Nikon D4 vs. D3s specs comparison

Here is a quick comparison between the Nikon D4 and Nikon D3s based on the specifications listed on Nikon's website:

 Nikon D4  Nikon D3S
Announced January, 2012 October, 2009
Lens Mount Nikon F bayonet mount Nikon F bayonet mount
Effective Pixels 16.2 million 12.1 million
Sensor Size 36.0 x 23.9mm 36.0 x 23.9mm
Image Sensor Format FX FX
File Format Still Images JPEG: JPEG-Baseline Compliant; can be selected from Size Priority and Optimal Quality
JPEG: JPEG-Baseline Compliant with fine (approx 1:4), Normal (approx 1:8) or Basic (approx 1:16) Compression
NEF (RAW) + JPEG: Single Photograph Recorded in both NEF (RAW) and JPEG Formats
Compressed 12/14-bit NEF (RAW, Compressed): approx. 45-60 percent
Compressed 12/14-bit NEF (RAW, Lossless Compressed): approx. 60-80 percent
JPEG: JPEG-Baseline Compliant; can be selected from Size Priority and Optimal Quality
Uncompressed 12/14-bit NEF (RAW)
Picture Control Landscape
User-customizable Settings
Nine User-customizable Settings
Storage Media CompactFlash© (CF) (Type I, compliant with UDMA)
XQD Type Memory
CompactFlash© (CF) (Type I, compliant with UDMA)
Card Slot 1 CompactFlash© (CF) card and 1 XQD memory type card 2 CompactFlash© (CF) cards
Viewfinder Frame Coverage FX (36x24): 100% Horizontal and 100% Vertical Approx.
1.2x (30x20): 97% Horizontal and 97% Vertical Approx.
DX (24x16): 97% Horizontal and 97% Vertical Approx.
5:4 (30x24): 97% horizontal and 100% vertical Approx.
100 % Approx.
Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x Approx. 0.70x Approx.
Interchangeable Focusing Screens -- Type B BriteView Clear Matte VI
Type E Clear Matte VI
Lens Compatibility at a Glance*** AF-S or AF lenses fully compatible
Metering with AI lenses
AF-S or AF lenses fully compatible
Metering with AI lenses
Fastest Shutter Speed 1/8000 sec. 1/8000 sec.
Slowest Shutter Speed 30 sec. 30 sec.
Top Continuous Shooting Speed at full resolution 10 frames per second
11 frames per second (AE/AF Locked)
9 frames per second
Scene Modes -- --
Exposure Compensation ±5 EV in increments of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV ±5 EV in increments of 1/3
Exposure Bracketing 2 to 9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV 2 to 9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV
Mirror Lock Up Yes Yes
ISO Sensitivity ISO 100 - 12,800
Lo-1 (ISO 50)
Hi-4 (ISO 204,800)
ISO 200 - 12,800
Lo-1 (ISO 100)
Hi-1 (ISO 25,600)
Hi-2 (ISO 51,200)
Hi-3 (ISO 102,400)
Dynamic AF Mode Number of AF points: 9, 21, 51 and 51 (3D-tracking) Number of AF points: 9, 21, 51 and 51 (3D-tracking)
Auto-area AF Mode Yes Yes
Focus Modes Auto AF-S/AF-C selection (AF-A)
Continuous-servo (AF-C)
Face-Priority AF available in Live View only and D-Movie only
Full-time Servo (AF-A) available in Live View only
Manual (M) with electronic rangefinder
Normal area
Single-servo AF (AF-S)
Wide area
Continuous-servo (C)
Single-servo AF (S)
Maximum Autofocus Areas/Points 51 51
Built-in Flash -- --
Flash Bracketing 2 to 9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV 2 to 9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV
Top FP High Speed Sync Up to 1/8000 Up to 1/8000
Flash Sync Modes Auto FP High-Speed Sync supported
Front-curtain sync (normal)
Rear-curtain sync
Red-eye reduction
Red-eye reduction with slow sync
Slow rear-curtain sync
Slow sync
Front-curtain sync (normal)
Rear-curtain sync
Red-eye reduction
Red-eye reduction with slow sync
Slow sync
Flash Compensation -3 to +1 EV in increments of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV --
Nikon Creative Lighting System (CLS) CLS Supported CLS Supported
White Balance Auto (2 types)
Choose color temperature (2500K–10000K)
Direct Sunlight
Fluorescent (7 types)
Preset manual (up to 4 values can be stored)
Auto (2 types)
Auto (TTL white balance with 2,016-pixel RGB sensor)
Direct Sunlight
Fine Tune by Kelvin color temperature setting (2,500 K to 10,000K)
Fluorescent (7 types)
Preset manual (up to 5 values can be stored)
Seven manual modes with fine-tuning
White Balance Bracketing 2 to 9 exposures in increments of 1, 2 or 3 EV 2 to 9 exposures
Live View Shooting Photography Live View Mode
Movie Live View Mode
Handheld mode
Tripod mode
Movie HD 1,920x1,080 / 30 fps
HD 1,920×1,080 / 24 fps
HD 1,280×720 / 30 fps
HD 1,280x720 / 60 fps
VGA 640x424 / 24 fps
QVGA 320x216 / 24fps
Movie with sound
HD 1280x720 / 24 fps
Movie Audio Built-in microphone, monaural
External stereo microphone (optional)
Built-in microphone, monaural
Monitor Size 3.2 in. diagonal 3.0 in. diagonal
Monitor Resolution 921,000 Dots 921,000 Dots
Monitor Type Wide Viewing Angle TFT-LCD Super Density
Wide Viewing Angle TFT-LCD
Playback Functions Auto Image Rotation
Full-Frame and Thumbnail (4, 9, or 72 images or calendar)
GPS data display
Histogram Display
Image Comment
IPTC information embedding and display
Movie Playback
Movie Slideshow
Photo information
Playback with Zoom
Voice Memo
Auto Image Rotation
Full Frame
Highlight Point Display
Histogram Display
Image Comment
Movie Playback
Shooting Data
Thumbnail (4, 9 or 72 segments)
Voice Memo
In-Camera Image Editing Color Balance
Color Outline
Color Sketch
Distortion Control
Edit Movie
Filter Effects
Image Overlay
Miniature Effect
NEF (RAW) Processing
Perspective Control
Quick Retouch
Red-eye Correction
Selective Color
Side-by-Side Comparison
Color Balance
Edit Movie with Save Selected Frame
Filter Effects
Image Overlay
NEF (RAW) Processing
Red-eye Correction
Side-by-Side Comparison
GPS GP-1 GPS unit GP-1 GPS unit
Battery / Batteries EN-EL18 Lithium-ion Battery EN-EL4 Lithium-ion Battery
EN-EL4a Lithium-ion Battery
Battery Life (shots per charge) 2,600 Battery Life (shots per charge) (CIPA) 4,200 shots (CIPA)
AC Adapter EH-6b AC Adapter
Requires EP-6 Power Supply Connector
EH-6 AC Adapter
Approx. Dimensions Width 6.3 in. (160mm)
Height 6.2 in. (156.5mm)
Depth 3.6 in. (90.5mm)
Width 6.3 in. (159.5mm)
Height 6.2 in. (157mm)
Depth 3.4 in. (87.5mm)
Approx. Weight 41.6 oz. (1180g)camera body only 43.7 oz. (1,240g)camera body only
 Price $5,999.95 $5,199.95

