Rumor: Nikon D4 will be tested at the 2010 Super Bowl and Winter Olympics

This is not really news (since we may never know) but rather a call to everyone that will be attending those events (Super Bowl is in Miami on February 7th and the Olympics will take place in Vancouver from February 12th-28th, 2010) - keep your eyes open for a disguised Nikon body and send me some pics if you find something suspicious. I've been told that the next generation Nikon D4 will be floating around (few months ago I already wrote about D4 prototypes being field tested).

UPDATE: Sorry, a reader just clarified this t to me - the picture below is from the Salt Lake City Olympics and not from Vancouver - see the whole article @ (photo by Bill Pekala/NPS).

And since we are talking about the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, a reader sent me this cool picture of stored Nikon equipment ready to be deployed to the games (my guess is through NPS):

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  • First,
    Do I get a free ticket to the game If I shoot a picture of the D4 ?

    • Banned

      Second, I really thought I was gonna be first. Get a life invisible man!!!

  • Oh… they got the address wrong. Those were to go to my place.

  • WOW, what do those cases have inside?? πŸ™‚

    Would love to check one πŸ˜‰

    • Richard

      …would love to take home a “sample”. πŸ™‚

    • fotosniper

      probably 400 2.8s or 300 2.8s or a 500 here or there. probably between 8-10,000 per case, i see 1,2,3….thats a shitload of money!

    • f/2.8

      Need to ask the Salahis for advice on how to crash the party at the Nikon Press Center.

  • keeps me wondering how many $ worth of mouth watering equipments are in those…

  • NikoDoby

    The D4 will be disguised as a canon so nobody will care πŸ™‚

    • Louis

      nice πŸ˜€

    • That would be funny, a canon guy going click click click with a top of the line Canon (1D?) and someone right beside him with another “canon” and its humming it shoots so fast.

      • Anthony

        The 1D4 does 10 fps — you think the D4 will smoke that?

        • WoutK89

          I dont think it can, with AF that is, unless they can make the AF go through image sensor use only πŸ˜‰

  • nikkor_2

    Begun it has! Begin it will!

  • johnny

    ZOMG, would you look at all those pretty cases πŸ˜€

  • Woa, wish I was allowed one of those cameras, Im going to see if I can grab a shot of the torch from my balcony or go down to the street.

  • dude

    iso6400 same like d3s iso200 please.

    • Big Country

      Yea.. Dude! And hopefully the same strong Noise Reduction that produces no Detail whatsoever. Just a big blue blob of peyton manning

      • Are you talking jpgs? Yeah, Nikon’s high ISO jpgs blow. But the raws are unsurpassed at this point. Far from blurry by any means.

        • nikkor_2

          Shooting sports, D3S RAW files are absolutely the best; bar none.

      • dude

        that’s how sony always do it lolz

  • NikoDoby

    Only one of those cases has the D4 prototype in it. The rest are filled with old phone books. Now let’s play Deal Or No Deal and find out which one.

    • j0elc

      Heh, good call.

    • rad

      Ok so where are the pretty models? I am probably in the minority here πŸ˜› but I would take the model and not the D4

      • Louis

        better yet, take the model that’s holding the D4!

  • tchar

    The surprise probably is an update to the D3X and D700 along with D90. Higher resoloutions and iso for the first two, higher video and better proccessor for all of them . Maybe better iso capabilities to the D90. . D3s and D300s would remain for sport photographers pros and amateurs. Maybe an intrusion of the D3X to the medium format. D700 would replace D3X in high resoloution FX format. That is why they name it D900 and may have lower fps than the D700 so can’t compete with D3s, D300s. A cheap good quality D3x replacement. They will throw GPSin camera , wi-fi, mobile internet, mini hard-disk in modules etc.,

    This is what I wrote at the “surprise” thread.

    • Global Guy

      Saying it twice wont make it come any more true.. πŸ˜‰

  • Here is the BIG NEWS about the D4:
    All new sensor (still 24MP) but very high ISO capability.
    1.638.400 ISO !
    Nikon give a free ND x1024 filter ! Is that not cool ?
    Finaly I will be able to take a picture of my neighbour’s black cat at night when it come poop in my yard !

