The Nikon D4 is the replacement for the Nikon D3 series Pro DSLR's (following on from the D2 series and D1 series).
The current expectation has been that the D4 would be announced late summer 2011 (August being the most likely date). However, with the series of disasters in Japan, the Sendai plant where the Nikon FX bodies are made was damaged and temporarily shut down. Even when it comes back online they are dealing with disruptions to their suppliers and rolling blackouts. The net result of this, is there is a small possibility that the announcement for the Nikon D4 will be delayed, and a high probability that even if it is announced on time, there will be little to no immediate availability of the Nikon D4 (when the first cameras come available, they'll likely all go to priority NPS members).
Below are a list of rumors regarding the Nikon D4, newest first. Please rate how credible you believe these to be, and feel free to add your own comments/thoughts. If you have any more information, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or click Rumors Wanted. We'll continue to add new rumors to this page as we come across them.
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[Via Photography Bay] - Apparently the infamous Bryan Peterson himself has got on the rumor bandwagon. According to a post on his facebook page:
Two new Nikon’s-The D800, at 20MP, full frame, retail price of $2495.00 and Nikon DX-4, full frame at 19-20MP with a retail price of $5,000.00 and both will be announced by late September 2011!
Not really sure what to make of this. Given current exchange rates the prices seem too low ($2,999 and $5,499 would be more realistic we think), the timing seems off (August is expected), the DX-4 name is clearly wrong since DX points to the smaller sensors, and a D400/D4 combination is expected over the summer, with the D800 coming later...
According to SonyAlphaRumors, the new D4 expected in August will use a Sony sensor tweaked by Nikon engineers. They are expecting either 24 or 36mp.
They give the rumor a SR4 rating (SR5 being the highest).
This would be a major departure for Nikon, since the D3 sensor was home grown by Nikon (although the 24mp D3x sensor was based on a Sony sensor). If they had stated the D4x will be based on the alleged 36mp Sony sensor, that would seem potentially credible. However the D4 itself is more likely to be in the 18-24 mp range, and is widely expected to be a Nikon design, especially after the success they had with the D3 and D3s sensors.
NR has posted a rumor they give 70% probability to, that the widely expected August announcement will be for a D4 and D400 (mirroring the D3/D300 announcement from 2007, when both cameras were launched sharing the new CAM3500 autofocus system).
Also in the posted rumor, NR claims his source says 2012 for the D700 replacement.
Our take: D4 and D400 in August wouldn't surprise anyone - in fact if they don't come in August it will be more of a surprise. As for the D700 replacement (D800?), that could be next week, or could be a year away. The D700 came out a few months after the D3, sharing the same sensor, so that lends itself towards speculation that the D800 will have the D4 sensor, and come out a few months later (probably 6-9 months). However the D700 is widely believed to have cannibalized D3 sales, hence no D700s with the D3s sensor. If this is true, we can expect the D800 to be something other than a mini-D3.
According to Quesabesde (or at least a bad Google translation of), the D4 could be delayed until early 2012. They blame the earthquake for the delay.
While this makes perfect sense, we have no way of verifying one way or the other. It is unclear from the Google translation whether they are claiming or just speculating on the delay. Nikon is not under any real pressure from Canon to release the D4, since the 1D Mark IV didn't exactly leapfrog (or depending on how you look at it, even catch up) with the D3s, a delay shouldn't hurt market share. However failing to get the current D3s into the hands of customers with cash could...
According to NI (see source link below), the D4 should be announced early Q2, possible April, and available in the summer.
Their source suggests the D4 will be 'around' 20MP (FX 'FF' and HD vid). They go on to claim the same technology will appear in the (DX) ~18MP D400.
Furthermore, they also state the D700 replacement (D900), with similar video to the D4 will come along later (this year or next).
Then a little further down, NI claims a working pro has supposedly had hints from Nikon to wait until August when asking about purchasing multiple D3s cameras.