Battery, Battery chargers, Remotes (note that the Nikon D4 has a shorter battery life compared to the D3s)

Nikon EN-EL18 battery for Nikon D4 ($169.95)  |  Nikon EN-EL4a for Nikon D3s ($109.95)


Nikon MH-26 for Nikon D4 ($349.95)  |  Nikon MH-22 for Nikon D3s ($209.95)

Nikon D4 also supports the infrared ML-L3 remote control ($14.95):

This entry was posted in Nikon D3s, Nikon D4. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • Some specs got in the list twice…

  • MJr

    Great i love side-by-sides though ‘specs’ don’t really say all that much.

    ps. Monitor Size and Monitor Type is in there twice, with Monitor Resolution missing the first time.

    • MJr

      * Okay yeah a lot of things are in there twice ^^

    • Did you notice that the D4 has a shorter battery life?

      • jiggly

        yah by almost half!

        • yep, there is a reason why I post this 🙂

          • maybe I should color code the differences

            • no-nikon-no

              iso is wrong

            • Ralph

              Don’t do that!! You’ll upset veryone by showing there are few differences for an $800 price increase while all other technology over the past three yrs is now a third of the price and three times improved.

          • ACon

            I wonder if that is with or without button illumination :). Still the numbers for shot/charge are better than my D300, so I can’t complain.

          • MarkH

            And the newer battery is more expensive.

            Any idea why the shorter battery life? Battery holds less charge? Or camera takes more power?


            • PHB

              They may have made it smaller to lighten the body up a bit.

              None of the female photographers I know shoot a D3/D3x. Seems like they all find it too heavy.

              Or maybe they just take better care of their gear than men and so don’t need the more rugged body.

      • sjms

        there’s some of the weight difference

      • The battery life on the D4 is an EPIC FAIL! I mean Come on Nikon! I understand there are new battery specifications in Asia at what not but by almost HALF? That means for any typical event that I shoot such as concert or community event I may need to carry extra batteries on my person (more weight). I also see the Native ISO is the same as the D3s. The D4 does not mention the other ISO values such as (ISO 25,600), (ISO 51,200) & (ISO 102,400) like the D3s does. Are the these values Native or are the Hi settings. Canon states that that the 1Dx native iso is 51,200. They also have 18 MP, not much above the 16.2 MP the D4 has but it seems Nikon has really dropped the ball on this one not only giving Canon the upper hand for MP but Hi- ISO as well. Come on Nikon this leaves me to believe the 16.2 MP sensor is a rehash of the 16.2mp of the D7000. You have dramatically improved the video no doubt which I think was necessary for the up and coming Olympics. (kudos) but to sacrifice the improved ISO will not woo too many Canonites. Expect the bevy of white lenses to increase this year as many agencies will stick to what they have (canon) and many may even switch from Nikon to Canon. Those that have the D3s experience will stay loyal because they know the outstanding quality the D3s puts out at 12mp (fx) sensor. In my opinion the D4 was evolutionary regarding the video but is on par with the D3s regarding still images. NO revolutionary improvement this time around. Canon’s 1Dx is truly revolutionary in my opinion. By the I am a true NIKONIAN and not a troll.

        • nah

          no way is this sensor related to the d7000…they aren’t even the same size, pixel size is therefore much larger.

        • Harry Heri

          Come on Robert, stop whining… so you think you might have to carry an extra battery, hold the presses, Robert has to carry an extra battery!!!! Nikon knew what Canon had introduced with the 1Dx and they were comfortable introducing their camera, but Robert is afraid that Canon will out do Nikon – is this the school playground and you feel like you are the last to be chosen? Here is a thought, wait till it gets to a store near you, go there hold it, shoot it, read a few reviews then I and most of us would consider reading your impressions. You have read a few specs and are crying about something you know nothing about!

          • iamlucky13

            He didn’t get as far as pointing out that at 10 fps, he has to swap batteries 4 minutes and 20 seconds.

            And that with the biggest XQD card available being 32 GB and RAW files filling up 19 MB each, he’ll have to carry more than one memory card, too. What was Nikon thinking.

            Ok, enough sarcasm. It’s kind of interesting that the battery capacity is smaller. It’s not just the 4200 versus 2600 shots life (39% drop), but the labeled capacity went from 27.8 W-hr to 22 W-hr (28% drop).

            Also interesting is that Canon doesn’t list a battery life for the 1Dx. They just say “TBA.”

        • Let’s wait for the production models to come out before casting too many comments bout actual quality of the still images and if Canon or Nikon has the upper-hand in terms of quality at high ISO without all the noise.

        • Dimitris

          Robert, the “name” of ISO, even it is named Hi2 or 51.200, is just “name”. In fact they are both 51.200 and the descision from Nikon to name it “Hi3” may be a sighn of responsibility from Nikon, who knows that the professionals are not impressed by fat words or names. Just imagine what if the humble Ηι3 of D4 will be better than the proud ISO 51.200 of 1Dx. By the way, I also be in doubt if this was good marketing policy, but for shure no one pro reporter will be be impressed by the marketing policy of Canon. They will compare facts only, not words nad names (excuse my english)

          • Manuel C

            I saw in a youtube review, that de D4 ISO is better one stop, than the same number in the D3s. Information taken form a Nikon technical person….

