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A couple of questions about the D4?
Old 08-10-2015   #1
Keith
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A couple of questions about the D4?

When the time is right I'll probably replace my D700 with a D4 now that they are old news thanks to the recent D4s release. I was watching a D4 on eBay recently that went for what I thought was a good price .... $3150 AUD. The camera has a shutter count of 79,000 which you would expect with a two year old pro body and considering the shutters are rated at 400,000 actuations that doesn't seem like much ... it has also just been into a Nikon dealer for a clean and refresh and comes with all the original packaging etc and cards and extra batteries. It's virtually unmarked!

Well the winner of the auction failed to pay and the camera has been relisted so I have it on my watch list again and may put in a bid close to the original winning bid.

The big question is .... is a D4 in this condition worth this much money considering the shutter count? I'm seeing used ones being advertised for a fair bit more than this around the traps.
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Old 08-10-2015   #2
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Hi Keith, I am also a D700 user and have been watching prices for proper future replacement. With the way D3s even D3 prices have been holding on, I'd say that's not expensive. Having free cards thrown in can be sweet if they're big capacity good brand ones. Otherwise I'd put next to zero value to whatever thrown in that deal.
I've seen some pro bodies babied by hobbyist and clocked in under 30k actuations. But if it's unmarked cosmetically, then it's good. Some got low count but battered body, and vice versa. Bottom line, for a D4, said camera seems like a good deal.
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Old 08-10-2015   #3
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I haven't ever researched D4 prices, but as far as my used Nikon pro camera purchases go, I bought all of them bought from local pros or the local Nikon pro dealer. Where they were cheaper than competing offers on ebay. On the latter, you always compete with idiot buyers with a inflated and irrational opinion on the item they crave for, so there is fair amount of overbidding going on when it comes to popular objects where two or more bidders of that type are in the race...
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Old 08-10-2015   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwicaksana View Post
Hi Keith, I am also a D700 user and have been watching prices for proper future replacement. With the way D3s even D3 prices have been holding on, I'd say that's not expensive. Having free cards thrown in can be sweet if they're big capacity good brand ones. Otherwise I'd put next to zero value to whatever thrown in that deal.
I've seen some pro bodies babied by hobbyist and clocked in under 30k actuations. But if it's unmarked cosmetically, then it's good. Some got low count but battered body, and vice versa. Bottom line, for a D4, said camera seems like a good deal.

The D3s was one of my other choices until the D4s was released.

The other thing I forgot to mention about the camera is it's local .... not Brisbane but a few hundred ks away. I asked the seller about the camera's use and he said mainly for sports.
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Old 08-10-2015   #5
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Are you sure it's not a third-party refurb? I would look out for those. Make sure you see documentation from Nikon.

80,000 shutters should be a breeze for the D4. Camera shutters fail in a long-tail pattern. If it's already lasted 80,000 clicks, chances are it'll last at least the full 400k.
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Old 08-10-2015   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YYV_146 View Post
Are you sure it's not a third-party refurb? I would look out for those. Make sure you see documentation from Nikon.

80,000 shutters should be a breeze for the D4. Camera shutters fail in a long-tail pattern. If it's already lasted 80,000 clicks, chances are it'll last at least the full 400k.

The work was done by Anderson's in Brisbane who are 50 year Nikon dealers ... and he has all the documentation for that work thankfully. He also has the original purchase receipts for the camera which was from the first batch that came into Australia.
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Old 08-10-2015   #7
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Hi Keith, it sounds like a good buy provided it all measures up. Have you considered a D3X? If you need the high ISO performance, obviously, the 3S and 4 are better, but the 3X is a criminally overlooked camera in my opinion. If you are going for the 4 and can get at least one high capacity XQD card thrown in, it would be a real plus. That was real design mistake on Nikon's part, even if the extra write speed is a plus for video.
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Old 08-11-2015   #8
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May I ask why are you considering a D4 as a replacement of a D700? I think single digit Nikons are great and superfast. But wouldn't the natural upgrade be either a D800 or a D750? (I am just curious, I am myself in a similar situation and I would really like to hear, not trying to criticize.)

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Old 08-11-2015   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giellaleafapmu View Post
May I ask why are you considering a D4 as a replacement of a D700? I think single digit Nikons are great and superfast. But wouldn't the natural upgrade be either a D800 or a D750? (I am just curious, I am myself in a similar situation and I would really like to hear, not trying to criticize.)

