Nikon D4S review

April 16, 2014

Overall Rating:


Nikon D4S

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



Price as Reviewed:


It’s the pinnacle of Nikon’s DSLR range, but what does the 16.2-million-pixel Nikon D4S add to its predecessor, and what might that mean for you? While we test it, professional sports photographer Mark Pain gives his opinion

Nikon D4S review – Metering

I used the D4S in a variety of conditions, including dawn in central London, a sunny afternoon in a country park, and a bright but overcast day at the races. In each scenario the camera’s 91,000-pixel RGB metering system worked excellently. Nikon would appear to have improved its scene-recognition technology, with the camera almost second-guessing exactly how I wanted an image to be exposed.

Shooting the horse racing, the resulting images were bright, with the highlights in the sky taken to the point of clipping, and leaving plenty of detail in the horses and foreground. However, shooting an early morning cityscape, the D4S again took the highlights to the point of clipping. This resulted in some lovely detail in the sky, with a more brooding foreground that was a little underexposed.

The balance between highlights and shadows is almost perfect, and is helped by a nice JPEG tone curve when in the standard image mode. Switching on the Active D-Lighting just helps to lift the shadows, with little risk of introducing noise.

  • Dioptre Adjustment: -3 to +1 dioptre
  • White Balance: 2 auto, 6 presets (with fine-tuning), plus 3 custom and Kelvin adjustment settings
  • Built-in Flash: No
  • Output Size: 4928 x 3280 pixels
  • Viewfinder Type: Pentaprism single-lens reflex viewfinder
  • Memory Card: 1x CompactFlash slot compatible with UDMA 7, 1x XQD slot
  • Shutter Type: Electronically controlled focal-plane
  • LCD: 3.2in TFT with 921,000 dots
  • Field of View: Approx 100%
  • AF Points: 51 points, selectable manually, automatically or grouped
  • White Balance Bracket: 2-9 exposures in increments of 1, 2 or 3
  • Sensor: FX-format (full-frame) CMOS device with 16.2 million effective pixels
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/250sec
  • Focal Length Mag: 1x (1.5x in DX-format crop mode)
  • Exposure Modes: PASM
  • Weight: 1,180g (without battery or card/s)
  • Power: Rechargeable Li-Ion battery (supplied)
  • File Format: NEF (raw), JPEG, raw+JPEG simultaneously, raw small
  • Shutter Speeds: 30-1/8000sec in 1⁄3 steps, plus B
  • Drive Mode: Single, continuous (Hi/Lo selectable) up to 11fps with AF + metering; self-timer
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, HDMI
  • Compression: 3-stage JPEG, 3-stage NEF
  • Exposure Comp: ±5EV in 1⁄3, 1/2 or 1EV steps
  • RRP: £5,199.99 (body only)
  • Lens Mount: Nikon F
  • ISO: ISO 100-25,600 in 1/3EV steps and Hi1, 2, 3, 4 (ISO 409,600)
  • DoF Preview: Yes
  • Focusing Modes: Manual, single-shot AF, continuous AF with AF fine-tuning
  • Dimensions: 160 x 156.5 x 90.5mm
  • Metering System: 91,000-pixel RGB 3D matrix metering, centreweighted (adjustable), spot (1.5%)
  • Tested as: Professional DSLR

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