I'm just a boy with a new toy....

10th March 2014

The weekend has seen me testing the latest addition to my kit bag in the form of the new NIKON D4S.

This recent update to the NIKON D4 only seems to offer a small selection of fairly minor tweaks. This leads us to the question 'is it worth the upgrade?'

Only time will tell. It will take a few months working in the areas that I specialise to convince me that the new purchase is justified! However I've never been disappointed with the NIKON updates so far. There are always the negative comments made on the Photography Forums by people who expect more. But I think they miss the point. Todays cameras offer amazing quality - big improvements cannot be expected with every new update.

I am happy if there are measurable improvements in the quality of capture in the genre of photography I work... namely fast moving sports, motorsport and 'live performance' photography - mostly in the low level and contrasting light that gigs & festivals offer.

Anyone who regularly pops in to read this blog should know that I am a committed NIKON user. I've never doubted that Canon (as the only serious rival producing 'full spec' professional cameras) can equal, better or improve on the equivalents in the NIKON range. But it's never bothered me which brand takes a temporary lead in the race to perfection. My own work still falls short of that 'perfect' goal so any of the cameras should serve me perfectly well :-)

What I do look for though is reliability, ease of use and the familiarity of a camera that is 'tuned into' my particular style of work. Nikon has provided these things for me over many years.

So now the big question is 'Why did I feel it was necessary to upgrade to the D4S' when I already shoot with a D4, a D3S and a D3?'

I don't have a fully justified answer to that!

One way I look at it is that I am always trying to gain a small advantage over my competitors in the industry. New technology can help with this... a little. Also, if you are a working professional photographer and you factor in the likelihood that you will upgrade your kit at some time in the future then jumping into the latest technology at the earliest opportunity makes sense, at least to me. It means that I gain that technological advantage as soon as it arrives!

The update schedule that NIKON seems to follow also works well within a business plan. The new cameras arrive at approximately two year gaps. This offers a chance to 'retire' old cameras after four years of heavy use - assuming that you always require at least two reliable bodies at any time. No Pro would consider just having a single body with no backup.

Of course, if I'm honest, maybe the real reason I have flexed the Credit Card is that I'm just a boy... and boys like new toys, right?

So far I have avoided answering the question that any NIKON follower is probably wondering. 'How good is the new NIKON D4S?'

Well, my early impression is that it is fantastic for my type of photography... but so are the D4, D3S and D3!! Early use seems to confirm that the focusing performance and low light quality are indeed a step up from the older bodies, but it is far too soon to try and quantify this.

Maybe the real answer is actually unimportant!

The fact is that any Pro grade body will more than reach the level of quality needed by almost all photographers. Maybe this whole question and answer thing is a complete waste of time? Let me know what you think.

Some of the first pics I shot with the D4S are now on-line: