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Still image shooting functions

Phenomenal speed and accuracy

Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus sensor module

Experience the speed needed to keep fast-moving subjects in focus. With the introduction of the Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX autofocus sensor module, AF performance reaches new heights. Like its predecessor, the D4's sensor module utilizes 51 strategically placed AF points that are designed to capture the subject in a variety of ways: by working together like a net to capture moving subjects or for pinpoint accuracy, by using a single AF point to home in on the exact place on the chosen subject. All 51 AF points of the D4 are usable with every AF NIKKOR lens of f/5.6 or faster. The D4 delivers high performance even in extremely low-lit situations. AF detection is fast and accurate down to an impressive -2 EV (ISO 100, 20°C/68°F), which is approximately the physical limit of human visibility through an optical viewfinder. Consistent, reliable performance can be expected at night stadium assignments, in poorly lit indoor arenas, theaters and any other low-lit venue. You can also choose to shoot with Nikon's classic 11 focus points for quicker focus-point selection.

51 focus points
Nikon's classic 11 focus points

15 cross-type sensors in the central area and 11 focus points compatible with f/8

The D4 aligns its 15 cross-type sensors in the central viewfinder area to detect contrast in both vertical and horizontal lines for better AF performance. Each cross-type sensor is responsive with f/5.6 and provides its full performance with all AF-NIKKOR lenses. Moreover, the five central focus points and three points to the left and right of them in the middle line are compatible with f/8. Stress-free focusing is realized with the 1.4x or 1.7x teleconverter and precise focusing is possible even with the effective aperture value of f/8 by combining a 2.0x teleconverter with super-telephoto NIKKOR lenses, that are frequently used for sports shooting. This delivers a new level of potential when shooting distant subjects, such as sports or wildlife.

Available focus points according to aperture

Compatible with f/5.6
Compatible with aperture slower than f/5.6 and faster than f/8
Compatible with f/8

Perform as cross sensors.

Perform as line sensors.

AF modes and AF-area modes

The D4's autofocus functions cover various shooting situations such as portrait, landscape, photojournalism and sports. The D4 employs two autofocus modes and four AF-area modes that can all be switched using the AF-mode button and command dials without leaving the viewfinder.

Two autofocus modes

-Single-servo autofocus (AF-S)
For stationary subjects. The focus locks when the shutter-release button is pressed halfway. The shutter cannot be released if focus is not achieved.

-Continuous-servo autofocus (AF-C)
For moving subjects. The camera focuses continuously while the shutter-release button is pressed halfway; if the subject moves, the camera will engage predictive focus tracking to determine the final distance to the subject and adjust focus as necessary.

Four AF-area modes

Single-point AF mode

-Single-point AF
Ideal for stationary subjects. The camera focuses on the subject at a selected focus point only.

-Dynamic-area AF
Dynamic-area AF allows you to choose from 9, 21 or 51 points. The selected AF point and the surrounding points cover a wide area to keep your subject in sharp focus, combining with continuous-servo autofocus (AF-C) of autofocus mode. The camera will focus based on information from surrounding focus points if the subject briefly leaves the selected point. Also, the D4 enables display of focus points that assist focus operation (including 3D-tracking mode) by using custom settings menu a5 "Focus point illumination".

9 points
21 points
51 points

-3D-tracking mode
The camera maintains tracking of subjects by automatically shifting among focus points according to the subjects' movement while the shutter-release button is pressed halfway using all 51 focus points. Therefore, it is possible to shoot moving subjects in a more creative composition easily. By utilizing subject tracking of the Advanced Scene Recognition System, the D4 recognizes fine patterns of the subjects that are tracked with selected focus points to achieve highly accurate and stable subject tracking.

3D-tracking mode
Auto-area AF mode

-Auto-area AF mode
The camera detects the subject automatically using information from all focus points. Thanks to face detection during optical viewfinder shooting of the Advanced Scene Recognition System, focusing accuracy for human faces is further improved.

Focus point switch in horizontal/vertical shooting position

The D4 enables you to use a designated focus point in a horizontal/vertical position by using custom settings menu a10 "Store points by orientation". If YES is selected, separate focus points can be selected for "wide" (landscape) orientation, for "tall" (portrait) orientation with the camera rotated 90° clockwise, and for "tall" orientation with the camera rotated 90° counterclockwise. Select NO to use the same focus point regardless of camera orientation.