GLF
Yes I'd also like to hear your thoughts on this
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Old 08-11-2015   #10
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Hi Keith, I upgraded from my D700 to a D4 three years ago. The D4 is a great all around camera and I mainly use mine for work (photojournalism and sports photography). It's low light performance is outstanding and I push mine over ISO 10,000 on many occasions.

Have had mine serviced twice in three years, first time just a normal CLA after two years of use. Most recently it developed the "sticky main dial" syndrome, which can be in the neighborhood of $400US dollars to have Nikon repair. Basically, the main command dial on the back side of the camera, when the camera sits for 24 hours or more, feels stuck when you first start to use it. After you free it up with a bit of force, it seems to work fine. Eventually it stops functioning. Have seen a number of posts from folks having this issue with their D4 cameras, but so far Nikon refuses to say it's a defect, and won't even say what is causing the issue (the whole feeling stuck, then feeling fine is really strange). Anyway, I would check to see if the camera you're interested in has the issue. Nikon can fix it, just factor in the cost when you're pricing.

Otherwise, it's a great camera. Faster autofocus in lower light than my D700, but be aware it's also quite a bit bigger and heavier. For the sports I shoot, I couldn't live without it.

Good luck with whatever you choose.

PS: The shutter count on my D4 is over the count on the one you're looking at, and my camera still performs as new (especially now after Nikon fixed the main command dial) and I expect it to perform as new for many years to come. And unlike your D700, the D4 is a Nikon Professional Body after all, they're legendary for taking abuse and still keep working.
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Old 08-11-2015   #11
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Hi Keith,

I've been using the D4S for over a year now for my wildlife work. Stunning image quality even at ISO 12800. Built like a tank and very fast, with great continuous focus / subject tracking. Not all that different from the D4, so you would probably be happy with the latter.

I just picked up a D750 as my second body for close-in work and I am very impressed. The only real limitation for wildlife photography is the 6.5fps speed and 13-shot limit on the buffer when shooting raw. Depending on your needs this may not be an issue. Definitely take a look at one or rent one if you can. And read the Dpreview review - the sensor is quite amazing.

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Old 08-11-2015   #12
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I have a pair of D4s cameras but also a D750 which now sees the bulk of my day to day work. The Heavy Beasts come out for big stories or Olympics etc..

Do you really need the D4s or will the D810 work ? I was close to getting the D810 but when Nikon dropped a D750 in my lap for evaluation before they were released, well that changed my mind. The 810 is great, super quiet shutter (you have to hear it to believe it) but the file size was HUGE. The D750 was very light but the articulating screen was what I wanted.

I consider the D750 to be the digital equivalent of the FM2 series cameras. Not professional and not hefty but seeing use by many photojournalists I know.

So unless you *NEED* the beefy battle tank that can take any abuse D4s, and high fps, then I'd suggest the D750 or 810.
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Old 08-11-2015   #13
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Just a further observation. If not considering one of the pro bodies, I would suggest avoiding the 800 purely on the basis of the shutter sound - it's both loud and actually sounds like the camera is broken. I have a D800E but much prefer the D3/X. Also, one more observation, while the non pro bodies are lighter, the ergonomics of the pro bodies is far superior - even to the non pro bodies with grips on them.
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Old 08-12-2015   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giellaleafapmu View Post
May I ask why are you considering a D4 as a replacement of a D700? I think single digit Nikons are great and superfast. But wouldn't the natural upgrade be either a D800 or a D750? (I am just curious, I am myself in a similar situation and I would really like to hear, not trying to criticize.)

GLF

Fair question and not hard to answer. I was originally using my D700 for low light work in galleries which I no longer do ... but recently began photographing vintage motoX racing and will continue to do so for the next couple of years. The frame rate of the D4 will be a huge advantage for me in these conditions courtesy of the camera's ability to bang away at ten frames per second not to mention it will take a hundred shots before the buffer is full even at this rate apparently.

I'd like to get a bit more serious about this side of my photography and I figure this is the camera to do it with!
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Old 08-12-2015   #15
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I just borrowed a D4 from Nikon Photo Services to shoot the Parapan Am games here in Toronto and it is a BEAST - in many ways.

