Nikon D4 vs. D4s high ISO comparison


Nikon D4s camera's sensor

Updatehere is a much more detailed hight ISO comparison between several full frame Nikon cameras.

A reader did some quick high ISO comparisons between the Nikon D4 and D4s cameras and sent me few screenshots (available also on flickr). I have another comparison coming in the next few days.

I have long benefited from and enjoyed your site, so I thought it was time that I contribute.

I had the opportunity to test both a D4s and a D4 together. Here is a side-by-side comparison of their high ISO performance using the world's best DSLR lens (believe the hype), the Zeiss Otus 55 mm f/1.4. I carefully AF fine tuned both cameras with this lens using Lens Align II, then shot the same object, an extraordinarily finely carved vessel, at f/4, the aperture at which the Otus is sharpest in the center.  The photos were recorded as 14-bit NEF files.

Picture control settings were identical, sharpness and noise reduction settings were identical (default), exposure adjustment was set to 0.0 for both, and WB was auto for both.  The NEF files were opened in Nikon's Capture NX-D (beta) software and viewed at 100%.  WB was adjusted to be comparable, but no other changes were made to the raw files.  Attached are four screen captures of 100% crops of the D4 and D4s at 7,200 ISO and 31,500 ISO.

Nikon D4 at ISO 7,200:

Nikon D4s at ISO 7,200:

Nikon D4 at ISO 31,500:

Nikon D4s at 31,500:

Caveat: as I only had a brief window to test the D4s, I failed to get the settings exactly the same as those of the D4.  In particular, I didn't realize that the exposure was matrix-weighted for the D4 but center-weighted for the D4s.  That's why the D4s images are slightly brighter (more exposed) than the D4 images at the same ISO, and the shutter speed was slightly faster for the D4 images than the D4s images (1/125 and 1/500 vs. vs 1/100 and 1/400).

Both cameras do very well, but the D4s indeed appears to have somewhat better high ISO-performance than the D4.  You can also see that the D4s is doing unusual things with the out-of-focus regions of the image, presumably to better control noise at high ISOs.  To my eye the transitions between the out-of-focus regions of the D4s image and the in-focus regions look less natural than those of the D4.  The amount of patchy chroma noise, especially in the shadows and dark grey bottom third of the vessel, seems lower with the D4s than the D4.

I also added a fifth screen capture of the D4s at 63,000 ISO (also a 100% crop) for comparison with the D4 at 31,500 ISO.  To me, the amount of chroma noise and detail loss of the D4s at 63,000 ISO is roughly comparable to that of the D4 at 31,500 ISO.

Nikon D4s at ISO 63,000:

It's amazing that we can even discuss using images taken at these ISOs.

This entry was posted in Nikon D4, Nikon D4s and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • MJr

    Almost 10 times ISO3200 ! 🙂

    • Numerically. But 3200 to 25,600 is only three stops, which is 3x more light, not 10.

      • RT

        Actually three stops is 1/8th the amount of light, not 1/3rd.

        • theodoros Fotometria

          Obviously! 8 times more light it is!

        • Hah! Good catch–three times more sensitive and 1/8 the light!

          • O5iris

            Nope – 8 times more sensitive (2x2x2) too.

      • MJr

        Just checking if you’re all awake. Notice the 😉

      • wf

        Three stops is eight times the light one way, or one eighth the light the other way

        • george

          And 1000 times in binary 🙂

      • Will

        so ISO 32000 is in fact 10x more light

  • AM

    There you go. Different settings mean useless comparison.
    Why would anybody use one of the auto or semi-auto modes to compare ISO performance?

    • Hmmmmmmm

      Maybe because most pros shoot with auto ISO?

      • theodoros Fotometria

        Hmmm… this is questionable… they do when shooting sports, but not all pros shoot sports.

        • Mr. Mamiya

          I *always* use auto ISO when I don’t shoot with manual exposure.

      • AM

        Double facepalm.

      • Dd

        Actually all pros shoot with auto ISO, get your facts straight.

        • Not if they process raw. Auto-ISO makes for weird ISOs, unless you can set the camera to only use whole stops.

          • Michiel953

            What’s the problem with “weird” ISO’s? Do they produce weird images? I didn’t know that.

            • Oddly numbered ISOs make manipulation of raw files difficult, since some of us have presets that vary by ISO (things like noise reduction and tone). If you throw an odd ISO at this software, it will start you off with defaults like no NR/sharpening, which makes for more work/wasting time.

            • Fred

              People that use the “lazy way” presets are usually the ones that won’t own that level of DSLR.

