Beautiful images, fast handling...
October 31, 2013 12:52
I pre-ordered this camera, and have now had it for about two months and taken over 10,000 shots with it. I'm upgrading from a Nikon D700. I'm not a pro, but I do occasional commercial jobs. I've updated this review several times, and will continue to do so as needed.
Vertical orientation: Nice. The vertical grip isn't nearly as contoured as the main horizontal grip -- there's just not as much stuff to grab your hands onto (no deep pockets for your fingertips). Too bad. But when holding it for any length of time, it's sure a lot easier than holding twisting my arm above my head and rotating the camera. Note that the vertical grip has a programmable button on it, which I use for Mode (A/S/M/P). I understand the D3s didn't have this, which seems crazy -- I use it all the time. I wish the vertical grip had all the buttons as the main grip does -- e.g., there's only one programmable button, so if you want to use it for Mode, then there's no way to change EV +- while vertical, or start taking a movie. Also, I wish the two function buttons (DoF preview, and the one above it) were replicated in vertical mode. They're not, which is silly -- there's room right there for them.
I shoot one-handed a lot, at events where I have a flash in one hand an a camera in the other (using a set of PocketWizards). I thought the weight of the D4 would make this harder. But no: when holding it vertically, the D4 is a lot easier to manage than the vertical D700. (I never had a vertical grip for the D700, so I can't compare.) Even holding it horizontally, the larger grip makes it easier to manage the D4 than the D700 one-handedly -- it makes the camera honestly feel substantially lighter. One gripe: the vertical joystick for adjusting the focus point is still a bit too much of a stretch to use with one hand.
Shutter: yep, it's 10 fps. Let it rip! Great for capturing faces of both kids and adults at just the right moment.
General ergonomics and build quality: Great. Totally solid.
Weight: Having never had a pro-sized body before, I feared it'd be too heavy. But no: once you throw a 70-200 2.8 on there, the difference between this and a D700 is pretty small, certainly not a big deal. I carry it around on an Op Tech slider strap bolted into the tripod port, plenty stable and strong.
Battery: 2000+ shots (including lots of live view and some movies), and it's down to half. That's plenty of capacity for me. The charger is a real monster to carry around, about 4x the size of a D700 charger, too big to just slip in a pocket. One BIG PROBLEM: after charging it the second time, I had the camera turned on and sitting out overnight. The next morning, the battery was completely dead. I have no idea what happened -- the D700 never ever did this to me. Was the camera turned so the AF was being pushed all night? Or is there a bug in the auto-off? No idea, but I'll post if it happens again. (Update: This has now happened to me three times, where the battery has gone from 100% to 0% overnight. Very frustrating. The first time I thought it was because the camera was in my bag and the AF-On button was being pressed, so it was trying to focus all night long. But that's not it, since it was on a shelf the other two times. Since I don't see others who have had this problem, I'm sending it back to Nikon for service.)