Rumor: Nikon D4 in primary field trials


This comment about a Nikon D4 camera being currently field tested was posted on the forum by an active user (with 821 previous posts if this is an indication of anything):

"Initial Information I received from a senior Nikon position in the USA, that Nikon D4 is already under primary field trial .FF sensor with 18 million pixels, Full HD-quality video as in Canon.
Frame Rate Of 10 images per second, 102,400 Asa quality similar to what today is Asa 25,600 in Nikon D3S. Improving the quality of the existing D3s by two stops.
Most important information: a completely new Autofocus sensor that will
enable outstanding autofocus performance. From what I understand, this is a real breakthrough Technology.
I was not told when the camera is expected to reach the market and what will be its price."

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  • Nubz

    I’m not sure if it’s bogus or not but it sounds great to me. lets call it the D800 and sell it for $3000!

  • Sounds interesting but surely they should be concentrating on other things such as improving the lens lineup instead of this silly ISO war.

    • PHB

      Do you think that a VLSI engineer can switch to optics design? The two issues are completely independent. Lens design is a totally different field. Microlens design is a different field too.

      I don’t think the rumor stacks up though. If Nikon can squeeze out an extra two ISO stops then why muck about with an 18MPs sensor? Why not go straight to 24MPs? An 18 MP sensor would require a completely new set of masks at about $1 million for production.

      I don’t think Nikon can launch a D4 with less than 24MP. There will still be demand for 12MP, but that can easily be met by continuing the D3 line.

      Going to 18MP would muck up the whole line. It is not enough of a MP upgrade to tempt D3 owners, it is a downgrade for D3x owners. It would be enough of an upgrade to persuade folk considering a D3s to delay though. And after introduction the D3x would look a bit weak being four ISO stops off for only a modest improvement in resolution.

      I cannot imagine why Nikon management would have started development of an 18MP sensor at this point. The only explanation I can see is that they are testing based on an 18MP prototype sensor while they attempt to aply the production improvements to make a 24.

      But I think it more likely this is bogus, possibly deliberate disinformation.

      The only way this makes sense to me would be if the 18 MP sensor design had been developed as an incremental update prior to the D3x and Nikon decided to rush a 24MP body out to compete with Canon.

      • Jon Paul

        The 18MP might already have been designed and trialled, though, PHB. True, starting from scratch now it wouldn’t make sense. But there were rumors that the D3x was tested with an 18MP sensor, as well. Maybe Nikon decided to stay in the MP war and focus the 18MP sensor development on high ISO performance to replace the D3.

        • zzddrr

          What MP war are talking about? Nikon is at 12MP since September 2004! The first 24MP came last year. 5 years Nikon is selling 12MP. So where is the war?

          • Tabitha Green

            Canon seems to be fighting that war with themselves… and losing. :O

      • grumps

        Some background: the D# line has always been the performance of good ISO capabilities, high dynamic range, fast AF and fast shooting performance capture. The D#X line have always been about the high MP capabilities.

        Now at 18MP it is the steady progression of higher MP and better ISO and noise performance. While I don’t necessarily disagree, that Nikon can’t goto 24MP (D3X) for the D4. I do, however, see the D4x hitting 30+ MP. Now with that said, and we’re all speculating (thinking out loud), 24MP with this ISO performance is the obvious bonus, but I do see 18MP in keeping with the 6MP steady increase over 24MP for this D4. Otherwise yes to 24MP as you say!

        • PHB

          If the D4 is 18MP then there would have to be a 36MP body in the works and neither can go on sale until at least a year from now. An 18MP D4 would wound the D3x without really replacing it.

          I think it more likely that if the rumor is true, that this is a D4 prototype and not an indication of what we are going to see in production.

          If the ISO numbers are true they are incredible. But if they can do that at 18MP they can easily make a 24MP sensor that gives an extra stop on the D3s. I can’t see why Nikon would want to mess about with two flagship models 24MP or less if they could produce one that is double the resolution of the D3s and four ISO stops better than the D3x.

          I guess that it is possible that sales of flagship bodies are so good that Nikon could consider launching an 18MP and 36 MP together. But I think it more likely that if those ISO numbers are right, they would go for a 24MP body on introduction and then blow everyone away with a 50MP x version a year later.

          50MP is considered equivalent to medium frame film. It would be a breakthrough accomplishment. 36 MP would be a not quite accomplishment. I don’t think Nikon needs to go there. Beyond 50MP the lenses will be an issue.

          • Bonetti

            PHB Wrote
            “I don’t think Nikon can launch a D4 with less than 24MP”
            “It is not enough of a MP upgrade to tempt D3 owners, it is a downgrade for D3x owners.”

            Do you understand the different applications the D3/s and D3X have?? it looks like you dont ,when you say “is a d3x downgrade”


          • PHB


            The way you make your point makes me think that you are a person who is used to getting people to agree by bullying. It does not make you look clever, it makes you look rather stupid.

            It is quite simple, the D3x offers high resolution, the D3s low light performance. But they are both used for the exact same purpose – taking pictures.

            The claimed ISO response of this prototype makes clear that Nikon could easily make a camera that offers the D3x resolution with superior ISO response to both. So there would be no reason to make two different cameras and certainly no reason to make two flagship models.

            Nikon had the D2H and D2X variants of the D2. But when the D3 came out it was better than both.

