Sunday, January 8, 2012

Nikon D4 - 5 Years in the Making

As someone who has been a long time Nikon user, I have spent the last 5 years blissful in my use of the Nikon D3, and then, when I needed video, the D3s. I too have had (and still do) a line of Canon lenses and cameras for some time - which was my answer to the failings of the D2X until the D3 came out. I know that there have been some folks who felt a demand and desire for the larger D3x files, however, for my applications, the extra size wasn't critical for me.

I encourage you to take a read of Joe McNally's blog here, for his take on the amazement of the camera - I think he and I are on the same wavelength in that we both saw the D3 as the answer to our needs. The D4, seems to be the answer to our dreams. Rob Galbraith has an exhaustive review of the specs, and comparisons to the previous D3 line, which is well worth a read, here. And a head-to-head on the D3 v. EOS 1D X (interesting - the " " (space) otherwise defines the EOS 1D X against the old old Nikon 1DX. You'd have thought Canon would have thought about that) appears here. Nikon Rumors has a comparative spec sheet here.

Corey Rich put together a really exceptional video here:

Because of Vimeo compression has some purists asking questions, all of which are answered by the fact that Vimeo has compression limitations. Rich promises a behind-the-scenes video next month, and at some point the uncompressed version will be available that will put to rest the questions being asked.

We look forward to getting our hands on a D4 once there are more than 10 of them in the world (an interesting insight gleaned from Rich's comments on his video) and it can be used outside of a conference room (as indicated by the PDN blog post here).

(Continued after the Jump)

Here are a collection of videos we like that give you more insights into the camera. And, if you want to pre-order one online, you can sign up to be notified of it's availablity on Amazon here.

Nikon D4 Product Tour here:

Wireless shooting with iPad here:

Nikon Movie - I AM PUSHING THE LIMITS here:

Nikon D4 Menu Walk-Through here:

David Hobby, Mr. Strobist himself, has decided he is Bailing on the Nikon D4. He's gone, instead, going for a used medium format camera. He's spent $10k to make the leap, and for what it seems like from what he's described, it works for him.

One point that David made in his post was " If I were still shooting daily sports, I'd probably be lining up to preorder this camera just like everyone else." Frankly, there isn't so much of a market for this now, to be honest. Ask any sports photographer and they will tell you that there's no money in sports photography, thanks to the likes of US Presswire, Cal Sport Media, Icon, and so on. Unless, of course, you're staff somewhere, or just so happen to have a sweet contract with a major sports magazine. A freelancer who shoots sports will have to be selling internal organs to be able to afford this camera - not because the camera's too expensive - it's not - but because they just don't have the money. However, if you're staff, you'll just put in for your next camera to be a D4, and hope you have a friendly editor who will let it through - or orders you a D3 now while you can still get them.

For anyone who is in Nikon, the notion of switching to Canon is really now a non-starter, if they were thinking that. If you own a D3, you will eventually own the D4 if for no other reason than you'll need to upgrade your camera in a few years, and with a 5 year cycle for new bodies, the D5 won't be out when you need the D4. The multimedia, for so many reasons, does trump the Canon, and I am interested to try out all my Nikon primes on the D4.

Lastly, consider the cost-justification. If the life-cycle of the D4 is 5 years, that's 60 months. At $100 a month ($200 a month if you have a backup camera, which you should) if you can't justify a $100 a month expenditure for the primary tool you use to create your images, then are you really a professional? It's a tool, and if you need it, then buy it. If, however, you are considering it as just the latest and greatest toy, then don't. Thankfully, if you're a member of Nikon Professional Services, they were kind enough to send out an email to facilitate working professionals getting the camera before all the non-professionals.

* Note - We have, in the past, been a sponsored speaker by Nikon through professional organizations.

Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.


Unknown said...

Hey John...LOVE your blog..wondering if i could contact you about something?

Tony Bynum said...

Thanks for the write up. Just one question, you say, "Thankfully, if you're a member of Nikon Professional Services, they were kind enough to send out an email to facilitate working professionals getting the camera before all the non-professionals." I've been an NPS member for 10 years, never saw an email or a notice from them . . . hm . . . Cheers! Tony Bynum

Rick Lewis said...

Great post. I have used Nikon cameras since about 1967. I never gave up on them and I am glad I didn't. I now own a D3 and a D3s. I absolutely love them. I don't need more than 12mp for my work so I won't be upgrading until one of my D3's breaks.

Helios said...

Maybe its just me, but why are we putting video on DSLr's ? For one the video isnt good at all and the sound is garbage, yeah it might be good if there was somehting you really wanted to get a video of, but why wouldnt you just take a picture instead ? I feel like its only going to make the cost of the camera more expensive for something that is obsolete. If i want to spend 6k+ on a camera thats going to shoot video then im going to buy a video camera, not a DSLR.

Please correct me if i am wrong. If the camera is recording video then the sensor is constantly working. Over the life time of the camera will this have more wear on the camera than just taking pictures ?

Finally, I am currently a nikon user and have been for a while. But does it seem like nikon is playing catchup with the MP ? I know nikon has amazing metereing and color realization but seeing as a shoot sports its would be nice to be able to crop a shot i wasnt perfectly framed on and not decrease my image qual as much.

Unknown said...

Sounds like an amazing camera - But is it enough better then a D3s to upgrade 2 bodies for my work NO - yes when I need to replace my D3s's. But I don't think I can justify it for a while.
In the mean time maybe I can hope for a D4s that has 2 IDENTICAL memory card slots - (Yes, I prefer CF) and maybe by then Nikon will think GigaBit & USB 3.0 are worth the effort on a $6000 body.

Photographer in Yorkshire said...

Brilliant blog, thanks for sharing, keep up the good work.

Joel Conner said...

I had thought about making the switch to Nikon, but then...the new Canon bodies were announced. I decided I am fine right where I am. Maybe one day I will cross over, but right now, the gap seems to have been lessened.

Anonymous said...

This is an amazing camera. And I am excited to try this one too in addition to Canon. John, can I contact you for something?

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