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Just Posted: Nikon D4 Studio Test Samples

By dpreview staff on Mar 3, 2012 at 02:04 GMT
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We've just published images of our standard test scene taken with Nikon's latest professional DSLR, the 16MP D4. These have been shot using a production-standard D4 and, as usual, include both Raw and JPEG images with all original files available for download. Added them to our comparison tool means they can be called-upon from other reviews or the standalone comparison tool. For this test we used the recently-announced Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 and we'll be publishing 'real world' galleries from both the D4 and 85mm in the coming days.

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Nikon D4

Comments

Total comments: 331
123
jason foley
By jason foley (Mar 9, 2012)

Ha, I thought that was the whole reason.!

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 36 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Mar 9, 2012)

Now that Adobe has released Camera Raw 6.7rc1, I thought I'd compare the high ISO extraction done with Adobe to extraction done with Capture NX 2.3.1.

I chose the ISO 6400 raw and the ISO 25600 raw, Adobe easily beats Capture NX for noise control, detail retention, and blotching on the dark areas of the bottle.

I look forward to getting more D4 raws to extract with ACR 6.7.

0 upvotes
Natan Lorenzi
By Natan Lorenzi (Mar 7, 2012)

Just a little question:

Does anyone know when D800 and D4 will be avaliable regularly? I've heard these camera will not be regularly on the market until 2013. I need know that, cause I plan go to USA, just to buy one of them, in my vacation (August). But if these camera will not be available B&H, Adorama, Ritz, Best Buy, Amazon, I don't go to USA.

0 upvotes
ARTASHES
By ARTASHES (Mar 6, 2012)

I am frustrated, several days ago I checked the same test and D4's samples were a bit darker, today they have identical exposition than D3s one, did the Dreview replaced D4 sample shots ?
PS Now D4 looks better that 2 days ago !!!

Comment edited 55 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
New Guy Wanna Learn
By New Guy Wanna Learn (Mar 6, 2012)

Great ISO from D4 compared to previous Canon dslr...

I personally think extra high but excellent ISO range will be more useful for amateurs (ahem, like me) than extra high resolution, which i think is more suitable for professionals or those who like studios...

I use the Canon 550D...but its quite 'impossible' to use 60 fps video in low light situation, without all the noise dancing around the screen everywhere...my kit lens almost limit me to 30 or 24 fps video..and using a nifty fifty would severely reduce the FOV...

Hope they will reduce the resolution and make ISO 204 800 as clean as my 3200 soon...then wow, my f3.5 kit lens can be turned into an f1.2 prime!

0 upvotes
Sarge_
By Sarge_ (Mar 6, 2012)

I'm among those who don't see any high ISO advantage to the D4 over the D3.

The video specs look like a big improvement, and the focusing ability is likely improved, but I think I'm more likely to add a D800 to my D3 than trade the D3 for a D4...

Then again, this one single studio shot is just one tiny little piece of the story, though, so I'm withholding judgment until I see a lot more reviews...

PS: Please don't waste everyone's time with inciteful, juvenile, fanboy troll posts. Seek therapy, not negative attention.

Comment edited 33 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Mar 6, 2012)

You mean the D3s, not the D3, correct?

0 upvotes
aris14
By aris14 (Mar 6, 2012)

The more I use the Studio shot comparison the more smile I get when comparing cams not necessarily in the same class ...
OK, it' s studio ... but it's fun to see tat 1k $ lower price sometimes have better or practically the same IQ.... The same stands for weight and sometimes sensor size...

2 upvotes
rudymnv
By rudymnv (Mar 6, 2012)

You can compare studio shots of different class cams, but... for instance... some people use their equipment to take sports photo at Olympic Games. It's all matter of perception.

0 upvotes
PicOne
By PicOne (Mar 6, 2012)

How valid is the comparison tool when you change lenses used for the test shots? For detail resolution.. are we seeing sensor, AA filter differences, diffraction or lens differences?

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
kadardr
By kadardr (Mar 6, 2012)

D3s and D4 show very similar results. Their FF sensor is much better than any APS-C sensor.
Consequence:
I need a camera with FF sensor, but a cheap one, I mean like max. USD 1500 for the body. Who is going to bring it?

0 upvotes
bcalkins
By bcalkins (Mar 6, 2012)

A used 5D Mark I is waiting for you :)

0 upvotes
miles green
By miles green (Mar 6, 2012)

It's not going to happen... (i'd like one too!) A used 5D mark I is not going to be better than a new top shelf APS-C for low ISO, DR, resolution, etc.
If you want it for the DOF control, then yes, but that's another thing, and even then you'll need to use primes if you want to be able to say "you can't do this with any APS-C camera".

0 upvotes
mrcameraman
By mrcameraman (Mar 5, 2012)

I have been a Pro for over 30yrs.. Fighting over if canon or Nikon is better. Is like saying a Lamborghini is better than a ferrari..?... They are both top notch. It's personal. Over the years I have found that Canon might be a little better on the portrait side and Nikon is a little better on the sports action side, But that is just Me.... Shoot what You like... They will make more...Just keep shooting....

5 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Mar 5, 2012)

How well do those Audis do against an Enzo or the F458?

Note, not say which is which camera?

Do you shoot with a D3s?

0 upvotes
AkinaC
By AkinaC (Mar 6, 2012)

@howaboutRAW: For a pro, a right camera to get their job done is enough, doesn't matter which camera is.

btw, still depends the where the Audi is race against, although Ferrari is powerful but in some narrow place huge cars like Enzo may be found difficult to drive (Same to cameras and any other gadgets)

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Mar 6, 2012)

AkinaC:

None of those cars are actually for racing.

0 upvotes
BJN
By BJN (Mar 5, 2012)

Impressive. I wish such great sensor performance was available in a more compact and affordable body.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Mar 5, 2012)

Have you looked into the D700?