        • kyoshinikon

          I was pretty disappointed in the lack of oomph nikon put into this camera especially considering that the 1Dx was only a trifle better than the D3s… Nikon really could have leapfrogged the 1Dx but didn’t (they probably assumed we only need to add a little to make it on par with canon so why do more…) and they are going to pay for it…

          They need a new marketing and R&D team really bad. The D3 was a landmine… This just seems like a D3sx…

          • iamlucky13

            Because it’s that simple?

            Making cutting edge sensors and processors isn’t like the razor blade war, where the Gillette marketing and development teams spend years figuring out how to beat the Schick marketing and development teams, and then all of the sudden some genius goes, “Holy ****!!! I’ve got it! We’ll add another blade!”

            Followed by the same process at Schick where eventually someone figures out, “Hey, we can put 19 blades on our razor, too!”

            • kyoshinikon

              It isn’t that simple but nikon has had a demand for certain features for years that nikon still is oblivious too like a built in gps…

      • RobUK

        yes, this is bit of a disappointment to me – I will have to buy 2 spares and a spare charger and swap batteries twice or three times a day instead of once at the big fashion shows I cover. Just one more thing to remember and monitor during what is a very hectic and pressurised time. I think there was some kind of regulation change in Japan – Nikon can no longer sell the battery used by the D700/D3 over there.

        • Sloaah

          Or it maybe something to do with the higher frame rate – lower capacity battery with greater output.

        • Robert Daniels

          Thanks for putting this in to explain my rant a bit more …but with almost 1/2 the total of previous images plus with video being used which I suspect will be the new way of capturing the Olympics this year I am predicting the will be a NEW format as how we view those pictures as well. Kinda of like a beefed up slide show that will show action prior to peak action (video) combined with Peak Action ( Stills) and then conclude post action (video). With all this happening in HD! 2600 pics is really not a lot especially with video sucking up battery life.I do understand the XQD Card for this purpose…especially for video files.
          Time will tell

      • mikils

        I guess backlit buttons will take their toll…
        The camera looks a very nice one but from the specs I cannot find one reason to upgrade… I’ll keep my beloved D3S And will take pot luck with D 800

  • R

    D4 didn’t smashed D3s. I still find both very attractive.

  • removed duplicates, please refresh the page

  • Paul

    I wonder if the batteries are interchangeable or if there’s a physical difference preventing their use? What’s odd to me is the reduced capacity and voltage of the new batteries resulting in less shots per charge on the D4 (2600) vs the D3s (4200). Why is that?

    • They switched + and – connector. Not interchangable.

    • I do know that Japan recently adopted some sort of new environmental requirements for batteries, maybe they had no other choice but to comply. I seem to remember that previous Nikon products had to be either grandfathered in, or completely banned from sale in Japan.

      Or, plain and simple, maybe the D3s battery usage estimate was exaggerated?

      I’m sure people will blame the larger screen, the megapixels, and the illuminated buttons. My bet is the Japanese laws though…


      • nah

        interesting insight…i am sure you are correct because i doubt they would drop the ball that hard on a spec that a lot of people pay attention to.

      • RobUK

        I don’t think the D3s battery life was exaggerated. I use 2 D3s’s at London Fashion Week, shooting about 10,000 images a day, and although I would swap the battery in each camera once each day, I could have just got away without swapping them, the most I saw the battery drop to was 1 bar. Just don’t want to take the risk, I’m sure those battery indicators fall exponentially!

  • It would be nice to add the D800 specs, since it could be a tough decision to choose between the D800 & D4 for some…

  • Sam

    Battery life is significantly shorter than the D3S which is surprising. It’s the only spec that’s taken a step back

    • Sam

      It’s worth pointing out that although the batteries are different, they are both 2000mAh

      • LGO

        Like most newer electronic devices, the D4 may be more energy efficient than the D3/D3.

      • iamlucky13

        I’m afraid you must have found some incorrect specs posted. The specs are 2500 mAh for the EN-EL4a and 2000mAh for the EN-EL18.

        Furthermore, I’m guessing the new Japanese regulations have some limit on charging, too, as the voltage dropped from 11.1 volts to 10.8 volts.

        • Sam V

          The drop from 11.1 to 10.8 has to do with the chemistry and associated rating of the cells in the battery. The old has 3 cells rated at 3.7 each and the new has 3 cells rated at 3.6 volts.

  • Paul

    On the ML-L3, I don’t see any infrared receiver windows on the D4’s front nor back side.

    • LGO

      That is also what I have been looking for. Using an IR ML3 for mirror-up shooting from in front or in the rear is very convenient in the D7000 – no need to plug in a wireless shutter release. I cannot imagine that Nikon would leave this out – specially since it now also has “Landscape” as one of the picture control.

  • Maddog

    For what they are asking I would totally drop another 800 big ones for the D4. Seems like a lot more bang for the buck. After all, if you are already out 5 large+ you might as well go for the gusto….

  • The chart says the D3S does not have flash compensation. I don’t have a D3S (too rich for my blood), but this does not sound right. Is this an typo or omission?

    • studio460

      That’s correct–the D3s does not have a separate flash compensation control. The exposure compensation button will change both flash and auro-exposure values. This, in practice, isn’t a huge problem, since, when using flash, I’m typically exposing manually so that my exposure stays constant. I then vary the +/- exposure compensation to control flash output only (since I’m in manual mode). Definitely miss the feature, however, and am glad this “omission” is remedied in the D4.

    • No it’s true, D3 doesn’t have flash compensation – after all it doesn’t have a flash! I’m surprised to see that on the D4. It’s annoying that the battery has changed again. Otherwise looks great. Would have preferred 18MP.

      • Juergen.

        So you think the 5.4 percent increase in resolution by going up from 16MP to 18 MP makes any difference for you? Please explain.

  • The reported battery life is disappointing. I’ve had a D3 for a few years and I do a lot of night photography and time-lapses (both which tax my battery). I was excited about some of the improvements on the D4 for night photography like the glowing buttons and better noise performance, but the reported battery life trumps it.

    Plus, my 4 En-El4a batteries won’t work and its annoying that they didn’t stick with two of the same card slots (old or new standard). No one wants to carry around two types of cards.

    While I’m criticizing the camera, why didn’t they add some kind of optical module to do CLS commanding WITHOUT an SU or SB on top?

