Nikon took a huge step forward in video quality with the release of the D800, but their flagship D4 was a bit disappointing in that department (even though it did have better low-light capabilities). With Canon pushing into the 4K DSLR space with cameras like the 1D C, and Panasonic including 4K in its next GH camera, it's really only a matter of time before Nikon jumps into the ring. Click through for more on a possible 4K future for Nikon.
Over on TrustedReviews, Zurab Kiknadaze, a European Product Manager with Nikon, said:
It is a bit tricky, it’s not something that we are purposefully excluding from our cameras; however we need to approach it carefully.
There are high-end cameras that produce this but it just puts such a load on the equipment.
For us, because consumers are demanding it we are aware of this and will be looking into it for the future.
Nikon is the only major Japanese camera maker that doesn't also have a dedicated video line, and as I've said in the past, they can either get into the video camera market, or produce the best video DSLRs out there because they won't be hurting the upper end. Even though Nikon Rumors suggests the new D4s revealed at CES may include 4K video, I don't think Nikon is ready yet based on the comments above. That product line certainly makes the most sense for having those higher-end functions, but based on how poorly resolved video was on the previous D4, they really should make sure that the 1080p looks good first, before worrying about 4K.
I know the Japanese companies tend to be very conservative with these product releases, but if Nikon really wants to blow the market away, they should make one of these cameras record 4K RAW. It would give far more options than highly compressed 4K, even though the results from the Canon 1D C brought down to 1080p can look great. The company will never put something like ProRes into their cameras because of licensing, and they're not going to go through the trouble of creating their own high-quality 10-bit codec, so 4K RAW might actually be the easiest to implement as RAW is less processor intensive.
Now, since Nikon has a QXD card slot in the D4, and will have one in the D4s, they could eventually implement some of these higher recording options without the cards being an issue. Unfortunately, the QXD cards aren't quite fast enough for uncompressed 4K RAW, but they could be in the next few years as those speeds are in the QXD spec. What Nikon could do is come up with a compressed RAW like Blackmagic is planning on doing with their 4K camera. If they could make that work, and keep the components cool, they might be able to use current QXD cards to record depending on the compression ratio.
2K RAW would also be fantastic, similar to how the C500 can do both 4K and 2K. I just don't see them doing that, because photographers wouldn't really benefit from it. That's really the other reason why 4K RAW (or 4K in general) makes sense on a DSLR, because it's possible to pull stills from the video. While you may need to mess around with shutter to get clearer photos, with a camera of this size, getting stills and video in one go is much more realistic, especially as photographers like to handhold.
If Nikon did include 4K in a similar way as the 1D C but for essentially half the price, it would still make a lot of people happy, but if they had RAW video support internally it would literally fly off the shelves (even faster with 2K/1080p RAW support). Either way, we'll know soon enough if the D4s will include 4K, as it should be announced sometime this year.
[via Nikon Rumors]