Nikon D4

Product Summary

  • Model name: Nikon D4
  • Release Date:February 2012
  • Focus Type: Autofocus
  • Format : Full Frame
  • Purchase options: Adorama | Amazon | B&H

What’s new in the Nikon D4

  • Magnesium-alloy body with full weather sealing
  • A new 16.2 megapixels FX format CMOS sensor
  • 51-point Auto-focusing system
  • Superior 10 fps shooting speed with a continuous burst lasting for more than 200 full resolution images
  • ISO range of 100-12800. Further expanded from 50-204,800
  • Compatible with XQD memory cards, the next generation in storage media with a data transfer rate of 125/MB per second.
  • An extremely fast start-up time of 0.12 seconds and shutter release lag time of 0.042
  • Active D-lighting
  • HDR imaging capabilities
  • The initial auto-focusing is blazingly fast because of the Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX auto-focus sensor module
  • Shutter-cycle of 400,000
  • Auto shutter speed and ISO detection for specific lenses
  • Glass prism optical viewfinder
  • Dual-axis virtual horizon
  • 3D color matrix metering III

Features explained

The flagship D4 is Nikon’s top-of-the-line DSLR for professional photographers looking to shoot sports, action and anything else under the sun.

The 51-point auto-focusing system

The D4’s 51-point auto-focusing system is the key to superior sharp photos in most lighting conditions. The central 15 AF points performs as cross-type for lenses equal or faster than f/5.6. For any other lenses slower than f/5.6 but faster than f/8 15 AF points are available with the central 9 working as cross-type. For lenses slower than f/8 only the central horizontal line with one point each on other side of the central point on the vertical line is available. The central point serves as the only cross type AF point.

Auto-focusing speed

The Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX auto-focus sensor module is at the heart of the blazingly fast auto-focusing system. Together with the 51 AF points the D4 can auto-focus with pin-point accuracy even in the most dimly lit conditions.

Continuous shooting speed

The D4 has a continuous shooting speed of 11 fps with locked focus and exposure on. However with metering and AE/AF on for each frame the D4 still churns out a fantastic 10 fps in full resolution.

Videos & stills

The D4 shoots FX format large JPEGs at 4,928 × 3,280 pixels. It can shoot RAW (NEF) in 12 or 14 bits and simultaneously shoot NEF+JPEG. It also shoots full HD videos at 30 and 24 fps. In 720p HD it shoots videos in 30 and 60 fps. Video format recorded are in .mov files and either of H.264 or MPEG4 compression system is used. Although the built-in mic is monaural there are options to plug in an external stereo mic jack via the 3.5mm plug. There is also a 24–36,000x time-lapse mode for shooting time lapse photography.

The viewfinder & the LCD monitor

The eye-level pentaprism viewfinder has a field of view coverage of 100% and a magnification of 0.7x. On DX format setting the viewfinder has a approx 97% coverage. The eyepoint is 18mm.

The D4 boasts a 3.2” LCD TFT monitor with 921,000 dots resolution. Even in bright sunshine the ambient brightness sensor ensures that the images displayed & reviewed are sharp and easy to view. It allows up to 46x enlargements for reviewing pictures shot at the highest resolution. The monitor has a wide 170˚ viewing angle.


The D4 comes with dual card slots. One of them is for the standard CF card compatible with UDMA 7 and the other one is for a XQD card. the two cards can be used to either record the same images / data, or used as a complimentary with each other like recording in one when the other is full, or record RAW in one and the JPEG in the other etc.

Dual-axis virtual horizon

The D4 comes with both a viewfinder (1degree increments) and a LCD monitor (5 ˚ increments) based dual-axis virtual horizon detection function that operates to let the photographer know whether he is perfectly level side to side and front to back. This is ideally suitable for professional photographers.

Other ports and compliances

The D4 comes with a Ethernet port for transferring of images to a computer or central ftp server via a RJ45 jack. There is also a 3.5mm jack terminal for plugging an external stereo mic jack. There is also a terminal for plugging a wireless transmitter WT-5A/B/C/D. the camera is also compliant with an optional remote control, GPS Unit GP-1.

Durability in severe environmental conditions 

The D4’s body is comprised of strong-yet-lightweight magnesium alloy. This assures the camera’s superb reliability even in the most demanding environmental conditions

What are missing / wish list

Launched in early 2012, the D4 is the new flagship for FX format Nikon DSLRs. The engineers at Nikon have packed in almost every tiny improvement over the last few years. The ergonomics of the camera are pretty much the similar as well as the general feel in the hands; however some buttons and dials have switched places such as the new video recording button has taken the place where the old mode dial used to be. The advanced mode dial has not been improved. These are some bits of examples where Nikon could have improved the camera. However they have also done some good changes like the new function button. The fact that it can be separately programmed is wonderful.

Similar products

The older D3X and the rival Canon 1DX are two cameras that can be looked into. In fact, if you are not married to nikon with superior specs & better performance the Canon EOS 1DX is a clear winner.

Should I buy it?

At $6000 the D4 is certainly the best Nikon that your money can buy if you are a Nikon Shooter. This is a tool that is best used by the hands by a professional who knows what he is doing and can bring out the best in it. In the hands of an amateur who don’t know how to shoot, don’t expect that if you spend an insane amount of money you can start to shoot like a pro. So if you’re a pro and you absolutely need this beast, go right ahead and buy it. If not, then try looking at something like the D600, which is the smallest Nikon full frame DSLR retailing at around $2000 as the better choice.

