List Price: $6,499 (body only)
Nikon’s new professional flagship is the D4S, and it’s the fastest Nikon DSLR (11 fps at full-res with continuous AF, up from 10 fps in the D4), with likely the best high-ISO image quality due to a newly developed 16.2-megapixel, FX-format full-frame CMOS sensor and EXPEED 4 processing. Normal ISO range is 100-25,600, expandable to 50-409,600—both a stop better than the D4 and Df. Low-ISO image quality has been improved, too. The EXPEED 4 and a new EN-EL 18a battery also increase the shots per charge, from 2,600 on the D4 to 3,020 on the D4S (per CIPA standard).
The EXPEED 4 processing combines with the improved sensor to make possible 1080 full HD video at 60p (up from 30p in the D4), with simultaneous writing to a memory card and uncompressed output to an external recorder via HDMI, when desired. As with the D4, video is MOV, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, with mono sound via a built-in microphone or stereo via an optional external mic.
While the basic AF system is the same as the D4’s (51 points, works down to EV -2 and with lens/converter combos as slow as ƒ/8), recalibrated AF algorithms and a new Group Area AF mode improve AF performance on moving subjects.
Retained are such fine D4 features as pro-grade construction and moisture sealing, a shutter tested to 400,000 cycles, a 3.2-inch LCD monitor and a bright pentaprism eye-level viewfinder that shows 100% of the actual image area. Subtle changes include grip modifications for increased comfort, improved ergonomics and shorter viewfinder blackout time for easier subject tracking.
The D4S can use more than 80 Nikkor lenses, including 65 FX-format ones. As with other Nikon full-frame cameras, if you attach a DX (APS-C) lens, the camera automatically will crop to DX format to avoid image cutoff. FX lenses currently range from a 14mm ƒ/2.8 wide-angle to an 800mm ƒ/5.6 supertelephoto, including true 1:1 macro lenses, lots of zooms, and wide, normal and short telephoto PC-E (tilt-shift) lenses. Dimensions are 6.3×6.2×3.6 inches and 41.6 ounces.
STANDOUT FEATURE: Nikon’s fastest DSLR has improved image quality and ISO up to 409,600.
1. The D4S retains the D4’s basic layout, with the LCD panel to the right of the finder.
2. No need to add an accessory grip; the D4S has vertical-format controls built in.
3. The left end of the camera has several connector ports, all protectively covered.