    • enesunkie

      I guess ya got to be grateful that it’s a cat and not a big dog!

    • another anonymous

      …with its eyes pleasurably burn out to complete marvellous white balls

    • f/2.8

      Sorry to disappoint you. With the D4, it will show that it was your neighbor not his cat all along.

  • Mike

    Bring it! 2011 has begun.

  • nikobe

    d4 is at least a year away… where is my 24mm 1.4?

  • David Segura

    Appears to be 3 different sized cases . . . Admin can you upload the original higher res shot? This can’t be it.
    One of the boxes towards the front appears to have the number 200463 or something, not sure about the last 3 digits. Nikon likes to start Serial Numbers 100xxx for the test units, and 200xxx for first run production.
    Here is what they started with in production Serial Numbers for some lenses.
    Nikon 24-70mm, 14-24mm – 200001
    Nikon 70-200mm VRII – 20000001
    Could be the 300/2.8 G IF-ED VRII lenses in the small box if it is 200xxx

    • sorry, I do not have a hi-res version of that image – if you click on it you will get the max 600×323

      • PHB

        Looking at the boxes, there are three different sizes. I would guess that they are 300mm f/2.8 and maybe 200mm f/2 in the front row, 400 f/2.8 in the middle and 600 f/4 on the back.

        Probably some 500mm and 200-400s in there as well.

        But where, oh where are the boxes with the 1200-1700? Oh, that must be the crate the size of a small car in the background. The AFS version of that lens is something I have been waiting for for years.

        • NikoDoby

          I concur with your assessment PHB.

  • C Benson

    My question would be: how much would the D4 cost? The D3x cost $9000.00 Canadian, when it first came out. Is the D4 going to cost the same or less then D3x.

    • dude

      about same price as d3 when it was lauched?

      • C Benson

        Are you 100% sure the price will be the same as D3? Where are you getting your info. on the cost value?

        • PHB

          I don’t see why the D3s would not continue to be made.

          The D4 can’t be ultra high res, ultra high speed and ultra low light response at the same time. I would expect a 24MP sensor at ISO 6400. Folk who want high res go for the D4, folk who want low light performance go for the D3s.

          I could easily see the D3s continuing in the catalog though 2012. And if the D4 is not going to knock the D3s out of the catalog there is no articular reason it can’t come out this year. At one point it was rumoured that the D4 name would be used for the D3x. If Nikon are not looking to a major change in functionality with the D4 generation (and no reason they should feel the need to), why not bring it out as soon as the 24MP sensor can meet manufacturing specs?

          I think that the same is going to be true of the D700. A higher resolution body is not going to render the 12MP body obsolete. The difference there though is that if the D900 is an 18MP body to compete with the Canon, Nikon has to decide whether to try to sell a D900 and D700s in parallel or drop the D700s sensor into a lower cost plastic body, an FX version of the D90. That makes no sense today but would make a lot of sense with the 16-35mm f/4 lens and even more sense if there was a 35-150 f/4 to compliment it.

          • Global Guy

            This makes no sense. The 5DM2 is ultra high ISO and ultra high pixel. The D90 is ultra high ISO and ultra high pixel. My point is simply that technology is an evolving thing. And lets not pretend that whats “on the market” is the same as “what is possible — at a price.” If someone makes a more expensive camera, it might be able to do a lot more than you expect. The question is who will be willing to afford it. WELL — there is a sustainable market for medium format cameras, so clearly certain businesses crave it and can afford it.

            Whether or not Nikon would make a “D3xs”/D4 is not even a question — eventually they will. And it will be ultra high resolution and ultra resolution. Whether thats in half a year, next year or 2 years from now, who knows.

          • PHB

            12MP is arguably enough for a lot of professional photographer assignments. It is more than enough for newspapers and the Web. Whatever the quality difference, a 24MP camera in the same technology will be more expensive and offer fewer fps.

            There is an inescapable relationship between ISO rating and pixel pitch. Smaller pixels mean less light and more noise per pixel. The ISO rating is dependent on noise per pixel and so for any given technology there is a tradeoff.

