Nikon D4 Comparison Review
The Nikon D4 is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was announced in January 2012 and is equipped with a full frame sensor. It offers a resolution of 16.2 megapixel.
Is the Nikon D4 a good camera? The D4 has a Camera Elo of 1868. This rating puts the D4 among the top 40 percent of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (full frame cameras), the D4 ranks below average. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 3-star performance rating.
|Digital single lens reflex|
|Nikon F mount lenses|
|16.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor|
|ISO 100 - 12 800 (50 - 204 800)|
|3.2 LCD, 921k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|11 shutter flaps per second|
|2600 shots per battery charge|
|160 x 157 x 91 mm, 1 340 g|
Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.
Body comparison with a credit card
The physical dimensions of the Nikon D4 relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Nikon D4 alongside a set of similar cameras. If you want to review a particular camera pair side-by-side, just move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.
|1.||Nikon D4||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1340 g||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999||ebay.com|
|2.||Canon 1D X||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1551 g||1120||Y||Oct 2011||6,799||ebay.com|
|3.||Nikon D5||160 mm||159 mm||92 mm||1415 g||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499||ebay.com|
|4.||Nikon D4S||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1350 g||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499||ebay.com|
|5.||Nikon Df||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749||ebay.com|
|6.||Nikon D600||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon D800||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||1000 g||900||Y||Feb 2012||2,999||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D800E||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||1000 g||900||Y||Feb 2012||3,299||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D3S||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1240 g||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D3X||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1260 g||4400||Y||Dec 2008||7,999||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D3||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1300 g||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Nikon D4 was launched in the US market at a price of $5,999. 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 with a 35mm slide
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 associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
The Nikon D4 features a full frame sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Nikon D4 among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality.
For most 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"). The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of alternative cameras.
|1.||Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
|2.||Canon 1D X||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||23.8||11.8||2786||82|
|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 D600||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||94|
|7.||Nikon D800||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.3||14.4||2853||95|
|8.||Nikon D800E||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.6||14.3||2979||96|
|9.||Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|10.||Nikon D3X||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||24.7||13.7||1992||88|
|11.||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 also of capturing video footage. The D4 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. 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. For example, the D4 has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.70x. The tables below summarize some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D4 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Nikon D4||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|2.||Canon 1D X||optical||Y||3.2 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||14.0/s||n||n|
|3.||Nikon D5||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||fixed||Y||1/8000s||14.0/s||n||n|
|4.||Nikon D4S||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|5.||Nikon Df||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||n||n|
|6.||Nikon D600||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||Y||n|
|7.||Nikon D800||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon D800E||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon D3S||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|10.||Nikon D3X||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|11.||Nikon D3||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One useful feature of the D4 is a presence of a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
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 D4 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon D4||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Canon 1D X||Y||mono / -||Y||-||mini||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 D600||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Nikon D800||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Nikon D800E||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D3S||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D3X||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D3||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the D4 has a microphone port. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
While the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D4. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate. This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]).
|1.||Nikon D4||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999||ebay.com|
|2.||Canon 1D X||5/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2011||6,799||ebay.com|
|3.||Nikon D5||..||..||4/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499||ebay.com|
|4.||Nikon D4S||5/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||6,499||ebay.com|
|5.||Nikon Df||4/5||..||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749||ebay.com|
|6.||Nikon D600||4/5||+ +||..||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon D800||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||2,999||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D800E||..||..||..||84/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||3,299||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D3S||5/5||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D3X||..||..||..||86/100||4/5||5/5||Dec 2008||7,999||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D3||..||..||..||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Nikon D4 FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the D4.
What is the technology behind the imaging sensor in the Nikon D4?
The camera features a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.
Which image processing chip is used in the Nikon D4 to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?
Nikon equipped the D4 with the EXPEED 3 image processor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the Nikon D4?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 50-204800.
What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Nikon D4?
Nikon mentions a shutter rating of 400 000 actuations for the D4. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the D4 over, say, three years, one would have to take about 400 pictures each and every day.
How do I find the shutter count on my Nikon D4?
Nikon embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your D4 has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the free online shutter count finder app.
Do I need to purchase an external camera trigger to shoot time-lapse sequences with the Nikon D4?
No, the Nikon D4 has an intervalometer built-in, so that low frequency shooting (for example, flower blooming, sunset, moon rise) can be undertaken without the need to purchase a separate external intervalometer and related software.
What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with the Nikon D4 for flash photography?
The D4's flash sync speed is 1/250 sec.
Camera to camera comparisons
In case you are interested in seeing how this camera compares to another one, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
|Camera Model||Nikon D4|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 5 999|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||860 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4 928 x 3 280 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.29 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.88 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12 800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 204 800 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 3|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||89|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||13.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2965|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|LCD Size||3.2 inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||No touchscreen|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||11 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||400 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||no E-Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||Intervalometer Built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or XQD cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Dual card slots|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||EN-EL18 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||2600 shots per charge|
160 x 157 x 91 mm
(6.3 x 6.2 x 3.6 in)
|Camera Weight||1 340 g (47.3 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.