First Impressions: Using the Nikon D4
1 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.
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.
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.
- 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
|Dirt Hose by poppyjk|
|European bee-eaters by drvanger|
from A Big Year - birds
|Fat Is Beautiful Guinea 2008 DP by MarioSS|
from - Fat is Beautiful - (Woman's Portrait n Black and White+ A Border)
The a9 boasts impressive capability. As more examples of it in practice pour in, Sony's claims hold up. Watch the a9 track and maintain focus on a rapidly approaching basketball.
Last week, more than a million tonnes of Californian coastline slid into the ocean, taking part of Highway 1 with it. Check out the remodeling in photos taken before and after the landslide.
Even after eighteen months of reviewing the latest, greatest, shiniest and must-buy-me-est new gear, DPReview staffer Carey Rose has continued to use older DSLR cameras for his freelance work. But now, that might be changing. Read more
Sony is the world's leading mirrorless camera brand but remains third for ILCs overall, it's said in a presentation to investors. A focus on high value cameras and lenses should boost operating income, it says. Read more
It's nicknamed the 'Cycloptic Mustard Monster,' and is a 3D printed medium format camera. Read more
The new NanGuang LED lights are battery powered and come with accessories including filters and diffusers.
Have you been telling yourself, "Hey, I really need one of those 8K displays?" A video about Dell's new 8K monitor shows you what to expect. Is it really that much better?
Tamara Lackey, a Nikon ambassador USA and pro shooter, discusses embracing self-consciousness as a means of connecting with subjects.
There's a new Spiderman movie coming out and the poster been generating a lot of online chatter. Mostly about how it looks like the creation of a fevered teenager that just discovered Photoshop.
An honest defense of the system's merits, with photos as proof.
Copyright disputes are no fun at all. 'Binded' is a new startup that aims to simplify the process of registering - and enforcing - copyright for photographers. Read more
Not everyone wants to pay a premium for a long zoom camera. Thankfully, there are many reasonably priced cameras available, though they won't offer the same image quality as enthusiast models. In this updated roundup we look at big zoom cameras with more consumer-friendly price tags. Read more
Think Tank Photo has updated two of its popular bag lines with improvements to functionality. Read more
We’ve all seen Bob Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo, but there's another.
The sample footage looks good.
It will automatically pick the best camera settings depending on shooting conditions. It even promises enhanced functionality for your camera, like exposure and focus stacking. It already supports many cameras from Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. Read more
As if $13,950 wasn’t enough to pay for a special edition lens, the Leica Store in San Francisco is offering a prototype of said lens for $24,995. Read more
Make those old photos disappear without deleting them forever.
Firmware updates enable 10 fps shooting with adapted A-mount lenses, and faster startup times and better compatibility for 20 fps shooting when using native lenses on the a9.
Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its camera models X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX 50s, X-T20, X100F and X-T1 and updates to three of its software products.
A 22 year-old Romanian photographer uses his DJI Phantom 4 drone to capture unique perspectives of the city where he now lives.
What's it like to ride the waves with champion surfer Kelly Slater? This VR video from Teton Gravity Research gives you a taste.
When Nikon released the full-frame D3 in 2007, it changed the professional photography industry. In this week's Throwback Thursday, Barney remembers a legend. Read more
The new stuff should have better red hues, improved sensitivity and finer grain - but don't worry - will still shift blues to green, greens to purple and yellows to pink.
Ricoh has introduced a new rugged compact camera with a 16MP CMOS sensor, 28-140mm lens, 2.7" LCD and built-in LED macro lights. Read more
This compact drone can shoot HD video using a 2-axis stabilized 12MP camera. Read more
The new Prynt Pocket can print a photo directly from their iPhone simply by inserting the phone into the printer, then snapping a photo. Each print will cost about 50 cents. Read more
Updates for Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom CC bring support for the Sony A9 and Panasonic ZS70/TZ90, along with bug fixes.
The Triggertrap remote camera control system is no longer sold due to the company folding, but now users will be able to build their own. Read more
The Magic Format Converter comes with internal optics that expand the image circle of full-frame DSLR lenses for use on the Fuji medium format camera. Read more