            But ISO response is not the same as noise response. If you have a 12MP and a 24MP black and white digital camera built using the same technology and sensor size and take pictures at the same ISO settings and then downsample the 24MP photo to 12MP by averaging across pairs of adjacent cells you should end up with nearly identical results, that is all that is happening with larger pixel area. Colour and the Bayer pattern makes a difference of course. But not much and may actually help the higher resolution camera.

            A much better way to measure noise would be to compare the noise levels when the RAW files are converted to a PNG image at a specific resolution. If we use this method of measuring a higher resolution sensor is likely to provide a slightly lower noise rating in a given technology than a lower one which appears to have a higher ISO response.

            The reason for that is that more pixels means more information for noise reduction algorithms to work on. [Which in turn means that you need to introduce some measure of contrast or the metric is too easily gamed.]

            So as a rough guide to low light noise response in finished photos multiply the Max ISO figure by the sensor resolution.

            A better measure would be to have a chart similar to an MTF chart but for sensor response giving noise response for the maximum resolution and down sampled to 12MP. The max ISO rating is interesting but irrelevant since I don’t usually shoot at max ISO (even on a D300 I am more often finding that I want lower ISO response than higher). I want to know the noise response at ISO200/400/800/1600 That is where I take most of my photos.


  • low

    the D4??? you mean the camera canon will not have an answer for??? oh wait, they still dont have an answer for the D3! i kid i kid!

  • LuMax

    Oh please, just let me sneak into that room for 1 minute and let me bring a wheel barrow along with me!

    • Do your best w/ that wheelbarrow, friend. I’m working on having a truck backed up to the door and my men loading as fast as they can πŸ˜€

  • jon

    D4 ? Good, so then maybe my dream camera the D3s will come down in price?

    • Of course it will. All tech comes down in price. Might not come down when *you* want it to, but it *will* come down πŸ˜€

  • SimonC

    If there really is a D4 being prototyped and field tested, that means that Nikon is confident in its abilities 1.5 yrs before its expected release date. That’s a long time to tweak and improve things. Wow.

    Too bad I don’t have any tickets – the Winter Olympics are in my city!

    • PHB

      Not necessarily. Early run silicon may well be significantly short of the final specs and each prototype may differ.

      For example, they may have one configured to maximize low light response, another designed for colour performance. Some may have high speed chips, others a slower one.

      And they may well have limitations like only being able to run for ten minutes before they have to shut down and cool down for an hour.

      • Global Guy

        Plus, the technology may already exist. Its not like 24mp doesn’t exist right now — yet Nikon pretty much only makes 12mp cameras. And 24mp is just whats on the market. This tells us that 30-40mp is probably possible (just at an extremely extremely high cost per unit). And probably exceptionally higher ISO is very much possible right now (just, again, at an extremely, extremely high price). So Nikon might easily be able to test a “million dollar camera” (or whatever). Generally technological applications are far behind the current capability of modern science and engineering. Its just putting it together into an affordable product by qualified designers and then working out all the bugs thats the hard part. The inventions and capability might have been being developed or even worked on for years.

        • PHB

          That is why looking at the Coolpix line is useful.

          The technology to make a 50MP FX camera already exists, it is already in some of the Coolpix cameras which have tiny sensors that would correspond to 80, maybe 100MP if made full frame.

          Making a larger sensor is a function of process yield. In general doubling the size of a sensor means that you have doubled your chances for failure. If the process yield is 99% then doubling the sensor size means your yield falls to 99% * 99% = 98%

          The problem is that the VLSI processes we are talking about are much more difficult than regular process. So the yield is more likely to be 80% so your yield is going to be 64%. The net is that if you start with a low yield then doubling the size of the die means that you get far fewer than half the number of good chips. If the yield is 50% you are only going to get a quarter of the number of good ones.

          I would not be surprised if Nikon and Sony have not pushed through a few wafers with some really large sensors on them just so they can see what the effect is. Sony will be doing that sort of thing as part of their process improvement program. To increase yield you make stuff that is likely to fail and then put the wafers under a microscope.

          So I would not be surprised if there wasn’t a 50MP body or two floating about round Nikon HQ.

