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.
|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 body||Weathersealed body|
|3800 shots per battery charge||2600 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.
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.
|Nikon D2Xs»||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||44.2 oz||3800||Y||Jun 2006||4,699||-||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D4«||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.3 oz||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999||-||Nikon D4|
|Canon 1D Mark III« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||40.7 oz||2200||Y||Feb 2007||4,499||-||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Nikon D5« »||6.3 in||6.3 in||3.6 in||49.9 oz||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D4S« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.6 oz||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499||-||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon Df« »||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.6 in||26.8 oz||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749||Nikon Df|
|Nikon D3S« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||43.7 oz||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199||-||Nikon D3S|
|Nikon D300S« »||5.8 in||4.5 in||3.2 in||33.1 oz||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799||-||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D3« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||45.9 oz||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999||-||Nikon D3|
|Nikon D40X« »||4.9 in||3.7 in||2.5 in||18.4 oz||520||n||Mar 2007||729||-||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D300« »||5.8 in||4.5 in||2.9 in||32.6 oz||1000||Y||Aug 2007||1,799||-||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D80« »||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||23.6 oz||600||n||Aug 2006||999||-||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D200« »||5.8 in||4.4 in||2.9 in||32.5 oz||400||Y||Nov 2005||1,699||-||Nikon D200|
|Nikon D2X« »||6.2 in||5.9 in||3.4 in||44.2 oz||3800||Y||Sep 2004||4,999||-||Nikon D2X|
|Nikon D1H« »||6.2 in||6.0 in||3.3 in||38.8 oz||1200||Y||Feb 2001||4,499||-||Nikon D1H|
|Nikon D1« »||6.2 in||6.0 in||3.3 in||38.8 oz||..||Y||Jun 1999||5,499||-||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.
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..
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.
|Nikon D2Xs»||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||-||22.2||10.9||489||59||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D4«||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89||Nikon D4|
|Canon 1D Mark III« »||APS-H||10.1||3888||2592||-||22.7||11.7||1078||71||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Nikon D5« »||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D4S« »||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/60p||24.4||13.3||3074||89||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon Df« »||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||-||24.6||13.1||3279||89||Nikon Df|
|Nikon D3S« »||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82||Nikon D3S|
|Nikon D300S« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.5||12.2||787||70||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D3« »||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||-||23.5||12.2||2290||81||Nikon D3|
|Nikon D40X« »||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||-||22.4||11.4||516||63||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D300« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||-||22.1||12.0||679||67||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D80« »||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||-||22.1||11.2||524||61||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D200« »||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||-||22.3||11.5||583||64||Nikon D200|
|Nikon D2X« »||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||-||22.1||10.9||476||59||Nikon 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.
|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.
|Nikon D2Xs»||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D4«||Y||mono||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D4|
|Canon 1D Mark III« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Nikon D5« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D4S« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon Df« »||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon Df|
|Nikon D3S« »||Y||stereo||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3S|
|Nikon D300S« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D3« »||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3|
|Nikon D40X« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D300« »||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||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.
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).
|Nikon D2Xs»||-||-||-||o||-||Jun 2006||4,699||-||Nikon D2Xs|
|Nikon D4«||-||-||4.5/5||-||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999||-||Nikon D4|
|Canon 1D Mark III« »||-||-||-||o||-||Feb 2007||4,499||-||Canon 1D Mark III|
|Nikon D5« »||-||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499||Nikon D5|
|Nikon D4S« »||-||-||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||6,499||-||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon Df« »||-||81/100||4/5||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749||Nikon Df|
|Nikon D3S« »||-||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199||-||Nikon D3S|
|Nikon D300S« »||++||82/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799||-||Nikon D300S|
|Nikon D3« »||-||++||5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999||-||Nikon D3|
|Nikon D40X« »||79/100||++||4/5||o||4/5||Mar 2007||729||-||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D300« »||++||++||5/5||o||4.5/5||Aug 2007||1,799||-||Nikon D300|
|Nikon D80« »||+||++||o||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999||-||Nikon D80|
|Nikon D200« »||++||++||o||5/5||-||Nov 2005||1,699||-||Nikon D200|
|Nikon D2X« »||-||++||-||o||-||Sep 2004||4,999||-||Nikon D2X|
|Nikon D1H« »||-||++||-||o||-||Feb 2001||4,499||-||Nikon D1H|
|Nikon D1« »||-||++||-||-||-||Jun 1999||5,499||-||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.
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.
- Canon 1300D vs Nikon D700
- Canon 200D vs Canon D60
- Canon 600D vs Fujifilm X-E1
- Canon T6 vs Panasonic LX100
- Canon T7i vs Canon T6s
- Fujifilm X-E1 vs Sony RX10 IV
- Fujifilm X100F vs Zeiss ZX1
- Leica CL vs Panasonic GX80
- Nikon D5300 vs Canon 30D
- Panasonic FZ100 vs Panasonic G9
- Panasonic GX800 vs Pentax 645D
- Sony A99 II vs Fujifilm X-T10
Specifications: Nikon D2Xs vs Nikon D4
|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 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|
|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%|
|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 Expectancy||150 000 actuations||400 000 actuations|
|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||Dual card slots||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D2Xs||Nikon D4|
|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 Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||EN-EL4a power pack||EN-EL18 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||3800 shots per charge||2600 shots per charge|
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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