          • “50MP is considered equivalent to medium frame film. It would be a breakthrough accomplishment.”

            How are these equivalents based? Is there an algorithm to calculate them?

          • PHB

            There really is no absolute measure for comparing film with digital. But the grain size of film provides an absolute limit to how much resolution film can deliver.

            Pro photographers started to consider digital to have exceeded film at about 6MP and there were no disputes at 10MP. The reason for the difference is that digital is a lot more consistent than film which varies according to temperature and from batch to batch. That is why some folk think that resolution beyond 12MP is unnecessary. Almost all the print media we have are adapted for 35mm film quality photos. More is unnecessary. The exception is magazines especially fashion and homes.

            Medium format film (4×5 inch) delivers 15 times the area of 35mm film. So delivering equivalent performance will require 95MP.

            However the real benchmark is the Hasselblad which is much smaller, 6cm x 6cm. So that is only 4.2 times the area of 35mm film and so you need between 25MP and 45MP to equal film.

            So on that calculation, the D3x is already at ‘medium format’ equivalency if your benchmark is the ‘blad and you switched from film.

            In practice, what matters is catching up to the current Hasselblad digital models. They have a 50MP on sale now and a 60MP that was about to ship last time I looked. A 50MP camera in the next 18 months would pretty much settle the argument.

            Sure the ‘blad sensor format is going to give you TWO ISO STOPS over the FX sensor, thats just got to be worth paying $45,000 for the body and $5,000 each for your lenses.

          • You say that the d3x is aimed towards resolution and the d3s is aimed towards low-light performance. But if you shoot a d3x at 12mp, will it have more noise than the d3s? Will it be at any disadvantage at all? If not, then the d3s is aimed at price, not low-light capability.

            This thought seems to be supported by the good folks at DxOmark, here:! No?


          • PHB

            fugue137, doubling the resolution of a sensor means that there is half the area available to collect light and so ISO response will be one stop worse – all things being equal.

            So if you use a decent photo editor and down res a 24MP photo to 12MP the result should be as good or better noise wise as a 12MP native photo.

            But the D3x is two stops worse than the D3, not just one. So the tradeoff is significant. Which is why I think that the D3x would be a higher priority for an upgrade in ISO performance than the D3 was if there was a D4 ready for launch with the specs described any time soon.

            The other aspect to the equation is that it takes more time to pull more pixel data off the chip. So for the sports photographer a D3s might well remain a preferred choice over a 24MPs D4.

            I can’t see a logic for Nikon selling three flagship models, a 12MP, 18MP and 24MP. So either the D3s or D3x would have to go if the D4 launched with these specs. I would think it much more likely that they would go back to the fab and get a mask set made up for a 24MP sensor using the same technology. A 24MP D4 that ‘only’ gave one ISO stop improvement over the D3s would still be an amazing achievement and be the preferred body for most photographers. In that scenario the recent upgrade to the D3s makes perfect sense as the D3s would not go away any time soon. I would expect it to stay for another couple of years until a higher speed D4s appears.

            The launch of the D3s puts paid to the launch of a D4 with 18MP or less for at least a year in my view. It does not preclude a replacement for the D3x.

            If the 18MP sensor is real it would be much more logical to use it as the starter sensor for a D800 than as the sensor for the D4. The flagship has to be the best camera on the market when it launches.

        • Stephen Foster

          It would make more sense to come out with the D4 at 18 MP with outstanding AF and ISO capabilities rather than 24 with lesser ISO. Main reason is that it would extend the life of the D3X until they are ready for a D4x

          I would expect the D5 to hit 24MP in about 4 years time with similar or better ISO than the D4 described above.

          My two cents, but what would I know. πŸ™‚

      • SimonC

        D4’s 2-stop improvement over D3s (which is itself a 1.5 stop improvement over D3) would be similar to the improvement of the D3 over D2x. In otherwords, significant and game changing in itself (nevermind the rumoured AF improvements).

        If you truly wanted MP, then D4 is not for you. Remember the target market for such a camera: photojournalists and sports shooters. Studio and landscape shooters will want the D4x (36 MP?) .

        There is also the possibility that the camera may have interchangeable sensor modules, allowing the user to switch between D4 and D4x sensors.

        The biggest question I want to know is if Nikon is also developing their own DX sensor with the same tech (as opposed to co-developing a sensor with Sony). That would allow an 18MP DX sensor with relatively clean 12800 ISO (similar to D300 at 1600).

        • PHB

          Hey dude, it is a rumor. So its a bit early to suggest that D4 is not for you. I don’t think 18MP is enough to rank as a flagship at this point, thats all.

          If photojournalists find 12MP enough, then why offer more? The D3s is only just out. I don’t think it will go away after the D4 comes out.

          An 18MP sensor just makes no sense in the current flagship lineup. It would make great sense for the D700x , but not really for the D4.

          • WoutK89

            its more about speed than MP I guess, see D3X and D3s difference. If the rumor is true, then the D4 will offer 10 fps at 18 MP.

          • PHB

            I would not make much of the speed of a prototype body that is highly unlikely to go into production for another 12 months. By that time there will be faster DSPs available.

            I can’t see a reason to bother with the D3s if Nikon was near to putting a camera with these specs into production. Instead of updating the D3 it would make more sense to forget the D3 and update the D3x. This body would make the D3s obsolete but still leave room for a D3x.

