D4 First touches...

Started Jul 22, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Jupu
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D4 First touches...
Jul 22, 2012

After having running through all the Nikon pro bodies since the F3 introduction (F3, F3AF, F4, F100, F5... blablabla D1, D2, D2X, D3...), I have to say that the change from the D3-series of bodies to the D4 gave me the first time the impression that the new body is more difficult to use than the previous one. Ok, this time there is a lot of stuff on the system... and so I thought, better go and do a intro-shoot to see what´s what.

106 shots later:

  • The really first impression was, that "what???" - is the viewfinder more cramped that what it is on the D3?? Maybe it isn´t, but somehow I missed on the large-real-estate experience I had with the F5 and following bodies. Maybe I just had a bad day after a normal 80h working week...

  • The D4 is another light, compact and ergonomic Nikon pro-body. Fit´s to the hand far better than anything else in there, consumer bodies with battery grips or Canon monsters won´t have a chance in forming the camera into an extension of your arm. Throw it into the air, close your eyes and yes, you will catch a horisontal / vertical image shooting machine. I have had that experience with Nikon since 600.000 paid images. People stating "massive body" blablabla.... go home and keep your mouth shut. A D4 with a small 70-200 is not massive, large, huge or whatever.... A medium format bulky boy with a 300 lens is one.

  • D4 is much faster in everything, MUCH FASTER. AF, release and specifically in the FPS rate there is a change of about 30%. What the D3 bodies or did not do is one thing, but the D4 is one third faster. With the D3´s I used, I allways doubted the promised frame rates - not so anymore. Press the release and before you realise after a short "tuuurrrrrtttt"... that another 9 shots are gone.

  • What was ISO 2500-3200 on a D3 is now ISO 10.000-12.800 on a D4 - that seems to be the limit of usability. Cool, like it, frontiers are broken once again. It also seems like shooting ISO 100 or ISO 1600 doesn´t make any real difference on the D4... or say, any so insignificant difference that would not say that the world really seems to have changed again. On a D3, ISO 200 vs. ISO 1600 did punish you.

  • Don´t know what people have been measuring, but just by shooting a few simple generic landscapes including all the dynamic range challenges, the D4 seems to make a two stop or so leap in the dynamic range. No more blinking highlights here and there. Simple tests like shooting out to the boring lake view from my livingroom and taking shots of kids of the boring beach down there shows it really clearly. The D4 get´s really close to what the scene looks like, while the D3 either burned the outside view or dropped the insides of the close-to-white livingroom walls almost black. Big time change.

  • The yellow-greenish back screen simpy needs a profile update. As it is, it looks like cr@p. Ok, I shoot photographs & videos, not camera sreen shots. But still, thinking of the thing is made for, it would be nice to have a closer-to-profile working screen on the back. This one is not excellent, it is "almost good".

  • Changing between AF-S and AF-C modes went from a single touch into a much more complicated "press here & turn there" - thing. BAD, BAD, BAD. What´s wrong with a 3-functional button?? It worked well + fast for ten years and now... WTF? A Canon spy in the software-hardware department or has Nikon been listening too much people like Ken-gay Rockbad etc?? OMG!!!

  • Changing between Matrix, Center & Spot metering seemed first kind of stupid... and slow. But, dedicating that need into one of FD-button functions really makes it possible to shoot both measurement methods for one single target during one single second. No bad, different + needs time to get used to, but finally means faster + more efficient shooting. This if you are using camera metering - like I did having a rare sunday break with my kids. For real shooting situations this change is not relevant.

  • So far (one day), I haven´t found any kind of AF on the video mode. Well, with f/1.4-2.8 glass manual AF is ok anyway, no hunting when doing MF... For real HD-video, I´m using some of the boring Sony / Canon heavy camcorders anyway pumping out loads of more megabytes per second than what the D4 does. Ok, the HDMI RAW - output idea looks promising, need to test that one.

  • I´m waiting for relevant sized XQD -cards to appear. If the secondary CF-card is a normal 32-64GB thing for storing those Full rez, full quality JPEGs, a RAW-storing 128GB XQD - card is needed. Market price should be someting like 200 euros - something I doubt these cards are available for.

The boat shot done is just an out-of-camera JPG shot from a measy 40 meters away (120 ft 16 oz) with just 2400ws of high speed flashes and a measy D3.

The D4 will give me more opportunities, but it still won´t "save the planet".

My two euros.

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