            • If you’re twiddling with your NR settings for every single image, you’re doing it wrong and wasting a lot of time. If you’re using the same settings for every single image…I don’t envy your clients.

            • Michiel953

              Oh OK; that’s cleared up then. I don’t use presets, so the problem doesn’t arise for me.

            • KnightPhoto

              What software are you referring to Micah and can it deal with an event shot at multiple ISOs automatically?

            • ACR/LR. Different NR levels and a couple other tweaks for each ISO. If you make default settings for each and save them, they’re applied the next time you open fresh images. 1/3rd stop is ok. That’s a lot of settings, but it works and no surprises. Auto-ISO is finer grained than that, and it’s way too time consuming to try to hit every single odd number it can come up with. (my White lightnings have analog power settings, so I guess I could–but why bother?)

          • KnightPhoto

            That’s a problem (whole vs. 1/3 stop ISOs) with Canon sensors, I’ve never seen it documented for Nikon sensors.

            • …you haven’t shot a Nikon in auto-ISO then I take it. Yes, this is a problem. At least with every model I’ve used since the D2x.

    • Tom

      Well sometimes it is easier to criticize someone else than it is to do yourself. I appreciate the person taking some time to do this on equipment that I would never be able to evaluate myself. This new camera has amazing ISO performance.

      • theodoros Fotometria

        It seems at first site that D4S has an advantage at ultra high Iso.. but (as with D3S) lower Iso may be not as good as with D4… Given that D4’s high Iso is sufficient to more than most, it may mean that the impact of D4S won’t be as much as D3S had at the days… It is for sure (if that proves to be the case) that many will prefer the D4 if their high ISO requirements are fulfilled.

      • AM

        I showed my appreciation the moment I took the time to read his post. I just pointed out that using different settings pretty much invalidate the comparison.

        • stop hiding AM

          You showed your appreciation the moment you took the time to read his post? Wow, I’m sure he (or she, which you overlook) is honored to be worthy of your pupil time. And people wonder why the DPReview forums have the reputation of being full of jerks.

          • AM

            So stop going on DPReview. That’ll free up one space for another jerk.

          • Jj

            What does this have to do about DPReview? And one more thing most photographers are jerks. Seriously think about it….how many jerk photographers do you know? Haha

        • Didm

          Just curious, how does one know when you read a post and appreciation is sent?

          I look forward to us telepathically connecting in the near future.

          • AM

            Did you receive my telepathic response?

            • Jj

              yes and it was rather

      • Espen4u

        well said Tom. And if the hardware stays the same, it must be that this higher ISO performance is software driven – That is quite interesting.

    • Fff

      Not useless just not as tight of tolerances. I was waiting for someone to dismiss the info entirely because some mad scientist didn’t create a “perfect” environment. I think the point is illustrated close enough. However, it is a simple variable to eliminate and problem less work..but don’t be so dramatic.

      • AM

        I understand that this is not a scientific study. But c’mon! Somebody has the opportunity to put $16K worth of gear through its paces to check ISO performance, and botched it. At least, (s)he should have taken the time to do it correctly.
        Look at those ISO values that were used. Those are not standard values to the sensor such as 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 25600, etc. For anything in between other factors kick in that are more software related than sensor related. If you want to check the ISO performance of a sensor, the best thing to do is use a full-stop ISO value….. And DON’T use any auto setting. Not even AF is necessary. By the way, what is that fine-tune bluff all about?

        • Andy

          He said he had a limited time window to use this gear. This may have well meant under five minutes for all we know.

          So it wasn’t an apples to apples test and he says so in the copy provided. In an ideal world it would be but give what you’re paying for it, what do you want?

          For all we know, it was done in a camera shop with ten people behind him all wanting to handle the D4s and screaming in his ear.

          • AM

            Ok. He had limited time to evaluate the ISO performance so he didn’t set the ISO properly, but had the time to fine-tune the lens for both bodies.
            Please, let me understand the logic behind that.

        • Redpix Photography

          I have to say, studio/bench based tests leave me cold, but people need to chill and read lots of reviews. I’m putting my new D4s through it’s paces right now, take a look if you want.

          • AM

            Hey, nice shots.
            Where can I get one of those 28-200 2.8 VR2 you’re talking about?

            • Redpix Photography

              Well spotted!

              Sent from my iPad

            • broxibear

              Shhhhh…remember the NDA you signed, you’re not suposed to be talking about that lens yet, lol.

          • KnightPhoto

            Have been enjoying your blog, Thanks, and keep em coming!

