Thursday, 13 September 2012 me anyway

I have recently pulled the trigger & upgraded my venerable old Nikon D2x to a D4. Over the last 4-5 years, since the D3 came out, I have been secretly yearning for the fantastic high iso performance of the fore mentioned model. Tied to ISO 400 or lower in order to keep the noise under control, I was struggling to get a decent shutter speed to freeze the action, especially during the frequent dull , rainy days of this summer.
The auto focus system of the D2x also is slow & clunky & dare I say unreliable against todays bottom of the range DSLR's.
 Despite all these short comings, I feel I have found work arounds to most of these issues & got results the hard way. Having used it for so long, I know its moods & can second guess how its going to react when I press the shutter button. If I end up with a crap result, its because I have caused it.
The D4 came out of the box & superficially it looks the same as the D2x. A few buttons have moved & some have been added, but it still feels the same. Thats about where the similarities end! Now I have only had the chance to use it a couple of times so far, so this is really just my first impressions. After spending a couple of hours with a manual the size of a phone book, I had got it to a stage where I felt I had it set to my liking. By now the batteries were also fully charged & off I went to give it a go.
All I can say is WOW!
The first thing that struck me like a hammer blow to the head was the autofocus. It locked on straight away & stayed locked. Revelation 1- The AF works straight away even with a 2x teleconverter attached (giving an aperture of F8).
Because I was using a 2x TC, & the light was crap, I had bumped the ISO up to 1600. Revelation 2- The high ISO image quality is fantastic. At 1600 the D4 images are as clean or more probably cleaner than my D2x on ISO 400.
The 3rd thing that I noted was the lack of blown highlights. Revelation 3- The D4 sees much more like we humans do. Dynamic range is far better than the D2x.
Now, some of you guys that have kept pace with the constant upgrades over the last few years, probably wont find these revelations a very big deal, but I had high expectations of this new camera & so far they have been blown clear out of the water.
Even so, I am finding it very hard to part company with the old girl. I think I will end up trying to sell her, but if I don't get what I want, she can sit on the shelf in the cupboard. I have a job in mind for her that she excels at & can come out of retirement a few times a year. What is that you may ask? Just keep an eye on the bug galleries!

Heres a few shots taken with the D4 (all IIRC at ISO 1000 & above). Please click on the images below to see a slightly larger version.

Osprey at Hawkridge reservoir

Swallow at Huntspill river 

Spotted Crake at Greylake

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant stuff Rob. Glad you've got your new camera. Well done getting two of the local targets under your belt as well. I might have a go at the weekend.

    Cheers, Tim