The 16.2-million-pixel D4 professional DSLR is Nikon’s attempt to improve upon its own D3S, one of the best cameras we have ever reviewed

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Nikon D4

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LCD viewfinder:
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Nikon D4 review


Price as reviewed:



Both the Nikon D3 and D3S were hugely important cameras when released, and for a while they were the pinnacle of professional DSLRs. However, with the resolution of the D3S starting to look a little dated, it was perhaps due an update. The Nikon D4 has indeed updated the resolution, but not by much, and the image quality remains largely the same as its predecessor. However, this is no bad thing, as the D3S, and now the D4 are probably the best cameras to have at hand if you are shooting in low light.

Yet it is the D4’s more easily overlooked details that really make the difference. For instance, wildlife photographers will be delighted with very sensitive AF points that allow the use of autofocus in low light and with 2x teleconverters with f/4 lenses. The illuminated buttons, ethernet connection, XQA card sockets and ease of switching from landscape to portrait shooting are all superb refinements that help make the D4 an almost complete package. And this is without mentioning the excellent high-sensitivity image quality, metering and the shooting rate.

Of course, many of these features will be of no use to the average photographer and, at around £5,300, the D4 will be too expensive for all but the professional press and wildlife photographers, for whom it will be money well spent.

Nikon D4 summary of key features


Nikon states that the new shutter has been tested up to 400,000 actuations. Shooting at 11fps continuously, the shutter has been tested to last for just over ten hours. More realistically, for a professional photographer shooting around 2,000 images a week, the shutter is good for four years. For the rest of us, it will probably last a lifetime.

Virtual horizon

In the shooting menu is the virtual horizon, which uses accelerometers to tell when the camera is level. Unlike previous versions, it is now dual-axis and recognises both side-to-side and front-to-back tilt. The virtual horizon can also be displayed in the viewfinder, using the AF points to indicate whether the camera is level.

Battery life

Although they look similar, the D4 uses a different battery from the D3 and D3S. The new battery is only 2,000mAh, compared with the 2,500mAh on the older battery. However, improvements in both battery design and power consumption mean that the battery in the D4 lasts longer. Nikon quotes that up to 5,500 shots can be taken on a single charge.

Time-lapse movie

As well as interval shooting, the D4 has a time-lapse mode that takes pictures at regular intervals for a set period of time. The results are then saved as a 1080p, 30fps time-lapse video. The feature handily calculates how long the final video will be before shooting begins.

Viewfinder shutter switch

This small switch activates a shutter that prevents light entering the camera through the viewfinder, which can be an issue when shooting long exposures.

LCD screen

The 3.2in, 921,000-dot screen has been improved to reduce screen fogging

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Features
  3. 3. Build and Handling
  4. 4. Noise, Resolution and Sensitivity
  5. 5. Metering
  6. 6. White Balance and Colour
  7. 7. Autofocus
  8. 8. Dynamic Range
  9. 9. Viewfinder, LCD, Live View and Video
  10. 10. Connectivity
  11. 11. Verdict
  12. 12. Competition
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