  • Danielvb

    Aaaand the overpriced DF is now outdated …

    • Kynikos

      The hipster crowd will still be buying it, along with the 50 1.8 with the genuine faux aperture ring.

      • Dd

        Calling out hipsters is almost “hip”… Funny how the tables can turn. I actually consider you a hipster…but that means I am one too cause I called you that. Hipsters unite.

      • Phil999

        It’s clearly not an aperture ring, if you look at old nikkors you will see the silver ring is simply to grip the lens.
        Simply proves you are parroting what you read in reviews and no nothing about the lens or the camera.

        • Kynikos

          Yeah, why would anybody want a D610 instead and save $1000? Oh, right: the D610 has that awful second card slot and video capability. Eeewww.

          • Phil999

            Why would anyone want anything different to anything else? Why buy a Mercedes when a Volkswagen is perfectly good at getting you there?
            It’s about choice, and I would never criticise someone else’s choice of anything, and I am not sure of the motives of people who do. I guess if it makes you feel good…

    • M!

      DFs will be announced in the near future to piss off Df owners.

    • Jdjd

      Nope just was outdated when it came back in the form of a manual body 20 years to late…that is however the point and it is one of my most wanted cameras. IQ at this stage is almost secondary cause it is all so good…

  • Dyun27

    Maybe I’m wrong but generally images properly exposed will contain less noise. Looks like the D4 image is slightly underexposed compared to the D4s image which would cause a little more noise to be visible, so this comparison doesn’t seem very accurate.(?)

    • Aldo

      Also… based on the soft shadow casted… I can tell you that the quality of light was good… Testing ISO under good lighting conditions doesn’t give you a realistic idea of what the noise would look like in a real world scenario.

      • True, but it does give you comparison of same to same.

        • Dhd

          You are half right. Same to same = true. Him being right = false

          • Well it’s true that this lighting situation isn’t the ultimate test. Really warm, contrasty light is a situation that breaks most cameras. The D3/D3s sensors does better than anything else so far in these conditions. If the D4s does at least as well, it would tell us something. This test above tells us the D4s is better than the D4 under nominal circumstances, which means it’s probably better under crap circumstances too.

            It’s not all the information, but it’s some, which is better than none. Which is pretty much all that NR is good for, so…no surprises and we get what we should expect.

      • Eric Calabros

        There should be some light to capture by sensor. If you want to take a photo in middle of desert, at 1/4000 sec and f/8, with moon as the only light source, D4s is not good equipment for you. Its not infra red camera

        • Hhd

          There is always light. That is the beauty of controlling exposures.

        • Aldo

          Yeah but I’m talking about the “quality” of light… not the amount of light available.

      • mikeswitz

        What is a “real world” condition? And how do you duplicate it shot for shot?

        • Ddd

          I think by real world he means underexposed.

          • mikeswitz

            I don’t think so. In both cases he went by internal camera measurements. In all comparisons the difference is about 1/3 of a stop. Not enough of of a factor except for people who stare at charts at 100% as opposed to photographers who take pictures for a living.

        • Aldo

          You can go inside a poorly lit church… That’s a real world situation for me as I’m always there shooting events/weddings. You can mount the cameras on a Tripod side by side.

          • mikeswitz

            I see what you mean, but how is a dark church different from a top lit bowl aside from less light. Under exposed shadows are the same. Is it because there are no true black or white points? I guess I’m just not getting why a badly lit scene would show the differences between the two cameras better than a poorly lit one.

            • 33

              THE TRUTH. Aldo is yet again confused.

            • Aldo

              I ain’t confused… I know how far to take a particular camera in a real world situation so that I get the desired results. If you aren’t aware of noise variations, you may screw up your work. You may be latter confused and puzzled, when you get home and realize the camera didn’t perform as well as it did with the tests such as the one above.

      • Djdjd

        ISO has nothing to do with the lighting conditions. Increasing the chip sensitivity does what it does regardless of the light. The camera does not have a clue or care what it is seeing. If you want to evaluate noise in the shadows (or “pull the film”) than you may be onto something but you actually are confused. The exposure is the exposure. If it is the proper exposure then the noise is the same. We are not talking about under exposing and putting strain on the exposure. That is actually a misrepresentation of the noise at that ISO.

        • Hugh

          Why is then a photo taken at ISO6400 in daylight ( let’s say EV 15 ) looks miles better in IQ/ISO noise than a photo taken in a dark room at ISO6400 ( say EV 2 ) ?

          • Thom Hogan

            Quantum noise.

