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Nikon D4 16.2 MP CMOS FX Digital SLR with Full 1080p HD Video (Body Only) (OLD MODEL)
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- 10/11 frames per second continuous shooting in FX-format for up to 150 frames
- Nikon FX- format (35.9 x 24.0mm) CMOS Sensor with 16.2 effective megapixels
- Full 1080p HD broadcast quality video,One Year Limited Warranty
- View simultaneous Live View output on external monitors and record uncompressed video via HDMI terminal
- Multi-Area Mode Full HD D-Movie: FX, DX (1.5X crop) and New 1920X1080 (2.7X) Crop modes settings
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|Auto Focus Technology|
|Compatible Mountings||Nikon F (FX)|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||11 fps|
|Display Fixture Type||Fixed|
|Display Resolution Maximum||921,000|
|Display Size||3.2 inches|
|Effective Still Resolution||16 MP|
|Expanded ISO Maximum||12,800|
|Expanded ISO Minimum||100|
|Exposure Control Type|
|External Memory Included||Yes|
|File Format||NEF (12-bit or 14-bit, compressed or lossless compressed RAW), NEF + JPEG, TIFF, JPEG|
|Flash Memory Type||CompactFlash, XQD|
|Flash Sync Speed||1/250_sec|
|Flash Type||Hot-shoe, Wireless plus sync connector|
|Focus Description||Multi-CAM3500 FX with Dynamic Area AF (9 points, 21 points, 51 points, 3D-tracking)|
|Focus Type||Autofocus & Manual|
|Form Factor||Large SLR|
|HDMI Type||Type C|
|ISO Range||100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800 (204800 with boost)|
|Image Aspect Ratio||5:4, 3:2|
|Item Dimensions||6.18 x 3.58 x 6.3 inches|
|Item Weight||2.95 pounds|
|Lithium Battery Weight||4 ounces|
|Material Type||Magnesium alloy|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000 of a second|
|Maximum horizontal resolution||4,928|
|Metering||Multi, Center-weighted, Spot|
|Minimum Shutter Speed||30 seconds|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||16.2 MP|
|Optical Sensor Technology||CMOS|
|Photo Sensor Technology||CMOS|
|Processor Description||Expeed 3|
|Remote Control Description||via ten-pin remote terminal|
|Removable Memory||Secure Digital card|
|Sensor Cleaning Method||Dust Reduction System|
|Shipping Weight||7.35 pounds|
|Supported Battery Types||Lithium-Ion EN-EL18 rechargeable battery & charger|
|Video Capture Format|
|Video Capture Resolution||1080p_hd|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical (pentaprism)|
|Water Resistance Level||Not Water Resistant|
|Weather Resistance||Water and dust resistant|
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|Shipping||—||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Sold By||Available from these sellers||Amazon.com||eDigitalUSA||Amazon.com||Amazon.com||Amazon.com|
|Screen Size||3.2 in||3.2 in||3.2 in||3.2 in||3.2 in||3.2 in|
|Focus Type||Autofocus & Manual||Includes Manual Focus||Automatic with Manual||Includes Manual Focus||Includes Manual Focus||Automatic with Manual|
|ISO Range||100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800 (204800 with boost)||Auto, 64-12800||100 - 6400 in 1, 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps (50 - 25600 with boost)||Auto, 100-12800, expandable to 50-51200||100 - 6400 in 1, 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps (50 - 25600 with boost)||Auto, 100 - 12800|
|Item Dimensions||3.58 x 6.3 x 6.18 in||3.23 x 5.75 x 4.84 in||3.23 x 5.75 x 4.84 in||3.07 x 5.55 x 4.45 in||3.23 x 5.55 x 4.45 in||2.64 x 5.67 x 4.33 in|
|Item Weight||2.95 lbs||2.16 lbs||2.2 lbs||1.65 lbs||1.87 lbs||1.68 lbs|
|Megapixels||16.2||36.3 megapixels||36.3||24.3 megapixels||24.3 megapixels||16.2 megapixels|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||16.2 megapixels||36.3 megapixels||36.3 megapixels||—||24.3 megapixels||16.2 megapixels|
|Photo Sensor Size||CMOS (36.0 x 23.9mm)||CMOS (35.9 x 24.0mm)||CMOS (35.9 x 24.0mm)||CMOS (35.9 x 24mm)||CMOS (35.9 x 24.0mm)||Full frame|
|Style Name||—||Body Only||D800||Body Only||Body Only||Body Only|
|Video Capture Resolution||1080p_hd||1080p_hd||1080p_hd||1920 x 1080 (60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p), 1280 x 720 (60p, 50p)||1080p_hd||—|