  • fxed

    The D4 tested Sunday, yea sure. Just like the 100% positive on the 16-35/4 & 24/1.4.NR.

    How did you miss the Samyang 14mm. Waiting for Nikon to put lenses out is a real joke.

    • WoutK89

      So go buy yourself that Samyang, and if you dont like it why are you reading here anyway, you are not forced πŸ˜‰ If you think you can do a better job at predicting “rumors” go ahead, and start your own site.

    • fxed, regarding the 6-35/4 & 24/1.4 lenses – let’s continue this conversation next week – let’s say on early Wednesday morning πŸ™‚

      I missed the Samyang lens? You are kidding, right? This was reported back in October, 2009:

      not to mention the detailed coverage over @

      You are welcome πŸ™‚

  • comoskanga2

    I’m in Whistler for the Olympics and will be working with photojs, so my eyes will be pealed.

  • BradL

    Don’t get too excited here folks… First, this testing plan is normal and expected (old news) and second any D4’s out there will be in D3 clothing so will be impossible pretty much to spot.

    • WoutK89

      Good thinking. They needed to release the D3s, so they could have a D4 to test with Video, everyone will think its a normal D3s, but in the mean time its a D4 πŸ˜€

    • PHB

      And any Nikon jock who wants to get some extra attention can easily get some just by painting out the D3 badge on the front of his camera or sticking some tape over it.

  • Simon

    Any D4 release will only happen at the second half of 2011.

    • WoutK89

      Probably, but that’s why its a prototype only

  • Anonymous

    if a D4 comes out anytime soon i give up and am going back to my D70….

  • disco

    D4 to update the current D3x + 1080p video, D4s to replace the D3s later on.

  • Mike

    Someone needs to arrange a secret video shoot to go down at the games. In which a model actually steals a D4…

  • NikoDoby

    So who wants to volunteer to drive the truck with all that gear inside of it? Nikon can trust us right?

  • Alain2x

    I see five different box sizes in that picture, plus a black bunch on the far left.

    This is in line with the actual Nikon range of lenses : 200 300 400 500 600 plus 200-400.

    So what ? nothing new on that side πŸ™

  • Chris P

    I agree with the posters who have said that the D4 will replace the D3x. I believe that Nikon think they made a mistake in using D3x for the high Mp version of the D3, as they are two different cameras aimed at very different markets, although both cameras share the same camera body. This will enable them to separate the two cameras for professional marketing purposes, D3s for PJs’ and sports, D4 for weddings and studio work.

    PHB, I agree with what you think, especially if the 16-35 f4 is real, but you will not see Nikon produce a 35-150 f4 lens, they have always, ok with a few exceptions like the 24-120, gone for optical quality over zoom range at the various price points. The maximum ratio for a mid focal length fixed aperture zoom for high quality is 3:1, ignore that and you end up with a Canon 24-105 f4. If we do see more f4 zooms I think there are two possibilities; either a 28-85 and 80-200, which would be my preferred option, I would buy both as soon as they appeared; or a 35-105 followed by a 100-300 f4.5, it won’t be f4 as that would be physically too big and heavy.

    • WoutK89

      “although both cameras share the same camera body”
      That is the simplest of reasons ever! What about R&D, saves them costs if everything fits in the same body, right? So why couldnt they just release the D3x in a D3 body? Nikon did the same “stupid” thing with the D2 series…

    • PHB

      The reason I would think a 35-150, or maybe 35-135 f/4 is likely is that what the whiners are asking for is to ‘save weight’. Best way to do that is to have two lenses in the bag rather than three.

      People who want quality are going to go to the trinity instead, or use primes. I would see this as a stepping stone lens for folk moving to FX from DX.

      As for ‘different markets’, I would see ‘different uses’. Most professional photographers have a backup. The primary market for the D3x is people who already have a D3. The D3 was a little odd in that respect as the D3 and D300 were both so much better than the D2H/X. If you had DX lenses a D300 backup was going to be needed.

      If we give up the expectation that the D4 launches at the same time as the D400, there really is no reason not to bring out a D4 as soon as they can manufacture a 24MP sensor using the new technology that delivers ISO6400 performance in quantity.