          • hg

            First, are they both exposed properly? Shadow detail is shadow detail. This is more of matter of exposure latitude and not noise handling. We are not talking about light here we are talking how the camera records and what it is capable of. The sensor does not automatically work better based on the light. If the dark room has areas of “light” then they in theory should show the same amount of noise. If you did a 30 second tripod exposure of the same dark room it would also look pretty good. Just because the dark room picture is over powered with darkness does that does not mean the noise is any differently handled. The chip sensitivity is the same regardless.

        • Aldo

          Yeah… elaborating on what Hugh commented…You will always see more noise on a photo in which the quality of light isn’t so great than on a picture like in the test above.

          • Hugh

            Djdjd’s comment ” If it is the proper exposure then the noise is the same. ” not correct then ?

            • Aldo

              As someone else pointed out, it has to do what the proper exposure is, which is very subjective.

      • E

        Take a properly exposed shot at ISO 200 and then of 1 million ISO for all I care of the same scene properly exposed in nice light and try to tell me it is not a good indication of ISO performance. That is realistic and it is real world.

        • Aldo

          See my response to Eric.

      • Talko

        Proper exposure is the same regardless of what your eyes see. Shoot in a cave with a long exposure or in full sun with a fast one. Don’t confuse the sensor and the way your eyes see with eachother or underexposed real world demanding situations.

        • Aldo

          I’m surprised to find so many of you not being familiar with these ISO noise variations. You can take two different pictures of two different scenarios at say 3200 ISO. Both properly exposed. Noise will vary. One shot will show more noise than the other. This has to do with the quality of light. Not the amount of light. A more uniform light source yields photos with less apparent noise. Go and try for yourself.

          • broxibear

            C’mon Aldo, you’ve been posting here long enough to realise not to get involved in high iso comparison discussions.
            Save your packet of aspirin for a more interesting discussion. Let those who care more about noise at whatever iso, instead of photography, fight amongst themselves…they’re under the impression it matters so leave them to it.

            • Aldo

              I should follow your advice.

            • broxibear

              Yeah, don’t do that lol…you’ll get yourself in really deep crap.

          • CSIROC

            I actually am as well, Aldo. I shoot almost exclusively in very low light situations where you actually NEED high ISO. There is a drastic difference between the quality of image in those situations vs the quality of image in good lighting. As Thom alluded to above (quantum noise – see also shot noise), there are statistical variances that are more extreme in low light than in good quality lighting that *will* drastically impact the visible noise.

            Also, “proper exposure” is subjective.

            • Aldo

              Nice to see someone else knows what I’m trying to point out. “Proper exposure is subjective” this is so true. Especially in high contrast scenes…

            • kh

              You are mixing up exposure latitude and noise from what I can gather. Properly exposed is not subjective when it is based on the area that is to be optimally recorded. We are not talking subjective art here, we are talking about the science that involves the exact amount of light to record the image with no degradation. Proper exposure does exist, infinite exposure latitude does not.

            • CSIROC

              As I said above, “perfect exposure” only exists in a lab. In the real world with actual contrast some areas will be underexposed (WHICH IS THE WHOLE POINT)…those are the areas of concern. Yo-Yo Ma once said that the silence between notes was every bit as important as the actual notes he played on his cello. The same basic idea can (and should) be applied to photography. The areas with no light are just as important as the areas that are fully lit.

            • Aldo

              A lot of times… in real world scenarios… the frame you capture contains other things among the desired “area that is to be optimally recorded”. This is the point you are missing.

            • hi

              artistically proper exposure is subjective..scientifically not so much.

            • CSIROC

              Scientifically, the only way to get proper exposure is to have a perfect flatly lit scene with absolutely no contrast.

              In the real world, we are looking for contrast. Contrast means light and dark in the same shot. Which means some things *must* be underexposed by definition. Those areas of underexposure are the problem areas for noise. Flat lighting is easy to handle and will present significantly less noise than under exposed areas typical of actual low light shots (where your subject may be kinda-sorta lit, but nothing else is).

              Try photographing dancers in a dark bar ~ no HDR for you, you are stuck with whatever dynamic range your sensor can muster – oh and you can’t use flash, your shutter speed needs to be fast enough to somewhat freeze motion, and you can’t get too close to your subject ~ and tell me how the noise in those shots compare to these cream puff scenes. Hint: the noise will be much, MUCH worse.

            • Aldo

              you must refer to the histogram. It works super great when taking pictures at night.

          • lattymclattlatt

            cough cough… EXPOSURE LATITUDE! That is why uniform light is smoother it is within the range of the sensors ability to record.