Faster to the winning frame: high-speed continuous shooting with large buffer

The D4 is built for speed, but not for speed alone. The D4's readiness and agility go hand in hand with incomparably accurate control of shutter speed, aperture value, autofocus detection and tracking, auto exposure, auto white balance and other control options that get photographers closer to capturing the decisive moment than ever before. Expect approx. 10-fps shutter bursts with full AF and AE performance in FX format. The frame rate can also be boosted to up to approx. 11 fps*1,2 in FX format. The camera's large buffer memory allows shooting up to approx. 100 frames*3 in RAW and up to 200 frames*4 in JPEG (when using SONY XQD Memory Card H series QD-H32 with 32 GB capacity). This enables photographers to maintain high-speed continuous shooting without worrying about buffer memory capacity – a real advantage that cannot be measured by fps rates alone.

  • *1The frame rate assumes continuous-servo AF, manual or shutter-priority auto exposure, a shutter speed of 1/250 s or faster, and other settings at default values. Frame rate may drop at extremely small apertures (high f-numbers) or slow shutter speeds, when vibration reduction (available with VR lenses) or auto ISO sensitivity control is on, or when the battery is low.
  • *2In continuous high-speed mode at 11 fps, some of the second and subsequent shots in each burst may not be in focus and exposure may not accurately track poorly lit subjects.
  • *398 frames on average, image quality: 12-bit compressed RAW, under test conditions established by Nikon.
  • *4Image quality: JPEG (fine/Medium)

Faster response that supports comfortable shooting

The D4's speed runs across its entire workflow. The camera is ready to shoot in approx. 0.12 s*1, and release time lag is minimized to a mere approx. 0.042 s*1. The camera's precise sequential mechanism has been redesigned to reach approx. 10/11 fps even more accurately, and optimum card recording speed is ensured with the CF card compatible with UDMA 7, and the next-generation recording media, the XQD memory card, that can be set simultaneously with dual card slots. The XQD memory card's read/write speed is 125 MB/s*2. High-speed data transfer to a PC is achieved with the XQD memory card reader*3 that supports USB 3.0, delivering outstandingly faster workflow. The D4's powerful data communication and control system makes both wired and wireless LAN file transfer speeds both faster and easier than ever.

  • *1Based on CIPA Guidelines.
  • *2SONY XQD Memory Card H series QD-H32 with 32 GB capacity. Under test conditions established by SONY; may vary according to measurement conditions.
  • *3SONY XQD Memory Card Reader MRW-E80. Under test conditions established by SONY.

Fast initial AF detection

The D4's AF is designed to work as fast as a professional's reflexes. Its faster initial AF detection captures decisive moments like never before, which is advantageous when there is not enough time to press the shutter-release button halfway to focus, or if the subject moves fast or appears unexpectedly. It is especially capable in sports photography. Volleyball, soccer, track and field and swimming – no matter what the sport, the D4 is ready. Also, a new "Focus+release" option is provided as an AF-C priority selection. This option prioritizes focus over release in the first frame, and then prioritizes frame rate from the second frame, when shooting a low-contrast and low-lit subject. It is effective for high-speed continuous shooting with the emphasis on the focusing rate of the first frame.

Highly accurate shutter unit and sequential control mechanism, tested for durability to 400,000 cycles on a fully assembled camera

For the utmost reliability and performance, the D4's shutter and sequential control mechanism have been tested to 400,000 cycles on fully assembled cameras. The length of time required for up and down of the mirror is shortened by both reducing the weight of the mirror components and faster movement. Furthermore, thorough tuning of the mirror balancer minimizes the unwanted bounce of the mirror's down movement to allow extended AF and AE detection time. All this results in highly precise autofocus, subject tracking and exposure control even in 10 fps high-speed continuous shooting. Also, since the mirror is in a stable down position for a longer duration, the finder image is easier to view.

