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Nikon D2Xs vs D4

The Nikon D2Xs and the Nikon D4 are two professional cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 2006 and January 2012. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D2Xs) and a full frame (D4) sensor. The D2Xs has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the D4 provides 16.2 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D2Xs   Nikon D4
Nikon D2Xs Nikon D4
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 16.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor
no Video 1080/30p Video
ISO 100-800 (800-3200) ISO 100-12800 (50-204800)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.5" LCD, 230k dots 3.2" LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 11 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
3800 shots per battery charge2600 shots per battery charge
158 x 150 x 86 mm, 1252 g 160 x 157 x 91 mm, 1340 g

Body comparison: Nikon D2Xs vs D4

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D2Xs and the Nikon D4. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Compare Nikon D2Xs and Nikon D4
Compare D2Xs versus D4 top
Compare D2Xs or D4 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D4 is notably larger (6 percent) than the Nikon D2Xs. Moreover, the D4 is markedly heavier (7 percent) than the D2Xs. 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 (D2Xs). You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D2Xs gets 3800 shots out of its EN-EL4a 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 adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D2Xs» 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D4« 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.3 oz 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
 
Canon 1D Mark III« » 6.1 in 6.2 in 3.1 in 40.7 oz 2200 Y Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark III
 
Nikon D5« » 6.3 in 6.3 in 3.6 in 49.9 oz 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
 
Nikon D4S« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.6 oz 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499- i Nikon D4S
 
Nikon Df« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.6 in 26.8 oz 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749 i i Nikon Df
 
Nikon D3S« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 43.7 oz 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D300S« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 3.2 in 33.1 oz 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D3« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 45.9 oz 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
 
Nikon D40X« » 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 520 n Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D300« » 5.8 in 4.5 in 2.9 in 32.6 oz 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
 
Nikon D80« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Nikon D200« » 5.8 in 4.4 in 2.9 in 32.5 oz 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
 
Nikon D2X« » 6.2 in 5.9 in 3.4 in 44.2 oz 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999- i Nikon D2X
 
Nikon D1H« » 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz 1200 Y Feb 2001 4,499- i Nikon D1H
 
Nikon D1« » 6.2 in 6.0 in 3.3 in 38.8 oz .. Y Jun 1999 5,499- i Nikon D1

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The D2Xs was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 22 percent) than the D4, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Nikon D2Xs vs D4

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D2Xs features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon D4 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D4 is 131 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.

In terms of underlying technology, both cameras are build around CMOS sensors.

Nikon D2Xs and Nikon D4 sensor measures

With 16.2MP, the D4 offers a higher resolution than the D2Xs (12.2MP), but the D4 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.29μm versus 5.52μm for the D2Xs) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D4 is a much more recent model (by 5 years and 7 months) than the D2Xs, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The Nikon D2Xs has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 800-3200. 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..

D2Xs versus D4 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the D4 offers substantially better image quality than the D2Xs (overall score 30 points higher). The advantage is based on 2.5 bits higher color depth, 2.2 EV in additional dynamic range, and 2.6 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D2Xs» APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.210.948959Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D4« Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589Nikon D4
 
Canon 1D Mark III« » APS-H 10.1 3888 2592-22.711.7107871Canon 1D Mark III
 
Nikon D5« » Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388Nikon D5
 
Nikon D4S« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489Nikon D4S
 
Nikon Df« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280-24.613.1327989Nikon Df
 
Nikon D3S« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D300S« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D3« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2229081Nikon D3
 
Nikon D40X« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.411.451663Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D300« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.112.067967Nikon D300
 
Nikon D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461Nikon D80
 
Nikon D200« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.558364Nikon D200
 
Nikon D2X« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848-22.110.947659Nikon D2X
 
Nikon D1H« » APS-C 2.6 2000 1312-----Nikon D1H
 
Nikon D1« » APS-C 2.6 2000 1312-----Nikon D1

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 D2Xs does not. The highest resolution format that the D4 can use is 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Nikon D2Xs vs D4

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D2Xs 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the D4 has a higher magnification than the one of the D2Xs (0.70x vs 0.57x), 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 D2Xs and Nikon D4 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D2Xs»optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D4«optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D4
 
Canon 1D Mark III« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 10.0 n n Canon 1D Mark III
 
Nikon D5« »optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0 n n Nikon D5
 
Nikon D4S« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D4S
 
Nikon Df« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n n Nikon Df
 
Nikon D3S« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D300S« »optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D3« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D3
 
Nikon D40X« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D300« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D300
 
Nikon D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D80
 
Nikon D200« »optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D200
 
Nikon D2X« »optical Y 2.5 235 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Nikon D2X
 
Nikon D1H« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 5.0 n n Nikon D1H
 
Nikon D1« »optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 1.5 n n Nikon D1

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 D2Xs writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D4 uses Compact Flash or XQD cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.