    • Steve Starr

      I fully agree on the CLS. They should have gone to RF with this body.

      The need to attach a SB flash to get CLS means you need a bank of flash units and this camera along with a SB-910 is huge. The GPS could be an add-on, but they need to get onboard with wireless for outdoor flash use where CLS often won’t work in the sun. Optical triggering ain’t it and it eats batteries.

      Think I’ll wait for the D5 which may have some worthwhile additions – I hope.

    • grayscale

      True, is there no method of commanding CLS with the body only?

      • Sure – get a D700 (or possibly the soon-to-be-released D800) which has a built in flash! 🙂

        • LGO

          Do not forget the D7000, D90, D300/D300s. 🙂

          The wireless flash commander is what kept me from getting the D3/D3s. I was hoping that this could be incorporated in the D4 even if the D4 does not have a flash but this hope has been dashed. I have decided to pre-order a D4 and will just bring an extra SB900 (do not want to get the SU800 as it will mean another battery to worry about).

      • ACon

        The Nikon SU-800 is only $250. Probably the same amount of money to increase the cost of the D4 to include a pop-up flash. I prefer the SU-800 much better than using an on-camera pop-up flash. In order to get a photo without the direct flash of the pop-up flash mucking up the photo, you need to use the pop-up flash as a pre-flash to communicate. I often find my subjects blinking from the pre-flash. The SU-800 can fire my remote speedlights (in manual setting) and I avoid blinking eyes.

        • Mike

          Plis, even with a pop up flash turned off in commander mode you still get unattractive catch lights in the middle if the eyes. I love the SU-800. Indoors, it’s amazing. I do like the feature on the D4 of having flash compensation dedicated as a button. It will make using a PW or similar much easier/faster.

  • Interesting to see, I posted a few thoughts of the D4 vs the competition, mostly the 1DX here:

    In the end, I see Canon and Nikon both making progress in their new models, but nothing revolutionary that would make a shooter from either side jump over.

    • OsoSolitario

      “In the end, I see Canon and Nikon both making progress in their new models, but nothing revolutionary that would make a shooter from either side jump over”

      Maybe that means digital photography are arriving to maturity.
      If we start from a basic model we can upgrade it a lot… but if it is really good yet (like D3s), we can’t upgrade it much more!!
      Making a comparison to CD players, anyone believe that CDplayers made in 2012 are actually revolutionary versus 2008 ones? NO of course! If we rewind to 1988 we could find there CD players that would progress at 100% over the previous version… but not nowadays where digital players are on the top of tecnologhy!

      Due to madurity I talk about, we can’t expect revolutionay features coming every year on photographic gear… just little upgrades, more if we know digital flagship cameras are changerd every 4 years, not every 10 like film cameras in the past!

      • OsoSolitario

        35 years to go from Nikon F2 to Nikon F6.
        13 years to go from Nikon D1 to Nikon D4……

      • I think you are right. At the moment, most companies are just making incremental upgrades to the current technology or trying a different form factor (mirrorless). It’s just slow evolution at the moment.

        There may come a time when things take big leap forward. Maybe lightfield/Lytro? Right now it’s a simple toy that doens’t do much but you could potentially compare that to the very early digital cameras that captured images at 640×480. In 10 years, maybe we will all be shooting lightfield cameras?

        I have also seen some talk of liquid filled lenses that can change shape with current, etc. Not sure how it works but it would be nice to have a 10-500mm f/1.4 lens 🙂

        • Mike

          I think liquid lenses would be for focusing. Like your eye. Muscles pull and relax the lens which is basically a single element, and liquid filled.

  • Steve Starr

    Wow. $349 for a battery charger and $170 for a spare battery? I think the D7000 battery is only $70. Seems sort of a rip.

    A spec. comparison between the D4 and Canon 1Dx might be interesting. I’m sort of worried about the Sony XQD cards availability and price which is sure to be high. CF finds in this town are nonexistent now. Looks like Sony revamped their antiquated MemoryStick idea and sold the idea to Nikon.

    Wonder which way Canon will go with memory and if they will adopt XQD? Some of the new SD UTHC cards are getting up to 95MB/sec. transfers and one can always get a slower speed and far cheaper SD if you are shooting stills at a slower burst rate. The need for two odd CF slots that will require $500 in memory is troublesome.

    I don’t think the D3s is that bad nor has this dethroned the D3x unless you just need video at 1920 size. Seems like a $700 bump for a bit better video and far more pricier accessories.

    I did see the D3s has interchangeable focus screens too and not the D4? I suspect the D3x is still their flagship model.

    • LGO

      “I’m sort of worried about the Sony XQD cards availability and price which is sure to be high.”

      The initial price and speed of the Sony XQD is not only very reasonable but the extra speed helps empty the buffer faster and thus enable faster shooting. Transfer of data from card to notebook will also be faster.

      This price will drop even further once other manufacturers release their own XQD products. I think using XQD is a step in the right direction but during the transition, adapters will be needed until most notebooks will incorporate this as a standard slot. I dislike the “XQD” name though. Naming it something with a CF still (e.g., CFX or CFQ) would have better easier and ensured name continuity since the XQD is technically still a compact flash.

  • Helo PHotography

    Just ordered by D4 via Adorama!! I cannot wait. Still dont know whether or not I will sell my D3s but one thing is for sure IM ONE LUCKY MOFO!!

    • Petey

      Cool for you then. For me I’ll hold on to my D3 and D3s for the time being. WOULD love to get a D4, maybe by 3rd quarter maybe. Don’t sell the D3s. Use it as a 2nd body 🙂 Cheers.

  • Andy

    Wow. This side by side REALLY points out why this isn’t much of an upgrade.
    Unless you are heavily in to video and/or need the the extra few pixels….


    • nah

      specs could be exactly the same and the camera could still be revolutionary! dynamic range, iso performance, color accuracy, etc. specs are specs, big deal.

      • DMc

        I agree. The specs don’t document the improvements discussed in the reviews. I like the improved focus processor with 91k points. I think it will lock on a single player’s face instead of just getting their body in focus. It also seems like it will do better in low contrast situations.

        The lower ISO is a plus when I’m shooting in direct sunlight.

        The sample photos demonstrate highlight detail and dynamic range. That has appeal to me.

