Nikon D4s First Impressions Review
It's been two years since Nikon introduced their flagship SLR, the D4. While that camera has undoubtedly stood the test of time, Nikon has decided that it's time for a refresh. That camera is the D4s which, on the surface, doesn't look much different than its predecessor. That's because, by and large, the major changes to the D4s are inside its magnesium alloy body.
The biggest changes on the D4s are its processor (now covered by the Expeed 4 standard), wider ISO range (topping out at 409,600), group area AF feature, and slightly faster burst speeds. Nikon has also reduced viewfinder blackout time, made transitions more 'smooth' when shooting time-lapse, and added 1080/60p video recording. Movie aficionados will also enjoy the ability to use Auto ISO when using manual exposure, audio range and level adjustment, and the ability to output uncompressed video over HDMI while simultaneously recording to a memory card.
Nikon D4s key features
- 'Newly designed' 16 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor
- Expeed 4 processing
- ISO 100-25,600 (expandable to ISO 50 - 409,600 equiv)
- 51-point autofocus system (same as D4)
- Group Area AF allows for more accurate subject tracking with less 'distraction'
- 11 fps continuous shooting with continuous AE/AF
- New 'small' Raw size (approx. 8 megapixel)
- 1080/60p video for up to 10 mins at 42Mbps or 20 mins at 24Mbps
- Smoother transitions when shooting interval or time-lapse stills/movies
- CompactFlash and XQD card slots
- Gigabit Ethernet port, in addition to support for WT-5A wireless transmitter
- EN-EL18a battery provides 3020 shots per charge (CIPA)
In addition to those features, there are numerous small changes that have been made, with the Expeed 4 processor having a lot to do with it. Probably the biggest benefit of Expeed 4 is a wider ISO range, which now tops out at a whopping 409,600 (this is the Hi4 setting). The processing system has also increased the top burst rate to 11 fps (with AF). And speaking of increased speed, the D4s' mirror has a shorter travel distance, which reduces viewfinder blackout times.
There have been subtle changes to the camera's exposure system, starting with the ability to use face detection to determine metering while using the OVF. Exposure changes when using live view, interval shooting, or time-lapse movie are now less abrupt. Speaking of interval shooting, you can now take up to 9999 shots per sequence. The Active D-Lighting feature now has an 'Extra High 2' setting, though Nikon says that will look pretty 'artsy' at that point.
Another small change worth mentioning is the camera's ability to use the Auto ISO feature while in manual exposure mode. This allows you to choose a shutter speed and an aperture setting and let the camera decide on the necessary ISO. And, because the D4s has an Exposure Comp button as well as two control dials, you can apply exposure compensation so that you get your chosen image brightness, when working this way.
The D4s uses the new EN-EL18a battery for power, which allows for an incredible 3020 shots per charge (CIPA standard). Those who own EN-EL18 batteries can use them as well.
Compared to D4
Below is a quick comparison of the major differences between the D4 and D4s:
16.2MP FX-format CMOS
|Processing||Expeed 3||Expeed 4|
|ISO range (standard)||100 - 12,800||100 - 25,600|
|ISO range (expanded)||50 - 204,800||50 - 409,600|
|Group AF area||No||Yes|
|Maintains focus point when changing orientation||No||Yes|
|Continuous shooting w/AF||10 fps||11 fps|
|Top Active D-Lighting option||Extra High||Extra High 2|
|Top movie resolution||1080/30p (24Mbps)||1080/60p (42 or 24Mbps)|
|Interval shooting limit||999 shots||9999 shots|
|Batteries used||EN-EL18||EN-EL18a, EN-EL18|
|Battery life (CIPA)||2600 shots||3020 shots*|
|* with EN-EL18a battery|
As you can see, everything on the D4s is an improvement to the D4 - at least on paper.
The biggest news, in terms of autofocus, is the D4s' ability to continuously focus at the camera's highest frame rate (a feature limited to 10fps on the D4). Another way of looking at the 'decreased viewfinder blackout' that Nikon is promoting is: 'having the mirror in the position that allows AF, for longer.' As such, we suspect the redesigned mirror mechanism plays more of a role in allowing the extra 1 frame per second focusing, as the camera's more powerful processor. What it certainly hasn't changed is the AF sensor itself, so it's mostly a case of making the most of what's already there, rather than radically overhauling the camera's capabilities.
Although it doesn't detail or quantify the changes, Nikon promises that the autofocus algorithms have been tweaked and improved - which could prove to be the most significant change. The only example of this given is that the AF lock-on is now slightly less easily distracted by objects crossing in front of the intended subject.
Beyond this, there are a couple of small feature additions, but no claims of any fundamental re-thinking. The D4s now includes a focus point mode in which the AF point will switch to the nearest comparable position, as you rotate the camera - jumping to the top left position in portrait orientation if you'd selected the top left point while the camera is in the landscape orientation, for instance.
There's also a Group AF mode, in which the user can specify a cluster of five points to focus on, rather than having to choose a single point. The existing system did allow you to specify the number of surrounding points that the AF system would consider, but the new mode gives much greater weight to the four points adjacent to the selected AF target. As with many of the AF behavior tuning options in cameras at this level, we suspect the benefit of this feature will be specific to a certain shooting situation, and its value will only be revealed when applied to that situation.
