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on Mar 29, 2012 in Camera Tech

Where’s the D4 “Review?”

I’ve had a whole bunch of emails asking just that, where’s the D4 “review?” I guess shooting with it for less then a week, “you should be able to write a review, right, others have.” Well first, I’ve not written a review for a long, long time. I have written field reports but to me, there is a huge difference. To me, a review is no more then reading the specs and writing a review based on those. Not really very helpful to anyone wanting to get the most from their D4. The field report on the other hand is no more then my findings shooting with just one camera body sample. But those with a D4 can test their body’s results against mine and make some conclusions. And shooting with a new body for less then one week is by no means a field report worth writing.

I’ve seen some “reviews” and here’s my first problem with them. We’ve been using a 1008 pixel based RGB system up until the D4. Now we are using a 91,000 pixel 3D RGB sensor. I might just be me, but that’s a feakin HUGE change! Besides being a bigger number, what does that mean to our photography? Well, I’m still trying to determine that but here is what I’ve found so far. The D4 does have a greater dynamic range then the D3. How much, I don’t have a number yet. How does that effect my photography (since I can only speak about my own shooting)? Well, in scenarios like the photos posted here, the clouds detail was not lost, there were no blinkies even though I was shooting at zero exp comp. Why is that any kind of a big deal? With the D3x, I would have dialed in minus comp to retain the detail in the clouds. Further more, so far, and this is just my gut feeling right now, the D4 when it has a greater dynamic range requires plus compensation to be dialed in. When the exposure range is back down to like four stops, I dial in minus like the “old” days. Now I have conferred with some other D4 owners and they have found the same thing but this does not make it carved in stone. But if this proves out to be true, it means we have a revolutionary tool in our hands that will require a little change in exposure thinking to take advantage of it.

Now I’ve had a number of folks moaning to me about the XQD card option in the D4 not really being an option as if I designed it. While I don’t understand why it’s there rather then a CF slot, so far I’ve enjoyed its speed. When you can shoot 74 Nefs in one burst and then suck those into the computer at radically fast speeds, I’m surely not going to complain. Is it the best option? Well, I don’t see as we really have a choice and since it works, I’m not complaining. Then there are the complaints about the battery. There again, my D4 and those I’ve shot with have had no issues or complaints. It just works and not left me in the lurch.

The biggest request though is for my settings. I just got another one figured out today to my liking so I hope to have them posted soon. Like they say, all good things come with time. Another common question is if the D4 is worth the money? I can answer that with a big, fat YES! Printed my first 24×30 prints and the results are gorgeous and comparing the D4 print to that of the D3s, the D4 was cleaner which to me is very important. Now if you don’t have the money for the D4, what do I suggest? I would pick up a used D3s and if you don’t have the money for that, a D3. But when it comes to choosing between a D4 or D3s, D4 wins for me already in my first week of shooting with it. There will be more to come, but my gut suggests it will only be more good news….