First Impressions: Using the Nikon D4

The Nikon D4 is a serious photographic tool at a serious price. At $6000 the D4 is twice the cost of the recently-released D800, and offers just under half of its pixel count. But it's what the D4 does with its pixels - and how quickly and reliably it does it - which makes it so potentially attractive to working professionals. The D4 is built for speed and versatility. It might not offer the highest resolution on the market, but it is designed to deliver its 16MP images at a rate of 11 per second in all winds and weathers. 

A few days ago we took delivery of a factory-fresh production D4 in our Seattle offices and it's hardly been turned off since. We've already published a detailed overview of the D4, and we've also asked a group of professional photographers what they think, but in this article, I'll be explaining what the D4 is actually like to use, as we move forward towards a full, in-depth review. 

Full disclosure here, I use a D3S regularly, and outside of my day to day shooting for dpreview, much of my personal and professional photography over the past five years has been shot using either the D3 or D3S. Like all camera reviewers I swap between different systems constantly, but I happen to know the D3 and D3S very well.

The New York Dolls, 2009, taken on a Nikon D3S at ISO 8000 (processed Raw)  Denmark Hill, 2010, taken on a Nikon D3X at ISO 320 (Processed Raw) 
Biffy Clyro, 2010, taken on a Nikon D3S at ISO 6400 (Processed Raw)  Kentish Town, 2009, taken on a Nikon D3 at ISO 400 (Processed Raw)

That said, bear in mind that this article is not a review. That's in the pipeline. Also, I don't pretend to speak for all photographers, so if you think I've got something wrong, or I haven't mentioned something that you really like (or don't like) in this article feel free to leave a comment. You'll find four pages in this article, the first three comprise a quick overview of my early impressions of the camera, both good and bad, and page four is reserved for samples - studio, real-world and video clips. 

Overview

The D4 is a heavy, chunky camera, just like the D3S which it replaces. But whereas the D3S inherited the 2007-vintage D3 chassis, the D4 brings new ergonomics as well as an updated specification. Cosmetically, the D4 is curvier and more streamlined than its predecessors, and slightly lighter, too. The D4's battery is new, and is not compatible with the older type used in the D3 and D3S. The same applies to the D4's battery compartment door, which looks like it might be interchangeable with that from the older models, but is actually a slightly different size. 

Although most of its controls are in basically the same places compared to the D3 and D3S the D4 feels subtly different in use thanks in part to the redesigned hand grip and the steeper angle of the main shutter release.

Compared to the D3S, the D4 looks slightly different when viewed from the top. A red movie shooting button is an obvious addition to the right hand side of the top plate but in this view you can also see that the 3-position metering switch has been removed and metering mode added to the cluster of controls on the upper left. Changes have been made to the D4's rear controls and control layout as well - two new 'sub-selector' joysticks have been added for horizontal and vertical format shooting and a new live view switch (the same as that used on the recently announced D800) has been added below the LCD screen. 

Key Specifications:

  • 16.2 effective megapixel, full-frame sensor (16.6MP total)
  • 10fps shooting with AF and AE, 11fps with focus and exposure locked, 24fps 2.5MP grabs
  • 91,000 pixel sensor for metering, white balance, flash exposure, face detection and active d-lighting
  • ISO Range 100-12,800 (extendable from 50 – 204,800)
  • MultiCAM 3500FX Autofocus sensor works in lower light and with smaller apertures
  • Two sub-selector joystick/buttons for shooting orientation
  • 1080p30 HD video at up to 24Mbps with uncompressed video output
  • New EN-EL18 battery (21.6Wh capacity, CIPA-rated at 2600 shots)
  • Twin card slots - one Compact Flash and one XQD
298
I own it
248
I want it
22
I had it
Discuss in the forums
190
I own it
68
I want it
58
I had it
Discuss in the forums
Our favorite products. Free 2 day shipping.
Support this site, buy from dpreview GearShop.
Nikon D4

