Pros Please see in summary
Cons Please see in summary
Summary Everybody seems to praise the D4 over the top, so why only 4 stars from me? Simple put: for six grand, I expect a camera that is perfect for the current state of the art. The D4 is not. I agree with most of the positive aspects and won't repeat them here, so here are my 10 shortfalls from "perfect".
1) The ISO performance is *VASTLY* exaggerated. ISO performance is 1 to 1.5 stops better than the D700, which is 5 years older than this camera. For 5 years of development, I expected much more. Yes, you are able to take photos at 6400 ISO and they are perfectly usable for small prints (after the appropriate noise reduction), but for larger prints, I would not use anything higher than 3200 ISO, which is about the same noise as or a little less than the ISO 1600 setting on my old D700. Pixel size is smaller than the D700, so perhaps the improvement is more on the order of two stops, but still much less exciting than the over-hyped announcements. Yes, there is ISO 204000, but it (and the 102000) is utterly useless for anything, even the paradigm that a bad shot is better than none. The highest I would ever go for anything except a mug shot of a burglar, is ISO 12800, which also happens to be the official, highest recommended setting.
2) I absolutely LOVE the illumination of the buttons, because night photography is most of what I do. So, why are the (segregated into a shadowy area) view and delete buttons not illuminated? That would have been another $2?
3) No usable software. For six grand, why can Nikon not throw in a full version of Capture NX to impress us? That's some $50 cost, at the most. Better yet, bundle it with Lightroom and you'll lock the market!
4) The camera comes with a charger for two batteries, but, alas, only one battery included. A second battery would have been another ~$50 (if that much, $180 list price is a rip-off). And why in the world do we have to deal with a new, proprietary and unique battery design with every single camera? I loved sharing batteries between my D200 (now IR) and D700 cameras. Is it so difficult to keep design consistent?
5) Canon has an option for automatic long exposure noise reduction, which is NOT as long as the exposure itself, but rather half to 2/3 the time. That is innovation and is missing here, the 5D Mk II had it 4 years ago.
6) Live view is nicely implemented with a dedicated button, but still much less usable (much more noisy) than that of, e.g., Canon cameras (which are several years older). Canon cameras enable you to focus on stars in the night sky through live view. The D4 sees only noise.
7) The port to attach the remote control (or GPS) is still in the same awkward place that makes screwing the plug in a pain. That has been the case for 3 camera generations (D200/300-D700-D4). Does anyone at Nikon do usability studies?
8) No flash. Perfect for fill-flash and in situations when you don't have time to get the full flash out of the bag. I hear a thousand "professionals" scream that Pros don't use pop-up flash. Bogus! It's extremely useful and good enough to trigger the (professional) Nikon lighting system. With this huge camera, there is surely enough space.
9) Weight. Even though they shaved off some size and weight compared to the D3s, I am wondering why a Canon 5D Mk II is somewhere around half the size and weight. This beast is a pain (literally) to carry around, especially with the heavy full-frame lenses it requires. Lifting and carrying the D4-70-200mm combination is a gym-type workout. I think Nikon should focus on making weight loss a focus in the future.
10) Two different types of memory cards in the same camera. Enough said. Couldn't make up their minds, I guess.
Don't get me wrong, I love working with that camera, but for its price, I expect perfection, which is not delivered. Give me options 1 through 5 and I would post a simple "wow" here. Now it's only a "very nice".
Best offer for the Nikon D4 I suggest at: www.amazon.com/dp/B006U49XM6/?tag=fromcnet-20
Pros FAST, fast, and it's fast. It shoots fast, writes fast, and changing modes is fast, adjusting anything is fast.... this camera has everything you need - right in front of you. When you hold it - it just feels 'right'. Well done Nikon.
Cons Wish the GPS was built in (I do not have the GPS adapter) - and it will be a great day when wifi transfer is built in - and wireless wifi remote control ability (via iPhone/iPad) is built in.
Summary I've had this camera for a couple months. I was nervous about parting with that kind of money for a camera - there are several out there that have great specs for a lot less - but once you have it in your hands and once you've used it for a while - you will be soooo happy you took the plunge. It is a pleasure to reach for everyday and it is a solid SOLID piece of equipment.
Pros Feel, functionality, performance, ability to focus in very very low light.
Cons Nikon is no longer bundling in the XQD and reader.
Summary If you are in the market for the best Pro-Level DSLR, the D4 is it. Stop holding yourself back and just do it. :D
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