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Tools

Slugline. Simple, elegant screenwriting.

Red Giant Color Suite, with Magic Bullet Looks 2.5 and Colorista II

Needables
  • Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
    Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
    Sony
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
    Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
    Panasonic
  • TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
    TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
    TASCAM
  • The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    by Stu Maschwitz
Friday
Jan062012

Nikon D4

Looks like Nikon is starting to take video seriously with their new D4 flagship DSLR, announced yesterday.

I watched this very nice sample film by Corey Rich at 1080p and it looks great to my eye—no aliasing, no rolling shutter issues, plenty of detail, luscious “Top Gear” grading.

  • 1080p 24, 25, 30
  • 720p 60 (and presumably 50)
  • 30 minutes record time
  • H.264 B-frame, 24Mbps
  • Two different movie crop modes, DX and 1:1 (2.7x)
  • Smooth exposure adjustment while recording
  • Tracking autofocus while recording
  • External mic input with manual levels
  • Headphone jack for audio monitoring
  • Clean HDMI out (it seems)
  • Remote control via iPad/iPhone
  • MSRP $6,000, available in February

Great to have you back at the table after starting the party with the D90 Nikon.

UPDATE: The Nikon D4 is now avaiable for pre-order at B&H.

Reader Comments (22)

That remote control app for the iPad looks very cool and useful. Clean HDMI out is a big deal too.

January 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterRob Imbs

Why do you say that "it seems" it will have clean HDMI out? Is it not working yet, or something?

January 6, 2012 | Registered Commentermatt doane

Sorry to bother Stu....

H.265 B-frame, 24Mbps its H.264 B-frame, 24Mbps Misstyped the (5) :D

Big missing feature in that list is : Headphone jack with monitoring and adjustable levels.

About time Nikon took things seriously and with quality. Round 2 of HDSLRs seems to be gearing for a crazy good IQ mashup.

January 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterJames Benet

Thanks James, fixed the typo and added the headphone jack to the list.

January 6, 2012 | Registered CommenterStu

hmm.... full frame too. dammit, I don't have Nikon glass.

January 6, 2012 | Registered Commenterthelateshowwithsanjuro

Stu,

The HDMI out is clean (as far as I am aware), but the UK press release states it's 1080i

http://paul-d.tv/blog/2012/01/06/and-so-it-begins-nikon-d4-hdslr-announced/

January 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterPaul D

* full frame in video mode uses 91% of sensor width, so it is 1.1x crop, which is weird (maybe they needed that to avoid line skipping?)
* headphones port says they've been listening and are actually trying
* but internal codec seems a lot weaker than what canon is bringing in now
let's wait and see...

January 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterSamuel H

kinda soft...

but that climber is wicked

January 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterAlex Mack

Interesting. Unless (and even if) we get a 4K Canon DSLR Special, do you think the D4 may lead the pack for a bit? After all, they don't have any video cameras to defend and it seems the D4 has some decent video features. Couple the D4 with a PIX240 and I could be sitting pretty for 90% of my work.

Glad my Zeiss glass is ZF and uses EOS adapters. Now I have more choices this year! Wonder what the 'street price' will be?

January 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterJustin Benn

Samuel, I've pondered that 91% thing a bit. The only formula I can come up with that fits it is that maybe Nikon is using 5 lines and skipping 2. That would yoink a 2x 1920x1080 picture off of the D4's 4928x3280 sensor's center 91% in width, which could then be downsampled .5x.

January 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterStu

that 91% theory doesn't convince me: we really should be beyond line skipping

alternative theory:

the processor (whatever they call their digic equivalent) has a set of hardwired demosaicing algorithms, that take the original 4928x3280 bayer pattern and create jpg files of different sizes; the one closest to 1920x1080 is the algorithm that leads to 2048x1360 images
http://www.dpreview.com/articles/7799914638/nikon-d4-overview/2

run that algorithm 24/25/30 times per second, discard everything around your 1920x1080 target resolution, and encode resulting image stream to H.264
(nice thing about this is that an eventual hack could deliver 2K footage; there: no cameras anywhere for months yet and I'm already talking about a hack)

1920/2048=0.9375 - close, but still some work to do; maybe the 2048 path has a bit more deadweight than the 4928 path (I'm calling deadweight to that thing that makes your 16.6 million photosites translate into an image with 16.2 million pixels)

January 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterSamuel H

These round number frame rates, 24/30, are not correct for video that also records audio, right? So do you think these are the actual exact frame rates or did they just round them off and they actually use 23.976/29.97?

January 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterRob Shaver

And if my previous post has made you think I've got too much time in my hands...

I'm trying to go beyond CineStyle: would you tell me what you think of my new Similaar suite of Flaat picture styles?
http://www.similaar.com/foto/flaat-picture-styles/index.html

At least the whole lot of tests of other picture styles should be interesting...

January 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterSamuel H

Rob, I'm hoping the latter obviously. Good chance that's the case.

Samuel, I'll take a look. I like your thorough approach! And I like the way you're thinking about the 91% thing too.

January 8, 2012 | Registered CommenterStu

Stu, Nikon appear to have confirmed the HDMI out is 1080p !
http://pauld.tv/xyz1fY (scroll down to the Q & A)

Rob, According to the brochure the actual frame rates are indeed 23.976 & 29.97
http://pauld.tv/zdQBqz

January 9, 2012 | Registered CommenterPaul D

glad you liked my theory about 91% - unfortunately, I was waaaay too optimistic: if I understand correctly, "subsampling is only along each horizontal video line; there’s no sub-sampling between video lines." means "line-skipping, just like your current Canon does it"
http://www.eoshd.com/content/6757/live-qa-with-nikon-reveals-nikon-d4-video-shortcomings

I'm all for "wait and see", but: can we call this one dead yet?

also: I'm having a lot of fun with my Flaat picture styles, I'll post the video tests today or tomorrow

January 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterSamuel H

sorry, let's not call it dead yet: now that I've read the original Q&A, EOSHD got it very wrong, the "subsampling rows but not between rows" is just explaining how 422 works as opposed to 420 (duh!)
sorry
I'll try to keep my mouth shut for a while
"wait and see"

January 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterSamuel H

Vimeo version is sharper

http://vimeo.com/34666308

confirmed uncompressed* 4:2:2 1080 via HDMI port
* not using the in-camera H.264 compression
http://vimeo.com/34720376

New video feature called "Power Aperture" for smooth aperture control in live view that provides a steplessly open and close of the aperture.

Video is scaled down via EXPEED 3 Plus a new "P" crop mode to use pixel match to create 1080p movie with no EXPEED 3 resize.

wireless iPad/ iPhone control with touch screen focus is awesome!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP1x2DbS55E

January 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterRichard Peterson

Thanks Richard, I replaced the YouTube embed above with the Vimeo version.

January 11, 2012 | Registered CommenterStu

the video test of my Similaar suite of Flaat picture styles is online, here:
vimeo.com/34943260

some are for nice colors and easy grading, some for extended DR at cost of noise: tool for the job

January 12, 2012 | Registered CommenterSamuel H

24 Mbps.Why are they so mean? Why do hackers have always to finish the work like in GH1 and GH2?

January 14, 2012 | Registered CommenterJose Ignacio

After looking at this clip, and the blues singer piece, I'm glad I own a GH2, which gives a sharper image, and doesn't exhibit the aliasing the D4 does. $6,000 for that? Come on, Nikon, up your game in the video dept.

January 26, 2012 | Registered CommenterMark Holmes
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