Nikon Officially Announces the D4S, 16MP, $6500

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by shuncheung, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Back on January 6, Nikon had pre-announced the development of the D4S, but they provided few details:
    The general description Nikon provided at that time sounds like some rather moderate improvements, as it is typical for S type updates.
    To me, the surprises are:
    1. The price has gone further up by $500 to $6499.95.
    2. The official announcement comes one day after the end of the Sochi Winter Olympics, instead of a few months before a major international sports event. However, I am sure that a number of sports photographers used pre-production versions at Sochi.
    It turns out that the D4S has quite a few improvements, although most of them are fairly minor, nice-to-have type enhancements. Here are some of the highlights:
    1. The D4S remains to be 16MP with a 4928×3280 RAW image, but Nikon has updated the sensor so that its ISO range is extended to ISO 25600 on the high end, one stop higher than the D4.
    2. The processor is updated to the EXPEED 4, as the D3300 and D5300. According to Nikon, the processing power is 30% faster, such that the D4S can shoot at 11 fps, up from 10 fps for the D4.
    3. RAW Size S: small size RAW: 2464×1640 or about 4MP
    4. Auto Focus: still the Multi-CAM 3500 with 15 cross-type AF points, but there are some new AF modes, such as Group Area AF that uses one main AF point and its four adjacent AF points to track moving subjects.
    5. The rear LCD has adjustable colors.
    6. New EN-EL18a batter with higher capacity but still interchangeable with the original EN-EL18.
    7. Memory cards: still 1 XQD + 1 CF
    8. The D4S can capture 1080/60p video and deliver it uncompressed from its HDMI output. It can write video files onto both memory cards simultaneously in the backup mode.
    Nikon expects to start shipping the D4S on March 6, 2014. The FIFA World Cup (football/soccer) starts in June, so it is still over three months away.

    You can find's preview article here:
    Nikon D4S with the 58mm/f1.4 AF-S Lens, news image copyright Nikon Inc.
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    • Nikon Japan news article:
    • Hands on preview from DPReview:
  3. Even more £££? Crazy cash!
    I wonder if RAW S can be retrofitted by a firmware update to others in the DSLR lineup? I can't see why not. Interesting it's only 12-bit.
    It has an ethernet port rather than WiFi or GPS....odd combo.
    So if this can do 11fps, a D7200 that can do 8fps won't steal any sales from if it would!
    Nikon USA D4S pages..
    LATE EDIT... to quote from above
    IX NIKKOR lenses, lenses for the F3AF, and non-AI lenses cannot be used!
    The camera clock is powered by a separate, non-rechargeable CR1616 lithium battery with a life of about two years.​
    So by Easter 2016 the internal clock fails? Doh!
  4. I think this is the first time Nikon introduce a smaller RAW option. This is a very nice thing (for sure many D800 users would like to have it), but... on a 16Mp and given the current standards, I wonder if it is just another nice thing "for free" or a really interesting and demanded option.
    It takes me to the D2H times. Maybe that`s good for photojournalists on the go, I don`t know. As usual, the "flagship" looks to be the most perfect camera ever, always big and heavy.
  5. It is an S improvement. Since I have no need for one, the more important announcement was of the new Capture
  6. the Adorama ad for it says it can do ISO 409,600.
  7. Why do they insist on keeping the name CAPTURE, when it's patently obvious that's something it cannot do?
    Camera Control Pro 2...well yes it does Control.
    View NX2...Well yes it does Browse/Edit/Share AKA View. it doesn't! As in, 'Go CAPTURE the Moment' ...2 days later on a PC or Mac..:-(
    However, I might go and download the beta of Capture NX-D, just to see how good it is compared to DxO 8.
  8. Yippee!...first email for the D4S pre-order is £5199 ... that's $8600.....ha ha.....not very funny.
    Maybe they don't want to sell very many? Odd marketing strategy.
  9. Even more £££? Crazy cash!
    I'm sure they'd find credit card quite agreeable. ;-)
    It takes me to the D2H times.

    Well not exactly; the high ISO noise is likely to be quite a bit less. ;-)
    I wonder if RAW S can be retrofitted by a firmware update to others in the DSLR lineup? I can't see why not. Interesting it's only 12-bit.

    It would be something we can probably expect on the successor to the D800, perhaps in combination with higher fps. For printing on newspaper and display on mobile devices, or on social media, even 4MP is plenty. The world is quite a strange place - on one hand we have ever increasing pixel counts in the cameras (e.g. 36MP), yet more and more images are used on tinier than tiny screens and transferred over very slow wireless networks.
    It has an ethernet port rather than WiFi or GPS....odd combo.
    One problem at large sports venues (such as the Olympics) is that there will be so many who want to use WiFi during the game that it might not work at all. Nikon's WT-5 is really tiny if you need it and has much greater range than many in-built devices for those situations where there are fewer photographers working in the same area at the same time. Another factor to consider is that some photographers have specifically requested for more modularity rather than having everything built in. The Ethernet port allows fast transfer to a laptop for image selection and quick editing and then the selects can be viewed on a proper monitor, before being sent out (after the game, when wireless transfers will work better, presumably). Mobile broadband is more likely to work than WiFi, but even then there might be so many people who want to surf online that that might not work either.
    So if this can do 11fps, a D7200 that can do 8fps won't steal any sales from if it would!
    The question is whether the D7100 (or its sucessor) has the ruggedness of shutter and mirror assembly that is needed for prolonged high fps shooting. I suspect it might not and that could be the real reason Nikon did not give a larger buffer on the D7100. I hope they do make a D7200 with a larger buffer; I find the D7100 otherwise very attractive.
    Why do they insist on keeping the name CAPTURE, when it's patently obvious that's something it cannot do?
    It is the software Nikon makes for initial post-processing of captured image files, e.g. to do capture sharpening etc. (which is mostly the sharpness setting in the picture control settings, but other tools are provided as well). Three processing steps - first is to make the image look acceptable and compensate for the loss in fidelity due to AA filter and lens (capture sharpening), the second is the point where artistic adjustments are made to the image (e.g. local contrast adjustment, layer masks with selective processing, etc), and finally third stage, preparation to final print (print sharpening). 'Capture' in the software name suggests it is only meant to be used in the initial steps of post-processing.
  10. Even more £££? Crazy cash!
    I'm sure they'd find credit card quite agreeable. ;-)​
    If I can't afford the cash, I can't buy it!* I wasn't bought up with, what is commonly called, the 'Never Never'..:)
    The question is whether the D7100 (or its successor) has the ruggedness of shutter and mirror​
    Bit retro, but they must have a box or 2 of old D2H shutters/mirrors around....11 year old tech, but that could manage 8fps all day...and as for buffers, I know it's a different type, but RAM is cheap.

