I took the brand new D4 for its first outing to see what it was capable of and, as always when I test a new camera body, I went along to Gigrin Farm in Wales to photograph red kites because I know that these magnificent birds will be a) plentiful and b) very fast and acrobatic and will test both my photographic skills and the quality and speed of the AF system in the camera. As usual, I wasn’t disappointed by the experience at Gigrin; good numbers of kites performing incredible aerobatics and I wanted to simply try and capture this aerial display in all its glory. Did the D4 live up to expectations? I suppose it did in many ways, the AF certainly kept up with the birds and was pretty quick in locking on and there is no question that the motor drive is capable of some outrageous bursts, especially when writing to the XQD card. In fact, in hindsight, I think it might be an advantage to slow the drive down slightly to get a higher hit rate with the AF because I think at times, using an aperture of f/4 and 1/4000 shutter speeds meant the camera was firing too fast for the AF to keep up in certain situations. This is only my first time using the Nikon D4 which has only just begun shipping in the UK (and I think I got one of the first to hit West Yorkshire) so I may try a more in depth review in a couple of weeks time. My initial trepidation about the specs vs, price was correct – the high price tag is way too much for what the camera appears to be which is a D3s with a few tweaks and HD video. To be fair, it was the appeal of HD video that made me stump up the cash, plus the fact my trusty D3 has clocked up nearly 450,000 shutter actuation’s, so I was in need of a spare for the upcoming wedding season!
I’ve knocked up a quick slideshow from the day at Gigrin but unfortunately, if you are using an iFad or iPhoney, you wont be able to view it so there are a few stills down below for you guys to show you what you are missing :¬)
Here are a few of my favourite shots from the day for the Apple brigade. I love the fact they are shot against hedgerows and trees rather than just blue sky. By controlling the camera’s AF and tweaking to prevent focus jumping to the background, I’ve managed to come up with some images I’m really pleased with and that show the contortions and acrobatic skill of these birds.