Nikon Corporation has announced the release of the Nikon D4, a Nikon FX-format camera that serves as the new flagship model in Nikon’s lineup of digital-SLR cameras. Pictures is the Nikon D4 with AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G.
The D4 is equipped with a new Nikon FX-format CMOS image sensor (imaging size of 36.0 × 23.9 mm) and EXPEED 3, the latest image-processing engine specifically optimized for digital-SLR cameras, making it the next-generation flagship Nikon digital-SLR camera with the ultimate in versatility and functionality that offers superior image quality rich in detail along with excellent high-speed performance. It has an effective pixel count of 16.2-million pixels, and offers superior image quality under a broad range of lighting conditions with its image sensor supporting a range of sensitivities from ISO 50 to ISO 204800.
The new 91K-pixel (approximately 91,000 pixels) RGB sensor supports the Advanced Scene Recognition System, which is able to recognize human faces even when images are framed using the optical viewfinder. In addition, the Advanced Scene Recognition System offers significant improvements in AF, AE, i-TTL flash control, and auto white balance (AWB) control accuracy. The AF system, featuring 51 focus points, has been improved with faster initiation of autofocusing and the ability to detect and focus on subjects with less lighting.
In addition, 11 focus points are fully functional when lenses with a maximum aperture of f/8 are used. All of this means more precise autofocusing when super-telephoto NIKKOR lenses are used with teleconverters (2.0×). The Multi-area Mode Full HD D-movie movie recording function is capable of recording Full-HD movies at 24, 25 and 30 fps, and offers three movie recording formats for selection according to recording conditions or creative intent.
What’s more, the D4 records images to memory cards faster with built-in support for high-speed, UDMA 7-compatible Compact Flash memory cards and next-generation, high-speed XQD memory cards.
In addition to built-in wired LAN features, the D4 also supports high-speed image transfer via wireless LAN when the new, compact, easy-to-use Wireless Transmitter WT-5 (available separately) is connected to the camera. The D4 is equipped with a number of new functions that support a more efficient workflow for professional photographers, including one that allows users to add IPTC (International Press Telecommunications Council) information to images.
In 2007, Nikon released the D3 digital-SLR camera as its flagship model equipped with the new FX-format CMOS image sensor developed by Nikon. With its new image sensor, the D3 established a new level of image quality, speed, and support for high sensitivities. In December of 2008, Nikon released the D3X with an effective pixel count of 24.5-million pixels, which enabled superior imaging performance equal to that possible with medium format cameras. In the following year, the D3S proposed new possibilities in imaging expression with its expanded range of standard sensitivities from ISO 200 to ISO 12800 and a built-in movie recording function.
Some of the new D4 primary features:
1. New Nikon FX-format CMOS image sensor with support for a wide range of sensitivities, from ISO 50 to ISO 204800
The D4 is equipped with a new Nikon FX-format CMOS image sensor (imaging size of 36.0 × 23.9 mm) developed by Nikon. The FX-format CMOS image sensor with its effective pixel count of 16.2-million pixels offers excellent resolution and image quality under an incredible variety of lighting conditions. Despite the increase in pixel count, the D4 reads out data faster than the D3S. The range of standard sensitivities has been expanded to ISO 100 to ISO 12800. What’s more, support for ISO 50 and additional expansion up to ISO 204800 is also possible, enabling effective shooting under a variety of lighting conditions.
2. New EXPEED 3 image-processing engine with superior, high-speed processing capabilities
The new EXPEED 3 image-processing engine built into the D4 offers better image quality and even faster processing speeds for vivid yet faithful color reproduction, a broader dynamic range, and rich expression of tones. It also effectively suppresses noise with advanced noise-reduction processing for images captured at high sensitivities under dim lighting, all while preserving definition and sharpness. Noise-reduction processing designed especially for movies maintains crisp, clear outlines in movies recorded in low-light situations. EXPEED 3 has high-speed processing capabilities for a variety of task, and it uses power effectively, contributing greatly to the camera’s power-saving design.
3. 91K-pixel RGB sensor for the more accurate Advanced Scene Recognition System
The D4 is equipped with the Advanced Scene Recognition System, which supports face recognition* when images are framed using the optical viewfinder. The new 91K-pixel (approximately 91,000 pixels) RGB sensor recognizes human faces for more frequent focus acquisition on human faces when Auto-area AF is used. When a human face is detected in the frame, 3D Color Matrix Metering III bases exposure control on the brightness of that face so that the face is optimally exposed even with backlighting. In addition, the high resolution of the metering sensor with its approximately 91,000 pixels enables extremely precise analysis of the scene for more accurate control over autofocusing, auto exposure, i-TTL flash control, and auto white balance.
4. Faster and more accurate AF with 51 focus points
The AF system, featuring 51 focus points, built into the D4 utilizes the new Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus sensor module for faster, more accurate autofocusing that performs extremely well under dim lighting. The 15 focus points at the center of the frame are cross-type sensors that detect phase differences both horizontally and vertically. All 51 focus points are fully functional when lenses with a maximum aperture of up to f/5.6 are used, and the cross-type sensors make the most of this capability. Precise focus can be quickly acquired with autofocusing using all AF NIKKOR lenses, even under lighting as dim as −2 EV (ISO 100, 20°C/68°F). In addition, adoption of a new algorithm enables faster autofocus initiation for even more certain and sharper capture of defining moments especially necessary when shooting sports scenes. The new high-speed AF system also supports high-speed continuous shooting at approximately 10 fps2 in FX format with AF and AE tracking.
5. Multi-area Mode Full HD D-movie with three image area options
A dedicated movie-record button has been positioned near the shutter-release button for smooth starting and stopping of movie recording with a feel similar to that of still-image shooting. Full-HD movie recording at a frame size of 1920 × 1080 and frame rate of 24, 25 and 30 fps is supported, and the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC video compression method has been adopted. Movies up to 29 minutes 59 seconds１ can be recorded. Image sensor sensitivity begins at ISO 200 and can be expanded to the ISO 204800 equivalent possible with still-image shooting.
Full-HD movies can be recorded with the D4 using one of three image areas: FX-based movie format2, DX-based movie format, or 1920 × 1080 crop; all available at 30 fps/ 25 fps or 24 fps. FX-based movie format makes full use of the large image sensor, enabling movies with an emphasis on pleasing blur characteristics. When a DX lens is attached, DX-based format is automatically selected. This format is useful for creating an extension to the focal length of an existing lens. For an even stronger telephoto effect, the 1920 × 1080 crop format brings an approximately 2.7x crop of the picture angle while delivering outstanding video quality and detail, obtaining 1080p Full HD. By choosing the movie format appropriate for the particular scene, the three image area options available with a single camera enable more flexible imaging expression through collaboration with the entire NIKKOR lens lineup, including DX lenses.
The D4 is equipped with a connector for external microphones that enables stereo recording. The camera also offers a headphone connector that supports stereo headphones, convenient for checking sound recorded with movies. What’s more, a new sound level indicator also allows for microphone sensitivity adjustment, even during recording, with a visual indicator of sound levels.