    An extra $20 for a fast shutter and $50 for a sensible RAM buffer....they drop the price of new cameras by much more than that after about 3 months. It's a daft policy in my mind.

    Since FX arrived Nikon are actively choosing to cripple their newer DX cameras.
    * The only exception being houses!
  11. Well, I wasn't expecting much, and they delivered.

    I know there'll be big lens sales going with it, but I'm not sure how much money Nikon actually make from the flagship single-digit series. My understanding has been that the halo effect is more important. From that perspective, the D4s really surprises me - and the problem is the 1Dx.

    The D4s has upgraded the mirror so the autofocus can run at 11fps, unlike the D4. Fine, but the 1Dx can do 12fps (and 14 with mirror lock up). The D4s has tweaked the autofocus - but it's still using the same multicam 3500 with all the cross points in the middle, whereas the 1Dx has them distributed. The D4s's native ISO limit has gone to 25,600, up from the 12,800 on the D4 - but still below the 51,200 of the 1Dx (the "expanded mode" goes to 409,600, vs the 1Dx's 204,800, admittedly). They've slightly tweaked the controls, but not copied Canon's "replicate the front buttons" trick. Oh, and the 1Dx has a couple more megapixels, of course. It can do 1080p60, which the 1Dx can't. But so can some phones; so can the 1Dc, which can also do 4k (and... so can some phones) which the D4s can't. The 1Dx also has a bigger finder view and a higher-res LCD.

    I'm not saying that the D4s - or even the D4 - is necessarily a worse camera in the field than the 1Dx, but the reason I was expecting a D4 refresh sooner rather than later was that the "halo effect" of the top model in the line works better if the aspiring masses can look at the specs and say "ooh". The D4 loses to the 1Dx in top trumps in almost every category (except possibly buffer size - I've not been following the high-end models, but this rings a bell - but they're not shouting much about that), and the D4s doesn't actually fix this in any category. The D4 does have a dynamic range advantage at ISOs of 1600 and below, but then so do much more "consumer" cameras - and, at some resolution cost, the Magic Lantern "dual ISO" hack helps recover some of the dynamic range.

    Getting the higher-profile photographers who've switched to Canon to move back is another problem, but I was really expecting Nikon to try to steal some spec figures from the 1Dx. I'm very surprised that they didn't pull out all the stops to make this happen at least in some areas - maybe they're really not selling many to journalists any more. For now, I'm still kind of expecting a D5 sooner rather than later, still because Canon have the spec lead.

    Of course, the sensor could be magic. But we're not so far short of theoretical limits, so I'm not expecting a D3s-style huge jump (though I'd expect the D4 to gain a bit on the 1Dx where the latter has a small high-ISO advantage). If there is a significant advantage, and I'm always happy to be proven wrong (I'm happy a lot), I think Nikon should get a camera to DxO as soon as possible. But maybe journalists are sufficiently obsessed with JPEG shooting for delivery time reasons - something that I don't personally do much - that all the secret sauce is in the JPEG side; Canon certainly seem to have pushed this hard.

    On the other hand, I'm genuinely excited that Nikon have finally had a go at a small raw. Shame it's not in the D800 - and (while I'm terrible at predicting) I'm not expecting a D800 successor in a hurry - but at least it's in the pipeline. If they roll out a BIOS update for the D800 which adds this, I'll drop off a box of chocolates at Nikon UK...

    Anyway. I'm not in the market for a D4s (or a D4, or a 1Dx), so I should probably completely ignore the announcement - I certainly don't know what real customers find high-priority. But I was hoping to be a bit more excited: the halo model is supposed to make you go "wow", not "meh". I certainly don't imagine that the market is about to flood with used D4 bodies so that I can pick one up cheap.

    Oh, and Ken has finally stopped claiming 24MP. :)
  12. There's probably enough in the D4s to make me want to upgrade from two D3s bodies, but since I need two bodies, they're just too expensive. If, however, I could easily sell the two D3s bodies I own, and only had to hand over $6,000 cash to get two new D4s bodies, I'd probably do it. Here's the D4s features which most piqued my interest as a D3s owner:
    • Possible +0.5-1.0 EV low-light improvement over D4.
    • Automatic-repositioning AF-point, based on orientation.
    • Gigabit Ethernet port.
    • Auto-ISO in manual mode.
    • 16MP sensor yields a bit more available detail for large group shots.
    • AF-ON also activates VR.
    • Illuminated buttons.
    • Slightly improved ergonomics.
    • EXPEED 4.
    • Improved battery life.
  13. Ralph: Bear in mind that the battery on the D4s is much smaller than the one in the D3s. You get more life than the D4, but the D3s still has the edge.

