Nikon D4s vs D4

Although plenty of information was already provided in our Nikon D4s announcement post, many current D4 owners might be wondering how their cameras compare to the newly announced Nikon D4s. In this comparison article, I will provide information about both cameras, along with my analysis of the main differences. I do not yet have a review sample of the Nikon D4s to do more in-depth side-by-side comparisons, so I decided to write about differences in specifications between the two. More details about the D4s will be published in my upcoming Nikon D4s review.

Nikon D4s vs D4

First, let’s talk about differences in camera body design.

Nikon D4s vs D4 Camera Body Design Comparison

While most of the camera design stayed the same, Nikon has made a few minor changes to the Nikon D4s. The front of the camera stayed pretty much the same, except for the grip. Per Nikon, the grip is now slightly redesigned to fit larger hands for more comfort. The back of the camera looks mostly the same, except for two changes – the memory card door is now shaped slightly differently on the top and the surface of the two smaller joysticks (for vertical and horizontal grip) has been redesigned for more comfort. I personally don’t care for the door, but the joystick change is a great improvement in my opinion, since that was one thing that I did not like on the D4. Here is the comparison of the back of the two cameras (Left: Nikon D4s, Right: Nikon D4):

Nikon D4s vs D4 Back

Aside from these changes, I do not see any major body changes worth talking about, so let’s move on to differences in camera specifications. The below specifications comparison only shows differences between the two cameras – identical information has been intentionally removed.

Nikon D4s vs D4 Specification Comparison

Camera FeatureNikon D4sNikon D4
Image Processing EngineEXPEED 4EXPEED 3
Native ISO SensitivityISO 100-25,600ISO 100-12,800
Boosted ISO SensitivityISO 50, ISO 51,200-409,600ISO 100, ISO 25,600-204,800
RAW SIZE SYesNo
Advanced Scene Recognition SystemYes, Group Area AF addedYes
Face Priority analysis for viewfinder shootingOn/Off possible with custom settingAlways On
Spot White Balance when using Live ViewYesNo
Preset White Balance1-6 possible1-3 possible
Frame Advance Rate11 fps with AF/AE10 fps with AF/AE
Group Area AFYes, 5 AF SensorsNo
Video Recording1920×1080 @ 60/50/30/25/24p1920×1080 @ 30/25/24p
Wired LAN1000 Base T Support100 Base T Support
Buffer Capacity200 JPEG Fine L
133 12-bit lossless compressed RAW
176 12-bit compressed RAW
104 14-bit compressed RAW
170 JPEG Fine L
92 12-bit lossless compressed RAW
92 12-bit compressed RAW
76 14-bit compressed RAW
Change Focus point size in Live View MovieYesNo
Fine Tune LCD ColorYesNo
Full aperture metering during Live View for stillsYesNo
Interval timer / Time lapse movieUp to 9999 shotsUp to 999 shots
BatteryEN-EL18aEN-EL18
Time-lapse Interval Timers Exposure SmootheningYesNo
Weight (Body Only)1,240g1,180g
MSRP Price$6,499$5,999

As I have already mentioned in the announcement article, aside from a faster processor, faster fps, superior ISO performance (with the native ISO increasing in 1 full stop to ISO 25,600) and a few minor features and tweaks here and there, we do not see major changes between the two cameras. Although it is expected to be a smaller periodic upgrade, I was expecting to see more for the $500 price difference. At this point, it is hard to say how the two will stack up in noise performance – we will leave that to later time, when I receive the D4s for testing.

Comments

  1. February 25, 2014 at 6:10 am

    Thanks Nasim

    I know it’s early days, but I am disappointed. I have been on the waiting list with Hunts for over a year for the D4 replacement. Hoping to see just a few more mega pixels 20-24 range to make this a PERFECT camera for me.

    At this point, the few changes they have made and increased the price, it seems like too much hype for not enough gain. I know the step to ‘S ‘ has usually not been big, but Nikon could have broken the mold here and gone a little bolder. Seems to me it will be a wait for the D5 or D4X if that ever happens.
    Rob

    • February 25, 2014 at 9:49 am

      Robert, if you want a big upgrade over the D4, then the best thing to do is wait for the D5. The D4s is targeted at D3 and D3s owners mostly – for them, the incremental changes might make sense over the D4.