First off, from what I know, and has been said above, 79k actuations on the shutter shouldn't be a worry. I'd look more at how beat up the body is as a sign of use.

The camera will satisfy all of your high-ISO/low noise desires should you get back into those galleries. Don't underestimate the value of this for shooting sports in crappy light, too - even overcast over your motoX events, or if you dip into indoor sports (basketball, or in my case wheelchair basketball, is notoriously poorly lit in most venues, for example).

Also as mentioned above - the D4 is big, and HEAVY. I haven't used a D700 so don't know if you're used to this, but I found a day of shooting with the D4 + 70-200 f/2.8 combination a real workout on my hands. If you have a monopod that will be good, otherwise you may find you really want one.

10 fps is something I consider nice-to-have but basically didn't use - I shoot sports (motorsports mainly, plus various other things) more on a single- or few-shots basis. But your approach may differ and certainly for some sports those many frames are helpful (a colleague who shoots archery for example pointed out that it's great for getting that key shot where the arrow is *just* leaving the bow).

Don't know if any of that was helpful but there you go - my one day's worth of experience. Good luck and enjoy!

Richard.
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Old 08-12-2015   #16
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Thanks for all the really helpful advice and suggestions here .... much appreciated.

I've put a bid on the camera but have a gut feeling it's going to go for more than $3150 this time .... hopefully I'm wrong! I'll know in a couple of days. (fingers crossed)
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Old 08-12-2015   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwintle View Post
I just borrowed a D4 from Nikon Photo Services to shoot the Parapan Am games here in Toronto and it is a BEAST - in many ways.

First off, from what I know, and has been said above, 79k actuations on the shutter shouldn't be a worry. I'd look more at how beat up the body is as a sign of use.

The camera will satisfy all of your high-ISO/low noise desires should you get back into those galleries. Don't underestimate the value of this for shooting sports in crappy light, too - even overcast over your motoX events, or if you dip into indoor sports (basketball, or in my case wheelchair basketball, is notoriously poorly lit in most venues, for example).

Also as mentioned above - the D4 is big, and HEAVY. I haven't used a D700 so don't know if you're used to this, but I found a day of shooting with the D4 + 70-200 f/2.8 combination a real workout on my hands. If you have a monopod that will be good, otherwise you may find you really want one.

10 fps is something I consider nice-to-have but basically didn't use - I shoot sports (motorsports mainly, plus various other things) more on a single- or few-shots basis. But your approach may differ and certainly for some sports those many frames are helpful (a colleague who shoots archery for example pointed out that it's great for getting that key shot where the arrow is *just* leaving the bow).

Don't know if any of that was helpful but there you go - my one day's worth of experience. Good luck and enjoy!

Richard.

MotoX is an interesting sport to shoot ... picking out a rider as he goes though a corner or over a jump was simple with the D700's excellent AF but I often found myself looking at the image and regretting being late or early on the shot ... and these guys never seem to take the same line through a corner on subsequent or previous laps. I'll happily machine gun them at 10 FPS to get what I want!
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Old 08-12-2015   #18
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Good luck on the auction!

I'm sure the F4 is every bit the wonder machine, much like the F6, but I think when I buy into a Nikon DSLR it will be the D750. I like the size, shape, weight, and the features are just fine for my use.

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Old 08-12-2015   #19
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I do not have experience with the D4, I use a D3 and D2x however. They're tanks. They're built to take every type of punishment you can throw at them. They're perfectly sized for using large zooms on, very well balanced. The battery life is phenomenal. Great integration with flash. Lovely viewfinder with 100% accuracy. Exceedingly accurate AF and incredible FPS on the D3. I hear it's even better on the D4.

My problems with them? They're heavy. I don't hike with them. I'd rather bring my Hasselblad if I'm hauling that weight and want photos. They're noticeable, meaning that people react differently to me when I'm using them versus a Leica. The size has frightened small children during shoots sometimes, haha. The leica is much less obtrusive in that regard. I find people relax around that camera for some reason.

