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Nikon D4 vs Df

The Nikon D4 and the Nikon Df are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2012 and November 2013. 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.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D4
versus
Nikon Df
Nikon D4   Nikon Df
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 no Video
ISO 100-12,800 (50 - 204,800) ISO 100-12,800 (50 - 204,800)
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 5.5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
2600 shots per battery charge1400 shots per battery charge
160 x 157 x 91 mm, 1340 g 144 x 110 x 67 mm, 760 g
Nikon D4:
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Nikon Df:
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D4 and the Nikon Df? 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.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D4 and the Nikon Df is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The Df can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D4 is only available in black.

Size Nikon D4 vs Nikon Df
Compare D4 versus Df top
Comparison D4 or Df rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon Df is considerably smaller (37 percent) than the Nikon D4. Moreover, the Df is substantially lighter (43 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 Df can take 1400 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D4 has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the Df, there are third party battery grips available as optional accessories (see here on eBay).

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D4 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1340 g 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999i
2.
 
Nikon Df 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749i
3.
 
Canon 1D X 158 mm 168 mm 83 mm 1551 g 1120 Y Oct 2011 6,799i
4.
 
Nikon D850 146 mm 124 mm 79 mm 1005 g 1840 Y Jul 2017 3,299 i
5.
 
Nikon D5 160 mm 159 mm 92 mm 1415 g 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499i
6.
 
Nikon D4S 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1350 g 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499i
7.
 
Nikon D750 141 mm 113 mm 78 mm 750 g 1230 Y Sep 2014 2,299i
8.
 
Nikon D810 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 980 g 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299i
9.
 
Nikon D610 141 mm 113 mm 82 mm 850 g 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i
10.
 
Nikon D600 141 mm 113 mm 82 mm 850 g 900 Y Sep 2012 2,099i
11.
 
Nikon D800 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 1000 g 900 Y Feb 2012 2,999i
12.
 
Nikon D800E 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 1000 g 900 Y Feb 2012 3,299i
13.
 
Nikon D3S 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1240 g 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199i
14.
 
Nikon D3X 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1260 g 4400 Y Dec 2008 7,999i
15.
 
Nikon D3 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1300 g 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999i
Note: 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 Df was launched at a markedly lower price (by 54 percent) than the D4, which puts it into a different market segment. 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.

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Sensor comparison

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 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 are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras 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.

Nikon D4 and Nikon Df 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 Df have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the Df is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 9 months) than the D4, and its sensor might 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 Nikon Df offers exactly the same ISO settings.

D4 versus Df MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). 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.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Nikon D4 Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589
2.
 
Nikon Df Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280none24.613.1327989
3.
 
Canon 1D X Full Frame 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.811.8278682
4.
 
Nikon D850 Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.414.82660100
5.
 
Nikon D5 Full Frame 20.7 5588 37124K/30p25.112.3234388
6.
 
Nikon D4S Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489
7.
 
Nikon D750 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/60p24.814.5295693
8.
 
Nikon D810 Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397
9.
 
Nikon D610 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594
10.
 
Nikon D600 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.2298094
11.
 
Nikon D800 Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/30p25.314.4285395
12.
 
Nikon D800E Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/30p25.614.3297996
13.
 
Nikon D3S Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382
14.
 
Nikon D3X Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032none24.713.7199288
15.
 
Nikon D3 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2229081

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D4 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the Df does not. The highest resolution format that the D4 can use is 1080/30p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D4 and the Df 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 Df along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Nikon D4optical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0/s n n
2.
 
Nikon Dfoptical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5/s n n
3.
 
Canon 1D Xoptical Y3.2 / 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 14.0/s n n
4.
 
Nikon D850optical Y3.2 / 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0/s n n
5.
 
Nikon D5optical Y3.2 / 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0/s n n
6.
 
Nikon D4Soptical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0/s n n
7.
 
Nikon D750optical Y3.2 / 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 6.0/s Y n
8.
 
Nikon D810optical Y3.2 / 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s Y n
9.
 
Nikon D610optical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0/s Y n
10.
 
Nikon D600optical Y3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5/s Y n
11.
 
Nikon D800optical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 4.0/s Y n
12.
 
