Tim Layton Fine ArtTim Layton Fine Art

Nikon D4S - 35mm DSLR (2014-2016)

Nikon D4S - Front View - www.timlaytonfineart.comNikon D4S - Front View - www.timlaytonfineart.com Nikon D4S - Rear View - www.timlaytonfineart.comNikon D4S - Rear View - www.timlaytonfineart.com


Tim Layton at Wild Horses of Missouri - Broadfoot HerdTim Layton at Wild Horses of Missouri - Broadfoot Herd I bought my Nikon D4S brand new in 2015, and all these years later, it continues to serve my needs exceptionally well. 

Most photographers probably wouldn't even look at this camera based on its age or possibly because of the 16MP sensor.

This was Nikon's flagship wildlife and sports camera when it was released, and all these years later, it still performs incredibly well.  Most importantly, it meets my needs. 

With the advances in software, especially Adobe Camera RAW/Photoshop, and The Topaz Lab suites of tools (i.e., DeNoise, Sharpen, Gigapixel), creating enormous files for making big prints is a non-issue.  In other words, I don't need a 50MP or 100MP sensor and all the grief that comes along with that for my photography.  I need a rugged and reliable camera with a fast auto-focus system that performs well in low-light conditions and has a rapid enough frame rate per second to help me photograph fast-moving wild horses. 

I specialize in following and photographing wild horses in a very rugged landscape.  The D4S is built for this environment and is completely weather sealed.  It is a tank built for this type of work. 

While this camera does record HD video, I never use it for this.  I have a professional 4K video recorder designed and built for video specifically.  

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Nikon Product Page

User Manual


Firmware Updates

D4S Firmware Ver.1.33 (2018/02/27)

Distortion Control Data Ver.2.018 2020/01/16

Ken Rockwell Review

Wildlife Photography Settings

Free Wild Horse Journal by Tim LaytonFree Wild Horse Journal by Tim Layton


Nikon D4S - Front View - www.timlaytonfineart.comNikon D4S - Front View - www.timlaytonfineart.com
The Nikon D4S DSLR Camera features a full-frame, FX-format 16.2MP CMOS sensor and EXPEED 4 image processor to produce high-resolution still imagery and full HD 1080p movies with exceptional image detail, quality, and sensitivity. Combining these two technologies affords excellent image quality, marked by smooth tonal gradations and vivid yet accurate color reproduction, as well as an expansive dynamic range. Championing working in a wide variety of lighting conditions, the D4S also features a broad native sensitivity range, from ISO 100-25600, further expandable to an equivalent ISO 409600 to benefit working in difficult lighting conditions. Furthermore, the processing power of the EXPEED 4 also affords a full-resolution continuous shooting rate of 11 fps for up to 200 frames with maintained auto-exposure and autofocus.

Aiding the imaging prowess of this camera is an equally advanced 51-point autofocus system, which can be configured to utilize five AF points as a single focusing point in the Group Area AF setting for heightened initial subject recognition. The 3D Color Matrix Metering III system, along with the 91,000-pixel RGB sensor, also benefits the focusing abilities of the D4S as well as provides accurate exposure metering to suit a vast array of subjects and lighting conditions.

Complementing a fast, time-sensitive workflow, this camera also employs numerous strategies to benefit fast offloading and transferring of files. Support is available for a 1000 Base-T (Gigabit) wired LAN connection, and file recording is possible in a 12-bit RAW SIZE S file size to help expedite post-production. When recording movies or time-lapse imagery, optional external recorders can record uncompressed movie files, with simultaneous recording to memory cards and live view monitoring possible.

Tim Layton at Rocky Creek Herd on 3/29/20Tim Layton at Rocky Creek Herd on 3/29/20 16.2MP FX-Format CMOS Sensor and EXPEED 4 Image Processor

The 16.2-megapixel full-frame (FX) CMOS sensor and EXPEED 4 image processor work in tandem to deliver high overall image quality with exceptional detail, dynamic range, color accuracy, and low-light sensitivity to a native ISO 25600, which is further expandable to an impressive ISO 409600. Furthermore, the EXPEED 4 processor also contributes to a wealth of speed throughout the camera, including a full-resolution JPEG continuous shooting rate of 11 fps for up to 200 shots with maintained autofocus and auto-exposure metering. When working in the 14-bit RAW shooting mode, up to 104 images can be recorded at 11 fps.

Full HD Movie Recording

Also benefitting from the enhanced processing power is recording full HD 1080p video at frame rates up to 60 fps. Multi-area modes enable you to narrow your effective field of view during recording, too, in FX, DX, and 2.7x Crop settings to offer more versatility during shooting. ISO Auto Control is available in manual exposure mode and real-time adjustable audio settings with enhanced wind noise reduction and selectable frequency range such as Wide Range and Voice Range.

Recording to an optional external recorder can gain an uncompressed video signal via the HDMI port. When recording externally, using the camera's LCD monitor for live view monitoring is possible. Additionally, simultaneous recording to both memory cards and an external recording device is also possible for instant backing up and duplicating files. 2MP still images can also be recorded simultaneously during video recording.