        I like the new card. 100 raw photos in sequence means I don’t miss the action peak. It hasn’t been a problem too often but sometimes the players on field refuse to stop playing when the buffer runs out. I’ll wait for Lexar or someone else to produce the card.

        The battery life is interesting. The camera must use a fair amount of power while waiting. The Nikon testing method seems more realistic to me. I don’t often shoot sports for 20+ hours in a day.

        I used a link from Nikon Rumors to get here.

        Quote from Nikon
        Highly efficient energy-saving design that achieves approx. 2,600 shots (with EN-EL18, based on CIPA Standard*1) and approx. 5,500 shots (based on Nikon standard*2).

        *1 Measured at 23°C/73.4°F (±2°C/3.6°F) with an AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens under the following test conditions: lens cycled from infinity to minimum range and one photograph taken at default settings once every 30 s. Live view not used.

        *2 Measured at 20°C/68°F with an AF-S VR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED lens under the following test conditions: vibration reduction off, image quality set to JPEG normal, image size set to L (large), shutter speed 1/250 s, shutter-release button pressed halfway for three seconds and focus cycled from infinity to minimum range three times; six shots are then taken in succession and monitor turned on for five seconds and then turned off; cycle repeated once standby timer has expired.
        End Quote from Nikon

        The camera uses a fair amount of power while waiting. The CIPA method requires a minimum of 21.66 hours to complete the testing (2600 frames at 30 seconds each = 1300 min. 1300 min/60 seconds per min = 21.66 hours). Nikon is more realistic reflection of my use and requires a minimum of 7.6 hours (5500 frames *5 seconds monitor time)/60 seconds per min/60 min. per hour. Cricket sports shooters will be disappointed but should be able to swap batteries between the action. Football and other games should do OK.

    • iamlucky13

      Well that’s exactly it. It’s a big video upgrade. It’s still hard to beat the D3 for stills, however.

      But don’t forget that Nikon added F/8 autofocus capability and lower basic light levels required for autofocus to work. I guarantee you a lot of wildlife photographers are drooling about that.

      Also, go back down the main site a few articles and find the one with a video of the new tethered shooting interface via tablet computer and the WT-5. I think that’s not getting the attention it deserves.

  • Bonetti

    The d3s does not has the 2016 pixel metering sensor, it has the 1005 pixel, only the d7000 has the 2016pixelmeter

  • Jim

    file formats: the specs seem to skim over the RAW formats. Are they selectable 12 or 14 bit, etc.?

  • Sinan

    I think, it is no use to buy D4 if you have D3s…
    Am I wrong ?

    • T.I.M

      You are wrong, or right, depending if you want to buy the D4 or not !
      Did you ask the same question about the D3 whent the D3s got released ?

    • john Richardson

      No, you are not wrong and only a stupid gear head will tell you that you are. Look closely at these “specs” and I mean closely and determine if the D4 over a D3s is something you REALLY NEED. If not, then forget it. Keep in mind that lesser Nikon AND Cannon cameras worked well for Pros who make their absolute living shooting for big time companies. Do you, or do you just do Weddings? Because seriously any smack can shoot weddings, don’t think you are a special snowflake because you do.

      D3s or D3x compared to the D4 is not worth the worry. If you are gonna upgrade because this is the latest piece of equipment you just have to have because it is the latest thing then, you are in the right place, but your career (and your head and your ability) is is in the wrong place. Keep your busboy job.

      If you have a D3s or x you are in the right place at the right time. Period. You don’t NEED and D4, deal with it.

      • Nikon WTF

        D3S owner here, I couldn’t agree more! These clowns having an orgasm over this D4 are obviously gear heads as you stated. If they were any smart they would use the difference in $ and get the d3s + quality pro glass.

      • ACon

        I guess I agree that if I had a D3s I would find it difficult to pay $6K for the D4. However, for someone who has been waiting about 10 months for the D4 announcment (moving up from a D300), I would be happy with either a D3s or D4. For not much more money, the D4 is very, very attractive over the D3s as a step up from a non-FX camer (plus I can’t seem to find a new D3s from reputable dealer and not interested in buying a used one)

        • MashingTheGas

          Precisely my thoughts. I’ve been shooting with a D300 and D2X for years – the only negative point to the D4 is the battery life. 16MP fits nicely between the D3s and D3X and is more than enough for high quality, good sized prints. 12,800 ISO is as fast as I’ll ever need.

          Already ordered mine and hoping the mid-February delivery date is accurate.

    • I would save the 6000.00 and keep the D3s and buy some glass. If you need the video then it’s a different story

    • Agreed, for me I can’t see any big + to move to the D4 over the D3s. I’ll be checking it out @ PMA next week and unless they can show me something earth shaking over the 3s I’ll wait on the D4s or D5. If I only had the D3 I would probably go to the 3s instead of the D4 at this time and save a grand.

    • Jetfire

      I would wait for independent reviews to come out. The biggest things I see it having over the D3s is video and taking the WT-5A. Everything else looks like minor upgrades. Unless you need the HD Video or the fancy web interface stick with your D3S. But, if your have the cash to blow go for it.

      Waiting on the D800 which seems to be a bigger upgrade to the D700. The big thing with the D800 will be price. If its to high I’ll be looking at used FX frame bodies.

    • broxibear

      Hi Sinan’
      If you take away all the video features on the D4 and compare only the stills part of the camera to the D3s, is it worth upgrading from the D3/D3s to the D4 ?…I’d say no.
      The big thing about the D4 is the video capability, if you don’t shoot video, which many of us don’t, it doesn’t make much sense to upgrade.(unless your D3/D3s is nearing the end of it’s life or you just have to have the latest camera).
      The D4 is a slightly better camera than the D3 series for images, it’s vastly superior for video.
      The problem Nikon has is this, the people who Nikon have targeted with all the video capability bought Canon Mark IIs years ago. What those people are waiting for isn’t any new Nikon like the D4 or D800, but the Mark III because it’s the natural upgrade. What drove the sales of the Mark II were it’s video capability, all those colleges, film companies and individuals are way too invested in Canon to switch to Nikon.
      It’ll be interesting to see at what point Canon bring out the Mark III, there are a few rumours that it’ll make a surprise appearence at CES to take away the buzz around the D4. I bet the marketing teams at Nikon and Canon love the prospect of going head to head.
      After it’s over I still think Canon will be ahead in video and Nikon in stills.

