Hands-On Review: Nikon D4

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The D4 is Nikon's top-of-the-line professional DSLR. With a 16.1 MP sensor, this full-frame-equipped camera has large photosites that enable great low-light performance. In addition, the camera's native ISO range goes from 100 to 12800. Vaunted for its speedy performance, the D4 delivers full-resolution 16.1MP images at 10 fps, for those moments when you need to get the shot, no matter what. Sports and nature photographers will want to give some serious consideration to the D4.

Kelby Media's Larry Becker does just that, discovering that the D4 offers maximum programmability, impressive pro video features and, as expected, strong speed-related features. The camera offers nearly the same button configuration whether it's held in landscape or portrait orientation. For video, the D4 has a clean HDMI output that facilitates outboard recording at high bit rates. Professional photographers, especially in high-action environments, here's a camera for you.

Camera Type Digital SLR with Interchangeable lenses
Lens Mount Nikon F
Camera Format Full-Frame
Pixels Actual: 16.6 Megapixel
Effective: 16.2 Megapixel
Maximum Resolution 16.1MP: 4928 x 3280 @ 3:2
Other Resolutions 13.4MP: 3280 x 4096 @ 4:5
11.1MP: 4096 x 2720
9.1MP: 3696 x 2456 @ 3:2
7.5MP: 2456 x 3072 @ 4:5
6.8MP: 3200 x 2128 @ 3:2
6.3MP: 3072 x 2040
4.0MP: 2464 x 1640 @ 3:2
3.8MP: 2400 x 1592 @ 3:2
3.4MP: 1640 x 2048 @ 4:5
2.8MP: 2048 x 1360
1.7MP: 1600 x 1064 @ 3:2
Aspect Ratio 3:2, 4:5
Sensor Type / Size CMOS, 36 x 23.9mm
File Formats Still Images: JPEG, RAW, TIFF
Movies: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, MOV
Audio: Linear PCM
Noise Reduction Yes
Memory Card Type XQD, CompactFlash
Focus Type Auto & Manual
Focus Mode Single-servo AF (S), Continuous-servo AF (C), Manual Focus (M)
Autofocus Points 51
Viewfinder Type Pentaprism
Viewfinder Coverage 100%
Viewfinder Magnification Approx. 0.70x
Diopter Adjustment - 3 to +1 m
Display Screen 3.2" Rear Screen   LCD (921000)
Screen Coverage 100%
Angle of View 170°
Live View Yes
ISO Sensitivity 100-12800 (Extended Mode: 50-204800)
Shutter Type: Electronic
Speed: 30 - 1/8000 sec
Remote Control ML-3, MC-21A, 22, 22A, 23A, 25A, 30, 30A, 36 & 36A (Optional)
Mirror Lock-Up Yes
Metering Method 3D Color Matrix Metering, Center-weighted average metering, Spot metering
Exposure Modes Modes: Aperture Priority, Manual, Program, Shutter Priority
Compensation: -5 EV to +5 EV (in 0.33 EV steps)
White Balance Modes Auto, Cloudy, Daylight, Flash, Fluorescent, Fluorescent (Day White), Fluorescent (Natural White), Fluorescent (White), Fluorescent H, Incandescent, Kelvin, Preset Manual, Shade
Flash Modes 1st Curtain Sync
Red-eye Reduction
Second-Curtain Sync
Slow Sync
Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction
Built-in Flash No
Maximum Sync Speed 1/250 / 1/8000 sec
Flash Compensation -3 EV to +1 EV (in 0.33 or 0.5 EV steps)
Continuous Shooting Up to 10 fps
Dedicated Flash System iTTL Remote Firing
External Flash Connection Hot Shoe, PC Terminal, Wireless
Video Recording Yes, NTSC/PAL
File Size 1920 x 1080p (Full HD)
1280 x 720p (HD)
Frame Rate @ 1920 x 1080: 30 fps, 25 fps, 24 fps
@ 1280 x 720: 60 fps, 50 fps, 30 fps
@ 640 x 424: 30 fps, 25 fps
Exposure Control Auto: Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO
Manual: Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 200 - 12800, Expandable to 204800
Exposure Compensation -5 EV to +5 EV (in 1/31 EV steps) 1
Focus Auto, Manual and Continuous Auto
Continuous Shooting Time 1920 x 1080 - 20 min.
1280 x 720 - 29 min.
640 x 424 - 29 min.
Audio Recording With Video, Mono, Via Optional External Mic
In-Camera Image Editing Color Balance, Color Outline, D-Lighting, Distortion Control, Edit Movie, Filter Effects, Fisheye, Image Overlay, Miniature Effect, Monochrome, NEF (RAW) Processing, Perspective Control, Quick Retouch, Red-eye Correction, Straighten, Trim
Self-Timer 2 sec., 5 sec., 10 sec., 20 sec.
Connectivity 1/8" Headphone, 1/8" Microphone, HDMI C (Mini), USB 2.0
Wi-Fi Capable (With Optional Transmitter) Yes
Battery 1x EN-EL18  Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack, 10.8VDC, 2000 mAh
AC Power Adapter EH-6b (Optional)
Operating/Storage Temperature 32 to 104° F (0 to 40° C)
Dimensions (WxHxD) 6.3 x 6.2 x 3.6" / 16.00 x 15.75 x 9.14 cm
Weight 2.95 lb / 1.34  kg With battery and memory card

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I own the Nikon D4 Camera as my lead camera. I love the solid feel and the outstanding results I've obtained with it. I have excellent results in tracking sports action using the Nikon 80-400mm f/4.4-5.6 G AF-s VR lens (This is my most used Nikon combination).  I have obtained consistent publication using this combination of Nikon photographic equipment. Richard.