Comments

Total comments: 184
12
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Mar 8, 2012)

Barnaby: thanks. One point you and the DPR reviewers should check out is the low ISO shadows recovery abilities of both D3s and D4 and later with 1Dx. The D4 is now better than the D7000 in that respect, and a fair leap over the D3s, at least visually, and that should also say something about base ISO DR and its general HL and HL recovery abilities. Check this test:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1021&message=40794495

Also, don't forget to add crops at similar resolutions D4xD3s. BTW, maybe you should add some basic resolution for you comparing tool. For example, add an alternative of all RAW converted jpegs (ACR) at, say 8 or 10MP. That would simulate same printing sizes.

1 upvote
perhort
By perhort (Mar 8, 2012)

With regard to the AF switch, I've used the D7000 and the D700 and I prefer the system in the D7000. The reason is that it makes changing the number of focus points much easier. With the D7000 you can do it with your eye to the view finder, with the D700 you have to go into the menus.

2 upvotes
kayone
By kayone (Mar 11, 2012)

I too like the D7K AF switching controls better than the D700's as well

0 upvotes
SiPat
By SiPat (Mar 8, 2012)

All I have to say is that I preferred cameras being tested in London -- somehow the images had more character and told a story, the full 1000 words. The images posted here are less vibrant and seems like someone just threw away half the words...

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 8, 2012)

Funny how everything was better in the old days - we reviewed more cameras then, as well. Or so I've heard...

2 upvotes
Peter Evans
By Peter Evans (Mar 8, 2012)

Unless I'm missing something, I don't understand the issue here. Surely, like other 'up-market' Nikon bodies, you just set the camera to AF-C, move focus acquisition control solely to AF-ON (i.e. also divorce it from the shutter button). That way, you effectively have 'AF-S' if you press and release AF-ON and you have AF-C if you keep AF-ON depressed?

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 8, 2012)

@ Peter, yes, you're right that you can work like this if you want to (and it's always been possible) but for photographers who prefer AF-S as the default and only occasionally need to switch to AF-C, the new design makes that switchover slower.

0 upvotes
Fearless_Photog
By Fearless_Photog (Mar 7, 2012)

Good review/comparison. However, when comparing one Nikon to another Nikon, it would be nice to see Capture NX2 used rather than ACR. I never use ACR to process Nikon RAW files, in my experience NX always gets the best out of them. How the files compare in ACR doesn't really illustrate how the results of a lot of Nikon users will compare.
Processing the original high ISO test shots of both the D3s and D4 at ISO 12800 in NX2, the D4 file was very noticeably more detailed, with finer, less blotchy grain.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (Mar 8, 2012)

Not recently, CNX2 is falling behind in most aspects.

0 upvotes
BobYIL
By BobYIL (Mar 7, 2012)

On p.3; the JPEG pictures of the shutter speed dial: Do the JPEGs from the D4 look a bit cooler compared to the D3S?

0 upvotes
ianz28
By ianz28 (Mar 7, 2012)

Poor Nikon. Damned if you do and Damned if you don't.

For years nikon users have been complaining about the focus mode selector on the front of the camera.

Nikon finally updates the design - and makes it very functional at the same time.

Yet, even with the refined and improved design, the reviewer immediately complains about the change.

3 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 7, 2012)

It's only 'improved' if it makes your experience easier/quicker.

1 upvote
miles green
By miles green (Mar 14, 2012)

I think the AF/MF selector is designed like this so that custom user modes put the camera directly in the desired AF settings. Customize it, make it yours!

0 upvotes
GregT
By GregT (Mar 16, 2012)

The thing is, not everyone has the same taste in control placement. How do you please everyone.....you can't.

