Summary: It’s fitting that I ended the previous section with the word “trade-off” because that’s what the D4S feels like. Despite a variety of new features above and below the surface—Group Area AF being our favorite of the bunch—this camera is really just a refinement of the previous model, sharing a lot of the D4’s achievements (fast, durable, efficient) and its limitations (only 16.2 megapixels of resolution).
Pros: Very fast all-around performer with maximum 11 fps burst speed with full AF and AE; superb low-light skills with excellent image quality at high ISOs; small design tweaks make the camera more comfortable to hold during long shooting sessions; high-end, durable build
Cons: Shares many features with previous model including same 16.2 megapixels of resolution, but has $500 higher starting price; extreme ISO 409600 has limited applications; still uses unpopular XQD format for second card slot
Excerpt: Like all flagship models, the Nikon D4s is the Japanese camera maker’s showpiece at the moment, an attempt to create buzz for its other less feature-packed brethren. An updated version of the D4, the new D4s is more about improvements in the software department rather than a dramatic hardware overhaul. You can say Nikon is sticking to the tried and tested of its predecessor. Outwardly, there isn’t much difference and most of the improvements are within the camera body.
Conclusion: While it can be used for just about every genre of photography, it is unlikely to be the camera of choice for enthusiast or professional landscape photographers who are probably going to be drawn to a smaller, lighter model with a higher pixel count – the Nikon D800 for example.
Excerpt: It's been two years since Nikon introduced their flagship SLR, the D4. While that camera has undoubtedly stood the test of time, Nikon has decided that it's time for a refresh. That camera is the D4s which, on the surface, doesn't look much different than its predecessor. That's because, by and large, the major changes to the D4s are inside its magnesium alloy body.
Excerpt: For Nikon fans who can afford it, budget-wise and and size-wise, the D4S is the company’s new flagship digital SLR camera that comes with handy updates over the previous D4. Promising outstanding image quality, along with quick and accurate focusing mechanism, the D4S makes it easy for photographers to capture decisive moments, particularly in sports events. Also improved is the area focusing.
Summary: The jump in continuous shooting speed of a frame a second might not sound like much, but it will certainly be good news for professionals, while the similar improvement in AF performance will also be welcome.
Excerpt: There’s something reassuring in the way Nikon upgrades its pro-grade DSLRs. The company typically adds the performance and features to keep the models highly competitive, while maintaining the fundamentals of ergonomics, control layout, and ruggedness.
Conclusion: This camera is stunningly good, and arguably the most advanced DSLR ever built. If you could go back in time to show photographic pioneers like Eastman and Daguerre just how far we've come, you'd have to take a D4S with you. Incredible low light performance, exceptional image quality, lightning fast AF and 11fps shooting are features rivalled only by Canon's 1D X (which, incidentally, does outperform the Nikon in many areas).
Summary: In terms of handling, little has changed since the original Nikon D4, though the few refinements to the D4S's AF and shooting rate are enough to make a difference. The autofocus system on the newer camera is one of the best I have ever tested.
Where the D3S benefitted from a huge upgrade in image quality over that of the D3, the improvements in image quality between the D4 and the D4S are a little more subtle.