Would I want the D3 to be my sole camera? No. It's to heavy to me to drag around all day long if someone isn't paying me to do it. However it is a workhorse that will get the job done. It's reliable. I trust it more than my M8 that I will have the shot that my client needs if it is spot news or sports or low light.
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Old 08-12-2015   #20
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Quote:
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MotoX is an interesting sport to shoot ... picking out a rider as he goes though a corner or over a jump was simple with the D700's excellent AF but I often found myself looking at the image and regretting being late or early on the shot ... and these guys never seem to take the same line through a corner on subsequent or previous laps. I'll happily machine gun them at 10 FPS to get what I want!


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Old 08-12-2015   #21
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Yes I'd also like to hear your thoughts on this
Do you mean my thoughts? Well, most of what I do is product photography or my own fun photography. In the past I used Nikon "single digit" bodies and at the present I use a humble D7100 or I rent what I need for my product pictures. My fun stuff used to be mostly on film but recently is mostly...not really as much as I'd like. Now, recently I went back with full force to a old passion of mine which has revitalized my "photographic life": birding. I never gave it up but I just didn't go much in recent years. Here is where the problem lies. It seems to me that in recent years Nikon has mostly tried to push as many people into their FF cameras but they don't really sell a line of product which cover most needs at different level (like high def cheap, high def pro, fast cheap, fast pro etc). First of all every recent model seems to come out with some issue corrected later. Just a short list: SB900 flash overheat and stops (never admitted, corrected in the SB910), D800 with left focus and oil problem (same), D600 oil problem (never admitted corrected in the D610), D750 flare problem, 300mm VR with double image issues. So far the only one which don't seem to have problems are the single digit big guys. Also without taking into account the price simply it seems that there is not a "does it all" in their line, even if we accept a couple of limitations. The natural solution should be to have a D800E AND a D4 but that's a lot of money (and I live in South America, where the market is not really great). Canon with the EOS 7 ii has a cheapish fast and sealed camera which could be a good second body if I was in the Canon system but Nikon seem to have only the D4s. Well, not really original thoughts, and of course pictures come out with whatever we have, so not really important thought compared to the crucial facts of life (or even to the important fact of photography, like technique, inspiration, whatever). Just meditating on whether to put the money in the D4 and carry on with a prosumer body for my serious work when I don't rent (!!!), pass to Canon only for birds or simply not do anything and carry on without any "upgrade".

GLF
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Old 08-12-2015   #22
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MotoX is an interesting sport to shoot ... picking out a rider as he goes though a corner or over a jump was simple with the D700's excellent AF but I often found myself looking at the image and regretting being late or early on the shot ... and these guys never seem to take the same line through a corner on subsequent or previous laps. I'll happily machine gun them at 10 FPS to get what I want!
I heard this to be called "spray and pray".

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Old 08-12-2015   #23
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I heard this to be called "spray and pray".

GLF
Only if you're not sure the one you want will be in the burst!

Seriously though - for stuff like MotoX as mentioned above, or archery - or even someone giving a speech at a podium, where that good facial expression can be elusive - 10 fps would solve a lot of problems!

I enjoyed your comments above about incremental fixes and the lack of a "do it all" solution. I would have thought of the D4, but then for really high pixel count landscapes printed very large, I guess it wouldn't be the right choice (D810 or *shudder* medium format?).

For me, with my limited experience and current DX (crop-sensor/roughly APS-C) glass, a D7100 or 7200 or whatever the current version is would be the best choice, considering price, internal AF motor and all the rest of it. That D4 was a lovely [EDIT - no it wasn't, it's really ugly IMHO - but lovely to use, heavy weight aside!] thing, though.

For your birding pursuits... ah, I have no good advice. Serious birders I know use things like that Sigma 150-500mm "Bigma", or similar. The f/2.8 glass is nice but horrendously expensive! Still, going to modern full frame lets you crank the ISO up a stop or more without worrying at all about noise... which lets you buy into much cheaper, and lighter, f/4 glass instead.

Sorry, way off topic now... OP, please let us know if you win that auction, or what other alternative you end up going with!
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Last edited by rwintle : 08-12-2015 at 14:36. Reason: Clarifying - the D4 is still a beast, but what a beast it is!
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Old 08-13-2015   #24
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Buy big cards!

It comes with a 32 and 16 gig plus card reader .... that's a start if I win the auction!

Speaking of .... the damned thing's already two hundred dollars up on what it went for the first time around. I've set my maximum already and will just sit back and cross my fingers .... still a couple of days to go.