0 upvotes
Telefoto
By Telefoto (Mar 7, 2012)

The ergonomic problems reported here were worse than I expected, and I certainly had my concerns. Making the switch from AF-S to AF-C harder is probably a deal breaker for me by itself, as my nature work has me doing that multiple times in most sessions of shooting I do, and I hate "digi interface" switching. And, the joystick bouncing against the chest changing the AF point - did no one at Nikon who actually takes pictures in the field have a hand in this new model? All this and the tester never even got to questions about significantly decreased shots per battery charge, lack of ability to swap batteries with the D3 bodies (understandable if it didn't come up in a week-long test), and mismatched CF card slots with new cards that don't exist yet.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 7, 2012)

I've had no battery issues at all - I shot 3 days on a single charge (around 300 pics in total, with some video and a lot of screen review) and indicated battery life only went down a couple of notches.

0 upvotes
Telefoto
By Telefoto (Mar 7, 2012)

Thanks for the feedback. Let me just point out, though, that most of these tests tend to be city shoots, and there is a fairly serious contingent of us whose focus is on remote shoots, wherein one travels to the jungle and stays there for a week, shooting far more than 300 images per day. There the apparent 50% drop in shots per charge with the D4 will make a substantial difference. Same with CF card mismatch. I appreciate your report, I'm simply pointing out there remain other key ergonomic challenges with the D4 generation that have not yet been seriously evaluated (but pretty clearly aren't going to be good!).

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 7, 2012)

Sure - one thing I would say though is that you'll get a better idea of 'true' battery life once a brand-new battery has been put through a few charge/recharge cycles. I'll report back as we continue to use the camera.

0 upvotes
Burbclaver
By Burbclaver (Mar 7, 2012)

I don't much like the choice of functions on top of the left control dial. I much prefer them as they are on other cameras, like the D800, with White Balance, ISO, Qual, and Bracketing. These are the four functions I want to check when I first turn my camera on. Having the metering mode under my thumb that could easily be switched as I assessed the shot through the viewfinder was very useful to me and moving it to the top left dial is not an advantage.

I also preferred the old AF point select switch on the back where you could just see the mode it was set to and flick it to another instead of having to press one button, while turning a dial, while looking at the LCD screen.

I'm all for improved ergonomics, but I don't yet see these changes as improvements.

0 upvotes
Intermediate
By Intermediate (Mar 7, 2012)

dpreview I don't see studio comparison samples for D700. Am I overlooking them? Those samples would be useful to compare to D4, but particularily useful in future when you put up D800 samples.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 7, 2012)

Our review of the D700 predates the 'new' (current) studio comparison scene. The D3 is a decent proxy if you're curious but we're going to try to get hold of a D700 as soon as possible and include it in this comparison.

3 upvotes
rusticus
By rusticus (Mar 7, 2012)

> It might not offer the highest resolution on the market, but it is designed to deliver its 16MP images at a rate of 11 per second in all winds and weathers<

real?
There are also waterproof, weatherproof nikon lenses?
would be new to me. . .

1 upvote
cgarrard
By cgarrard (Mar 7, 2012)

Not as impressed with the high sensitivity shooting as I thought I'd be, nevertheless very good though.

1 upvote
Auke B van der Weide
By Auke B van der Weide (Mar 7, 2012)

What a flagship! how people can complain is the true mystery :)

12 upvotes
Bangers and Mash
By Bangers and Mash (Mar 7, 2012)

. . . and they are soooo good at too!!

1 upvote
artnaz
By artnaz (Mar 7, 2012)

I'm most eager to know if the dynamic range really is that much improved over the D3-series, as the Nikon reps have stated.

1 upvote
munro harrap
By munro harrap (Mar 7, 2012)

I dont mind about super hi ISO, really. I used to photograph concerts in FAR worse lighting than exists these days in stadia, but it never stopped me getting what I needed because I used very fast prime lenses. I did not use zooms. So what manufacturers are doing, (bless them!) is providing boosts for images on f2.8 zooms that admit a quarter of the light an f1.4 prime does. Try an f1.4 on a D800 soon!!! IF that motorbike video is really from D800s, it is sensationally good. And the D4 should be as good, but where is the 24-70mm f2.8 IS?? Tamron??

