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Nikon D4 vs D4S

The Nikon D4 and the Nikon D4S are two professional cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in January 2012 and February 2014. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 16.2 megapixels. 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 D4   Nikon D4S
Nikon D4 Nikon D4S
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
16.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor 16.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-12800 (50-204800) ISO 100-25600 (50-409600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.2" LCD, 921k dots 3.2" LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
11 shutter flaps per second 11 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
2600 shots per battery charge3020 shots per battery charge
160 x 157 x 91 mm, 1340 g 160 x 157 x 91 mm, 1350 g

Body comparison: Nikon D4 vs D4S

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D4 and the Nikon D4S is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Compare Nikon D4 and Nikon D4S
Compare D4 versus D4S top
Compare D4 or D4S rear

In this particular case, the Nikon D4 and the Nikon D4S have exactly the same width and height, and, thus, have identically-sized bodies. However, the D4S is slightly heavier (1 percent) than the D4. 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D4 gets 2600 shots out of its EN-EL18 battery, while the D4S can take 3020 images on a single charge of its EN-EL18a 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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons 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 D4» 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.3 oz 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
 
Nikon D4S« 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.6 oz 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499- i Nikon D4S
 
Canon 1D X« » 6.2 in 6.6 in 3.3 in 54.7 oz 1120 Y Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
 
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 D750« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 26.5 oz 1230 Y Sep 2014 2,299 i i Nikon D750
 
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 D610« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610
 
Nikon D600« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Sep 2012 2,099- i Nikon D600
 
Nikon D800« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 35.3 oz 900 Y Feb 2012 2,999- i Nikon D800
 
Nikon D800E« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 35.3 oz 900 Y Feb 2012 3,299- i Nikon D800E
 
Nikon D3S« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 43.7 oz 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D3X« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 44.4 oz 4400 Y Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X
 
Nikon D3« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 45.9 oz 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The D4 was somewhat cheaper (by 8 percent) than the D4S at launch, but both cameras fall into the same price category. 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.

 

Sensor comparison: Nikon D4 vs D4S

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the large-sensor cameras that aim for top notch image quality. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, the D4S uses a more advanced image processing engine (EXPEED 4) than the D4 (EXPEED 3), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Nikon D4 and Nikon D4S sensor measures

The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 16.2 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the D4 and the D4S have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the D4S is much more recent (by 2 years and 1 month) than the D4, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Nikon D4 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 50-204800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D4S are ISO 100 to ISO 25600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-409600..

D4 versus D4S MP

Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar 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 D4» Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589Nikon D4
 
Nikon D4S« Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489Nikon D4S
 
Canon 1D X« » Full Frame 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.811.8278682Canon 1D X
 
Nikon D5« » Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388Nikon D5
 
Nikon D750« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/60p24.814.5295693Nikon D750
 
Nikon Df« » Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280-24.613.1327989Nikon Df
 
Nikon D610« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594Nikon D610
 
Nikon D600« » Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.2298094Nikon D600
 
Nikon D800« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/30p25.314.4285395Nikon D800
 
Nikon D800E« » Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/30p25.614.3297996Nikon D800E
 
Nikon D3S« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D3X« » Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032-24.713.7199288Nikon D3X
 
Nikon D3« » Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832-23.512.2229081Nikon D3

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the D4S provides a faster frame rate than the D4. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the D4 is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Nikon D4 vs D4S

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D4 and the D4S 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%), as well as the same magnification (0.70x). The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D4 and Nikon D4S along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D4»optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D4
 
Nikon D4S«optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D4S
 
Canon 1D X« »optical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 8000 14.0 n n Canon 1D X
 
Nikon D5« »optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 8000 14.0 n n Nikon D5
 
Nikon D750« »optical Y 3.2 1229 tilting n 4000 6.0 Y n Nikon D750
 
Nikon Df« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 4000 5.5 n n Nikon Df
 
Nikon D610« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 4000 6.0 Y n Nikon D610
 
Nikon D600« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 4000 5.5 Y n Nikon D600
 
