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The D4 enters the video world swinging for the fence, while still offering a plethora of small improvements in basic handling and still shooting. At the heart of the camera is a 16.2MP full-frame CMOS sensor. Like its predecessor, the D4 is designed to handle low-light shooting with ease. Its standard ISO range of 100-12,800 (expandable to 50-204,800) offers a one-stop improvement in low ISO, but still retains high image quality when shooting at high ISOs. The 51-point AF system and 91K-pixel RGB metering sensor allow for even faster AF and extremely accurate exposure.
From a video standpoint, the D4 sets the bar pretty high. It records 1080P at 24/30fps in H.264/MPEG-4 format in-camera, with the ability to record uncompressed 8-bit 4.2.2 footage via external recorder. It has on-screen audio levels and a headphone jack for monitoring and adjusting audio levels in 20-step increments. Of course, it offers full manual adjustments that can take advantage of the D4’s high ISO abilities, but the addition of a power aperture mode with 1/8th-stop adjustments allows for extreme exposure fine-tuning. For the first time, the D4 allows the user to start and stop video recording using the traditional 10-pin cable-release.
Physically, the body itself has been made slightly smaller, yet still provides the familiar feeling of previous Nikon professional DSLRs. Through a shift in buttons, portrait shooting is finally setup to work the same as standard landscape shooting. Also, the addition of two multi-directional joysticks allow quick AF-point selection when shooting in both orientations. The rear LCD has also been upgraded.
However, there are a couple changes that many users will not find as welcoming. With the D4 comes a new battery that isn’t compatible with the D3 series battery. The D4 also replaces the 2nd CF slot with an XQD memory card slot. The XQD-format does indeed offer a substantial speed increase, but at the time of the D4 release, there is a very limited selection of manufacturers. The D4 still retains its UDMA-compatible CF slot as the primary slot, however.
PRODUCT NOTES: There is a known compatibility issue with this camera and many Kingston CF memory cards. We strongly recommend using another brand’s memory card until Nikon can offer a fix for this issue.
You know what’s great about owning the company? OK, well, yeah, a lot of stuff. But what I was talking about is you get to take the first Nikon D4 home for the weekend. You know what’s not so great? That then you have to condense 762 pages of Internet hype and speculation into a reasonable description of the camera in a paragraph or two. And hype there has been. Today, just today, 16 people posted D4 ‘unboxing’ videos. Please. Act like you’ve bought a camera before, OK?
But actually this camera is very easy to sum up. It’s not an earth-shaking, this-changes-everything camera like the D3 (which gave us real high ISO performance for the first time). And yes, I know it gives Nikon excellent video in a pro camera, but that’s catch-up, not earth-shaking. This IS way more than a token upgrade, though. In dozens of small and medium ways the camera is a clear and absolute improvement over the D3s. Ergonomics feel better to me, the buttons and grips just fit better. Autofocus, especially in low light, is clearly better and faster. Resolution is certainly much, much better. I love the XQD cards because it’s not only faster, but also more reliable than CF (no pins to break off). The viewfinder and live-view focusing are hugely, massively better.
But the bottom line for me is that reading about all the improvements, one at a time, I thought “that’s nice.” But actually using the camera for just a couple of days and experiencing the sum total of all those improvements was way more than that. It was an amazingly better shooting experience than either the D3s or D3x has been. Now I don’t have to debate which camera I should use for a certain shoot: I’ll take a D4 in a heartbeat over the D3s or D3x. It’s not close.
- D4 camera body w/strap
- Body cap
- EN-EL18 battery
- MH-26 Charger w/cord
- Camera bag
PLEASE NOTE: Because of copyright regulations we cannot send the Nikon software with the camera.
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