I see no advance on my 1Ds MkII body therefore. There is no better IQ at 400 and under. There is no advance in ergonomics at all. A 1Ds is a box with a lens, and it expects YOU to focus. It does not need toggles because the wheel is big enough to use vertically as well.Nikon should imitate the good things

These machines, the 1Dx and D4 are the cost of a new car with a 5 year warranty.
Think about it!!

2 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Mar 7, 2012)

Of course the "motorbike" video, Joy Ride is from the D800. Just watch the "Behind the Scenes" to see. What, you think it's a big conspiracy by Sandro and Nikon, because a production company used ONE shot from a 5D, a video camera, in a Thai TV Commercial?

2 upvotes
Rob Rossington
By Rob Rossington (Mar 8, 2012)

Why would you need VR/IS on a 24-70? it would be pointless!!

And yeah whilst shooting concerts prime's are the best, but they just aren't as versatile as a 24-70 2.8 & 70-200 2.8 combo. Thats why its nice to have the extra hi-iso performance, so that you have the best of both worlds. Your moaning about non-issues!

1 upvote
M Lammerse
By M Lammerse (Mar 7, 2012)

Thanks Barney, for the first impressions from a practical user point of view.

2 upvotes
Eric Glam
By Eric Glam (Mar 7, 2012)

Barney,
Since you can't say the truth, I'll say it for you:
The D3S is still the ISO king.
Even if you down-sample the D4's 16MP 12,800 ISO RAW photos to 12MP,(or up-sample the D3S's 12MP to 16MP - the D3S wins.
As simple as that.
In the end - Image Quality is what it's all about.
D3S owners - keep your camera.

3 upvotes
lensberg
By lensberg (Mar 7, 2012)

I totally agree with your view... everybody here seems so reluctant to accept t he fact that thew D3S is still top dog as far as high ISO & overall IQ are concerned...

They're trying to justify things by saying the D4 is as good as the D3S at pixel level... oh really?! ... even when viewed at 100% & 200% magnification... the D3S is much clearer & sharper... with a lower presence of artifacts... and delivering a more natural looking image...

Look at the background in the mode dial samples between the D3S & D4 ... the textures from the D3S are much better defined and sharper... the D4 background is like a smudged out effect... The D4 is applying more NR in its JPEG's...

0 upvotes
thinkfat
By thinkfat (Mar 7, 2012)

Oh, looking at the D4 ISO 25600 JPEG image downsized to 4256x2832, you will not see any advantage of the D3S over the D4. In fact, the D4 looks cleaner to me, even a bit more detailed.

5 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Mar 7, 2012)

So you would keep a D3s which shows LESS resolution and LESS sharpness and detail at high ISO? And a D3s that only shoots 720p video? OK.

2 upvotes
johnschafer
By johnschafer (Mar 7, 2012)

I completely agree, and I shoot Canon. I blogged about this issue days ago, as it can be clearly seen from DPReview's own D4 samples compared with D3s, the clear winner. I also noted there the comparisons at ISO25,600, with the D3s, though in expansion mode, still beat the D4. I highly recommend grabbing D3s while you still can, and use the difference to buy a killer lens. :)

2 upvotes
Ron Adair
By Ron Adair (Mar 7, 2012)

Please explain why the D3s trumps the D4? The pixel-level noise is better on the D4. The sharpness is better on the D4. The resolution is higher on the D4. Then there's the video, in which there is no comparison.

What specifically do you think is so much better about the D3s?

3 upvotes
zoran@iinet
By zoran@iinet (Mar 8, 2012)

It looks like people are trying to give themselves a reason not to spend $6000

3 upvotes
YouDidntDidYou
By YouDidntDidYou (Mar 7, 2012)

@Barney Britton
"but almost every time I've raised the D4 to my eye after it's been resting around my neck I've been obliged to re-center the AF point."

...perhaps Nikon is trying to teach you to be more versatile with your composition instead of centring all our composition or re-framing/cropping in post????