    I'll believe 1EV over the D4 when I see it - we're near enough theoretical bounds that this much would surprise me. But fingers crossed. You do get some low-ISO dynamic range over the D3s (from a D4 - I trust the D4s is similar).

    I'm sure auto-ISO works in manual mode on the D3s. The D700 and D800e behave the same here - though the extra auto-ISO configuration for aperture priority is nice to have.

    As a D800 owner, I'd like the AF point repositioning and the illuminated sensors. I'm not so sure about the ergonomics - particularly how the AF mode is set. I've briefly played with a D4 and found the grip so deep I could barely reach the programmable buttons, not an issue I have with the F5 or my memory of a brief play with a D3, but you may have longer fingers. You're probably right not to run a D3s alongside a D4s - switching between a D700 and D800, the swapped +/- buttons and AF switch drove me nuts.

    If you get one, I'll be interested in how you find it. (And if you resort to throwing a D3s away, I'll give one a good home!)
  14. Andrew said:
    I'm sure auto-ISO works in manual mode on the D3s.
    Well, whaddya know! It does! I only just started using auto-ISO since I bought my Nikon Coolpix 'A'. I just tried it on my D3s, and it works perfectly well in manual mode! I even have exposure-compensation active (however, with only one dial). I wonder why the DPreview "first impressions" article touts it as a "new" feature of the D4s?
    "Another small change worth mentioning is the [D4s'] ability to use the Auto ISO feature while in manual exposure mode." --DPreview: Nikon D4s First Impressions
  15. Andrew said:
    I'll believe 1EV over the D4 when I see it - we're near enough theoretical bounds that this much would surprise me.
    Agreed. For reference, here's the DxO low-light "sports" data for the current Nikon low-light champs:

    Nikon Df: 3,279
    Nikon D3s: 3,253
    Nikon D4: 2,965

    I would venture to guess a 1/3rd-stop increase at best.
  16. There are those photographers for whom "more megapixels aren't everything." I'm not one of those photographers- I like
    to make big prints with bottomless resolution. Make me a high-resolution camera- I don't need to shoot at ISO 4,000,002.

    I understand Nikon chasing the still large- though shrinking- press photographer market. That said, how has Nikon not
    introduced a flagship with an updated version of the D800-variant sensor? Nikon couldn't help but sell more high-
    resolution professional cameras than, say, the Df, which answered a question no one was asking and is a waste of
    Nikon's limited production capacity.
  17. "That said, how has Nikon not introduced a flagship with an updated version of the D800-variant sensor?"

