Whenever a new piece of top-level gear comes along, there’s a rush by many pros (and more than a few amateurs) to get it right away. While the D4 does outshine its predecessor in many ways, we would not call it an essential upgrade for still shooters who already have a D3s. If more resolving power or the 1-stop improvement in noise control mean a lot to you, then it could make sense to upgrade from your D3s. But, if the D3s’s ultra-clean low-ISO images matter more to you, then it might not make sense to move to the D4.
Videographers, however, should definitely consider the D4. Besides the uncompressed output and all the audio extras, the camera’s noise control should allow for appreciably more versatile shooting with video.
Shooters who split time between stills and video might have a harder time figuring out whether to upgrade. We think that the versatility of the video options should be enough to warrant the step up. But, if you need more reason, the video features and the advances in the still-image quality combine to make the D4 practically irresistable.
In any case, the D4 proves that as amazing as cameras have become, they can—and will—get better still.
Imaging: 16.2MP effective, full-frame (FX format) CMOS sensor captures images at 4928x3280 pixels with 14 bits/color in RAW mode.
Storage: CompactFlash and XQD. Stores TIFF, JPEG, NEF RAW, or RAW + JPEG files. Video: Records up to 1920x1080 pixels at 30 or 24 fps in MPEG-4 H.264 format; built-in monaural microphone; stereo microphone input; continuous AF available; uncompressed video output through HDMI; 20-min. max. clip size at highest quality.
Burst rate: Full-sized JPEGs (Fine mode), up to 170 shots at 10 fps; RAW, up to 69 shots at 10 fps (14-bit uncompressed); TIFF, up to 55 shots at 10 fps.
AF system: TTL phase-detection with 51 illuminated focus points (15 cross-type sensitive to f/5.6, single center sensitive to f/8); single-shot, continuous, 3D Focus tracking; tested sensitivity down to EV –2 (at ISO 100, f/1.4); AF points can be grouped and selected by area.
Live view: Full-time contrast detection, or single-shot phase-detection AF with mirror interrupting view momentarily. Shutter speeds: 1/8000 to 30 sec, plus B (1/3-EV increments); shutter life rated to 400,000 cycles; flash sync to 1/250 second.
Metering: TTL metering using 91,000-pixel RGB sensor; Matrix (evaluative), centerweighted (75% weight given to 4.5% circle in center of frame), and spot (approx. 1.5% of finder at center); range, –1 to 20 EV (at ISO 100).
ISO range: ISO 100–12800 (in 1- or 1/3-EV steps), expandable to ISO 50–204,800.
Viewfinder: Fixed eye-level pentaprism.
LCD: Fixed 3.2-in. TFT with 921,000-dot resolution, five-step brightness adjustment.
Output: Hi-Speed USB 2.0, mini-HDMI video, and stereo headphone minijack.
Battery: Rechargeable EN-EL18 Li-ion; CIPA rating, 2,600 shots with optical viewfinder.
Size/weight: 6.3x6.2x3.6 in., 2.7 lb with a card and battery.
Viewfinder accuracy: 100% (Excellent); Magnification, 0.70X (Very Good).
Street price: $6,000, body only
CLICK TO VIEW THE FULL NIKON D4 TEST RESULTS