2 upvotes
Lanski
By Lanski (Mar 5, 2012)

I think the DPR comments are heading in to a new territory. Fanboys and trolls annoy me as much as they annoy the next man (and that's a LOT), but I do genuinely value the honest analysis of educated photographers when faced with these image samples, partly because I don't always trust my own eyes the first time round. Also, my experience is limited and the consensus of the more reasonable-sounding posters is actually useful to me as a (small) part of my decision making. To those of you who bemoan the Nikon/Canon war, I totally agree with you - it's pathetic. However, I'd ask that you don't squeeze out the educated analysis that we still do get here. These cameras cost a small fortune. They deserve to be subject to the closest scrutiny, including pixel-peeping (I'm spending £X grand on a camera - I want to know these things!) I know the Can/Nik trolls are idiots. I know that photography is about "getting out there". What I don't know is the fine detail about this camera's performance.

1 upvote
Natan Lorenzi
By Natan Lorenzi (Mar 5, 2012)

I can't understand this war (Canon vs. Nikon). Really, people will use astronomic ISO? Really, the most of people use up to 6400 iso. I don't need iso 204800, or even 12800. Shot what I can't see? No, really, I'm a photographer not a researcher.

4 upvotes
elefteriadis alexandros
By elefteriadis alexandros (Mar 5, 2012)

-So you are not astrophotographer.. you have right but people tend to be impressed by the numbers.

1 upvote
Natan Lorenzi
By Natan Lorenzi (Mar 5, 2012)

Well, the numbers! For many people numbers are everything!

So, these people, they aren't photographer, they are gears buyers and consumers.

Comment edited 40 seconds after posting
5 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Mar 6, 2012)

Natan Lorenzi:

I personally have used ISO 10,000 in an everyday setting. Yes I made real prints from the files.

1 upvote
clk_walker
By clk_walker (Mar 5, 2012)

D4 not available in studio comparison tool.

0 upvotes
D200_4me
By D200_4me (Mar 5, 2012)

Somehow I think the pros who make a descent living from their photography will not find the D4's ISO capabilities a hindrance to their ability to deliver pro results. A lot of people on here just need to go out and start making photos instead of fretting over a camera's specs night and day. I promise you'll be a lot less stressed if you stop worrying about whether or not you have a better camera or lens than everyone else.

14 upvotes
altenae
By altenae (Mar 5, 2012)

Well Said.

0 upvotes
pacogwapo
By pacogwapo (Mar 5, 2012)

+1

0 upvotes
bryPT
By bryPT (Mar 5, 2012)

agreed! +10!

1 upvote
d3xmeister
By d3xmeister (Mar 5, 2012)

Maybe I am crazy but I see red color blotches even at ISO 200. The D3s seems much clean at all ISO settings, blacks are black and color blotches start only at very high ISO.
The D4 looks like an entry level DSLR at low-medium ISO's.

0 upvotes
AshMills
By AshMills (Mar 5, 2012)

You ordered an OM-D right?

0 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Mar 5, 2012)

the D4 is sure not a bad camera.. it´s just that the IQ is not that much improved. and no pink fanboy eyeglasses will change that fact.

btw: canons 5D MK3 is already amazons bestselling camera.... and it´s not even released. so much about "too expensive".

i guess there are many people out there, who don´t care a sh* t about all what is discussed here and just upgrade their gear .... no matter if they are nikonians or canonians.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
AshMills
By AshMills (Mar 5, 2012)

Well this hour at least its moved to second place. :-)

0 upvotes
tmy
By tmy (Mar 5, 2012)

As a small addition to the post above...

I also use a lot of Canon gear when issued to me, and I am looking forward to trying out the very well speced 1Dx. I am sure that it'll be a great camera as well and be well up to the great standard that Canon produce in their pro line of cameras.
Looking forward to the 5DIII as well with the new AF. As popular and important that the 5DII was, the dodgy AF was always bit hard to accept. The IQ was great, so even if left as it was, it'll be a great improvement. A soft, slightly out of focus image is no good no matter how low noise or perfectly coloured your image is.
And importantly, Nikon in this new release has kept the prices reasonable. That is to say that it is not heaps more expensive that the D3s. In fact I'm sure by the time it is readily available, it'll be pretty much be the same price.

0 upvotes
tmy
By tmy (Mar 5, 2012)

So much bickering and pixel peeping.

The D4 is fine as a replacement for the D3s. Having come from the earlier D1x, thru to D2x/H, D3 and now with D3s, I see it as a good new model in the line. A small improvement in the MP while also slightly improving the incredibly great AF and low light ISOs that the D3s has.

There are also masses of new improvements that Nikon have included that alot of naysayers have not even considered, but for a camera that most of us have to use on a daily basis, those improvements are very useful to the handling of the camera and also to our workflows. Being able to shoot super clean images at 25,000 ISO is not the only thing that makes a camera great.
A professional camera is one that has to be good to hold and use daily, sometimes for long hours, easy and intuitive to control and of course, be reliable. Of course, Image Quality is important too, but at this top end of the industry, I doubt that either Canon or Nikon would release a complete lemon!

7 upvotes
Gundam F91
By Gundam F91 (Mar 5, 2012)

Canon 5D Mark III beats them all. See the link below (it's in another language but look at the ISO performance which is better than any Nikon's flagships):

http://www.dcfever.com/news/readnews.php?id=6365

2 upvotes
YBJL
By YBJL (Mar 5, 2012)

Cannot even clearly read the book's title when the iso is 25600. I don't think it will happen to Nikon D4. Thanks to show how bad 5DMk3 is.

2 upvotes
sandy b
By sandy b (Mar 5, 2012)

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1032&message=40810023

0 upvotes
Gundam F91
By Gundam F91 (Mar 5, 2012)

Idiot Bill1969, I am a Nikonian.

0 upvotes
Gundam F91
By Gundam F91 (Mar 5, 2012)

Exactly, you are dum.

