Tag Archives: cameras

Nikon D4 Virtual Horizon in the Viewfinder

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I took delivery of a new Nikon D4 yesterday. Wow! It’s an awesome camera. Right now, I’m still learning about it, so I’ll have a more detailed hands-on review soon. Until then, I thought I’d share one of those “hidden” features that is an improvement from the Nikon D3s: the viewfinder implementation of virtual horizon.

The virtual horizon was a new feature in the Nikon D3, and it works really well on a tripod with the rear LCD. However, you can use the VH in the viewfinder, too. On the D3, the metering scale was co-opted to show a level indicator, but it was kind of tricky to use in practice. The biggest drawback of the viewfinder VH was that you had to take your eye off the scene while using it.

Enter the Nikon D4, which now uses the AF points in the viewfinder to accomplish the same function. When you engage the VH in the viewfinder, you’ll see some dots appear along with the center AF point. As the camera is tilted, the AF points start lighting up in the opposite direction of the tilt. So, if the camera is tilted to the right, the squares light up on the left side of the viewfinder. This tells me to tilt the camera back to the left to level it. The more the camera is tilted, the more squares light up. Cool!

This is just one of many “nice touches” that the D4 has that make it Nikon’s new flagship DSLR body.

Nikon 1 V1 ISO Performance: Pixel Peeping vs. Image Sharing

Pikes Peak alpenglow, Nikon 1 V1 at ISO 450 (hand-held)

In my review of the Nikon V1, I subjectively rated ISO performance. It seems as though the first thing people want to do with any new camera is crank the ISO and then try to shoot in the dark (ok, I’m guilty, too). While ISO performance shouldn’t be the only judgment factor when purchasing a camera, it’s certainly true that being able to shoot at high ISOs absolutely opens up creative possibilities that didn’t previously exist. In fact, one reason I really enjoy walking around with my D3s is that I can set ISO-Auto and forget it!

Of course, walking around with a D3s and a fast lens, like the 35mm f/1.4 AFS G Nikkor means lugging around a 2,021g (4.45 lb) kit! The Nikon V1 with 10mm f/2.8 “pancake” lens weighs in at 314g (0.69 lb). While I certainly don’t expect the V1 to come anywhere near the ISO performance of the D3s, I did think it would be interesting for me to compare it to my D3oos, which uses an older CMOS sensor design. Continue reading Nikon 1 V1 ISO Performance: Pixel Peeping vs. Image Sharing