51-Point Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX AF Sensor

Supporting the exceptional imaging capabilities of the D4S is a capable autofocus system that employs up to 51 distinct points, with options available to use 9, 21, or all 51 points depending on the situation. 3D Tracking, as part of the intelligent Scene Recognition System, also works to benefit maintained focusing on moving subjects for greater accuracy when shooting at high continuous shooting speeds.

For even faster initial focusing and subject recognition, five AF sensors can be used together as a single focus point with the Group Area AF setting. Furthermore, Single-point AF, Dynamic-area AF (with 9, 21, or 51 points selectable), 3D-tracking (using all 51 points), and Auto-area AF modes are also available.

When working in live view, for either still or movie shooting, a contrast-based AF system is employed to acquire focus precisely and function in continuous, full-time servo mode to better suit working with moving subjects. Four distinct AF-area modes are available when using the contrast-detection focusing method: Face-priority AF, Wide-area AF, Normal-area AF, and Subject-tracking AF.

2/7/22 Broadfoot Wild Horses Tim Layton2/7/22 Broadfoot Wild Horses Tim Layton Scene Recognition System and Exposure Metering

The intelligent Scene Recognition System with 3D Color Matrix Metering III utilizes a 91,000-pixel RGB sensor to evaluate and analyze all aspects within a scene, including brightness, contrast, subject distance, and the scene colors, to quickly determine an accurate exposure and white balance setting to best render the scene at hand. The information gathered is also checked against onboard reference images to ensure consistency from image to image regarding exposure, white balance, i-TTL flash settings, and subject-tracking AF performance.

Camera Design Features

  • A 3.2" 921k-dot LCD monitor is available as an ample means for live view monitoring, image playback, and menu navigation. Additionally, monitor color settings can be manually adjusted to match external monitors or other color balance requirements.
  • A CompactFlash and an XQD card slot are available to extend file saving capabilities by permitting overflow recording or in-camera file duplicating. Additionally, optional HDMI-connected external recorders are supported for recording uncompressed video and time-lapse sequences.
  • The ergonomic grip and overall form factor are shaped to benefit handling for extended periods. They are further accentuated by anti-slip, textured joysticks and easy-to-open card slot covers. Additionally, most of the rear buttons on the camera's rear are illuminated for greater visibility when working in dim lighting conditions.
  • The durable magnesium alloy body features extensive weather sealing to protect the camera from dust, moisture, and electromagnetic interference.
  • A highly durable shutter has been tested to 400,000 cycles and works in concert with an enhanced mirror balancer for better visibility and reduced mirror vibration when working in high-speed continuous shooting modes.
  • The included EN-EL18a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack provides approximately 3,020 shots per charge (in single-frame mode, based on CIPA standards).

Connectivity and Image Transferring

  • The built-in wired LAN function of 1000 Base-T (Gigabit) standard enables high-speed, seamless transferring of still imagery and movie files for expediting an entire post-production workflow.
  • The D4S is compatible with the optional WT-5A and WT-4A Wireless Transmitters for wireless file transfer.

Other Camera Features

  • An enhanced interval timer permits recording up to 9,999 frames with intervals as long as one week. Recording can be done directly to memory cards, an optional external recorder, or simultaneously to both media types. Furthermore, exposure smoothing and flicker reduction benefit time-lapse playback for more seamless, fluidly-rendered movies.
  • RAW (NEF) files can be recorded as lossless or compressed at either 12 or 14-bit depth. Additionally, files can be saved in the RAW SIZE S format to help expedite one's workflow while still maintaining the image quality-related assets of the RAW form.
  • FX, DX, and 2.7x image area modes are available when working in live view.
  • When shooting with the viewfinder, a custom setting permits toggling Face Detection on or off depending on the exposure metering bias desired.
  • Auto ISO sensitivity control allows you to select a minimum shutter speed at which camera shake can be controlled and then automatically set the ISO value to best render the scene. A maximum sensitivity level can also be set to maintain overall noise levels.
  • Spot White Balance control for live view shooting makes setting the white balance as easy as pointing to the area in the frame that should be white. Additionally, 1-6 preset white balance settings can be stored for easier switching between different light sources.
  • Picture Control modes allow you to set predefined looks to imagery in-camera and include Landscape, Monochrome, Neutral, Portrait, Standard, Vivid, and user-customizable settings.
  • Playback functions: Auto Image Rotation, Full-Frame and Thumbnail (4, 9, or 72 images or calendar), GPS data display, Highlights, Histogram Display, Image Comment , IPTC information embedding and display, Movie Playback, Movie Slideshow, Photo Information, Playback with Zoom, Slideshow, and Voice Memo.
  • In-camera image editing: Color Balance, D-Lighting, Distortion Control, Edit Movie, Filter Effects, Image Overlay, Monochrome, NEF (RAW) Processing, Perspective Control, Red-Eye Correction, Re-size, Side-by-Side Comparison, Straighten, and Trim.
  • Language support: Arabic, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Portugal and Brazil), Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, and Ukrainian.

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