    • Canon Fangirly

      I don’t get it. What’s the big fuzz about how many MP the sensor will have when the D4 line will have interchangeable sensors anyways?

  • Great Dad

    Alright! Now I can raid my kids college account!

  • HDZ

    No D3Xs? Why?? πŸ™

    • HDZ

      Not 24 MP, Why? πŸ™

      • SimonC

        What if it was an 18MP NON-BAYER sensor? That would give you more detail than the old 24 MP bayer sensor.

        • PHB

          That is an interesting question. An 18MP foveon would be cool. But at the moment they only deliver 14.4MP and tht is counting the pixels on all three layers. So the performance is more like a 5MP camera. There are some advantages to the foveon approach, but not enough to want to go for it for still camera work. I am not sure if they can do an electronic shutter in Foveon which would make it less interesting for video.

          Apart from that, I don’t know of any technology that would make an 18MP sensor more desirable than a 24.

          • SimonC

            Perhaps not Foveon but rather in their patent for this sensor arrangement:


            Note the huge size of the microlense compared to each of the RGB photosites. If they can manufacture this sensor, it would give an incredible increase in high-ISO! πŸ™‚

          • PHB

            Its a clever idea, in a conventional sensor the green light falling on the blue area is wasted and vice versa. A dichromic arrangement would mean using all the light to the max.

            If it was a completely different sensor technology there would be an explanation for the 18MP sensor.

      • No Difference!

        Why do you think Nikon would even consider 24 MP?

        I don’t see why would Nikon make their D4 have the same megapixels as their D3x, when the D4 will obviously also have other pluses over the D3x such as a much higher FPS.

        The D4x wouldn’t be released until some time after, so if the D4 was really 24 MP then I think that would pretty much kill any sales of the D3x.

  • Anonymous

    For today’s standard it sounds a bit dreamy (2 stops in high ISO means the ISO 25 600 is as good as D3s’s 6400… I can imagine me shooting ISO 25 600 and get clean results :)) but this camera will probably be released in early 2011 or something.

    I’d like it if they came with the eye detection autofocus but in a very precise version with like 100 points.. you don’t need to see the 100ish AF points if they use the eye detection AF a bit like canon used about 20 years ago I think.

    I think 2010/2011 will be better years than 2009 for Nikon product, the wait shall worth it.

  • nikkor_2

    Will the D4 generate 16-bit NEFs?

  • Ron Scubadiver

    Fine with me, just send one over here for evaluation.

  • grumps

    Well I hope the D4 is to be released 2010, keeping Nikon on track! (whatever that means) ;p
    In keeping with ‘comments’ tradition, I too will leave a wishlist and be done with my comments.

    With the improved ISO and the already said, which is excellent, I’d like to see an improved shutter action with almost silent sound action. (This is too important for some wedding photogs, sports (golf), theatre and film set and wildlife) Smaller and evolutionary body design with battery design to keep this body with smaller and lighter. This can be stand out camera, and leave every other manufacturer in the dust or at least pioneer the way forward. $5-6k I consider standard, and the basis of design for the little brother the D800. Done!

    • Adam

      huh? how is it to be released in 2010? The D3s is just barely shipping and it’s the end of 2009 already =.=

      I’m guessing we will only see D4 and D400 in 2011.

      And I dont agree about smaller body design, the D700 and the D3 design is as perfect as it already is, the only improvements they can make is the multi controller (which can be improved, not saying the current one is bad though), and not sure how they can make the D3 lighter without sacrificing its current build quality (light as in noticeable light, not 50gram lighter). And if the improvements you mentioned about lighter and smaller sacrificed the feeling that the current D3 and D700 bodies has, then you can forget about it being stand out and instead getting a lot of complains from the current owners.

      • grumps

        Allow to expand on this, the last time I travelled with a lot of my camera gear I was alittle over 30lbs. Now depending on what we shoot and how we shoot, and what we decide to bring it’s a major factor, and now especially with airlines tightening our baggage allowances almost seems like every year, we’re not seeing improvements here either and it’s approaching 2010 (almost 2012, movie joke here, might as well be)

        Now even upto 20% reduction is a huge advantage. You say sacrifing build quality, think Apple unibody design, stronger and lighter… why do you think it has to be sacrificed with yesterday’s technology. I’m just saying things can entirely go the other way round. Think auto industry, some people may not beleive this, but cars today are actually stronger and better built, despite what people think!
        Now for the d300, and d700, shouldn’t we allow the engineers to think of how they can improve them further, say Leica small with a grip (I know some would like that that). Without shoving off responsibility with saying, leave it to their engineers, the D700 is still hefty, I know because I carry it so often, it’s clumpsy relatively speaking, but compared to what we currently have around, I know I prefer it to the D3, it’s worlds ahead in terms of size!

        Call me an optimist, I’d like to think we can have evolutionary improvements. Greater engineering marvel have been achieved, such as factory sized computer and the brick we used to call a cell phone! -end-

        • Adam

          Well the thing is Apple unibody breakthrough doesn’t come often and its funny how you say car today build stronger and better built, from what I see the original Beetle is stronger or as strong as the current generation cars. My dad old Accord build quality is actually better then the new Accord build quality. And what you mean by Leica small? rangefinder small? if you are expecting many DSLR photographers will be happy with their currently appropriate sized DSLR to be shrunken, then I think many people wont agree with your opinion. Some photographers prefer the bigger sized DSLR over the smaller sized DSLR alone cuz of the size of the camera.