0 upvotes
Dr GP
By Dr GP (Mar 5, 2012)

The Imaging Resource has a more comprehensive set of D4 sample pics out there.
Worth comparing. (and they use more consistent lense/F data than was the case in the DPR sample)

After you look at it you find the same we saw here, but in a wider variety of sample shots

1. No difference in IQ AT all
2. The picture quality when you zoom in and make objects the same size on a canvas of equal size is IDENTICAL - i.e. there is no higher resolution/quality from a crop with the 16mp sensor. (disappointment!)

So, whatever the benefits are, they appear to be limited to much better video and a bunch of refinements like back lit buttons, slightly improved ergonomics and so on.

0 upvotes
Minnesota_Steve
By Minnesota_Steve (Mar 5, 2012)

Fair enough. But I think many of the upgrades are valuable to the outdoor photographer with fast moving subjects. Upgrades if available for the D3s many of us would gladly send our cameras in for.

2 upvotes
atamola
By atamola (Mar 5, 2012)

That appears to be the case: the D4 does not improve over the D3s in IQ.
It does, however, improve in other areas.
Thus, nothing revolutionary or ground breaking. Just an expensive upgrade.

0 upvotes
Apewithacamera
By Apewithacamera (Mar 4, 2012)

My humble prediction 1D X vs D4/D3s

When the light get really low Nikoners will pack up their gear and head home. Once home they will find a comfy corner, curl up into a little ball so to cry themselves to sleep.
Night night sleep tight. :P

0 upvotes
Damo83
By Damo83 (Mar 5, 2012)

Canon marketing must love people like you who passionately support their camp. Why you would love to love them is beyond me. Maybe I don't understand because I prefer to spend time developing my own work rather than watching from the sidelines which brand is the current heavyweight champion of the camera world.

18 upvotes
Josh152
By Josh152 (Mar 5, 2012)

Trolls will be Trolls I guess.

3 upvotes
Poss
By Poss (Mar 5, 2012)

Nothing humble about your prediction...

1 upvote
Dr GP
By Dr GP (Mar 5, 2012)

These Canon/Nikon comparisons are quite interesting, but I find generally of limited practical applicability. Most of us have made a system choice long ago and are now vested in lenses. Few if any would give up that gear, switch bodies, and buy set of new lenses...

seems to me its a constant tug of war between the two manufacturers, each one being on top for some time.

0 upvotes
ashwins
By ashwins (Mar 5, 2012)

Pathetic post, Ape.

0 upvotes
nanoer
By nanoer (Mar 4, 2012)

It is clear that who ever master these 4 things will win the war. The lens technology, Sensor technology, Digital Signal Processing (DSP also its SW) and its Marketing. The last 3 are even more important than the first. See how quickly Samsung and Sony are catching up in photography! 30 years ago they were just purely electronic. And Samsung were still an OEM.
For us, the only thing we can do is to advance our photography skill. Then, any equipment in our hand will do the same.

4 upvotes
Marco 2k7
By Marco 2k7 (Mar 4, 2012)

can't argue with that. well said.

1 upvote
Sordid
By Sordid (Mar 4, 2012)

You're absolutely right.
I switched to Sony because I'm a tech head.
Many of the things Sony offers are a little gadgety but I love them.
Does that make me a better photographer?
No, not at all. But I enjoy it more which is the only thing that matters to me.
Everybody should find the brand he's happy with.

2 upvotes
tobias2003
By tobias2003 (Mar 4, 2012)

30 years ago the Sony camera division was known as Minolta.

4 upvotes
carnaby
By carnaby (Mar 5, 2012)

No, the one that masters connectivity, will win. Both Nikon and Canon masters your 4 points well enough already, but the one that masters connectivity to the internet and different agencies best, will win, because these photographers will sell more pics.
The same of course applies for wedding photographers, where an assistant, which doesn't even have to be on site, can fetch and edit pictures and video in realtime from the camera and produce content that the guests can bring with them before leaving.... or that is available on facebook or whatever the next day...
or is viewable on a large screen on site dureing the event in question...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
bewing77
By bewing77 (Mar 5, 2012)

Definatly. A D700 with my iPhones connectivity capabilities would open so many real oppurtunities to make more money from my business, much more so than a 36 MP D800. I don't undestand why the big players fail to realise some simple facts of our near future: 98% of all still images will be viewed on screen and transfered by web, thus super high resolution and IQ should be a secondary feature; people growing up today are impatient. They never had to wait for a photo lab to develop their film rolls and they don't want to wait even a couple of days for their wedding pictures, they want them right away. The first actor that brings a camera like this to market wins right out. It's been shown time and time again tha big corps who fails to do the right thing can and will be overthrown by small actors doing it right.

0 upvotes
QSMcDraw
By QSMcDraw (Mar 6, 2012)

Why would we want one company to win a product war? So they have no competition, charge whatever they like, and never need to improve? Nuts.

1 upvote
Andycnv
By Andycnv (Mar 4, 2012)

I'm wondering who of us posting here has a personal advantage if Canon is better than Nikon, or vice versa...
Just enjoy your gear, all of them are offering results much better than we ever expected!

16 upvotes
aberlinck
By aberlinck (Mar 4, 2012)

I Agree. D3S is better than D4

0 upvotes
ZAnton
By ZAnton (Mar 4, 2012)

It is very funny to read how Canon funboys are trying to prove, that Canon is not loosing the game, by comparing D4 with D3s. The only thing they omit, that both D4, D3s humiliatingly destroy all Canon's which are present on the test.

Anyway even if D4 is worse than D3s, the difference is so tiny, that it does not have any practical significance.

2 upvotes
altenae
By altenae (Mar 4, 2012)

Really.....

Canon and Nikon deliver both superb DSLR's
Both Canon and Nikon will do PERFECT for 99,9 % for us...

Read the topic of Rozsas Adam...
Indeed pros are laughing on all these topics...
It seems ALL is about Canon vs Nikon...

It's not.

