For me the king of them all! The Nikon D4 By Villager Jim

For me the king of them all – The Nikon D4

By Villager Jim

www.facebook.com/villagerjim

Hi Steve!

After many months of avid reading i thought it time if i may to put pen to paper from here in the UK and let you know my thoughts afetr owning a D4 for a year or more. I am lucky enough to also own a D800 and a Fujifilm X100S, both of which are fantastic cameras, but for me above all lies the quiet king of the all – the D4.

I enjoy with a passion wildlife photography , which of course, like sports photography requires at certain times the quickness and speed of reaction that cameras like this simply move away into a league of their own above the snapping and snarling frenzy of the mid range pack. But this short piece isn’t about those moments. This is about those other moments that other cameras can attain but somehow the D4 does without you or the camera taking a moment to think. I have owned 2 leica M9s , both of which i sold after trying so very hard to settle down into the world of the thoughtful and the structured, sometimes being in love with this special skill, sometimes driven crazy when so many shots went amiss because of lack of skill on my part of grabbing the moment. So many times i ended up just welling up with frustration over weeks and weeks of hard graft trying to calm myself and see this new world of photography where thought and composure fought against my constant need of seizing the moment .

So to get to the point my D4…. My D4 is simply the best camera in the world today, my D4 is by my side in 99 out of 100 situations , so strong is the need to have it with me, my D4 is simply a mechanical extension of my arm like no other. My D4 just is. And just does. I can find no better description than from a review i read someplace whilst waiting those painful months until release date, and it simply said IT JUST DOES. That for me after owning one for a year cannot describe any better the true genius of this camera, for me allowing all those ‘ thoughtful’ and ‘composed’ shots to be done , but just in a millisecond.

Thank you D4!

Jim

I am out in the wonderful Preak District countryside in the UK every single morning of my life and would ask anyone to follow my daily adventures on my facebook page at

www.facebook.com/villagerjim

Keep up the fantastic site Steve , fast becoming for me one of the top camera sites in the world today.

After The Walk

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Autumn Classic

Best Mates

Chatsworth In The Mist

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House In The Mist

Loving Swans

Napping Tawny

Skylark Supper

Topsy Turvy House

69 Comments

  1. Oh, also, that poor dog. It apears to lead very hard life indeed. I hope it gets enough rest. Just looking at that picture makes me a little drossy, in a good way.

  2. It’s great to see a post reminding us about the capabilities of professional DSLRs. I love small cameras, but I’m a hobbyist. There’s a reason pros shoot cameras like the D4 – In the hands of an artist, they can do anything!

  3. Really exceptional. I shoot with a Df and completely understand why your D4 is with you all the time. Photos 1, 7 and 9 are especially wonderful for me. May I ask your zoom lens preferrence?

    • Recently replaced Fuji toy cameras with a Df. I agree with your D4 enthusiasm. Nothing like full-frame, quality glass and a proper “engine.”

  4. Very nice work. It’s also great to see an article here about something other than the mirrorless systems. I have both a Nex 6 and an A7r, but neither can fill the shoes of my D3s to the point where I’d let it go.

  5. As, with all things, it all depends on your needs. When I was working as a newspaper shooter for a small weekly, my pair of D2H bodies were my mainstays for a decade. I even had images from those 4.1PM cameras used on billboards blown up to to around 15 feet wide. With 8fps speed and a fantastic AF tracking module, they were great for sports and other needs where speed was necessary. They were truly an extension of my hand like your D4.

    But that was then and this is now. No longer shooting for news publication (economy downturn), I have entered retirement. My needs have changed. Carrying around big pro bodies with heavy f2.8 zooms is just not needed anymore. So, I sold my beloved D2H’s to people who needed them and I went mirrorless for less weight and for different type of subject matter. Now, all I am striving toward is documenting my new home town and maybe placing some images in local establishments.

    Like I said, it all depends on your NEEDS. I no longer needed my Nikons so I went a different direction. Not better or worse, just different.

  6. Geee wizh, do you think 16MP is enough. The you have to have a least 24Mp just to create images. With 16MP can you get a print of say 4″X5″ without it looking totally awful.
    Well I guess you can. The D4 and the Df will create excellent images. Nice stuff, real easy to look at.

  7. Absolutely stunning, gorgeous, breathtaking pictures! It just oozes beauty, art, and craft. My hat off to you, Sir.

  8. Well Jim with what I saw here I went to your facebook account and enjoyed what I saw there too…so I am on board and I intend to go back to October 26, 2013…..start from there and catch-up with you…
    Excellent work !

  9. If it was a fake the windows would be the same, would they not? Also how about venetian blinds angled down in one window being a possibility?

