Nikon D4 tested at DxOMark, gets second best overall score

DxOMark published their test results for the Nikon D4 camera. The D4 automatically took the #2 spot, based on overall test score and just 2 points after the PhaseOne IQ180 digital back. Another interesting aspect is that the Nikon D3s got a better low-light ISO score than the new D4.

DxOMark doesn't have any test data for the new Canon EOS 1Dx camera yet. I will post another comparison later between those two cameras, since the 1Dx is the only real D4 competitor.

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  • I’m really impressed by what Nikon delivered this year!

    No I’m looking for the real D700 successor 😉

    • I think everybody boring to tell you, but I’m not.

      D800 is real D700 successor. 😛

      • Nope

        According the Nikon, the D800 is not meant to replace the D700. This is a direct quote. The D800 is NOT INTENDED for dark shooting conditions, such as those presented by weddings and receptions. The D800 is made for portrait photographers and landscape/architecture photogs.

        • Joseph

          Yeah and the D4 is for everything else.

          Either pony up or stop wishing for a cheap D4.

          • Eskimo Macinoid

            Or buy a 5D Mark III, because it is far closer to what D700 users (like myself) are looking for.
            The D800 is a replacement for the D3x, not the D700.
            With the D700, we got a cheap D3. With the 5D, you get a cheap 1D. The differences are in FPS, handling, durability and endurance. IQ is the same.
            With this generation, Nikon is walking away from the D700 user.
            I thought Nikon might make a D700 type body with the D3s sensor, since it’s now a generation behind; but after seeing these results, I know that wouldn’t be a wise choice on their part.

            • Eskimo Genocid

              What the hell!!! Have you shot 800 ISO kodachrome lately. Stop whining about this being marginnaly better then that. Go out, shoot and enjoy the fact that these new cameras produce a better output then anything a couple of years ago put aside a 6X7 loaded with velvia… And plus, you get to choose the good shots before you even spend a cent for development. And please, to all of you comlaining about loosing EV while crancking ISO and those whining about seing luminance variations in flat colors with short exposures/high ISO; get some information about how a sensor works, electrical gain, noise floor and about what is light as a medium. I’ll stop it there. Go out, take pictures, enjoy photography and stop worrying about gear. Instead of relying on gear, rely on yourself in challengin situations.

            • Joseph

              Buy a 5D3? Haha, because what you wanted for the D700 replacement is a smudged NR’d-to-death file? Whatever. Go buy a Canon, leave the good cameras to us.

              In all seriousness, Nikon most likely realized their blunder in releasing the D700 and cannibalizing sales of the D3. So they are differentiating the FF game – either the high-speed photojournalism/sports camera or high-rez landscape, studio, etc. camera.

              And would y’all quit whining about FPS??? I have a D700 with the grip and special battery…but I only shoot nowadays in “S” single-shot mode. I didn’t like looking through 1000’s of photos after an event (many of which STILL weren’t the “perfect” time). Why don’t you learn something from Bresson and wait and watch for the “perfect moment” rather than machine-gunning everything??

          • Andrew

            A cheaper D4 is coming, it is a fact! All of this romantic demurring (i.e. voicing opposition) anytime someone alludes to a D700 replacement is nonsensical.

            Nikon stated that the D800 is not a D3x replacement, though the D800’s specs sure look like a D3x replacement, and we do not believe them. They sell the D800 at $3,000 whereas the D3x sold at $8,000 and people still do not believe them. When did a Nikon upgrade ever cost over 50% less than the product it was replacing? This argument is just to prep your thinking. Now to my point below.

            The D700 has a 12 MP sensor, and the D800’s is 36 MP. This thing (D800) is not an upgrade, it is a whole new generation. Nikon had to let the world know that they had the highest megapixel professional camera. And they succeeded wonderfully!

            The Nikon D4 was supposed to be Nikon’s low light king (i.e. high ISO) and the D800, Nikon’s high megapixel king. How can the D800 with its 4fps be the D700 replacement with its 6fps performance? When in our collective knowledge did upgrades perform worst? Not from a major manufacturer like Nikon! We all know that the D800 is a great camera; I am just speaking comparatively.

            Here is the bottom line, the D700 replacement is inside the heart of the D4 with its 16 MP sensor and 11 fps performance. But Nikon wants the D4 to remain its flagship for at least a year before releasing the true D700 replacement in a smaller D4 body. This camera will be called the D870 (I had to make this one up!)

            • D400 = FX

              “..This camera will be called the D870 (I had to make this one up!)”

              Like you’d not done it before. 😀

            • mikils

              the logic is just a little flawed; It requires to mantain that a part of the market will never want to move from a d700 position.

              with this mindset there would never have a F3 or a F4, because people was perfectly happy with F2. The customers will walk away from D700 when (and IF) D800 and new computers will dispel concerns about the large files. To tell anybody 5 years ago that someone would complain for too manyMegapixels!

            • @mikils – I think his logic is spot on…many D700 shooters are looking for a replacement which provides them the same kind of capabilities as the larger D4. The D700 owners who were disappointed with the D800 announcement weren’t upset about the high resolution so much, but the fact that the D800 wasn’t the smaller version of the D4. I don’t mind Nikon bringing out a game changing camera like the D800, I am just looking for the smaller brother to the D4; it should have similiar FPS, ISO capabilities, etc. As Andrew points out, there will most likely be a D700 equivalent replacement to compliment the D4. Many are waiting for this camera, while many others are embracing the D800. It is really about your personal needs.

            • mikils

              Most likely, you say… I say not very likely, not in this year at least. we will see. By then, if D800 will not show some critical flaw, nobody will pine anymore for 12, 14, 16 MPs. And for those people who say that a 4 fps camera is a ”moment misser”, I say, there is no ”moment misser” camera, while there are many ”moment misser” photographers.

          • Some Guy

            I don’t want a “cheap D4”.

