Nikon announces D4 dSLR, successor to D3S pro shooter (CES 2012)

Summary:Nikon officially announces the long-rumored D4 professional dSLR, which will hit the market earlier and at a lower price than the Canon EOS-1D X.

It's an announcement Nikon followers have been predicting forever, so it's no huge surprise, but the Nikon D4 has offically arrived, adding a big-name dSLR to the growing pre-CES 2012 camera release lineup. Nikon Rumors reports that sold out of Nikon D4 pre-orders in under an hour, a testament to how little of a secret the announcement was.

Though the D4's most direct competitor, the Canon EOS-1D X, was announced in October, Nikon's flagship professional dSLR looks to just beat the Canon to market, and will sell for about $800 less, listing at $5,999.95 when it ships in late February. The18-megapixel 1D X does out-spec the 16-megapixel D4 slightly; the D4 offers a slower maximum continuous shooting speed of 11fps (vs. 14fps for the 1D X), a slighly lower resolution 3.2-inch LCD, and fewer autofocus points, but it does bring the Nikon line up to date on all fronts, including a significantly beefed up video recording mode compared to its predecessor, the Nikon D3S. In fact, somewhat like the Canon 1D X is a cross between the higher-end 1Ds Mark III and 1D Mark IV, the D4 sits between the D3S and the higher-end D3X. As the newest camera, the D4 benefits from the latest technology, of course, and is the first dSLR to support the new high-performance QXD memory card format (based on PCI Express) from the CompactFlash Association.

Here's a quick comparison of basic specs with the Canon EOS-1D X:

Nikon D4 Canon EOS-1D X
Price $5999.95 (body only), shipping in late February $6,800 (body only), shipping in March
Sensor 16.2 megapixels, 36x23.9 mm CMOS 18.1 megapixels, 36x24mm CMOS
Continuous Shooting Speed 11 fps 14 fps
LCD 3.2-inch, 920,000-dot 3.2-inch, 1.04 million-dot
Autofocus 51-point 61-point
Sensitivity ISO 100-12,800 (50-204,800 expanded) ISO 100-51,200 (50-204,800 expanded)
Storage Media 2 Compact Flash (Type I, QXD) 2 CompactFlash (Type I/II)
Movie Mode 1920×1080 (30/24 fps)/1280 × 720 (60/30 fps) 1920x1080 (30/25/24 fps)/1280x720 (60/50 fps)/640x480 (30/25 fps)
Dimensions 6.3x6.2x3.6 inches 6.2x6.4x3.3 inches
Weight 41.6 oz (body) Not available
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Janice Chen is an editorial consultant and has been covering technology for over two decades. Serving as editor in chief at CNET and Computer Shopper magazine for many years, she oversaw product coverage for the CNET and ZDNet websites. She has appeared on most of the major morning TV news programs and was featured weekly on CNN Headline... Full Bio

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