2 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 7, 2012)

Well if that's what they're trying to do, it's working...

1 upvote
cesaregal
By cesaregal (Mar 7, 2012)

"Redesigned Focus Mode Switch".
Focus mode switch is the only lack in my D700.
Casual displacement it's very tedious.
"To access the D4's AF modes, you have to depress the button at the hub of the control".
Very good choice, Nikon!

0 upvotes
raztec
By raztec (Mar 7, 2012)

Where is the D700 in the samples comparison so we can compare them together?

Even if The D800 had close to D700 iso capability it would be a penomenonal camera. But somehow, I doubt that will

Sure, I think I'd have more use for the D4 vs the D800 but size and price are huge deterrents.

I'm the typical amateur photographer that takes indoor and low light sport shots and of kids running around in the house. I do take some scenery shots but have never blown my 11x19. So I need a good high ISO camera in a small body.

Make the D4 in a smaller body and drop the price to the D800 range, and I'm sold.

Raz

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Louis_Dobson
By Louis_Dobson (Mar 7, 2012)

I keep seeing a rolling meme about this on DPR...

If you apply heavy NR to a 36MP camera you end up with an 18MP (or whatever you choose) camera with much better high ISO characteristics. If you look at the picture, not the pixels, a high MP camera will give you a choice of high res / high noise or lower res / lower noise. The d800 will blow the d700 away for high ISO.

The price is slow shooting performance while it digests all those pixels.

5 upvotes
Jez EMIN
By Jez EMIN (Mar 7, 2012)

That's funny Louis,

This isn't what the Nikon representative and yesterday's Focus on Imaging 2012 Exhibition at the NEC Birmingham said to me....

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Mar 7, 2012)

Not only is the D800 close the D700 in high ISO, but it's better. And it is sharper with more detail. Nice try though.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1021&thread=40816765

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
walnist
By walnist (Mar 7, 2012)

Then why Nikon's own FLAGSHIP has only 16MPixel?
Because smaller pixel mean more noise and less dynamic range!

1 upvote
Frank C.
By Frank C. (Mar 7, 2012)

d4 is FLAGSHIP because of its high fps and integrated grip and nothing more, certainly not IQ

0 upvotes
Josh152
By Josh152 (Mar 8, 2012)

No the D4 is the FLAGSHIP because it costs the most nothing more. It is actually a very specialist camera. For most types of shooting a less expensive model will serve just as well and in some cases better.

Comment edited 28 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
EvilTed
By EvilTed (Mar 9, 2012)

They did, it's called the 5D MK3 ;)

0 upvotes
Hani7up
By Hani7up (Mar 7, 2012)

Looks and reads impressive. I myself am waiting for the D800 review, in order to decide o whether to purchase it or not, but for the meantime, the D4 is a little out of my reach. In any case, thank you for a great - as usual - hands on review.

0 upvotes
matthew77
By matthew77 (Mar 7, 2012)

One thing that propeller shot shows is that the D4 has almost no rolling shutter in its video.

It looks like less rolling shutter than most professional CMOS video cameras. I am actually amazed.

1 upvote
bbgun
By bbgun (Mar 7, 2012)

Next time you test the video could you please shoot at a video standard shutter speed like a 1/60 or 1/50 of a second. That should give you a smoother video image. You will probably need a neutral density outside to achieve this.

1 upvote
Alejandro del Pielago
By Alejandro del Pielago (Mar 7, 2012)

Barney, thank you so much; your impressions are very useful to me.

And that image of the NY Dolls is excellent!!! Please, could you tell us which lens was used? aperture? It`s very sexy !

Regards from Lima.

0 upvotes
Brad Morris
By Brad Morris (Mar 7, 2012)

Barney, How were these Sample Videos captured? Were they processed in camera or did you capture the uncompressed HDMI output. Your description makes that a little ambiguous.

If it was HDMI output, what Codec was it recorded in?

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 7, 2012)

Default settings (as indicated) captured on a CF card (so this is NOT uncompressed footage).

