DxOMarks tests the Nikon D4s—but it’s no real change from the D4


posted Monday, March 10, 2014 at 12:16 PM EDT


When Nikon debuted the D4s, one of the promises of this high-end piece of gear was that even though it has the same megapixel count as the D4, it uses a new sensor, paired with a new processor. But DxOMark has just released its review from testing the Nikon D4s, and found a camera that varies little from its predecessor.

As the review puts it:

Compared to its predecessor the scores are very similar, suggesting the sensor is ostensibly the same. At base sensitivity, the D4s appears only slightly down in color sensitivity, but that equates to around a -1/3 of a stop. Things have improved in dynamic range though.
The Nikon D4s can boast of a +1/2 stop improvement over the earlier model, and there’s a marginal improvement in low-light performance up from ISO 2965 to 3074, not that you’d notice in real word use. Although it’s a little disappointing perhaps that Nikon didn’t somehow wring more out of this sensor, it’s important to remember this is an exceptionally high performance.

So there are incredibly minor variations from the older D4, and while the D4s did very well for low light, it's still behind both the Nikon Df and the Nikon D3s in DxOMark's testing.

As always, there's a lot more to the tale of a camera than just which has the best image quality score (especially with a minor variance like this). The new processor on the D4s gives it something of a speed boost, and there's also a different feature set, aimed at a different user type, than the original D4. But for those hoping for major low light improvements over the D4, this is a disappointing result. And it looks like the Nikon Df will retain its title of the best available light shooter around.