Nikon D4 Announced

I got an email today from B&H announcing the Nikon D4. What are all your thoughts on this announcement? How does it face up against the Canon line? Does this camera effect the DSLR market, or is it just another camera?
Read about it on engadget or at B&H's site.

Comments

  • I'm surprised nobody has commented yet, but actual info wasn't availible in the usual places i'd find DSLR camera news. I guess it's been over shadowed by the Red epic/ Scarlet + Canon c300 news, and as Nikon haven't really been focusing on video, which is what most of us around here are interested in.
    I did a little search and found out some video spec:
    [quote]Video
    All of these variations have two different file size (quality) options:
    1,920 × 1,080 (full or cropped) at 29.97p, 25p and 23.976p.
    1,280 × 720 at 59.94p, 50p, 29.97p and 25p.
    640 × 424 at 29.97p and 25p.
    H.264/MPEG4 stored in .MOV files.
    24–36,000x time-lapse mode.
    Audio
    Mono internal mic.
    3.5mm jack for external stereo mic, with power.
    Auto and manual level control.
    Linear PCM recording.
    3.5mm stereo output jack.
    [/quote]
    There isn't anything here that isn't possible with existing Canon DSLR cameras, and the bit rate is 24mbps and save in .H264 format, which is lower than the bit rate of Canon's range which is about 32mbps(from what i've read). Although Nikon's lenses are said to be better than Canon's range and lenses are a big factor, i'd be interested to find out what the low light capabilities are as one of the older Nikon DSLR's had great low noise results.
    Personally i don't think this is much of a videographer camera, it's about £500 cheaper than the Canon 1DX, but the 1DX seems like more of a progression, where as the D4 is more of a catch up, but probably an excellent photography camera none the less.
  • I personally don't not squat about what all the different specs mean in terms of a good or bad camera, which is why my post is so short, so thanks for the analysis.
  • I read somewhere that this camera could output uncompressed video. I'll have to try track that down and take another look to confirm.

  • I read somewhere that this camera could output uncompressed video. I'll have to try track that down and take another look to confirm.

    One report here
  • Ah, thanks Darren. So yeah, having HDMI direct out, so you can record uncompressed to an external storage device, along with auto-focus abilities while filming, are both notable improvements over the canon offerings. The audio seems to have been more thoroughly planned here, as well.
  • Good find Darren, this sounds far more exciting than I originally thought, I'll look forward to the sample videos that will come soon hopefully, I want to see just how well this performs in low light.

  • Ah, thanks Darren. So yeah, having HDMI direct out, so you can record uncompressed to an external storage device, along with auto-focus abilities while filming, are both notable improvements over the canon offerings. The audio seems to have been more thoroughly planned here, as well.

    Yeah, that is actually a pretty huge deal. This year is going to be veeeery interesting.
  • Just spotted this on Vimeo.
    http://vimeo.com/34666308
    this was recorded onto compact flash rather than the uncompressed external, still looks pretty sharp, and thats a nice clean camp fire shot, I'm impressed.
  • edited January 2012
    Those Nikon specs are quite underwhelming, as usual.
    Um...the real purpose of the HDMI out is to connect to a Lilliput monitor.
    Notice the term "...can be ported to". HDMI is a display-only connection. AFAIK, the only way to record from it would be to downsample to analog.(component RBG), via some intermediary playback device.
    Just another example of camera makers fudging the specs.
    The whole idea behind HDMI is to prevent uber hi quality transmission to devices that do not restrict the analog ports out during playback.
    HDMI is also a trojen horse for consumers. This year, they are going to roll out the image constraint token ICM update that is basically DRM. Bootleg BD's will no longer display at highest resolution.
    Everyone thinking HDMI was great has a wakeup call coming.

    P.S. Nikon still has no histogram? Their customers must not need it, or maybe not even know there IS such a thing. :)

  • Those Nikon specs are quite underwhelming, as usual.
    Um...the real purpose of the HDMI out is to connect to a Lilliput monitor.
    Notice the term "...can be ported to". HDMI is a display-only connection. AFAIK, the only way to record from it would be to downsample to analog.(component RBG), via some intermediary playback device.
    Just another example of camera makers fudging the specs.
    The whole idea behind HDMI is to prevent uber hi quality transmission to devices that do not restrict the analog ports out during playback.
    HDMI is also a trojen horse for consumers. This year, they are going to roll out the image constraint token ICM update that is basically DRM. Bootleg BD's will no longer display at highest resolution.
    Everyone thinking HDMI was great has a wakeup call coming.