It's Fanboys not Funboys.....

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
5 upvotes
Sordid
By Sordid (Mar 4, 2012)

Good job!
It only took you two sentences to prove that you're a fanboy, probably way more than the people you accuse of being fanboys.

0 upvotes
lensberg
By lensberg (Mar 4, 2012)

The reason people compare the D4 to the D3S is because the D3S has set the stanndard for high ISO excellence...

The fact of the matter is that they don't "destroy" anything... using your logic one should also assume that the D3S sales trounced the 1D Mark IV ... which you, me and everybody else knows is not true...

You're constantly comparing a full frame sensor (D3S or D4) with a 1.3 crop factor sensor (1D Mark IV) ... to gain bragging rights about their ISO prowess... If thats seems like a fair comparison to you... by all means brag away...

The true test will be between the Canon 1D X & 5D Mark III ... In all probability the Nikon D800 will have APS-C level ISO performance at ISO 3200 and above... so one wouldn't really consider it a contender for anything other than resolution...

There is no denying that the D4 seems like a good all round camera... but its not going to set any precedence as far as low light photography goes...

0 upvotes
AshMills
By AshMills (Mar 4, 2012)

So, they topped up the Martini?

2 upvotes
Poss
By Poss (Mar 5, 2012)

Nah... just some red ink...

0 upvotes
Photogaz
By Photogaz (Mar 4, 2012)

I'm confused. You're all saying the D4 looks better but in my view on RAW mode the D3 looks better. I've checked about 4 different places and the D4 has so much more colour noise.

5 upvotes
atamola
By atamola (Mar 4, 2012)

I agree. The D3s has better IQ

0 upvotes
lensberg
By lensberg (Mar 4, 2012)

The D4 only looks better in the eyes of a Nikon fanboy... I don't know what people are looking at... or how they are trying to justify this mediocre performance by the D4 at high ISO's...

I cannot figure out where this supposed detail retention is in the D4 at ISO 6400 and above... It is generously smearing fibres, cloth patterns with finely tuned sharpenning trying to compensate for detail retention... and is clearly distorting the levels of pigment saturation...

Look at that colour chart as a prime example of a smudge fest... the D3S one looks almost perfect at ISO 6400 maintaining the squares in geometric symmetry... But the D4 sample looks like a polychromized semblance of an indistinct square with a "smooth" appearance.

But the fact still remains that numerous people across the board are realizing that the D3S is still top dog as far as high ISO is concerned...

There are only two legitimate contenders for the High ISO crown now... the Nikon D3S and the upcoming Canon 1D X.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
lensberg
By lensberg (Mar 4, 2012)

One more thing... based upon the sample images i've seen & scrutinized... even the Canon 5D Mark III will give the D3S & D4 a run for their money... and probably come up trumps against the D4 throught the ISO scale...

4 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Mar 4, 2012)

@lensberg Can't figure out where the superior detail/per pixel sharpness at ISO 6400 and up? See the "Eastman Kodak Company, 1997" on the Kodak Greyscale Chart. On the D4 this text is clearly legible, on the D3s, barely. Not enough evidence? The queen of hearts. And this from a pre-production D4.

As far a 5D Mk III, you can say it all you want, but based on Canon Europe mediocre samples and what we know about the sensor technology of Nikon vs. Canon, I would wonder why you would.

8 upvotes
ashwins
By ashwins (Mar 4, 2012)

Yes Photogas, there's so many guys on this forum who only see what they WANT to see rather than seeing what is obvious with neutral, open eyes.

3 upvotes
Minnesota_Steve
By Minnesota_Steve (Mar 4, 2012)

I don't understand the debate. It's like asking any breakthrough product to have another breakthrough when it gets upgraded. It doesn't happen that way. The D4 is evolutionary at roughly equivalent IQ to the D3S. A decision was made clearly to have the output have more detail with slightly more noise at ISO 6400.

You get one of these because you need a full frame, integrated grip camera either for the new video feature or you are a photog with fast moving subjects and you shoot outdoors a lot. The upgrades in buffer, frame rates, weather sealing, etc. are nice.

As for Canon vs. Nikon, the issue is whose system are you already invests in.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
D1N0
By D1N0 (Mar 4, 2012)

The colour noise on the d4 is blown up more, because of the larger zoom factor(colour noise is not a single pixel, but a group of pixels). The difference is not really noticeable when you scale the images to the exact same size. Also the d3s image has much more softness on the sides en corners, so nothing there can really be used for comparison.

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
1 upvote
lensberg
By lensberg (Mar 4, 2012)

@ marike6 - I agree with your assessment that there are certain aspects in the test image that are reproduced better by the D4. Actually i was referring to the coloured squares on the left side of the chart...

Looking at the Kodak colour chart in its entirety, it is abundantly obvious that the Nikon D3S produces a crisper, sharper and a more faithful image than the D4.

Look at those little furry balls on top of the chart... the purple & red ones in particular... you can clearly distinguish the intricate fibres on each of them... by comparison the D4 produces a much more muted and artificial looking image...

Now look at the white-grey-black spectrum at the bottom of the chart... you can clearly see the differentiating definition that the D3S is able to achieve whilst progressing from dark grey to black... In the D4 sample... there is virtually no difference in the shades of back towards the end of the spectrum... and there is only a faint trace of individual borders visible...

1 upvote
lensberg
By lensberg (Mar 4, 2012)

Regarding the "Eastman Kodak Company, 1997" you mentioned... compare it against the Canon G1 X and look at the result... the grey is much better reproduced by the G1 X and the text is equally as well rendered...

Now at the same setting of ISO 6400 scroll over to the "KODAK Grey Scale"... and look at the quality of the Canon G1 X image... the grey background is cleaner & the text is much sharper...

