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Nikon D4s Officially Announced

Nikon has just officially announced the Nikon D4s, the company's latest flagship DSLR which offers increased speed and improved performance compared to its predecessor, the D4. This professional-grade FX-format DSLR is built for the most demanding of photographers.

The hardware of the D4s is very similar to that of the D4: in fact, the D4s's body is nearly identical to that of the D4 with the exception of a few minor ergonomic improvements on the back of the camera. The D4s also has the same 16.2-megapixel sensor resolution. What has changed is the processor that lies at the heart of the camera: the D4s features Nikon's latest EXPEED 4 chip, which is up to 30% faster than the EXPEED 3. This leads to some very exciting enhancements which we discuss below.

The redesigned processor allows for faster continuous still shooting (11FPS w/AF and AE, up from 10FPS), better video quality, video framerates maxing out at 1080/60p rather than 1080/30p, 10x faster Ethernet connectivity (1Gbps, up from 100Mbps), and a longer battery life (3020 shots per charge, up from 2600).

Attached Image: nikon_D4s_cover.jpg

And with the D4s, Nikon is setting another industry first: the camera's maximum expanded sensitivity has been increased to the equivalent of ISO 409,600 (Hi 4), higher than what any other DSLR currently available offers.

Another important addition is a new "Small" RAW size, featuring 12-bit compressed files. In this mode, the camera can store almost as may RAW files in its continuous buffer as it can JPEGs (176 S RAW files vs 200 fine JPEGs).

The last key addition was made to the D4s's autofocus system. It features a new Group Area AF mode in which 5 AF sensors can be used as a group, which may be beneficial in certain shooting situations. The camera still uses the same 51-point Multi-CAM 3500FX sensor with sensitivity down to -2 EV and 15 cross-type points. The 91,000-pixel metering sensor also remains the same.

Posted Image

Other enhancements include settings additions to the menu, mainly while in live view and video mode. The list below summarizes all of the changes between the D4 and the D4s as stated by Nikon:

Image Capture
  • Processing Engine: Expeed 4 (30% faster) vs Expeed 3
  • ISO Range: 50-25600, up from 50-12800
  • Max expanded ISO ISO range: 409,600, up from 204,800
  • File formats: new Raw Size S in the D4s
  • Frame advance rate: 11 FPS, up from 10FPS
  • Continuous buffer: 200 fine JPEG (up from 170), 133 12-bit RAW (up from 92), 176 S-RAW, 104 14-bit RAW (up from 76)
Metering and AF
  • Autofocus: new Group Area AF function in the D4s
  • Face priority analysis: can be disabled on the D4s via a custom setting
  • Spot white balance in live view: can be set on the D4s
  • Preset white balance: 6 settings, up from 3
  • Framerate: 1920x1080 60/50/30/25/25p, up from 30/25/24p
  • Multi-area mode full HD 3-area D-movie: FX, DX, or 2.7x crop selectable during live view on the D4s
  • ISO auto with manual exposure: can be enabled on the D4s
  • Simultaneous recording to memory card and external recorder: can be enabled on the D4s
  • Audio frequency range: selectable wide/voice on the D4s
  • Audio adjustment during recording: available on the D4s
Handling and Performance
  • Ethernet: 1000 Base T Support (up from 100 Base T)
  • Ergonomics: shape of grip and rear control buttons improved on the D4s
  • Playback magnification: new 50%, 100%, or 200% settings on the D4s
  • Live View Movie focus point size: can be changed on the D4s
  • LCD color: can be fine-tuned on the D4s
  • Full-aperture metering during live view: available on the D4s
  • Live view image area: can be selected while in live view on the D4s
  • Interval shooting: up to 9999 exposures, up from 999
  • Battery live: 3020 shots, up from 2600 shots (will vary based on usage)
  • Interval shooting exposure smoothing: available on the D4s
The launch price of the D4s will be $6499.95 in the US, which means that its extra speed comes at a $500 premium over the D4.

While it's still too early for the D4 (launched exactly 2 years ago) to start showing its age, we are happy to see that Nikon has decided to facelift its flagship in a timely manner and bring it up to speed with today's ever-evolving technology. Frequent users of live view and video will surely appreciate the enhancements that have been made to the D4s in that area, and we also can't complain about the 11FPS framerate for stills and the longer battery life. With its expanded sensitivity, the D4s may also turn out to be the best low-light camera out there.

The full specifications for the D4s can be viewed in our camera database. The camera is expected to ship within 2 weeks.


I expect it will be worth the additional $500.  I'm just not sure if it is enough of a difference to cause the pros to upgrade.  The latter is what I am hoping for so that we see a good number D4 bodies on the used market at a good price.  Oh well, time will tell!

They're just so damn big!

I expect it will be worth the additional $500.  I'm just not sure if it is enough of a difference to cause the pros to upgrade.  The latter is what I am hoping for so that we see a good number D4 bodies on the used market at a good price.  Oh well, time will tell!


I've already seen several D4s on Ebay.


They're just so damn big!


Not any bigger than if you attached a battery grip to any other Nikon, really.

Not any bigger than if you attached a battery grip to any other Nikon, really.

Yeah I don't do that either.

I have grips on all my bodies...it feels more comfortable to me...plus it gives me the vertical shutter release and, most importantly, the extra battery, doubling my shooting capabilities.  That is extremely important during the spring when I'm working full time and shooting games several nights a week. 

The vertical release is good I know, I did have a grip for a while, but as I'm only a weekend warrior I don't really need it.
I have the Chinese versions on both my bodies. I like the handiness of them, and the extra battery power, but if you run AA batteries you will find that they don't last as long as the Nikon rechargeable pack.

Also, the dials don't always work very well on the Chinese knock-off, but then you get what you pay for, right?

I have the Nikon version which uses the same battery as the Nikon or AA.  With my "normal" shooting routine, I have never had to use AA batteries.  That said, in critical or extended shooting assignments, I usually have sufficient AA batteries and the carrier for them in case I do need extra power.