Nikon’s D4: pro tech that’ll come to consumer cameras

A little over a week ago, Nikon announced its top of the range camera geared at professional photographers and photojournalists. While that probably won’t excite you, the sort of technology Nikon has thrown in should.

The new camera is big, and what photographers tend to call a full-sized camera. You could hold this thing up to your head and it may well cover it. Featuring a 16 megapixel full-frame sensor, 51 autofocus points, Full HD movie modes, a new memory format, and a magnesium allow chassis, it’s certainly no slouch.

But we’ve got eyes for two of the features that really make the D4 interesting, with low light and wireless connectivity being of major interest to consumer cameras and phones for the next few years.

Over the past decade, we’ve seen digital cameras go from being completely useless in the dark to moderately usable, thanks to ISOs reaching up to 25,600.

Most people still use flash when they haven’t got a lot of light to work with, but the sensor found in the D4 can shoot in ISO 204,800.

If that sounds like a bunch of numbers, try reading it as shooting in the dark.

While we have yet to see images showing how strong the quality is, it’s only a matter of time before our compact cameras have this sort of low-light technology thrown in.

Then there’s the area that’s slowly being added to cameras: wireless shooting.

For the past few years, camera manufacturers have talked about wireless control of gadgets. It’s in this area, we’ve really seen Samsung do quite well, throwing in remote camera control into smartphone applications.

Nikon’s stepping it up a notch with a built-in web server in its D4 camera, making it possible for photographers to log into their cameras using a phone, tablet, or computer – anything with a web browser – and control it.

Imagine going to a school recital, setting the camera at the front, and turning on the WiFi. You go back to your seat, login to the camera on your phone, and see what it sees, snapping shots from up close without needing to get out of your seat or inconvenience other guests with your constant snapping.

And because it’s web-dependant, there’s no apps to download. All you need is a web browser, and we’ve all got one in our smartphones, tablets, and computers.

It sounds excellent, and we look forward to seeing it in more cameras down the track.