Self-diagnostic shutter monitor

The D4's shutter speed ranges from 1/8,000 s to 30 s. To sustain precise shutter operation throughout the mechanism's life span, the D4 incorporates intelligent shutter monitor technology. Continuous tracking of shutter movement is done in-camera. Should any shutter speed variance be detected, the camera automatically performs correction procedures to adjust between the actual speed and the correct shutter speed.

Newly developed high-speed and high-precision sequential control mechanism [NEW]

The D4 employs a new sequential control mechanism that drives the shutter, mirror, and aperture independently. As a result, approx. 11 fps high-speed continuous shooting is realized in FX format. Also, shutter release can be operated without mirror-down movement during live view to deliver quieter shooting with reduced shutter-release sound. And as aperture control operates via the stepping motor, power aperture is enabled during movie live view.

Auto shutter speed control for auto ISO

The D4 comes equipped with an auto option that automatically controls minimum shutter speeds and ISO sensitivity combinations based on the focal length of a lens being used. When fitted with a telephoto zoom lens, the camera can automatically choose a shutter speed to minimize camera blur for the selected focal length. Auto ISO sensitivity can be directly accessed via the ISO button and sub-command dial.

Glass prism optical viewfinder with approx. 100% frame coverage

The D4 offers approx. 100% frame coverage for FX format, with a viewfinder that is designed to minimize visual fatigue over long periods of use. The approx. 0.7x magnification enhances the confirmation of every visual element in the frame. The large, bright viewfinder image and focusing screen are carefully designed to aid precise focusing in both manual and autofocus modes. In addition, grid lines can optionally be placed across the viewfinder for accurate vertical and horizontal orientation. Furthermore, the viewfinder eyepiece coated with thermal shield finish supports comfortable viewing in more diversified situations. 

Viewfinder display (All indications shown for demonstration purposes)
Glass prism

Details in highlight and shadow: Active D-Lighting upgrades

When working with extremely high-contrast lighting that exceeds the camera's dynamic range, and when movement in the subject or background is inherent in your images, the D4's upgraded Active D-Lighting helps to maintain highlight details. In addition to the conventional range of settings, the D4 now includes one additional "extra high" option for more versatility when facing harsh and difficult lighting conditions.

Fully saturated, high-contrast images: HDR (High Dynamic Range)

In addition to Active D-Lighting, the D4 offers an HDR mode that is ideal for capturing a scene that has an extremely wide dynamic range. Most suitable for landscapes, interiors and studio work, in this mode the D4 shoots two frames in a single shutter release: one overexposed, and the other underexposed. The two are then instantly combined to create a single image that encompasses the full dynamic range of the original scene with reduced loss of detail in highlights and shadows even in high-contrast conditions. The resulting images are fully saturated and display a rich tonality compared to those normally produced by HDR, even in a high-contrast shooting situation that requires additional image manipulation. The exposure differential of the two images can also be extended by up to 3 EV, while the smoothness of the edge where the two exposures meet can be adjusted.

Quiet and silent modes during live view photography

When shooting in situations that are sensitive to the sounds of a camera shutter, the D4 live view feature offers two solutions. The quiet mode keeps the mirror in the up position. When using the silent mode, the mirror remains up and the shutter remains open, which can be useful during events such as concerts and conferences. Silent mode* enables high-speed continuous shooting at either 12 fps (in CL mode) or 24 fps (in CH mode) for 2.5 megapixel files.

  • *Maximum frame size is 1,920 x 1,280 pixels in silent mode. Image quality is fixed at JPEG fine.

Shoot with multiple formats in one camera: Image area options

The D4 offers four image area options: FX format (36.0 x 23.9 mm), 5:4 (29.9 x 23.9 mm), 1.2x (29.9 x 19.9 mm), and DX format (23.4 x 15.5 mm) with all cropped image areas visually masked in the viewfinder. DX format offers an angle of view equivalent to approx. 1.5x lens focal length, useful for creating an extension to the focal length of an existing lens. When a DX NIKKOR lens is used, DX format is automatically selected. 1.2x crop gives an angle of view equivalent to approx. 1.2x lens focal length, suitable for getting closer to subjects while maintaining sufficient image size. 5:4 enables shooting in an aspect ratio of 5:4.

FX format
1.2x crop
DX format