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