          Well there are many other things to improve in DSLR and I can bet, size is not in one of the top list.

          • grumps

            Well I would agree as much as other things to improve in DSLR πŸ™‚

      • I really hope D400 will come in 2010 though. Many are putting off 300s and waiting for it πŸ˜€

  • LGo

    18 megapixel is more than enough.

    The D3s has an improvement of at least one-stop over the D3, possibly even two-stops. If this rumored D4 improves on the D3s by two-stop, Nikon will have my money!

    Its not just taking photo at this low light that would be incredible. Being able to take low light HD video at high-level of ISO is incredible!

    • Wahlroos

      LGo: totally agree with you.

  • Mike `

    WOW, they will have an absolute winner in that Camra

  • dan

    Honestly, if the video can match Canon’s, and the iso is really two stops better, and it only 18MP, this sounds like the perfect camera to me.

    But let’s be logical here. Time and time again we’ve been hearing rumours like this and time and time again we’ve had it fall so unbelieveably short.
    Nikon were supposed to be implementing full 1080p 24fps in their D300s according to those rumours. But still a few cameras down the line Nikon haven’t upped their game in the video department in the slightest, while Canon are besting theirs with each new camera.

    I’m not as such complaining as I know Canon have a huge R&D department already with video and all, I’m just saying this rumour, like all the others, is too good to be true.

    • funny

      here we go! let’s bash nikon.

      HD video is easy guys so let’s not dream that nikon is stuck not being able to do 1080p. Nikon just didn’t do it this one time most likely for reasons of time and misjudging how important video would become. they can just get an off the shelf h264 encoder processor found in most budget camcorders, slap it in, and be done with it. it’s not even hard.

      • PHB

        The software for 1080p is not hard. But you do have to have the CPU resources to make it work.

        The D300 was not designed to support video and it is a pretty good bet that every current Nikon camera shares the same internal engineering design by now. They will have amalgamated cores so that on chip in a D5000 is doing the work of two in the D300, but I doubt there is much different as far as the electronics go.

        I think full 1080p video for the D4/D400 series is a slam dunk. I would also recon on there being a reasonable chance of seeing a dedicated video module appear with a sensor resolution precisely matched to the 4K cinema standard (8MP) or a mirrorless 3CCD design delivering native 1080p for television work.

        The D400 is likely to be the best video camera available at any price on introduction, the only drawback being the lack of power zoom and an electronic shutter making it a drag for panning shots. But even that could be corrected in software. Just stick some acceleration sensors in the body and make sure that the camera records some frames at rest at the start and end of a panning shot. F-mount lenses would more than make up.

        But however good a still camera that doubles as a video camera, there will be folk who want a video camera that is optimized for video.

  • NSXType-R

    Wow. Das hot.

  • woble

    Native 102400 sounds like fun. That means 204800 in H1 and 409600 in H2. O_O

    • Adam

      dang the number is getting too big, now it doesn’t sound as cool as saying ISO6400 quickly. LOL!

    • WoutK89

      Base ISO 400? with LO-1 and LO-2? πŸ˜›

      • pythonstar

        Better stack up on those ND-filters!

  • Jay

    I cant believe you all are buying this hahaahha.

    • Dweeb

      Yeah me too. So this would replace the D3s, or the D3X? That’s a tough one, eh?

      • WoutK89

        Both, like with the D2Hs and D2Xs

        • Dweeb

          That would eliminate one of Nikon’s several thousand dollar price points they love so much.

          • WoutK89

            It happened before, they probably dont even produce the D3X any more, if they are producing, in very low numbers I suppose

  • jon

    Makes sense that it is being tested. Maybe D4 will be tested at the winter Olympics, disguised as a D3 series body. Just amazing the technology that is coming out. Now if we could just get a sighting/rumor of a an 85 1.4 VR being field tested. That lens I want and could afford to buy, not so with a D4.

  • Just a Thought

    D4X is pretty certain would be over 30mp. The Leica S2 is 37.5mp with a sensor slightly larger that FF 36mm. Therefore 36mp would be a realsitic target for the D4X.
    So a D4 at 18mp makes perfect sense because 36 divided by 2 is 18mp

    We should have a better idea about sensor sizes after Sony comes out with both of it’s new top ends models.

    One question: Are the D4 prototypes evil with detachable viewfinder? That would save a lot of production cost – no mirror box, no pentaprism, no focusing screens, maybe even no mechanical shutter. Would make for a lighter body and possibly much sharper images as there would no longer be any vibration from a mechanical shutter and mirror slap. No Mechanical shutter would also keep the sensor cleaner – no grease splattering on the sensor. Getting rid of mechanical parts could make the camera even more reliable.

    • Adam

      erm, no mirror box means they wont be any optical viewfinder. Nope, don’t see that happening to DSLR. Then it wont be called an SLR anymore. And if doesn’t come with a viewfinder, then you expect photographers to use the LCD? You’re joking rite?
      You don’t get sharper images cause of vibrations only if the shutter speed is not fast enough, and that problem has been solved with Image Stabilization (now up to 4 stops), so not much of a problem, what they can do is to create a new option which reduces vibration drastically by slowing down the movement of the mechanical parts after the shutter button is pressed (at the expense where continuous shooting is disabled).

