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Nikon D4S vs Df

The Nikon D4S and the Nikon Df are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in February 2014 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 D4S VS Nikon Df
Nikon D4S 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
1080/60p Video no Video
ISO 100-25600 (50-409600) ISO 100-12800 (50-204800)
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
3020 shots per battery charge1400 shots per battery charge
160 x 157 x 91 mm, 1350 g 144 x 110 x 67 mm, 760 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D4S 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 D4S and the Nikon Df 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 measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The Df can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D4S is only available in black.

Size Nikon D4S vs Nikon Df
Compare D4S versus Df top
Comparison D4S 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 D4S. Moreover, the Df is substantially lighter (44 percent) than the D4S. 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 D4S gets 3020 shots out of its EN-EL18a 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 D4S 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, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D4S» 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.6 oz 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499iNikon D4S
 
Nikon Df« 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.6 in 26.8 oz 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749 iNikon Df
 
Canon 1D X« » 6.2 in 6.6 in 3.3 in 54.7 oz 1120 Y Oct 2011 6,799iCanon 1D X
 
Nikon D6« » 6.3 in 6.4 in 3.6 in 44.8 oz 3580 Y Feb 2020 6,499 iNikon D6
 
Nikon D850« » 5.7 in 4.9 in 3.1 in 35.5 oz 1840 Y Jul 2017 3,299 iNikon D850
 
Nikon D5« » 6.3 in 6.3 in 3.6 in 49.9 oz 3780 Y Jan 2016 6,499iNikon D5
 
Nikon D750« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 26.5 oz 1230 Y Sep 2014 2,299iNikon D750
 
Nikon D810« » 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 34.6 oz 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299iNikon D810
 
Nikon D610« » 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 iNikon D610
 
Nikon D4« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.3 oz 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999iNikon D4
 
Nikon D3S« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 43.7 oz 4200 Y Oct 2009 5,199iNikon D3S
 
Nikon D3X« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 44.4 oz 4400 Y Dec 2008 7,999iNikon D3X
 
Nikon D3« » 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.5 in 45.9 oz 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999iNikon D3
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as 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 58 percent) than the D4S, 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.

 

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. 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 more expensive and 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.

In terms of chip-set technology, the D4S uses a more advanced image processing engine (EXPEED 4) than the Df (EXPEED 3), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Nikon D4S 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 D4S and the Df have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the D4S is a somewhat more recent model (by 3 months) than the Df, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

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

D4S 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.

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 D4S Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489Nikon D4S
 
Nikon Df Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280none24.613.1327989Nikon Df
 
Canon 1D X Full Frame 17.9 5184 34561080/30p23.811.8278682Canon 1D X
 
Nikon D6 Full Frame 20.7 5568 37124K/30p........Nikon D6
 
Nikon D850 Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.414.82660100Nikon D850
 
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 D810 Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397Nikon D810
 
Nikon D610 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594Nikon D610
 
Nikon D4 Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589Nikon D4
 
Nikon D3S Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832720/24p23.512.0325382Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D3X Full Frame 24.4 6048 4032none24.713.7199288Nikon D3X
 
Nikon D3 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2229081Nikon D3

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D4S indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the Df does not. The highest resolution format that the D4S can use is 1080/60p.

 

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D4S 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 table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D4S and Nikon Df 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 D4Soptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D4S
 
Nikon Dfoptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n n Nikon Df
 
Canon 1D Xoptical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 14.0 n n Canon 1D X
 
Nikon D6optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0 n n Nikon D6
 
Nikon D850optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 n n Nikon D850
 
Nikon D5optical Y 3.2 2359 fixed Y 1/8000s 14.0 n n Nikon D5
 
Nikon D750optical Y 3.2 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D750
 
Nikon D810optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D810
 
Nikon D610optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D610
 
Nikon D4optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D4
 
Nikon D3Soptical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D3Xoptical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n Nikon D3X
 
Nikon D3optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n Nikon D3

The Nikon D4S 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 D4S writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or XQD cards, while the Df uses SDXC cards. The D4S 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 D4S and Nikon Df 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
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D4SYmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D4S
 
Nikon DfYnonenone--mini2.0---Nikon Df
 
Canon 1D XYmonononeY-mini2.0---Canon 1D X
 
Nikon D6YstereomonoYYmini3.1Y-YNikon D6
 
Nikon D850YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYYNikon D850
 
Nikon D5YstereomonoYYmini3.0---Nikon D5
 
Nikon D750YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y--Nikon D750
 
Nikon D810YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--Nikon D810
 
Nikon D610YmonomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D610
 
Nikon D4YmonomonoYYmicro2.0---Nikon D4
 
Nikon D3SYstereonone--mini2.0---Nikon D3S
 
Nikon D3XYnonenone--mini2.0---Nikon D3X
 
Nikon D3Ynonenone--mini2.0---Nikon D3

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

The Df is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the D4S has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D4S was succeeded by the Nikon D5. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D4S or the Nikon Df – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Reasons to prefer the Nikon D4S:

  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (EXPEED 4 vs EXPEED 3).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60p 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 (3020 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 modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 3 months after the Df).


Advantages 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 590g or 44 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (58 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2013).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D4S is the clear winner of the match-up (8 : 4 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. 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.

D4S 08:04 Df

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D4S 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 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 D4S or the Df perform in practice. 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

This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D4S....4.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499iNikon D4S
 
Nikon Df..81/1004/54/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749 iNikon Df
 
Canon 1D X....4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2011 6,799iCanon 1D X
 
Nikon D6....4.5/5..4.5/5 Feb 2020 6,499 iNikon D6
 
Nikon D850+ +89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jul 2017 3,299 iNikon D850
 
Nikon D5..89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 6,499iNikon D5
 
Nikon D750+ +90/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 2,299iNikon D750
 
Nikon D810..86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299iNikon D810
 
Nikon D610+ +87/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 iNikon D610
 
Nikon D4....4.5/5..4.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999iNikon D4
 
Nikon D3S..89/1004.5/55/55/5 Oct 2009 5,199iNikon D3S
 
Nikon D3X..86/1004/55/55/5 Dec 2008 7,999iNikon D3X
 
Nikon D3..+ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999iNikon D3
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 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 D4S:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon Df:
Check Amazon price

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.

~

    Specifications: Nikon D4S 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 D4S Nikon Df
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2014 November 2013
    Launch Price USD 6499 USD 2749
    Sensor Specs Nikon D4S 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 1080/60p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100-25600 ISO 100-12800 ISO
    ISO Boost 50-409600 ISO 50-204800 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED 4 EXPEED 3
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 89 89
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.4 24.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.3 13.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 3074 3279
    Screen Specs Nikon D4S 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 3.2 inch 3.2 inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D4S 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 D4S Nikon Df
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini 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 D4S Nikon Df
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL18a EN-EL14
    Battery Life (CIPA)3020 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 1350 g (47.6 oz) 760 g (26.8 oz)

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