            • Aldo

              which depends on the quality of light…

    • Ddd

      It is no secret that proper exposure contributes to better IQ. Stop being so modest. 😉

    • catinhat

      You’re not wrong. In fact, you can’t be more right.

  • Aeroengineer

    Indeed amazing at ISO 31500. But I’m confused about the need for AF fine tune using a manual focus lens. What am I missing?

    • John Rakes

      AF fine tune affects when the green dot in focus indicator lights up for MF lenses, so it makes sense to calibrate both cameras separately. I wish more people would AF fine tune before testing lenses and bodies!

      • Aeroengineer

        Thanks, John. I never use the green dot for MF (I do a lot for macro work). On the D800E, the green dot is not as accurate as using LV at 100% (which is still not great).

      • SnapShot

        > the Zeiss Otus 55 mm f/1.4. I carefully AF fine tuned using Lens Align II . . .

        I’m just curious how you do this with a manual focus? You use the green dot only, not the LiveView. So if the image is out of focus on the screen but the green dot OK, then you are in focus on that spot?? I need to think about this….

    • Neopulse

      I would be using a split-prism focus (when Nikon makes one for the D800 or D4) for it in my opinion, not the green dot.

      • jvossphoto

        Better yet give me completely blank matte focus screen. Especially when using telephoto lenses.

      • Aeroengineer

        I loved the architectural screen I put into my F. However, from what I understand, changing the focusing screens on a d800 or d4 is not practical. Screws up metering, difficult to do, and might void the warranty.

        • Neopulse

          Exactly, read the same and was told the same.

          About a stop and a third it cuts down on the metering using 3rd party focusing screens like the Katzeye. Something I’m not a fan of spending money on even if it’s inexpensive, also the fact that it isn’t compatible with viewfinder features like grid display won’t work with it. It’s depressing the fact Nikon doesn’t have official interchangeable screens for it. It can would the warranty for sure and that’s also unfortunate for the photographer.

          Plus, I remember reading that apertures greater than f/2.2 the split level wouldn’t work correctly. Kinda defeats the purpose a bit using wide aperture primes like the Zeiss line.

  • Mike

    With respect to the guest post, Admin, get ready for a shit storm. The guest post was also on another forum and no one had any kind remarks for the scientific method here.

    • Nikonian

      People on that “other” forum need to chill out. Most of us actual photogs really appreciated seeing a comparison like this. If the pixel peepers spent half as much time adding to this community instead of trying to find problems with the posts of others, we would all be much better off. I had no problem with what the guest posted on that other forum, and I noticed he/she listened to some of the pretty rude complaints and did not exposure-adjust these, so it’s an even better compare now. i don’t think 1/400 vs 1/500 shutter explains all these differences. Just ask yourself which cam would you choose to use in a low light situation now? Maybe that other forum is full of D4 buyers who are now having a self-worth crisis…

      • Mike

        Don’t get me wrong here, I’m appreciative of the guest post as well as his efforts elsewhere. I view it positively too. I agree with you too about the pixel peepers elsewhere. I was merely trying to forewarn admin of the negatively elsewhere. Even this forum can turn nasty now and again. That’s it. Many over there frequent here too and might have brought the discussion here. That’s all. I have a D800 and sold my D3s a few months ago, so I am looking forward to getting the call from my dealer that my D4s has arrived. 🙂

        • SiestaKey1

          Even though the settings were off, the D4s did an awesome job on these photos. Like another commenter said, I can’t believe we’re talking about using a photo at ISO levels this high. I have my D800e capped at ISO 6400 but when I get my D4s on Monday (WAHOO!), I’ll increase my max ISO probably to 12,800 and still get very usable photos.

  • wonderingPI

    what a scam cant tell the difference between d3s d4 or d4s.. apple 4 te win right.

  • I appreciate the fact that this individual took the time to do this test but, the fact that the exposures are different and the color space was set at the highly compressed sRGB severely cripples this comparison.

    • I wouldn’t assume that exposure is different. With the same lens, my D700 generally looks brighter than my newer Nikons. I’ve even set my defaults to compensate for this. It’s almost a stop. My D7100 is the opposite and needs about 1/3 to 2/3 stop more exposure than metered.

    • Naval Gunfire

      What is the point in shooting in Adobe RGB if you are going to post the images to the web? Sure, you can dick about in post and change the colour space but it isn’t worth the time if it is going straight online.

  • brett

    I hate to be the critic, but like others have said, this is nearly worthless with different exposures.

    • mosley

      Isn’t the exposure diff much less than the over noise difference? Looks like maybe 0.3 EV diff, which does not come close to accounting for the noise difference. Heck if I bump the exposure up or down by 0.3 I can only dream my noise would drop like this!!

