut that's close to sRGB. It also has a light sensor to detect ambient light levels, and adjust not only the screen brightness, but also the saturation, contrast and gamma as well, in an attempt to give optimized output. The monitor also has a gel resin between the LCD and the cover glass to minimise any risk of fogging when the camera is exposed to rapid changes of temperature.

High ISO performance

Nikon has for a long time offered a degree of control over its Auto ISO settings, allowing the user to specify a minimum shutter speed that the camera should aim to maintain by raising the ISO. However shooters using zoom lenses, or worried about camera shake rather than freezing the action, may prefer a minimum shutter speed that relates to the focal length in use, rather than specifying an absolute figure. This has been resolved on the D4, with an Auto ISO system that detects the lens’ focal length. When this is activated by setting the minimum shutter speed to 'Auto', the user can then also bias the program towards using slower shutter speeds and lower ISOs, or faster shutter speeds and higher ISOs, in five steps.

White Balance Performance

Auto white balance (AWB) performance under fluorescent lighting is very good, with the fluorescent preset giving a magenta cast. AWB performance is decent under tungsten light with a slightly warm result. Using the tungsten preset there is a slight improvement. The camera has options to keep a warm colour when using AWB.

Sharpness and Details

The D4 uses a new 16.2MP full-frame CMOS chip that deliver files that are 4928 x 3280px in size - this roughly equates to being able to print an A3 print at 240ppi without the need to upscale. The D4 also has 3 additional crops modes - 5:4 (4096 x 3280 - 13.4MP), 1.2x (4096 x 2720 - 11.1MP) and 1.5x DX mode (3200 x 2128 - 6.8MP). Detail from the new sensor is excellent, especially at the lower ISOs when the resolving power of the sensor is very impressive.

Nikon D4 Main Features :


  • Rugged, magnesium alloy frame that is moisture, dust and EMI resistant
  • Full-frame, FX-format 16.2-megapixel CMOS sensor; 7.3µ pixel size, 16-bit
  • New EXPEED 3 processing system
  • Enhanced Multi-Cam 3500 AF sensor, 51-points, fully customizable
  • Shutter rated at over 400,000 cycles, and also features a Self-diagnostic monitor
  • Shutter speed range of 1/8000 to 30 sec. in 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV steps
  • 10 frames-per-second shooting at full resolution with AF / AE; up to 11fps with AF / AE locked
  • ISO range of 100 to 12,800 (expandable to 50 and 204,800)
  • New 91,000-pixel RGB metering sensor
  • Full-HD 1080p resolution video recording in 60p, 30p and 24p; lower resolution settings also available
  • 3.2-inch LCD with 921k dots of resolution
  • Eye-level Pentameter viewfinder
  • Illuminated camera controls
  • Two-axis Virtual Horizon indicator; helps keep shots level
  • Advanced SRS with Face detection and recognition and scene analysis
  • In-camera HDRrrr; combines two shots with up to 3EV difference in exposure
  • HDMI output; also allows for video streaming
  • EN-EL18 Li-ion battery provides up to 2600 shots per charge
  • Ethernet port Dual card slots: New XQD Compact Flash (CF) and regular CF

Battery life

The camera gives better battery performance despite the new battery being smaller than the battery in the D3s. A new law recently introduced means they can't use the D3s battery. The camera is rated as providing 5,500 frames in continuous shooting mode or 2600 in single frame mode. We took 2595 shots with a mixture of continuous, time-lapse, and single frame shots with the battery showing plenty of life left. This is excellent performance and the camera comes with a double battery charger.

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