Nikon D4s High ISO Image Samples

While Tom Redd and I are still waiting for the Nikon D4s sample to arrive next week, our wildlife guru Robert Anderson has already gotten a hold of the D4s and has been testing out his new favorite toy today. Rob was kind enough to send me some image samples from the camera at high ISO settings: 6400, 12800 and 25600. As you may already know, the Nikon D4s pushed the maximum “native” sensitivity level by a full stop from 12800 on the D4 to 25600. While some image samples and comparisons for the D4s have been available on the Internet, many of them lacked consistency to be able to do a more thorough comparison. Therefore, I asked Rob to take pictures of a real scene after sunset, shooting on a tripod at different ISO levels. Below you will find two different scenes that Rob graciously provided for our readers to enjoy. While we do not yet have comparisons of the Nikon D4s to the D4, we will post those comparisons as soon as we get a hold of the D4s next week!

Take a look at the below images from the first scene:

Nikon D4s Scene #1 ISO 6400

NIKON D4S @ 92mm, ISO 6400, 1/10, f/8.0

If you are just clicking on the image, you will not be able to see the whole image, so we highly recommend to right click each image and download it to your computer. The images are down-sampled to 2048 pixel resolution, but we have included a 100% crop from part of the scene for you to look at the pixel-level quality. As expected, ISO 6400 looks very clean on the D4s!

Nikon D4s Scene #1 ISO 12800

NIKON D4S @ 92mm, ISO 12800, 1/20, f/8.0

ISO 12800 adds quite a bit of noise, but detail levels are preserved really well.

Nikon D4s Scene #1 ISO 25600

NIKON D4S @ 92mm, ISO 25600, 1/40, f/8.0

At ISO 25600, the amount of noise doubles and we start seeing some loss of shadow details and some artifacts. But the overall detail level and retention of colors appears to be really good, especially when looking at the down-sampled image. Looks like this will be the new high ISO dynamic range champion.

Let’s take a look at another scene, shot a little earlier. Here is ISO 6400:

Nikon D4s Scene #2 ISO 6400

NIKON D4S @ 70mm, ISO 6400, 1/500, f/8.0

The distant mountain behind the building appears to have noise, but those are actually patches of trees that appear in different patterns. When analyzing noise levels here, look at the three trees in the foreground of the crop. ISO 6400 once again looks very clean and impressive.

Nikon D4s Scene #2 ISO 12800

NIKON D4S @ 70mm, ISO 12800, 1/1000, f/8.0

ISO 12800 adds noise, but detail levels are extremely good!

Nikon D4s Scene #2 ISO 25600

NIKON D4S @ 70mm, ISO 25600, 1/2000, f/8.0

And lastly, ISO 25600 again doubles the amount of noise, but there is practically no loss of details here, which is incredible.

The Nikon D4 vs D4s comparison will reveal real differences in performance between the two. Stay tuned for more updates next week!


  1. Profile photo of eric 1) eric
    March 8, 2014 at 3:39 am

    Wow!! Who needs flash or light with the d4s!! Ha ha, quite impressive! A dream come true for sports and wildlife shooter! Im pretty sure wedding or people who shoots lots of concerts will love this 6500$ Gem :)

    After your done with the review of the D4s, instead of sending it to the trashbin, send it to me i’ll even pay for posting fees!!! :)

    • March 8, 2014 at 8:26 am

      I’ll go one better I’ll pay you an Extra $10 plus your shipping and handling since your going to throw away. Might as well make a few bucks on a throwaway. :-)

  2. 2) Mario Rossi
    March 8, 2014 at 7:16 am

    Hi Nasim,

    Very impressive results !
    Please, can you specify for these samples, the aperture and speed used to take them ?
    Thanks in advance and all the best for your great job.


  3. 3) Cecilio
    March 8, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Can anyone borrow me 6.500 $ to buy this beauty? ;-)

  4. 4) Tim
    March 8, 2014 at 9:02 am

    It appears the DF has the same sensor as the D4s, not the D4, can you confirm?

    • 4.1) Eric Calabros
      March 8, 2014 at 10:23 am

      No, there is a new in-sensor color noise reduction system, designed by Toshiba I guess, and we no longer see that annoying magenta cast at extremely high ISOs

  5. 5) eric laquerre
    March 8, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Cecilio, too late I have first dibs! :)

  6. Profile photo of David Ross Gray 6) David Ross Gray
    March 9, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Nasim & Robert

    Thanks for the early information.

    While I have a D4 (and love it! :-)) am planning to purchase a D4s ASAP for an upcoming holiday to Tasmania. Strongly prefer to take two camera with same battery and card systems.

    Robert, you may be interested to know that your articles have encouraged me to start hand holding my 600mm f4…I have a bit to learn yet but I am surprised how do-able it is. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Nasim, thanks for the constant flow of excellent articles; it is very much appreciated!

    Regards to all,

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