  • Liar

    This guy doesn’t know shit and doesnt know what he is talking about… sigh.

  • LarryC

    I’m not going to buy either camera, so…nice bowl.

  • Allan Smith

    Regardless of the different exposure settings, the D4s seems to offer superior hi ISO performance. Having said that, it would be good to see some tests involving “normal” ISO settings.

    • YS

      Why’d it matter? It’s very likely to be similar enough.

  • Alex

    Nice of you to share but it is a bit useless at the end … Main question: Admin? why did you publish it?!

    • Rio

      because he has better judgement than calling it useless? pretty useful to me as a potential D4s buyer.

    • AM

      Slow news day is a possibility.

  • Zoron

    Time for sensor shift sensor Nikon

  • bob2

    Thanks for taking time out to post your own personal findings. Too bad so many critics can’t find anything appreciative to say.

  • SkyMeow

    Thanks for the comparison. It give us some ideas how D4s performs. I have been looking to buy another pro body in addition to my D4 (I won’t sell my D4 any time soon, it’s a keep). I was hoping D4s might be it. Even though settings are wrong, D4s does perform better high iso BUT with this kind of differences, not very tempting… At this point, I think I’ll keep my D4s fund in my saving account and wait for next pro body. D5 in 2 years. I still haven’t given my hopes on high mp pro body like D4x.

  • Spy Black

    “I carefully AF fine tuned both cameras with this lens using Lens Align II…”
    I think you would’ve been better off using live view, as your D4 shots look more back-focused the the D4s shots.

    “To me, the amount of chroma noise and detail loss of the D4s at 63,000
    ISO is roughly comparable to that of the D4 at 31,500 ISO.”

    Being as your images are focused at two different points, I can’t agree with this. You’re barely in focus on the D4, focused just in front of the bowl, whereas you’re focused somewhere around the wider feather/blade icon ring on the D4s. In spite of the focus differences, while chroma noise may be in the same neighborhood, luma noise is quite different on those two images.

  • LFG

    That guy went trough a lot of trouble to fine tune the lens and everything, but he didn’t manage to shoot in manual… It’s a bit sad. Thank you anyways.

    • Andy

      >Caveat: as I only had a brief window to test the D4s, I failed to get the settings exactly the same as those of the D4.

      Well, for something that seems to have been done in a few minutes with gear not his own, what, may I ask, do you want for free?

      You guys are amazing. What do you want? Him to be horsewhipped through the streets as he goes to every home of all of the readers of this post to personally apologize before being forced to to commit suicide after a show trial?

      • LFG

        Was I such a dick in my comment? I said it was a bit sad, the effort is appreciated and I totally get that this was done in a shot window of time, I’m not saying I wouldn’t have messed up somewhere. That’s all. I just think the test could have been more significant if the setting were the same (and if we could see the whole image and the crop for that matter). I’m glad I can see such a comparaison, but I’m waiting for better ones…

  • One More Thought

    We’ve gotten to the point where these tests are like calculating the number of angels on a pinhead.

    Differences become more and more insignificant, and moreso for marketing purposes than for real world use.

    Now the real difference in the D4s over the D4, from reading people like Moose Peterson, is in the AF performance.

    • wonderingPI

      If you can’t learn to AF on a D4 or d3s properly and you need the d4s superior af’ing to catch your subject go back to photography school and learn some new techniques or learn to use your camera.

  • rt-photography

    you can easily notice the image exposures are underexposed in both D4 images vs the D4s. and IMO these images are doctored. I dont believe these tests for a millisecond.

    some transparency would go a long way for credibility. where are these full nef files please?

    • Andy

      >Caveat: as I only had a brief window to test the D4s, I failed to get the settings exactly the same as those of the D4.

      Yes, he personally owes you accountability for his professional credibility for clearly labelled off-the-cuff trial that he provided to you… for free.

      • rt-photography

        he should have not posted in the first place if the job was half assed.

        he should post the nef files and say “this is what I found, but youre free to download the original images and judge for yourself” where are the nef files? if you have nothing to hide, you would post them. there are tons of free sites for sharing heavy files.

        look at the comments and realize that everyone here believes his test is BS and flawed.

        he doesnt owe us shit and we dont have to believe his shit. if you believe the tests werent flawed then youre just naive. and if anything why didnt he overexpose the D4? why the D4s?

        • Andy

          He clearly labelled his error in the original post and so people jumping on it as though they had a novel insight into a subtle flaw in the scientific method are doing more to puff up their own egos than contribute to the conversation.