    Probably because it would be tough to get 11fps. from a 36 MP sensor at the moment. Canon and Nikon's flagships have always put a priority on speed and low light performance over maximum megapixel size. Press and field photographers don't necessarily want to deal with excessively large file sizes either, and that is who these camera's are geared for.
  18. If I needed one this would work just fine. As for the price increase over the D4 I am sure that the price will drop in time. I use a D4 for my work and it is an amazing camera. I have used a 1DX for a short period of time and it to is an amazing camera for even more money. If the D4s or the 1DX is the camera you need then the price is a moot point.
    So Eric if you want to make big prints with bottomless resolution stop shooting a 35mm based DSLR pony up some serious money and buy a Hasselblad digital. If that is to much money then live with the paltry 36 MP of the D800
  19. Seems like the right kinds of improvements for a "s" revision. Mostly, it's faster and has more high speed data processing capabilities. Also, it reaffirms that 16 megapixels strikes a good balance for imaging performance at this point in history.
  20. D800 starting price was $3000. 36mp. DxO ISO rating 2853,
    D4S starting price is $6500. 16mp. DxO ISO rating the same!
    If pixel count was a high priority, you'd think the D800 should be more expensive, except it's well under half the price. The cost to make it go 'faster' is minimal and can't justify that huge price. The higher res sensor cost used to be the reason for price rises. Someone above said, Nikon don't sell many high-end DSLRs, I'm not surprised! (A downsampled D800 image to D4 size isn't too shabby (better) ISO wise either) Maybe the D4S really is better??
    Sure, there are some money-no-object Nikon fanboys out there who simply MUST HAVE the latest, but the D4S is a working camera and there are lots of people who'd like to work with one except they're priced for the mega-rich. I think the Nikon pricing structure is getting far, far too top heavy.
    They've ended the hi-end DX sport camera and now you've either got to go buy an 'old', ie not current FX model, or pony-up over $6500. They're cutting their own throats. Nikon shouldn't worry about making last generation cameras dead-in-the-water sales wise (as typified by the D3X being pointless after the D800 came out) and price they're new cameras to sell.
    Now in a simplistic way, once you've paid your R&D and your tooling costs, making 20,000 units isn't much more than making 10,000. The actual CMOS sensor cost remains high, because it's tricky and wasteful, but the rest is pennies.
    So why not make the price $5000 and sell another 10,000 units? I think Nikon are just pricing themselves out of the market for such a relatively small upgrade. Sure charge $6500 for the D5, but for an upgrade, nah.
    PS. Would anyone in the US think of paying the $8500 needed to buy this camera in Europe?
  21. This looks to me like an update aimed at how AP/Getty covered the Olympics - they wired all the venues with cat-6 for ethernet and had a back-of-house set up that could take JPGs straight from the field as they were being shot and have images on the servers in a few minutes. The Canon 1DX already has wired ethernet, so Nikon had to have that for the Olympics or be left out of most of the action.Canon's already got a majority of the market for major sports and one of the services shoots only Canon (I forget which) while the other mixes brands, so if Nikon couldn't fit a camera into that workflow (which was planned out a few years in advance) they risked being left out entirely.
    The rest of the new features also look like Nikon worked with the services to optimize the camera for that type of work. More speed, wired ethernet, new AF mode that's great for catching a snowboarder mid-air. The small raw is probably to give them a more reasonable raw alternative in case they want to adopt it, because regular raw files are too large for the speed of working that the services want.
    Going forward, there's going to be increasing demand for this sort of workflow. I can imagine that soon a lot more sports venues will be wired, with back of house at the main offices. That's the market Nikon wants for this camera. They'll sell a bunch to those customers, who won't sweat an extra $500 (and don't buy at retail anyway) while everybody else can buy a D4 from inventory at $6000. In fields that value resolution over speed and don't have a close-to-real-time workflow you can have a D800.
  22. The D4 has always had Ethernet so this is not a new feature.
    The D4X doesn't exist because there is an ever smaller market for the large, highly environmentally sealed, robust camera as most people prefer small and inexpensive cameras. Nikon can justify making one high end camera with the D4 chassis type; in the past they made two (X and H/S models) but photographers did better economically at that time than they are doing today. To choose whether Nikon should make either the high speed, or the high resolution camera in the D4 chassis and the other in the D800 chassis, they determined empirically that the high resolution of the D800 attracts a far larger customer population in a small housing, and so the high speed camera is now only offered in the D4(s) to make it possible to economically manufacture the large camera at all.
    Now, whether the D4(s) chassis is needed or not, I can say that my experiences using various Nikons in Nordic winter conditions is that the D3/D3X seem to be more reliable in high humidity, cold environments than the D700/D800 which would frequently lock up (in fact just last week I got three different error messages and lockups with my D800, when I was doing winter landscape photography in the North, whereas the D3X didn't give the slightest hint of complaint). The D700 also locked up several times when I was photographing ice formations some years ago with the camera positioned 10cm above the lake surface in the winter. What can I say? If the high priced robust camera were not manufactured at all, there would be greater uncertainties in my photography and some instances a technical problem would prevent the capture of images. Yes, the large body type cameras are expensive but in some environments they are more likely to work reliably. Whether it is an injustice that there are expensive, good tools available that only some people can afford, I cannot answer, but they're not priced high for no reason at all; it is so that the people who make the cameras can get paid and can afford to buy food for their children etc. Also so that the people who invested in the Nikon company get some return for their investment and don't have to pull their financing out.
    A better option than complain about the price of the new product is to buy a used D4/D3s if you need this type of a camera; some cameras of this type were only subjected to light usage and are available on the second hand market. If it bothers you that these cameras don't have quite the latest features then that's just something you'll have to live with, in life you don't always get everything that you could want, and if you could, it is likely you'd just move onto wanting something else that you can't afford and complain about the costs associated with those. An unhappy person is likely to continue being unhappy irrespective of circumstances whereas those who are satisfied with less tend to be happy and continue that way until the day they die.
  23. Oh, I thought that ethernet was new. But my experience only extends to the D3 and the 700 and 800. I take back what I
    said before :) So really we've got a few new features, nothing to make most people sell their D4 and run out and get the
    new one, but it's a mid-cycle update anyway.
  24. one of the things that's been overlooked in this whole discussion is that the shrinking pool of working press photographers dont buy their own cameras much of the time; if they work for a paper, they use the paper's equipment. so that's who nikon is hoping to milk by pricing the camera at $6500 rather than, say, $5000.
    freelancers and stringers do often have to buy their own gear, and possibly the upgrades will be more meaningful to them, if they enhance rapid transfer of images, which is one of the things nikon addressed. but those prices will cut most of the enthusiasts out, especially with the d800 being $3k and offering more resolution.
    but for current D3s owners, like myself, there's not enough there there to justify the huge cost, although if you sell your D3s--used prices vary widely, but most bodies are in the $3k-$3500 range--you'd recoup about half the cost of a new body.
    what makes this difficult is that the returns are clearly diminishing as far as functionality over the D3s with both the d4 and d4s; except for video and connectivity, the improvements have been incremental, and the next quantum leap will probably be the d5. but if you wait for that release, the d3s will have lost another chunk of its resale value.
    what would make everyone happy would be the d4 sensor in a d700 body at the $2500-$3000 price point. but that's probably not going to happen anytime soon.
  25. Illka, wise words indeed.
    But AFAIK, Nikon makes absolutely ZERO money with me going secondhand.
    I'd like to buy NEW and put some cash into Nikon's R&D budget, but there's no choice to be made. It's a kinda ALL or NOTHING scenario at the moment for Sports/Action shooting.
    Now I know the members here and on other fora, are not NORMAL from Nikon's demographic viewpoint, but there's been such a 'Where's The D400?' and 'the D7100 isn't fast enough with too shallow a buffer' etc, etc, that if only 1 in 5 or 1 in 10 actually bought a D400 for $2000 (the D7100 was announced at $1200) Their cashflow would be happier. The D300 came out in 2007 for $1800
    If they think a $2000 D400 is going to steal sales from the new D4S @ $6500, they might be right. But that's only because the D4S is way overpriced!
  26. But AFAIK, Nikon makes absolutely ZERO money with me going secondhand.
    If you buy a D4 second hand, or a D3s, this particular camera will be removed from the second hand market and there will eventually be someone who will get tired of trying to find a second hand camera of this type in an agreeable condition and price, and they'll go and buy a new D4s. So indirectly Nikon will make some money.
  27. $7,000 here in Toronto (ok-I tell a lie-it's $6,999.99). Sure glad I don't want one! cb :)
  28. there will eventually be someone who will get tired of trying to find a second hand camera of this type in an agreeable condition and price, and they'll go and buy a new D4s.​
    why wouldnt that person just buy another used d4 or d3s? only working sports/action pros can really justify the cost of the d4s. for everyone else, if the price falls enough, they might consider a d3s or d4 as an alternative to a d800 or Df, at about the same price point.
    The problem, and this has been discussed before, is that nikon created expectations with the d300/d700 for capable high-end bodies at reasonably affordable prices, and ever since has been backing away from that. i dont see the d4s market as being very wide at all, and the high school sports shooter who needs better frame rates than a d610 or d800 isn't going to need or want the d4s' extra bells and whistles, compared to d3s and d4. a a d4 would be a step up for those shooters, but a d4s wouldnt be worth the extra $$, which in this case would be considerable.
  29. Why does Nikon persist in -not- putting in more cross focus points? So often I find the focus area is not in the 15 point cross zone, always forcing me to focus & recompose. I'd happily pay an extra $100 for a focus sensor that every point is cross. That is my one major beef with all the Nikon pro bodies and the only reason I'd ever even bother looking at a 5D Mark iii.
    Come on, Nikon!
  30. 'Capture' in the software name suggests it is only meant to be used in the initial steps of post-processing.​
    Before NX, Capture actually captured, as well as processed. But Nikon figured out they could make more money by spinning off some of its features as the separate Camera Control package. Capture NX kept the name, but not the function.
  31. Aaron - because upgrading the AF module is development cost? Besides, they had enough problems getting the multicam 3500 to work right on the D800. They were way ahead of Canon up until the 5D3/1Dx release. Now, consensus seems to be that they're behind - although I've certainly not seen a review to show what the software changes can do. I'm a little surprised that they didn't manage to respin the AF module with the D4s; I'd be really surprised if it was unchanged for the next flagship respin.