            I want 24mpix in a D700/D800 style body, feature set of D7000 except for a 30 frame buffer and no pop up flash, and IQ slightly better than D3x.

            This camera would be complementary to the D4 and D800, not a ‘cheap’ version of either. There is a 24mpix gap between the D4 and D800 IMHO.

            • Carsten

              What you described there is the 5d3 …

        • Then why didn’t Nikon call it the D800x?

          . . . and why did Nikon discontinue the D700 without introducing a successor?

          • gravity
            • Good catch. Other countries such as Japan and Canada, but not the USA . . . yet.

            • ZoetMB

              That’s meaningless. There’s lots of products on the USA Nikon site that are actually discontinued. They rarely update their website. They don’t want to alienate dealers so if there are any units at all in the supply chain, they don’t take them off the website. In fact, even when there aren’t any units in the supply chain, they rarely take them off the website.

              In fact there are lenses still on the USA website that were not included in the October 2010 full-line lens catalog, like the 1933, 2146 and 2150.

            • enesunkie

              The D90 and D3000 are still listed on that site.

          • WoutK89

            There has to be a D800 or D800H or D800S before Nikon has to call it a D800X. The X is only needed to differentiate it from an existing model.

            • There is no rule or law that says a non letter HAS to be first.
              The X denotes extra high MP’s.
              The S denotes a newer model – okay, you have me on that one.
              The H denotes a sucky camera. (yea, that’s still a sore spot for me)

            • WoutK89

              “The X denotes extra high MP’s”

              Extra high compared to what? Exactly! Another camera. The D3X was the high MP D3, The D2X was the High MP D2, The D1X was the high MP D1, The D40X the high MP D40. As there is no low MP D800 because there is only 1, the (or a) D800X would have to have more MP than the D800 has.

          • Andrew

            “. . . and why did Nikon discontinue the D700 without introducing a successor?”

            You just answered your argument. What you are saying is that the D700 has been discontinued, therefore the D800 is it’s replacement! Would you change your views if I give you the facts? The D700 has not been discontinued; Nikon has only reduced its price. So you must now agree that the D800 is not the D700 replacement in line with your argument.

            • Read my reply above. You KNOW Nikon isn’t making any more D700’s. They are just clearing out their innovatory.
              . . . and hopefully putting the final touch’s on the real/future replacement.

            • Don

              Funny thing, if the D800 was less pixels, say16 or 18 [with 6fps] everyone would except it as the D700 replacement. I find that amusing.

            • @ Don,

              That would be because the fps would be higher.

            • zoetmb

              Can you buy a D700 anywhere? None at B&H. None at J&R. Only one at Amazon (via 17th St Photo) and overpriced.

              I agree with those who think that when they’re gone, they’re gone, although having said that, it would make sense for Nikon to have a camera at $2200 and the D800 at $3000. The D400 will probably come in at $1999, so between a DX D400 and a D700 at $2200, which is the better deal?

        • hmm from the comparision D800 is better than D700 in terms of high iso .

          • But not fps, that’s where all the complaints are coming from.

            No mater what the MP’s or high ISO is, a moment miss-er is still a moment miss-er. (unless you are shooting a flower with a tripod, then you can shoot raw with a D100 – 15 seconds per frame spf) 😉

        • Maybe they didn’t intend for it to be the successor but with better low light performance than the D700 it will in be for all practical purposes the successor…

      • Nikon would be stupid leaving the range between 1000 EUR and 3000 EUR unset.

        There will be a D700 successor. A little D4 would be perfect, but may be a D3s sensor in a D800 body?

        • Eskimo Macinoid


        • Rob

          Let’s be honest here: the people (like you) asking for a D4 in a smaller body don’t really care about the size of the body. What you want is a cheaper D4 (or D3S), and it makes NO financial sense for Nikon to make one until the D4 is done selling like hotcakes.

      • Roberto

        You’re wrong!

        • @Roberto, why is he wrong? That implies you are right. Why are you right? I agree with, big price gaps need to be filled with product, otherwise the competition will do so. So does that make me wrong too? Does it mean you are doubly right? Please elaborate, I will listen.

          • Joseph

            The gap will be the (DX) D400, duh

            • @Joseph, I don’t see a DX based D400 filling that void. I can’t remember, it has been so long, but I think I paid something like $1700 for the D300 and a 18-200mm kit lens. The lens alone retailed in or above $700, placing the D300 at about $1000. Two years later, D300S + the VR2 version of the 18-200 comes in at essentially the same price. So I would think the D400 will fall into that category as well. If you look at just the price of what the camera body will most likely be, it will come in at something like $1199. That price does not fit nicely between the D800 and D4. Now if they outfitted the D400 with an entry level FX sensor (re-use D3/D700 sensor), they would have something that fits below the D800 very nicely. Another FX DSLR could be something like a D700S. I really think a follow on to the D700 would be grabbed up quickly. There are plenty of pros who need a replacement for their older D700 DSLRs, but aren’t willing to drop $6K for the D4, and don’t need the bling-bling of the D800.
              So the FX line up, top to bottom might look like:
              The DX line up would then continue with:
              D7100 and on down…
              I think here on NR, there was a statement about another 3 DSLRs to be announced this year alone.
              I guess we will all have to wait and see what the future brings.

            • Joseph

              When I bought my D90 (which had the same sensor as the D300) the D300S was being sold for $1700. I can’t remember if it had a lens or not but it was NOT the 18-200, I think it was the 18-105 that came with the D90 too. I think the D400 will be around $1999 for the kit. They simply can’t price the D400 at $1200, that’s where the D7000 is. And sorry, there WILL NOT be a FX sensor in the D400! There is a market for a pro-body w/ DX sensor, and the D300 successor is that camera!

              I don’t know why this is difficult guys. The line-up will be:

              D3100, D5100, D7000, D400 – DX
              D800, D4 – FX

              This encompasses all markets and needs.

