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Andrew Reid

A very short Nikon D4S review - poor video quality yet again!

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I decided to get my hands on a Nikon D4S at a local store in Berlin, to see if the much hyped 'new image processor' gives a real improvement in video quality. Nikon have made a lot of marketing noises about this 'HD-SLR' and video. It's a camera which according to their management "started out as a small update but became much bigger". Hmm.

This isn't a comprehensive review of the D4S, rather it seeks to answer one simple question that Nikon themselves so far have been dodging. Has video got better on it?

Read the full article here

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The world has moved on, and Nikon hasn't.  The days when most people wanted just a still camera or just a video camera are over.  The public has seen that a cell phone can take stills AND video.  People don't want to carry around two cameras.  They just don't.  Putting out a camera at this price level with crude video, equivalent to a Flip video camera, is like putting an 8 track tape player in a modern luxury car.  It makes no sense.

 

Michael

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According to interviews etc. they do understand. They also say that it is hard to get full sensor readout for such a big sensor, so aliasing is to be expected. Basically since this is just a mild facelift/update they only can do so much to the video functionality, and pray that people will still buy it while they work on the next generation camera which will hopefully be much more competitive. Meanwhile enjoy the D5300 and soon

(?) the D7200.

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I mean, I get it. They do stills... Does that mean they don't "care" about video enough to make it the best it can be on these cameras, or what..? Seems like they pushed it hard on the D800.

 

With the D800, senior Nikon people conducted a foray into the video market and asked many pros about what camera they need.

 

Did someone somewhere along the line deem it all not worth the effort?

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I think its become clear to me that there are certain camera companies who just do not care about video and never will.    FUJI is the biggest one, followed by Nikon, then Olympus.  Until we get to the point in still camera evolution where 24 continuous shots per second is a selling feature, there is no point even hoping they will come out with a decent video mode.

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I would like to see how Nikon's 1970's SLR technology fairs in an era where pros are shooting stills on 6K video cameras and consumers are shooting DSLR quality stills on smartphones.

 

Time for Nikon and the rest to get with the times.

 

I tried the Fuji X T-1 yesterday. Total claptrap video mode. Moire, aliasing, no manual control, basically THREE video related options on the whole camera. No 25p, no 24p. Just NTSC frame rates and a load of banding from a 1/250 shutter speed. No AF while shooting even! They seem chronically allergic to improvement when it comes to their video mode, no matter how high end the camera.

Also I still remember the dirty looks a Fuji product manager gave me at Photokina 2012 when I spoke to him about video, in complete contrast to the more polite product manager at Leica.

 

It is as if they see us as a real pain in their bottom.

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I doubt that pros shooting stills at 6K will happen any time soon. For sports photography, perhaps, if they are allowed to shoot video. But otherwise I'd take RAW stills over a video to grab a frame from any day. The amount of data is also way too high.

 

What I do expect to happen is that it is expected that you can shoot stills and video.

 

I doubt that it is about it being worth the effort, the D4S is simply a refresh of the D4, probably most of the camera is the same. And there is just so much you can get out of that old hardware that wasn't good for video in the first place. Besides, the D4S is more of a sports photographer camera anyway. Get a D800 instead, seems to make more sense... also since the target audience for that camera seems to be more inclined to have to shoot video.

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According to interviews etc. they do understand. They also say that it is hard to get full sensor readout for such a big sensor, so aliasing is to be expected.

If I can get a $99 Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone with a 41MP sensor, the camera companies have really run out excuses.  What are people supposed to do?  If someone has a $6000 Nikon, but needs to shoot some video, are they supposed to then get out their $99 smartphone???

 

This is why camera sales are in the toilet.  These people really need to get off their butts.

 

Michael

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I doubt that pros shooting stills at 6K will happen any time soon. For sports photography, perhaps, if they are allowed to shoot video. But otherwise I'd take RAW stills over a video to grab a frame from any day. The amount of data is also way too high.

 

 

Shooting 24-60 frames of 4-6K raw a second would be ideal for sports shooters as well as wildlife photographers.  And, yes, utilizing that capability as a hybrid film making tool would be a nice bonus, regardless of data storage issues.

 

Development is going to go there for a good reason.  And soon.  It's a useful tool.

