DSLR Shootout: Advanced Professional Level - Nikon D4, Canon EOS-1DX

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Professional cameras' overall performance is the one factor that distinguishes them from other levels of DSLRs. From design to features and performance, professional cameras have their way of asserting their superiority. Today photographers are serious about each picture they capture and they want a camera to match their high expectations. This is where full frame cameras come in. They are meant for professionals and serious enthusiasts who are willing to pay a fortune for the added advantage in performance.

Description: Nikon D4 and Canon EOS-1D X

Nikon D4 and Canon EOS-1DX

In full frame cameras, the frames are much wider and the resolution is simply brilliant. This is because there is no crop factor on the sensor. This year we added another category to the professional DSLR known as advanced professional DSLR. For this category, the price parameter was set between 3-5 Lakhs. We had camera manufactures Nikon and Canon send in their respective cameras for the shootout. The contenders for the advanced professional DSLR shootout are Nikon D4 and Canon EOS-1 D X. We put them to test to see which has an edge over the other.

Nikon D4

Price: $5,999

Nikon D4 is a relatively new entrant in Nikon's professional camera systems. Compared to the Nikon D3S it offers a better resolution, faster burst mode shooting and better ISO and movie recording performance. Just one look at the D4 and you will know that this beast is meant to deliver an impactful performance.

Description: Nikon D4

The D4 has a newly developed FX-format CMOS sensor with I 6.2 effective megapixels. The camera is the first to house the XQD card slot which is meant to perform at higher speeds than CF or any other card format. The build and design of the D4 is robust and advanced. The buttons and functions on the D4 are well laid out, making it comfortable to shoot with. The body is designed to give a firm hand grip.


The Nikon D4 is a performer, no doubt, but we wanted to see how it performed against Canon's 1DX. While we were shooting with the D4 we could feel the steady image performance. The depth and detail in each image were stunning. The camera performed well, except one glitch, the camera was not able to lock focus on the subject, especially in dark areas. Apart from that, the D4's quick and accurate 5 I point autofocus system was spot on and sharp, even when capturing moving subjects. The camera was tested on its burst rate, which sported a 10fps. While shooting with the D4 on burst mode, the shutter fired rapidly and even though we could spot a few out of focus frames, the D4 performed really well overall.

The biggest advantage on the D4 is its ability to provide the user with user friendly functions. The white balance is accurate and the colours on the D4 are balanced and vivid. The detail on shadows and highlights were sorted, but we had to make sure to meter to expose our subject one or two step below.


·         Lens mount: Nikon F bayonet mount

·         Effective pixels: 16.2 million

·         Sensor size: 36.0mm x 23.9mm

·         Mage sensor format: FX

·         Mage sensor type: CMOS

·         Total Pixels: 16.6 million

·         File Format Still Images: JPEG: JPEG-Baseline Compliant; can be selected from Size Priority and Optimal Quality JPEG: JPEG-Baseline Compliant with fine (approx 1:4), Normal (approx 1:8) or Basic (approx 1:16) Compression NEF (RAW) + JPEG: Single Photograph Recorded in both NEF (RAW) and JPEG Formats TIFF (RGB)

·         Viewfinder: Eye-level Pentaprism Single-Lens Reflex Viewfinder

·         Viewfinder frame coverage: FX (36x24): 100% horizontal and 100% vertical approx. 1.2x (30x20): 97% horizontal and 97% vertical approx. DX (24x16): 97% horizontal and 97% vertical approx. 5:4 (30x24): 97% horizontal and 100% vertical approx.

·         Single-point AF Mode: Yes

·         Dynamic AF Mode: Number of AF points: 9,21,51 and 51 (3D-tracking)

Canon EOS-1DX

Price: $6,799

Description: Canon EOS-1D X

Canon EOS-1DX

Canon EOS-1 D X is a top professional DSLR in the EOS system. The 1DX does it all for you; resolution, speed and design. The robust look on the 1DX speaks a lot about the camera. There are quite a few buttons aligned in a uniform manner, and some of them do two or more functions. This can get a bit confusing at times, but it's only a matter of getting used to it. The camera body has two separate CF slots for image and video storage separately.

In terms of user friendly features, we felt the 1DX lacked a bit. We were not impressed with the design as compared to the D4.


Canon EOS 1DX features an 18.1 megapixel full frame CMOS sensor, which delivers brilliant resolution. Also, the metering was spot on, but at certain situations you need to learn how to use it to produce intelligent photographs. The autofocus on the 1DX is fast, accurate and tracks moving subjects well.

If you are a person who works on sports or similar subjects, you will need the speed of the 1DX. The 1DX's 12 fps is good. We had fun shooting with its continuous burst mode. With the addition of a better AF-tracking system, the 1DX is far superior to the D4. It can track subjects at near and far off distances without error.


·         Recording media: Type 1 or IICF card, UDMA mode 7-compatible Dual CF card slots

·         Compatible lenses: Canon EF lenses (except EF-S lenses) (35mm-equivalent lens focal length will be as indicated on tbe lens)

·         Lens mount: Canon EF mount

·         Mage sensor: 18.10 megapixels Approx. 36 x 24mm CMOS sensor    

·         Viewfinder: Eye-level pentaprism witb vertical / horizontal approx. 100% (with eye point approx. 20mm) coverage

·         Mage type: JPEG. RAW (14-bit Canon original), RAW+JPEG simultaneous recording enabled

·         Shutter speeds: 1/8000sec. to 30secs„ bulb (Total shutter speed range. Available range varies by shooting mode.), X-sync at 1/250 sec.

·         LCD monitor: Wide, 3.2-in. (3:2) with approx. 1.04 million dots TFT color, liquid-crystal monitor

·         In-camera RAW image processing: Brightness correction, White balance, Picture Style,

·         Auto Lighting Optimise!. High ISO speed noise reduction, JPEG image-recording quality, Colourspace, Peripheral illumination correction, Distortion correction and Chromatic aberration correction

·         Dimensions (WxHxD): Approx. 158 x 163.6 x 82.7mm / 6.2 x 6.4 x 3.3in.


Nikon D4

We loved the camera for its performance in colour and detail. The D4 has a more ergonomic design as compared to Canon's 1DX. The D4 is a user friendly camera; simple details, like the back-illuminated buttons help you set the camera settings accurately in low light conditions. Apart from stills, the D4 can be impressive in recording videos too.

Canon EOS 1DX

The 1DX expands on the AF-Servo code to work more specifically for moving subjects' type and condition, and the images produced are high quality. The 1DX is, without a doubt, an amazing piece of equipment. The focusing system and the 12 fps work perfectly for sports and other high speed action shots. The Canon 1DX's images were much sharper and filled with more detail and colour.

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