      The idea of a D900 just seems wrong to me. A D700s would make prefect sense: As soon as the D300s run is done, take the D3s sensor and update the D700. A D900 should be a completely new model, either an 18MP or a 24MP.

      If there is a D900 it is because Nikon is protecting their D700 line against the competition from Canon and put a higher priority on that than keeping to their traditional roadmap. You could even argue that the jump from 700 to 900 was meant to indicate that something different is happening. So if the D900 launches I think that any expectations for the D4 launch date have to be put aside. Nikon is going to have to update the flagship line so it is ahead of the D900. So the D4 might come as soon as the D3s production run is complete.

      Whatever happens, I cannot see any way that Nikon would make another production run of the D3x sensor. They have better technology, they have to use it.

  • Yeah, D4 will most probably have the same amount of megapixels as D3x (24MP).
    Just look at D2x(12MP) and D3(12MP), they usually want to start a new slate with the next generation.

    • WoutK89

      That is comparing apples to pears, DX to FX…, was the D2H the same amount of pixels as the D1H/D1X? No, so what is your reasoning based upon?

      • Anonymous

        everyone always say the whole apples to oranges thing…. but all cameras make pictures right?

        • WoutK89

          In the end, that’s true πŸ™‚

  • F-stop

    the real questions are …what will the D4 have to start out with full HD 14mp or higher, high ISO, and price……there are so many things that they can choose from… to start things out….either way I’ll just saving now….

  • JΓΈrgen

    You are all wrong about theese boxes. They contain a special Nikon-Cognac-bottle with 29 years old cognac. The bottles are 1:1 replicas of the legendaric 300mm f 2.0. This is the start of the 30-years anniversary of this lense next year when an AFS 300 f 2.0 VRIII wil be released.

  • nzman

    OK, here’s my guess . . .

    A D4 designed for the PJ market, with full 1080p video, maybe even incorporating an XLR input for a mic. 12-18mp . . . Maybe a design that would allow a user to shift from 12/18/maybe even as high as 24. Even better high ISO capabilities than the D3s, extremely high frame rate.

    A D4x designed for those who want more mp, probably 24 at minimum. Maybe 1080p video. High ISO capabilities but below those of the D4/D3s. Lower frame rate than D4.

    This way, Nikon can continue to market to different segments.

    • PHB

      XLR inputs are really big. You really do not want an XLR socket on your camera. I would prefer a mic input that can be plugged into an adapter box.

      Better yet would be some sort of digital interconnect. XLR is crappy technology.

  • Zorro

    Also keep your eyes peeled at those events for amateurs testing prototypes of the rumored D40s.

  • Landscape Photo

    Who cares a D4, which is another bulky & pricey piece. Just bring on the D900 + a nice walkabout VR lens asap ! Don’t delay it Nikon.

  • Landscape Photo

    Folks, how much would you pay max. for a (24 or 18mp) D900 bundled with (24-135mm f/4 VR or 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6 VR) ?

    • AS

      3.500 USD maximum!

  • udo

    I’m hoping the announcement of the D4 also comes with the announcement of the D400 (with DX sensor) which should be the 7D killer…

    • MM

      …and a D800/D900 also please. πŸ˜€

      • Karl

        Hell yeh! πŸ™‚ I can’t afford any D3/D3s/D3X, Nikon should release a D800/D900 so I can buy a “cheap” used D700.. πŸ˜‰

    • Landscape Photo

      Before the D900, a D400 won’t make sense. But after, yes indeed. 15-16mp maybe… D900 is the much anticipated, lacking camera against 5D mkII.

      D300 can already be noisy at blue channel even at ISO 200, depending on conditions & settings. Guess what happens with more pixels squeezed in DX format? Increased noise or more NR compensation (loss of fine detail & acutance), unless some breakthrough tech applied. Diffraction is another problem.

      I also doubt for Canon 7D. We’re approaching to the limits of DX, but there is more room for FX.

    • D40-owner

      You mean the D300s? What does the 7D do that the D300s can’t match? And the AF is better in the D300s

    • shivas

      7D killer?