  • low

    now this is a rumor!! stick it canon baby!

  • WoutK89

    I am not an expert, but I guess spreading rumors like these (intentional ‘leaking’), they must have had already enough pre-orders on the D3s to make people look for the D4. I hope I am clear what I am trying to say. Rumors like this could eventually kill sales for the D3s, but if they werent looking for a huge profit out of the D3s, I guess this may well be some partly real information.

  • Wishful thinking. There’s no way you can add 50% more megapixels AND quadruple the sensitivity. The 7D and 1D mk IV’s high ISO performance, from Canon who previously led the high ISO race for YEARS, should speak to this. The 7D gets trounced by the D300, and the 1D mkIV, well, it just won’t steal back the crown from the D700 / D3, let alone the D3s…

    I’m going to have to vote “wishful thinking” on this rumor.


    • SimonC

      I think the opposite: Canon proved it could reasonably match the performance of an older 12MP sensor with an 18MP sensor. The D300 sensor, while state-of-the-art at its time (in 2007), is under pressure from newer sensors from both Canon and Sony. As a Nikon shooter, I see this as good news, as it proves that there are improvements to be had. Even the D3s improved the D3 by at least 1 stop.

      Never count against technology.

    • T140Rider

      Is this the Canon 7D that has (or is about to have) a huge firmware upgrade just weeks after it became available?

      Pah. I for one do not want HD Video. The increased resolution is great for me. I was shooting Golden Eagles in the Cevennes a few weeks ago. Having more abilty to crop in post processing would really help me. Unless I can capture the Eagle making a kill the Video is of no interest whatsoever as 5+ fps is fine for this type of shoot.

      I am old enough to remember shooting film on an 8mm camera when I was a student back in the early ’70s’. I soon realised that I for one didn’t have the right mindset to shoot movies. My recent foray into Video brought that back home with a vengance. I’m crap at it. I’d hate to be diverted from taking decent stills into making crap video. Not for me thank you very much.

    • Just a Thought

      MS wrote: “There’s no way you can add 50% more megapixels AND quadruple the sensitivity.”

      Yes they can and they will.

      You could go to a non-Bayer color mask with a percentage of clear pixels – ala one of Kodak’s ideas. You could double the pixels and combine pixels to get reduced output MP but better performance – like Nikon did in D1X and some claim D3 and D3X could be same sensor.(there is no Sony camera with a sensor size like D3, but there is one with D3X size and specs).

      But the real key is to switch to “Black wafers”. Instead of the relatively flat plane of White wafers, Black wafers have huge mountains which dramatically increases sensor’s light capture area for same physical dimensions. Also Black wafers are much more sensitive to light..

      When Black wafers take off, what will be really nice will be the three sensor Evil cameras which will have beam splitters. Each sensor will capture only one color. Just like high end video cameras which have used 3 CCD sensors for ages. Think Sigma’s Foveon but with super High ISO and Resolution.

      Major changes just around the corner – Moore’s Law lives on.

      • Astrophotographer

        A limit is coming soon. There’s a finite number of photons in a unit of light. I tried to crunch some numbers and estimated the D3s is getting close to max efficiency. But I think you’re right in that eliminating the Bayer filter will be the next improvement.

        • PHB

          Yes, you are right that Moore’s law will run out for cameras because of the wavelength of light. Assuming that there is no point in a sensor area that is less than two wavelengths of light across, that means the limit is 160MP for DX sensors and 320 for FX.

          But the lenses will be the limiting factor before we get to that point.

          I am not sure that the EVIL cameras will have the splitter you suggest, the Nikon sensor with the on-chip splitter looks like a better scheme to me.

          If you look at the improvements Nikon has made in ISO performance, the EVIL lineup might well be rather special. The FX format will always offer better low light performance, but black wafers and other improvements might well mean that the first generation EVIL bodies are on a par with the D3 ISO wise, using lenses that are about a third the weight.

        • PHB

          If you read later in this thread, this rumor is busted.

          I think you might be right on having reached the ISO limit for the bayer sensor. The idea of using a beam splitter – either one large one or microsplitters on chip, would be a way to get round the problem.

          When the black wafer stuff was discovered the verdict was that it would boost IR performance greatly but do rather little for visible light. It was however compatible with existing processing techniques.

          So you might be right that the ‘s’ upgrade is due to using black wafers. There may be an additional gain to come from using a non-bayer sensor. There may be gain to be found with better heat control. But its going to be getting harder.

  • anikonguy

    Nikon has fallen way behind Canon when it comes to video capabilities in its DSLRs. The Canon 7D, 5DMII and newer Canon body offer 1080 and an expected firmware upgrade for the 5DMII will allow it to shoot at 24p and 25p in addition to 30p. The D3s video option seemed like an afterthought, and at the price of the camera, hardly seems worth the upgrade from a D3 (or a switch from the 5DMII).

    The debate over whether video is needed or a good thing in DSLRs may rage, but for those of us who are PJs and want to stay with Nikon, it’s becoming vitally important. So come on Nikon, show us what you can do.

    • WoutK89

      I guess in a newer body that is built from scratch with the Video feature we will see all dreams come true for all the Canon lovers here. Nikon lovers are here for the still quality, and take the video feature as an extra for now. D90, first camera with video, probably added last minute, D300s, D300 was already there, so not built for video in the first place, and same goes for the FX D3s.