Perhaps the biggest surprise to us is how little the D4s has gained in terms of movie functions. The headline change is that the D4s can now shoot 1080 video at frame rates of 60p and 50p (at bitrates of around 48Mbps), but beyond that, there's not much that's changed. There's been no improvement in whatever limited the D4 to 20 minutes of video recording: the D4s hits a similar limit, with high bitrate 60p restricting the camera to just 10 minutes of footage capture.
The D4s can now adjust audio volume as it records, but there are no additional features to support movie capture: no focus peaking or zebra, and no additional high bitrate settings for the frame rates already offered by the D4. Unlike existing Nikons, the D4s can now simultaneously output uncompressed video over HDMI and record to internal memory cards.
Overall, though while the D4s makes sense as a camera head - buried in a rig with external monitors and recorders bolstering its capabilities - it's hasn't taken any big steps towards being the modern photojournalist's stills and movies all-rounder. This isn't to say the D4s isn't a credible camera for using video; just that, after years of manufacturers insisting on the importance of video as a tool for working photojournalists, we're surprised to see so few changes or additions have been made.
|Brussels' lights by Litho|
from Your City - Queue
|Oil, water & paint by timbazi|
|1939 Ford Coupe by WordyDave|
from Car Shows 2018
The Fujifilm X-T3's 4K video more than lives up to its impressive specification, making it one of the most capable video cameras we've ever tested.
VSCO has made it easier to find the right presets for your photos with a few interface changes to its smartphone app.
TinyMOS is back with NANO1, an all-new astrophotography camera that's one-third the size of the TINY1 it announced three years ago.
Huawei's latest flagship device comes with the widest range of focal lengths of all current smartphones.
After shaking up the Lightroom ecosystem with Lightroom CC last year, Adobe has released version 2.0 of the cloud-centric photo organizer and editor. We look at new features like People View, how far Lightroom CC has come in its first year, and where Lightroom is headed.
Today, at Adobe MAX 2018, Adobe previewed Photoshop CC on iPad, a full-featured, desktop-class version of Photoshop for iOS.
The weather and has most definitely taken a turn toward fall here, and our shooting opportunities have followed suit. We brought the Canon RF 35mm F1.8 along to a harvest festival of sorts and a few of our usual haunts.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has signed House Bill 1346 into effect, which imposes a fine upwards of $300 to drone operators who invade the privacy or harm the physical wellbeing of citizens.
Sigma is a company in flux, but CEO Kazuto Yamaki is undaunted by the upcoming prospect of developing lenses for eight lens mounts. The challenge will be keeping the company's identity along the way.
If you've been meaning to convert all of your old photos, video, and audio to digital formats, but simply lack the time or willpower to get through it all, a new service from Kodak will help you get the job done.
Almost all new cameras include impressive video features, but for the best results you'll often need an off-camera recorder. Chris and Jordan take a look at the brand new Ninja V from Atomos, and explain why it might just be one of the most useful tools you can add to your camera.
Collect allows you to transform 360-degree into a more easily digestible format by transforming it into directed traditional videos.
Sick of using your plain ol' keyboard to edit your photos in Lightroom and Photoshop? TourBox is hoping to expedite your post-production workflow using a clever combination of dials, buttons, and knobs.
Bag and accessory manufacturer Hex has launched two bags as part of its latest collection: the Clamshell Backpack and DSLR Sling.
Crank out instant photos with Holga Digital's new analog printer, currently being funded on Kickstarter.
We got some hands-on time with Leica's new S3 medium format camera, which boasts a new higher-res sensor as well as other improvements.
Luna Display started its life as a crowdfunding project on Kickstarter. Now, it's available to purchase directly online.
We sat down with the Google Pixel camera team to learn about key new camera features on the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, and an explanation of the sophisticated software advancements that power them.
A lawsuit filed on Tuesday claims the cameras in Apple's iPhone 7 Plus and newer dual-camera models infringe on a patent that was granted in 2003.
Nikon's Coolpix P1000 has moved the zoom needle from 'absurd' to 'ludicrous,' with an equivalent focal length of 24-3000mm. So far, it's a fun camera to shoot with – if a bit over the top.
Like the LG V40 ThinQ the A9 combines a super-wide-angle, regular wide-angle and tele camera, but adds a depth-sensor to the mix as well.
The FAA has issued a warning to drone pilots in anticipation of disaster response following Hurricane Michael, noting that fines for interfering with emergency operations can exceed $20,000.
According to a report from Fortune, Apple acquired Danish masking technology startup Spektral in December 2017 for "more than $30 million."
Insta360's latest model comes with a range of features that allow for the creation of unique action cam footage.
The Photogrip can be used as a camera grip, mini tripod or phone stand and comes with a detachable remote.
At a time when manufacturers are adding triple and even quad-cameras to their flagship smartphones, Google is sticking with one main camera. But given the sophistication of the company's computational efforts, we think it's the right approach for now.
DPReview is hiring! We're seeking three Software Development Engineers at a range of experience levels to join our Seattle-based team.
The University of Dayton Research Institute created a video detailing what damage is caused when a drone strikes the wing of an airplane.
Lenovo's upcoming high-end smartphone will be the first model to feature four cameras on the back.