The new full-frame Nikon D4, as rumored, brings with it a bevy of new video features. It will do 1080p at 30/25/24 frames-per-second, and up to 60 FPS at 720p. It will ship with a microphone input and dedicated headphone jack (both with adjustable levels), and supports the new XQD memory card format. And while the h.264 codec is only 24Mbps, to complain about the bitrate would be to ignore the biggest new feature: a clean, uncompressed HDMI output. Nikon has finally gotten serious about video.
The 16-megapixel camera is slated to ship next month for $6,000. One more interesting tidbit from DPReview, which covers the ability to crop in 2.7X for a pixel-for-pixel 1080p signal. And as far as sensor size goes, this has the same 36x24mm near-VistaVision sensor size of the famous Canon 5D Mark II:
Movies can also be shot at three different crops from the sensor, which Nikon is describing as FX, DX and 2.7X (native 1920x1080). This makes it easy to vary the field-of-view for grabbing footage, even if you’ve got a prime lens mounted. However, the ‘FX’ size is a significantly cropped version of the full sensor (it’s 91% of the sensor’s width), so the field-of-view will be a little narrower than you’d expect for any given focal length. Also the native 1920x1080 video will be higher quality than the FX and DX versions, since it hasn't been downsized. This difference is likely to be incredibly small (almost certainly irrelevant for most users), but is a consideration for high-end video users.
Here's the video-specific portion of the press release (full thing here) -- note the HDMI output will work simultaneously with the Live View LCD, provided you don't record to CF/XQD media:
Professional Multimedia Features
The Nikon D4 D-SLR is engineered with innovative new features for the multimedia professional that needs the small form factor, low-light ability and NIKKOR lens versatility that only an HD-SLR can offer. The new features add functionality for those professionals looking for the best possible experience to capture a moment in Full HD 1080p video at various frame rates, providing footage that is more than suitable for broadcast.
- Full HD video recording - Users have the choice of various resolutions and frame rates, including 1080p 30/24fps and 60 fps at 720p. By utilizing the B-Frame data compression method, users can record H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC format video with unmatched integrity for up to 20 minutes per clip. This format also allows for more accurate video data to be transferred requiring less memory capacity. The sensor reads image data at astoundingly fast rates, which results in less instances of rolling shutter distortion.
- Full manual control of exposure - Shutter speed, aperture and ISO can be changed while recording to adapt to lighting and alter depth of field for professional cinematic results that help realize a creative vision.
- Uncompressed output: simultaneous Live View - By using the camera’s HDMI port instead of the CF or XQD card, users can stream an uncompressed full HD signal directly out of the camera. This footage can be ported into an LCD display or appropriate external recording device or routed through a monitor and then to the recording device, eliminating the need for multiple connections.
- Audio recording for professionals - The Nikon D4 features a stereo headphone jack for accurate monitoring of audio levels while recording. Output can be adjusted in up to 30 steps for precise audio adjustment. The D4 offers high-fidelity audio recording control with audio levels that can be set and monitored on the camera’s LCD screen. The microphone connected via the stereo mic jack can also be adjusted with up to 20 steps of sensitivity for accurate sound reproduction.
- Multi-area Mode Full HD Video: FX/DX, and 2.7x crop mode at 1080p video modes -Whether shooting for depth of field in FX format mode, or looking for the extra 1.5X telephoto benefits of DX mode, the high resolution sensor of the D4 allows videographers to retain full 1080P HD resolution no matter what mode they choose. With the 2.7x crop, users can experience ultra-telephoto benefits in full HD resolution all at 16:9 aspect ratio.
- Simultaneous live view output without display / simultaneous monitor - Shooters have the option to send the display signal directly to an attached monitor via the HDMI port. This signal can be viewed on the camera’s LCD screen and external monitor simultaneously. Additionally, the image data display can be cleared from the screen, to remove distracting data or when feeding a live signal.
- Full-time AF - In addition to manual focus, four modes are available, including normal, wide area, face detection and subject tracking, which uses fast contrast detect AF to accurately focus while recording video and in live view.
- New LCD screen - The large high resolution 3.2-inch LCD screen is 921K dots, and includes auto brightness adjustment. User’s can also zoom in up to 46x to check critical HD focus.
- Time lapse shooting - This new feature combines a selected frame rate and “shooting interval” in a dedicated time lapse photography menu. Playback can be achieved with a wide variety of speeds from 24x to 36,000x while producing a fully finished movie file output for faster multimedia workflows.
- Remote shutter operation - Using dedicated Movie Custom Settings, recording can be set to be engaged by the shutter release button -users can now use a variety of remote accessories to trigger video recording.
- NIKKOR lens compatibility - The highest caliber optics are vital to creating HD images and Nikon is the world leader in optics manufacturing with a legacy spanning more than 75 years. Nikon has a vast NIKKOR lens system, with more than 50 lenses with a variety of focal lengths and features, including VR II vibration reduction.
I'm assuming that's an 8-bit HDMI output... unless we learn otherwise. Check out the first video shot on the D4 here.