 

Connectivity comparison: Nikon D2Xs vs D4

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 D2Xs and Nikon D4 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D2Xs»Y-----2.0---Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D4«Ymonomono--micro2.0---Nikon D4
 
Canon 1D Mark III« »Y-----2.0---Canon 1D Mark III
 
Nikon D5« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D5
 
Nikon D4S« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D4S
 
Nikon Df« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon Df
 
Nikon D3S« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D300S« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D3« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D3
 
Nikon D40X« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D300« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D300
 
Nikon D80« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D80
 
Nikon D200« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D200
 
Nikon D2X« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D2X
 
Nikon D1H« »Y-----FW---Nikon D1H
 
Nikon D1« »Y-----FW---Nikon D1

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the D2Xs and the D4 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D2Xs was replaced by the Nikon D3X, while the D4 was followed by the Nikon D4S. Further information on the two cameras, as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.


Review summary: Nikon D2Xs vs D4

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D2Xs or the Nikon D4 – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Advantages of the Nikon D2Xs:

  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (3800 versus 2600) on a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (22 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 2006).


Reasons to prefer the Nikon D4:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (16.2 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 15%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (30 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (2.5 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (2.2 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (2.6 stops ISO advantage).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.57x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More modern: Reflects 5 years and 7 months of technical progress since the D2Xs launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D4 is the clear winner of the contest (12 : 3 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

D2Xs 03:12 D4

Do the specifications of the Nikon D2Xs and the Nikon D4 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D2Xs or the D4 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews: Nikon D2Xs vs D4

This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D2Xs»---o- Jun 2006 4,699- i Nikon D2Xs
 
Nikon D4«--4.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
 
Canon 1D Mark III« »---o- Feb 2007 4,499- i Canon 1D Mark III
 
Nikon D5« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
 
Nikon D4S« »--4.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499- i Nikon D4S
 
Nikon Df« »-81/1004/54/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749 i i Nikon Df
 
Nikon D3S« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D300S« »++82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799- i Nikon D300S
 
Nikon D3« »-++5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
 
Nikon D40X« »79/100++4/5o4/5 Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
 
Nikon D300« »++++5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799- i Nikon D300
 
Nikon D80« »+++o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80
 
Nikon D200« »++++o5/5- Nov 2005 1,699- i Nikon D200
 
Nikon D2X« »-++-o- Sep 2004 4,999- i Nikon D2X
 
Nikon D1H« »-++-o- Feb 2001 4,499- i Nikon D1H
 
Nikon D1« »-++--- Jun 1999 5,499- i Nikon D1
Notes: ++) highly recommended; +) recommended; o) reviewed; -) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Nikon D2Xs:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D4:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. An an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Nikon D2Xs vs Nikon D4

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D2Xs Nikon D4
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date June 2006 January 2012
    Launch Price USD 4699 USD 5999
    Sensor Specs Nikon D2Xs Nikon D4
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.7 mm 36.0 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 372.09 mm2 860.4 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 16.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4288 x 2848 pixels 4928 x 3280 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.52 μm 7.29 μm
    Pixel Density 3.28 MP/cm2 1.88 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100-800 ISO 100-12800 ISO
    ISO Boost 800-3200 ISO 50-204800 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 59 89
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.2 24.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.9 13.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 489 2965
    Screen Specs Nikon D2Xs Nikon D4
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.57x 0.70x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.5 inch 3.2 inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D2Xs Nikon D4
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 11 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy150 000 actuations400 000 actuations
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards CF or XQD cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D2Xs Nikon D4
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D2Xs Nikon D4
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL4a power pack EN-EL18 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)3800 shots per charge2600 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 158 x 150 x 86 mm
    (6.2 x 5.9 x 3.4 in)
    160 x 157 x 91 mm
    (6.3 x 6.2 x 3.6 in)
    Camera Weight 1252 g (44.2 oz) 1340 g (47.3 oz)

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