    Mike: Bear in mind that you're looking at figures for a D4, not a D4s. DxO haven't tested the D4s yet - though as I said, given the minor other improvements, I think Nikon should ship them one fast if there's anything to see there.

    You're right, the D4's sensor is not far ahead of the D600/D800 sensor - about 2/3 to 3/4 of a stop, generally, at high ISO (the 1Dx has much less of a benefit over the D4) - image for image, the D600/D800 splits the difference between the D3/D700 and D3s/D4 - generally being closer to the D4 except at the D4's magic ISO 1600 figure. And the D800 stomps on the D4 at minimum ISO, which in turn stomps on the 1Dx; at the (quite useful figure of) ISO 1600, nothing keeps up with a D4 (except a Df - and I maintain, for all the "new low-light champion" thing, that the D4 and Df sensors are within experimental error of each other).

    The small benefit, combined with the lack of need for speed, is why I was surprised that the Df didn't have a Sony sensor - but, however small, the D4 sensor does have some low light advantage. Having just had a go at rescuing an underexposed example of one of the surprisingly few pictures I had of my recently-deceased cat - shot in my dimly-lit living room, and she was a black cat - I'd actually have liked that extra 2/3 stop. I'm currently learning what DxO can do. Actually, now I look at it, the D3s figures are scarily similar to the 6D's (except in colour sensitivity).

    Barring a major change in branding, there was no way a D4s was going to have 36MP (and be a "D4x"). Nikon did have a flagship high-res model in the D3x, but both Canon and Nikon seem happy that the people buying high-res backs may be more amateur landscape photographers who want something light enough to carry than studio pros who dislike medium format. I still would not be surprised if Nikon brought their flagship sports camera up to 24MP at some point, if only so it doesn't look bad next to their DX range, but only if they can keep the frame rate. That shouldn't be rocket science to achieve. The faster gigabit ethernet connector from the D4s helps here, although I'm a little surprised that they didn't incorporate XQD2. Nikon did go to 16MP because they claimed the 12MP of the D3s was a bit small for a full page spread - I believe that's a genuine merit to the D3s to D4 upgrade, if you're doing magazine shots. Not that it would stop me getting a D3s if offered. Higher than that is a harder sell, especially with web content so prevalent.

    Off the specs, I'm not very excited, which is a shame for a flagship. The D4 was already not all that mind-blowing, given the D3s before it. Of course, if the tests start showing much better AF performance and a significant low-light boost, I'll suddenly sit up and take notice. Whether the high-profile switchers to Canon do the same is another matter. I know Nikon have been busy, but I'm a bit surprised that there isn't more here.

    If the purpose of the halo model is to generate interest, I have to agree with Mike that a "D400" might have done a better job. Maybe Nikon feel that the amount of traffic generated by the Df (you're welcome) was enough publicity for a while.
  32. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Why does Nikon persist in -not- putting in more cross focus points? So often I find the focus area is not in the 15 point cross zone, always forcing me to focus & recompose.​
    When I reviewed the D3 back in 2008, one issue I had was that on the Multi-CAM 3500, the 15 cross-type AF points were too concentrated, in the center three columns only. However, that same AF module works better on the smaller DX frame on the D300, D300S, and D7100. In early 2012, as soon as I found out that the D4 was also using that same AF module, I immediately realized that we would be stuck with it until the D5.
    I am looking forward the D5, hopefully in another year and half, and we should see more cross-type AF points spread across the frame.
    But I can't imagine how expensive the D5 is going to be.
  33. . . . and will they go with two UDMA7 CF card slots, like Canon did with the 1Dx? I hope to see a 24 MP Nikon D400 with that (2 UDMA7 CF card slots) . . . and fast shooting (10 fps) with a humongous buffer. Wi-fi and a built-in GPS would be nice too, as would 4K video. While we're wishing . . . how about a 3.2" articulating screen Nikon?
  34. But I can't imagine how expensive the D5 is going to be.​
    That kind of depends on how the professional journalism/sports market goes - there's a lot to be said for taking footage of ongoing action with a cell phone, or placing a GoPro right next to the action in a sports event, especially since both can now shoot 4K viideo...