      The D200 already kills it in resolution, SNR, and DR, lol!

      I don’t think it’s going to be too hard. . .sure, better video, etc., but as a camera, the D300s stands on its own against the 7D. . .(minus a few mpx)

  • Kuri

    If there IS a “D4” prototype out there for field testing, I think it would be safe to assume Joe McNally has got one already so let’s keep a very close eye on every shot of him with a camera on his blog. Or better, sneak a peek in his bag if you run into him :))

  • I think if there is a D4 in the mists it will have to be the shutter rate that gives it away (if its different than D3s/D3x ones) as everything else about the camera would be well hidden in the construction of the body.

  • zen-tao

    Some place I heard that D-1, D-2, D-3… series were appointed to press and sports instead of D-300, D700,… for arts and portrait; correct me if I am wrong. It’s likely that a D-4 camera wouldn’t deliver much high mpx rate, though video video features and frame rate may be.
    Prices: better not to talk about. Nikon company’s characteritic is not to present the cameras. So don’t expect a bargain.
    Features: I lot of them. I can’t figure out how many but it’s suposed we’ll be surprised.
    It’s revealing that the camera will be tested on sports indoors nikon would expect the better output in those conditions instead of still -life phoyography but who knows what other photograph are discreetly making in their studios.
    Further than 24 mpx is not probably; the lenses can not make miracles, otherwise Hasselblad should close doors. The lenses optical outputs do not deliver more than they actually do. May be pointless to jam 30 mpx in an FF CMOS if you are not going to have more information than a 20 mpx one with.
    So… fill your wallets and wait, folks.

  • I don’t think they have a D4 ready to be produced yet, mechanically DSLR don’t need any improvement (since the F6).
    What’s still improving are the sensors and electronic-computer processing.
    So they may be testing the “D4” sensor and electronic in a D3 body.

  • If they do test the D4, there might be some telltale EXIF data floating around…

  • ABC

    D4….who cares…just another large overpriced camera that most consumers won’t purchase….give me the D900 that will be practical for every day use and easier on the wallet !!!

  • SimonC

    What I would also love to know is if they are also testing a D400 prototype (e.g. Nikon designed with D4 technology APS-C sensor).

    So far, I have not seen significant advancements in APS-C compared with the jump from D3 -> D3s. (The D3s is at least 3+ stops better than D300s at high-ISOs – this disparity cannot be attributed to just the pixel sizes alone) It’s the APS-C sensors that need the upgrade – they have fallen quite far behind.

    • zen-tao

      Actually I believe that APS-C sensor is in a dead-end alley. It was developed because bigger sensors had a lot of problems but the full frame sensor advantages, now a day, are indisputable.

      • Anonymous

        I agree that FX IQ advantages are indisputable; however, size of the body and cost are big strikes against it. Until they can put an FX sensor in a D40 body and at D40 price, the largest market will still be DX.

        Some shooters are willing to trade off FX IQ for DX compactness, crop factor and weight. For others, this isn’t acceptable. FX and DX can coincide for a long time πŸ™‚

  • Dahle

    How long is the product life cycle of the D# series again? 4 years? So with the D3 introduced in 2007 the new D4 should show up mid 2011 something. Would it be worthwhile to buy a D3s now? I wanted to place the order in the coming weeks but after reading this rumor the uncomfortable feeling returned that Nikon just threw out the D3s to remain ISO king. Thus we are supposed to be fooled by the +1 stop advantage over the D3, give Nikon our hard earned money and they release the killer D4 in just a year. I would be feeling more than just buyer’s remorse, even if the D3s is an amazing camera. I should have gotten the D3 back in 2007 but I have been playing the waiting game for way too long, it’s addictive. Nikonrumors, I believe you just saved my wallet. πŸ˜‰

    • NikoDoby

      This is just a RUMOR! And it comes from a person on another web forum claiming to know but I personally don’t believe the guy. He has a history of BS. Don’t take it as fact that a D4 is going to be at the games. Only Nikon knows the truth. For all we know the D4 could still be two or more years away. If you need a D3S then buy one now or you’ll be waiting for the D5 when the D4 finally comes out. And then the D6….and D7…

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