349869_highMy initial reaction to the D4s announcement was of being slightly underwhelmed, quickly followed by a better understanding once I had thought through the anticipated spec.

But a new flagship camera so soon after the D4? Such short timescales do not sound right to me and I wondered was the original a little too quickly brought to market?

However, all camera manufacturers seem to bring too many products quickly into the market today, as they fight for market share. So this is not in anyway just a comment I would make of Nikon.

Whilst technology is changing rapidly, I can’t help but wonder though if the D4s should not have been the D4?

Anyway, many of you know of my Nikon background, and I am always flattered by the praise received for my ‘expertise’ of using the system not just the understanding of the technology, but use in the real world.

And of course, for me, as with any seasoned Nikon user, a new flagship camera is a big event in the photography world, not just the Nikon one.

Looking back, the second of the pro models in each digital generation have always done well for Nikon (and its users).
The response from photographers and time proven performance have been very good.

I still think the ‘3’ series are very good cameras, and the D3s the best of the non x versions. If you have one, hold on to it would be my advice.

But back with the D2 series, the D2Xs was better than the D2X, so that bodes well for the D4s.

But in truth, any of the feature changes are small when the improved (sorry updated) version comes along.

And so it should be. Its the evolution not revolution description, but one that works well for what Nikon do well in these models.

It usually gives a clear indication as well, of what might filter down to other ‘pro’ models and top enthusiast cameras when they are updated.

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So if you have been underwhelmed by the list of new features in the D4s, that is just the point. Why change what is already working?

Nikon would have ‘fixed’ a few things under the bonnet no doubt if they were needed, so it is often about extending the feature list in a few crucial areas to warrant the new designation.

However, that can also be done with firmware upgrades, so you presume there are some physical changes to the new model, or it could just be it helps marketing and sales by changing the name?

For me the manual colour correction of the LCD display stood out. Many on my courses know my thoughts on displays, and how we are sometimes drip fed improvements when surely technology is already there to make bigger improvements. This one should be really useful especially for those who either choose not to or do not read a histogram.

Likewise the suggested AutoWhite Balance improvement is to be anticipated as a step forward. but I certainly do like the Spot White Balance possibility.

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The extra high speed setting of the ISO is not a big surprise, just what the target pro audience benefits from. It adds further to Nikon’s high speed performance already much praised.

I’m sure though like many, you would have liked to have seen the xD card go, for what at this moment in time to me still feels are more practical and cost effective CF/SD options. But in truth, I could not see Nikon going back on this as it would have seen like they had made the wrong choice in the D4.

So if you need to shoot low light, at high burst rates and want a camera that should last and last, the D4s is the Nikon.

It should be the best in the current line up, probably so far full stop, and worth seriously considering.

But if photography is more of a hobby and has no specialist needs, I can’t really see apart from the pleasure of owning one, what any D4 owners would get to justify the trade up. But if you have been toying with buying the flagship camera you now have the choice.

I doubt the D4 will come down much in price and I presume (without feedback on performance yet) that the ’s’ is the one worth going for.

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One group of photographers shooting Nikon who will need to give it a serious look are the sports shooters. The ‘Group Area AF’ is in theory a good move, both a smother AF transition and it does enable 11fps capture rates. Even if it means just one or two frames more, they could be the ones that make or break a career and reputation.

Expeed 4 was expected, and will be a good thing in theory improving image quality. I think Nikon’s Expeed processing does not get the credit it deserves, and I look forward to seeing that in further models going forward.

Add in sRaw format, (overdue for some needs), and a few other things, and this is in fact a decent make over, all be it of small touches.

So yes, I have to say the D4s looks a well balanced camera and nicely designed for specific types of photography. Not overlooking the improvements made for video output.

It costs, but as with all things, that can only really be judged some time afterwards depending on what you have or have not got from it.

My photography is not about ‘hosing’ down a subject, but more controlled and considered shooting. But even so, I will probably add a bit more about what I have found after using the camera at some stage.

End. (28/02/14).