    If the journalists have very little money, the D5 may have to be cheap (if Nikon still want it as a halo model). I keep hearing stories about how budgets are being cut. If the journalists have no money at all - or have moved to another style of shooting - the D5 may be priced for collectors and be stupidly expensive, like the F6; it might also not be as fast. I guess we'll see. It may even rely on on-sensor phase-detect, like some Sonys.

    I'm hesitant to be critical of the Multi-CAM 3500 - it's done me proud in the D700 (and a bit less proud in the D800). Having come from a 7-point 300D, an AF module which lens you move an AF point to somewhere useful was a revelation. On a 300D I focus and recompose; on a D700 I just move the AF point, unless I'm really aiming edge of frame. The D800 reduces depth of field, so focus-and-recompose is out anyway. On the D700, it was competing with the 9-point AF of the 5D2; on the D300, it was competing with the 19-point AF of the 7D. The 5D3 and 1Dx recover the state of the art, but the 3500 is still a very good system (don't get me started on what's in the 6D). Which doesn't excuse the need to upgrade it, but I'll wait for the D5.

    Honestly, most of what I'd like Nikon to fix at this point is software. The SRAW support is a good start, if on the wrong camera. I wish a software fix could be rolled out for the D800 - I'd pay D3300 money for a firmware upgrade with my feature request list in it. There may be some surprises when the D4s gets a proper review, but I doubt they'll have fixed everything they could have.
  35. Scott: You're channeling Thom Hogan with the articulating LCD idea, but I'd honestly doubt it will appear on a journalist model. It's lovely to have, but awfully easy to break. I'm mindful of the pentaprism housing on my F5 being titanium, because that's what Nikon think build quality for journalists should be.

    I'm not sure that UDMA7 cards are quite as fast as you'd hope, though they're faster than most current SD cards. I hear only good things about the performance of XQD, but whether Nikon are really committed to it is another matter. They didn't remove it with the D4s, but nor did they upgrade it to XQD2, so it's hard to say.

    I've said enough about the "D400"/"D4dx". I believe Nikon could do it (though the 11fps upper limit on the D4s gives me doubts), and some people would buy it. I'm not sure that they will. I don't think the D4s is a big enough jump over the D4 to stop a 10fps 24MP camera with a big buffer from poaching sales, should one be released. I don't know whether Nikon actually care about making money from the D4s, or whether its purposes is solely advertising that trickles down to the D5300: if they want it to sell, I think an un-crippled D7100 is going to be a problem for it. That doesn't mean that a D7200 might not appear eventually with a bigger buffer and, maybe, 8fps.
  36. Ilkka,
    I enjoyed your post so much (especially the last paragraph), I read it to my wife.
    Very wise words indeed. I have been following different technical forums since Al Gore invented the internet :)
    I have found people will post things they never would say in person, and it seems there will always be much complaining.
    Thanks for making me :)
  37. Andrew - Sure, there are development costs in everything. Amortize out 100k units sold at $50 extra higher cost? Not too bad an R&D budget. Yes, there was lots of trouble with the focus mechanism on the D800. I tested mine immediately when I received it. I'm sure it won't be the last focus problem, either.
    Shun - You're right. On my D300s, the focus points aren't too bad. But on the D800, they're way too concentrated. There's so much going on away from the center zone for nicer composures. I'd just love one day not to have to do the focus and recompose dance. That was old with my Canon AE-1 and Nikon N80.
  38. I like my Nikon D7000, but the new Panasonic GH4 is making me think about jumping ship, the touch screen focus is intriguing as well as focus peaking, but I could care less for 4K video.
    I wonder how many D4s's Nikon will sell over maybe an improved APSC or M4/3 camera, improved in the way of adding some of the features that are on the competition, touch screen, etc.. Also there seems to be a trend among professionals to down size the overall package.
  39. The touch screen of my phone stopped working in -14 C when I was in Riisitunturi in Lapland last week. There was no way to answer calls or to make them (if an emergency had occurred and I had relied on that, well, that would be a huge problem). My D3X with push buttons worked flawlessly, and so did my work phone which doesn't rely on a touch screen but has buttons. Also since to get some stability in hand holding, one normally presses the camera against one's cheek - how do you use the touch screen in such a situation, and how do you prevent it from inadvertently activating and issuing commands to the camera? I'm sure such problems can be solved but there does seem to be a reliability issue in adverse environmental conditions. Also in rain my touch screen equipped smartphone often ceases to work. Rain is not that uncommon, even if cold temperatures are to most people.
  40. There appers to be some improvement at the ultra-high ISO settings:
    100k and higher seem in particular to be improved. I wonder if it is due to improved signal processing or a tweaked sensor.
  41. Ilkka: That's pretty impressive, I have to admit. It's hard to tell how well the autofocus is doing compared with the D4, but the JPEGs are significantly better. How much of it is JPEG processing and how much is raw is another matter - I can't currently really look at the raw files. If this is representative, I'll definitely look forward to DxO's tests. (This looks like a really impressive improvement, which makes me a bit surprised that they didn't shout more about it.)
  42. Ilkka, interesting link.
    What's a bit odd is if you look at 'detail' like the facet cuts on the diamond earing, the D4 images are definitely sharper, but equally the chroma noise on the skin tones is far better on the D4S.
    Those go-cart images are very clean. That's the kinda ISO I use... I want one!
  43. Yes, Mike. Nikon should immediately send a D4s to all the regulars on this forum, if only to stop us (okay, me) ranting about the Df. :)