      • 15
        ) AK
        March 1, 2014 at 12:27 am

        As a D3s owner, personally I will upgraded when the D5 comes out as I can’t see the point of owning a D4/s.

  2. February 25, 2014 at 7:21 am

    Hi Nasim,

    After reading your welcomed comparison of the D4 and D4s, it seemed that most of the differences were software and sensor related with only minor changes to any hardware that would require significant retooling (the slight increase in weight being noted).

    Do you think that Nikon may be offering the D4s with its increased price to provide revenue with increased margin to compensate for the tremendous losses they incurred during the tsunami?

    • February 25, 2014 at 9:56 am

      Ken,

      The sensor performance remains to be seen. It is hard to say if the difference will be very slight or major. The Nikon D3s, for example, was over a stop better than the original D3 and its image quality was stunning at ISO 6400. Even when the D4 came out, it did not provide better noise levels – just increased resolution. If the image quality of the D4s is a stop better than on the D4, then I can see that it would be a worthwhile upgrade for many. The rest of the specs, however, are not very impressive and mostly represent software tweaks. As for the price, I think it is Nikon’s reaction to inflation and currency differences. I really doubt that it has anything to do with the previous losses. Nikon won’t sell many D4s cameras to compensate for the heavy losses. It would have to raise prices across the board to make a difference, especially on low-end entry-level DSLRs that sell in huge volumes. The bad news is, the market seems to be over-saturated and matured and the sales are going down globally…

  3. 5
    ) Daniel
    February 25, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    As a former D4 owner, I’m not impressed with the latest release. It’s a glorified firmware enhancement (along with a few minor hardware tweaks) masquerading as a full-on product release. For many features like faster frame rate, there’s the point of diminishing returns – and I think the D4s is a classic example of that. I’m all for increased AF performance, IQ, and low-light capability – but Nikon really needs to start focusing on creating a flagship that offers similar IQ and performance (and improved DR) – but in a much smaller footprint. One need not look any further than Sony or Fuji to get a taste for where the technology is heading based on changing market preferences. The D4 is an amazing camera, if you don’t mind hauling around an anvil with a lens attached. The D4s will be a slightly higher performing anvil, lol.

  4. February 25, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    As an owner of two D4′s; one of them had the focusing issue which has left me a tad bitter over the experience, I am holding steady until something better comes alongm, like the D5. Yes, the faster focusing will be nice but I am getting the impression that the focusing on the D4 is just a little too percise. I mean, sometimes with a shallow DoF, it picks up on the eyelashes as apposed to the eyes when doing portraits. Then again maybe it’s the operator but I can’t justify the upgrade at present.

    Stephen

  5. 7
    ) mike shekian
    February 25, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    If I sold my D3s it would still cost me $3k to buy a D4s, I’d rather take that $3k and buy a used D800e and still have $500 leftover. I think I will wait for a D5 and then make the change.

  6. February 25, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    HIGH ISO Comparison Samples here

    Big Improvement in Noise between D4 and D4S
    h t t p://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1375310

    Regards
    Rob

    • February 25, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      Robert, I have seen the images earlier today. I cannot say if there is big improvement to be honest – looking at ISO 12800 and 25600, there seems to be more aggressive noise reduction applied by the camera. Also, the images provided are JPEG files and who knows how Nikon is cooking those in camera. Would be interesting to see differences in RAW. To me, I see a lot of artifacts at high ISOs above 3200 – could mostly be a software tweak. I don’t think there will be more than 1/2 stop of difference between the two. Until I or someone else gets a D4s and does a comparison of RAW files, I don’t know if I can trust what I see so far. Also, the images were shot with different sharpness settings and the first images appear to be blurry – that can hide the details and make images appear better than they really are…

      • February 25, 2014 at 5:17 pm

        I agree – but its the first samples so far

        You better test it good :)

        Rob

        • February 25, 2014 at 5:22 pm

          Yes Sir, will sure do :) I already requested the D4s, hopefully will get it from the first batch!