      • Adam

        yup, I dont get it with the whining about Nikon current video advancement. If video is such a big deal, just switch and we will have a chance of seeing the same user back when the next generation of Nikon DSLRs are released.

  • Jim

    Could the AF breakthrough be “offset AF sensor pairs”? I saw that mentioned on pg 17 of the Dec 2009 issue of Popular Photography. Better AF is always appreciated – especially if it can be more sensitive in low light and more frame coverage.

  • Scott Bourne told the story on one the podcast that he had tested the 14-24mm f2.8 3 years before Nikon put it on the market. So this D4 could be years away.

    • Adam

      yeah, like what I’m telling people, we will only see about the D4 in 2 more years.

  • You know i had thought nikon might of introduced the D4 early or at least have give it to there top sport photographers b4 the 2010 winter olympics. a year after the D2xs came out we saw the D3, I think the “s” most of the time is a last grab for cash, its always an improved camera but no that improved.

    • WoutK89

      So yes, give it another year πŸ˜‰

  • Haha, 2 stops improvement over D3s, if by Moose D3s is two stops over D3 we would than then have D4 whose ISO6400 equals D3ISO400. πŸ˜€

  • D# line could certainly benefit from an autofocus sensor that has some cross type points outside the middle, like the new Canon 7D. What good’s the glass if you can’t focus it quickly and accurately? Especially now that these cameras are getting so high res, focus precision needs to improve.

    The D3s is kinda an odd duck when you consider that it’s sensor has the ability to see in light that is beyond its capabilities to autofocus.

    18mp, good IQ, fast frame rate, a great new line of prime glass, and a good quiet shutter mode could = Leica slayer.

    Just sayin.

    • funny

      have you even tried the nikon 51pt AF system? It whipes the floor with any canon AF system to date, including the 7D. It not just the type sensors and then umber of them, it’s the smarts behind the algorithms. Nikon has been at least 5 years ahead of AF systems can canon still playing catch up.

      • Meh

        BS…you don’t jack. You are just a fanboy!

      • Jay

        The new 1D4 trumps the nikon Af… cross types everywhere galore

        • Anon

          the 1D4 has cross type AF sensors that wont work with an F5.6 equalivent lens combo. Anyone ever used a 70-200 with 2x converter? No working cross points in ANY Canon with that setup.

          What about a 600mm f4 with 1.4x ?

          Nikon’s cross point AF kicks ALL competitors out of the park.
          Before you count the sensors you’d be better to see if they actually work when the push comes to shove….

        • RumpelHund

          Take a look at page 16.

          Read for yourself that the central AF point is the lonely king with high precision element and tech stuff galore. All others are ‘just’ cross-types, same as in the Nikons.

          Don’t know what extras the nikons have and where, but there surely is something to gain on af (better precision, speed, sensitivity and gimmiks (working with video, finding the eyes etc.).

          • Anon

            Canons cross type AF sensors are not as useful as Nikons because they don’t work as cross type with all lenses. (they become standard AF sensors with most lenses / lens – converter combinations)

            Nikons cross type AF sensors work as cross type with ALL current AF Nikkor lenses, and ALL recommended lens-TC combinations. (from memory there is only 1 AF Nikkor from history that they don’t act as cross type on).

    • Adam

      They will improve the AF, but I dont see many people complained bout the current D3x AF (and it’s the highest MP count on any DSLR so far)

      What I’m guessing is that in the next AF update, it will be 51 points, all cross type or it could be the current cross type will be upgraded to a double cross and the outer non cross to cross type sensors.

      • Jim

        what is “double-cross”?

  • longtimenikonshooter

    the game is now on the video (1080p) and forget about MP. nikon has to compete very hard with cannon on that front and the only sensible strategy is to win the battle by winning high iso performance front.

  • Vendetta

    At last ! 18 millions pixels ! Good job Nikon

    • WoutK89

      Wow, its my birthday in June, please congratulate me now already, just like you do with a non existing camera to Nikon πŸ˜‰

  • Theodore

    So, this senior Nikon official in the US devision decided to give detailed specifics about a camera in early testing … yes, it’s about right there that this all falls apart.

    • WoutK89

      Trust me, they have sold already enough D3s, they want people to save up for the D4 πŸ˜‰

  • Zenndott

    Yes, the specs sound sexy, but before start drooling / fighting over them, is there any info on the source? Have responders to this site (in Israel?) ever provided viable rumors before? Has “Dbrenner” sent in information before? I’d like some kind of background check before taking this at face value.


  • Ernst

    Megapixels don’t come without consequences (crosstalk, noise, shading artifacts, QE problems, yield problems, bandwidth issues, etc), and won’t buy you anything even if they didn’t, if the lens PSF or motion-blur distance or whatever other “resolution” metric you like exceeds the pixel size.

    Nikon could make 441MP (that’s right, four hundred forty-one megapixel) DSLRs tomorrow if pixel count was all that mattered: just use 1.4 micron photosite that everybody’s shipping for mobile (cell/laptop/PDA) applications. 441 million of them fit on a full-frame sensor.

    And forget that – had they used the D300 photosite on the original D3, it would have had 30 megapixels.

