Thursday, January 19, 2012
Nikon D4 and Canon 1Dx
My considerations here are written only from the perspective of my needs and not from a general review viewpoint.
While I own both Canons and Nikons, I would most heavily consider the D4 to replace the D3 if I were to upgrade.
The key words being "if I were to upgrade".
I was thinking about this last night as I thought about the ergonomics of the Nikons versus Canons and also what the D4 would do better. Small differences here and there but nothing that makes this decision a no-brainer.
Looking at the specs, here are the few things that I could really benefit from:
-XQD slot: I love the idea of faster write speeds and thus less dependence on the buffer and less waiting overall.
-better high-ISO performance: I shoot a lot in low-light situations and would love better performance in high-ISO settings.
-A few more megapixels
But the problem is that I already have the Canon to do video. So I should really scratch that from the list. The rest of the benefits are good but only marginally better than my D3.
There is one big problem I see with the D4 and that is the battery is only rated for 2,400 shots. My D3 is rated for 4,300. This is fairly accurate because I can shoot well over 3,500 frames in a day and not drain my battery (still 1/3 left). I would be disappointed to have to change batteries halfway through the shoot.
Which begs the question, "What would Nikon need to release in the D4s for me to upgrade?"
Well first let's go back and briefly check out my D4 wishlist.
It's interesting to look at what I thought was important back then and what I think is important now. More megapixels doesn't make my current list. Wireless tethering? Nice to have, but I tether so infrequently as it stands. And when I tether I'm usually tethering with the Hasselblad. I'm happy with the histogram function now that I trust my eyes and have an additional 200k frames under my belt. Would have really loved a built-in RF trigger but that would compete with Nikon CLS so it was unreasonable to begin with. Sensor-cleaner? Bleh. I like my sensor swabs for that kind of application. Firewire 800? Too slow. Besides with XQD and faster card readers should be fine. GPS geotagging? For what?
But the two things at the top of my list still stand. I would still love to have focus points in the extremities. I would also love better autofocus in low-light situations. I'm glad I put those at the top because they represented the priority that these things have and still have to this day.
One of the things my Canon photographers have trouble with is focusing in my studio. Hell, I have a hard time focusing in my studio with the D3 sometimes. It's even more frustrating with the 5DMII and 7D.
But going back to the hypothetical question about what Nikon would have to release. Currently my limiting factors are simply write speeds, low-light autofocus, and high-ISO performance. And now that I think about it, the D4 pretty much addresses all those issues. But does it address it so much better to warrant the hefty price tag? And at the cost of battery life? The only thing that I might add to the list is better video autofocus, but judging the D4 merely as a still camera the above list pretty much sums it up.
If I really wanted to get philosophical about the upgrade question I'd ask, "What does better gear really add to my ability to create better images?" The answer to that is, "Not a whole lot..." I can think of a few things that I'd like to add to my studio as toys but there isn't any capture-side gear that I can think of that would change the way I do things or really change the quality of my images. Most of the improvements I can think of are skill/talent-related and not equipment-related. At the end of the day improving the photographer is a far better investment than improving your equipment. Unless of course you have more money than you have time and ambition (to improve). In that case, I hear Leica's got some great cameras just for you...