Nikon D800Eoptical Y3.2 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 4.0/s Y n
13.
 
Nikon D3Soptical Y3.0 / 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0/s n n
14.
 
Nikon D3Xoptical Y3.0 / 922 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0/s n n
15.
 
Nikon D3optical Y3.0 / 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.

The Nikon D4 and the Nikon Df both have 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 D4 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or XQD cards, while the Df uses SDXC cards. The D4 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the Df only has one slot.

Connectivity comparison

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

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Nikon D4Ymono / monoYYmicro2.0---
2.
 
Nikon DfY- / ---mini2.0---
3.
 
Canon 1D XYmono / -Y-mini2.0---
4.
 
Nikon D850Ystereo / monoYYmini3.0YYY
5.
 
Nikon D5Ystereo / monoYYmini3.0---
6.
 
Nikon D4SYmono / monoYYmini2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D750Ystereo / monoYYmini2.0Y--
8.
 
Nikon D810Ystereo / monoYYmini3.0Y--
9.
 
Nikon D610Ymono / monoYYmini2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D600Ymono / monoYYmini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D800Ymono / monoYYmini3.0---
12.
 
Nikon D800EYmono / monoYYmini3.0---
13.
 
Nikon D3SYstereo / ---mini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D3XY- / ---mini2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D3Y- / ---mini2.0---

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

Both the D4 and the Df have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D4 was replaced by the Nikon D4S, while the Df does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D4 and the Nikon Df? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Advantages of the Nikon D4:

  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (11 vs 5.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (2600 versus 1400) on a single battery charge.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in January 2012).


Arguments in favor of the Nikon Df:

  • More compact: Is smaller (144x110mm vs 160x157mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 580g or 43 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (54 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 9 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D4 emerges as the winner of the contest (7 : 4 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D4 07:04 Df

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D4 and the Nikon Df 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 the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D4 or the Df. 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

This is why hands-on reviews by experts 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.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D4........4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999i
2.
 
Nikon Df4/5....81/1004/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749i
3.
 
Canon 1D X5/5......4.5/54.5/5 Oct 2011 6,799i
4.
 
Nikon D8504.5/5+ +5/589/1004.5/55/5 Jul 2017 3,299 i
5.
 
Nikon D5....4/589/1004.5/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499i
6.
 
Nikon D4S5/5......4.5/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499i
7.
 
Nikon D7505/5+ +4/590/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 2,299i
8.
 
Nikon D8105/5..5/586/1005/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299i
9.
 
Nikon D6104/5+ +..87/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i
10.
 
Nikon D6004/5+ +..87/1005/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099i
11.
 
Nikon D8005/5+ +..82/1005/55/5 Feb 2012 2,999i
12.
 
Nikon D800E......84/1005/55/5 Feb 2012 3,299i
13.
 
Nikon D3S5/5....89/1004.5/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199i
14.
 
Nikon D3X......86/1004/55/5 Dec 2008 7,999i
15.
 
Nikon D3......+ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, 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 rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Nikon D4:
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Nikon Df:
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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 make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Nikon D4 vs Nikon Df

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D4 Nikon Df
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date January 2012 November 2013
    Launch Price USD 5,999 USD 2,749
    Sensor Specs Nikon D4 Nikon Df
    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 no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 12,800 ISO
    ISO Boost 50 - 204,800 ISO 50 - 204,800 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED 3 EXPEED 3
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 89 89
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.7 24.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.1 13.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2965 3279
    Screen Specs Nikon D4 Nikon Df
    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 3.2inch 3.2inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D4 Nikon Df
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 11 shutter flaps/s 5.5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy400 000 actuations150 000 actuations
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF or XQD cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D4 Nikon Df
    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 External MIC port no MIC socket
    Headphone Socket Headphone port no Headphone port
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D4 Nikon Df
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL18 EN-EL14
    Battery Life (CIPA)2600 shots per charge1400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 160 x 157 x 91 mm
    (6.3 x 6.2 x 3.6 in)
    144 x 110 x 67 mm
    (5.7 x 4.3 x 2.6 in)
    Camera Weight 1340 g (47.3 oz) 760 g (26.8 oz)
    Nikon D4:
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    Nikon Df:
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