e4 – It’s Worth Every Penny!
“Why do you shoot mainly with the D4?” This is a ~real~ common question and very valid since it costs more than any other Nikon body. To me it’s real simple, Custom Setting e4! I’ve been talking about this Custom Setting since the D4 first arrived on my desk and it’s not changed. Not found in any other Nikon, Custom Setting e4 permits you to disengage the exposure compensation setting in the body so it only effect the camera body meter and not the flash. With every other camera body, when you dial in exposure compensation, any amount you dial in the body automatically effects the flash. So if you dial in -2 in the camera body to underexpose the ambient light by 2 stops, you’ve also have dialed in -2 into the flash. With the D4 using Custom Setting e4 engaged, you dial in -2 into the body, the flash exposure hasn’t changed. This one Custom Setting basically gives our flash 3 more stops of light!
Putting this into practice, here’s my “artsy fartsy” photo of our friend Meb. You can see the sun in the top right corner and the shadow it casts on the ground on the left. So it is very much at play in the photo. The lighting is simply two, SB-900s. I’ve dialed into the camera body -3.3 exp comp which is giving me the exposure for the ambient light. With any other camera, that would have made the flash almost useless in this situation since all the flash can do is a +3. When you take the -3.3 in the body and add the +3 in the flash, the flash is now at ZERO! But with e4 engaged, the +3 on the flash is actually +3 and the final effect you can see on the left side of Meb.
Yes, I have the D800 in my camera bag and now the D600 and use them when their big MP is required. But the camera body I turn to day in and day out is the D4. Yes, it costs more to buy, yes, it has a whole lot less megapixels an no, that doesn’t matter to me or more importantly, my business. And that’s the one variable that most photographers understandably can’t relate to and why my choice of the D4 seems odd. It’s a tool doing things no other bodies do, tools I need to be a successful visual communicator.
NOTE:It appears the D600 has the same feature (though different designation). It’s been pointed out to me it’s on the Menu but I’ve not had the opportunity to read the IB yet to confirm. Something to do on the plane flight east today.