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Cameras

Nikon D4s

Nikon's high-end professional SLR should be able to see in the dark thanks to its incredible light sensitivity. Plus, there's super-fast continuous shooting speed for sports lovers.

First impressions

Nikon has been rather coy about the successor to its high-end professional SLR. Sure, it appeared behind plate glass at CES and the CP+ photo expo this year, but no one was allowed to touch it or even take it out of the box. No specs were available either, which made things all the more mysterious.

Timing is everything, though. Nikon would have wanted to get the word out of the D4s' existence just in time for the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, given that its target market — sports and editorial photographers — would have the perfect testing ground for pushing the camera to its limits.

Now, with an official release and specification sheet, the rumours can be put to bed. So, what differentiates it from the D4?

In terms of radical exterior changes, well, there aren't really any to be found on the D4s. But that doesn't matter all that much when you consider the key audience for the D4s won't want things messed around from their tried and tested ergonomics.

Connectivity gets a boost to Gigabit Ethernet, though USB 3.0 is still missing from the spec sheet — a real missed opportunity for such a high-end camera. Plus, Nikon has decided to stick to its dual combination CF and XQD card slot, which is disappointing given the slow uptake in XQD and the expensive nature of the cards.

The high ISO performance on the D4 was impressive, but not nearly as good as the almost see-in-the-dark quality of the D3s. This new SLR ups the ante to a ridiculous ISO 409,600 (on the expandable Hi-4 setting). Continuous shooting speed is 11 frames per second, but instead of AF and AE (auto exposure) locked from the first frame, this now adjusts for every single frame if so desired. A new group area AF mode should bring more accurate tracking for moving subjects.

There is no boost to resolution, with the D4s maintaining its predecessor's 16-megapixel output. However, the sensor itself is a newly-designed FX model that promises better sill and video image quality in conjunction with the Expeed 4 processor. Video recording is now available at 1080/60p, 50p, 30p or 25p. Fortunately, you can get a clean HDMI output of the 1080/60p feed.

The D4s will be available in Australia from 6 March, though as per usual no local retail price is set. Instead, it's up to dealers to price the camera at their discretion. To give you some idea of the US pricing, the body will retail for US$6499.

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