Photography News 07

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Camera review

NikonD4 s A new flagship DSLR brings with it plenty of glitz and glamour. We dig beneath the hype to see what Nikon’s flagship is capable of ON TEST

What really impressed in the D4 s was the metering capabilities. The same 91,000-pixel RGB sensor as the D4 and D800 gives it the power to get almost every frame spot on with Matrix metering. Even extremely tricky lighting didn’t phase it – shooting directly into the sun with a dark subject in the foreground, for example, the scene was rendered almost as the eye saw it, helped by the fantastic dynamic range of the sensor. The D4 s also has a new and very clever trick up its metering sleeve – face-detection in Matrix metering. When activated, this identifies a face and effectively spot meters from it without changing metering mode – it works very well. The D4 s includes the new EXPEED 4 processor, one generation ahead of the D4 and the rest of Nikon’s full-frame line-up – the benefits are wide ranging. It promises to improve image rendering in JPEG files straight from the camera, and it’s true

they’re of excellent quality. On close examination, Raw files still contain a touch more detail, but the difference is minimal. There’s more flexibility in your choice of file format too – you can record TIFFs, or Nikon’s new Raw S format, four-megapixel Raw images that are 13MB instead of 22MB. This may be great for journalists sending Raw images instantly over the Internet, but the files are only any good for on-screen use. The new processor allows the D4 s to reach new (dizzy) heights in ISO sensitivity with 1EV extra at the top end than the D4, and 4EV more than the D800 – see for yourself the stunning performance in the panel opposite. This low-light performance is of great benefit to sports and nature photographers who need fast shutter speeds, and the other big talking point of the D4 s for these genres is the increased top shooting speed – the D4 could manage 10 frames-

Words by Ian Fyfe

SPECS

Flagship DSLRs don’t come round very often, and when they do they create a stir. By their very nature, they push the boundaries to the limit, and showcase some of the best imaging technology currently possible. Their price tags put them beyond the reach of most enthusiast photographers, yet their power and speed mean that many of us aspire to owning one. It’s no surprise then that the release of the Nikon D4 s has been highly anticipated since its development was first announced in January, and now it’s here, it’s the talk of the technosphere. We couldn’t resist getting our hands on it to see what all the fuss is about. Technological evolution Although a new Nikon flagship signifies the pushing of boundaries, the fact that we have a D4 s rather than a D5 indicates that this is more of a nudge than an all- out shove. It’s designed specifically for professional sports, press and nature photographers, and updates from the D4 are more about practicalities for these users than technological prowess. This means the D4 s has a 16.2-megapixel full- frame sensor, as did the D4. So why still such a low resolution for such an advanced camera? Simply, speed. A 24- or 36-megapixel sensor would seriously slow the shooting rate and file transfer. Obviously this kind of pixel count is some way behind what we’re getting used to from Nikon, and it does limit resolution – if you want the kind of detail that the 36-megapixel D800 can deliver for example, then the D4 s will disappoint. But that’s not to say the images are poor by any measure – in real-world photographs, resolution is superb, and let’s not forget that 16 megapixels is plenty for A3 prints. RIGHT Low-light performance means you can hand-hold for scenes like this without worrying about image quality – this was at ISO 12,800.

PRICE £5199 body only CONTACT www.nikon.co.uk SENSOR 16.2 megapixels with EXPEED 4 IMAGE DIMENSIONS 4928x3280 pixels Single point, 9-, 21- or 51-point dynamic area, 3D-tracking, group area, auto area EXPOSURE COMPENSATION +/-5EV in 1/3, 1/2 or 1EV steps SHUTTER 30secs-1/8000sec ISORANGE 100-25,800 (50-409,600 expanded) AUTOFOCUSMODES SHOOTING SPEEDS Single, continuous L, continuous H 11fps, quiet shutter release, self-timer, mirror up LCD SCREEN 3.2in with 921k dots STORAGEMEDIA XQD, Type I CompactFlash (UDMA compliant) DIMENSIONS (WXHXD) 160x156.5x90.5mm WEIGHT METERING PATTERNS Matrix, centre- weighted, spot

1350g (including battery and XQD memory card) ±

Photography News | Issue 7

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