  • DS

    For someone who does not own either, seems you get a whole lot more camera for a 15.4% price increase from the D3s to the D4. Since you are already into this for 5k, another $800 is a small percentage of the purchase price for the added benefits. Why would you want to buy older technology when the newer technology is this close in price?

    • Nikon WTF

      Because the newer technological additions aren’t dramatic from the D3s. 800$ you can get a very nice lens to match your d3s… Your paying for 4 MP raise and 1080p video mainly…Image quality will be similar with a d3s.

      • nah

        i know a lot of people who would pay more than just an extra 800 bucks for a full stop improvement in high iso performance

        • LGO

          + 100 – as this one-stop improvements in body benefits all of one’s lenses. 🙂

          Many of the improvements of the D4 are not reflected in the side-by-side comparison.

          For example, many seem to neglect the benefit of the D4 having a 91,000-pixel RGB ambient/flash metering sensor. The ability to track faces while using an OVF while shooting stills or the ability to do the same to support AF during video is incredible.

          The AF sensor is also much better, being 20% more light sensitive than the one found in the D3s. The light focus acquisition of the D4 being better by one-stop than the D3s is fantastic. For those who have f/4 lenses (like the 300mm f/4, 200-400mm f/4, 500mm f/4 and 600mm f/4), the ability of the D4 to focus reliably at f/8 and thus to use these lenses with a 2x TC and still auto-focus is already a reason by itself to get the D4.

          The D4 has full manual control for shutter, aperture and ISO. The uncompressed HD-video output via the HDMI port is very exciting. The ability of the D4 to output video from FX-sized, DX-size dand 2mp center-sized is most welcome … as is the ability to set audio level manually and to monitor this on the LCD screen as well as by headphone. Full-time face detection AF is possible during video capture.

          Then there is 16-bit EXPEED 3 which is 30% faster than the EXPEED 2 in the D3s. I do not think it would be necessary to explain the performance enhancement now possible because of this.

          The D4 is head and shoulder above the D3s.

          • Yes, the specs are much better than the D3s, but how much better is the final image. I would bet to say a D4 image next to aD3s image at low iso, and not many will notice the difference. Until we see samples of both cameras , the specs are just that. For those of us with the D3s, I think you have to be able to justify another 6000.00. When the D3s came out , everyone with a D3 had to make the same decision. Is it worth it.

            • LGO

              A comparison between a D3s at ISO 200 and D4 at ISO 100 should already show a significant improvement in DR in a scene that has wide dynamic range. But D3s/D4 are chosen primarily for high IS performance and Nikon has said during the product intro that the D4 is better by one-stop at high ISO range than D3s. This is in addition to the improvements in DR, color and tonality at high ISO.

              The D3s introduced one major improvement over the D3 when it was introduced – a one-stop better sensor. The D4 however introduces far more improvements than the D3s did over the D3.

            • @CP, There might not be much difference in a final image output between the D3s and the D4, but if your hit rate goes up by 20% this might be justification alone for pros who are paid to capture the moment. You can’t reshoot a wedding or a pro sports game. As for wildlife, you might see that once in a lifetime event, twice, but how much will another expedition cost? Shooting the sunset? You have time, not much, but you can shoot the extra frames to get it right. Shooting fashion or still life in the studio? You have time to get it right. So the big question most photographers will have to answer is, “Is this tool going to help me be more successful at what I do? Will it save me money?” — My two cents.

      • JonMcG

        Resale value alone will makeup the $800 difference down the road. Dont be silly.. Buy the D4 and be done with it knowing you have the most sophisticated camera made..

  • So…the main increased functionality seems to be the video element.

    I suppose the higher ISO limit can be useful in an emergency, but it’s going to be noisy. Oh, and more MP…meh. Not much here for still photographers?

  • nico

    They went backward, sadly. They removed the AFc-AFs selector, after the main dials and the shutter button this is my most used button. Also, the samples I’ve seen do not suggest better IQ than D3s, they removed the AF type selector, and seen here, the battery seems to have a shorter life span. For me, these features are potentially more important than the 4 extra MP or the HD video.

    I hope I’m judging this wrongfully.

    • Nikon WTF

      No you are not. Your points are valid, as a D3s owner I do not feel enticed at all to upgrade to a D4. I couldn’t care less about 1080p video and 4 more MP’s. The more Mps on the same sensor size, the more noise at higher iso. Thats never gonna change no matter what digital noise reduction tweak they try to add to newer models.

  • Nikon WTF

    By the looks of this, you are all better off getting a D3s…As an owner of one I can assure you its a beast and the D4 is at best a D3s Version 2.0 with the added PX and tweaks here and there…nothing worth 6 K

    • Caveat you forgot to add, of course: “For anyone who does not shoot video…”


      • Nikon WTF

        Yes, but if one wants video why not get a D7000…and use it as a backup for video only. The d3s is a monster of a camera and was since it came out and probably still will be if you don’t get manipulated by all these video features and in-camera effects.. More PX on the same sensor size = more noise at higher isos

        • Harry Heri

          I am amazed at all of you that can tell how good a camera is based on a few specs! Wow I think this ability should be classified as a super power! Not to mention the ability to know what camera everyone is better off with… “you are all better off getting a D3s”
          Since I do not have such super powers, I will sit back, read the reviews, look at sample photos and do the hands on test before offering an opinion. As my mom used to say “it’s better to be thought of as dumb than to open your mouth and confirm it”!

        • Prime

          Yeah, you MUST be right. The D40 is WAY better at higher ISO than the d7000. That high pixel count is HORRIBLE. :/

          • Dr SCSI

            +1000, that is exactly what I was thinking. His statement would have been true only if would have said, “For a given sensor technology, …”. Thankfully the D4 has benefitted from additional R&D over the last couple of years since the D3s came out. Unfortunately, Nikon can’t satisfy everyone’s high expectations with their new flagship. I guess the prolonged wait contributed to their disapointment. Additionally, I think many of us were hoping for a revolutionary upgrade, like going from the D2 series to the D3. Maybe Nikon should have touted the D4 as the D3SX instead, that name may have been more fitting. I personally can hardly wait for my copy! Cheers.

  • Possible to add the shutter life to the list?