            • I agree with your estimate of the D400 coming in at $1999 for a kit version; and I would venture to say it will come with the 18-200 VR II lens, or its successor. Although maybe not clear, I wasn’t suggesting the D400 for a price of $1200 in a kit; that was what I think the body only will cost. As the D1 and D2 series cameras were DX based, I always considered the D300 to be the bridge camera to FX, which could go away altogether one day. Naturally I could be wrong in that assesment, and there may be enough backpacking pros who prefer the weight savings DX offers, and insist on a DX versioned D400. I just don’t see the optics for DX following this trend. The fact that Nikon is making cheaper “All-Arounder” FX lenses, leads me to believe this is the way they are going. The 28-300mm is a perfect example, as well as the 16-35mm f/4. With those two lenses and a D800, I don’t know what more a nature guy would want. 17mm TS maybe…

      • Orilla

        I think the same.

        The D800 replaces the D700.
        I’ve heard this from multiple sources. :/

        The ISO perfomance from the D800 ist better.
        And you can shoot also 6 FPS in DX mode with the D800.

        So the D800 ist the real replace of the D700!

  • KT

    Finally a Nikon to compete with medium formats

    • Paul

      I’m more curious about the lower than D3s high-iso score. What’s up with that?

      • David

        DxO say that it is within 0.15 stops. i.e. totally un-noticeable.

        Not sure whether that’s good or bad that it isn’t higher, but it definitely isn’t lower or worse performance than the D3S

        • Nope

          So, let me get this straight. They are saying that a 10% decrease in the ranking score does not translate into a 10% difference in ISO performance?

          • Anon

            Yes. Photography is more than low-light ISO score.

      • Trevor

        Well, more pixels in the same space makes it tough to keep up with the D3s. I am impressed with how close they got to the D3s and would have been floored if they had beaten it.

      • Greg

        There’s no surprise really… Contrary to what people keep wanting to believe, smaller pixels means worse noise performance. These sensors are already very highly refined– there’s not a lot of room for technical improvements. People are expecting to see improvements in a few years that we’ll be lucky to see in our lifetimes.

        • Dan

          I keep reading comments regarding more photo sights placed in the same sensor size equates to more noise, but I am unclear as to the real source of the noise. Is it the sensor, the amplification circut or both and if both to what extent do each contribute to the noise. It would seem to me that there can be great advances made in lowering the noise in the amp stage to get a lower total noise figures. After all iso increases are only increases in amp gain, no?

          • Astrophotographer

            The key is that these high ISO sensor are counting photons. Even if the sensor was perfect in counting photons statistics comes to play. What would happen if you set the ISO so high that, on average, one photon is captured per pixel? it would be 100% noise.

        • Andrew

          If that is the case, how come preliminary results from a D800 (36 MP) comparison with a D700 (12 MP) is showing the D800’s high ISO performance trumping the D700’s ISO? Now it would be stunning if those guys at DxOMark actually made an error in their analysis.

    • lol, compete with medium formats?

      maybe in DXO mark test lol

      • Zeke

        “lol” if you like, but medium format has been on the ropes for years, with small-format digital gobbling up most of their business.

        Hasselblad, Mamiya (a mere shadow its former self), and Bronica (remember them?) used to dominate the wedding business and most studio work. Those days are over.

        Jobs that a pro would not have shot on 35mm film are being shot today on full-frame small-format digital cameras. Studios where you would never have seen an F3 back in the day are now shooting with a D3. The game has really changed.

        • it didnt changed. what changed is that we have now many cheap photographers so it appears that high end world is smaller. but reality is, that those companies are still in profit and bigger then they ever were. sure they are small against Nikon, but so is nikon against sony and sony against general electric

          • kyoshinikon

            The biggest problem is that clients have become cheap… They want us to shoot a wedding for $1000 and pay only $15 a pic…

            • Gary

              “[Wedding] clients have become cheap… ”

              No they haven’t. Just like most contributors to NikonRumors they just want things to be faster, better, AND cheaper. Nothing wrong with that.

              So it’s up to photgraphers to find ways to differentiate ourselves. If someone else meets our Clients’ needs at a lower price than us then it’s our responsibility to act.

              A) match/beat the price,
              B) offer something that they’re prepared to pay extra for, or
              C) make way for those who WILL offer “A” or “B”

              Or, am I missing a trick?

            • Jesus_sti

              Gary +1

          • Zeke

            That’s not true. The world of medium format has shrunk. Hasselblad is in hard times. Mamiya has merged and eliminated almost all their product lines. Bronica is completely gone.

            Small-format digital is used in pro studios that would not have used small-format film. It’s replacing medium format in a lot of applications because the quality is there.

        • Ralph

          Seriously? I think the D4 is missing a few pixels to eally compete with MF. MF has always been about resolution.

          I guess it depends if you are talking commercial or technical image quality competition. There’s a bunch of people out there who think their iPhone takes Pro images.

        • Discontinued

          You are both right. The D4 is no competition for DIGITAL medium format at all. Digital FFs do a lot of work that has previously been done on 120 rolls. True as well. But digital medium format does a lot of work that has previously been shot on sheets. I like that. And I am looking forward to my D800E.

      • R!

        DXO rules evry testing wanabe pro ridiculous testing chart no sens photoshop geek .

        • Greg

          Hi Boomhower!

  • R!

    furst!!!!!!Medium formats age is over !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Ren Kockwell

      This is so very sad.

      • troll:) – got me

    • R!

      secondo,Canons video supremacy in DSLR is over!!!!!!!!

      • I sold my 5Dii today and picked up a Nikon D4 and a Canon 5Diii. As of today my Nikon will be my video camera, and my Canon will be my still camera, unless my testing in the field will tell me otherwise?