Our take: We are hearing August for the announcement and initial availability. We also think there is a very good chance a D400 will use the same 16 mp sensor found in the D7000. D900 naming doesn't make sense for the D700 replacement, why skip D800? - they've never done that before on the advanced consumer DSLR or above, plus we expect it before or at the same time as the D4 announcement. From the noises we are hearing, the first source NI quotes is likely fiction, but the second source that was told to wait until August ties in well to other details we are hearing.
NR is reporting some Nikon offices are blocking employees from taking vacation in the last two weeks of August. NR further speculates that may be tied to a major product release, possibly the D3s and D300s successors.
Timing would indeed be about perfect for a D400 and D4 launch.
Thom Hogan has published his 2011 predictions (see source link below).
He expects the D4 to be announced by August 2011, which tracks well with prior releases.
He also predicts a new Nikon 18mp sensor with at least D3-like capability, maybe better. We'd be surprised if ISO performance was worse than the D3S, since this isn't an area you want to step backwards with your top of the line pro workhorse.
Thom also predicts a completely new AF system (the CAM 3500 will be 4 years old by then, so we'd be amazed if it didn't have a new AF system), and a better metering system upgraded from D7000.
Other predictions include hard core video features (obvious), Integrated GPS (not so sure), USB 3.0 (would make sense), and updated UDMA specs (again, makes sense).
Thom also poses the question "will Nikon release a D4h and D4x, or D4 only?". Assuming there is no D3Xs (he's not expecting one), the D3X will be coming up for its 3rd birthday by late summer 2011, and will be prime for an update. Putting out a D4X with the new AF system (and presumably new, higher-resolution sensor) around that time does make a lot of sense. But as he also points out, with the D700 replacement expected as well, that's a lot of new FX bodies in a short time to push into the lineup.
After the recent and likely fictional Nikon Roadmap Leak (see Nikon Roadmap in our forums for the full translation), Thom Hogan has put together his speculated "Possible Nikon Roadmap".
Note Thom does have good sources, and a pretty good track record when it comes to predicting Nikon products, so his version of the roadmap is probably best described as "educated speculation".
Thom speculates mid 2011 for the Nikon D4 release. He expects:
New technologies unveiled. The question is what those new technologies are. As good as the AF system is today, I think that it's highly likely that we'll get another iteration. It strikes me that even more integration with the viewfinder sensor is possible (e.g. if you've got a 50mm focal length lens on and focus on and detect a 50 pixel patch of skin tone and that skin tone moves off the AF sensors but becomes 100 pixels in size, you know that the focus needs to be moved forward, even though you can't exactly detect how much; sophisticated calculations could get you very close to correct, though, so I think we're going to get a focus ASIC added to the cameras). Of course, this is also likely a sensor transition time for Nikon, as well. Again, I don't expect large gains. I think everyone would be happy with a 14mp FX sensor that performs like the current 12mp one. 16mp is a stretch, I think, as I can't see us getting to that pixel count with the same high ISO performance, and I don't think Nikon can afford to retreat from the D3 level with this camera. There's very little chance that the D4 unveils a three-color sensor--I deem that to be a very long shot. We'd hear about Nikon taking over fab production somewhere before such a sensor appears, as to create Nikon's design it will have to be done in the die and fab. This isn't something that you could hire an outside fab to do for you.
His full roadmap with a lot more background info and explanation can be found by clicking the source link below.
NI is claiming a big UK dealer claims the Canon 1Ds Mark IV could be announced on Thursday.
The same source says the Nikon D4 is already in their system and expected 'shortly'. A D4 this year would be a major surprise, with summer 2011 being the expected date and with the current D3s still retaining the crown as 'low light king'.
NR is reporting the D4 will be tested at the Superbowl this weekend and the Olympics starting in about a weeks time.
