As I have stated at the beginning of this review, the Nikon D4 is a specialized tool targeted at news, sports and wildlife photographers. Thanks to its fast autofocus system, practically unlimited buffer capacity, insanely fast shooting speeds, superb image quality and solid construction that will withstand pretty much any kind of physical abuse, the Nikon D4 was and is a machine of choice for many enthusiasts and working pros. It really does excel in its category – aside from the Canon 1D X, it has had no other competitors. Since the D700 / D3 days, Nikon has not allowed its lower-end lines to compete directly with the top-of-the-line cameras, so there is no high-speed Nikon alternative to it either. It is a highly capable workhorse camera that is designed to deliver consistent, superb results.
It does come with a couple of annoyances, however. As I have pointed out earlier in the review, I really dislike the joystick navigation buttons that Nikon “borrowed” from Canon cameras. The joysticks are too small, uncomfortable to use and worst of all, are known to break and fall off overtime. That’s just poor craftsmanship for a $6K camera. In my opinion, joysticks were a bad idea to begin with, since the D4 already has the multi-selector navigation for choosing a focus point.
There was no need to replace the AE-L/AF-L button with this poorly designed knob. Another problem is Nikon’s experimental push towards the XQD format, which in the last 3 years since the camera came out never gained support by other manufacturers. As of today, the only two digital cameras in the world to use XQD cameras are Nikon’s. Only two manufacturers make XQD cards and readers – Sony and Lexar. Without a doubt, the XQD is a much better and faster format than CF, but why only provide one slot on the D4? If Nikon wanted to push heavily towards XQD, it should have provided two identical XQD slots to keep the workflow process simple and it should have introduced XQD in other cameras too. Personally, I would not mind swapping the SD slot on my D810, or swapping the two SD card slots on the D750 to XQD!
Overall, the D4 is an amazing workhorse camera. It allowed our team at PL to create beautiful images that we are proud to showcase today.
- Build Quality
- Focus Speed and Accuracy
- Image Quality
- High ISO Performance
- Size and Weight
- Metering and Exposure
- Movie Recording Features
- Dynamic Range
- Weather Sealing
Photography Life Overall Rating
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