D4s Preview and Hands on: I AM SPEED


daredevil123

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lil red dot
#1
The ClubSNAP team attended Nikon's "I AM SPEED" event this afternoon at Kartright Speedway. This event is actually the launch event for D4s. Nikon staff explained the technology behind the new camera and highlighted the improvements over the D4. They also provided several units of D4s for the attendees to try out.






Detailed Specs of the new D4s can be found here:
http://www.nikon.com.sg/en_SG/product/digital-slr-cameras/d4s#techspecs

Summary of new features and improvements over the D4:
- New re-designed 16.2MP sensor.
- ISO from 50 to 409600 (Native ISO 100-25600)
- Re-designed AF module (new "Group area AF mode" as well as faster and more accurate AF tracking)
- New image engine EXPEED 4
- 11 fps continuous shooting in fullframe RAW.
- Brand new RAW S (small RAW), ability to push fps beyond 11fps
- Re-designed mirror box (Better viewing when shooting continuously)
- Ethernet port upgraded to Gigabit Ethernet port.
- Video now supports 1080/60p

You can read up on the new features here:
http://www.nikon.com.sg/en_SG/product/digital-slr-cameras/d4s#features/1
 

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daredevil123

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#2
Pictures of the D4s

Front


Back


Side ports. Ethernet connection in the D4s is a Gigabit Ethernet jack.


Memory card slots (yes, XQD and CF dual slots)


D4s mounted on Nikon AF-S 400mm F2.8 VR


Please note that only pictures shot with the D4s are uncropped straight out of camera Jpeg Fine with no adjustments. Only watermark is added. You will be able to recognize the pictures shot by the D4s by our labels or if full size link is provided.
 

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daredevil123

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#3
D4s offers 11fps for continuous shooting with full AF and AE.

Listen to the shutter spam. Guest starring MR Willy Foo!
[video=youtube;bIcXNZb7oW0]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIcXNZb7oW0[/video]​
 

daredevil123

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#4
AF PERFORMANCE

I was most interested in the AF performance of the D4s after looking at the specs. So I tested the new Group Area AF mode with our fellow photographers in small mini race-cars(go-karts). I have to say I am extremely impressed with how the camera tracked the subjects. No longer do you have to change AF point to start off the AF tracking (ala Dyanmic 21/51 pt). All you do now is just concentrate on your composition and snap away.

In the picture below, you can see that the AF is smart enough to get the correct car in focus.

ISO 1000, 400mm, F5.6 1/4000s. AF-C, Group mode.
download fullsize image here: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7306/12771419343_8e58a93dcb_o.jpg


100% crop. Focus is spot on.
 

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daredevil123

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#5
Here is a series of photos of our super driver (Bryan Foong) overtaking another racer from the inside of a turn! Who says he is only good at weddings?! The key to note here is the switch in the main subject. Using Group area AF mode, the focus is spot on. I had to post pics every 2-3 frames apart, because the D4s continuous shooting is just too fast! But every picture in this series is sharp and focus dead on! (all full size images contain full EXIF)

 

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daredevil123

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#6
Let's throw a harder one and see if the Group Area AF mode in D4s is up to task in more complicated scenes. We know that Group Area AF mode tracks moving subjects that is closest to the camera within the group area. So what if I am panning, and there is some obstruction in the foreground? foreground will appear to be moving since I am panning. Will this cause problems for the D4s?

No sweat at all. The AF system is smart enough to know that it is not what you are looking for. Focus is still dead-on locked on the intended subject.



There must some pretty powerful algorithm working in the background of the AF module. Because even in scenes like these, the AF is able to figure out which one is your intended target (when in Group Area AF mode).
 

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daredevil123

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#7
HIGH ISO PERFORMANCE AND IMAGE QUALITY

D4s boast a new native ISO range of 100-25600. And an extendend ISO range of 50-409600. During the presentation, there are mentions of better high ISO noise performance, especially in the shadows/blacks of the picture. Here are a few pictures shot at high ISO. Pardon the overexposure in the last pic, that is due to my mistake of hitting the shutter speed ceiling of 1/8000 causing overexposure. All pictures are shot with no EV compensation, AWB with no bias, in matrix metering and Aperture priority mode. You can download the full size pictures with full EXIF and RAW files as labelled.

You will need have Photoshop CC installed and download Adobe Camera Raw v8.4 Release Candidate to open the D4s RAW files.
http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/cameraraw8-4-cc/

I will leave all the readers to come to their own conclusions.

 

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daredevil123

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#8
D4S VS D4 HIGH ISO 100% CROP COMPARISONS

After everyone had their fun, we managed to sit a model down in a dark corner of a small room and took shots using the D4s and D4 side by side. These shots are done with the following settings: AWB with no bias, same type of lens (Nikon 24-70 @ 70mm), same aperture. The following pictures are all 100% crops of straight out of camera jpeg fine. The model looks at the D4s (because it is more attractive??). The D4s and D4 are positioned side by side, so the angle is slightly different. D4s pictures are shot by Alex Ortega, while the D4 pictures are shot by me.



