Latest Nikon DSLR Firmware Updates

Nikon has just released a firmware update for a number of current and older DSLR cameras. These include the D4, D3s, D3x, D3, D800, D600, D7000 and, finally, the D3200. Last generation cameras, namely the D3, D3s, D3x and D7000 now support the new super-telephoto Nikkor AF-S 800mm f/5.6 VR lens, so changes aren’t really big. Current cameras, however, have seen additional changes, among which are AF improvements for the D800 and D600 in continuous mode.

Nikon D4 Menu - Firmware Update

Read on for more detail and download links.

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Nikon D4 vs D3s vs D3 ISO Performance Comparison

While I have not yet received my copy of the Nikon D4, I had an opportunity to test it today and perform some comparisons against the original Nikon D3 and D3s cameras, thanks to my new friend Michael Sasser, who was kind enough to let me use his D4. The purpose of this Nikon D4 vs D3s vs D3 ISO comparison is to show how the new professional D4 compares to the older-generation Nikon cameras in low and high ISO performance. I will start working on a full Nikon D4 Review once I receive it and hopefully will finish it up with plenty of image samples and my analysis sometime in early April (planning a couple of big projects for the Nikon and Canon DSLR cameras).

Nikon D4 vs D3s vs D3

Some background information for the below crops:

  1. All photographs were taken in a controlled environment, with a single studio light (octabank, modeling light), placed on the left
  2. All cameras were set to 14-bit NEF / RAW format, Active D-Lighting, Noise Reduction, Vignetting set to Off
  3. White Balance: Auto, changed to 3300 Temp, +6 Tint in Lightroom 4 (Process Version 2012)
  4. Lightroom Settings: Default
  5. Due to the difference in resolution (16 MP on the D4 vs 12 MP on the D3 and D3s), images from the Nikon D4 were down-sampled to 12 MP for a fair comparison

Here is the full image and the cropped area:

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Nikon DX vs FX

Some of the most frequently asked questions from our readers are around DX and FX format sensors. What is DX and FX? What are their differences? Which one is better and why? If you have similar questions and want to get a clear understanding about these formats and their differences, along with seeing actual image samples from both, this article is for you.

Before diving into sensor formats, it is first important to understand what a sensor is and what it does in a Digital SLR camera. It is easier to understand how sensors work by comparing them with the human eye. The lens in front of the camera essentially functions as the cornea of your eyes, gathering ambient light and passing it to the iris. The iris then expands or shrinks, controlling the amount of light that enters the retina, which functions almost exactly like a camera sensor. The retina is light-sensitive, meaning it can adjust its sensitivity based on the available light. If there is too much light, it decreases its sensitivity, while automatically increasing the sensitivity in a dim environment, so that you could see in both extremely bright and extremely dark conditions. Remember what happens when you come out of a dark place to a very bright, sunny environment and vice-versa? Either your eyes will hurt and everything will seem too bright, or you will have a hard time seeing at all – due to sensitivity of the eyes that have not yet adjusted for the new environment. The sensitivity of your eyes is just like the sensitivity of the sensor, also known as “ISO” in photography. But sensitivity comes at a price – high sensitivity levels ultimately decrease image quality, similar to when you have a hard time seeing in a very dark environment. This degradation of image quality is first visible as “grain” or “noise” in the pictures, followed by loss of detail, sharpness and color in extreme levels of sensitivity. When I say “extreme”, I mean extreme to the digital camera, not human eye. Even with all of the latest advancements in sensor technology, cameras are not even close to seeing the range of light the human eye can see in various environments.

Captured with Nikon D700 FX Camera

Captured with Nikon D700 FX Camera

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Nikon D700/D3 vs D3s High ISO Noise Comparison

In this Nikon D700/D3 vs D3s High ISO Noise Comparison, I will be focusing on providing information and image samples from the first-generation Nikon full frame cameras (Nikon D700 and Nikon D3) as well as from the current high ISO king – Nikon D3s. High ISOs are needed in low-light environments, where the amount of ambient light is insufficient for hand-held photography at standard ISO sensitivity values. While doubling the ISO number doubles the shutter speed to freeze motion or prevent camera shake, it also introduces noise into the picture.

All tests below were performed on a sturdy tripod, with timed exposure to prevent camera vibrations. Both Nikon D700 and Nikon D3s were set exactly the same way, shot in manual mode with Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G at f/8.0. Exposures were exactly the same on both cameras, depending on ISO value. I shot in RAW (Active D-Lighting: Off, High ISO NR: Normal), then imported into Lightroom, cropped and exported with “Camera Standard” camera profile. The rest of the data is available via EXIF in the files to those who are interested in technical details.

Here is the full area that I shot for these tests:


The first test is at ISO 800. The image on the left is Nikon D700 and the image on the right is Nikon D3s (click to enlarge). Both are extremely good at ISO 800, but Nikon D3s is a little cleaner in the background areas.

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Nikon D3 vs D3s

Nikon has just announced the new Nikon D3s, so I decided to post a quick comparison between the old Nikon D3 and the new Nikon D3s in this “Nikon D3 vs D3s” article.

Nikon D3s vs D3

The new Nikon D3s is in many ways a new generation camera. When Nikon adds a letter to a camera (such as “X” or “S”), it typically means that it is an update to its current line, most likely with the same Expeed processor. The new D3s, though, despite featuring the same physical processor, is a whole new world when it comes to sensor technology. Just looking at the images and comparing the ISO performance of the older D3 and the new D3s, I can conclude that the new D3s has a 1.5 to 2 stop advantage over D3, which is remarkable.

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