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Thread: Nikon D4 vs D3s Low Light

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    Nikon D4 vs D3s Low Light

    So guys, I have decided it's time to upgrade from the beloved D3 to either the D4 or D3s, which you're going to help me decide which one to get.

    I pretty much only shoot in REALLY low light conditions, so low noise at high ISO's are a must! I know the D3s is the flagship lowlight camera, even better than the D4 from what I've heard, but it doesn't back the greatest and latest technology like the D4.

    Please let me know what you think, all opinions are appreciated!

    Regards,
    Gino

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    Re: Nikon D4 vs D3s Low Light

    I basically shoot with the D3x and the D3s. I was lucky to get a D4 and a D800/E at launch stage.

    The D800/E stayed and the D4 was re-routed to the guys at the studio and the D3x took a hike!

    Why?
    The D4 is an outstanding camera. However, it has to do with each person work flow.
    For any important shoot, it is 2 bodies with 2 different lenses plus a third body in the bag for redundancy + glass.
    This means selling the D3s's and replacing with D4's at a substantial cost difference with no practical quality gain except larger files for PP.
    What really bugged me is the different memory cards where you cannot switch easily and when shooting tethered, it is just a tad slower because of the larger file. It is a chore having 2 different sets of memory cards to switch around in the same camera.
    Add to that the batteries issue.

    There is another issue which is the slightly different controls on the D4. I do not wish to recondition myself for new camera controls and switch between 2 bodies. I will do that when all the gear is D4ish but at the moment it is a nightmare missing shots to remember where the flipping ^%"$"& is?

    The D800/E does have the new controls, but it is a camera more used for controlled shoots and thus the issue is manageable.

    In summay, both the D4 and the D3s are great cameras, we'll just wait for the D4s or whatever in couple of years when the D3s will be completely depreciated.

    In case the D4 is your only body and you are not shooting in a commercial environment, then go for it.

    I just hate the new memory card which cannot be jacked in any slot for downloads.

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    Re: Nikon D4 vs D3s Low Light

    Quote Originally Posted by Gino Troian View Post
    I know the D3s is the flagship lowlight camera, even better than the D4 from what I've heard, but it doesn't back the greatest and latest technology like the D4.
    Gino, I can only echo some exclamation I heard from a friend who's
    a pro photographer (at a high level) : he was ecstatic over his new D4
    after shooting some evening sports (IIRC), to which I questioned "...
    even compared to the D3s?" and he said that, yes, the D4 was better.

    -drofnad

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    Re: Nikon D4 vs D3s Low Light

    In my limited experience with the D4 my impressions are:
    The biggest improvement on the D4 is the AF - it is blazingly fast and accurate, even in low light. It also enable you to use TC 20EIII converters on f4.0 lenses ie AF at f8.0
    The colours and dynamic range are exceptional - the files require a lot less PP tweaking than D3 / D700 files.
    The XQD care is superb - I wish they had put 2 slots for this card in, instead of mix and match CF slot.
    Useful reports may be those of Brad Hill etc: Natural Art Images: Voice: Brad Hill Blog

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    Re: Nikon D4 vs D3s Low Light

    Thank you all for the responses, they are all very informing.

    For now, I am leaning pretty far towards the D4, due to its super fast AF and upgraded internals. I feel like the perks of the D4 outweigh the killer low noise ISO of the D3s.

    It's going to cost me a fortune getting two D4's haha. Well worth it though, as it'll pay off in the long run.

    Thank you all, I shall be a D4 owner in the coming weeks

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    Re: Nikon D4 vs D3s Low Light

    D3x took a hike? Why?

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    Re: Nikon D4 vs D3s Low Light

    Quote Originally Posted by Gino Troian View Post
    Thank you all for the responses, they are all very informing.

    For now, I am leaning pretty far towards the D4, due to its super fast AF and upgraded internals. I feel like the perks of the D4 outweigh the killer low noise ISO of the D3s.

    It's going to cost me a fortune getting two D4's haha. Well worth it though, as it'll pay off in the long run.

    Thank you all, I shall be a D4 owner in the coming weeks
    If you are getting two bodies, why not a D4 and a D3s? Then you have the best of both worlds as well as saving a bit of money.

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    Re: Nikon D4 vs D3s Low Light

    Oh well, let us know what you will buy.

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    Re: Nikon D4 vs D3s Low Light

    Enjoy your D4's - you will not regret it.

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    Re: Nikon D4 vs D3s Low Light

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    If you are getting two bodies, why not a D4 and a D3s? Then you have the best of both worlds as well as saving a bit of money.
    Yes this is true, but having two different platforms really ticks me off. I like having two of the exact same cameras. I was shooting a D700/D3 setup, even though they are practically the same, and it felt really weird. I also like having same file sizes and whatnot in post, makes the process seamless.

    Scanning ebay atm
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    Re: Nikon D4 vs D3s Low Light

    Well, if money matters take two D3s. I love my one and not even a D800 could get me off the old lady.

