On February 24 2014, Nikon announced the launch of its flagship full-frame camera, the Nikon D4S
. The D4s is an upgrade of its former full-frame flagship model - the D4. It offers improvements in areas such as autofocus performance, image quality, movie recording and so on over its predecessor. The D4S comes with a new 16.2 Megapixels full-frame sensor along with a new EXPEED 4 image-processing engine. The native ISO range goes from ISO 100 to ISO 25,600, but Nikon D4S supports extended sensitivities which can give an equivalent low ISO of 50 and a equivalent high ISO going to 409,600. In additions to the 51-point AF system, the D4S also added in a fifth AF-area mode called Group Area AF which uses 5 focus points: one specified by the user, as well as one each above, below, to the left, and to the right of the selected focus point. This is in addition to the four AF area modes seen on the D4, namely: Single-point AF; Dynamic-area AF; 3D tracking and Auto-area AF. The D4S can support 11 FPS with AF tracking engaged and auto-exposure. The 91,000 pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Metering III system is carried over from the D4.
Because this camera is geared toward working pros, they have also added some pro-specific improvements, most of which involve the speed with which images can be processed in and sent out from the camera. There's a new Raw S file size, which produces an 12-bit uncompressed NEF file with a resolution of just 2464 x 1640. It also has faster LAN transfer rates, which agency shooters should appreciate and a longer lasting battery, which goes up to 3,020 shots in single exposure mode. Video capture has remained much the same, only now it has access to the higher ISOs and more processing power in the camera. It can still record to CF and XQD high-speed memory cards due to the dual slots. The D4S is selling for $6,499. Here's the summary of review by TrustedReviews, giving the camera a rating of 9 out of 10:
"Those using the D4S will invariably be news and sports journalists for whom it is imperative to capture images that are in exact focus for newspaper and online use. They won't need to be printed to a huge size, so the 16.2-million-pixel resolution leaves plenty of room to crop an image and still print at a suitable size. The camera also excels in its low-light performance. The large photosites of the sensor allow for not only a good dynamic range, but also to capture a lot of photons in low light. This helps keep noise to a minimum at sensitivities where other cameras cannot cope. What's very impressive is that ISO 3200 and 6400 are usable, and for sports photographers that extra sensitivity can be a crucial factor. Also pleasing is how the D4S resolves almost as much detail at ISO 12,800 as ISO 100. In fact, it is only around 12,800 that luminance noise starts to reduce detail. However, extended settings are still only really a last resort. The automatic white balance also works well, with the option to keep or remove warm colours produced by tungsten lighting. When it comes to colour rendition, a professional must be able to immediately produce viable, high-quality JPEGs. The files have to be transferred easily and quickly, and there's little time for editing so colour and contrast have to be excellent straight out of the box. Once again, the D4S makes the grade, giving little reason to switch from the standard colour setting, though I did shoot some images in the Vivid mode, which adds a good level of punch to the colour saturation. With only a moderately populated full-frame size sensor you'd expect the camera's dynamic range to be very good - and it is, with plenty of detail in highlight areas, but also lots of detail in shadows.
Should I buy a Nikon D4S? The Nikon D4S is an excellent camera, with low-light, high-sensitivity image quality that non-professional photographers can only dream of. Its price of £5,000, of course, slams the door in the face of most enthusiasts. In the professional market, capturing that perfect, well-timed exclusive can help recoup a good deal of the cost of a new camera. So if the characteristics of its feature set seem to make that more likely, photographers may be persuaded to switch systems. Many Canon users did when Nikon launched the D3, and D3S. However, there's not enough that's different about the D4S from the D4 to warrant those with, say, an 18-million-pixel Canon EOS 1D X moving - because they would have done so when the D4 was released. This leaves the Nikon D4 as its direct competition. Unfortunately, most retailers have already stopped listing the D4, though if you look around it can still be found for about £600 less, with used examples almost £1,000 cheaper. That's still a king's ransom so, if you are an enthusiast and don't have pots of money but still want similar image quality, your best bet is probably the Nikon Df - a relative snip at £2,749.99 (with kit lens) - or the excellent Nikon D610 for around £1,400. A photojournalist's dream tool but one that will remain an aspiration for ordinary photographers for some time to come. Unless they win the Lottery."
D4S Sample Photos on Flickr
D4S Camera Reviews Roundup
|ePhotoZine - Apr 03 2014|
"The Nikon D4s is an incremental update to the Nikon D4, and adds a number of enhanced features, including quicker continuous shooting with AF/AE, increased speed ethernet, as well as improved video recording. Where there is the most noticeable improvement is in the increase in image quality and specifically noise performance, which gives excellent results r..." More »
|Stuff - Apr 02 2014|
"Provided you're not completely incompetent, images shot on the D4s can be described as glorious. Crystal-clear, sharp, and accurate, you might never want to pick up another camera again. Even at full crop, the amount of detail from the full-frame FX format sensor is phenomenal, with impressive clarity to boot. Skin tones, colours, and exposure are almost sp..." More »
|Reviewed - Apr 02 2014|
"When a company takes an existing model name and simply adds a letter--as Nikon has done in the past with cameras like the D1, D2, D3, D40, and D300--it's best to not expect drastic changes. As we've seen in our review of the D4S, that wisdom is once again proven true. The D4S is basically just a D4 with some minor performance tweaks, an upgraded video mode,..." More »
|dpreview - Apr 02 2014|
"The biggest news, in terms of autofocus, is the D4s' ability to continuously focus at the camera's highest frame rate (a feature limited to 10fps on the D4). Another way of looking at the 'decreased viewfinder blackout' that Nikon is promoting is: 'having the mirror in the position that allows AF, for longer.' As such, we suspect the redesigned mirror mecha..." More »
D4S Reviews Roundup [Total 6 Reviews] »
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