    I am still undecided between D4 and D3s due to the pricier accessories and shorter battery life (I need around 3000 – 3500 shots per day for weddings). If the shutter life is the same and the ISO performance only improved 1-stop (ISO 12800 on D3 = ISO 6400 on D4), and it seems like the ISO jumps from 12800 to Hi-4 without Hi-1, 2, and 3? I might just settle with D3s.

    *Currently using D300s

  • So let me get this right the battery for both are different and the battery life on the D4 is just about half the D3s. That’s not too clever and a bit of a pain, looks like you want the D4 your going to have to factor new battery’s into the cost too.. Looks like Nikon just wanting to make some extra dosh from that move…

    • John Richardson

      You should always invest in extra batteries (OEM), it really doesn’t matter what camera you have.

  • I find the D4 vs 1DX to be of equal or even greater importance, as far as comparisons go. But the bottom line is either way, both of Nikon’s cameras are stunning, and this is really more of a “want” upgrade, not so much a “need” upgrade. At least for most. Of course on the Canon side, the 1DX is their first FF sports camera ever, so they’re partying like it’s 2007 over there. 😉

    Anyways really the only thing left to do is to wait till these cameras hit the real world, and hope they don’t have any serious bugs as cameras often can. If there are no serious bugs with the focusing, exposure, or image quality etc. then I would say we’re going to have the most “level competition” generation, EVER. It’ll be interesting to see how the industry fairs (fares?) with such relatively equal (and kinda pricey considering the economic times) cameras…


  • Yakka

    Hi Peter, do you plan on purchasing the D4 and the new products that should be released this year for review? Do you make enough from this site to do that?

    • No, I will probably be getting the D800.

      • I still hesitate… [NR] admin, would you mind sharing your thoughts telling us why you choose the D800 ?

        • Mainly size and price, not crazy about the 36MP though. Going back to the old dream – D4 specs in a D700 body, this is what I want.

          • Fair enough.

            The 36MP could be usefull for cropping in 5/4 (portrait mode) and 16/9 (landscape), though.

            Hopefully, the ISO performence of the D800 is at least just as good as the D700’s…

            Wait and see..

          • Yakka

            Cool. I’ll be getting the D800 and whatever the D300s replacement will be. I would also buy a D4 in a D700 body too. Are there any rumors about a D700 replacement? Do we just expect it a year after the D4 like the D3/D700 announcements? It seems those rumors have died down with word of a 36MP D800.

            After seeing this site grow from a relatively small site to one that’s reference everywhere Nikon rumors and news is discussed, you should be very proud. Hopefully in the future, you’ll be able to buy one of everything!

          • John Richardson

            I think you are on the right track. I will wait for the 800 to actually hit and evaluated before I make one last camera body plunge… But since I don’t shoot sports the 800 just might be the thing for me, sight unseen.

          • SkiPiggy

            With or without AA filter?

    • T.I.M

      He don’t make money from this site, but I give him 50% of what I make on my Test Charts, right Peter ?
      I’ll get a D800 also (but I find it ugly compared to the D700).
      And finaly I’ll get my AF-S 200mm f/2 VRII next week, I’ve been waiting years for that big baby !

      • Like Homer Simpson drools over food, you got me salivating for that same 200mm f/2 VR II! Did you by chance consider buying the VR I version? I’ve read they are optically identical, less the Nano coating on VR I. That is my conundrum, VR I for $1500 less or VR II?!?!

        • T.I.M

          @Dr SCSI
          I already have the 14-24, 24-70, 105 macro, I would look cheap if I don’t get the NC and VRII version !
          (In fact, the 200mm f/2 is an investment, the day Nikon will stop making it the price used will go crazy, and the newer version will retain more value than the older one)

          • I don’t think Nikon will ever stop making a 200mm f/2! You may use that argument with your wife, to help justify your purchase, but in this forum we call bunk! For your sake, I hope your wife doesn’t read NR! LOL….

            • T.I.M

              @Dr SCSI
              And what about the 300mm f/2 ?
              Does Nikon still make them ?

            • @T.I.M, the 300mm f/2 is not even a valid comparison. Yes, Nikon still makes them at $30K a piece if you take 20 or more at a time! At least that was the going rate in 2002!
              Considering Nikon makes lenses to sell and make a profit, the original 300mm f/2 with its 430 copies doesn’t even compare to the 200mm f/2 with its 10,000+ copies sold to date. That is why I don’t think we will ever have to worry about the 200 f/2 going away. The 300 f/2 on release, cost $29,000 list in 1983!
              That is like $65,124 in today’s money!!!
              The price alone is the reason why Nikon hasn’t brought back the 300 f/2, they don’t sell well.

  • Henry

    Great try, but I’m just not feeling it with the D4.
    D4 added many great peripheral features such as video and remote shooting.
    However, at its core, it is not markedly different from what came before.
    Why not D3t or something for “turbo”?

    • Henry

      D3v for “video.”
      That’s what it should have been called.

  • Sharon

    Would love to see the D3 in this side by side comparison too.

  • Regardings fps:
    Didn’t D3/D3s also have 11 fps with locked AF? So nothing new here, too.

  • Nikon WTF

    This is Nikon’s way of grabbing people by the balls when a new product is released. Minor tweaks and additions, while increasing prices to give the public a perceived HIGH END product value when in fact it isn’t much different than prior models. It is the same technique Apple uses when ever an iPhone or Ipad comes out. Not much changes besides the sheep who fall for this crotch grabing. Get a D3s if your going FF , thats my suggestion

    • Banksie

      Except that Apple often drops the prices of new models compared to the previous versions. You end up getting more bang for your buck. They tend to pass on the savings from their supply vendors and any increased efficiency in production and technology to the end consumer (as do other computer manufacturers.) But yes, their marketing is certainly designed to get you to buy the next generation. But so is the marketing of all manufacturers. After all that’s the name of the game.

  • I will call it D3H, not a D4…

    • nah

      it isn’t really any more ‘high speed’ than the d3s so how would that make sense?

  • Rudy

    Looks like I’ll hang on to my D3s for a while. No WOW factor in the D4.