|Viewfinder||Optical (pentaprism)||Eye-level Pentaprism Single-Lens Reflex||Optical (pentaprism)||Optical (pentaprism)||Optical (pentaprism)||Optical (pentaprism)|
|Wireless Technology||Optional; via WT-5, WT-5A||Optional, via WT-5A or Eye-Fi||None||BuiltIn||Yes||Optional, via WU-1a wireless mobile adapter|
The Nikon D4 DSLR is equipped with a new Nikon FX-format CMOS image sensor (imaging size of 36.0 x 23.9 mm) and EXPEED 3, the latest image-processing engine specifically optimized for digital-SLR cameras, making it the next-generation flagship Nikon digital-SLR camera with the ultimate in versatility and functionality that offers superior image quality rich in detail along with excellent high-speed performance. It has an effective pixel count of 16.2-million pixels and offers superior image quality under a broad range of lighting conditions with its image sensor supporting an incredible range of sensitivities from ISO 50 to ISO 204800.The new 91K-pixel (approximately 91,000 pixels) RGB sensor supports the Advanced Scene Recognition System, which is able to recognize human faces even when images are framed using the optical viewfinder. In addition, the Advanced Scene Recognition System offers significant improvements in AF, AE, i-TTL flash control and auto white balance (AWB) control accuracy. The 51 focus point AF system has been improved with faster initiation of autofocusing and the ability to detect and focus on subjects with less lighting. In addition, 11 focus points are fully functional when lenses with a maximum aperture of f/8 are used. All of this means more precise autofocusing when super-telephoto NIKKOR lenses are used with teleconverters (2.0x). The Multi-area Mode Full HD D-movie movie recording function is capable of recording full-HD movies at
From the Manufacturer
This new flagship D-SLR offers speed and accuracy with a 16.2 MP FX-format CMOS sensor, 10/11 fps continuous shooting, a 91,000-Pixel RGB sensor and Advanced SRS, improved 51 point AF System, ISO expanded to 204,800 and 1080p video at 30p with stereo sound.
Catch moments others miss
Speed and accuracy in total harmony
D4 offers a level of speed and accuracy that will redefine your notion of the fleeting moment. A carefully selected FX-format 16.2 Megapixel CMOS sensor is paired with Nikon’s powerful EXPEED3 image processor for stunning stills up to 11 fps. A 91,000-Pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Metering III sensor partners with Nikon’s Advanced SRS to deliver unmatched accuracy in every frame. Add a faster, more responsive 51-point AF system for a camera that can keep pace with you.
Stunning images every time
Superior quality you expect from Nikon
What are speed and accuracy without image quality? Nikon’s FX-format (36.0mm x 23.9mm) CMOS image sensor delivers 16.2 effective megapixels of resolution for exquisite detail. Each of this remarkable sensor’s 7.3-micron pixels is designed to collect maximum light to produce stunning images and video across D4’s broad ISO range of 100 to 12,800 (expandable down to 50 and up to 204,800). Expect the highest image quality in bright and dark shooting. Plus, EXPEED3 image processing yields the most faithful colors, tones and a wide dynamic range.
Enhance stories with HD video
Broadcast-quality and outstanding control
When an assignment calls for broadcast-quality video and audio, D4 is ready. Choose from three Multi-area mode Full HD D-Movie (1080p) video formats: FX, DX or the new 2.7x Crop mode—all at 16:9 aspect ratio. Manual exposure control helps keep the same look from start to finish. Built-in HDMI lets you view footage on an external monitor or record uncompressed 8-bit 4.2.2 footage directly to an external recording device. Even take 2MP stills simultaneously while filming. Attach the ME-1 Stereo Microphone and record high fidelity audio with minimal camera noise. On-screen audio level indicators and a headphone jack help you monitor and adjust audio in 20 incremental steps. D4 takes you from inspiring still to amazing videos with ease.
