Nikon D4 at a glance:

  • 16.2-million-pixel, FX-format CMOS sensor
  • Expeed 3 image processor
  • 91,000-pixel metering sensor
  • ISO 50-204,800 equivalent
  • 11fps maximum shooting rate
  • 51-point autofocus
  • New XQD card socket
  • 3.2in, 921,000-dot LCD screen
  • Street price £5,289 (body only)

When we reviewed the Nikon D3S in AP 2 January 2010, it scored an impressive 89%, making it one if the best DSLRs we have ever tested. Physically, the camera was nothing groundbreaking, based as it is on the existing Nikon D3. However, it did introduce an incredibly impressive 12.1-million-pixel CMOS sensor capable of shooting at an equivalent of ISO 102,400. What really made the D3S stand out at the time, though, was the low level of noise in images taken at between ISO 800 and 3200.

That the Nikon D3S was capable of producing images of superb quality made it a firm favourite with professional photographers the world over. With its emphasis on a fast shooting rate and great image quality in low light, the D3S soon became the preferred camera of many sports, wildlife, events and press photographers.

Wisely, with the D4, Nikon has opted for the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ philosophy. The new professional camera has evolved from the D3S, but with some significant tweaks and improvements, the most important being a new 16.2-million-pixel sensor.

There is also an improved sensitivity range of ISO 50-204,800: an increase of 1EV at either end of the sensitivity range. The AF and metering systems have been upgraded, too. In total, Nikon quotes more than 45 improvements over its predecessor, all of which should improve both the handling and image quality of the new high-end, professional DSLR.

With 2012 being an Olympic year, it is clear that Nikon hopes the D4 will prove to be the camera of choice for professional sports photographers.

Image: One overlooked advantage of the extremely low noise levels at high sensitivities is that it allows handheld macro images. This photograph of a wasp was taken with a Micro-Nikkor 55mm converted pre-Ai lens at ISO 1600 

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