Sample Images by Nikon D4 on Flickr

Nikon D4 Specifications

mage sensor36.0 x 23.9 mm CMOS sensor (Nikon FX format)
Total pixels16.6 million
Dust-reduction systemImage sensor cleaning, Image Dust Off reference data (requires optional Capture NX 2 software)
Effective pixels16.2 million
Lens mountNikon F mount (with AF coupling and AF contacts)
Image size (pixels) 1FX format (36×24): 4,928 x 3,280 [L], 3,696 x 2,456 [M], 2,464 x 1,640 [S]
1.2x (30×20): 4,096 x 2,720 [L], 3,072 x 2,040 [M], 2,048 x 1,360 [S]
DX format (24×16): 3,200 x 2,128 [L], 2,400 x 1,592 (M), 1,600 x 1,064 (S)
5:4 (30×24): 4,096 x 3,280 [L], 3,072 x 2,456 [M], 2,048 x 1,640 [S]
FX-format photographs taken in movie live view (16:9): 4,928 x 2,768 [L], 3,696 x 2,072 [M], 2,464 x 1,384 [S]
Image size (pixels) 2DX-format photographs taken in movie live view (16:9): 3,200 x 1,792 [L], 2,400 x 1,344 [M], 1,600 x 896 [S]
FX-format photographs taken in movie live view (3:2): 4,928 x 3,280 [L], 3,696 x 2,456 [M], 2,464 x 1,640 [S]
DX-format photographs taken in movie live view (3:2): 3,200 x 2,128 [L], 2,400 x 1,592 [M], 1,600 x 1,064 [S]
A DX-based format is used for photographs taken using the DX (24×16) 1.5x image area; an FX-based format is used for all other photographs
Storage File formatNEF (RAW): 12 or 14 bit, lossless compressed, compressed or uncompressed
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
Picture Control SystemCan be selected from Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape; selected Picture Control can be modified; storage for custom Picture Controls
MediaXQD and Type I CompactFlash memory cards (UDMA compliant)
Dual card slotsEither 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
File systemDCF (Design Rule for Camera File System) 2.0, DPOF (Digital Print Order Format), Exif (Exchangeable Image File Format for Digital Still Cameras) 2.3, PictBridge
ViewfinderEye-level pentaprism single-lens reflex viewfinder
Frame coverageFX (36×24): Approx. 100% horizontal and 100% vertical
1.2x (30×20): Approx. 97% horizontal and 97% vertical
DX (24×16): Approx. 97% horizontal and 97% vertical
5:4 (30×24): Approx. 97% horizontal and 100% vertical
MagnificationApprox. 0.7x (50 mm f/1.4 lens at infinity, -1.0 m-1)
Eyepoint18 mm (-1.0 m-1; from center surface of viewfinder eyepiece lens)
Diopter adjustment-3 to +1 m-1
Focusing screenType B BriteView Clear Matte Mark VIII screen with AF area brackets and framing grid
Reflex mirrorQuick return
Depth-of-field previewWhen 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 apertureInstant return, electronically controlled
Compatible lensesCompatible with AF NIKKOR lenses, including type G and D lenses (some restrictions apply to PC-NIKKOR lenses), DX lenses [using DX (24×16) image area], AI-P NIKKOR lenses and non-CPU AI lenses (exposure modes A and M only); IX-NIKKOR lenses, lenses for the F3AF and non-AI lenses cannot be used
Shutter TypeElectronically-controlled vertical-travel focal-plane shutter
Speed1/8,000 to 30 s in steps of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV, bulb, X250
Flash sync speedX=1/250 s; synchronizes with shutter at 1/250 s or slower
Release modesS (single frame), CL (continuous low speed), CH (continuous high speed), Q (quiet shutter-release), (self-timer), MUP (mirror up)
Frame advance rateUp to approx. 10 fps (CL) or approx. 10 to 11 fps (CH)
Self-timer2 s, 5 s, 10 s, 20 s; 1 to 9 exposures at intervals of 0.5, 1, 2 or 3 s
Exposure MeteringTTL exposure metering using RGB sensor with approx. 91K (91,000) pixels
Metering method 1Matrix: 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
Center-weighted: Weight of 75% given to 12-mm circle in center of frame; diameter of circle can be changed to 8, 15 or 20 mm, or weighting can be based on average of entire frame (non-CPU lenses use 12-mm circle or average of entire frame)
Metering method 2Spot: Meters 4-mm circle (about 1.5% of frame) centered on selected focus point (on center focus point when non-CPU lens is used)
Range (ISO 100, f/1.4 lens, 20deg.C)Matrix or center-weighted metering: -1 to 20 EV
Spot metering: 2 to 20 EV
Exposure meter couplingCombined CPU and AI
Exposure modesProgrammed auto with flexible program (P); shutter-priority auto (S); aperture-priority auto (A); manual (M)
Exposure compensation-5 to +5 EV in increments of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV
Exposure bracketing2 to 9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV
Exposure lockLuminosity locked at detected value with the center of the sub-selector
Exposure: ISO sensitivityISO 100 to 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
Active D-LightingCan be selected from auto, extra high +2/+1, high, normal, low or off
ADL bracketing2 frames using selected value for one frame or 3 to 5 frames using preset values for all frames
AutofocusNikon Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus sensor module with TTL phase detection, fine-tuning, 51 focus points (including 15 cross-type sensors; f/8 supported by 11 sensors)
Detection range-2 to +19 EV (ISO 100, 20deg.C/68deg.F)