0 upvotes
Brad Morris
By Brad Morris (Mar 7, 2012)

have you managed to try the crop modes in video capture?

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 7, 2012)

No, honestly I haven't scratched the surface of the D4's video specifications yet, that's all to come.

0 upvotes
scott_mcleod
By scott_mcleod (Mar 7, 2012)

Slightly OT but is it safe to assume that since you're using the new 85/1.8G for the still-life shots, a full test of this lens is coming (soon)? The published MTFs are just unreal for a $500 lens...

Thanks for the detailed D4 info - I look forward to the full review even though I'm not in the market for one!

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 7, 2012)

I used a 105mm for the still lifes, but yes, we'll be publishing a gallery of 85mm shots as soon as we can, and with any luck a review at some point later in the year. We're gearing up to do lens reviews again at the moment after a hiatus.

0 upvotes
scott_mcleod
By scott_mcleod (Mar 7, 2012)

Awesome - thanks! IMO, DPR lens reviews present what you really need to know to make buying decisions - without getting any weird/unpleasant surprises - in a very usable way.

0 upvotes
Lee Saxon
By Lee Saxon (Mar 7, 2012)

You've got typos, then. The first two paragraphs under Image Quality Samples both mention that the still life were done with the 85 1.8.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 7, 2012)

@Lee - no, you're just reading the wrong thing. The still life pictures on page 3 were shot using the 105mm, and are labelled as such. The studio samples, and some of the real-world pictures were taken on the 85mm.

0 upvotes
fransams
By fransams (Mar 7, 2012)

"It is designed to deliver its 16MP images at a rate of 11 per second."
When I assume a 150.000 shots shutter life, at 11 fps, the camera has a predicted working lifetime of less than 4 hours.
And that is called a serious working tool for professionals.

0 upvotes
Charly Diaz Azcue
By Charly Diaz Azcue (Mar 7, 2012)

D4 = 400.000 clicks shutter life
So you have 10.1 hours of 11 FPS madness ... there you have a professional tool ... ofcourse you can also use the camera like a normal human being and it will last years :)
Regards

12 upvotes
Josh152
By Josh152 (Mar 8, 2012)

AF-C mode isn't for holding down the shutter button like you're trying to stop the Allie's from getting up the beach on D-Day. It is for a quick, will timed, burst of 3-5 frames to catch the action at just the right moment.

2 upvotes
Totomo Yap
By Totomo Yap (Mar 7, 2012)

from my eyes.... D3s Vs D4 iso 12800 JPEG inmage...

D3s image still look "life" , smoother & clean . but got little white & blue noise dot.

D4 image just like "Painting effect image", un-natural, dirty out-of-focus background...& "water-wash-like noise reduction"....as my previous D200 & D2X.....SUCK!!!!!!!

Sorry...D4. I just tell the truth......

2 upvotes
Aspenland
By Aspenland (Mar 7, 2012)

I said these D4 videos are nothing like other D4 video examples in Vimeo and Youtube. Compare to this:
http://vimeo.com/35858338

0 upvotes
Aspenland
By Aspenland (Mar 7, 2012)

Your ORIGINAL CLIPS are still way different... do you have an explanation? These D4 clips are much smoother, cleaner:
http://vimeo.com/35638937
http://vimeo.com/35639074

Barney, do you think these clips were shot with the on-board H.264 encoder that Nikon says does only 24 Mbps?... or captured by an external video capture device with a higher bit rate?

0 upvotes
Aspenland
By Aspenland (Mar 7, 2012)

My comment is gone... guys, are you deleting things?

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 7, 2012)

Nope.

0 upvotes
Aspenland
By Aspenland (Mar 7, 2012)

Sorry, you have two sets of comments -- on this article title page and on the inside article pages... this is confusing!