Complete control and comfort
Designed for an efficient workflow
D4’s remarkable design is the culmination of photographer feedback and Nikon innovation. Adjust AF and AF Area modes without moving your eye from the viewfinder. Quickly select AF points with a new joystick style sub-selector—positioned for both horizontal and vertical shooting. In low-light, all operation buttons and dials are beautifully backlit. Two media card slots offer flexibility and control. Built-in wired LAN and the optional WT-5A Wireless Transmitter enable secure, high-speed file transmission as well as remote camera functionality. Simply put, D4 was built to meet professional demands.
Expand your opportunities
Nikon imaging system compatibility
Draw on the full potential of D4: world-renowned NIKKOR lenses, the Nikon Creative Lighting System, Speedlights, accessories and software. Each impressive FX and DX lens in the NIKKOR lineup is fully tested to deliver sharpness, accuracy and reliability. Bring studio quality lighting to assignments with Nikon Speedlights. Only Nikon offers i-TTL (Intelligent Through The Lens) flash control, which allows Nikon Speedlights to access extensive exposure and metering data from D4 to provide unprecedented levels of flash precision and performance. Nikon’s professional imaging software, and a robust line of compatible accessories will help you expand your capabilities.
Never miss a deadline
The WT-5A Wireless Transmitter
When the world is waiting, being the first to publish makes all the difference. Nikon’s powerful new wireless transmitter, WT-5A, attaches directly to D4 to securely and quickly transfer files.
HTTP Mode: Now you can use the web browser on your iPhone® and/or iPad®** to operate camera controls or begin Live View shooting, including starting and stopping HD video and more.
Image Transmission Mode: Transmit images to an FTP server or computer two times faster than the Nikon WT-4A.
Operate the D4 via Camera Control Pro 2. From one master camera, simultaneously release up to ten remote D4/WT-5A combinations.
**iPhone® and iPad® are are registered trademarks of Apple Inc.
New 51-point AF system
Nikon’s new advanced AF sensor uses 51 strategically placed AF points for faster focus operation by working together like a net to capture moving subjects or individually for pinpoint accuracy. Each of the 51 selectable AF points delivers fast and accurate AF detection to a low light level of -2 EV (ISO 100, 20° C) with every compatible AF NIKKOR lens.
Rich image previewing
D4’s beautiful 3.2-inch, 921,000-dot LCD includes an ambient brightness sensor for maximum visibility and crisp playback, menu adjustment and Live View shooting. Quickly enlarge images and videos up to 46x for spot focus confirmation—crucial for high-resolution shooting.
Our most rugged body yet
To sustain peak performance in the most demanding environments, D4’s body, exterior and mirror box are comprised of strong yet lightweight magnesium alloy. Thorough measures are taken to seal and protect against invasive moisture, dust and electromagnetic interference.
Dual memory card slots (CF and XQD)
Dual memory card slots (one CF and one XQD) Record two full cards of data, the same still image data on both cards for instant backup, RAW on one card and JPEG on the other or transfer data from one card to another. You can even designate one slot for data-heavy HD video recording.
AF detection up to f/8
D4 aligns its 15 cross-type sensors in the center to detect contrast for both vertical and horizontal lines with lenses f/5.6 or faster. The five central points and three points to the left and right of them in the middle line are compatible with f/8.
Multi-Area Full HD D-Movie Video Recording Modes
FX-format renders exquisitely shallow depth of field and wide-angle shooting. DX-format offers a 1.5x crop of the lens focal length, and 1920x1080 Crop format gives you a 2.7x angle of view—ideal for extending lens reach when you can’t get close enough.
91,000-pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Metering III with Advanced SRS
Face detection using the optical viewfinder and detailed scene analysis using the 91,000-pixel RGB sensor enables superior auto exposure, auto white balance, AF performance and i-TTL flash exposure.
Combine two exposures at up to 3EV to create a single image revealing an extremely wide dynamic range but with less noise and richer color gradation than ever before.
Two-axis Virtual Horizon indicator
Determine if the camera is level—horizontally or forward—through the viewfinder or LCD monitor.
New mirror balancer
Minimizes the bounce of the mirror’s down movement, extending viewing time and allowing more time for AF operation—one reason D4 achieves AF and focus tracking even during high-speed continuous shooting.
