What always amazes me is these magazine guys that receive a demo camera from a company, take it out for a day or two, shoot a couple of hundred of images and then….do a write up about the camera. How on earth can you give an objective opinion about a camera if you haven’t used it properly for some period of time and test it under different situations.

After shooting with my D3 for years.  I bought my Nikon D4 at the beginning of April. Two months later, more than 20 000 cycles, five weddings, a couple of Super Rugby, PSL football matches, SA Senior Nationals Swimming, a trip to Duba plains/Okavango Delta, a few interior shoots, some product and portait shoots in the studio….. and I am still a bit tentative to give an opinion, but will give you a few thoughs on how I feel about the Nikon D4 at this stage.

I just want to mention that I am in no way sponsored by Nikon, so I don’t get payed to say anything that I don’t want to say.

Nikon D4 with 105mm Macro lens - ISO - 640

1. Exposure:  On the D3 I start my exposure on – 0,3 and  then work out my exposure from this point. On the D4,  it looks like you get a bit more light so I start at  – 0.7 and sort out the exposure from there.  Don’t know why, but it feels like that with the D4 it happens that you get burnt out spots on your skin tones very easily… specially in the studio where I got nicer skin tones out of the D3. But I can sort this out with time.

2. Focus:  The D4 is absolutely phenomenal when it comes to tracking a subject like for instance a bird in flight, a rugby or football player running. This I think is the department with the most improvement if you compare it with the older D3. I use the 21 points, continuous shooting and focus at the back al the time, from portrait, wildlife, sport…everything.

3. White Balance: The auto white balance on the D3 is in another class.. point. If shooting in raw however, which I do a lot, one can sort this out in post processing very easily.

Nikon D4 with 85mm F1.4 - Auto White Balance - ISO: 125

4. Handling: Brilliant…like the D3…it just fits your hand and one can operate it without fiddling to much with the camera. I like the way they have moved the Focus knobs at the back.  Also the focus setting in front where you set the different points ,as well as switch between single and continuous mode just make so much sense.

5. ISO: Well… I think a few guys  is going to shoot me about this, but….. You can use it at 5000 ISO with brilliant results if you have quality light to work with. If you do not have quality light you are still going to get some noise even at 800 ISO.  Just a tip…Put that High ISO noise reduction setting of the first day you get your D4.  It just doesn’t work.

Nikon D4 with 600 mm F4 lens - ISO: 3200

6. Video: I haven’t played with this enough and don’t think I can give an opinion at this stage. Want to mention that the focus is much better than on the older models. Put your focus on the A/M setting on your lens, the vibration reduction on and you will get amazing results. The quality of the video material is absolutely out of this world. I ordered myself  a Zacuto eye piece bracket to ease viewing.

7. Conclusion: A brilliant camera, but if you have a D3s that is in good condition, it is still more than capable of doing any job that will come your way.

8. Problems:  Shooting bursts of 2- 4 frames the camera just hangs. The only way to get it going again is to take the battery out, put it back in again and continue shooting. This normally happens  3-4 times per match(rugby or football).  I took the camera to Nikon SA, but they couldn’t pick up anything that is wrong.

Just want to mention that this has nothing to do with the buffer. When the buffer is full, the camera will download, and when it has space again, I can continue shooting.

Nikon D4 with 600 mm F4 lens. ISO: 2500