Nikon’s new, fast-shooting, full-frame
DSLR is a photojournalist’s dream.
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After two years of no full-frame digital
SLR releases from any camera manufacturer, Nikon was first out of the
gate last March when it began shipping its 16.2-megapixel D4. This was
no small feat.
Nikon’s factories in Sendai, Japan,
were hit hard by the earthquake and
tsunami that devastated the country
last year, while the disastrous flooding
in Thailand swamped several of the
company’s DSLR and lens plants. We
heard from several sources that had
Nikon not successfully launched and
shipped its consumer/prosumer-ori-ented Nikon 1 compact camera system
last fall, the company would have been in
dire financial straights.
But here Nikon is, eight months later,
with both the D4 and =the 36.3-megapixel
D800 (look for a review in PDN next month) professional full-frame DSLRs on store shelves and generating
It should be noted that Canon was also battered by the catastrophes in Japan and Thailand last year, and began shipping
its 22.3-megapixel, full-frame 5D Mark III in March shortly after the D4 went on sale. (Look for our hands-on review of that
camera next month as well, or check out the short preview in
“ 8 Cameras That Rock” on page 178.) At the time of this writing, Canon’s 18-megapixel 1D X—which was the first of this
round of full-frame DSLRs to be announced last October and
the D4’s direct competitor—had not started shipping but was
expected to go on sale soon.
So yes, the fact that the 11-frames-per-second (fps) Nikon
D4 exists at all—and in time for sports photographers to get
acquainted with it for the 2012 Olympic Games in London—is
noteworthy in itself. But is the camera any good?
On paper, the D4 seems close to what you might expect
the long-awaited successor to the 12.1-megapixel Nikon D3S
to offer: more resolution; full 1080p HD video capture; faster
speed; and an array of tweaks and upgrades that would seem
to fill some of the holes on the previous model.
Does it do all that while maintaining the previous camera’s
vaunted low-light shooting skills? Let’s take a look.
The Nikon D4 offers 1080p HD video; faster speed; and an array of
tweaks and upgrades that fill some of the holes on the previous model.
From a distance, the Nikon D4 looks similar to its two most
recent predecessors, the D3S and the virtually identical D3.
Considering those DSLRs were also designed by Italian au-
tomobile designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, who’s had a long his-
tory with Nikon cameras—he helped create the legendary
F4—it’s no surprise.