Intelligent power management
Expect greater operating efficiency thanks to a new, small, high-capacity EN-EL 18 rechargeable Li-ion battery that can deliver up to approximately 2,600 images* per charge.
*Based on CIPA Standard.
View simultaneous Live View output on external monitors and record uncompressed video via HDMI terminal
Check video recording on the camera’s LCD and external monitor simultaneously; ideal for focus pullers and camera operators. When the highest possible image quality is required, you can bypass memory cards and record uncompressed footage directly from the image sensor onto an external recording device.
Time lapse shooting
Set intervals and frame rates in order to dramatically relay slow-moving activity at dramatic speeds. D4 lets you shoot time-lapse photography with replay rates from 24 to 36,000 times faster than normal and save them as movie files.
Two Live View shooting modes
Photography Live View and Movie Live View modes add flexibility; exposure, white balance, monitor hue, histogram, focus mode, AF area mode and focusing accuracy are easily confirmed.
Dedicated Nikon Picture Control button
Quickly access six preset picture control options—Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Landscape and Portrait—and up to nine customizable settings with a single button.
400,000-cycle tested shutter
For the utmost reliability and rigorous performance, D4’s shutter has been tested on fully assembled cameras for 400,000 cycles at extreme continuous burst rates.
Self-diagnostic shutter monitor
Should any shutter variance be detected, D4 automatically corrects and adjusts between the actual shutter speed and correct shutter speed to sustain precision shutter operation throughout the mechanism’s lifespan.
- AN-DC7 strap
- EN-EL18 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
- MH-26 Battery Charger
- UC-E15 USB Cable
- USB Cable Clip
- BF-1B Body Cap
- UF-2 Connector cover for stereo mini plug cable
- UF-1 Connector cover for USB cable
- Nikon View NX2 CD ROM
- Transmitter Utility CD
- BS-2 Accessory Shoe Cover
Nikon D4 Overview by dpreview.com
Top customer reviews
Vertical orientation: Nice. The vertical grip isn't nearly as contoured as the main horizontal grip -- there's just not as much stuff to grab your hands onto (no deep pockets for your fingertips). Too bad. But when holding it for any length of time, it's sure a lot easier than holding twisting my arm above my head and rotating the camera. Note that the vertical grip has a programmable button on it, which I use for Mode (A/S/M/P). I understand the D3s didn't have this, which seems crazy -- I use it all the time. I wish the vertical grip had all the buttons as the main grip does -- e.g., there's only one programmable button, so if you want to use it for Mode, then there's no way to change EV +- while vertical, or start taking a movie. Also, I wish the two function buttons (DoF preview, and the one above it) were replicated in vertical mode. They're not, which is silly -- there's room right there for them.
I shoot one-handed a lot, at events where I have a flash in one hand an a camera in the other (using a set of PocketWizards). I thought the weight of the D4 would make this harder. But no: when holding it vertically, the D4 is a lot easier to manage than the vertical D700. (I never had a vertical grip for the D700, so I can't compare.) Even holding it horizontally, the larger grip makes it easier to manage the D4 than the D700 one-handedly -- it makes the camera honestly feel substantially lighter. One gripe: the vertical joystick for adjusting the focus point is still a bit too much of a stretch to use with one hand.
Shutter: yep, it's 10 fps. Let it rip! Great for capturing faces of both kids and adults at just the right moment.
General ergonomics and build quality: Great. Totally solid.
Weight: Having never had a pro-sized body before, I feared it'd be too heavy. But no: once you throw a 70-200 2.8 on there, the difference between this and a D700 is pretty small, certainly not a big deal. I carry it around on an Op Tech slider strap bolted into the tripod port, plenty stable and strong.
Battery: 2000+ shots (including lots of live view and some movies), and it's down to half. That's plenty of capacity for me. The charger is a real monster to carry around, about 4x the size of a D700 charger, too big to just slip in a pocket. One BIG PROBLEM: after charging it the second time, I had the camera turned on and sitting out overnight. The next morning, the battery was completely dead. I have no idea what happened -- the D700 never ever did this to me. Was the camera turned so the AF was being pushed all night? Or is there a bug in the auto-off? No idea, but I'll post if it happens again. (Update: This has now happened to me three times, where the battery has gone from 100% to 0% overnight. Very frustrating. The first time I thought it was because the camera was in my bag and the AF-On button was being pressed, so it was trying to focus all night long. But that's not it, since it was on a shelf the other two times. Since I don't see others who have had this problem, I'm sending it back to Nikon for service.)