      • regular

        It’s fun to observe how Canon used to pretend that ‘sensor’ was the alpha and omega of DSLR. They claimed the lead in the megapixel race, and that they could get into the medium-format business whenever they want …

        Today Canon dont offer the best sensors, or the best lenses… oh, wait, now video capture is the alpha and omega of DSLR ;p

        • Anon

          Alpha is currently Sony’s. lol

    • I shoot shit tons of medium format still. As an artist, I feel that my hi res film scans have better color space and way more information than any digital 35mm format. And I own a Canon 5Diii and Nikon D4, but I’m sure I’ll still want to take out my RB67 today for some higher res images!!! Would be interesting to try to come up with some kind of test to compare hi res scans from 6×7 format vs one of the newer DSLr’s on the market. The test would have to be done using Mamiya RB lenses.

  • KT

    Funny how the D3x is still holding its own that well so many years after its release, Best DR of the bunch, no wonder they demanded 8K for it

  • Denko

    Now I look forward to the D800E findings… which might actually kick the medium formats in the nuts. Well here’s to hoping!

    BTW i love my D7000 😀

    • how? with 1/250 sync shutter?
      or with only 36Mpixels which diffracts at f8?
      or maybe with no bokeh above 2.8 and under 50mm?
      or maybe with that small viewfinder which denies any manual focusing
      or maybe with the ISO which starts at 100 before pulling, which requires ND filters for almost anything i do in portraits?
      or maybe because i need to buy 5000$ lens and stay 100m away to get nice full body portraits with dreamy bokeh?
      or because there are only three T&S lenses and they are very limited?

      MF is not just megapixels you know 🙂

      • Jeff

        Awesome response. You wouldn’t believe how many people think that Medium Format is about Mpixels only.

        • Ted


      • greywoody

        Thank you – I am fed up, increasingly, with all these infantile posts here:
        I want this, I expected that, XYO is better than ZOX, where’s that bokeh. Jeez: Why can’t everyone just sit down, look at the specs, make a choice according to his/her needs and be done with? We are NOT, EVER going to have a one-fits-all camera. Show me the farmer whose plough doubles as a harvester in the afternoon and weeds the garden in the evening……

        • Rich

          Best damn post I’ve read so far.

        • Rudi

          Yup! I have the feeling that most didn’t shoot but discussing only the technics of their cameras. At the end the result counts!

      • Bert

        – MF is not as MF as it used to be. 36x48mm sensors is not 45×60 or 60×70.
        – Diffraction limit is relative to the pixel number, not the pixel size! Size of sensor is irrelevant for this.
        – Nikon may only offer 3 TS lenses: but they are far easier to use, and for many MF camera’s there are no TS lenses or only crazy expensive ones. For product shoots at F11 (F22 for MF), you are limited to around 12 megapixels anyway, no matter the sensor size. The 35mm TS setup is way easier (and much faster, no hassle with laptops etc.
        – faster than 1/250th is only needed for fill-in flash outside. With a D-range of 14 stops, this is much less of a problem than in the 8-stops negative film era.
        – The viewfinder of a MF may allow even easier manual focus, don’t forget the nikon has a rangefinder on all AF points. This is very accurate and very fast. No equivalent on MF.
        – Bokeh is similar. Don’t forget that MF has a smaller biggest opening, and the depth of field is roughly the same. So the 85mm 1.4 at 35mm camera’s gives an equal or even dreamier bokeh than a 135mm 4.0 at MF. Bokeh sucks anyway BTW, and is for weddings only: weddings IS NOT PHOTOGRAPHY, but WHORISM. People say too much about weddings in these topics. Weddings is not for professional photographers. It’s for amateurs that want to earn a dime.

        • rkas

          But its only about nice bokeh, its about sharpnes and image quality aswell. Because you know, a 135/4 would probably be MUCH sharper and have way less CA etc than a 85/1.4.

    • No Name

      …Harold +1

      I just wanted to reply that MD have nothing with megapixels
      …CCD instead CMOS
      …2,6x bigger sensor
      …much higher resolution of lenses
      …everything is bigger and more comfortable etc.

      People are stupid, they repeat what they heard or read on internet, without brain and any experience of what they talk about. It’s sad.

      • R!

        It’s not sad ,sad are the people who paid 10 000$ for now obsolete cameras like MF.

        • if you do not understand what MF is for, you are not in the market.
          MF is for pro high end use. Not like “leica” or “apple” high end, eg do the same stuff but for more moneys. No. It does things better, for more moneys. You either value it, or not.

          • R!

            In the studio only or in corn field at noon ,lol!!!!!!!!

        • Joaquim Prado

          I shot both and for personal serious work I prefer medium fomat. Better bokeh, much more detail, grain much finer, better manual focusing, leaf shutters, lens has less distortions too! I am all about MF when need to get serious about photography and don’t care about the extra weight.

          I got a D800 too but not to substitute the orther system. My old digital stoped working a while ago and need some other serious camera to work with, so I waited to the D800. People today don’t care about film quality and aesthetics, they want you to shoot and see the results right away. In a lot of aspects photography changed because of the Digital, people always think in subestitutions such as film to digital, and now they are thiking only because has a high MP camera medium format is obsolete but sometimes they never used for real a MF camera.

          People should know better what they want to do.

          • bert

            Check the library image of the D800 sample page. If that is the quality I get from a shot that is written to a CF card in 0.25 seconds, I stop caring about MF immediately. Nikon has the best in-camera (and similar in NX2) lens correction, that deals with all 35mm shortcomings compared to MF instantly. I used 4×5 inch slide in architecture photograpy, and I was never able to get this clean 36 megapixel files of those slides! And it took me hours back then. Lens distortion no longer counts, it is removed instantly. The D800 is going to score higher on the DXO than the PhaseOne, just because it will have better IQ than the PhaseOne. MF is dead. Face it. And in 10 years you iPhone will poop out D800 quality images. Software and CPU power is going to compensate all mechanical limitations of the past. Thats life.

            • Joaquim Prado

              Why wait? Get the nokia 808 with 41MP for landscape!

  • D3s ISO performance is better than D4? Definately dissapoint some D4 potential buyer.

    • KT

      I’m thinking about all the folks who rushed to put their D3S on ebay and pre-ordered a D4 thinking it will have a better high-iso performance, how do they feel now?