Our take: Unlikely, but not impossible. We know there were multiple designs for the D3, so while it's possible some early prototypes may be out there, we'd very much doubt they are at a stage where a pro would be able to rely on one in a high pressure shooting environment. Given the D3s is still new, and the new Canon 1D Mk IV doesn't threaten the D3s high ISO ability, we still don't expect a D4 until possibly as late as summer 2011, so it's way too early for an "almost ready" D4 to be floating around.
Photography Bay pointed us to a repair shop called Southern Photo Technical Service, which claims a groundbreaking Nikon D4 will be here in December with Video.
We are still expecting an update to the Nikon D3 (D3s, D3h) before the D4, and have no reason to believe the pro series has deviated from its 4 year product cycle (putting the D4 in 2011). The wild card here is that Canon is widely expected to announce the Canon 1D Mark IV within the next month or so - the D3 is now 2 years old (about 110 in camera years), so theoretically should leapfrog the Nikon D3 from a technology perspective. Depending on what the new pro Canon looks like, Nikon could either respond with a refresh to the D3 (D3s, D3h), or try to leapfrog the Canon by accelerating the D4. Time will tell, but we've be very surprised to see a Nikon D4 this year.
NR captured an image from a Thai retailer offering the Nikon D4 for sale, saying it's "Coming Soon". They have no price (if you try to order it, it's free).
There have been several spoof stories about fictional Nikon D4's circulting, we are guessing that may be the source here. We've seen absolutely nothing to indicate that a D4 will be released any time in the near future.
A user on a Czech forum (here via NikonRumors.com) has posted what he claims may be from a 37 page Nikon document outlining Nikons product release roadmap for 2009-2010.
Here is what it says about the Nikon D4:
Released 2nd Quarter 2010
Nikon D4 - new features:
effective pixels: 15.7 millions, FX sensor
completely new design with maximized by increasing
the sensitivity of more than 1 EV as "ultra-fast
pixel register cache", which allows to double the
frame rate or increase dynamic range, including
effective aid noise reduction with natural lodging
[S] 4.852 x 3.234
Continuous high-speed mode: FX & DX mode 11 fps,
16 fps mode FX with a double-exposure with the
phase detection AF & mirror up 8/sec.,
DX mode 18 fps with a double-exposure
FX & DX DR enhanced double-exposure mode:
5 fps for dNEF (* new) JPEG, and without the
composition, 3 fps for the car, the JPEG
DR enhanced double-exposure mode: Auto, manual
setting of time for both the ISO and exposure in
"M", "A", "S" and "P" mode with a semi-double
exposure corrections in the range of + -5 EV in
the range of 1 s. and 1 / 8000 p. and ISO 200 -
ISO 200 - 12800, Lo-1, Hi 2
100% Viewfinder, 0.78x magnification, integrated
hledáčková magnifying glass for the DX cropping
Integrated sensor management Nikon CLS
Movie - mode: 1920 * 1080 at 30 fps
Multi-CAM 4500: 61-point AF, Auto / User Drive
dynamic AF-C, intelligent co-operation with 2200-pixel
3D Color Matrix meter to achieve the elusive success
of autofocus, the possibility of combination with
contrast-detect AF final for specific uses.
The possibility of the electronic image projection or
additional information to the entire area of a large
Dual histogram for the double-exposure mode.
Too early for the D4, the D3 (with a possible update) should be good for a 3-4 year product cycle - why bring it forward in a down market unless Canon bring out a D3 killer?
The full translation (translated using Google Translate) of the original post can be found in our forums - see the source link below.
Update:The same poster posted this further down the thread when someone asked him to produce the document, basically saying he found out it was a 'little joke' after spending 3 hours translating it (via Google Translate):
The answer came to me by mail:
I idiot when I disclose
It's little joke allegedly staff with responsibilities for their beloved colleagues and supervisors with shipper from the center
So it's supposedly fancy, but had to give mad work was concerned about his colleagues were extremely happy and very creative. And from me therefore I did laugh and I to 3 hours to translate.