    With this kind of performance (depending on how much of it is present in the raw files compared with the JPEG), I'll withdraw my previous thought of "meh" and assumption that nobody will talk about this. I'm actually excited again. Now, if only I had a spare £5200...
  44. I wouldn't draw conclusions about the focus system based on a few quick snaps; this requires more careful testing and real-world use to find out how the new camera's AF works. Image quality of the sensor (+lens) should be tested on a tripod preferably with live view focus to isolate the contribution of the focus system from it, and the focus separately tested after fine tuning it.
  45. A while back, Ralph said:
    Well, whaddya know! It does! I only just started using auto-ISO since I bought my Nikon Coolpix 'A'. I just tried it on my D3s, and it works perfectly well in manual mode! I even have exposure-compensation active (however, with only one dial). I wonder why the DPreview "first impressions" article touts it as a "new" feature of the D4s?​
    Belatedly, I've found out: It's because Nikon says "ISO Auto Control for Manual Exposure: D4s Yes, D4 No". I guess this isn't just auto-ISO in manual mode but something weirder - unless the D4 is unusually missing this feature and I hadn't noticed. DPReview have been lagging at getting hold of the flagship products for full reviews, so I'm not sure they'll show it - I'll keep an eye out for the manual appearing on Nikon's support site. (Incidentally, the "high ISO photos" samples on NikonUSA are useless - you get a two screen-sized images shot in daylight with wide apertures - I'm surprised they're not at base ISO, but it doesn't actually say!)
  46. Having another look at the thread Ilkka linked to, I see there are now some raw image conversions. They're based on a shot at ISO 25600, but several have been given -1 exposure in the raw converter, making them effectively ISO 12800 with ETTR. At the pixel level, they're not exactly smooth, but they're not bad - with the unadjusted ISO 25600 version being appreciably worse. Still probably usable, though, and there's a decent amount of highlight recovery, considering. The JPEG from the camera seems to have pretty heavy noise reduction applied - there's no grain, but it's got compact-style edge clustering. I'd like to see what DxO's latest low light tool can do with the raw file. The lack of low frequency chroma detail (blotchiness) is pretty impressive, even in raw, though I suspect the highest ISO mode is a joke. I'd certainly not be scared of ISO 12,800, and I'd probably be willing to run up to 102,400 at a push. It's a good response to Andy Rouse's owl images from the 1Dx at ISO 16,000 - but obviously it's not a very scientific test.

    Fingers crossed for more once the camera is available to full reviewers.

    Well, all of a sudden I want one, especially if the AF is a big step forward. Which makes the whole "five grand" thing a bit of a shame. Sigh.
  47. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I should point out that while the D4S also has a 16MP sensor just like the D4, Nikon has made it very clear that it is a newer version of the sensor. That is why its ISO range is different and high-ISO results are better. The D4S also has improved video capability, capturing 1080/60p video. All of those point to a new, improved sensor.
    In other words, the Df, which has the same sensor as the D4, no longer has the latest 16MP sensor from Nikon.
  48. Shun: Yes, I'm just surprised that it was possible to get the level of advance that seems to be appearing. My impression had been that we were near the theoretical limits for camera sensors (getting to the individual photon level); clearly there was more to squeeze out. I said I'd believe it when I saw it; fair enough, I can see it. Though I'd like to see some more authoritative numbers than simply deducing everything from some ad-hoc images, however impressive. "DxO or it didn't happen" - I think that's the phrase. It may be that the raw difference, while clearly there, is less impressive than the JPEG difference, like Canon's situation with the 5D3 vs the 5D2, and it would be nice to have a better idea of what gap really exists.

    Anyway. So much for my assertion that "Nikon can't do a D700 replacement, because there's no D3s-type sensor upgrade to put the flagship model ahead of the D4". I guess there is. I wondered whether the D700 was partly about dumping stocks of the D3 sensor when the D3s appeared - though Nikon obviously either had a lot of sensor stocks, or kept that line running for a while - but, if so, the Df is an interesting choice of how to dump remaining stock of the D4 sensor.

    I guess at least it solves the "Df has better low-light performance than the D4" problem (even though I believe the difference is negligible).
  49. Andrew said:
    Belatedly, I've found out: It's because Nikon says "ISO Auto Control for Manual Exposure: D4s Yes, D4 No". I guess this isn't just auto-ISO in manual mode but something weirder - unless the D4 is unusually missing this feature and I hadn't noticed.
    This was in reply to my earlier query (thanks, Andrew) why DPreview states that auto-ISO in manual mode is a "new" feature in the D4s (since this is an available feature in preceding D3-series cameras). Can any D4 owners comments on this? Doesn't the D4 allow auto-ISO in manual mode?
  50. erik_christensen|3

    erik_christensen|3 Self-employed

    Mike Halliwell [​IMG], Feb 25, 2014; 04:46 a.m.
    Yippee!...first email for the D4S pre-order is £5199 ... that's $8600.....ha ha.....not very funny.
    Maybe they don't want to sell very many? Odd marketing strategy.
    Copenhagen will beat you: USD 8,730 pre-order !!
  51. I no longer own a CS license, so I can't view the D4s RAW files in the "ClubSNAP" thread, previously linked here. But in the .JPG comparisons, the D4s images show a significant loss of detail at moderate ISOs, compared to those of the D4. Is it fair to conclude that the in-camera .JPG engine of the D4s is applying overly-aggressive NR?
  52. Ralph, I don't think anything can be concluded from those quick snaps. It's best to wait until the camera becomes available for proper testing. In-camera noise reduction is adjustable, anyway.
  53. Ralph, I think overly-aggressive might be a matter of opinion. But aggressive, yes, at least for those images. So do some of the attempts to denoise the results from a raw file - the input is certainly not noise-free. There are also a couple of results of raw conversion (one plain at ISO 25600, one with an exposure shift taking it back to ISO 12800) with no additional noise reduction; these are much grainier, but also look less painterly to me. Of course, I'm sure you can play with the camera's internal JPEG settings.