Full scene. (Red box is the 100% crop). Actual ambient lighting is lower than this. Around 1.5 stops darker.



ISO 1600






ISO 3200



 

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daredevil123

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#11
ISO 102400






ISO 204800






ISO 409600



ISO not available in D4.​
 

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daredevil123

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#12
D4S RAW FILE CONVERSION

I managed to get one of the RAW files converted using ACR 8.4RC. And here are the results. I thought the results are pretty impressive.

File name: DSC_042.NEF ISO 25600

Straight out of camera JPEG with no adjustments
full size here: http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3704/12769423445_0aa24ee919_o.jpg


Straight RAW conversion with no adjustments
full size here: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7340/12793091304_267da2ee1d_o.jpg


RAW conversion with Exposure -1.0. No other adjustments.
full size here: http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3725/12792657525_27c70c0546_o.jpg


RAW conversion with Exposure -1.0 and Noise Reduction Luminance +30. No other adjustments
full size here: http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5520/12792762613_df0e904b2b_o.jpg


CS Member Light Machinery had a go at the RAW file using NX2 and here is the result.
Simply fantastic! One of the cleanest ISO25600 picture I have ever seen. (posted with permission)

full size here: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7383/12794391475_d06b8e5940_o.jpg
 

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jbart

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#13
Thanks Albert and Alex for this posting! very helpful. A quick review of these images shows a very big difference in sharpness and clarity between them. It looks like you used all of the same settings on the camera, but was the glass the same? The D4S images look soft and I don't know if is maybe a little out of focus or the glass was not as good? It could also be the default settings potentially..... the high ISO images you've posted are fantastic.....
 

daredevil123

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lil red dot
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Thanks Albert and Alex for this posting! very helpful. A quick review of these images shows a very big difference in sharpness and clarity between them. It looks like you used all of the same settings on the camera, but was the glass the same? The D4S images look soft and I don't know if is maybe a little out of focus or the glass was not as good? It could also be the default settings potentially..... the high ISO images you've posted are fantastic.....
Thanks jbart!

Just to clarify, after the test shots were done, I realized there are a couple of points we missed as we were rushing a bit to get the test shots in. The purpose of this comparison is not meant to be scientific anyway, since we have restrictions on time and place. The points to note are:

1. Both cameras are set to High ISO NR Normal.

2. The 24-70 lenses used are not the same lens. The 24-70 mounted on the D4s belongs to Nikon Singapore, while the one mounted on the D4 is my personal property. No focus checking/tuning was done on the D4s, while my D4 and 24-70 has been my bread and butter combo for a while now.

3. The SD picture style was used in both cameras, but the sharpening in my D4 is set 2 notches higher (at 7). I missed this one setting before starting the quick test shots.

4. We found that both cameras are returning slightly different shutter speeds in some situations. So we decided to use Aperture priority mode instead. If anyone is interested, the D4s returned a slightly longer shutter speed than the D4 at some ISOs. We have no idea if this is due to a difference in metering, or due to the different angle.

Hope this helps!
 

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jeff7id

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Oct 15, 2008
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#15
Thank you Mr Lim and Mr Ortega for sharing.
I am agree that at high ISO noise performance of the D4s is at least 3/4 to 1 stop better than the D4 at very high ISO.

Nikon have done a very great job to remove the green tint in the High ISO photos :thumbsup:
 

daredevil123

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lil red dot
#16
Thank you Mr Lim and Mr Ortega for sharing.
I am agree that at high ISO noise performance of the D4s is at least 3/4 to 1 stop better than the D4 at very high ISO.

Nikon have done a very great job to remove the green tint in the High ISO photos :thumbsup:
Actually we want to thank Nikon Singapore for their support and for staying after the end of the event to let us do our quick test shots. Also thanks for the launch event. We wish Nikon all the best with the D4s. I am very sure the D4s will be very well received. It is an awesome camera!
 

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jbart

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#17
Thanks for the clarification - The sharpness settings are certainly the difference I imagine.

The actions shots of the carts are fantastic and it's clear the high ISO noise reduction is now being taken to the next level. Great news for us low-light shooters!
 

daredevil123

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#18
Thanks for the clarification - The sharpness settings are certainly the difference I imagine.

The actions shots of the carts are fantastic and it's clear the high ISO noise reduction is now being taken to the next level. Great news for us low-light shooters!
You're welcome! It could be anything really... especially the lenses on the demo floor are not brand new, but are career demo lenses.

For me, the new AF system is the biggest improvement I see. This is one AF that is capable of keeping up with the 11 fps continuous shooting speed. I personally think too many people are fixated on ISO performance.
 

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undergrd

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#19
Thanks for the review Albert and Alex. Esp on the focusing capability of the beast - its brilliant!
 

Feb 5, 2014
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#20
Drooling on hearing the focusing capability... And that 11fps demo is... :mad2: