Nikon D4 hands-on

Nikon's long-awaited flagship DLSR showed up at CES and we got some one-on-one time

Nikon D4 vs Canon EOS 1D X – CES 2012

The two titans of camera kit – Nikon and Canon – went head to head showing off their latest flagship DSLRs at CES. Since we got up close to the Canon EOS 1D X when it launched in November, the excitement was brewing to see what killer-specced hardware Nikon had up its sleeve.

The Nikon D4 has been the subject of camera fanboy rumours for the best part of five years now – but Nikon's stuffed the successor to the D3 with so many tweaks and upgrades that we're sure any photographer worth their salt will forgive and forget any tardiness – and start selling off the rest of their gear to get hold of this £4,800 DSLR.

Nikon D4 – specs

Specs-wise you should know the score by now. Nikon's latest DLSR has a new 16.2MP CMOS sensor, quicker EXPEED 3 processing system and 1080p at 30 fps video skills.

And the D4 certainly looks like it means business. Geared towards professional sports and news photography bods, Nikon's added plenty of manual controls round the back and ports on the sides to ramp up the convenience factor of taking, editing and sharing snaps in high-pressure situations with this 16.2MP beast.

Nikon D4 – controls

Alongside the new 3.2in LCD screen there's a microphone input, a headphone socket to listen to 1080p video playback, and slots for both CompactFlash and XQD memory cards. Not one for amateur holiday snaps, then – but Nikon seems to have thought of all the kit a photographer needs and stuck it into one super-cam.

And even with the second shutter button for portrait mode and more joystick-style controls, the Nikon D4 doesn't feel cluttered with manual buttons and dials because it's so massive. But with a battery and XQD memory card in place, the D4 will trouble your guns at just over 1kg – so if you're serious about getting that perfect shot, you'll want a tripod.

Nikon D4 – 'Night Vision'

Nikon's billing the D4 as a night-vision cam that can take great photos even in moonlight, thanks to an ISO range of just 50 up to a whopping 204,800 with AF detection to -2 EV – improving on the D3's capabilities. Illuminated buttons will also help your night-stalking – we mean reportage.

Until we arrange a midnight safari to test out what the D4's capable of, we'll hold out on judging its photo quality – but look out for a full review before the Nikon D4's mid February release date.

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