Focus: Lens servoAutofocus (AF): Single-servo autofocus (AF-S); continuous-servo autofocus (AF-C); predictive focus tracking automatically activated according to subject status
Manual focus (M): Electronic rangefinder can be used
Focus pointCan be selected from 51 or 11 focus points
Focus: AF-area modesSingle-point AF, 9-, 21- or 51-point dynamic-area AF, 3D-tracking, auto-area AF
Focus lockFocus can be locked by pressing shutter-release button halfway (single-servo autofocus) or by pressing the center of the sub-selector
Flash controlTTL: i-TTL flash control using RGB sensor with approx. 91K (91,000) pixels is available with SB-910, SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, SB-600 or SB-400; i-TTL balanced fill-flash for digital SLR is used with matrix and center-weighted metering, standard i-TTL flash for digital SLR with spot metering
Flash modesFront-curtain sync, slow sync, rear-curtain sync, red-eye reduction, red-eye reduction with slow sync, slow rear-curtain sync; auto FP high-speed sync supported
Flash compensation-3 to +1 EV in increments of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV
Flash bracketing2 to 9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV
Flash-ready indicatorLights when optional flash unit is fully charged; flashes after flash is fired at full output
Accessory shoeISO 518 hot-shoe with sync and data contacts and safety lock
Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS)Advanced Wireless Lighting supported with SB-910, SB-900, SB-800 or SB-700 as a master flash and SB-600 or SB-R200 as remotes, or SU-800 as commander; auto FP high-speed sync and modeling illumination supported with all CLS-compatible flash units except SB-400; Flash Color Information Communication and FV lock supported with all CLS-compatible flash units
Sync terminalISO 519 sync terminal with locking thread
White balanceAuto (2 types), incandescent, fluorescent (7 types), direct sunlight, flash, cloudy, shade, preset manual (up to 4 values can be stored), choose color temperature (2,500 K to 10,000 K); all with fine-tuning
White balance bracketing2 to 9 frames in steps of 1, 2 or 3
Live View ModesLive view photography (quiet or silent), movie live view
Live View: Lens servoAutofocus (AF): Single-servo autofocus (AF-S); full-time servo autofocus (AF-F)
Manual focus (M)
Live View: AF-area modesFace-priority AF, wide-area AF, normal-area AF, subject-tracking AF
Live View: AutofocusContrast-detect AF anywhere in frame (camera selects focus point automatically when face-priority AF or subject-tracking AF is selected)
Movie MeteringTTL exposure metering using main image sensor
Frame size (pixels) and frame rate1,920 x 1,080; 30p (progressive), 25p, 24p
1,920 x 1,080 crop; 30p, 25p, 24p
1,280 x 720; 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p
640 x 424; 30p, 25p
Actual frame rates for 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p and 24p are 59.94, 50, 29.97, 25 and 23.976 fps respectively; all options support both high and normal image quality
Movie: File formatMOV
Video compressionH.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding
Audio recording formatLinear PCM
Audio recording deviceBuilt-in monaural or external stereo microphone; sensitivity adjustable
Movie: ISO sensitivityAutomatically adjusted in the range ISO 200 to 12800 or ISO 200 to Hi 4
Maximum lengthApprox. 29 min. 59 s (20 min. depending on frame size/rate and movie quality settings)
Monitor8-cm (3.2-in.), approx. 921k-dot (VGA) TFT LCD with 170deg.viewing angle, approx. 100% frame coverage and automatic monitor brightness control using ambient brightness sensor
PlaybackFull-frame and thumbnail (4, 9, or 72 images) playback with playback zoom, movie playback, photo and/or movie slide shows, histogram display, highlights, photo information, GPS data display, auto image rotation, voice memo input and playback and IPTC information embedding and display
HDMI outputType C mini-pin HDMI connector; can be used simultaneously with camera monitor
Audio inputStereo mini-pin jack (3.5-mm diameter; plug-in power supported)
Audio outputStereo mini-pin jack (3.5-mm diameter)
10-pin remote terminalCan be used to connect optional remote control, GPS Unit GP-1 or GPS device compliant with NMEA0183 version 2.01 or 3.01 (requires optional GPS Adapter Cord MC-35 and cable with D-sub 9-pin connector)
EthernetRJ-45 connector
Peripheral connectorFor Wireless Transmitter WT-5A/B/C/D
Supported languagesArabic, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian
BatteryOne Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL18
AC adapterAC Adapter EH-6b; requires Power Connector EP-6 (available separately)
Tripod socket1/4 in. (ISO 1222)
Operating Temperature0 to 40deg.C/32 to 104deg.F
Operating humidityLess than 85% (no condensation)
Dimensions (W x H x D)Approx. 160 x 156.5 x 90.5 mm/6.3 x 6.2 x 3.6 in.
WeightApprox. 1,340 g/2 lb 15.3 oz with battery and XQD memory card but without body cap and accessory shoe cover; approx. 1,180 g/2 lb 9.6 oz (camera body only)


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Nikon D4

Nikon D4 available at Adorama | Amazon | B&H