Nikon D4 review

April 14, 2012

Overall Rating:


Nikon D4

  • Autofocus:
  • Noise/resolution:
  • Metering:
  • Features:
  • AWB Colour:
  • LCD viewfinder:
  • Dynamic Range:
  • Build/Handling:



Price as Reviewed:


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


Nikon’s 1,005-pixel metering system, which has been used in a number of cameras over the past few years, has been dramatically upgraded for the D4. It now features 91,000 pixels, which does beg the question of how detailed a sensor needs to be to produce a good exposure.

I can see very little difference between the exposures of the D3S and the D4 in matrix metering mode, and you may wonder why such a high-resolution sensor is needed. However, the new 91,000-pixel sensor does more than just meter the light.

Nikon uses a scene-based metering system that is capable of recognising  elements in front of the lens, such as faces, and then picking a suitable exposure. The higher the resolution of the sensor, the more likely it is to be able to see such details and adjust the exposure accordingly. So while the sensor does measure light, its real benefit with regard to exposure is recognising scenes. This sensor is also used to measure white balance, so again, the more detail and information available, the better.

Overall, the system works well, with the camera producing good exposures. When shooting landscapes, for instance, I found that the evaluative metering was generally intelligent enough to avoid blowing out highlight detail. This did sometimes lead to the foreground being slightly underexposed, and I took one sequence of images that had a +0.7EV exposure greater than the metered setting. It is, nevertheless, quite easy to predict what the metering will do and, anyway, the slight underexposure can be beneficial in preserving highlight detail that, once lost, cannot be recreated.

  • Built-in Flash: No
  • White Balance: 2 auto, 6 presets (with fine-tuning), plus 3 custom and Kelvin adjustment settings
  • Dioptre Adjustment: -3 to +1 dioptre
  • Shutter Type: Electronically controlled focal-plane
  • Memory Card: 1x CompactFlash slot compatible with UDMA 7, 1x XQD slot
  • Output Size: 4928x3280 pixels
  • Viewfinder Type: Pentaprism single-lens reflex viewfinder
  • White Balance Bracket: 2-9 exposures in increments of 1, 2 or 3
  • AF Points: 51 points, selectable manually or automatically
  • Field of View: Approx 100%
  • LCD: 3.2in TFT with 921,000 dots
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/250sec
  • Sensor: FX-format (full-frame) CMOS device with 16.2 million effective pixels
  • Exposure Modes: PASM
  • Focal Length Mag: 1x (1.5x in DX-format crop mode)
  • Weight: 1,180g (without battery or card/s)
  • File Format: NEF (raw), JPEG, raw+JPEG simultaneously
  • Power: Rechargeable Li-Ion battery (supplied)
  • Shutter Speeds: 30-1/8000sec in 1⁄3 steps, plus B
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • Drive Mode: Single, continuous (Hi/Lo selectable, up to 10fps with AF; 11fps without AF and fixed exposure), self-timer
  • Lens Mount: Nikon F
  • Focusing Modes: Manual, single-shot AF, continuous AF with AF fine-tuning
  • ISO: 100-12,800 in 1/3EV steps and Hi1, 2, 3 (ISO 102,400)
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, HDMI
  • Metering System: 91,000-pixel RGB 3D matrix metering, centreweighted (adjustable), spot (1.5%)
  • Dimensions: 160x156.5x90.5mm
  • DoF Preview: Yes
  • Exposure Comp: ±5EV in 1⁄3, 1/2 or 1EV steps
  • Compression: 3-stage JPEG, 3-stage NEF
  • RRP: £5,289.99 (body only)

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