Nikon D4 DSLR Announced – Just in Time for CES 2012

CES 2012 is just days away, but news of products well be seeing and hopefully reviewing are beginning to leak. Todays biggest announcement is the Nikon D4, a full-frame digital SLR and it carries a huge pedigree behind it. The predecessor to the D3 this camera has a few interesting body changes, including a bevy of controls along its side, instead of on top, for easier access.

As video shooters begin using cameras originally designed for still shooting, this is an added plus. The D4 has a plethora of ports added to its larger body form, including mic and headphone jacks, mini-USB and HDMI. Nikon's D4 can link multi cameras wirelessly or via Ethernet ports.Weighing in at close to 3 pounds, [with battery], the size of this camera might make it look like overkill, but every indication shows its all beef no fat.

[image:blog_post:13044]Many [image:blog_post:13045]serious wedding and event shooters prefer a more solid feeling camera over a light weight plastic hull, weekend warriors might need to weigh their needs over wants. If your needs call for a camera of this caliber, you wouldn't be doing much handheld video shooting anyway.[image:blog_post:13046] MSRP for the camera is about $6,000 and it will be available in late February of this year.

Below are highlights of the new features to the Nikon D4:

  • The camera will use the new XQD format that Sony just manufactured. It's basically a hybrid between a CF card and an SD card
  • The camera will have an uncompressed HDMI output (makes for a really high-end recording if you have a device like the Atomos Ninja).
  • The HDMI output can disable all of the information that surrounds the image so that you can record a clean video feed.
  • The D4 has an ISO that can go as low as 50, which should make it less noisy than Canons which for now can only get down to 100.
  • The camera uses the AVCHD codec, which is now a standard for video editing.
  • Like usual, this camera has a built-in intervalometer for time-lapse shooting (a feature that requires the purchase of an intervalometer from Canon)
  • The viewfinder has 100% coverage (most viewfinders have only 95% or lower) so you can see the whole image when shooting.

In addition to the f-mount D4 DSLR, Nikons new 85mm lens has a very low f-stop (1.8) which should allow shooters to get a very shallow depth of field. We hope to get a chance to see this camera in action while were attending CES and plan to get a review unit as soon as possible. Videomaker will have seven staff members and a couple freelance writers in attendance as well as our very capable staffers holding down the fort delivering you all the latest news. This will be about the 8th Consumer Electronics Show that I've attended and it's like Christmas for a kid – the more 'teasers' like this we get, the more difficult the wait becomes! We hope you follow us as we bring you all the video gear news that we can straight from the show floor.

Here are a few more specs of the Nikon D4 to look over:

Lens mount: Nikon F mount (with AF coupling and AF contacts)

Effective pixels:16.2 million

Image sensor : 36.0 x 23.9 mm CMOS sensor (Nikon FX format)

Total pixels: 16.6 million

File format: NEF (RAW): 12 or 14 bit, lossless compressed, compressed, or uncompressed; TIFF (RGB); JPEG: JPEG-Baseline compliant with fine (approx. 1 : 4), normal (approx. 1 : 8), or basic (approx. 1 : 16) compression (Size priority); Optimal quality compression available; NEF (RAW)+JPEG: Single photograph recorded in both NEF (RAW) and JPEG formats

Media: XQD and Type I CompactFlash memory cards (UDMA compliant)

Dual card slots: Either card can be used for primary or backup storage or for separate storage of NEF (RAW) and JPEG images; pictures can be copied between cards.

Diopter adjustment: -3 – +1 m-1

Shutter Speed: 1/8000 – 30 s in steps of 1/3, 1/2, or 1 EV, bulb, X250

Release mode: Single frame, Continuous low speed, Continuous high speed, Quiet shutter-release, Self-timer, Mirror up

Approximate frame advance rate: Up to 10 fps (CL) or 10-11 fps (CH)

Metering: TTL exposure metering using RGB sensor with approximately 91K (91,000) pixels

Matrix: 3D color matrix metering III (type G and D lenses); color matrix metering III (other CPU lenses); color matrix metering available with non-CPU lenses if user provides lens data

White balance bracketing: 2-9 frames in steps of 1, 2, or 3

ADL bracketing: 2 frames using selected value for one frame or 3-5 frames using preset values for all frames

ISO sensitivity: ISO 100 – 12800 in steps of 1/3, 1/2, or 1 EV. Can also be set to approx. 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, or 1 EV (ISO 50 equivalent) below ISO 100 or to approx. 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, 1, 2, 3, or 4 EV (ISO 204800 equivalent) above ISO 12800; auto ISO sensitivity control available

White balance: Auto (2 types), incandescent, fluorescent (7 types), direct sunlight, flash, cloudy, shade, preset manual (up to 4 values can be stored), choose color temperature (2500 K-10000 K), all with fine-tuning.

Live View: Lens servo Autofocus (AF): Single-servo autofocus (AF-S); full-time servo autofocus (AF-F) Manual focus (M) AF-area mode Face-priority AF, wide-area AF, normal-area AF, subject-tracking AF Autofocus Contrast-detect AF anywhere in frame (camera selects focus point automatically when face-priority AF or subject-tracking AF is selected)

Movie: Metering TTL exposure metering using main image sensor Frame size (pixels) and frame rate 1,920 x 1,080; 30 p (progressive), 25 p, 24 p 1,280 x 720; 60 p, 50 p, 30 p, 25 p 640 x 424; 30p, 25p File format MOV Video compression H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding Audio recording format Linear PCM Audio recording device Built-in monaural or external stereo microphone; sensitivity adjustable ISO sensitivity Automatically adjusted in the range ISO 200-12800 or ISO 200-Hi 4 Other options Index marking, time-lapse photography

Monitor: Monitor 3.2-in., approx. 921k-dot (VGA) TFT LCD with 170 degree viewing angle, approximately 100% frame coverage, and automatic monitor brightness control using ambient brightness sensor

Interface: USB Hi-Speed USB HDMI output Type C mini-pin HDMI connector; can be used simultaneously with camera monitor Audio input Stereo mini-pin jack (3.5mm diameter; plug-in power supported) Audio output Stereo mini-pin jack (3.5mm diameter) Ten-pin remote terminal Can be used to connect optional remote control, GP-1 GPS unit, or GPS device compliant with NMEA0183 version 2.01 or 3.01 (requires optional MC-35 GPS adapter cord and cable with D-sub 9-pin connector) Ethernet RJ-45 connector Peripheral connector For WT-5

Dimensions/weight: Dimensions (W x H x D) – Approx. 160 x 156.5 x 90.5 mm (6.3 x 6.2 x 3.6 in.) Weight – Approx. 1340 g (2 lb. 15.3 oz.) with battery and XQD memory card but without body cap and accessory shoe cover; approx. 1180 g/2 lb. 9.6 oz. (camera body only)

Other: Reflex mirror Quick return Depth-of-field preview When Pv button is pressed, lens aperture is stopped down to value selected by user (A and M modes) or by camera (P and S modes) Lens aperture Instant return, electronically controlled

Jennifer O'Rourke
Jennifer O'Rourke
Jennifer O’Rourke is an Emmy award-winning videographer & editor.

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