      • Rudi

        Good to have better AF? Good to have better video (if they need it). Good to drive my camera from my iPad, iPhone etc.? I’m more likely to use as low ISO as possible. ISO is not everything…

    • Damian

      Dissapointed too… I will have to wait a bit more for more tests and real life photos to deside if am going for the D4. D3s will do just fine though! :]

    • Nikon Shooter


      Worse ISO and one card-slot pimped out to Sony’s XQD. Why would you want it over the D3s which can now be had for ~$4000 in a slightly used condition? D4 is just a refresh. Nothing groundbreaking for 99% of users. If you think the slight megapixel, DR and color depth increase will make you a better photographer, then go ahead and dump your D3s now, driving the used D3s prices down even further.

      • Good luck in finding a D3s in slightly used condition. People who own the D3s tend to use it every day and generally don’t let is sit on the shelf.

        • Nikon Shooter

          Thanks, but don’t need luck when you have google, amazon, ebay. Try doing a little research before making ungrounded assumptions/generalizations. If you think that everyone who is willing to spend the money on high-end gear is a professional, then you probably don’t live in the US.

          • Steven Georges

            Good point on the professional vs. doctors with money. 😉

            • bob2

              @Steven–obviously you don’t live in the US–no such thing as doctors with money anymore, especially after Obamacare. If you are looking for people with money, check retired government employees with nice fat retirement pensions. The value of their pensions make them (multi)millionaires!

            • Nikon Shooter

              Oh please, so now they will have to drive a Boxter instead of the 911? Everyone is feeling very sorry for them 😉

    • David

      No. They’re the same. Within 0.15 stops according to DxOMark themselves. You would never, ever notice any difference unless you have your own lab and statistical analysis.

      The sensor is still significantly better. More dynamic range, better colours etc. And add in the new features of the body, and it still presents a good upgrade.

      • I can see a clear difference with every single D3s Vs. D4 image I’ve seen so far. The DxO scores confirms what my eyes have been seeing. As a matter of fact, I’ve repeated this several times on NR and DPR. I could tell from the first images that the D4 won in DR ( @ low-ISOs), resolution (detail) and slightly lost in SnR, to the D3s.

        Having said that, the D4 is an amazing camera and is worth every penny, if you need a camera that can do what the D4 is capable of. It will best the 1D X, I’m almost positive, especially at the DR and SnR level. Even though the D4 doesn’t “beat” the D3s in the SnR dept, it comes really really close; close enough to call it a draw. With the addition of added DR at lower ISOs and with the added resolution, the D4 is clearly the better camera for somebody that doesn’t already own a D3s, or for a shooter that needs the added video features. Speaking of video features, the D4 will prove to be the best DSLR camera on the market, for some time, followed by the D800/E.

        Hopefully well get our copy of the D4 soon to do our own comparisons with our mighty D3s. I suspect things will play out exactly the same as I’ve already described and what was confirmed by DxO.

    • cockwell rock

      If ISO was the only reason you looked at the D4, you’re dumber than your comment is…

      • B!


  • Ren Kockwell

    Okay, nerd out all you measurebators!

  • RR

    Nice to see the D3x still beeing a very competitive camera, 🙂

    • No Name

      …still??? 4 years camera is better than any new FF camera so far. Also, it’s dissapointing taht D4 has lower ISO capability. I’m afraid that 1DX will be much, much better, and after that we will start to ask what is going on with Nikon…

      • Seeing that Canon was not able to significantly improve Dynamic Range and SnR in the 5DIII over the 5DIi, I don’t think Canon will be able to come close to the performance of the D3s, much less the D4. Mark my words. They are still playing catch-up.

        Trust me, if they could do it, they would. I don’t think they have the ability and so far, just can’t compete with Nikon and Sony designed sensors.

    • No Name

      …lower than D3s

      • Jane

        The above picture does not represent the correct order. The D3x’ DxO score is 88, just 1 below the D4’s 89, while the D3s’ score is 82. Thus, the D3x is currently #2 FF DSLR camera.

  • Tim Neumann

    He does at the end of the article, in an addendum, pretty much state that he believes that his camera focus calibration was off…this would invalidate most of the article…

  • Ok, overall score is better, but it seems from this test that in high iso it performs not so well as the D3s does and this shoud have turned to be the very one strong point for the D4, IHMO.

  • poizen

    review looks very shady didnt mention wether or not they used the same lens just same mm and f stop i have a very hard time believing that the camera is that much softer going up to 16mp id like to see maybe another review or have to see it in person myself before believing it.

    • The test was done with the 24-70mm 2.8.

    • Jetfire

      “didnt mention wether or not they used the same lens”

      Read the addendum. They used different lens same but same model. When they notice the focusing issue they took some more pics with all four(4) lens and got the same results. They say that this was their first ever camera test review and they need to come up with a true test set up.

  • C

    D3x scored higher than D3s..

    I would presume D800 would score #1 on the chart! D800 would have 95 points!

    • C

      And D800E would have 100 points!

    • B!

      Based on the logic you see you might just have a point.

  • KT

    I wonder if the D800 will be a match for the D3X. My guess is that it’ll have the same DR of the D3X but much worse high-iso performance.

    • no way, D3x tops at 1600 ISO and that is already pushing it to limit of what is usefull. D800 will beat D3x in everything except what full body gives you.

      • No Name

        …Harold you are wrong.
        Few days ago I was testing D800E at local photo fair and I found that D800(E) is completly useless after ISO 800. I think that all of you’ll be very dissapointed with this camera.

        • David

          WHo to believe. No name poster on internet forum, or the tons of d800 sample shots showing amazing iso6400 which are all over the internet now… hmm..

          • No Name

            …send me your e-mail and you can check alone, if you know how to do it (I’ll send you jpegs and RAWs).

            Or you can go here:
            …and show me that amazing ISO6400 samples. I can’t find it.