    It is fast, fast, fast... and if shot in NEF you benefit of newer RAW Converters and get more ISO speed than with D3.

    Batteries are a lot cheaper than the new ones of the D4, same to the AC/DC (you need 2 pieces of expensive equipment instead of one) and if you already have optional equipment that was in use with the D3 you can go on using it with the newer D3s. Not to mention the file size of the D3s might be fed with slower 4GB CF cards instead of those newer Sony´s.

    But all this imho.

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    Re: Nikon D4 vs D3s Low Light

    i shoot quite a bit of action in low light and the D4 is great. I still haven't upgraded by second camera, a D3, so I use them together. I don't like having to hunt for the buttons on the D3 after shooting the D4, or vice versa. Also the batteries are different--so two chargers. So whatever you do, don't get a D3s and a D4 as set.

    If money weren't the issue, I would update the second one. As for low light, both work well, but i don't go above 3200 iso much. Love the D4 except the silly card issue mentioned here. My D4 has pretty much been everywhere from rainy football fields, jungles in south america and even to the syrian border. just keeps working.

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    Re: Nikon D4 vs D3s Low Light

    I won't be using QXD cards, as they are fast but not worth the money in my opinion. I have many Kingston 32gb CF cards that should be fine.

    Purchased a clean D4 tonight on eBay! Time to look for another body, hopefully cheaper (in the $4500 range.)

    Cheers! Can't wait till she comes in on Christmas

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    Re: Nikon D4 vs D3s Low Light

    I bought a D3s new back in January 2010. I decided against upgrading to a D4 for the following reasons.

    1.) I find the matching dual CF slots on the D3s more practical to use. Less to organize and carry. Did not want the mismatched slots on the D4 resulting in mismatched media and extra card readers. More to organize and carry.

    2.) I can see no real improvement in high ISO performance on the D4. I shoot a lot of photos in low light and if there was a significant improvement over the D3s, I would buy a D4.

    3.) I know it's unavoidable due to new regulations, but not too happy about the change to different batteries with lower capacity on the D4. Already have a couple of spare batteries for the D3s. It's more to replace and I'd rather have the extra power.

    4.) The increase in resolution from the 12 megapixels of the D3s to 16 megapixels of the D4 is not much of a leap.

    5.) While I do occasionally use some AF lenses, I mostly use manual focus prime lenses, so the new AF system is not as important to me personally.

    1080 video is the only real incentive for me to upgrade, but it doesn't seem worth it for that feature alone considering the increased cost of the D4 over the D3s. I will wait to see what Nikon offer following the D4. Despite its age, the D3s remains a relevant camera. Especially for low light. And this is coming from a user who upgraded DSLR bodies regularly up until now.

    That said, they're both good cameras. If I didn't already have a D3s I'd probably buy a new D4 since the D3s is now discontinued. And, if I sell my D3s it will most likely be to buy something other than a D4. There's just too much overlap between the two cameras in my opinion.

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    Re: Nikon D4 vs D3s Low Light

    JL12

    you are right about the cards--it is a pain to have to carry two card readers, but at least they are small.

    i shoot my d3 and d4 together for quick turnaround work and they both work great in low light. however, i do prefer the larger files of the D4--I can crop more since I don't always frame very well. in my mind, the D4 is clearly a 'better' camera with the exceptions you point out.

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    Re: Nikon D4 vs D3s Low Light

    Quote Originally Posted by fultonpics View Post
    JL12

    you are right about the cards--it is a pain to have to carry two card readers, but at least they are small.

    i shoot my d3 and d4 together for quick turnaround work and they both work great in low light. however, i do prefer the larger files of the D4--I can crop more since I don't always frame very well. in my mind, the D4 is clearly a 'better' camera with the exceptions you point out.
    I hope we have dual card slots that use matching media by the next iteration of the D4. I don't see XQD becoming mass market that soon.

    If you're comparing the D4 to the D3, then it is undoubtedly a much better camera. The D3s had a brand new sensor designed for it and was clearly 'better' than the D3 when it came out too. Both the D3s and D4 featured new sensors that were a noticeable step up from the older sensor in the D3. But there's not as much to separate the D3s and D4. Especially with regard to the OP's original question regarding low light performance.

    The slightly larger file size of the D4 would be nice, but still not enough to justify the cost of upgrading from a D3s. The same or better low light performance as a D3s with 18 - 24 megapixels and it would feel like a worthwhile upgrade from the 12 megapixel D3s.

    The D3s is my low light camera. I have other digital and film cameras for shooting in ample light. I've been carefully evaluating the reasons to upgrade the D3s for low light shooting since the D4 was announced, but it's hard to rationalize it.

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    Re: Nikon D4 vs D3s Low Light

    I think Gino said he got the D4, so question is academic at this point.

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    Re: Nikon D4 vs D3s Low Light

    Quote Originally Posted by fultonpics View Post
    I think Gino said he got the D4, so question is academic at this point.
    You're right. Didn't see that. Hopefully the info in this thread will be useful reference for someone else with similar questions.

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