    P.S. Nikon still has no histogram? Their customers must not need it, or maybe not even know there IS such a thing. :)

    I don't agree. This seems to be the one time that Nikon has got it right with the video stuff (but will await reviews). If it's truly clean HDMI out (which so far seems to be the case) then with something like the Atomos Ninja you can record HDMI straight from the HDMI out. Nothing like converting to RGB or HDMI being "display only".
    Also note the headphone-in option...seems like a no-brainer for audio monitoring, but so far none of the Canon DSLRs have got it AFAIK.
    Also, bit rate is not everything. I read some comments from people who tested the D4 and favoured it over the Canon offerings.
    But...the proof is in the pudding...so let's see. Also, it's way out of my budget...so not buying one anytime soon!
  • edited January 2012
    I don't think anyone is autofocusing during filming, especially not Canon users. We use Magic Lantern's on-screen visual focusing and manually focus the lens.
    Magic Lantern provides several different ways to track focus as well as zebra stripes, an intervalometer, and too many other goodies to list. ML on Canon is the tool of choice for independents.
    Unfortunately, ML does not work on Nikon.
    I looked at that "Atomic Ninja", and it DOES NOT record full frame uncompressed from HDMI, it records downgraded HDMI video to ProRes 422(Apple).
    They're fooling Apple users into thinking they're getting high quality simply by converting the colorspace to 4:2:2.
  • edited January 2012

    his was recorded onto compact flash rather than the uncompressed external, still looks pretty sharp, and thats a nice clean camp fire shot, I'm impressed.

    This was taken with a $300 sport camera that has twice the specs. The Nikon spot is trying to ride on the GoPro's awesomeness.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUEZCxBcM78

  • I don't think anyone is autofocusing during filming, especially not Canon users. We use Magic Lantern's on-screen visual focusing and manually focus the lens.
    Magic Lantern provides several different ways to track focus as well as zebra stripes, an intervalometer, and too many other goodies to list. ML on Canon is the tool of choice for independents.
    Unfortunately, ML does not work on Nikon.
    I looked at that "Atomic Ninja", and it DOES NOT record full frame uncompressed from HDMI, it records downgraded HDMI video to ProRes 422(Apple).
    They're fooling Apple users into thinking they're getting high quality simply by converting the colorspace to 4:2:2.

    sure, the Ninja is converting to Prores, but there are other HDMI/SDI recorders too that record uncompressed (like the Blackmagic design one). Not sure about them trying to "fool" users btw --> it's clearly layed out on the website as to what the Ninja does.
    In any case, surely it's a GOOD thing that Nikon is upping the stakes?

  • This was taken with a $300 sport camera that has twice the specs. The Nikon spot is trying to ride on the GoPro's awesomeness.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUEZCxBcM78

    twice the specs? Not sure how you go about that. Compare the size of the sensor for starters....Try to use the GoPro in lowlight. What about changing lenses? etc. I'm not sure what you mean with the 2nd bit? "The Nikon spot(...)"
  • edited January 2012
    They're trying to generate buzz by portraying the Nikon DSLR as a sports camera, which it's not, because it doesn't really stand out as a DSLR. They're trying to run ads similar to GoPro to take your mind off the specs.
    Sure, the GoPro doesn't do 4K stills, that's where the DSLR excels. But the Nikon spot is on shooting video, which it DOESN'T particularly excel at. Nor does it have an intervalometer, AFAIK, like GoPro.
    I guess to answer the OP's question, if you're going to do independent filmmaking, Canon and GoPro would be your best bet.:)
  • edited January 2012
    Really unsure what you mean. Of course they're trying to create a buzz....all companies do (remember the Canon C300 campaign?) So far both the video and photo communities seem to have responded very positively indeed to the D4 (specs).
    Also, do you really think the GoPro and the Nikon D4 would target the same audience?
    GoPro for independent filmmaking....that's the first time I've seen that recommendation? I really can't agree with that recommendation.
  • I don't know where you got the idea that Nikon was targeting the sports camera area, they simply had a launch video showing people doing sports in visually interesting locations, the type of location that shows off what the camera can do, how well it replicate colour and detail.
    They are certainly not attempting to compete with the GoPro area, very few people have the money to risk attaching a £4500 camera in the same places they would with a £250 sports camera.
    Also, as a owner of both a Canon DSLR and an owner of a GoPro HD 2, i can add that, i don't use Magic Lantern, but i still get great visuals, but i use manual focusing as i work with narrative film work. The D4's auto focus will be useful to documentary and news areas so it is a good advancement in the video department of DSLR cameras.
    I can also tell you the GoPro, where it is an excellent camera, it doesn't really compare with DSLR footage, and it's true bit-rates are not everything but the GoPro records at about 14mbps and has a single fixed lens - Canon DSLR's record at double that and have interchangeable lenses, a good lens can make the visuals even sharper.
    You seem you be judging the D4 before we've had a good look at the camera, at least wait until theres more videos online, then once it's out there will inevitably be comparisons between it and Canon's 5D mark II + 1DX.
  • edited January 2012
    OK, first off, a full frame sensor is great for the oldtimers because they have the old glass, and they want the numbers on the lens to match the viewfinder. They're buggy that way, everything needs to match up and all, you know how the oldskoolers are.
    However, the reduction in sensor pixel density on the D4 kind of negates any quality gains. The minimum bar now is 18 MP. The D4 is 16 MP.
    Personally, I like the extra reaching distance that the crop factor of 1.6 gives because I can buy reasonably priced lenses in the shorter focal lengths.
    And for video, the maximum resolution I'll ever need is 1080. A bigger sensor doesn't help because the extra resolution is going to get rendered down in the end. I prefer to have higher pixel density.
    Anyway, OK, let's wait for the reviews. Peace.:)
  • I'm hardly an old timer, i love the full frame sensor in my 5D, i can get shots where my friend who uses my old 550d can't, we ended up using my 5D for most of the interior filming in his short last spring.
    I also like old glass, it's pretty cheap on ebay, I filmed the majority of my biggest production on a 35mm lens bought for £20 which gave me nice natural tones and a pretty sharp image, i'd say the lens is sharper than my new Canon 20mm lens. We also have a 50mm lens which must be about 30 years old that is pretty beautiful.
    18mp is standard for canon, but more mp doesn't really mean a better image, i think you should go do some googling about the topic.
  • I do love my nifty fifty too.:)
    What I mean by MP count is vs. sensor size "ratio", and as compared to where the shot ends up eventually.
    Since YouTube and the online photo sites are becoming the new playground for all things multimedia.
  • However, the reduction in sensor pixel density on the D4 kind of negates any quality gains. The minimum bar now is 18 MP. The D4 is 16 MP.