[Update: Beats me what the root cause was, but Nikon replaced the logic board and I haven't seen the issue come back.]
Lit up controls: Nikon won't point this out, but they don't *all* light up! Most do, but not the trash, or playback, or EV+-, or Mode, or Live View. Huh? All the buttons on my cell phone lit up 10 years ago. It's not that hard.
XQD card: Fast to write, fast to transfer. I love it. Being able to shoot off dozens of RAWs without stopping is great. Nice of Nikon to include the card and reader (but really, I'm not sure they had any other option here -- the market isn't exactly flooded with these cards).
Live View: Works a million times better than it did on the D700. It's kind of funny though: it now makes the pro-DSLR able to shoot as easily as a $200 point-and-shoot. But whatever: Live View is nice to have. It's fast and intuitive. One advantage that isn't obvious: you can use it to set the focus point to the far corners of the frame, well outside the small area of the sensor covered by the 51-point AF grid. How I wish Nikon would allow the main AF system to focus in the far corners too: those 51 points still only cover about 20% of the camera's full frame! More in DX mode, but come on, Nikon. This is probably my single biggest complaint about the camera (or any DSLR) -- bigger focus area please!
Focus modes: I was initially bummed to see that the three-position focus-mode switches from the D700 had been removed, replaced by 'software' settings using the main control wheels. But after using them I'm fine with the change, even in favor of it. The number of focus modes has increased (because you can change between 9-, 21-, and 51-point tracking easily now, which were hidden in a menu before), and the design works pretty fast. Disadvantage is that it requires two hands to change modes, where you used to do it with one.
The built-in AF motor is noticeably faster than on the D700. Live View mode uses contrast-detection focusing which was ultra-slow on the D700 (especially using motor-driven lenses like the AF-D's), but pretty usable now.
Face Detection (in Live View) works great. It's super easy to get low-angle shots holding the camera away from your body. If the subject moves you'll see a green box on the LCD follow the face around -- it's pretty cool to watch it track.
Believe it or not, Face Detection also works through the pentaprism viewfinder. It took me awhile to believe this, but it really does. I proved it to myself by displaying a photo of a face on my laptop's screen, and focusing the camera on it. And like magic, no matter where it was, the focus indicators would lock on to the eyes. If I panned so that one eye left the FOV, then the focus would jump to the other eye. This is really cool. However, in reality it only works moderately well... I mean, if you're shooting at 24 mm in a busy room, and there's a few people in front of you, the camera is likely to focus on the wall instead of the people. Switch to Live View and it'll lock right on to the faces. Switch back and it jumps to the wall. My thought is that when using the viewfinder, the camera is dong face-detection on the smaller 91,000-pixel metering array. When using Live View, it can use millions of pixels from the main chip. Small faces can get hidden in 91,000 pixels (that's sub-VGA resolution!), but are seen in the big chip. I'm not knocking it, since it's clearly state-of-the art... it's just not perfect.
One cool thing about face detection is that it also finds faces on playback (even if face detection wasn't used on that shot). Scroll the front control wheel and it'll zoom in to just the face on every image, so you can easily check focus on the parts you care about. Super.
Metering modes: Too bad that the three-position metering switch is now an electronic controller, set in the viewfinder. But it turns out to be no big deal, because the metering on the D4 is really an improvement from the D700. I used to have to go to spot metering a lot for faces in the shade, and the auto face-detection now catches that so much better than it used to, that I haven't been using spot metering very much. Really, the new metering is very, very good. It has its quirks though: like, let's say you're taking 10 shots in a row of someone's face. If on one shot they turn or are blocked and the face-recognition doesn't work right, then that shot is likely to be underexposed by a stop relative to the rest in the series (see my example photo of this posted on Amazon). In the end under- or over-exposure by a stop or two is no big deal on this camera if you're shooting RAW, because the files give you tons of leeway to work with to fix the exposure in post. But it's always best to get the exposure right the first time, and the D4 does a better job of that than the D700.
