The Nikon D4 houses a 16.2-megapixel FX format CMOS sensor–for reference, the D3S has a 12.1-megapixel sensor. The other major area of improvement is video recording. The D3S (which is, mind you, still a $5,000+ camera) was limited to 720p24 capture. Now, the DSLR has transitioned into a more versatile device, one that often doubles as a camcorder for skilled and professional photographers/videographers. So Nikon bumped things up a bit, to say the least.
The D4 records in 1080p30, 1080p24, 720p60, and 720p50 in QuickTime format. Of course you have full manual exposure control while recording as well. You can preview HD video via the display or the HDMI port, which now supports uncompressed 8-bit preview output.
Video has become increasingly important in full frame DSLRs, but stills obviously need to hold their own. The D4 has an ISO range of 100-12,800, expandable from 50-204,800 – meaning it should yield impressive low light performance. It’s also fast, shooting 10fps with full AF/AE or 11fps when AF is locked. The D4 also has a new EXPEED 3 image processor that should help with crisp resolution and natural saturation. It also means the device itself should work quickly, processing tons of data while churning out top notch photos.
So how will it compare to the Canon 1D X? These two line up nicely with one another and choosing one will probably fall to brand loyalty. When it comes to speed, the 1D X takes top prize, but the D4 has a wireless shooting feature that is pretty tempting. Price and timing might work in the D4’s favor more than anything else: it’s available a month before the 1D X, this February. It’s also less expensive, at $6,000 (the 1D X will cost $6,800).
We’re also waiting to hear from Nikon about the leaked D800. According to the rumors, this will have the same AF system as the D3, as well as general other improvements over the last-gen D700. Perhaps we’ll hear more at CES next well. Until then, let these official D4 images tide you over.