updated 11:20 pm EST, Thu January 5, 2012
Nikon D4 confirmed at last
Nikon late Thursday confirmed the D4. The new full-frame flagship DSLR moves up cautiously to a 16.2-megapixel sensor but is a major leap in image quality over both the D3 and D3s. It doubles the maximum sensitivity to ISO 204,800 and shoots as low as ISO 50 (normally 100 to 102,400). An upgraded 51-point autofocusing system can focus at f8 (up from f5.6) with face recognition an option, and a new color matrix metering system samples from 91,000 pixels.
The D4 is similarly the first camera to use the new XQD card format. A replacement for CompactFlash, it runs much faster and has more headroom. Nikon gives the camera a CompactFlash secondary slot both for legacy support as well as for Nikon's ability to use a second slot for backup or spillover.
Video is now much improved. The camera's 1080p30 footage is the most advanced of any Nikon camera and can compress B frames in H.264 recording, uses a low-pass filter to reduce noise, and uses contrast detection autofocus while it shoots. D4 users get the dedicated video button of past cameras and have a smooth aperture control to more gradually transition depth of field and light levels.
Extra touches bring 10 frame per second continuous shooting at full resolution, illuminated function buttons, and built-in Ethernet for tethered shooting. Pro photographer scan add on a WT-5 transmitter to wirelessly steer the camera.
The D4 will release quickly and is due in February, but it will carry a premium over the D3s at $6,000 for a body only. Matching the camera will be a new FX-mount AF-S 85mm f1.8G prime lens that should cost $500.