Nikon D4 specs and comparison

It's out! Nikon D4 specs, and comparison with the Nikon D3 and Canon 1D-X
By Scott Gietler

Nikon D4 comparison

$6,000 price tag, ISO maxes out at ISO 204,800

Sony XQD mem card, Nikon 85mm lens also announced

By Scott Gietler



Nikon has released another full frame camera, the Nikon D4, which is the successor to the Nikon D3s. It is not often you find a camera that will be more expensive than the underwater housings, but that will probably be the case here. Pro underwater photographers are sure to set themselves apart with one of these. Improvements in this model were made not so much in the still photography area, but there are huge improvements for video & low-light shooting, and there other nice features that specialized pros who buy this camera will appreciate.

Here's some of my favorite improvements in the Nikon D4. I'd love to take this camera on an African safari!

  • Can shoot at 10 frames per second with auto-focus
  • Can auto-focus at F8, which means I can use it with my Nikon 200-400mm VR and a 2x teleconverter
  • Excellent RAW buffer, filling up after 90 shots with a new XDQ format card
  • Megapixels increased to 16MB

nikon d4 specifications and comparison to Canon 1D-X and Nikon D3s

This camera competes with the Canon EOS 1DX, and it looks like it will beat it to the market. Let's see how it compares with that camera and the D3s which it replaces:


  Nikon D4 Nikon D3S Canon EOS 1DX
Megapixels 16.2 12.1 18.1
Video 1080p30, 720p60 720p24 1080p30, 720p60
Shooting Speed 10 fps 9 fps 12 fps
Memory CF, XQD dual CF dual CF
Autofocus 51 points 51 points 61 points
Cost $6,000 $4,900 $6,800
LCD 3.2 inch 3 inch 3.2 inch
ISO Range up to 204,800 up to 102,400 up to 204,800
RAW Buffer Size, 12 bit 98 48 40-45?
Viewfinder magnification .70x .70x .76x
Video limit 20 minutes 5 minutes 30 minutes
Ethernet port? Yes No Yes
Size Big Big Big
Build quality Great Great Great

note: I left out many of the specs because they are pretty much the same between the models

The Nikon D4 also has some other cool features that the specs don't capture:

  • Autofocuses with F8 lenses, which means the autofocus will work better in lower light. This is good news for people who like to use teleconverters.
  • Time lapse function that will create video from stills
  • New 91,000 pixel metering sensor - which is used mainly for measuring exposure, detecting faces, etc.
  • Silent mode for 2 megabyte frame grabs at 24 per second
  • Built-in ethernet wired networking and HTTP webserver mode for remote control
  • Accepts new Sony XQD cards which boast a write speed of 125MB/sec; currently some CF flash cards claims write speed of 90MB/sec; note that this camera has only 1 CF slot, and 1 XQD slot
  • Claims "clean" shots up to ISO 12,800
  • Tracks up to 16 faces
  • Video clips up to 20 minutes long
  • Video date rate of up to 24Mbps
  • Can stream uncompressed HD video via the HDMI output
  • Mic in, headphone out with adjustable levels (first dSLR to have this feature)
  • Switch to 1.5x crop or 2.7x crop in video mode for extra reach without any post-processing
  • Controls were improved for vertical shooting
  • Shutter rated to 400,000 actuations
  • Burst shooting capable of 52 14-bit RAW files

I'm expecting housings from perhaps Subal, Aquatica, Sea & Sea, Nauticam, and Seacam - but only time will tell if they will all make one.

The Nikon D4 is expected to ship at the end of February.

New NIkon 85mm AF-S F1.8 lens

Nikon also announced the new full-frame, lightweight Nikon 85mm AF-S F1.8 lens for $499. I'm sure it takes beautiful photos. With a minimum focus distance of 2.6ft, few people will be using this lens for underwater photography - it won't take macro shots without a strong diopter, but it wil give you some great bokeh.

What do you think of the new Nikon D4?

Tell us in the forums

Underwater housings for the Nikon D4

The Nauticam D4 housing has already been announced, and should be available at the end of April. Hugyfot and Subal will also have a housing.

Further Reading

Comparing the Nikon D800 with the D700 & Nikon D4

Comparing the Canon 5D Mark III with the 5D MK II and the Nikon D800


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