May 15, 2012

First Impressions of the Nikon D4

Making substantive changes to an established design is risky, and although most of the differences between the Nikon D3S and D4 take the form of improvements in the newer model, the D4 isn't perfect. Here's a quick overview of some of the aspects of its operation.

The D3S was a pretty big leap in terms of noise and detail at high ISO sensitivities compared to the original D3, but viewed at 100% on screen, images from the D3S and D4 are very similar, even when you get up into their highest ISO sensitivity settings. Where the D4 scores, unequivocally, over the D3S is its extra resolution. An increase of 4MP might sound relatively modest, but the D4 can capture noticeably more detail than the D3S across its entire ISO span. In the table below you'll see four 100% crops, from simultaneously-captured JPEG and Raw pairs at ISO 200 and 12,800 on both the D3S and D4.
  • 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