            You are obviously not a professional photographer. I hope that you posted some of your photos in printed book or some other offset printing? Posting low res photos on internet is not serious business. No matter who I am.

            • @no name, Thanks for the links, great looking samples, still think the iso performance is equal or better than my d700, one should get more quality if downsize this hi rez images. Perhaps you are more critical than others with your view on image quality.

        • Useless over ISO800? I trust over No Name anytime..
          Heres som new pics from their test setup. Compare for yourself:

          • No Name

            …Kenneth, I saw dpreview samples… and I don’t understand (you).
            Are you people mad or you work for Nikon marketing… or just impressed with any geek toy. FF camera is a tool for earning money, not a toy, and must deliver some level of quality you need for offset print. Otherwise is useless. It’s obvius that D800 is studio camera only and it’s good, but don’t post you wet dream impressions before you tested camera and earned money with it.
            OK, dpreview… compare Pentax 645D and D800 on ISO1600. Sample on D800 is blurred and letters are not readable. You can’t print that.
            Do you understand what I’m talking about?

            • Entropy

              Really? I make enough money to not HAVE to make money with a D800. It IS a toy for me so please don’t get uptight if some of us don’t have to use a camera to make MONEY! 🙂

            • Ren Kockwell

              Canon troll just trying to get a rise. Tool.

            • No Name: I bet you didnt chose RAW for comparison, but JPEG. For detail comparison, RAW is mandatory. And the D800 at ISO1600 looks just as crisp as the Pentax 645D at ISO1600. The D800 can almost par the 645D in detail. If you look at the detail from the Baileys etiquette on the 645D pics, you can se the raster from the print. You can almost see it on the D800 pic too, but not quite. But i think the D800E will be up there with the 645D in the detail departement.

            • Stefan

              Things look pretty much the same between the 645d and D800 if you stick to the center and watch in RAW mode. … actually the D800 seems to show a bit more details, but that could be because of differences in lighting.

              I think the D800 at ISO 1600 looks pretty impressive when compared to the 645D.

              Especially when you keep in mind that it’s all a bit apples to oranges comparison and that the 645D setup should actually have a slight edge. Compare the lenses, the 645D uses a macro at the FF equivalent of a 66mm (i think, or do i have my math wrong?) – with a Macro and the camera being closer to the objects (Nikon used a 85mm) i would expect things to look a bit sharper!

              i also saw that the D800 was shot at F/11, which i believe is slightly over the diffraction limit for that sensor. F/8 should be a tiny amount sharper probably.

      • Sly Larive

        Agreed. I think the D800 with the Latest Sony Exmor technology will trounce the D3X. ISO was never the strong point of the D3x. Its basically the same with the current gen Sony A900/A850. Great low ISO performance which taper off very rapidly.

        The D800 won’t be the Medium format killer people expect it to be, but if it follows its little brother D7000 trend, it will mean pretty clean low ISO performance, superb DR and solid ISO performance. Nikon may have to thank Sony for it, but they’re clearly pulling a lot out of their sensors.

        Good stuff Nikon.

  • waiting for d800

    I wonder how the D800 will do!

  • On the D4 Waitlist

    By the time mine is delivered , the D800E will have knocked it down a peg or two…..

  • UA

    Well.. if you manage to open the actual graphs of ISO performance, you can find out that D4 produces better results all the way to ISO6400. In ridiculous ISOs ISO25,6 – ISO102,4k D3s is only marginally better. But with D4 you get more detail due to the higher resolution (do not forget that).

    This result indicates that sensor technology have not really advanced in 4 or so years considering the ultra low light situations. We will just get more resolution and better DR in lower ISOs. I would not expect much better results from Canon either. At its best, Canon maybe finally catch up with Nikon, but even with these “minor” improvements from Nikon, there is a huge gap to leap for Canon.

  • Boby

    If they had removed the cap from the D4 it would probably have scored #1.

    • B!


    • alvix

      thats a nice comment in all this mess 😀

  • 700 Geek

    they also compared the jpg’s, not the raw image files. If you compare the RAW files you the an improvement imho.
    Since I don’t use/work with jpg files, the camera-internal raw-jpg conversion is of no real importance to me.

    • RAW files were compared also, and are available for download from the post to compare for yourself.

  • Dan

    Interesting how the D7000 is still even considered in these tests! Says a lot about the quality of this camera.

  • Jez

    I’ve spent a couple of hours comparing various camera’s iso performance, using sight, not graphs, here:
    My thoughts are that the D4 is fractionally better at the high isos than the D3, but not enough to justify an upgrade if you already have a D3s (although you may have other reasons). It’s about a stop and a half better than the D700. The Canons, well see for yourself 😉
    The surprise of the evening for me was comparing the “poor man’s Leica M9” (The Fuji X100) with the Leica M9 at 1600 (direct comparisons at higher iso not available). Go on, try it

    • Jez

      That should say “fractionally better at the high isos than the D3S”

      • KnightPhoto

        Thanks Jez for your analysis…

    • Nikonnut

      Canon soon to be precious bread and butter FF 5d mark 3 seems to be a decent performer but it does have lot of NR, what do you think of it?

    • Pierre

      At ISO 1600, I find the D700 much better than the Leica M9 but the D800 much worst than both when looking at the M 8 gray-scale above right of the little earth ball.

      Also not all shots focuses on the same place, some are back focus some are front. I also found the D800/D4 much dustier, probably dust has deposed on their setup, which makes the D800/D4 (i.e. newer) shots look worst.

  • Nikonnut

    wow i cant even view the webpage the servers are so busy

  • Ralph

    Seriously? I think the D4 is missing a few pixels to eally compete with MF. MF has always been about resolution.

  • Here is a D4/D3S/D3 ISO comparison from Nasim

    D3S and D4 are very similar, with the edge to the D4 if anything. The fstoppers test is bogus.

    • Duy Ly

      I have the D700. Like it

  • Al

    Good link from Jez.

