Melville, N.Y. -
unveiled Thursday its new flagship D-SLR - the D4, offering a substantially lighter body, and new AF advancements.
The Nikon D4, which is slated for February availability at a $6,000 suggested retail, will offer a full-frame 16.2-megapixel full-format CMOS image sensor that will shoot full-resolution images at up to a 10 fps rate.
The camera is also one of the first to support the new XQD Compact Flash memory card format, and will also offer a second traditional CF card slot.
The Nikon D4 has improved low-light performance, with an ISO range from 100 to 102,400, which can be expanded to 50 to 204,800 for both movies and stills.
The D4 also improves on the D3's color matrix metering system with a third-generation 91,000-pixel RGB sensor.
The unit takes the AF mode select switch from the D7000 and uses improved 51 AF points with 9 cross-type sensors and beefs up the AF module allowing focus with an f/8 lens and faster (up from f/5.6). The AF detection range is now down to EV-2.0.
Nikon is using a full pentaprism viewfinder with a 100 percent field of view. A new 3.2-inch 921,000-dot LCD includes auto brightness adjustment and users can zoom in up to 46x to check critical HD focus.
The video section will record pixel-for-pixel FullHD 1080p resolution with selections for 30p and 24p frame rates, and 720p at up to 60p for slow-motion work. The camera now includes support for the H.264 B frame compression scheme.
The D4 uses a contrast detect AF system for movie recording and features a low-pass filter optimized to maximize sharpness of HD video, meaning greater noise reduction when shooting full-frame movies.
In addition to manual focus, four full-time AF modes are available including normal, wide area, face detection and subject tracking, which uses fast contrast detect AF to accurately focus in live view and video recording.
Function buttons are illuminated this year, and a dedicated video button (user re-assignable) is added near the shutter release.
Nikon has also added a time lapse shooting function that combines a selected frame rate and "shooting interval" in a dedicated time lapse photography menu. Playback can be achieved with a wide variety of speeds from 24x to 36,000x while producing a fully finished movie file output for faster multimedia workflows.
The D4 supports WTSA wireless control using the optional Nikon WT-5 wireless transmitter, and features an integrated Ethernet port and HDMI output enabling output of uncompressed video.
Video shooters will benefit from a new smooth aperture control that quietly zooms the aperture blades open and shut while shooting.
At the same time, the company introduced the Nikkor AF-S 85mm f/1.8G FX format lens ($500 suggested retail).
The company said the D4 is not being produced in Thailand will not have production issues from the recent flooding situation there. But whether the company will have enough supply to meet the expected demand from Nikon-aligned professional photographers and converts remains to be seen.