  • WAlfaro

    Well, it seems that if you own a D3s and you are not big in video you don’t really need to buy the D4, since it is not a big upgrade in photography. In fact the battery life of the D4 is a big flaw that again scores for D3s. It seems Nikon is always afraid of really advancing and gives 2 steps ahead and one step back. Steve Jobs said “if you don’t cannibalize yourself somebody will”

    • xiophaser

      this is what I am thinking too. D4 spec is not a huge leap in 3 years over d3s. But they did improve on video quite a bit, so for some that is good enough. Uncompressed hdmi out, that is good stuff that canon didn’t do.

  • Mark

    For video: awesome.

    For photo: stick with your D3S and if you want higher res get a D800 when it comes out or D3X.

    Actually if you want higher res get a Pentax 645D.

  • Fabian

    So Nikon reduced the battery capacity to sell more batteries, and also significantly increased the price of the new lower-capacity battery to a nose-bleeding $169?

    So photographers upgrading to the D4 have to worry more about battery capacity and potentially carry more heavy batteries just so Nikon can make a bit more money?

    That’s not cool.

  • c

    when i can shoot in backlit situations in aperture priority mode and still nail my exposure because the camera knows where the faces are and exposes for them…i think i’ll be glad i went for the d4 over the d3s. stuff like this isn’t attractive to a consumer who has time to dick around while photographing but someone who has to get the shot in the instant that it happens…could be very helpful.

  • kenneth

    Why the battery life so short? By looking at the specs I’ll probably get a used D3s

  • How come they still don’t have 1/500 flash sync speed like the D40 had?

  • Steve

    D4 Pixel Size: 7.3µ
    D3s Pixel Size: 8.45µ

  • Pentroni

    Not very interested by this D4, D3S is fine.

  • Chibbs

    Illuminated buttons and new video capabilities won’t help with the shitty battery life.

  • Redford

    I was saving for this D4 but i will get a used D3S instead. No one selling?

  • Κωνσταντίνος

    If I had a D3s, i would not upgrade with a D4 . I shoot 95% stills and 5% video

    If I was in the market for a new FF camera, i would defiantly prefer the D4 over the D3s

    Sorry for my bad English

    • T.I.M

      Don’t apology your English is fine, but when you order your Nikon D4, make sure you tell them “send it to T.I.M”
      That’s a special English custom, by saying that you’ll get free shipping, no taxes and one extra battery.

      • Κωνσταντίνος

        Ok my friend, thanks for the tip. I will order it that way!!!!!!!!

  • B2

    Great stuff, finally I can buy D3s 😛
    I’m sorry but at a first glance it looks like someone in Asia had a long vacation since late 2009. I get super duper video features but I was expecting something better in terms of ISO and also I was hoping for kind of mirrorless D4.. fine I stop bitching. Good sfuff Nikon. And I liked new 85mm

    • I’ll agree with everything here, though I care less about the mirrorless, given the associated need for adapters or brand new – newly designed and produces, that is – glass.

  • Jon

    NR — can you compare where they are manufactured? I have not read this anywhere, but the D3s is made in Japan, is the D4 also or is it made in China like the newer flashes? This might be a consideration to some.

    • Cannot find any info on where the D4 is produced.

      • T.I.M


        • broxibear

          You sound very confident T.I.M, you’re probably right…I tried to find out but so far nothing. There are no images of the box and the plates on the bottom of the D4s all say “Sample” without the “Made in” text.
          Lets see who’ll be the first to notice the “Assembled in China” sticker during all the excitement of opening their new D4 box when it arrives lol ?

          • T.I.M

            If that was the case, there will be NO WAY Nikon could justify the $6000 tag price.
            Champagne made in California or made in France are both Champagne, but guess witch one is the more expensive ?

      • Jon

        Me neither, I find that rather interesting. I am sure it will be on the camera when it arrives. Do you think the D800 with 36MP might in the version without the anti-aliasing filter have a mode of simulating a 12 MP camera by using all 3 colors as one “pixel” in groups of 3 which would eliminate the need for an anti-aliasing filter and give a super picture at 12MP? There is some loss due to the filter of resolution. Kind of a coincidence that 36 is a multiple of 12X3 colors.

        • T.I.M

          Ask T.I.M, he know alot about that, he is bothering us for more than a year with his 3 RGB sensors theory.

      • Japan

      • LGO

        Sendai Plant, Japan.

        • jon D

          well, then, i am in (and I have a D3s and a Sony F3) it looks great to me

  • Jade

    huh… if you are not interested in Video that much i guess better to stay with a D3 or d3s…I will upgrade from D700 to D3s finally thanks for comparison!!

  • Gregory Peel

    One thing no one seems to have mentioned is the D4’s ability to 100-200 straight shots at 10-11 fps. Some shooters are going to find this very attractive and useful.

  • The battery life is disappointing. However, I don’t need to see each image on my LCD after I shoot it, so I turn off that LCD feature. Saves power. Maybe we can do the same with the illuminated buttons feature. Can that be turned off and on? Does it have an auto feature that determines the ambient light and turns itself on or off?

    I make it a point to know my camera’s buttons as well as I know my wife’s buttons. I can operate either in the dark if need be.

  • It all depends on your needs; I have been using a D3 for a couple of years and bought two D3s’s last month (had some events to cover that I needed the best possible equipment in my hands) knowing / thinking that the D4 would be out shortly.

    After the announcement this week, I ordered 2 D4’s from a reputable dealer and will have them in the first batch that is shipped.

    For me, it will be worth it – I shoot daily in environments where getting the shot in very low light (sometimes where more depth of field is required / f/5ish range / etc.) I will need the best low light performance that I can get, plus the fps and dynamic range that I’m confident that the D4 will deliver to me.

    The d3’s I used were fantastic, but the D3s’s are better. The d4 is better, and currently the event I cover dictate that I have the best possible equipment in my hands to get the shots, there are no ‘redos’ for me.

    • Banksie

      There are no ‘redos’ for most people but even the best equipment can and will fail. Puzzled why you didn’t rent the D3s bodies that you needed for those events since the D4 was coming. Of course now you have the depreciation expense of the new D3s bodies you bought to write off, plus the capitalization of the new D4 bodies. Maybe it’ll work in your favor at tax time.

  • Allan

    Some specs got in the list are wrong, on the D3s, and some are missing. Døont rush your work, but take the time to get it write first time around.

    • D4_Buyer

      Ah, yes — “Døont” rush your work, but take the time to get it “write” [the] first time around.

      I love hypocrisy!

      (Admin: Thanks for your continued great work.)

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