Two years ago Nikon announced the D4, which finally took video offerings from the company to the next level. While their D800 actually proved to have better video quality, the move at least showed that Nikon was serious about providing quality that rivaled Canon. First soft-launched at CES back in January, the new D4S builds all of the things the D4 got right, and gives us video people some additional features, like 60fps at 1080p and a mind-melting 409,600 max ISO -- as well as the ability to adjust audio levels while recording.

Here are the specs of the D4S:

  • 16.2MP FX-Format Full-frame CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 4 Image Processor
  • 3.2" 921k-Dot LCD Monitor
  • 1920 x 1080 at 60/50/30/25/24 fps
  • Multi-CAM 3500FX 51-Point AF Sensor
  • Native ISO 100-25,600, Extended ISO 50-409,600
  • 11 fps Shooting for 200 Shots with AE/AF
  • 91k-Pixel RGB Sensor and Group Area AF
  • 14-Bit RAW Files and 12-Bit RAW S Format
  • CompactFlash and XQD Card Slots
  • Headphone and Microphone Jacks, HDMI
  • 1000 Base-T Gigabit Wired LAN Support
  • Availability: March 2014
  • Price: $6,500


More about the video recording from B&H:

Also benefitting from the enhanced processing power is the ability to records full HD 1080p video at frame rates up to 60 fps. Multi-area modes enables you to narrow your effective field of view during recording, too, in FX, DX, and 2.7x Crop settings to offer more versatility during shooting. ISO Auto Control is available when working in manual exposure mode as well as real-time adjustable audio settings with enhanced wind noise reduction and selectable frequency ranges such as Wide Range and Voice Range.

Recording to an optional external recorder is possible in order to gain an uncompressed video signal via the HDMI port and, when recording externally, use of the camera's LCD monitor for live view monitoring is possible. Additionally, simultaneous recording to both memory cards and an external recording device is also possible for instant backing up and duplicating of files. 2MP still images can also be recorded simultaneously during video recording.

There are some welcome changes as it relates to video shooting besides the added frame rate of 60fps. You can now select any of the crop modes while in Live View, and you can also record to both a card and to an external recorder at the same time. The D4S also adds the ability to change audio levels while recording, which is important if you're plugging a mic into the camera and using it as your main source of audio.

It doesn't seem like there are any clips showing off video performance, so we'll have to wait for independent reviews and comparisons to get an idea if the downscaling is any sharper on this model. One of the issues with the previous camera was very, very soft video in the full-frame and DX modes. If Nikon wants to remain serious to video shooters, the camera needs more than just the ability to record 8-bit 4:2:2 from the HDMI -- it needs 1080p video as sharp as any DSLR in this class.


New Extended ISO & Improved Noise Performance

Now, the new extended ISO may only be technically one more stop of exposure above the D4 (which had a max of 204,800), but it seems like the processing inside has done a bit to reduce noise throughout the whole range (though the image seems a little softer at 100% crop). Here are the extremes in JPEG mode, which should translate pretty well to the ISO performance in video mode (thanks to Alex and Albert over at Clubsnap, and to Nikon Rumors):




No 4K Just Yet

As I mentioned back in January, I didn't think this model was going to get 4K, especially since Nikon themselves seemed to be having difficulty implementing the higher resolution in video. If they were going to do it with any model, this would have been a good start, but it's more likely that if Nikon does introduce 4K video, it's probably going to come at the lower end somewhere -- maybe even in a new category designed more for video shooters. 4K is likely going to be used more and more as still photographers pull images from videos, so I have no doubt it will come to Nikon's cameras sooner or later.

At $6,500, the new D4S is hasn't really added enough to be a video-only camera, but if you're someone who makes a living shooting still images as well, there might be just enough to consider an upgrade when it is released early next month.


[via Nikon Rumors]