5 upvotes
CrunchyLens
By CrunchyLens (Mar 7, 2012)

This needs addressing

2 upvotes
645D
By 645D (Mar 7, 2012)

Barney, nice work. The sub-selector seems a big problem. I checked my 1D mk3, it's sub-selector is hidden beside the raised screen and viewfinder, so never has such an issue. Maybe adding an eyepiece or hood on the viewfinder will help? Did you talk with Nikon and see if they can modify it?

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Mar 7, 2012)

By the way, nice images on page 1, especially New York Dolls and the Denmark Hill image. Good job.

0 upvotes
zzapamiga
By zzapamiga (Mar 7, 2012)

My Panasonic GH2 has nothing to worry about with regards to video quality and that's without the hack. The video from the D4 is simply not sharp or detailed and and full of artefacts. I think even the old Canon 5D2 would produce better quality video. It's sad as I really had high hopes for these new Nikon cameras. Hopefully the D800 will do better and especially the Canon 5D3.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
zzapamiga
By zzapamiga (Mar 7, 2012)

EOSHD has just done an excellent article on the Canon 5D3 Nikon D800 and Fuji X Pro 1 video modes. Looks like the Panasonic GH2 is still the reigning champ for video in a stills camera.

http://www.eoshd.com/content/7361/hands-on-with-the-canon-5d-mark-iii

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (Mar 7, 2012)

EOSHD constantly shills for, I mean, raves about the GH2. He is trying to sell his GH2 book, after all. The GH2 is great, I have one. But more people use the 5D Mk II, and it's likely more will use the excellent 5D Mk III, D800 and D4. There are plenty of excellent D4 video samples around the web. And for low light shooting or shallow DOF work, the GH2 can't touch the D4, 5D Mk III, or D800.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 56 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
jmmgarza
By jmmgarza (Mar 7, 2012)

Can't wait to see what Sony does with their sensor.

4 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (Mar 7, 2012)

You will see it in about 12 months!

4 upvotes
Ivanaker
By Ivanaker (Mar 7, 2012)

This is Nikon sensor. Maybe it is made in Sony factories, but its Nikon`s tech. Tell me, in which Sony camera can you find d3, d3s or d3x sensor?

Comment edited 24 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
reginalddwight
By reginalddwight (Mar 7, 2012)

Thank you for posting your initial impressions, Barney. You commented on improved AF acquisition, particularly in low light. Can you comment on AF tracking of subjects?

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 7, 2012)

I haven't had time to explore this yet but we'll give it a full workout in the review.

0 upvotes
Dragonfire
By Dragonfire (Mar 7, 2012)

D3s was out of this world when it was released, in my view D4 is a good replacement with a bit better IQ and lots of handy refinements... not to talk about video...

1 upvote
PeakAction
By PeakAction (Mar 7, 2012)

The D4 is indeed impressive, but I was expecting a larger gap between the high ISO performance of it compared to the D3S. Not that I'm complaining, because the D3S is awesome. I like the idea of more speed, and better AF, but I think the D3 is good to where I don't have to buy a D4 right away, and will wait to get a used one.

0 upvotes
bgbs
By bgbs (Mar 7, 2012)

I think the ISO improvement will come with D4s. That seems to be Nikon's new strategy

1 upvote
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Mar 7, 2012)

so when it comes to IQ we get 4 MP more after all these years... and we notice it when we take a close look at 200%.... mhm... ok.

0 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Mar 7, 2012)

100% and better per pixel sharpness at same ISO. We also have to wait for test of DR.

1 upvote
JWGFOTO
By JWGFOTO (Mar 7, 2012)

I want one!

It appears that the caption for the next to last ISO comparison pictures of the shutter speed dial should be labeled ISO 6400 instead of 12800.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 7, 2012)

Which image? I'm looking at ISO 12,800 samples here, can you give me a link? Thanks

0 upvotes
JWGFOTO
By JWGFOTO (Mar 7, 2012)

I am an idiot. I read 6400 and was looking for a corresponding 6400 shot.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 7, 2012)

Ooooh, OK. That's good to hear (not that you're an idiot - I'm sure you're not - but that I don't have to mess around re-cropping and re-linking any files). :)

0 upvotes
MichaelK81
By MichaelK81 (Mar 7, 2012)

Great read guys, thanks for the article, which certainly goes beyond the usual preview. While it may be too early to say this, I think Nikon's PR was a bit optimistic in stating D4s noise is a stop above th D3s. From what I've seen, they're evenly matched for the most part. Still, with a 16mp sensor, to keep noise at bay like they have is great. Love the backlit buttons!

