The Nikon D4 – ergonomics

I was at my regular purveyor of addictive substances camera equipment this afternoon; fresh in: four Nikon D4s. That’s it. Four units for one of the largest dealers in the country, and only because he had two stores. The unit that I got to handle briefly was a customer unit to be collected later this week; because of that, I got to hold it and that’s about it – certainly no deflowering of somebody else’s baby.

Three surprises. Firstly, it was light – it felt a lot lighter than the D3 I used for a year or so; almost as light as my D700. Secondly, the ergonomics are the best of any Nikon I’ve held to date: everything just falls to hand precisely under your fingers, as though the thing was designed for you, personally. The D3 felt a touch large to me, but the grip was comfortable. The D4, is perfect. Perfect

The final surprise was the price: close to RM20,000 – or US$6,500. Apparently, the deferral in collection by that customer was because he wasn’t sure if it was worth it – and for a tantalizing moment, I could have walked home with it (and a much, much lighter wallet). It felt so good in the hand that I was contemplating it seriously, if only for a moment. And how things feel in the hand is very important because if something feels good, you’ll want to use it more, rather than cast it aside in frustration.

However, I did come to my senses: I actually need the built in flash to trigger my speed lights and strobes, and 16MP is not really a meaningful increase in resolution. I don’t need 9fps or a vertical grip. And I certainly don’t need to pay that kind of money for it. But – if you do need the speed, then you’re absolutely going to love using this camera – I figure the image quality and menu system/ firmware can’t be any worse than the D3, and that is still the benchmark in many ways. MT


  1. Ming, any plans to review the D4 if you can get your hands on one?

    • Nope, sorry. I only have time to review stuff I actually use, and the D4 doesn’t really fit in to my shooting requirements anywhere.

  2. John W. Ishii says:

    Ming dude, you should go for it! I just got mine on Tuesday and its amazing. I’ve every Nikon D series from D1x to the D4 and this baby is the best of the lot.
    If your a pro you gotta have pro gear. My D3s was a $$$ maker never missed a shot from F-1 to commercial shoots. Its worth every penny.
    Go back and get if you can. Might be difficult now.

    • I did consider it, but I’m 95% studio based with controlled lighting or on location with speed lights – the D800 just makes so much more sense for the kind of work I do. But it’s on the list 🙂

  3. This camera looks awesome and I can’t wait to get my hands on one. Its worth noting that the SU800 really helps with triggering Nikon flash units. It saves so much time as well, not having to scroll through those menus on the camera. No pre flash contaminating the images either.
    D4 with the SU800 could be the way to go.
    They had a demo in Nikon Service centre here in Thailand but still non for sale.

    • I’m not convinced about the SU800 – why spend another $300 or so on a trigger unit to add to a $6000+ camera when there’s a built in trigger on the D800 (and the little flip down IR blocker panel that blacks out your visible light flash)?

  4. Eh dont you have a D800 coming? 🙂 Be faithful, man!

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