Nikon has released an update to their flagship D4 pro DSLR. The D4s packs more processing power, a refined autofocus system, faster continuous shooting, and more video features (including 1080/60p support).
Designed for professionals, the Nikon D4S features a new 16.2-megapixel FX-format sensor, which works in conjunction with the new EXPEED 4 image processing engine. A new Group AF function and overall improvements build upon Nikon's 51-point AF system, while the camera breaks convention with an ISO range that goes to a 409,600 ISO (Hi-4) for maximum versatility in nearly any lighting condition. Overall speed and response is also enhanced, capturing full resolution at 11 frames-per-second (fps) with auto focus and auto exposure (AE), while benefiting from an overall 30% increase in processing power.
The Multi-CAM 3500 FX AF sensor module's recalibrated AF algorithms quickly zero in on its intended target. Additionally, the D4S includes a new Group AF mode. When selected, this mode utilizes five AF points to provide increased stability while tracking subjects, and enhanced accuracy by reducing instances of background focus. Nikon's AF Lock-on technology is also upgraded, shortening time in reverting from focus interruptions, such as a referee running into the frame.
The Nikon D4S also improves tracking on high-speed continuous shooting at a fast 11 fps, with continuous AF/AE. Nikon's EXPEED 4 plays an integral role in the D4S' instantaneous response and swift performance, while enhancing energy efficiency. The camera now features a processing time that is a full 30% faster, in addition to a 200-shot buffer (JPEG) at full resolution at the maximum continuous mode.
The D4S also retains the features of its predecessor. The Nikon D4S HD-SLR aligns 15 cross-type sensors in the center to detect contrast data in both vertical and horizontal planes. In addition to detecting each AF-NIKKOR lens with an aperture of f/5.6 or lower, the camera also utilizes nine cross-type sensors that are fully functional when using compatible NIKKOR lenses and a teleconverter with a combined aperture value up to f/8.
At the core of the Nikon D4S is a newly developed 16.2-megapixel FX-format CMOS Sensor (36 x 23.9mm). The image sensor works in tandem with the latest generation of Nikon?s image processing engine, dubbed EXPEED 4, to bolster image quality, color and sharpness in both stills and video. The benefits of EXPEED 4 go beyond high-speed image processing to provide real time noise reduction, along with depth and clarity gradation rendering.
Thanks in part to the new EXPEED 4 processing engine, the Nikon D4S is giving users a native ISO range from 100-25,600 expandable from 50 ISO (Lo-1) to 409,600 ISO (Hi-4).
Nikon's 91,000-pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Metering III system returns on the D4S to help capture true-to-life colors. The system works by analyzing the variables within each scene and recognizing factors such as color and brightness values with exactness. This data is then interpreted and compared against the camera?s on-board database to implement various settings.
Other features include:
- New RAW SIZE S files: In addition to shooting JPEG, full size RAW (NEF) and TIFF files, the Nikon D4S also has a new file setting to enhance workflow, RAW SIZE S. This setting allows for shooting 12-bit uncompressed Nikon NEF files that are approximately half the size (2464 x 1640) of standard uncompressed RAW files.
- Faster transfer rate: When connected via LAN, users can now transmit files using Gigabit Ethernet (1000 Base-T LAN).
- Improved battery life: With the addition of a new EN-EL18a Lithium-Ion battery, the D4S can outlast the action with up 3,020 (CIPA rating) shots in single mode and 5,960 shots (Nikon testing) in continuous mode.
- Dual card slots: The D4S uses both CF cards as well as the fast XQD card format.
The D4S also offers enhanced video quality and video-friendly features:
- Full HD video in variable frame rates - a new 1080/60p option for increased flexibility in post. Users can also shoot at 1080 30p or a cinematic 24p, as well as various other NTSC and PAL frame rates and resolutions. By utilizing the B-Frame data compression method, users can record H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC format video for up to 29:59 minutes per clip.
- Selectable image area: Users now have the ability to select an image area in Live View mode to match the glass or shooting style. To best suit the scene, FX, DX (1.5x) and 2.7x cropping is available.
- Expanded ISO range for video and auto ISO control: D4S? FX-format image sensor and EXPEED 4 work hand-in-hand to render a natural transition between bright and dark scenes, all while delivering rich tones, sharp edges and minimized noise, even at high ISOs. The D-Movie mode has awide standard ISO range - from 200 to 25,600 to shoot in nearly any lighting. Furthermore, the ISO can be pushed up to an ISO 409,600 (Hi-4) equivalent. Additionally, D4S lets you maintain manual exposure for controlled shutter speeds and aperture settings while the camera automatically dictates the ISO maximum sensitivity from 400 to Hi-4.
- Uncompressed 1080 60p: The D4S allows direct output of uncompressed files via HDMI.
- Manual control: Like the D4 HD-SLR, D4S offers full manual control when shooting video.
- Simultaneous recording: When recording to an external digital recorder via HDMI, the D4S can now simultaneously write to the CF or XQD card.
- Improved sound: The range of audio frequency is now selectable, with options such as Wide Range and Voice Range. Wind noise reduction and audio levels can be changed during recording.
- Smoother exposure transition during time-lapse and interval-time shooting: The camera renders exposure transitions with smoothness. Such scenes have been difficult to capture in manual or auto exposure mode, but now users can apply an auto exposure to achieve professional-grade time-lapse and interval-time shooting.
- NIKKOR lens compatibility: Nikon has a NIKKOR lens system, with more than 80 lenses including 65 FX-format lenses with a variety of focal lengths and features, including VR vibration reduction.
The camera's shutter has been tested to 400,000 cycles, and the camera chassis is constructed of lightweight and durable magnesium alloy. Additionally, the camera is sealed and gasketed from moisture, dust and electromagnetic interference to resist the elements.
The camera is equipped with a high-resolution 921k dot, 3.2-inch LCD screen. Photographers have the ability to customize the color of the LCD monitor. Additionally, the LCD monitor retains its auto-brightness function that automatically adjusts the brightness of the monitor to increase visibility and conserve battery life.
The Nikon D4S HD-SLR will be available March 6, 2014 for a suggested retail price of $6499.95.