4 upvotes
spidercrown
By spidercrown (Mar 7, 2012)

Yes agree, noise performance seems just match the D3S, or just slightly if better.

0 upvotes
Fullframer
By Fullframer (Mar 7, 2012)

The Bottom line is that if you own a D3S and it's still in good shape, and you don't need the jump from 12mp to 16mp I would save your $$ and not buy a D4 yet. IQ at high ISO has stayed the same.

0 upvotes
Pultzar
By Pultzar (Mar 7, 2012)

Your link to the water.mov file appears invalid and does not work with Chrome.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Mar 7, 2012)

Fixed now, sorry about that.

0 upvotes
Peter Nelson
By Peter Nelson (Mar 7, 2012)

With the advent and advances in m4/3 I have to say that I am not interested in another FF Pro DSLR fror anyone. I have two (2) FF DSLR's, a Canon 1DsMkII and an older Kodak SLR/n FF. I have an even older Nikon D1H Pro Camera as well. I like the IQ from all three. But, I am tired of the weight and size. When are Nikon and Canon going to realize that the day's of these large cameras are over due to advances in electronics and sensor's.

0 upvotes
Steven Blackwood
By Steven Blackwood (Mar 7, 2012)

Nothing wrong with the mirror less format. (They have to change the name. Calling something by what they DON'T have seems silly)
However, the IQ doesn't and likely never will compare to the larger sensors. At some point they may have FF in a smaller package but the lenses will always be large. The size of the bodies serve partly to balance that factor.

1 upvote
spidercrown
By spidercrown (Mar 7, 2012)

There is small format option from most camera manufacturer. As for IQ, current small format camera is far from the full frame one. No doubt that 1 day, mirrorless can reach this level of IQ, but by that time, full frame will be at another few level above... Then question goes down to... do you need it?

Speed is another factor. For serious action photography, mirrorless camera is not up for that.

2 upvotes
Skytalker
By Skytalker (Mar 7, 2012)

Some of the comments in here are just...exotic. That is all good since fantasy is needed. But then lets come down to Earth. Technology wise you cannot produce a leap forward as it was with the D3/D300 in terms of IQ, every second year. In this respect I think the D4s IQ is great. It might not 3 stops over the D3s noisewise, but other improvements are significant, just namely video and ergonomy. Like in other industries there is no one size fits all. I am pretty sure those who are really interested in this camera will find it very attractive. Me too I would like a camera like an iPhone with the capabilites of the D4 in the mornings and the D800 in the afternoons.

Comment edited 13 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Fullframer
By Fullframer (Mar 7, 2012)

Unfortunately, the larger the camera/sensor, the better. M43 and Mirrorless have gotten quite good, but they still don't compare to a big old full frame, esp for sports photos, lower light etc.

0 upvotes
Grig
By Grig (Mar 7, 2012)

I haven't seen anything about 2 different cards madness...

So to me - cons are - 2 different cards, AF switch, different battery, bigger files (bad for PJ) with virtually the same IQ... I am keeping my 2 D3s bodies for sure... I will get D800 as a high res addition and video though... ;-)

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
oldalaskan
By oldalaskan (Mar 9, 2012)

spidercrown: The smaller format will always lose in IQ but probably at some point most people will say, "I guess I don't really need to shoot at iso 4,000,000, I'll settle for the iso 1,000,000 on the 4/3s camera."
Re: shooting speed: Have you noticed the 9fps Olympus EM-5?

0 upvotes
Total comments: 184
12