          He admitted it was a flawed test from the get go so what do you want, him to be horsewhipped to your house to offer you free blow jobs before agreeing in a contract written in his own blood that his family become your personal servants for as long as you live?

          He literally said that it was an an off the cuff trial done in limited time and you’re jumping on him like he’s committed murder or is a child molester.

          No offense pal, but a) calm down and b) I’m glad that you live in a world where only perfection exists. I take it you also have no clients but are famous on the internet.

          • rt-photography

            if its flawed, why then post it? he knew the reaction he would get. im not into gay stuff. maybe you are since youre talking about it?

            more than this, a simple high iso test doesnt need AF fine tune at all. just the same lighting situation and the same exposure. so again, why post it? why do half the job?

            and of course I have no clients, why did you think otherwise? famous? preposterous.

            • me

              | have no clients

              Thank your for playing.

  • Eno

    What an amateur!

    He used a manual focus lens and skreud yp the exposure LOL. There is also a M function which should be used in those type of comparisons!

  • TeaBreak

    THX for first impressions. Unfortunately useless. Shoot this in JPEG (important, not NEF!) with same camera settings and we’ll see what D4s is capable.

  • jp

    And what the fox says?

    Posting just D4s images would have been better. There is nothing much to compare on noise when you expose for different time.

  • Apples&Oranges

    The exposures are different between the D4 &D4s so the comparisons are invalid.

  • Milen Minev

    What we see is the best inbody noise reduction algoritm 🙂

  • Sycotek

    I own both, the D4s is significantly cleaner, faster, more responsive, new af mode is unbelievable, wb is finally accurate and the grip is just a delight.

    Is it worth the upgrade? If you use your D4 daily – then yes.

    • wonderingPI

      Well d3s is more responsive then your d4s my friend.
      Startup time is NOTICEABLY faster. I much prefer WB on the d3 bodies then the d4 its NOTICEABLY cleaner looking without the weird greening and imo fake coloring.
      Build quality has gotten worse on the d4/d4s. Internal battery is now a cheap POS.
      LOL GRIP is a delight? you know that’s the old d3 grip that they went back to so def. not new.
      For a d4 owner to upgrade to a d4s I think really is ridiculous. I can see the d3 owners upgrading for video not so much photography.
      Again if your a professional and it comes down to speed, workflow, ect.. then I can understand, otherwise your falling for good ol marketing.

  • Mansgame

    Why can’t they just offer swapable sensors?

  • Gino

    Does anyone know if the there is an improvement in dynamic range with the “new” D4s sensor??? thanks

  • Alex Rosen

    Not sure how we can really be comparing ISO performance in images with different exposures…

  • D700guy

    I’m still waiting for a more controlled and scientific study comparing these two cameras.
    The one test I’ve seen didnt convince me that a D4s is superior.
    If things dont become drastically evident with some irrefutable data showing a D4s to have better performance then I’m staying with my D4 at least until 2016 when an alleged D5 surfaces.
    From what I’ve been reading on the Canon boards, Nikon’s current line up is destined to get left in the dust if they dont wake up and design something game changing for the next generation of pro bodies.

  • Horshack

    Here’s a well-executed test, comparing the D4s vs Df:

    • broxibear

      The more interesting one is the D3 comparison to the D4s at 6400 (the D3’s max native iso). But no one seems to want to discuss that on the DP forum…I wonder if it’s because it shows next to no difference between the images. But I guess that doesn’t sell cameras…who owns DPreview again ?

      First row D3 ISO 6400.
      Second row D4s ISO 6400
      Third row D4s ISO 12800 and 25600

      • wonderingPI

        As I NOW keep saying Marketing marketing… gains are become negligible. This isn’t the d2 to d3 era anymore.

      • Horshack

        The D3s/D4/Df is a half stop better in the midtones and a full stop better in the shadows vs the D3/D700 at High ISO.

        • broxibear

          Hi Horshack,

          ” at High ISO.” ? At 6400, which is the D3 highest native, there is little difference at all.
          My point is that from a stills pov, up to 6400 the difference from the D3 to D4s is tiny. I’m not saying there are no differences in AF or speed or anything like that. At 12,800 the D4s probably is over half a stop better than a D3, but if the vast majority of your images are taken at 6400 or below then that doesn’t come into play.
          I’m not having a go at you or trying to start an arguement, it’s just that too many people are being blinded by marketing. It used to be about megapixels, now it’s high iso…in reality it’s marketing to sell cameras.

