Nikon D4 (Part 2)

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The D4 now includes an Ethernet connection for rapid transfer of images directly to computer or other network, this will be particularly useful for press photographers at major sporting events.

Description: Nikon D4 LCD Screen

Nikon D4 LCD Screen

The D3 set the industry standard in terms of high ISO noise handling when it was introduced in 2007 and this was then improved again with the D3S, so the worry for professional photographers was always that any increase in pixel count would adversely affect this (as with the D3X). The good news is that the D4 just about matches the D3S in terms of noise handling, it doesn’t improve it, but it also doesn’t make it worse.

The D4 marginally increases the dynamic range and colour bit depth from the D3S. In the real world this isn’t that noticeable at first, but combined with the 16MP sensor it allows for more details to be pulled out of shadows in post-processing and reduces the amount of clipping in the highlights.

As you would imagine, sharpness and level of detail are improved over the D3S with the increase in pixel count. In testing only very small amounts of sharpening in post-production were needed on the RAW files, and in some cases none at all.

Description: The increase in pixels brings about excellent sharpness and crisp detail

The increase in pixels brings about excellent sharpness and crisp detail

The D4 builds upon the previously incorporated picture control settings, giving a wide range of options for portrait, landscape, vivid, neutral etc. These settings are customisable and do a good job of creating pleasing JPEGs or options for adjusting the RAW files later. The introduction of the HDR setting in the new D4 is probably of limited value to the die-hard HDR fans out there, but it does a decent job of balancing high-contrast scenes in a natural way.

Nikon needed to add HD-video capability to the D4 to satisfy the growing demand of photographers/videographers in the industry. It improves upon the D3S by shooting at 1080p at up to 30fps in full HD. The D4 gives a myriad of options for video recording, including slow motion and cropped modes for added reach or depth of field. Sound recording has been improved with both a mic-in port with 20 adjustment levels and a headphone-out port with 30 adjustment levels. Nikon has worked hard on output and control options for video, allowing clean feed streaming to external devices, together with added wireless control from computers and iPads. As you would expect from the D4 sensor, the clarity and colour depth reproduction within video capture are nothing short of outstanding.

While the eagerly anticipated D4 isn’t as significant an improvement as the D3S was over the D3, it does enough to keep it at the top of its game in terms of noise handling, and adds in some excellent features that will justify its position as Nikon’s flagship camera. Whether all of this is enough to tempt current D3S owners to trade up is another matter.

Description: Nikon D4


The D4 is slightly wider and heavier than the D3S, but in reality it is hardly noticeable

Movie button

There is now a movie start/stop button adjacent to the shutter release


Use the BKT button for easy bracketing to ensure you always get a well-exposed shot

Metering mode

Metering modes can now be adjusted with the use of a dedicated button and using the command dial

Description: Nikon D4

AF selector

The CSM selector switch on the D3S has been replaced with an AF on/off switch with a push button centre to select the AF modes with main and sub command dials

Shutter release

The shutter release button has been set at a lower angle to give more shooting comfort over extended periods


The D4 features a slightly reshaped horizontal grip for more comfort and an additional thumb grip to the rear

Description: Nikon D4

Image lock button

The image lock button doubles as quick access to the scene mode menu when shooting

Focus selectors

Two new focus selector joysticks make choosing an autofocus point quick and easy

Zoom buttons

The D4 now adopts the zoom buttons used on other models rather than the previous single zoom button and command dial combination

AF-ON button

The AF-ON button on the vertical grip has been repositioned and recessed slightly. It takes a little getting used to but it works well

Live View

A dedicated live view button and still-to-movie selector gives quick access into the live view modes

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