Nikon D1X vs D4
The Nikon D1X and the Nikon D4 are two professional cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2001 and January 2012. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D1X) and a full frame (D4) sensor. The D1X has a resolution of 5.9 megapixels, whereas the D4 provides 16.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D1X and the Nikon D4? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D1X and the Nikon D4. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D4 is somewhat larger (5 percent) than the Nikon D1X. Moreover, the D4 is markedly heavier (22 percent) than the D1X. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor (as in the D4) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (D1X). You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the D1X gets 1200 shots out of its EN-4 battery, while the D4 can take 2600 images on a single charge of its EN-EL18 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, both cameras have a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Nikon D1X||157 mm||153 mm||85 mm||1100 g||1200||Y||Feb 2001||5,999|
|2.||Nikon D4||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1340 g||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999|
|3.||Nikon D5||160 mm||159 mm||92 mm||1415 g||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499|
|4.||Nikon D4S||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1350 g||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499|
|5.||Nikon Df||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749|
|6.||Nikon D3S||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1240 g||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199|
|7.||Nikon D300S||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||938 g||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799|
|8.||Nikon D3||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1300 g||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999|
|9.||Nikon D300||147 mm||114 mm||74 mm||925 g||1000||Y||Aug 2007||1,799|
|10.||Nikon D2Xs||158 mm||150 mm||86 mm||1252 g||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699|
|11.||Nikon D200||147 mm||113 mm||74 mm||920 g||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699|
|12.||Nikon D2X||158 mm||150 mm||86 mm||1252 g||3800||Y||Sep 2004||4,999|
|13.||Nikon D2H||158 mm||150 mm||86 mm||1070 g||2900||Y||Jul 2003||3,499|
|14.||Nikon D100||144 mm||116 mm||81 mm||780 g||370||n||Feb 2002||1,999|
|15.||Nikon D1H||157 mm||153 mm||85 mm||1100 g||1200||Y||Feb 2001||4,499|
|16.||Nikon D1||157 mm||153 mm||85 mm||1100 g||..||Y||Jun 1999||5,499|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D1X features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon D4 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D4 is 132 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 16.2MP, the D4 offers a higher resolution than the D1X (5.9MP), but the D4 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.29μm versus 7.92μm for the D1X). Yet, the D4 is a much more recent model (by 10 years and 11 months) than the D1X, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D4 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D4 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.4 inches or 62.6 x 41.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D1X are 15 x 9.8 inches or 38.2 x 24.9 cm for good quality, 12 x 7.8 inches or 30.6 x 19.9 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.5 inches or 25.5 x 16.6 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D1X has a native sensitivity range from ISO 125 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 125-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D4 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|2.||Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
|3.||Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
|4.||Nikon D4S||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/60p||24.4||13.3||3074||89|
|5.||Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|6.||Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|8.||Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D4 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D1X does not. The highest resolution format that the D4 can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D1X and the D4 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the D4 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D1X (96%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the D4 has a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D1X and Nikon D4 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Nikon D1X||optical||Y||2.0 / 120||fixed||n||1/16000s||3.0||n||n|
|2.||Nikon D4||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n|
|3.||Nikon D5||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||fixed||Y||1/8000s||14.0||n||n|
|4.||Nikon D4S||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n|
|5.||Nikon Df||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||n|
|6.||Nikon D3S||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n|
|7.||Nikon D300S||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon D3||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n|
|9.||Nikon D300||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon D2Xs||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|11.||Nikon D200||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon D2X||optical||Y||2.5 / 235||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||n||n|
|13.||Nikon D2H||optical||Y||2.5 / 211||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||n||n|
|14.||Nikon D100||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon D1H||optical||Y||2.0 / 120||fixed||n||1/16000s||5.0||n||n|
|16.||Nikon D1||optical||Y||2.0 / 120||fixed||n||1/16000s||1.5||n||n|
The Nikon D4 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The D1X writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D4 uses Compact Flash or XQD cards. The D4 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D1X only has one slot.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D1X and Nikon D4 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon D1X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
|2.||Nikon D4||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Nikon D5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Nikon D4S||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Nikon Df||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Nikon D3S||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Nikon D300S||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Nikon D3||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D300||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D2Xs||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D200||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D2X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D2H||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon D100||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D1H||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
|16.||Nikon D1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
Both the D1X and the D4 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D1X was replaced by the Nikon D2X, while the D4 was followed by the Nikon D4S. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.
So how do things add up? Is the Nikon D1X better than the Nikon D4 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D1X:
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/16000s vs 1/8000s) to freeze action.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 240g or 18 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2001).
Advantages of the Nikon D4:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (16.2 vs 5.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 65%.
- Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 96%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.53x).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 120k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (2600 versus 1200) out of a single battery charge.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More modern: Reflects 10 years and 11 months of technical progress since the D1X launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D4 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 3 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D1X and the Nikon D4 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D1X or the D4 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Nikon D1X||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2001||5,999|
|2.||Nikon D4||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999|
|3.||Nikon D5||..||..||4/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499|
|4.||Nikon D4S||5/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||6,499|
|5.||Nikon Df||4/5||..||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749|
|6.||Nikon D3S||5/5||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199|
|7.||Nikon D300S||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799|
|8.||Nikon D3||..||..||..||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999|
|9.||Nikon D300||..||+ +||..||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,799|
|10.||Nikon D2Xs||..||..||..||..||..||..||Jun 2006||4,699|
|11.||Nikon D200||..||+ +||..||+ +||o||..||Nov 2005||1,699|
|12.||Nikon D2X||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2004||4,999|
|13.||Nikon D2H||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jul 2003||3,499|
|14.||Nikon D100||..||..||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2002||1,999|
|15.||Nikon D1H||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2001||4,499|
|16.||Nikon D1||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Jun 1999||5,499|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
Specifications: Nikon D1X vs Nikon D4
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Nikon D1X||Nikon D4|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2001||January 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 5,999||USD 5,999|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D1X||Nikon D4|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.7 x 15.6 mm||36.0 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||369.72 mm2||860.4 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.4 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||5.9 Megapixels||16.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3008 x 1960 pixels||4928 x 3280 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.92 μm||7.29 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.59 MP/cm2||1.88 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||125 - 800 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||125 - 3,200 ISO||50 - 204,800 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||89|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||2965|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D1X||Nikon D4|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||96%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||120k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D1X||Nikon D4|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||CF or XQD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D1X||Nikon D4|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||Firewire||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D1X||Nikon D4|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1200 shots per charge||2600 shots per charge|
157 x 153 x 85 mm
(6.2 x 6.0 x 3.3 in)
160 x 157 x 91 mm
(6.3 x 6.2 x 3.6 in)
|Camera Weight||1100 g (38.8 oz)||1340 g (47.3 oz)|
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