          • Horshack

            The difference at ISO 6,400 is what it is: 1/2 stop in midtone noise, 1 stop in dynamic range/shadow noise. How that difference is perceived depends on the person, the content, and the exposure. If you’re saying you don’t need that improvement then sure, no worries, a D3/D700 will serve you fine.

            • broxibear

              Hi Horshack,
              Yeah maybe…but perception goes both ways.

            • Horshack

              I agree, that’s why it’s good to refer to the objective numbers like those from DxO. They don’t tell the entire story though since they’re only quantitative measurements rather than qualitative. For example, they don’t capture the D800’s amp noise/shadow tinting. Or the D4/Df’s modest banding at ultra high ISOs, etc..

            • broxibear

              Hi Horshack,
              If you do a search through nikonrumors and D4s you’ll find a post where I showed the Dxo comparison of the D3, D3s and D4, including the graphs. Or just go to the site and compare them yourself, you’ll see according to their figures that up to 3200 they’re almost identical then there’s a small difference at 6400.

            • KnightPhoto

              I’m still not buying your D3 equates to D3S schtick as it’s not quite accurate. This has been well know since 2009. If you were lumping D3S/D4/D4S/Df/D610 you have a point, they’re pretty close, but the D3/D700 are a wrung below and lots of Nikon shooters have direct experience with this over the last 5 years.

  • Chill out dudes

    The whining critics are hilarious, especially with your conspiracy theories. Yeah, this guy tried to rig the test to promote some secret, shocking agenda that falsely concludes that the D4s has substantial (not game-changing) better high ISO performance than the D4, just like Nikon claims, and just like the D3s had significantly better performance than the D3 (SHOCKING!!!). And to cover up his deception, he decided to show us all the metadata (WARNING: MAYBE IT’S PHOTOSHOPPED METADATA!!!), acknowledge the imperfections in his comparison, and tell us he only had a short time to do a quick test, as the NR admin said. I’m glad he chose to spend some of that time AF fine tuning since if it’s like my D4, turning off the AF FT results in consistently soft photos for some of my lenses that have front focus error just like my camera. Then all of you whiners would be complaining that the focus was off so the test is useless, blah blah blah. Bottom line is that a NR reader seized a short opportunity to use $16,500 worth of gear (!) to compare two cameras that pros and aficionados alike are very curious to compare right now, took the time to get the test mostly right (then 0.3 EV diff in the exposures, which was caused by the cameras calling for different exposures, is trivial), and took the effort to share that information with you, for free (or as AM pointed out, requiring the cost of his valuable viewing attention). If you complainers don’t want to believe it, then ignore it, at least until you read enough independent comparisons that come up with the same basic conclusion to admit, at least to yourself, that you are whining for no good reason, that you should probably find something more significant to do with your life than whine about a helpful and timely, if imperfect, camera comparison test. Seriously.

    • Andy

      Mod this up.

    • wonderingPI

      lol who pee’d in your cereal this morning…
      I think people are whining and complaining have legit reasons.
      If your going to post on this site expect lots of OPINIONS
      AND yes im one of those FEW has hasn’t had the wool pulled over my eyes, and no the gains from d3 to d3s is definitely NOT the same as a d4 to d4s.
      Biggest gains ive EVER SEEN was D2 to d3 then d3 to d3s as far as d3s to d4 to d4s… its getting negligible. But there’s nothing wrong with having the newest and the best specially if you need the results in the field of VIDEOGRAPHY

  • Guy With-camera

    The only thing about this that pisses me off is this as of now is the BEST. BUT I WANT MORE! 2k video with this amazing iso performance @ 240 fps please. NIKON I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT. Is it too much for me to ask for? Or am I truly the selfish sadistic bastard I see in the mirror every day?

  • Redpix Photography

    I shot a basketball game at 8000 ASA last night.. go see.. I have to say, the camera performed brilliantly.

    • wonderingPI

      no offense but those don’t look any better then a d4 or d3…. seems to be way bright imo.

      • wonderingPI


  • Andrew Gregg

    Wow. We have a new high iso king.

    • Just wait till tomorrow. The D4s is not the new high ISO king.

      • Andrew Gregg

        is this the proverbial tomorrow or do you know something we dont?

        • Yes, DxOMark test result for the D4s.

          • Andrew Gregg

            ok, its past midnight. please do share.

            • Sorry, I cannot, come back at 10:00 am EST.

            • wonderingpi

              Ah maybe you fell for marketing but d3s still LL queen.

              Df dosent count ergonomics are poop

  • TJDphotog

    Have a D4 thinking about getting a D4s but I’m interested in how these perform at normal ISOs like 100-6400.

  • Back to top