1 upvote
Damo83
By Damo83 (Mar 4, 2012)

@lensberg – I don't see what you're seeing. For the colour and greyscale charts the D3s and D4 are basically on par with each other. But i areas mentioned the D4 edges out slightly. Also check the Martini bottle, paperclips and the 'Tin Light'. I'm looking at ISOs above 6400 BTW.

1 upvote
Poss
By Poss (Mar 5, 2012)

I think the D3s 's DOF is slightly shifted forward and D4's slightly backward. Better said, one front focuses slightly the other back focuses slightly with the same lens. That's pretty evident (at least to me it is)

0 upvotes
Natan Lorenzi
By Natan Lorenzi (Mar 5, 2012)

Really, do you will use astronomic ISO? Really, the most of people use up to 6400 iso. I don't need iso 204800, or even 12800. Shot what I can't see? No, really, I'm a photographer not a researcher.

0 upvotes
footlong
By footlong (Mar 4, 2012)

Just the fact it is a little better than the d3s with 40% more pixels is huge! Not to mention the detail it preserves especially the red at ISP over 12800 which is extremely hard to do.

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Mar 4, 2012)

the pixels are 34% smaller in area. so if signal qualities are about the same at pixel level that will mean more than 0.4 stop improvement of image quality besides better resolution. Nikon says near 1 stop and I understand it as better sensor + better NR.

0 upvotes
sandy b
By sandy b (Mar 4, 2012)

Sensor efficiency is at about the same level with both these cameras. Its going to be pretty hard to make a quantum leap, or any leap, with current tech. I would think if you have a D3s with lower shutter count, don't shoot much video, and are happy with the AF, you don't upgrade. Of course, If you don't have a D3s, the d4 for roughly the same price is a no brainer. Canons up next, looking forward to the reviews. I wonder if they managed to increase their sensor efficiency to the level of the D3s-d4.

I thought The 5D2 really held its own pretty well in this test, especially in the lighter areas of the test. it lost it in the shadows and blacks, at higher ISO, but the extra resolution seemed to help. Waiting to see if the text on the bottom of the watch dial can actually be read with the d800. I'm thinking yes.

3 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Mar 4, 2012)

even if the QEs are the same, D4 got better readout and that should be a major source of the improved quality.

yes 5D2 is still great. resolution itself means image quality so the expectation should be high for D800 which is likely to become a new standard.

0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (Mar 4, 2012)

'Its going to be pretty hard to make a quantum leap, or any leap, with current tech.'
You're absolutely right. Current technology has hit the end-stops.

2 upvotes
ZoranC
By ZoranC (Mar 4, 2012)

C'mon guys, all these statements and analysis and nobody seems to care that exposure didn't seem same and that DOF was not same?

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Mar 4, 2012)

it's almost impossible to get the same exposure for different cameras. that's why most of my tests are through a single piece of Nikkor, not a very good one, for both Nikon and Canon bodies. but still I have no way to control shutter (I can set them to the same value though).

0 upvotes
Minnesota_Steve
By Minnesota_Steve (Mar 4, 2012)

The D4 advantages for photographers (assumes you want an integrated grip 100% of the time you need full frame):

1. You won't be able to buy a D3S except used. So if this is your first FF camera with integrated grip...
2. Higher MP, especially useful for cropping. You must crop? A crooked hand held shot. Extra room for distortion management for a lens or to tilt a building up straight. A critter that is too hard to approach closely.
3. 10 fps for 10 seconds. Shoot anything that moves quickly? Sports. Wildlife.
4. Improved weather sealing for the outdoor shooter.
5. An XQD card with faster write speeds (eventually).
6. Weight savings vs. the D3S.
7. Under realistic shooting conditions, more shots per battery charge (5500 Nikon test vs. 2600 CIPA).
8. A chance to have a good video recorder around for special trips. Maybe not a reason to buy this, but it will come in handy.

3 upvotes
Sordid
By Sordid (Mar 4, 2012)

Fanboys galore. I totally love it.
Would be even better if I had some popcorn.

1 upvote
Josh152
By Josh152 (Mar 4, 2012)

Wow reading these comments it makes me think many were expecting miracles. Lets face it, the D3s is hard act to beat when it comes to noise preformance. The thing is Noise preformance isn't the only thing to consider when choosing a body. So what if the D3s and the D4 have similar or the same IQ? The D3s had class leading image quality and if the D4 is the same but with more megapixels what is there to be disappointed about? It's not like everyone has been thinking "gee I wish the D3s had better noise preformance."

The D4 has many other improvements over the D3s to make it a worthwhile successor even if the image quality is only slightly better or the same. You have to look at the whole camera not just one aspect that really didn't need improving anyway.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
9 upvotes
Dr GP
By Dr GP (Mar 4, 2012)

I would have expected
- marginally more high ISO and DR - kind of as clean at 6400 as D3S at 3200
- higher (not the same) IQ and detail at low iso

why?
recent years have been full of innovation. look at the mirrorless. the Fujix100 shoots awesome pics, and now the samples of the X1Pro look like what aD3S might look like on an APS C sensor.

anyway... yes, expectations were too high. lets see what 800s look like!

3 upvotes
Sordid
By Sordid (Mar 4, 2012)

I think some people are slightly disappointed that this is all Nikon comes up with after 2.5 years.

Don't get me wrong - while I totally adore my a55 (I'm not a pro by any means), I'd love to have a D4.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Josh152
By Josh152 (Mar 4, 2012)

@ Dr GP
But Sony and/or Nikon didn't make any of the sensors in those cameras. Why would they be any indication of what should be expected for the D4?

Comment edited 12 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (Mar 4, 2012)

Are we reaching a limit of what the modern lens, sensor and processing electronics can do, which is quite amazing if we think about it. Asking for 4 stops above 400 to be stellar?

0 upvotes
Minnesota_Steve
By Minnesota_Steve (Mar 4, 2012)

Yes and no. Read a little about binning.