  7. 12
    ) Guest
    February 27, 2014 at 8:49 pm

    Personally, I cannot wait until the D6s arrives, which is sure to outdo both the D4 and D5 series. :-)

  8. 13
    ) Bart
    February 28, 2014 at 12:34 am

    Im gonna wait 12 months for the D4, with a launch price of 7500 euro’s. Just kidding, what should i do? I can buy the D4 for 4650 euro’s, via a special deal, normally it costs 5200 euro’s, or wait for the new D4S, but its gonna cost 6149 euro!

    • March 3, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      If money is of concern and 1500 euros is a lot of money then the D$ is a great camera – it really is.

      The only point I would think about in that case is re-sale value if you plan to do that, the D4S will have a much higher value, were the D4 will drop in value because of the D4S.

      I have a D4 and will probably not upgrade until the next camera, I LOVE the D4 – best camera I have ever had.
      Rob

      • 20
        ) graeme
        May 11, 2014 at 10:53 am

        Agree… i owned most Niks since f3! D4 best yet!

  9. 14
    ) Jigesh
    February 28, 2014 at 6:01 am

    While D4s will be a fantastic camera, price increase does not appear to be very a smart move : you can get a used D3s plus a brand new D800 or D800E for the price of D4s. To me, the latter is a better deal. One may argue, D4s buyer may be less worried about the price, but then keeping the same price as D4 on the D4s may have created a formidable competition for Canon’s 1DX. Anyway, I am not an MBA, so may be I don’t get it.

  10. 17
    ) Suresh Moolgavkar
    March 17, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    DP Review has just posted their studio comparisons of the 4Ds. The raw files are most definitely not better than those from the 4D. In fact, in my judgement the 4D shows less noise.

  11. 19
    ) Richard
    April 17, 2014 at 4:03 am

    I will wait for the D14 to comes out ..it’s going to out do the D4s , D5/s, D6/s, D7/s, D8/s, D9/s, D10/s, D11/s, D12/s, D13/s ..the D14 will have 40fps .iso 1billion .100mp .voice command , infrered ,photoshop 25 built in , instagram , a starbucks acct. , missile detection and a force field ..

    • 21
      ) Jon
      July 7, 2014 at 7:41 am

      lol I think the D14 would probably have over 100mp by then… at your rate your going to start running into the numbers they already have, like the D40! Might as well just get that now, you’ll be ahead of your time! :D

      Or maybe by then they’ll change the D to E and start over from E1…lol

  12. 22
    ) Jon
    July 7, 2014 at 7:51 am

    Hey I also have a D800 Im trying to sell to get the D4s or the D4. But I’m not sure if I want to sell it or keep it as a secondary since I still love using it.The only thing that I hate about it is how large the files are, takes forever to edit, loading, and taking up so much storage sucks. I might just buy a used D4, their prices have dropped 1/3 of the price($4000) thanks to the D4s, so I was thinking that might be a good option for me? Any suggestions?
    any help would be helpful, thanks!

  13. 23
    ) Jay
    August 17, 2014 at 4:46 am

    I think that we have enough cameras with video and need to get back to what a camera is meant for…photography. Surely, if they make cameras now without video, they could use that space to give cameras ISO’s that, actually get to the high numbers they say. Get faster fps, LCD screens that show the actual clarity of the image. How many of us, have taken a photo, looked at the LCD, thought it looked good only, to get it on the computer and it didn’t look that great (my hands in the air).

    I’d like to see a DSLR D5, D6 or even a D7 etc… 24mp, 15fps, better LCD, no video, maybe adding something new like a inbuilt VR system or what ever but video is dead space.

    Bottom line is, Canon, Nikon etc… need to get rid of making the video better and get back to making an AWESOME camera and then use that free space to make it a reality. Lastly it is about time that Nikon started coming out with some new lenses for sports,wildlife,portraits etc… For it seems you either have nasty…average lenses at ok prices, good lenses at very high prices. Tamron has come a long way up the ladder with their 150-600 VC.

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