    I was checking out the D4 vs D3s using the indoor shot of the manequin sitting at a table.

    Id say the D3s does have better ISO perfromance at 12000 ( thats really the only one I compared because its the highest native ISO )

    The D4 does have a crisper image (more resolution) but also more noise.

    I zoomed in on the wine bottle on the table. You can see behind the bottle the D3s has less noise but the wine bottle label is more sharp on the D4.

    Either way theyre both amazing cameras but Im happy w my D3s for the moment.

  • Al

    Do a 5D Mark III vs. D3s ……..

    Still life at 12800

    That 5D Mark III could be a good contender……

  • I know nobody cares, but I just gotta say:


    Very surprised to see these results. Not surprised that the D4 is the second best camera in production so far, but (of course) surprised that the D3s still takes the cake in low light. Heck yes. This settles all my wonderings…

    • PixPix

      I bought one last week end (second hand like new)!!! sooooooo happy

  • R!

    …..third and last: Nikon is back on top place Numero uno!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • BTW – I was told that Nikon delivered my D4 to Calumet last week.
    Calumet in Chicago . . . I live in Los Angeles. Still waiting.

  • CRB

    More interesting is how sucks the skin color on all shots….i love my D300, but you have to work hard to get some good skin colors….

  • DxOMark also says the Nikon D3s has better ISO performance than the D4.

    • Not too surprised considering 16MP’s vs. 12MP’s.
      As long as it is close (very close) I’ll be happy. Kind of got use to shooting 16MP’s with my D7000 and I really miss my D3s (and the insanely great high quality photos it produced with high ISO’s) ever since I was laid off and had to turn it back in.

    • UA

      Where do they actually state that?

      “The Nikon D4 lives up to our expectations with a Low-Light ISO score of 2965, or roughly the same score as the D3s (0.15 stop difference).”

      “In terms of dynamic range, the Nikon D4 outperforms the D3s, especially for low ISO.”

      “It’s the same story for color sensitivity— improvements are mainly up to ISO 800.”

      “In sum, this new 16 Mpix sensor brings with it some real improvements for low ISO (from 100 to 800). As for high ISO, its measurements are comparable to the Nikon D3s’s, which remains simply the best sensor in this area.

  • Bryan

    If u remember the D3 was truly a gem,,,,but them came along the D3s,,,and literally put yet that to shame,,,hold on to your D3’s,,,and wait for the remarkable D4s… But if u really can justify the upgrade,,,and so many pros do,,,get,,Nikon does not put out bad cameras…

  • Pete

    For those who ordered from Adorama and aren’t NPS, apparently they received and shipped their first batch to NPS people already. Us regular people have to wait for the second batch at least, which I guess is not until next month given the inventory thing. :/

    Serves me right for trying to support a real camera business as a lowly non-NPS peon instead of going with Amazon, I suppose.

    • When camera companies (like Adorama) receive their camera boxes from Nikon, the ones for NPS members are marked as so and stores including Adorama are honor bound (not required, but honor bound) to deliver those cameras to the NPS consumers listed on the box.

      The stores that have NPS customers receive extra boxes and shouldn’t need to short their regular customers.

      • Ray

        If that is the case then where is my D4, ordered from B&H within 5 minutes of being able to order online and was also told by George at B&H yesterday that my order was one of the first to be placed…..WHERE IS MY D4……

        • Ordered mine on the first day too with NPS. Not getting mine till Thursday – at the earliest.

          As my mother always told me, life isn’t fair. 😉

    • Ray


    • that’s correct – Amazon doesn’t do NPS, all of the units they get will go to “regular” orders

  • NikoFanboy

    hi admin,

    D800 image samples

    • thanks – at that point every other website has samples, not longer worth reporting

      • nikoFanboy

        hi admin,

        hhmm thats true….
        But you can make comparative analysis with other camera models including phaseone…..;_))

  • ATM

    “D3s got a better low-light ISO score than the new D4”

    Well the D3s was also the last still camera from Nikon, the D4 is a video camera that can also shot still pictures.

  • cameramm

    I got my d4 last week, and have to say compared to d3s: softer images, same autofokus performance, little bit faster, complicated with 2 different card slots (means 2 card readers until there is no combo reader), I was hoping for more cropping, but the softer images kill the 4 mp more pixels … I have the feeling there are not more informations in the data, if I blow up the d3s files to 16 mp, it is the same … … no idea or interest in the video …
    little bit disappointed for 6000 Euros …

  • iamnomad

    Damn, do you people ever actually take pictures or just complain about stats?!

  • Darin

    I just called B&H out of burning curiosity. The rep told me that they were informed by Nikon to expect D4 shipment in early-to-mid April. Anyone else hear anything like this, or anything different out of B&H?

    If it’s true, I’m even more annoyed. I note that stores like Amazon have solid dates on the D800’s but not on the D4’s, so I’m sure it’s valid.

    Just going to pick my F-5 up again in the meantime.

    • Darin

      F5*. Pretty tired.

    • My understanding is that the first D4 shipment is now history – all shipped and paid for. If you did not get one, the next shipment should be in 3-4 weeks.

      • Gilbert

        @ [NR] admin – are you talking about all shipments of D4s from B&H or for all retailers (e.g., Amazon)?

        • Basically retailers like B&H and Adorama have a lot of NPS orders that will cut in front of all other orders. As far as I know, Amazon doesn’t do NPS orders and everything they get will be shipped to “regular” orders.

      • Vince

        I was number 5 on the list at my dealer. They received 4 in the first shipment. I hate my life.

      • B!

        That seems to be my understanding too. Sad!

  • I’m really interested to see where Nikon is going to take the D400. I agree 100% that the D800 is not a D700 replacement. The D700 replacement, for the time being is the D4. Once everyone buys a 6k D4, Nikon’s going to release the real D700 replacement in the 3k range.

    But in all honesty, the D700 is just about enough camera for anyone. How about some more lenses, Nikon?

