I guess the first things to cover are not so much the details, but the concept, and who the D4 may or may not suit?
If you are looking longingly at this £4,800 camera but can not justify it, then please do not forget that other existing cameras did not go from good to bad overnight. Hopefully that lessens the disappointment.
So for example, D3 series and D700 camera owners already have high performance products offering FX format capture. It looks like however, that the D4 takes virtually every feature and improves it a notch at worst and significantly for some others.
Without doubt designed and built for those shooting action, the D4 also has though so many features for those who shoot more ‘considered’ situations, that like the D2X/s and D3/s before it, will be seen doing pretty much everything.
The seasoned pro working in sports, press and many areas of image making should also look at the slight increase to 16.2mp resolution and be quite happy.
The fact is that most people I come across may not be maximising their pixels anyway, and by moving pixel count to around 16mp, there is a high enough resolution for most end uses, but still with large enough pixel sizes that enable in part the amazing high ISO performance.
That is the best real world solution for many professionals. And the fact that Canon have opted for a not dissimilar solution in the upcoming EOS 1D-X should suggest a few things.
But that is not to say there are not imaging needs that could make use of extra pixels, I am simply saying that most in the cold light of day are not doing that, or at least often.
For those who do need more the D3X is still the highest res Nikon D SLR and I can say from experience what a camera when used to its full potential.
The D4 in essence is the main stream pro camera for Nikon users. And in truth, what I liked was the way it has been designed as a concept.
All companies over recent decades have produced pro cameras worthy of the name, but in reality, many also include features for the non professional. So those who wish to buy a pro camera can run with good automation for example.
The D4 seems to have only the working pro in it’s sights. So many of the feature improvements may not have so much main stream resonance, but for Nikon’s intended market they are important.
One example is the Kevlar/carbon fiber-composite shutter unit, developed for 400,000 cycles. The enthusiast may not worry so much about this kind of feature, but many professional sports, press and too a degree fashion photographers, shoot significant numbers over relatively short timescales, so this makes sense.
Another is the battery performance. The battery in the D3, D3s, D3X or D700/D300/D300s if used in the MB-D10 is quite amazing. I simply do not hear professionals complain about its longevity. But the D4 with its new EN-EL-18 battery offers even more.
So my initial reaction is that there may not be so much ‘new and jaw dropping’, but more how so much detail has gone in to making the sum of all the parts something that promises to be as a day in day out tool, a definite cut above what we have had before.
The one area where without doubt Nikon have taken a big step forward is in video shooting capabilities and performance level. In reality Canon’s EOS 5D Mk II has become the popular product so far in D SLR’s, and is increasingly used for some quite amazing work by video pro’s.
Looking at what the D4 offers, I think we probably have a new bench mark for video in a D SLR, even allowing for the impressive EOS 1D-X that will come along in a couple of months.
And on that score, I think Nikon will have pleased it’s user and dealer base, with a quite different approach to delivery timescale than it’s main competitor. Next month it is due, and I am told expected supply is promising.
Lots more to comment on, including other features and potential performance, the things I like and don’t like. So I will do parts at a time.