    18MP sounds right for a D4. I would be happy if the D4 was simply a D3 with the two pointlessly-separate option banks merged into one, and made available via an external knob. In actual practice in the field, this is the D3’s biggest failing by far.

  • Just my 2 cents – the earliest I see the D4 coming out is December 2010 (not a rumor, just an educated guess). Think of it this way – what cameras will Nikon announce next year? D700 replacement is probably first on the list, then a D90 replacement and then? They cannot release only two DSLRS next year. I say either Nikon EVIL or D4/D400 combo at the end of 2010 (maybe announced at Photokina, available December for the holiday shopping season.

    • Alex

      D90 replacement would be interesting. Nikon has traditionally brought higher end sensors down to the D90 type cameras later on, The only thing is, there are no newer DX sensors to bring down for a D90 replacement. D90s? Well it already has video. FX replacement? 24.5mp hasn’t been in the D700 bodies yet, so no way that will work it’s way in. 12.1mp D700 sensor in D90 replacement? I don’t think som but it could? I think anythings possible.. It is either that or a new DX sensor with more megapixels and 1080p? Perhaps D400 and D90 will be released the same year with the same sensor?

    • grumps

      So you don’t think that the D700 is a shrunken down version of the D3? I find that interesting, or you might be saying there will be a D700s as to the D3s?

      I just wouldn’t have thought that’ll be so soon, and in some ways, filling too many gaps if they were to go up to the D4 and they release another little brother to follow that!

    • rhlpetrus

      The D90 successor pnly after the new APS-C sensor comes in a D400. Usually a 6m-12m delay (D200->D80, D300->D90). My guess is D400 will show up during 1st sem 2010, successor of D90 during 2nd sem 2010.

      D4 later 2010 or early 2011.

      More problematic is update/upgrade of D700. will D800 show up earlier (with higher res sensor) or just D700s, updating D700 with D3s’ sensor.

      • Adam

        seriously, why is everyone saying the D400 will be released next year? the D300s was just released this year.

        And doesn’t the D300 series is updated the same year as the D3 series?
        D300 + D3; D300s + D3s and likely D400 + D4? unless of course Nikon decides to change its product release cycle.

        Hmm, maybe next year will be a minor update to the D90 (improvements in video and maybe full manual?), a D700s (adding video + D3s sensor) and the rest update will be those prime lenses?

        • PHB

          It all depends on the resolution and the price.

          The D3s and D300s are 12MP bodies. There certainly can’t be anything like them coming out for another 12 months. But there could be replacements with higher resolution. If the D4/D400 launch was due spring 2010 it would still make perfect sense to refresh the D3 and D300.

          The D3 and D300 are built in different factories, so it is quite possible to update both at the same time. But the D700 is built in the same factory as the D300 so its not possible to update both at the same time.

          My guess is that the next announcement we will see will be for the D700s followed by the D4/D400 launch. We might well see a D90s as well. While the D90 already has video, it does not have the 1080p video or the D300 autofocus system. Plenty of room there for an upgrade – if there are other goodies coming for the top end.

          I don’t think that the EVIL launch will affect the DSLR launch at all. The first generation bodies are going to be sold to a different market.

  • dellaaa

    Its a possibility. I think Nikon is paying the price for not developing its own sensor. They are at the mercy of the sensor manufacturers which, when you are in a MP war is not a good place to be. This is the reason I think they don’t have a 24 MP 700x. Sony is charging them too much for the sensor, they cant afford to put it in a camera at that price point.

    I for one, am disliking Nikon more and more each day. Nikon caters to pros and Ashton Kutcher point and shoot wannabees. Where is a decent point and shoot (ala G10), where is a EVIL ala Panasonic, where is a 24MP semi pro ala Sony and Canon. I don’t see them.

    Face it, they are slipping big time.

    Speaking of higher ISO, why dont they just put in camera image stabilization in the current line, its like giving you double ISO sensitivity (shoot at ISO 400 at lower speeds which is really like ISO 1600)

    • WoutK89

      Canon has no 24MP semi-pro body, they are ‘stuck’ at 21MP πŸ˜‰

    • rhodium

      Image stabilisation doesn’t freeze motion. Go figure.

    • PHB

      The Sony fab is not the same company as the Sony video/camera unit. Chances are that Nikon has a significant capital investment in the fab themselves. Nikon is in any case a major source of technical know-how to run the fab, they are in the silicon equipment business.

      Sony cannot tread on Nikon in any case since Nikon sells a heck of a lot more cameras than Sony and without them their fab is not really viable.

      And on top of that, Nikon has the option of walking while the Sony camera company does not.

      So not having their own fab is not something that should worry Nikon.

      Losing Nikon would be a major loss of face for Sony, it just isn’t going to happen. Sony will always be first out of the gate with the new silicon as they have to build a market. Nikon will always be the last out because they place the highest value on field testing and perfecting the handling before going to market.

      If you want the latest features in a camera that was slapped together by engineers in a hurry then go for the Canon.

  • Charles

    I’ve a friend in the UK who has been shooting with a black camera for a few days. It’s here and being tested according to her.

    • Charles, you got the get us more info, a spy shot… anything. Send it anon here:

    • Just a Thought

      Plse if possible ask your friend if this black camera has what looks to be a normal prism viewfinder or is the viewfinder removable ? Thanks in advance

  • dellaaa

    Oh I almost forgot. If it is a D series camera, then it will cost upwards of $8000, so who cares who, what or where it does. I won’t spend anywhere near that for a camera. If I made my living with it then fine, but I don’t so I won’t.