    Who is setting this minimum bar? Unless you are shooting for billboards, 16 MP is plenty for almost anything. Something like 95% of all photos published are printed at less than 4x6", or are viewed on the web, which requires even less resolution. Adding more pixels on the sensor just reduces low-light performance and creates a bigger number for camera companies to use for marketing. More pixels isn't necessarily better. 1080p HD video is 2 MP, and can be blown up to fill a 12 foot screen without too much trouble.
    I agree though, that we need to wait for some hands-on reviews, once some people have hand a chance to use this camera for at least a few weeks, to get a realistic view of its various features. At this point, pretty much everyone is working from their interpretation of a spec sheet, which is not the most reliable way to evaluate new gear.
  • edited January 2012
    Not to keep this going :), but I would liken this debate to the "more than a handful is a waste" retort commonly used by those less endowed.
    Obviously, the more endowed are not making any apologies, nor do they wish to downsize.:)
  • Agreed. Especially the part about pushing Canon, specifically with their sluggish AF system. That's one of the reasons I use MagLant, because my Canon simply refuses to focus sometimes.
    I'm not saying 16MP doesn't cut it, yeah it does. But a $6000 camera with a pixel count less than a sub $1000 Canon just doesn't seem commensurate with that level of camera.
    Anyway, I'm looking at the AF specs, and they REALLY went crazy in the right direction. A fast accurate AF system w/tracking? That's the holy grail.

  • Agreed. Especially the part about pushing Canon, specifically with their sluggish AF system. That's one of the reasons I use MagLant, because my Canon simply refuses to focus sometimes.
    I'm not saying 16MP doesn't cut it, yeah it does. But a $6000 camera with a pixel count less than a sub $1000 Canon just doesn't seem commensurate with that level of camera.
    Anyway, I'm looking at the AF specs, and they REALLY went crazy in the right direction. A fast accurate AF system w/tracking? That's the holy grail.

    As mentioned before though, there's always a trade-off: all things equal, more pixels for a given sensor, means less light per pixel and therefore worse low-light performance. Also, the need for more pixels is affected by what the target market uses it for. For instance landscape photography really benefits from a high pixel count, whereas for instance journalists for newspapers would be more worried about responsiveness, reliability etc.
  • edited January 2012
    Heh, budwzr was actually responding to a post I made, then deleted, which kind of messes with the context of what he was saying. My fault, and apologize. He was quicker in reading and responding than I anticipated.
    But my erstwhile post did make the point you bring out, 3Dmus, about the negative impacts of higher resolution.
    I'm not saying 16MP doesn't cut it, yeah it does. But a $6000 camera with a pixel count less than a sub $1000 Canon just doesn't seem commensurate with that level of camera.

    I see this more as a testament to how much the manufacturers are needlessly boosting the resolution in the more consumer-oriented cameras as a selling tool. To the untrained comsumer, 21 MP is better than 16 MP and means more detail and better resolution of the image, but this isn't actually true. There are way more factors involved than a mere pixel count, and the fact that Nikon deems 16 MP sufficient for their flagship professional camera effectively demonstrates this.
  • edited January 2012
    Interesting.
    I like the AF Tracking, that's definitely groundbreaking, but is it reliable? Or just bling? I guess time will tell.
    That AF lock speed is amazing too.
  • That has a lot of very impressive features for video. Lots of remote options. Cool stuff!
  • 422 AVC Intra out on the HDMI connection? AVC Intra is 100Mbps. Hard to believe. I smell something.

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