Nikon’s new flagship professional-grade DSLR, the D4, is an impressive camera on paper: the US$6,000 shooter packs a faster Expeed-3 processor, a full-frame 16.2-megapixel CMOS sensor, and supports an incredible range of sensitivity from ISO 50 to 204,800.
It also features a new 51-point autofocus system that is compatible with all Nikon lenses even with a teleconverter in tow, and a 91,000-pixel RGB metering sensor, which lets the D4 more accurately recognise the scene you’re trying to shoot through colour and brightness. This blows the previous D3S’s 1,005-pixel meter completely out of the water.
Unveiled here in Singapore last Friday, the D4 is also the first DSLR camera to use the new XQD memory card standard, the successor to CompactFlash. XQD cards can write files at up to 125MB/s, which is the perfect complement for the D4’s ability to shoot still images at 11fps at full resolution.
But what about actual shooting performance? I might be able to wrap my head around the specs, but photography is a whole different ball game.
You’ll be glad to hear, then, that pro photographer Joe McNally was one of the first lucky folks in the world to play with the D4, and he had nothing but praise for it. In fact, some of the sample images which Nikon showed off at the D4’s launch were photographed by him.
On his blog, McNally cites a number of things he is impressed with, including “fine detail and forgiveness in the shadows” and “intuitively good exposure and autofocus”. On the new video features, McNally went all out and wrote: “It’s a game changer.”
Indeed, video performance is highly improved from its predecessor the D3S, and the D4 capable of 1080p30, 1080p24, 720p60 and 720p50 HD video recording. There’s also a handy 3.5-mm audio jack for videographers to review audio on the fly.
To add on to the excitement, Nikon also unveiled the WT-5A wireless transmitter, which turns the D4 into something like a hotspot for mobile devices such as your smartphone. Once connected, you’ll be able to view photos from the D4 on your smartphone’s Web browser as they are captured, no special equipment or additional apps needed.
This has the potential to change how professional photographers do their work. For example, a journalist who attends an important press event can snap whatever photos he need with his D4, which can then be wirelessly transmitted to his iPad and subsequently emailed to his editor to be published, all in less than 15 minutes.
If you want to get your hands on this drool-worthy camera, it will be available from end-February. Local pricing is not yet available, but it will likely be in the same range as its pricing in the United States.