A D4 came from Calumet today, packed in Styrofoam peanuts (not my favorite buffer material) that smelled of mothballs. Traditional gold Nikon box. Upon opening it, the first thing that attracted my eye was an envelope on top labeled “XQD” which contained a 16 GB Sony XQD memory card, an XQD reader (also from Sony), a USB cable which mates to the XQD reader using a connector I’ve never seen before, manuals for all of the above in many languages, and warranty card.
The next thing down was the Nikon warranty card and two sets of manuals for the camera itself, one in English, and one in Spanish. Packed with the Spanish manual was a CD containing ViewNX2 software. The usual Nikon camera strap-cum-billboard was the last thing in the cardboard tray at the top of the box.
Removing the cardboard tray gave access to a box containing cables and a battery charger. The battery charger is identified as MH 26. As is the usual Nikon practice, the battery was not attached to the battery door/retainer installed on the camera. The camera itself was packed in a formfitting cardboard nest made of material similar to that from which an egg carton is constructed, though heavier.
I took the battery door off the camera, removed the white plastic cover from the end of the battery, and snapped the battery door onto the battery in the usual Nikon D series manner. The battery identified itself as EN–EL 18, 10.8 V, two ampere-hours. This compares with the battery for the D3s, which is EN – E4a, 11.1 V, two and a half ampere-hours. Though both are lithium-ion batteries in both are approximately the same shape, the connector on the end of the new battery pack goes toward the front of the camera and the connector on the end of the old battery pack goes toward the back of the camera. Therefore, there’s no danger that you’ll insert a new battery in the old camera or vice versa. Because the batteries are different, all users of the new camera will have to buy a new set of spare batteries, and, if you want to swap them in quickly, new battery doors, one for each battery.
I immediately noticed that the D4 seemed substantially lighter than the 3s. I weighed the two cameras and found that there’s only a 3 ounce difference. I guess I’ve spent enough time holding the D3s that I’m sensitive to the small weight difference; it makes holding the D4 a pleasant experience.
I opened up the back of the camera, and installed a CompactFlash card in the number two position and the substantially smaller XQD card in the number one position. The pins on the XQD card are few and fairly deeply recessed, but it’s easy to tell which end is which because there’s a little lip on the end that is opposite from the one with the pins on, similar to, but smaller than the lip on a CompactFlash card.
I turned the camera on, and walked-through all option screens. One of the first was a nice battery condition screen. The batteries shipped with the charge of 19%, so I’m going to have to charge it before I do some much shooting. The battery information screen, in addition to the charge of the battery, also gives the age of the battery and the little symbols indicate that Nikon expects you to replace the battery after four years.
In the setup menu, there’s a new set of screens to configure the network connections On the left-hand side of the camera, where all of the other ports are, there’s a standard RJ-45 Ethernet socket.
I entered my name into the appropriate copyright field, but I made a mistake, and I was unable to figure out how to delete the wrong characters; I guess I have to read the manual for that. I changed the file naming prefix so that I can have 100,000 unique images instead of the 10,000 that the standard file naming gives. I changed the primary slot selection to the CompactFlash card slot and set the secondary slot function to overflow.
I set the image quality to RAW. Amazingly, in camera like this, the default is JPEG normal. I set the raw bit depths to 14 bits, changed the color space to Adobe RGB (standard is sRGB, again, not what you’d think would appeal to most users of a camera like this), turned automatic ISO sensitivity control on (that’s for the Staccato work), set the maximum sensitivity to High-4 (also for the Staccato work) I made some other changes that are unusual, but so it’s the way I intend to use this camera. When I was done with all that, I checked the battery information again I still had 17%, so I decided to take a couple pictures.
Cursory examination of the first pictures in the LCD on the back of the camera indicated nothing amiss. Using the zoom control in playback works differently than it does in the D3x and the D3s; successive depressions of the zoom button zoom in rather than having to hold the button down and rotating the thumbwheel.
Having run the battery down, I took it out, and put it in the charger. One nice thing that Nikon has done to keep you from getting confused between the old and new batteries is to make the new batteries gray instead of black. If you have batteries in your hand you will know immediately which camera and which charger they go into.