Nikon D4: Field testing and other notes

Nikon D4 image, under-exposed at -2.7EV compensation (click to enlarge)
Under-exposed Nikon D4 image after processing (click to enlarge)

My Moab photo safari last week was the first real field test of my new Nikon D4. I had absolutely no issues with it in the field, and I captured over 1500 frames (NEF). Some testing requires extended use, and with that, here are some more observations about the Nikon D4.

  • I brought two fully-charged EN-EL18 batteries. After five days of shooting, the original battery read 9% remaining after 1503 image captures.
  • Even if one battery is enough to get your images, you’ll want a fully-charged spare if you need to lock up the mirror for cleaning. Once the battery is below 60% or so, you can’t use the cleaning (lock-up) mode.
  • A 16GB CF card (in this case, SanDisk Extreme Pro) will give you about 800 shots if you shoot 14-bit lossless compressed NEF. Keep in mind that the shots remaining readout on the camera always assumes uncompressed NEFs, as file size varies when using compression.
  • The dynamic range in the D4 is amazing. I had shots from HDR bracketing sequences that were -2.7EV under exposed, and the amount of detail I recovered was incredible. Keep in mind that to get this kind of performance, you’ll want to be using the base ISO of 100.
  • The 16×24″ prints I’m getting from the D4 files look tremendous. There’s lots of detail to be had there!

June Instructional Field Classes close on May 31st. Register now and join me on a shoot!

3 thoughts on “Nikon D4: Field testing and other notes”

  1. The D4 is just not In my budget but I’m hoping to trade in one of my D3’s for a D4s in a couple of years. I can hardly wait! Thanks for the update!!

  2. Whst metering program do you use? What focusing do you use? Have you used the d4 for any moving pictures and if so what metering and focusing do you use?

  3. I use matrix metering for the majority of situations. I typically use continuous-servo AF, single-point, with lock-on set to “normal.” I disable AF activation from the shutter button and only use the rear AF-ON button to focus the camera.

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