Nikon D4S Hands-On Extreme Low Light Test

  By Jordan Drake

The Nikon D4 was an amazing camera, but we were underwhelmed by the video performance. With the new D4S arriving, could Nikon have the most well rounded DSLR in the world? To find out, we brought in the mighty Nathan Elson, to shoot studio portraits with a 3 candle lighting kit!

Special Thanks to Nathan Elson and Adita Video

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Filmed and Edited by Jordan Drake

The Nikon D4 was one of our favourite cameras at TCSTV, so much so that we dedicated 2 episodes to the camera, the initial sneak peak and our Low Light Field Test. It was one of the most well-rounded stills cameras ever made, and Chris and I both loved the images it could produce. It did still have one serious Achilles heel, and that was the HD video quality. The video resolution of the D4 was very close to the D3S, which only shot 720P! As all the recent Nikon cameras (except the Df) have had excellent video quality, I was excited to see if the D4S could be the most complete DSLR package on the market.

Since it didn’t fit into our schedules to do a full day field test, we decided to run a few tests around the store and in the evenings. For the AF tests, my friends at Adita video allowed me to run some AF and slow motion tests while they were filming. I also really wanted to emphasize the incredible low light performance, and Nathan Elson was good enough to come out and push the D4S to its limits with our candlelight portrait shoot.

The video was filmed on the Sony FS700, with a Tamron AF 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD for the lit portions, and a Canon 35mm F1.4 for the candlelight sequence. The Metabones Speedbooster really helped here, giving me the light gathering ability of an F1.0 lens. I’m amazed at how good the video footage looks considering the circumstances.

As you can see in the video, the Nikon D4S is an incredible stills camera. While I’m still disappointed by the video capture, if you’re a Nikon shooter looking for the very best low light and action camera, you can’t do better than the D4S.