0 upvotes
Nb41
By Nb41 (Mar 4, 2012)

I've got 2 of these on order and I have to confess that these test shots are making me think twice. From what I can make out, the images seem better on the D3s above 6400 (which is where I usually find myself). In real terms the D3s is truly excellent - I was expecting the D4 to be at least as good. Not sure what to do now as 2xD4 is a lot of money to waste!!

3 upvotes
Minnesota_Steve
By Minnesota_Steve (Mar 4, 2012)

What's your application? I am getting more detail out of the D4 files at ISO 12800 vs. the D3s. Maybe not enough for real world. But I am getting no worse with 4 MP more. For my bird photography, the ability to crop more is huge. Also the D4 essential comes with an installed buffer upgrade for those of us who need high frame rates. 10 seconds of 10 fps shooting is huge.

Comment edited 54 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Nb41
By Nb41 (Mar 4, 2012)

Unfortunately I don't have the D4 yet - sounds like you may have.

My application is in dance and performance and it is low light and at high speed. The D3s is a good camera! Any improvement would be a real help, but any degradation would also be noticeable so I am exercised about the possibility of the D4 not performing as well as the D3s. If it delivers the same image quality / noise / colour rendition etc. at 12800 or 25k and beyond then I would be happy. I expect it to focus better and the overall ergonomics to also be improved.

Bottom line - Improved focus with same high ISO as D3s would make me happy - i'm not looking for miracles, just a modest improvement at the extremes.

0 upvotes
arthurzhang
By arthurzhang (Mar 5, 2012)

It is time for you to think about jumping ship to canon 1DX

0 upvotes
Dr GP
By Dr GP (Mar 3, 2012)

One more addition to my prior analysis.

if you play with the raw files in NX, an play with noise reduction and saturation and and part. sharpness, it seems to me you can "get a bit more out of the D4" raw file. But again, the differences are REALLY small.

1 upvote
lensberg
By lensberg (Mar 3, 2012)

The Nikon D4 is essentially an overhyped camera... but i suppose that was to be expected considering the fact that it was propped up prematurely to assume the high ISO crown from the D3S.

Considering the fact that there is a 2½ year time span between the D3S & D4 ... Nikon seem to have made virtually no advances regarding ISO performance...

Just look at that furry patch that resembles tiger skin at ISO 6400 on the D4 and you'll notice severe ammounts of noise reduction at work... blurring out the fine textures & fibres completely... by contrast the D3 & Canon 1D Mark IV manage to preserve the textures whilst delivering a natural looking image...

The intricate pattern on the green & purple fabric is totally smeared out by the D4 though funnily the white cross fibres remain intact ... Now compare it to the D3s sample which is excellent... even the 1D IV manages to retain more detail...

2 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Mar 3, 2012)

The green & purple clothe, smeared out it is not. The Queen of Hearts at ISO 6400, the D4 is much sharper that all the others, and in general it has the best balance of clean IQ high ISO and sharpness/detail. Overhyped? With uncompressed HDMI out, class leading high ISO performance, high fps, etc. Doesn't sound like hype to me. Sounds awesome.

5 upvotes
Dr GP
By Dr GP (Mar 3, 2012)

awesome yes if you never had a d3s. If you do, you feel limited progress has been made (outside the video). All around D4 is a much better tool than D3S, but clearly we all had hoped to not just get D3S + Video and a few more ergonomic buttons after 2.5 years.

0 upvotes
jwalker019
By jwalker019 (Mar 3, 2012)

You must be looking at the JPEGs, the NEFs tell a completely different story. The D4 retains quite a bit more detail and better color accuracy than the DS3, pretty much across the board, and is comparable in noise when viewed at the same resolution.

Looking at the 1D Mark IV, though, I'd say there's not much to choose between the D4 and 1D Mark IV, given appropriate noise reduction and sharpening, etc.

2 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Mar 3, 2012)

the D4 is a big disappointment at iso below 6400 compared to the others.... maybe video freaks will be happy with it but im a photographer and i care a s h*t about video.

from a new camera i expect more then be "on par" with 3 year old models.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
Dragonfire
By Dragonfire (Mar 3, 2012)

agree with marika6!
and for the ones who are dissapointed: it is not the D4's fault that is (ovarall) only a bit better than D3s, it is the D3s that was so goooood... :)

1 upvote
atamola
By atamola (Mar 3, 2012)

If these pre production D4 files resemble the final D4 (and why would Nikon allow DP to use it if not), then I would agree that the IQ of the D4 is totally overhyped

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Frank C.
By Frank C. (Mar 3, 2012)

we may be reaching the limits of tech. advances because of physics limitations, from now on those with the best and most creative coders will win

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Mar 4, 2012)

@Henry H. Hertz Video freaks? aside, you must be quite a talented photographer if the D4 is not a good enough camera for you. Where can we see your work? What camera do you presently use?

Simply "on par" with the 3 others it is not, however. It completely outperforms the 2 Canons as expected and is equal or better than D3s at high ISO with higher resolution and better edge sharpness. Not sure what you're seeing below ISO 6400...and I'm not sure I care.

3 upvotes
Josh152
By Josh152 (Mar 4, 2012)

@marike6

Henry H. Hertz is just a canon fanboy drunk on koolaid. Just look at his comments on the 5D3 news posts. He is down right abusive to many who dared criticize his beloved Canon or who disagrees with him.

Comment edited 43 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Jexmark
By Jexmark (Mar 4, 2012)

@ atamola

These ARE shots from a production D4, not a pre-production model.

0 upvotes
atamola
By atamola (Mar 4, 2012)

@Jexmark yes, you are rigth. For some reason I thought it was a pre production D4. Well, that settles it for me then: the IQ is not better than that of the D3s (it has some extra features though that can make it a compelling upgrade for a lot of people).