  • Andrew

    The review makes contradictory statements…

    They said that their D4 was having a focusing issue and then… “D4 does do a better job of handling color noise in extreme ISOs but it does this at the price of image sharpness [compared to the D3s].” Now for the contradiction… their friends did a comparison and “In his test, the D4 does appear to be slightly sharper.” They then end by saying “But, the conclusion is still the same.” How can one form a conclusion on erroneous data? Maybe to save face! Can’t people take the high road and just say “folks, I am wrong, we’ll just have to do this comparison thing all over again…”? Life would be so much less complicating.

    and that they D
    . They did stated that the

    but far more scientific, test comparing the image quality at all ISOs between the D4, D3S, and D3. After looking at his results it does appear that our D4 was having the front focusing issue that I mentioned above. In his test, the D4 does appear to be slightly sharper BUT the conclusion is the same: The D4 is not a significant improvement over the D3S in terms of image quality.

    • Andrew

      Please discard this review… it has unedited information

  • Andrew

    (The review above has unedited information!!!)

    The review makes contradictory statements…

    They said that their D4 was having a focusing issue and then… “D4 does do a better job of handling color noise in extreme ISOs but it does this at the price of image sharpness [compared to the D3s].” Now for the contradiction… their friends did a comparison and “In his test, the D4 does appear to be slightly sharper.” They then end by saying “But, the conclusion is still the same.” How can one form a conclusion on erroneous data? Maybe to save face! Can’t people take the high road and just say “folks, I am wrong, we’ll just have to do this comparison thing all over again…”? Life would be so much less complicating.

  • rico

    i happy to pay 2400 pounds for nikon 710 and wait another year . nikon d800 is not a camera for everybody neads, who nead 36mp ? who neads blur motion or carrying a tripod, who neads to buy a new computer ,. if you have a big head you are fine beacouse you can hold your camera on your face 🙂 .

  • Vicious

    I will make a million iso camera with permanetly attached 35mm 1.0 lens and will deem it Iso king. Which will makes tears in the 4th dimension with every click.

  • per

    People here seem to be missing the big story which is the huge improvement in DR at lower isos. the D4 is one whole stop better than the D3s at isos 100-1600. Nikon took the right approach. With low-light performance already insanely good with the D3s, there was no need for improvement in this department. However, better DR was still needed for high-contrast situations. It will now be interesting to see how the 1DX will perform. If it is one stop worse in DR at lower isos, then perhaps only the London rain will be able to save Canon at the Olympics :-).

  • I’m glad I didn’t sell my D7000
    Read the full review at dxomark:
    Still, the results are a bit disappointing: we expected much better from the new Full-Frame sensors. As things stand, the 16Mpix Sony APS-C sensor (in the Pentax K5 and the Nikon D7000) stays way ahead — nearly 1 stop better.

    I don’t like weddings!

    • For he people who didn’t read the article on dxomark:
      For the Landscape score, it’s only the black and white dynamic range that counts — specifically, the maximum dynamic range that the sensor will be able to capture under good lighting conditions. This score will interest aficionados of landscape photos and strong contrasts. The Nikon D4 achieves 13.1: no problem here, high-contrast images (sunsets or back-lit, for example) can be shot with a maximum of details both for shadows and highlights. Still, the results are a bit disappointing: we expected much better from the new Full-Frame sensors. As things stand, the 16Mpix Sony APS-C sensor (in the Pentax K5 and the Nikon D7000) stays way ahead — nearly 1 stop better.

      • per

        The D7000 is better for DR at iso 100. at iso 200 it is a tie, at 800 the D4 leads by 1,5 stops and at iso 1600 by 2 stops.

  • Mark

    Looking forward to seeing how the D800 models score compared to the PhaseOne, Pentax, etc.

  • doug

    You can get 8% off from jessops if you buy the vouchers here:

  • doug

    Initial order of D800 from Jessops is of 400 Units for the whole uk for the first week, they were suppose to arrive last Friday(Nikon info btw), total order is for 1400 D800, the number of pre orders is around 700 and im number 43, they are expecting it to be deliver in store by next Tuesday.

    • burgerman

      Spoke to Jessops today. They claim to have enough being delivered on THURSDAY to cover almost every pre order. And I am 7th.

      I am disabled so need a carer here on pay to answer the door between 8.30 and later in the day. I explained this, and explained it was costing me money, and was assured that it would be delivered FRIDAY guaranteed.

  • wow

    Just downloaded the full size jpgs from dpreview of the iso comparisions they posted, and the D4 is slightly noisier than the D3s (I have opend both files at the same time and zoomed out side by side on my 26 inch monitor) and the D800 compared to the D700, D3s and D4, looks realllllly really bad. Like webcam bad.

    • burgerman

      You dont really understand cameras do you?

  • Aleco39

    Hi all,
    Despite an existing opinion that there are going to be NO additional members in FX family,
    I believe in opposite. Canon and Nikon DO look at each other trying not to lag behind the competitor’s success. Based on the characteristics of D800 and 5D Mark III, I truly believe that both are going to be a success. In slightly different applications, but still a success. I think that Canon and Nikon will rush in to fill the gap created by differences in D800 and 5D MARKIII characteristics. Nikon will come out with a camera that has better ISO, FPS performance, lower MP and will cost MORE than MARK III (~ $4K I’d guess). Canon will come out with HIGH MP, lower ISO performance that will cost LESS than D800 (~$2.5K).
    My humble opinion 🙂

  • Huh

    Wow, ISO performance d3s vs. D4 surprised me Damn… So, this is it? nobady can’t push better iso performance? , im hppy with my D700, cause to me and other, i think no need more than ISO6400 in extreme situations until 6400 will be similar to 1600 lol, who with me?

    • Huh

      sorry for 2 in 1 post..
      IMHO, both d800 and d4 is more for video operators, cause photo performance still the same as d3s…. so were is Nikon succesors for photograhpers? still Big Question to me..

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