Nikon D800« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 4.0 Y n Nikon D800
 
Nikon D800E« »optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 8000 4.0 Y n Nikon D800E
 
Nikon D3S« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D3X« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 5.0 n n Nikon D3X
 
Nikon D3« »optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 8000 11.0 n n Nikon D3

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the D4 and the D4S write their files to 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 D4 vs D4S

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 Nikon D4S 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 D4»Ymonomono--micro2.0---Nikon D4
 
Nikon D4S«YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D4S
 
Canon 1D X« »Ymono-Y-mini2.0---Canon 1D X
 
Nikon D5« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D5
 
Nikon D750« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y--Nikon D750
 
Nikon Df« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon Df
 
Nikon D610« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D610
 
Nikon D600« »YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D600
 
Nikon D800« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D800
 
Nikon D800E« »YmonomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D800E
 
Nikon D3S« »Ystereo---mini2.0---Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D3X« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D3X
 
Nikon D3« »Y----mini2.0---Nikon D3

It is notable that the D4S has a headphone jack, which makes it possible to attach external headphones and monitor the quality of sound during the recording process. The D4 lacks such a headphone port.

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

Both the D4 and the D4S have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D4 was replaced by the Nikon D4S, while the D4S was followed by the Nikon D5.


Review summary: Nikon D4 vs D4S

So what is the bottom line? Is the Nikon D4 better than the Nikon D4S or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Advantages of the Nikon D4:

  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2012).


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D4S:

  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (EXPEED 4 vs EXPEED 3).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (3020 versus 2600) out of a single battery charge.
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 1 month of technical progress since the D4 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D4S is the clear winner of the contest (6 : 1 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

D4 01:06 D4S

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D4 and the D4S in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews: Nikon D4 vs D4S

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera 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 D4»--4.5/5-4.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999- i Nikon D4
 
Nikon D4S«--4.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499- i Nikon D4S
 
Canon 1D X« »--4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2011 6,799- i Canon 1D X
 
Nikon D5« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499 i i Nikon D5
 
Nikon D750« »++90/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 2,299 i i Nikon D750
 
Nikon Df« »-81/1004/54/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749 i i Nikon Df
 
Nikon D610« »++87/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i i Nikon D610
 
Nikon D600« »++87/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099- i Nikon D600
 
Nikon D800« »++82/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2012 2,999- i Nikon D800
 
Nikon D800E« »-84/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2012 3,299- i Nikon D800E
 
Nikon D3S« »-89/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199- i Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D3X« »-86/1004/55/55/5 Dec 2008 7,999- i Nikon D3X
 
Nikon D3« »-++5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999- i Nikon D3
Notes: ++) highly recommended; +) recommended; o) reviewed; -) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Nikon D4:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D4S:
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 D4 vs Nikon D4S

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D4 Nikon D4S
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2012 February 2014
    Launch Price USD 5999 USD 6499
    Sensor Specs Nikon D4 Nikon D4S
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 36.0 x 23.9 mm 36.0 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 860.4 mm2 860.4 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.2 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 16.2 Megapixels 16.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4928 x 3280 pixels 4928 x 3280 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.29 μm 7.29 μm
    Pixel Density 1.88 MP/cm2 1.88 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-12800 ISO 100-25600 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-204800 ISO 50-409600 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED 3 EXPEED 4
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 89 89
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.7 24.4
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.1 13.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2965 3074
    Screen Specs Nikon D4 Nikon D4S
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x 0.70x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.2 inch 3.2 inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D4 Nikon D4S
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 11 shutter flaps/s 11 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy400 000 actuations400 000 actuations
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF or XQD cards CF or XQD cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D4 Nikon D4S
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI mini 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 D4 Nikon D4S
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL18 power pack EN-EL18a power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)2600 shots per charge3020 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 160 x 157 x 91 mm
    (6.3 x 6.2 x 3.6 in)
    160 x 157 x 91 mm
    (6.3 x 6.2 x 3.6 in)
    Camera Weight 1340 g (47.3 oz) 1350 g (47.6 oz)

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