In the last ten days or more that I have had the camera I have been very impressed with this new pro offering. As you might expect, the image quality is superb—as confirmed by DxO Labs, which rated the new D4's image quality as third only to the Nikon D800, which got first place in their tests, and the Phase One IQ180 Digital Back. It beat out a host of medium format cameras in terms of image quality though it only has a 16 MP sensor, which is saying a lot. Nikon now has four cameras in the top ten on DxO Labs top-rated cameras. And even more exciting the D800 got the top spot in the DxO Labs sensor testing. That is incredibly impressive and I can't wait to shoot more with both the D4 and the D800.
There are some on the internet talking about how the D4 image quality isn't much better than the Nikon D3s, but from what I have seen it is as good or better in every respect. The video capabilities are far superior to anything Nikon has ever done on that front. Noise seems about the same as the D3s, which was phenomenal, but with the extra bump in resolution. So far, the image quality I have seen from this camera at all ISOs up to 12,800 is brilliant. At ISO 12,800 the lack of noise is astounding. While I was wishing for a 24 MP pro body, with the same noise characteristics of the D3s and the ability to shoot at 10 fps, the resolution of the D4 and the image quality is a nice update. If I need more megapixels then I will shoot with the D800. For sports photography, I will use the D4. These two cameras are a phenomenal combo for shooting pretty much anything.
The video capabilities on both cameras, which were highly anticipated, have lived up to the hype. I have been duly impressed with the video quality straight out of the D4 and D800 It beats anything I have seem from any other DSLR, including the Canon 5d Mark III. In my testing so far the video footage is tack sharp and has very little noise at high ISOs. And the crop factors (1X, 1.2X, 1.5X and 2.7X) along with the clean, uncompressed 1080p footage make this an extremely capable HD video camera. I am definitely looking forward to shooting more motion projects with these cameras.
You can bet that I will continue to run a lot of tests on these cameras before my next assignments. I will say this though, with the Nikon D4 firing at 11 frames per second it sounds like a machine gun going off. I can't wait to shoot some serious action with this puppy! Stay tuned...more to come soon.
P.S. - I have also received the Nikon D800 and the image quality is shockingly good. I will be shooting with both of these cameras in Dubai here later this month and will have a full report here on the Outdoor Photographer blog and also in my Spring Newsletter. Stay tuned.
Pictured above: Nikon D4 with the AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G lens