0 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Mar 3, 2012)

imho the D4 is disappointing in terms of ISO performance in the most useable area below iso 6400.

not that the performance is bad!
just disappointing for a new camera when you compare it to the older models.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Deeso
By Deeso (Mar 3, 2012)

It seems to me that the D4 is better than any other of it's competitors, but we are yet to see samples from the Canon 1D-X. Then again, if I had a D3s I doubt I'd buy it... A different thing would be if I came from an older model, like the D3 or if wanted to jump from a lower category. Still, I think there's room in the market for a "baby D4" (16Mp, FF, around 8-9fps, in a lighter D800 body). Nikon should understand that in these times of economic slump not every photojournalist can spend 6000$ in a pro-body.

1 upvote
Dr GP
By Dr GP (Mar 3, 2012)

I spend 1 hour "pixel peeping"

My net conclusion: I am disappointed. The core IQ has essentially NOT improved over D3S

1. Comparison of raw file at ISO 100
Across the frame, the IQ is virtually the same. Some truly marginal differences, though:
- D4 has a tiny bit higher resolution, but it seems to depend on color of object whether this is visible. The reds seem cripser
- However, D3S seems to have slightly more saturated colors.
- D4 resolves text marginally higher, but you really have to look closely at a 300% magnification to say "I think there is a small difference"

2. At ISO 6400 -- which is the upper limit I am shooting at
In the center of the image, there are NO, absolutely no differences.
At the margin, towards edges , D4 resolves letters a bit clearer
Likely, that this is not a sensor issue but a result of shooting D4 at F11 and D3S at F8.

BUUHHH

The Plus of D4 : A bunch of new features & video -- some of which will only be useful for a small subset of pros.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
5 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Mar 3, 2012)

Go above ISO6400 and try shadow areas.

1 upvote
atamola
By atamola (Mar 3, 2012)

I agree with you. IQ has essentially not been improved.

I would add that the D3s delivers higher IQ .

I will add that this is a pre production D4... but I really don't expect the final product to be mcuh different.

0 upvotes
Dr GP
By Dr GP (Mar 3, 2012)

Just did the same for 102400 ISO. SAME result - No difference. Except, D3S picture had some yellow dots in some areas.
I also downsampled the D4 to same size as D3S. Whatever differences there are, they are soooo minor that I have to say "Nikon after 2.5 more years, REALLY?"
Again, some features have definitely improved and they will make for a more pleasant pic taking. I have D4 and D800E on order, and will leave them open for now awaiting more tests, but for now I am a bit sad !!

2 upvotes
ARTASHES
By ARTASHES (Mar 3, 2012)

Maybe/probably D4 will have better DR, and the load of new technology especially for video is THE reason to buy D4 instead of D3s (and not the improved SNR)
P.S. maybe we have reached the limits of CMOS technology with D3s in therms of noise performance

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Josh152
By Josh152 (Mar 3, 2012)

So basically you are saying the D4 is a 16 MP version of the D3s. I fail to see the problem. Same great noise preformance but more resolution.

6 upvotes
Dr GP
By Dr GP (Mar 3, 2012)

@ Josh -- I guess my point was I almost dont see any evidence of more resolution. Its almost invisible, and visible only at like 300% in certain color channels.
So yes, D4 is a great camera -- just not a step up from D3S in terms of IQ.

0 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Mar 3, 2012)

4 mp more (4 mp you don´t notice) after 3 years... great achievement!!

Comment edited 25 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Minnesota_Steve
By Minnesota_Steve (Mar 4, 2012)

I'm with you Josh. Those of us who need to crop benefit greatly. Bird photography for me. It is like we got a 25% zoom factor.

2 upvotes
Josh152
By Josh152 (Mar 4, 2012)

@ DR GP and Henry M. Hertz

I said the D4 was basically a D3s with 16 mp but really that is not true.

The D4 also has better metering, AF, video, LCD, Buffer, FPS, an Ethernet port, light up buttons, and what ever else I am forgetting. You have to look at the camera as a whole.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Mar 3, 2012)

I assume that like the Nikon D3s and D700, the D4 will shoot directly into Tiff.

Any chance of DPReview doing the test setup shot as tiffs and then posting those tiffs for download? Yes, I get that the test scene doesn't contain much in the way of subtle color or subtle shading. But tiffs are better than jpegs.

0 upvotes
max metz
By max metz (Mar 3, 2012)

This Nikon needs to be pretty well on the money with this D4, Fujifilm has the x-pro1 almost at market and their new organic sensor technology waiting in the wings.

1 upvote
Fearless_Photog
By Fearless_Photog (Mar 3, 2012)

Oh, I didn't realize the X-Pro 1 shot at 10fps, had a huge RAW buffer, one of the best AF systems available, and a big selection of super telephoto lenses. I'll have to look at the press release again, because that's what it would need to put it on my radar as an alternative to the D4.

Oh wait, actually even if it had all that it wouldn't be an alternative, because I'm not one of those nuts who switches systems every time a new body comes out. In fact the only cameras I'm worried about comparing the D4's performance to are other Nikons, because that's what I use. How it compares to Canon really isn't relevant to me because I'm not going to sell an entire system of pro lenses, flashes and accessories because some non-photographers think another totally unrelated camera, that absolutely can't fill the same role, might have higher image quality. Remember, for the people who actually uses these cameras to take pictures, absolute image quality is just one of many important factors.

6 upvotes
five5pho
By five5pho (Mar 3, 2012)

I use canons but I admire the D3s.Even more the D4.
However, I have never seen better files than the sigma on a small dslr.Im also not fond of the sigma body, I m not convinced, but the IMAGE QUALITY... more to the medium format side today !!!

1 upvote
max metz
By max metz (Mar 4, 2012)

No, I'm not trying to be disparaging about Nikon, merely saying that they need to respond to what else is entering the market.

I may be alone in being willing to change systems but it is in every nikon full fame users interest that Nikon remains viable and not end up like Kodak.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
toomanycanons
By toomanycanons (Mar 3, 2012)

My D5100 stayed with the big boys up to ISO 3200.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Mar 3, 2012)

How's the weather sealing, and autofocus speed? And you have Capture NX 2.3.1?