    Nonetheless, the raw files do seem to be a significant step up on what the D4 is achieving - though I'd really like to see a side-by-side raw comparison. The lack of macro-scale colour blotches on the D4s is a good improvement, and there may be a colour cast fixed as well. How much improvement in the final image comes from improvements to the JPEG engine and how much comes from the raw sensor is a bit hard to tell just from this, especially since I don't own a D4 (or Df) to test with. I'm sure the D4 is doing its share of aggressive noise reduction already, going off the sample crops shot side-by-side. The D800 has some noise even at quite low ISO, which doesn't stop me shooting it at ISO 6400 and above if I need to, so I'm not expecting perfection here.

    So no, this isn't enough information to make a very informed decision, but it's certainly interesting - I wasn't expecting enough of a difference to get excited about, whereas it looks as though there might be.
  54. Video Nikon put out.
    I AM!! Or like Madonna puts it "strike the pose".
  55. I added a review page to my site:
    that I will add information to as it becomes available.
    For those folks over in the UK, you can buy a ticket over to New York, pick up a D4s body, then fly back for far cheaper. £5199 - Owch.
  56. Aaron: Sigh. That used to be true of buying Creative Suite as well. (Though once you've paid import duties, it doesn't usually work out that way.)
  57. A well-known rumour site has pointed out that the D4s manual is now available. Other than a change in wording, I can't see a difference in the stated support for auto-ISO in manual mode between the D4s manual and the D4. Also, it appears that the "small raw" support is a bit preliminary - particularly, you can't post-process small raw images on the camera, and they're always stored uncompressed. Here's hoping they get it sorted and us D800 users might get a firmware upgrade (pretty please, Nikon?)

    Allegedly the D4s is due to start shipping very shortly, and indeed has shipped early to some places. Amateur Photographer in the UK say they'll be "taking a first look" at the D4s in the 15th of March edition (the next one), along with the X-T1, but I'm not sure how thorough that test will be. I'd like to see DPReview get back to doing proper tests of high-end cameras soon...
  58. If it were 24 MP, I would be in big trouble. Since it's only 16 MP, I'll just save my money and wait for the D400.
  59. You might be waiting a while, Michael, although I'm sympathetic.
  60. Amateur Photographer has an interview about the D4s. I've not watched yet, but it might contain something of interest.
  61. Belatedly, Michael: Do you have a particular need for 24MP from a high frame rate camera? My assumption that Nikon would go 24MP at some point is based solely on the D4(s)'s position as a "halo" camera, and that it's incongruous for the high-end device to have lower resolution than the DX cameras, not because I believe that professional shooters (who would want a D4-class body) particularly need the resolution. At least, excluding those who'd just like a D800 in a D3x body for compatibility reasons, but 24MP doesn't really give you that.

    Just curious whether you're actually a pro in the market for a D4 who has actually got a need for resolution. Nikon (and, to an extent, Canon) don't seem to think you exist. :)
  62. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Belatedly, Michael: Do you have a particular need for 24MP from a high frame rate camera?​
    I can't speak for Michael, but I can certainly use 24MP or even more from a high-frame-rate camera for the purpose of capturing action.
    The reason I need more pixels is not that I need to make huge prints of some bird flying or some athlete running. The problem with action photography is that precise framing is frequently not possible due to unexpected movements and actions; sometimes the speed is simply too fast to follow precisely. Usually I need to leave more space around the subject so that I can crop to have a better composition. When you start with 16MP, it won't take much cropping and suddenly you are down to below 5MP of usable image area. 24MP would be great, but once again, you need more expensive electronics to move 24MP instead of 16MP, and the price for the D4S would have gone further through the roof.
    If you shoot still subjects such as inside a studio, landscape, etc., you can compose slowly and change to a lens that matches your composition so that you can use most of the pixels on your camera. Typically my prints have the aspect ration of 11x8.5, so I need to crop from the long end of a 3:2 image, but I can retain 70%, 80% of the original pixels.
    I have said this many times before, assuming that Nikon can produce some D400 that can move 24MP @ 8 fps in a sustainable manner within $2000 is simply unrealistic. Mechanically, the shutter assemply, mirror, etc. have to be enhanced. In that sense, I am not satisfied even with the D300 and D700's construction. A D4/D4S is great, but they cost a lot of $$.
  63. As someone who shoots sports for a living I myself do not "need" 24MP. 16 is just fine thank you. When you shoot the kind of volume I do storage space becomes an issue.
    I am very satisfied with my D4 it was a nice step up from my D300 and D300s. I would have been happy with a 16MP D400 at a little less money....
  64. Thanks, gentlemen. Shun, I concur that I've relied on the resolution of my D800 to allow me to fix framing issues with moving subjects, so I can see how Nikon's "16MP is enough for a double-page spread" claim isn't always an option. I see Michael's point too - though hopefully the "small raw" (if applied to a higher-res sensor and with compression enabled) might help a bit there. I'll be interested to learn what Nikon's implementation actually does. Maybe object tracking and digital image stabilization (by moving the capture region around the frame) would allow for some lower resolutions combined with some flexibility in framing - if you trust the camera to crop, of course.

    Oh well, I guess we'll see what the D5 brings in a few years...

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