'Quiet' and 'Silent' modes. Quiet mode is indeed a lot quieter than the regular shutter. It seems to move all the mechanical parts slower -- so you hear it for longer, but it's definitely quieter. Limited to 1 fps or so, and it doesn't work in Continuous mode (except if you're in Live View, in which case it does). Silent mode takes 2 MP shots in Live View mode (essentially movie stills - shutter must be between 1/30 and 1/125 sec, and JPEG-only, no RAW). I could see using it occasionally, though I wish the resolution were higher. Also, in order to *enter* Silent mode, you have to be in Live View, and you have to pull up the mirror to do that, which makes the normal 'chunking' sound one time. An interesting note: in Silent mode, the exposure counter increments like normal (DSC_0101, 0102, etc.), but the EXIF value for 'Shutter Count' stays unchanged, just like it should. ** Silent mode is exclusive to the D4, and isn't on the D800.
Image quality: Beautiful... really crisp and sharp and smooth. The D700 was great too. For some reason this looks better. The number of pixels and the ISO are only slightly improved from the D700... the improvement to my image quality is dramatically better, more than the one or two stop improvement would suggest. Maybe Nikon's color processing software's improved, who knows what. But I didn't expect much improvement in image quality, and I got it.
ISO: It's a stop or two better than the D700. The ultra-high ISO's (like 200,000+ = H4.0) are there, but pretty silly. Even in bright sun, they're so full of noise so as to be useless. In low light they're even worse. (I guess you could use H4.0 if you were trying to monitor license plates of speeding vehicles under moonlight, or something crazy like that... but no normal photographic application is going to use that.) Up to ISO 10,000 or so, images are very clean. Focusing works really well in low-light, better than the D700 for sure. A nice change is that Auto ISO can now be easily turned on/off by holding ISO and rotating the front control knob -- no more going into the menus.
One big change to exposure calculation is that the shutter speed can now be set based on the focal length. In the past, you'd set it (in the Auto ISO menu) to use a minimum of say 1/30 sec, which is great at 24 mm, but not what you want at 70 mm. OK, terrific -- I was really stoked on this, since it makes a lot of sense and is more accurate in setting the shutter speed. But there's a huge problem in how it's implemented, in that it's blind to whether you're using a VR lens! So if I'm at 200 mm, it'll pick 1/400th sec for me. But I paid the big bucks for the VR lens so I don't have to shoot at 1/400th... I know I can handhold it just fine at 1/50th. The net effect here is that you'll end up shooting at a higher-than-necessary shutter speed, putting you into high-ISO territory, when you'd be otherwise safe to shoot much slower at low ISO. Alas -- maybe Nikon will get this right with the D5. I ended up turning off this focal-length sensitivity setting, and telling it to shoot at 1/100th or faster regardless.
Ethernet connection: Plug in a cable, and the camera has a built-in web server, for doing tethered shooting. Not something I'll use much, but it seems to work. No additional software needed -- just a web browser. I also used it for tethered shooting through Aperture straight out of the box, and it worked fine, no new drivers needed.
Auto white balance: as advertised, seems to work better than before. No big deal, but a nice bonus. One weirdness though is that the white balance seems to be less consistent than it was before. For instance, shooting outside in the shade, in the past I could set the right WB correction in Aperture and it'd be right-on for every shot in the series. No more -- a good number of individual shots require more hand-tweaking now. This seems like a bug, like maybe the RAW files are getting tagged with the wrong color temp. It could well also be a bug in Aperture's handling of the D4 RAWs; I haven't tried it with Lightroom yet. A bonus with
Display: Better than before. Not really a big deal to me. Minor point: the display itself is polarized such that if you're wearing your polarized Ray Bans, the screen will look dark until you turn it to vertical mode. The D700 was polarized, but at a 45 degree angle, so it was still visible in horizontal mode. The display has a really viewing angle, meaning that if you hold it overhead in Live View, you can glance up at it and at least get *some* sense of how your framing is, even viewing the display nearly edge-on. It doesn't pivot of course, but it's definitely usable for a lot of overhead shots.
[** Update: Nikon replaced the main display for me when mine failed. The new one is different, and is viewable in landscape mode while wearing polarized shades. I doubt it was an intentional change on their part, but for me it worked out as a minor bonus!]