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If I can get a $99 Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone with a 41MP sensor, the camera companies have really run out excuses.  What are people supposed to do?  If someone has a $6000 Nikon, but needs to shoot some video, are they supposed to then get out their $99 smartphone???

 

This is why camera sales are in the toilet.  These people really need to get off their butts.

 

Michael

 

The $99 is only with contract, and the contract is very expensive. Now the 1020 is quite impressive (and expensive, around 450-500 Euro in Germany), but I doubt it comes anywhere close to a DSLR, despite the high amount of megapixels. They are only there to enable a digital zoom that is actually usable, cause there is just not enough space for a zoom lens in a phone (though I'd argue that the Sony T series of cameras is pretty damn small and thin, someone just needs to combine that with a phone... even if it ends up being a bit thicker).

 

Also, if you spend $6000 on a camera you should fully be aware of what the camara is capable of. It's no secret that the D4/D4s are pure, specialized photography tools, for those who need speed. If you need video, buy a D800! It's still a very capable still camera, and it is good at video. And so will the successor be. Nikon has confirmed in interviews that they take the video market serious, though they may not release a pure video camera (yet). Olympus too seems to have realized the importance of video and is investing. Just give them time. I'm much more worried about Fuji and Ricoh Pentax, though Fuji has a nice market cut out for them, the Leica at 1/5th the price segment. They'll be fine. Ricoh Pentax though...

 

@fuzzynormal: Good luck shooting 6K raw for wildlife... especially if you have to wait for the animal to appear. I could see it in combination with some motion detection system, or a "capture the past 3 seconds and the next 3 seconds when I press the shutter" feature. But constantly recording... Or maybe a "superburst" function. Totally going to happen, I believe Casio had something like that for a while in some of their cameras. You could just record while the shutter is squeezed (with some looking back into the past perhaps).

 

Eventually we may get there, but it will take a long time. Also, at some point are photographers even needed anymore? Just point the camera at some place, press record. You can select the right moment later (instead of having to develop the skill of when to press the shutter), you can select the focus later and crop later. Great.

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It's sad to see that Nikon clearly did not have this issue in their sights at all. I have been shooting with Nikon since 1974 both in studio and field. Like many others, we tend to build a large investment in dedicated accessories and high-end glass.

 

I think the two large camps play/pray on this and it didn't entered their mind that in some point in time, .... we may just call it a day and leave home never to return.

 

I bought into m43 by way of an OMD-EM-5 a bit over a year ago. Two years ago this format of camera was below my radar. However, Good lenses, Novoflex Nikon to m43, ..... very, very good indeed.

 

The GH4 or BlackMagic will be the next "lite" investment. (only have to purchase the body!)

 

So after "40 years" of Nikon investment and support, it's time to leave this note to tell Mummy & Daddy; .. I have left home and see no reason to return.

 

Barry Manclark

Australia

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Very very nice video, looks very sharp to my eyes. If you couple this type of sharpness with 13 stop of DR and amazing low light this is a very very good image. Now for $ 6500, it is not the best investment of you do mainly video, but the people that are going to buy this camera as primarily for photo journalism/sport/wedding are going to get a very very good video camera now.

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Clearly a lot of that is shot in 2.7x crop mode which is a 1:1 crop of the full frame sensor and very sharp, but you lose the full frame look and a bundle of low light performance.

 

There's also some timelapse compiled from 16MP stills in there too.

 

So be careful what you're looking at when looking at a marketing video.

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I thought it looked great - the camera seemed to cope pretty well with the sports/action scenes.  I understand that it is a marketing video and they are only going to choose to shoot stuff that the camera can cope with but there was quite a bit of variation in there.  It might be expensive for video on its own but coupled with what is presumably a very good stills camera it doesn't seem like a bad thing at all.

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Can we get this straight please? D4S image quality in full frame video mode is a disaster. It is not an accurate video. They used the crop mode which is very sharp but only uses a 2.7x crop of the full frame sensor. Why spend $6k on this? Great stills camera, not great for video.

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Yes. But it still looks like digital puke to me.

 

No offense to the crew they did a good job making it look much better than it should be, but had they shot it on the 5D Mark III it'd have looked better especially in raw.

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