The Nikon D4 is clearly a high-end photo camera hunting on Canon EOS 1Dx grounds.
It starts with a very ambitious top sensitivity at ISO 204,800. The race for high-ISOs is pleasantly replacing the race for more pixels, and the Nikon D4 is quite happy with a comfortable 16 MP figure (but, really, who needs more? The Nikon D700 had already demonstrated this).
But, first and foremost, it is a brilliant show of what pro photography is becoming and how it starts to integrate some features from commoners cameras.
- Finally, video is fully integrated. Pros were already exploring seriously this field.
- The AF system is ever more powerful (no pro wants to miss a shot to fuzziness) and Nikon keeps this feature at stratospheric levels. But offering 11 sensors working up to f/8 (the usual limit is f/5.6) will allow to exploit very big tele-lenses x2 converters while some photographer were limited (provided they could purchase the optical monsters).
- the Compact Flash card replacement is now among us: The XQD format (and this is no random fluke in the information flow that the first to sell the cards is Sony; What do you believe will be in the next Sony Full Frame photo cameras a little later this year?)
- Yes! It’s still possible to enlarge the LCD screen on the back of the camera body. Here comes the 3.2″ era (while we were still in the 3″ prehistory). But bringing this on consumer cameras may be limited by the size of the camera body.
- the virtual horizon is now standard. But there is no GPS.
- Face recognition is included in the exposure computation, but who cares about displaying those annoying little squares in the viewfinder? The customers are not bragging little boys, real pros don’t flash their displays!
There is no space for fun here (even the price makes everything look serious around 6000€), but most of these improvements are bound to percolate down into consumer cameras (but not this year, though).
Those features left out (e.g. no SD card, no GPS) are clearly considered as uninteresting for serious photographers.
So, dream on.