Viewfinder: The image looks a bit bigger and fuller than on the D700. Not that big a deal -- I could always see my subject just fine before. Maybe a bit less squinting necessary now.
Extra configurability: Nikon now lets you reprogram even more of the buttons than the D700 allowed. I like one of the options in particular: I've set the Fn button (below the DoF preview button, next to the lens mount) to go to image review. Normally it takes two hands to hit the image-review button, but now I can do it quickly and using the right hand that's already on the camera anyhow. Just one more thing I miss now going back to the D700.
HDR, timelapse, multiple-exposures: they all work as advertised. Probably won't use them much.
Video: I'm not a video shooter but I tried it out outside under streetlights, where the video was super-clean. Inside with a night light it was a total failure at high ISO's -- too much noise to see anything at all. Others know a lot more about video than me, so read their reviews instead.
Minor operational change: On the D700, the control wheels went dead right after taking a shot, requiring a half-press to wake up the metering system again, if you used the control wheels to select through images. On the D4, they stay live after the shutter press. Awesome. This was always a minor annoyance before, and I'm glad it's changed. It's hidden on an obscure setting within Custom F10.
Flash: There is none. Occasionally I used CLS for remote triggers on the D700 and you obviously can't do that any more. And sometimes I don't want to carry around the PocketWizards for just a snapshot flash-fill. Oh well -- can't have it all. For what it's worth, the PocketWizards (TT5's) work perfectly, no problems at all. I called up the PW people about an unrelated issue and they confirmed to me (as of June 2012) that the PW's work great on the D4... not working yet on the D800/800E, they said.
Flash exposure: The EV+- and the Flash EV are now separated. It use to be that lowering the camera EV would also lower the flash output (so dropping the background while keeping the subject lit would require two sync'd setting changes). No more. Nikon took after Canon here, good to see. This stuff works fine with the PW's. ** This Flash EV setting (custom e5) is exclusive to the D4. It's not on the D800.
Reviewing images: You can zoom out to see 72 images at a time, and use the joystick to cruise around these. But regardless of all of the image-processing power onboard, it's still frustratingly slow to scroll backward by 500 or 1000 images. There's apparently no in-camera buffering of the thumbnails -- they're reloaded from the card every time, so it may still take you a few minutes of slow scrolling to find that cool shot from a few days ago that you want to show someone.
Manual: 456 frikkin' pages. I like camera manuals and this one's pretty well written. It's not literature but it explains the settings clearly enough.
Why not the D800? 50 MB images are too big for me, and I'm not going to be printing any banners or posters from my work anyhow. Almost everything I do goes online. Virtually any camera has enough resolution for me. I'm more interested in handling / ergonomics / ISO / dynamic range / speed, than resolution. If I was doing landscapes instead of people, I'd of course go for the D800 instead.
Is six thousand bucks too much to spend on a camera? Probably. But Nikon bodies remain in high demand, and used prices are high. I can likely sell this in a year or two for not much less than I paid for it. (My three-year-old D700 has only lost 1/3 of its value since it was new, or about a thousand dollars over three years.) Is having a camera like that worth a dollar or two a day to me? Absolutely.
P.S. I'll answer any questions below. And if you found this useful, feel free to click and tell me so!
[Update June 2013. 45,000 pics and one year later, it remains awesome. I only have a few frustrations and minor things to add:
o I wish the front buttons -- Function and Preview -- were more programmable, and I wish Nikon put a duplicate set you could reach in vertical mode.
o I prefer the analog buttons to change exposure mode on the D700, over the menu here.
o I don't use Live View very much -- it's just so much slower than viewfinder mode that even though focus on a face in the corner very nicely, I can usually do it myself faster.
o Don't mind the weight at all. Feels great in the hand. I use an OpTech slider strap into an arca-swiss knockoff plate bolted into the bottom.
o I use 10 fps *all the time*. On safari, with kids, anything. It's wonderful.
o XQD card is great, though I wish there was a good way to take advantage of its speed to download to my older Mac, which only has a USB2 and not USB3.
o Nikon replaced the main logic board after I reported problems with the battery suddenly dying overnight. No problems since then.
o I wish the 51 focus points went further across the FOV -- they're all clustered at the center.
o I'm not a big bird shooter but I have been amazed at how well the focus tracking will follow a bird who moves in & out of the frame, well away from the original focus point.
o Picture quality is just great. I get a ton of keepers, and when I don't, it's always my fault and not the camera's.
