After weeks of teasing and speculation, Nikon has finally released the update to its flagship HD-SLR line. Rumored to have been used by photojournalists at the Sochi Olympics, the D4S offers advanced specs that let photographers take pictures even under severe conditions. Available in March 2014 for $6,499, the camera is clearly for more than casual shooters and is targeted at pros. The D4S features a new 16.2-MP FX-format CMOS sensor (with comparatively huge photodiodes for collecting light), improved autofocus and shutter speeds and supports an ISO range of up to 409,600.
Based on the D4, which was released in 2012, the D4S supports a new smaller RAW image file format that allows for faster loading after capture. Its 16.2-MP FX-format CMOS sensor (also on the D4) with the new EXPEED 4 processor work together to deliver higher quality images than its predecessor. Whether this can rival Canon's 18.1-MP CMOS sensor with DIGIC 5 processing on the EOS 1D X will require testing, and we look forward to seeing if the D4S will deliver.
With support for such an extreme range of light situations, we imagine the D4S would let you capture some detail even on the dark side of the moon. In comparison, Canon's EOS 1DX only shoots up to ISO 51,200, making it one of the most light-sensitive cameras around. A sample image taken at the Sochi Olympics showing metadata of a relatively high (for high-quality pictures) ISO 6400 and f/4 with a 1/2000 shutter speed looked crisp and showed almost no noise (graininess). So we expect the D4S to deliver great image quality even at higher levels of ISO.
The improved autofocus uses 5 AF sensors as a single focus point so it can more quickly detect the subject. The D4S also shoots at 11 frames per second at full resolution with automatic exposure and focus, compared to the 10 fps before. Combined with increased image processing speeds, you can shoot more pictures on the D4S even when you're in a hurry. Nikon also streamlined the camera's body, making it easier to hold. Video enthusiasts will appreciate being able to shoot at up to 1080p.
While these specs sound compelling, the $6,499 tag will be hard to justify unless you're a professional, or a one percenter who really likes photography.