Nikon D4 Digital Camera Review$5,999.95
The Nikon D4 renders motion beautifully, with very little trailing or signal interference, and little visible artifacting in the image. It produces a nice sharp image that just barely out-renders the Canon 5D Mark III for sharpness. In our motion test, which you can see below (through youtube's unfortunate compression), the biggest issue is with the monochrome pinwheel. The RGB pinwheel doesn't have as much of the usual bleeding that we see. More on how CamcorderInfo tests motion.
Compared to the Canon 5D Mark III, motion isn't much different, though the bump in sharpness is noticeable. The Mark III offers both IPB and ALL-I compression, which can be a real boon to professional workflows, but the actual quality of video was very close. We were particularly impressed with the gradual and subtle falloff in the shadows on the D4, with both cameras also keeping colors very accurate despite these tougher, high-contrast shooting conditions.
The Nikon D4 was able to render 700 LPPH vertical and 600 LPPH horizontal sharpness in our test video under bright, 3000lux shooting conditions at 1080/30p. In the cropped 1080/30p mode the lens produced a more narrow field of view while we found that sharpness improved slightly, but still wasn't able to render more than 700 LPPH in either direction. For comparison's sake, high-end consumer camcorders in the $1000 and up range consistently produce 900+ LPPH of sharpness, though without the benefit of narrow depth of field.
Moire was significantly improved on the D4 over previous Nikon cameras. The 1080p crop mode did produce somewhat less moire than the full frame shot, though all the videos had some visible moire at frequencies between 700-1000 LPPH. We haven't done any extensive editing to the D4's footage, so there's still the question of how well it holds up to color grading, sharpening, and other facets of post-production. More on how CamcorderInfo tests video sharpness.
Under 60lux lighting conditions we found that sharpness dropped only slightly, producing 600 LPPH horizontal and 625 LPPH vertical sharpness. This occasionally improved at specific angles with the 24-70mm lens, but never to any significant degree. You may have better results with a different lens, as we also got a somewhat soft image from the lens in our still sharpness testing.
Low Light Sensitivity
To put it completely plainly: the Nikon D4 can see in the dark. In our low light sensitivity test we shoot a standard white/black target and use a waveform monitor to detect at what lux level the camera produces an image of less than 50 IRE. With our lux meters reading 0 lux (with our eyes still able to see the chart), the D4 still produced an image of 70-80IRE. Human vision is limited to around 0.3lux and the image did bottom out once we turned the lights almost completely off. With the option to shoot video at the extreme ISO speed of 204,800, these results aren't a huge surprise, but it's still an incredible showing from the D4.