I managed to drop the camera -- 8 inches onto carpet with an 85/1.4 on -- and it knocked the camera completely out of focus, and apparently knocked the main display loose so it flickered a lot. (So much for indestructibility of a pro body...) I sent it back to Nikon explaining the situation, and they were nice enough to fix it for free, which involved replacing the front bayonet mount. But the camera spent *nearly two months at Nikon* to get fixed! It was on "parts hold" for over a month, and when they returned it, they sent to to the wrong address to boot -- an old address of mine.]
What I care most about is getting the shot! Image quality is a close second. The D4 shines in both of these areas. I've found that focus is extremely fast, even in very low light.
Probably the biggest improvement I see over the D3s is Latitude; my experience with the D4 is that it gives you an extra stop to work with in case your exposure is off. The pixels hold up VERY VERY well when edited hard in Photoshop.
If there is anything negative I could say about the camera, it'd be the fact that it takes two different kinds of memory cards!!! I've learned to live with it but it's still irritating; very expensive too since I already owned around 400 gigs of CF memory.
Most of my competition use the Canon 5D Mark iii. It produces excellent image quality, but falls far short mechanically. For starters it has a shutter rating of 100,000 (vs 400,000 with the D4), which makes it VERY UNDEPENDABLE after about six months in the hands of a full-time professional. It also has a low ISO rating compared to the D4 and focus problems. I have one second shooter that uses the 5D and have noticed a definite difference between the RAW files from her camera and mine. The Nikon files suit my taste better. If she wasn't so good I'd insist that all my second shooters shoot with my same equipment...
Now I WOULDN"T purchase this camera if you aren't a professional photographer. It is a TANK and a WORKHORSE. That is what you are paying for with the D4. However, if you are an enthusiast or part-time photographer you'll save a LOT of money and still get great file quality by choosing a significantly less expensive camera - Nikon (D700, D800) or Canon (5D Mark iii).
One thing to say about Amazon... in the beginning, there was a massive waiting list for the D800 and the D4. I've always been loyal to a certain camera super-store in New York. Through them, the waiting list was over six month... with Amazon, it was WEEKS. Also, after 10 years of loyalty and around $100k of my business I've always felt like a meaningless number to them. On the other hand, Amazon has given me an incredibly personalized experience by assigning me a 'Camera Concierge' (yes, a real person with a real voice) who made sure I was perfectly happy with my camera purchases. And thank goodness for that because I bought the D800 and was not happy with a focusing problem. They arranged a free return and zero hassle. This is when I chose to fork out the extra $$$ and purchase a second D4. I now purchase most of my camera equipment through Amazon.
-Much faster shooting.
-Visibly much better high ISO pictures (both tone and noise)
-More tonality in low ISO pictures
-Amazingly fast and accurate auto-focus
-More detail (due to higher MP count)
-Longer lasting battery
-Back-lit buttons to aid in low light shooting
-Dual battery charger included (MH-26)
-Ergonomics have changed
-Can shoot 1080p video if for some reason you desire to do so
-For the price tag, Nikon didn't throw in any basic goodies like a screen shield, extra battery cover, Capture NX software, HDMI cable, rebate towards wireless connection, etc. Including little things like that really make a loyalty difference to some consumers. After tens of thousands of dollars on lenses and bodies, I wish they'd be more inclined to toss in something like a ~$12 screen cover as standard. My D700 even came with a screen shield.
-Takes a bit of getting used to the new button placement
-Mixed media slots/no option to go dual CF or dual XQD. I would LOVE to have dual XQD slots, and would have paid extra for it.
-Nikon still includes one of the most uncomfortable straps you can make to put on a pro body. With a decent lens and flash, it feels like it's cutting in to your neck.
Overall, it's an amazing upgrade from the D3/D700. If I had a D3s, I'm not completely sure I could have justified the jump as much. The biggest advantage I've noticed over the D3s is the miraculous auto-focus. In lower lighting conditions on moving subjects, the camera seems to have ESP and snag perfect focus over 90% of the time.