0 upvotes
Marco 2k7
By Marco 2k7 (Mar 3, 2012)

How's your wallet?

9 upvotes
ngc4565adam
By ngc4565adam (Mar 3, 2012)

In two or maybe three weeks, I'm going for one. For a D5100. I love it even it's not in my hands yet.

0 upvotes
Nikon Rob
By Nikon Rob (Mar 4, 2012)

You must be delusional or by "big boys" you aren't referring to the D4. Side by side, the D5100 is noticeably worse than the D4 even at ISO 200. Some colors (magenta, purple) are horrid even at 100 on the D5100. If you're by chance looking at jpeg instead of raw, you might also want to note the loss of detail in the D5100's NR.

0 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Mar 3, 2012)

now i know why nikon is stealing canon work:

http://www.steves-digicams.com/news/whoops_nikon_uses_canon_dslr_footage_to_launch_d800.html

4 upvotes
Ashley Pomeroy
By Ashley Pomeroy (Mar 3, 2012)

Remember, Henry, think calm thoughts. When the rage starts to take hold, focus on a bunny rabbit or something.

6 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Mar 3, 2012)

you feel the rage too pomeroy.. do you?

the bast*rds stealing work without asking the person and then it´s canon footage too.... ridiculous.

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Josh152
By Josh152 (Mar 3, 2012)

lol one, unsubstantiated claim is meaningless.

2 upvotes
tkham
By tkham (Mar 4, 2012)

Josh152,
Hardly an unsubstantiated claim.
Nikon Norway have publicly apologised to the photographer, who indeed uses Canon. The matter have been discussed on HQ level in Tokyo, and they will also pay him twice his minimum rate for commercial use as damages.

0 upvotes
munro harrap
By munro harrap (Mar 3, 2012)

Very useful. I was shocked to see how well the 1D Mk1v that has the same resolution on a smaller sensor does. But not happy at all with DP's exclusion of the 1Ds MkIII, and the 1Ds MkII.

To be able to compare files from a 1Ds MkII with those from its equivalent Nikon D4 (same sensor size and resolution) would allow everyone to judge progress since 2004.

And to exclude the 1Ds MkIII is wrong-its Canon's current top pro camera

1 upvote
altenae
By altenae (Mar 3, 2012)

Yep the mark IV looks very good for a 1.3 crop sensor

0 upvotes
ivan1973
By ivan1973 (Mar 3, 2012)

D4 is definitely no better than D3S despite having a larger sensor. Can't wait to see 1Dx performances.

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Mar 3, 2012)

Got the raws and Capture NX 2.3.1 do you?

2 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Mar 3, 2012)

howaboutraw it´s you fulltime job to make excuses for nikon?

4 upvotes
Mike Cialowicz
By Mike Cialowicz (Mar 3, 2012)

Uh... the D4 has the same size sensor as the D3S. The resolution is a bit higher, and the technology is newer.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Mar 3, 2012)

Henry M. Hertz:

I'd say the same, and basically have, about those posting comments on the jpegs from the CANON 5D III.

You could have bothered to check.

There is no point in drawing general conclusions about a dslr without raws and the software to extract those raws to the tiff format.

Done showing your ignorance of dslr photography?

2 upvotes
jwalker019
By jwalker019 (Mar 3, 2012)

HowaboutRAW, showing your ignorance of raw processing software? Nikon Capture NX 2 2.3.1 has been out for some time and, *yes* we do have the raws and have been working with them, thank you.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (Mar 3, 2012)

jwalker019

That's not the version one can get as trialware, now who is showing ignorance.

I already asked that question, and had it answered correctly, earlier today, in this forum. That you can't be bothered to find out the the trialware is still v2.3.1 is your problem.

Many here are not commenting on raws at all or are not commenting on anything more than what shows up in the DPReview sample box.

It's hard to imagine that you were so obtuse as to make that second mistake too, but you did.

You can see below were I comment on your past comment. You really should have known to look at what trialware version number is.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Claudiu Paduroiu
By Claudiu Paduroiu (Mar 3, 2012)

Nikon D3s still a winner in terms of ISO.
I can't wait to see the 5DMIII and 1Dx.

0 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Mar 3, 2012)

the real question for many is how does the D800 fares.
it looks like there is not much improvement over the D3s.

now 36 MP on a sensor will not make it easyer to shine on medium and high iso.

and spare me the downsampling crap....

i don´t buy a 36 MP camera to downsample all my images. that is plain stupid.
i buy a 36 MP camera because i want to print real big or crop the hell out of the images..... so no downsampling possible.
in fact i do nothing like that.. but that would be the reason for a 36 MP camera and it´s huge files.

if i print a maximum of A3 there is no reason for a 36MP camera and i rather go with a faster camera and less MP.

Comment edited 35 seconds after posting
7 upvotes
ivan1973
By ivan1973 (Mar 3, 2012)

Surprising D3s fare better than D4. Nikon made a stupid move by joining in the mega pixel race, at the expense of noise. Who would wants a noisy megapixel camera?

1 upvote
five5pho
By five5pho (Mar 3, 2012)

many people!

1 upvote
spbStan
By spbStan (Mar 4, 2012)

Maybe you were looking at a different set of images than I was. The D4 was better in every criteria, tone smoothness, noise, color etc. If you can't see the difference, you should not buy one. It is not for you. But those who can see the difference will make the d4 a very popular camera in the niche market of flagship cameras.

0 upvotes
isson
By isson (Mar 4, 2012)

haha if it makes you feel better?? the d3s and D4 are just about the same in higher ISO's look at the charts again. I had one one on order but now I can keep my D3s and buy some 1.4g lenses instead !

0 upvotes
Bassman2003
By Bassman2003 (Mar 3, 2012)

Thanks for this test. It is a great tool! Can't wait to see all four new Canon & Nikon cameras side by side for a comparison.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 331
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