    • My thought was that the reflection was a flipped second shot taken from a lower position to get the perspective to look right. If you just mirror the original image the perspective will be wrong. So I presumed the lights changed between shots.
      However your idea of the reflection being due to blinds is valid and could well be correct but it seems to me as if the house is far enough away that the angle of light from the window and it’s reflection would be too close to each other for one to appear completely dark and the other lit up.
      I guess I’m always a little sceptical about photos with perfect reflections in water, especially ones taken in the UK!
      That said I guess if you’re going to go to the trouble of taking two photos to fake a reflection in PS you’d probably be fastidious enough to fix any continuity issues…so my apologies if I’m wrong. The photos look great regardless…

      • argh its so annoying having someone even mantion the word fake to my photo , sorry but its nothing of the sort , ive been doing this 6 years and the only thing ive ever done in photoshop is use things like tonal contrast and lighten shadows etc , ive never faked anything in my life and that photo was how it was on that day at the river near my home so graeme i respect your thoughts but i simply dont have time or inclination to do stuff like that , i just take tons of photos every day and enjoy every minute of it 🙂

        • Sorry Jim, I’d had a few too many beers last night. Looking at my posts now is rather embarrassing. Again, great photos.

      • Internet Police are on duty today eh…….
        The world is a better place now that you’ve solved this mystery.

        You could just enjoy the images of course.

  10. Beautiful images, Jim. Thoughtful. Tranquil. And elegantly composed. The sleeping pupster is awesome.

    Thing about the pro Nikons is that while they’re big, cumbersome, and a real pita to carry around for any extended period … they just get the job done, with very little fuss, in the widest array of circumstances. And they produce files with wonderful richness and tonal depth. It’s why my D3s isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

    There are a couple of captures in this set that you would have been very hard pressed to get with a Leica M.

    The only mirrorless camera that could keep up with this variety of subjects, IMO would be the Olympus OM-D E-M1; whether the files would look as good is a matter for debate. Assuming equivalent focal lengths, DOF and FOV, at this resolution, yes, it probably could.

    Still, at the end of the day, as others have said, it’s not the tool, it’s the artisan.

      • With the right M4/3 lenses I think you can more-or-less match these shots. Remember you’ll have about 1.7 stops of additional depth-of-field when shooting wide open, but focal length, distance to subject, and subject distance to background are just as important here as shallow depth-of-field when going after those compressed animal captures.

        And if you can keep your ISO at base or 400, then you should come close to the D4 in IQ at print sizes that are A3 or below. Tonal gradation might not be quite as broad … though again, at these settings and sizes you’d probably have to really look for it.

        Certainly the Olympus OM-D will match the D4 in responsiveness and speed in the sort of light these captures were made under.

        When the light falls, however, the D4 will quickly pull away.

        • So true. I have a D800 and my EM5 and EM1 are my go to cameras. Some of the presented images IMO are over processed!

    • These are very nice pictures. But only the bird shots with telephoto are beyond an M Except for the two Swans— made to order for the Noctilux. The lovely moody and foggy landscapes are right in the M wheelhouse, But I don’t want and I am not trying to provoke one of those silly Leica vs Nikon exchanges. These were taken by a fine photographer using fine equipment. Period.

  11. Great shots, though I’m wondering why the house in the last shot has different lights on in its reflection. If you’re going to fake this stuff in Photoshop you really need to pay more attention to the details 🙂

  12. I have spent the last year trying out different systems (Fuji, M4/3) to try and find the right IQ/character for me. I have also come back to the full frame DSLR to finally find it. For myself, I do not mind sacrificing the size and weight advantages of the smaller systems in order to achieve the visual result that I am after.

  13. Beautiful images! I especially love the ones of your black lab!

    I agree, I love shooting with the D4. I was fortunate enough to own 2, one of which I sold last summer to purchase a couple of D800Es (which is more suited to my needs for beauty and fashion photography). In the past I’ve bought and sold both the M9 and the M because neither of those tools felt like a natural extension of my working style, no matter how hard I tried. I also have the Sony RX1, but don’t take that out all that much either. In the end, the Nikon pro bodies feel very comfortable to me, given my history with them (F5, D1X, D3S).

    • Some people call them plastic “blobs”, but they are formed like that a reason, as any pro can tell you. They are comfortable, natural and effortless to work with all day; the ergonomics have been thought out so well. I’m certainly not a pro, but the Df was disappointing in the handling department compared to my D800. One of the secrets to making good images I think is that the camera has to “disappear” in your hands; it has to become an extension of your hands and eyes.

  14. You like your camera, I like your place! Grew up on the edge of the Peak District and recognise some of the subjects (and the feel) in your lovely images. Thanks for the trip down memory lane and greetings from Denmark!

  15. I can’t add much to what’s already been said – truly amazing photos! You indeed have a gift – beautiful! I checked out your flicker page. You live in a wonderful location and you do an outstanding job of presenting its charms to the world. Just one little question… after seeing the photo of your wife with the 2 bales of hay, she’s not doing all the work while you’re out enjoying your camera is she? ;- )

  16. I have to agree. The D4 just “does it” like no other camera I have owned. Plus, if I am in a dicey situation I can bludgeon the assailant on the head and the camera will be unscathed. Seriously, I have owned nearly all the full size DSLR bodies from Canon and Nikon and the D4 is just in a class all its own.

