Megapixels, FTP and HDR
There's more stuff, if it's stuff you want.
The images are 16 MP, unless you shoot in DX or one of the other smaller modes. To be honest I wasn't really able to evaluate the benefits, because neither Capture One nor DxO yet have D4 modules so I wasn't able to play with the RAW images. However, I'm informed that DxO labs have rated the D4 as the third most optically perfect camera ever made, after the D800 and one medium format camera. That's pretty good. 16 MP is a funny sort of size. It isn't sufficiently bigger than the previous sweet spot 12 MPs (big enough to shoot a billboard) to make a huge difference. However, it does put it head to head with the Canon stuff.
More interesting if you're shooting news, the D4 comes with an ethernet socket so you can plug it straight into a network and use it as a server or an FTP uploader. In principle this means you could plug in a third party ethernet wifi adaptor, and not have to buy the expensive Nikon ones. I'm sure it's not designed for that purpose, but it certainly opens a lot of doors.
There's built in HDR, and a more elaborate set of options for Active D-lighting. The focusing on Live View is better. You can shoot 100 RAW images in a row before the buffer fills up, and you can shoot at 10 frames per second in full frame mode. The sensor also cleans itself, if you want it to.
|Caption: Beautiful, out of the box This 'lunar landscape' is actually the path of a snail along a dirt track. The D4 captured the glistening colour and saturated browns perfectly with no other adjustment needed.|
Who's it for?
So, who is this amazing camera aimed at?
This is a slightly difficult question. Pure news and sports shooters are probably already happy with their D3s. Studio photographers may well be more interested in the medium format challenging resolution of the D800. Videographers will still find a dedicated video camera a more attractive proposition. On the other hand,the D4 is a camera which offers more or less everything. Low-light, high(ish) resolution shooting, with 1080p HD video, perfect manual focus and network connectivity. The only issue — if you want to own the most advanced camera ever created — is the price. At more than £5,000 GB, it's more than most second-hand cars. It's a month's after-tax salary for many top 5% earners. It's two months salary for most working photographers. And it will be obsolete in four years time when Nikon produces the D5 in time for the 2016 Olympics.
On the other hand, with an optical rating by DxO labs above almost every Hasselblad ever built, top ISO in excess of 200,000 and essentially noise-free at 25,600, this may well be the last camera you will ever need to buy.
A tricky decision indeed.