Mon 02-Apr-12 12:54 AM | edited Mon 02-Apr-12 01:07 AM by KnightPhoto
Like you I am coming from a D700. In order to help decide, ask yourself about ISO 6400 and 12800 - will you be using those ISOs a lot?
Or alternatively if the 10fps vs 4fps difference or full-on integrated grip or pro-body button capability is important to you? I would say there is another intangible of simply having Nikon's best pro featured body and likely an AF advantage as compared to the D800E, it could be a factor for some shooters.
Or perhaps whether low-light video or the 2.7 crop actual pixels video is a big advantage?
And finally whether you intend to own BOTH the D800E and D4 to have the best of both worlds available to you? In which case it is just a matter of which is the first priority.
I finally got around to processing dpreview's RAW D800 and D4 ISO 6400/12800 samples today. From that I continue to conclude (as I have from all other images available from other test sites) that the D4 is the winner at these lofty ISO levels, so that is the most important factor on why a D4 still makes sense for me rather than a D800E. Though for some uses and users you might consider the D800 "close enough" at high ISO and better at lower ISOs.
I realize the D4 vs. D800E is a very tough decision particularly given the surprisingly good high ISO of the D800 upon downsizing(!), I have definitely had lots of doubts myself but I have come back around to D4. I would like a D800E someday as a great addition to the D4 but it is more of a want than a need since on it's own the D800E doesn't *quite* cut it for theatre. At one low-point I consulted Thom to be sure and he immediately replied that "no question the D4 will be his low light camera" (as compared to D800).
And as far as this particular thread goes, the D4 vs. D3S was a no-brainer easy decision in my case due to the teleconverter advantage (I am a birder in addition to being a theatre guy), improved video capability of which I plan to do a ton, and the possible benefit of the 91000 pixel meter to AF tracking performance.
For the TCs I am not so much looking to get a TC20E for my 500 f4 as I am looking for better responsiveness with my TC17E and TC14E. We'll have to see if a D4 can keep up with BIF with either the TC14E or TC17E aboard my 500VR. BIF is a tough use case, often due to plain old "seeing" conditions, so I am keeping my expectations reasonably in check for this area.
Hope this helps prompt some of your thinking. There have been times in the last couple months where the decision has really weighed on me, but since my D4 is not in yet I have had time to process a fair number of samples out there and come full circle back to D4.