    Now, can the Fuji XT-1 replace it?…. I am anxious to try it.

        • Well, as to frame rates, is that with or without continuous autofocus tracking (I dunno, haven’t looked at the Fuji specs)? What about lag on the EVF at those rates?

          As to weather sealing? Well, there’s weather sealing and then there’s weather sealing, if ya know what I’m saying?

          Don’t forget overall robustness, too. The D4 is tested to 400,000 cycles (not counting the mirror box).

          The D4 buttons on the back all illuminate to aid shooting at night.

          And on and on it goes…

          Also, the D4s is about to arrive.

          There’s a good reason for the massive price difference between the Fuji and the Nikon.

          For the money, though, the Fuji looks to be impressively spec’d out.

          • The Fuji XT-1 would compare better to the Df. The IQ would be very close, with low going to D4/Df. The Fuji XT-1 is no were near the Nikon D4, in want the D4 can hold up to and sports/action photography. Tell you what. Intr focusing, better AF and general clean up and I may get the Df over the Fuji. Just think if there was no more AA….Just think if Nikon and Fuji designed a 16-20MP sensor, Trans-X FF and used it in a camera like the Df, a good version.

          • Yes, I am not selling my D4 just yet! I am very interested in what the Fuji can do. I will write a report and share it here if Steve is interested.

  17. Great pics! A nice reminder that even as technology progresses, and we get all of these great cameras at all price points, that sometimes there is no substitute for professional grade equipment.

    It is interesting though, that in many cases, the prosumer or enthusiast or even mid level models today outperform many of the pro bodies from a few years ago.

    No doubt that in a few years, we will have cameras available at much lower prices that will match or outperform the current D4.

  18. Wish I owned a D4 as I’m sure it would suit my “moment catching” style. For now, a 5D3 and E-M1 do pretty well for handling and autofocus speed. While this site tends to focus on mirrorless, it’s refreshing to hear about passion for a DSLR.

  19. To every sculptor his choice of chisel, to every photographer their choice of camera. Your joy and gifts you possess with your D4 in hand are very well reflected in these great images.

  20. You have been blessed with the riches of owning many fine cameras. I wonder which camera I would choose if I were to have so many fine choices at my fingertips. Thanks for sharing these outstandingly beautiful pictures and your opinion of the D4.

  21. Jim, I don’t find bird pictures interesting, so I usually skip them. Your landscapes are beautiful though. I can feel your passion and love for nature and photography from these photos. Great job!

  22. Fantastic photography. I enjoyed your concise and well-written article as well. Anytime I’ve been away from using a higher-end dSLR for a while, upon return, I’m always impressed with the sheer speed and efficiency of the cameras. Granted, it’s not always about ultimate speed & efficiency in photography. But although the other types of cameras can still accomplish just as much, if you’re dealing with fleeting moments and quickly moving subjects, the pro-level dSLRs are still without equal in performance.

  23. Those are stunning images – all of them, but I would suggest it has more to do with your passion and skills than your equipment. By that statement I mean that if we both were in the same location with identical gear in our possession, you being a far better photographer than me would produce far more impressive images than I would.

    Art

  24. Very refreshing to hear someone singing the praise of a DSLR, and not hearing the “lugging around” and “huge and heavy” senseless mantra. Wonderful image quality, and I particularly like the manor in the mist pic. Judging by your morning pastime, you’re probably a very fit OAP… 😉

  25. Thank you for your post. I share the sentiment, selling the M9 bought an A7 which is a better camera but for fast dependable action I reach for the D700 and a 70-200 lens, a combination I can count on.

  26. Great shots and wonderful rich, smooth colorfoul, yet not oversaturated files. The same I get from my Df. Of course, performance wise the D4 is in another league.

  27. And yes, to the point of your review I also couldn’t agree more. While I don’t own a D4, I have tried many mirrorless cameras over the last few years and returned to the DSLR camp about a year ago with a D600. Both systems have their place, but for me a DSLR, like you’ve stated, just does what you want it to do when you want it to do it with the results you intended. I will own both systems for now.

  28. Bravo Jim, you have some brilliant shots here !!
    I had a D3x before I switched to Leica and Ricoh.
    The Dx series is a workhorse. I had mine with me in Tahiti 4 years ago, it never let me down with 35 degrees Celsius and 90% moist.
    Keep on posting man 😉

  29. Wonderful images, Jim. – and several of them would certainly have been very hard to capture with a mirrorless camera. I agree with every word you say. I myself have bought and sold numerous HQ mirrorless cameras during the past 3-4 years, trying to get into that serene and thoughtful shooting mode, but often with frustrating results (partly due to my own limitations, no doubt). I find myself tempted to join the DSLR community again (a Pentaxian at heart!).

  30. Agreed. I’ve got the Leica’s, the Sony7, and the Nikon D800, but the D4 is the one that never lets me down in all kinds of difficult light and action.
    Great images, and thanks for sharing!

  31. Crazy sick awesome. It’s nice for the big boys to come back around every now and then, as a reminder, and say, “yeah, but can you do this?”

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