Nikon D4s: Is it a worthy upgrade to D4? written by: dartwriter101 When Nikon released its flagship camera, D4, two years ago, it was immediately the best DSLR in the market. However, the competition soon caught up with it and Nikon has now decided to up its game. As an incremental upgrade on its predecessor, the new D4s boasts of marked improvements in speed and image quality, and seeks to solidify Nikon`s leadership position among the high-end SLRs. Although D4s is ergonomically identical to its younger brother, the multitudes of upgrades are hidden inside its magnesium alloy body.
The 16 MP resolution of the camera`s CMOS sensor may not sound good on the paper, but the real world results scream the contrary. Combined with a 30 percent faster EXPEED 3 image processor, the camera renders brilliant quality pictures with absolutely no noise. Something that a higher resolution camera can only achieve after down-sampling or resizing. Low noise translates to a higher standard sensitivity of ISO 25,600. Although the sensitivity of D4s can be increased to a maximum of ISO 409,000, it becomes unstable at that speed.
Sports photographers will love the incredibly fast processor, for its ability to shoot up to 11 frames per second. Smaller size of 16 MP photos also makes it easy for the processor to post-process, which is required by the fast-action photographers for quick checking.
Nikon`s 51-point autofocus system has historically undergone umpteen upgrades. As a result, we now have a Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus module which comes equipped with a “Group AF” mode. This feature allows better tracking and focusing on multiple fast-moving small objects. The light sensitivity of the focus has had a significant boost with an expansion in detection range from -1 EV to -2 EV. Autofocus has clearly benefited from the faster processor, and is noticeably more accurate and faster.
Video and Audio
A delight for video recorders, the D4s can now record in Full HD at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (1080p), at a speed of 60 fps. An interesting addition is the new auto-exposure feature, a great tool for shooting interval-timed recordings such as time-lapse videos. It gets rid of the unforeseen differences in shot-to-shot exposure and gives a smooth video experience. The Audio system has also seen an upgrade and now features the option to select audio frequencies such as Wide Range and Vocal Range. This way you can isolate the type of sound you want to record.
Camera Construction and Handling
The D4s holds together all its instruments in a nicely packed full magnesium alloy body that is weather-sealed for protection. D4s is a type of camera that is specifically designed for professionals such as wildlife and sports photographers, who tend to have mishaps with their camera, and therefore prefer a sturdy and rugged design. D4s is built for the physical abuse that such professionals throw in its direction. A slight irritation for many could be the 1.2 kg weight of the camera which can hurt your neck after a full day`s photography. Typical of the high-end Nikon DSLRs, the built-in flash is missing. The main reason for that is the weather-sealed construction. Few minor changes have been incorporated to improve the grip on the surface. Other than these changes, D4s is practically identical to D4 on the exterior.
Nikon has added many other changes to D4s which makes it a significantly better camera than the D4 such as, a battery that can shoot 3,020 shots per charge compared to the 2,600 shots of D4, or quick two-button shortcut that can switch between the XQD and CompactFlash memory cards, and much more. Overall, the D4s promises no groundbreaking performance upgrade compared to D4, but that is only because D4 is already a great camera. Otherwise, D4s is a worthy companion for serious photographers.