    Have fun drooling.

    • WoutK89

      D3s is not 8000 dollar, and D3000 is also a D-series camera πŸ˜‰

      I guess the D4 will be the same price as the D3s is, 5000 (Euro and Dollar) if I am right

    • dellaaa

      “I won’t spend anywhere near that for a camera.”

      Well then you aren’t interested in professional line outfits. Fair enough, but shut up already. I work for a major camera dealer in the NYC area (not one of the gray market places haha) and really why does everyone find it absolutely necessary to make awkward smile/hands in pockets comments on camera body prices?

      If you are a good enough photographer you will be able to easily make it pay for itself and much more very quickly. Granted not everyone NEEDS the proline bodies to make $$$, but seriously you don’t see me walking around saying WOW THOSE PROSUMER BODIES ARE SO PLASTICY ID NEVER PAY THAT MUCH FOR SUCH A LITTLE PIECE OF CRAP!

  • Astrophotographer

    The new AF is interesting. This correlates to the 2 dozen patent applications on autofocus mentioned in an earlier post. Those patents refer to EVF cameras but also state the technology can be used in other cameras like SLRs.

    So there’s a basis of fact to this new auto focus technology.

  • Fred69

    There’s no need for more megapixels. Canon has long relied on the megapixel race which has just brought image quality … _down_. I had a 4 and 5 MP point and shoot that takes better pics than 10 and 12 MP new canons.

    There are a lot of articles now showing that the Canon 7D image quality sucking pretty hard for landscapes because of some diffraction limits.

    With that being said, the D3S and D3X look phenomenal, but I wish people would stop this obsession with megapixels.

    • Simon

      There’s no need for 12MP. What is the point of having less noise when the image looks flat and soft lacking details. Nikon has relied on lowering noise which has brought image quality….._down_. I have a 10 years old 2mp pocket cam that can shoot better than 12MP cameras from Nikon.
      There are lots of articals showing Nikon D300s image quality sucks for landscape because of diffraction limits

      Thats being said 1D4 and 5D2 look phenomenal, but I wish people would stop this obsession with noise.

      Give me more MP and details anyday!!!!

      • WoutK89

        [sarcasm] “…” [/sarcasm]

      • Simon is Fat


  • Gordon

    The D4 rumour is all well and good but um…..any new rumours about D700X/D800? πŸ˜€

  • Macxtor

    Lineup from Nikon:

    D4: 18Mp new sensor, ISO 200-25600 normal setting – L1 + H1 H2, New body
    D4X: 36Mp new sensor ISO 100-12800 normal setting – L1 + H1, H2 New body
    D800: 18Mp new sensor ISO 200-25600 normal setting -L1 + H1,H2 New body + new grip (Lcd display?:))
    D400 18 MP Dx new sensor 200-12800 normal setting – L1 + H1, H2 New body+ new grip (lcd display? :))

    • plug

      This makes considerable sense, The important thing is that the glass keeps up with the sensors.

  • Simon

    From the same people who gave us “Nikon Roadmap”. This place definately caters for fanboys.

  • E!

    It will be the D400
    14-16 Mp sensor (more likely 14Mp)
    ISO 3200 as ISO 1600 today
    The x10 frame rate technology is from end 2007
    but reserved to the next gen after the D300/S
    1080P movie mode with various framerates

  • Anonymous

    Danny Brenner is not legit:

    This is a non-rumor and appears to be a complete fabrication, unfortunately.

  • Ed

    Nikon is said to use Sony sensors and applies some customizing to them which greatly improves their performance.

    But, there is no announced Sony 18mp FF sensor. Certainly, one could be in development, but, would Nikon be in final testing before Sony announces it? Have they found a different sensor manufacturer? To get production rates up, they would use it as well.

    Things just don’t hang together that well.

  • PHB,

    thank you for your AMAZING and COMPLETE answers regarding film/digital equivalence and the examples you gave. You are an asset, sir!

  • D4 ???

  • townerboy

    This makes no sense to me, and this is why. Nikon D3x is rated at 24mp. SOOO my thinking is D4 would have to beat that!!! I think it would have to be at least 30mp or more. Because why have it only at 18mp??

  • getanalogue

    one thing for sure – D4 will come. No idea about the specs, but D3s wit D3X’s resolution, any complaints? another thing for sure – it will be anounced at Photokina 2010. So, where is the problem? 18 or 24 or 36 MP’s? My guess would be 18 MP’s, plus multishot and no Bayer filter.

  • zen-tao

    Come on, Nikon. Competition is running fast. And you still asleep in the throne. There are a lot of secrets in the big companies drawers and you are only dripping little features. Red is startling the engine, Canon and Sony doesn’t stop launching models and improvements (not very successfully as far as I know) I can’t understand the HD race I think it’s pointless but you probably know the market better than me, so.. I shut up.
    Not even the D3s is on the market when the D4 is announced. I don’t trust so much the new is not your style.You would never recognize the failure of your last model.

  • lawrence

    canon and nikon better do something fast because when red comes out with this dsmc line i keep hearing about they both might be out of business

  • Bullsh**

    This is bull**it! I still love my leica m9.

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