Nikon D4 review

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NIKON D4 vs. D800

Some may ponder which one to get; Nikon D4 or D800? This should be very easy to decide; those cameras are made for diametrically different purposes. Nikon D800 is a high megapixel studio and landscape photography beast. Its auto focus is not as precise as the one in D4, and high MP count requires fasters shutter speeds to get sharp images. High resolution is required for landscape and studio work (product or fashion photography) and this is a job for D800.

Nikon D4 is an outdoors camera, perfect for photojournalism, sports and wildlife photography, and will make a difference for wedding photographers in low-light shooting scenarios. It will allow you to take perfectly focused shots at churches (usually quite dark) and in restaurant (usually even darker) and that’s more important than image size.


EN-EL18 Li-Ion battery is good enough for around 1000 shots. It takes around 2-3 hours to recharge. D4 has the ability to record number of shots taken on a single charge, as well as battery age. Charger supplied in the box accepts two batteries at once.


Pictures and videos are recorded on either CF or XQD memory cards, and this is one of maybe only two “bad” things about the Nikon D4. XQD is supposed to be fast and all that, but why oh why are they reinventing the wheel? At this point, D4 is the only digital camera in the world to use XQD card format. Not only would I have to buy new cards, but also a new card reader. And where to buy them in the middle of the Syrian civil war or in African jungle…? Let’s be honest, typical D4 user will probably find himself in those places and with luggage containing extra cards misplaced by airline companies. D4 would be so much more practical if it had double CF slots or even better CF+SD.


Left side contains almost every imaginable connector: flash sync, wired remote terminal, peripheral connector (for GPS), 3.5mm headphone, 3.5mm microphone input, Ethernet, USB 2.0 and HDMI.

There is a LAN connector but sadly no built-in Wi-Fi capability. What made me more baffled is the lack of GPS which is sold separately. Nikon D4 price is 6000 $, and in my opinion outdoor professional camera at that price point should have it built in, just like Sony SLT-A99.


If I had to choose single detail which makes Nikon D4 to stand out above everything else, it would be its autofocus system. It has 51 focus point, 15 of which are cross-type. It is as perfect as I ever wanted to have. I used D4 with 50/1.4G and 24/1.4G lenses, and camera focused perfectly with both of them wide open at more than 95% shots. Nikon D4 has no autofocus issues; back or front-focus seem to be unknown problem for this camera.

I had the camera only several days and haven’t had the opportunity for detailed continuous focus tests, but from what I’ve seen, it is also as good as advertised.


Maximum shooting rate is 11 shot per second. Buffer is large enough for around 80 14-bit RAW files using CF cards, or around 100 of them using XQD format and I think that should be enough for everyone.


As is usual these days, video recording is implemented in D4. It shoots 1920 x 1080 at 30, 25 or 24 fps, and 1280 x 720 up to 60 fps. It has 3.5mm line in for external microphone and a detail pro’s crave for: uncompressed HDMI output. This feature should make Nikon D4 very appealing to movie crowd.

Nikon D4 video quality is superb, very smooth and detailed with no compression-induced artifacts. It is perplexing to see how well movies look shot in candle-lit scenarios at high ISO.


Well, D4 is perfect. Don’t tell me you expected bad performance from a 6000 $ pro-grade camera? There are higher resolution cameras (D600 and D800) with more appealing price/IQ ratio, but when you need nothing less than perfect performance for professional wildlife, photojournalist or wedding work D4 is the camera to have. D4 is the camera that will allow taking shots when other cameras struggle to focus or ruin images with too much high ISO noise.


  • Unsurpassed auto focus precision
  • Best high ISO performance ever
  • Build quality and ergonomics
  • Sensor performance
  • Battery life
  • Bright and big viewfinder


  • No built-in GPS
  • XQD card format

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