Ebay is a terrible trap .... my philosophy has always been to enter the price I'm willing to pay then stay away until it's over, to hell with the bidding wars. If you win you win .... if you don't there will always be another camera around the corner.
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Old 08-13-2015   #25
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I used a D3 and D4 at my previous paper and loved them both. Frankly, though, the D3 a bit more. The files/images from the D3 just looked a bit cleaner and the white balance was a bit better, in my opinion for what I was doing.

But, when the time came to upgrade my personal camera, I went with the D4S and haven't looked back. I originally looked at the D810 (it was probably pixel envy), but opted for the D4S instead. The build quality, twice the expected life of the shutter and the size/weight (I'm a big guy, big hands, need big camera) sold me.

The D4S is crazy fast, as is the D4. I don't think you could go wrong with the D4, particularly if you're shooting motocross racing. Depending on the lens, shouldn't have any problem keeping up. Good luck.
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Old 08-13-2015   #26
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Only if you're not sure the one you want will be in the burst!

For me, with my limited experience and current DX (crop-sensor/roughly APS-C) glass, a D7100 or 7200 or whatever the current version is would be the best choice, considering price, internal AF motor and all the rest of it. That D4 was a lovely [EDIT - no it wasn't, it's really ugly IMHO - but lovely to use, heavy weight aside!] thing, though.

For your birding pursuits... ah, I have no good advice. Serious birders I know use things like that Sigma 150-500mm "Bigma", or similar. The f/2.8 glass is nice but horrendously expensive! Still, going to modern full frame lets you crank the ISO up a stop or more without worrying at all about noise... which lets you buy into much cheaper, and lighter, f/4 glass instead.

Sorry, way off topic now... OP, please let us know if you win that auction, or what other alternative you end up going with!
Small birds are also incredibly fast and humming birds are just near impossible to catch using the eye and finger alone. Or, better said, you can but you don't know wings position, whether the eyes are open or closed, nothing. In fact you need to get into flash technique proper to high speed photography to try and "freeze" them.

As for the lens, Sigma now has updated the "Bigma" with two new lenses, both 150-600 zoom, one in "Contemporary" and the other in the "Sport" line. The first is around 1,100 US$, the second is around 2,000 US$. Never tried either but both have a good reputation and from what I heard are way better than the original "Bigma", plus AF can be fine-tuned at different focal lens with the dock. The f2.8 aperture is not really that important in my opinion. I have pictures of small birds caught with a 300mm f4 which where a miss because the focus was on the chest of the bird instead of the head. DOF is so small that really, whenever I can, I close a few stops down, and if you want to use them with a teleconverter you are down again to not so bright lenses.
I don't even care for fast AF, what I think is indispensable is that the focus is sure and that you have a big buffer. The D7100 stops after just about 7 raw, even in 1.3x mode and with 12bit files and that's really annoying.

Ah, for whatever else I find it to be just great. Sure, it is not a pro body but for most application you cannot say this by looking at the files it produces.

As for big expensive glasses, they are nice but you can live without them. Also, if you really need that flourite, electronic iris, 400mm f2.8, it will cost you like a car but I bet that in a few years you can sell it at about the same price you payed it new. That's what usually happens with these exotic glasses. Not sure why, I always thought that few are produced and mostly are used and abused by sport photographers so the nice ones, which were kept by private owners and protected with LensCoat neoprene sleeves become almost impossible to find.

Ah, and for the OT...is there anything which is OT here? I mean, it is the "SLR - the unRF" section, we are not talking about potatoes...

GLF
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Old 08-16-2015   #27
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Got home a few minutes ago to discover I am now the owner of a D4 .... the auction ended a couple of hundred dollars up on what I would have preferred but none the less I'm very pleased to get such a fine camera at around half what it cost new!
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Old 08-16-2015   #28
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Congrats Keith! Please share your thoughts on the camera when it arrives. I'd be curious what you think of it.
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Old 08-16-2015   #29
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Congrats Keith! Please share your thoughts on the camera when it arrives. I'd be curious what you think of it.
Thanks Mudman ..... will do.
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Old 08-16-2015   #30
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... but recently began photographing vintage motoX racing and will continue to do so for the next couple of years.
The D4 will serve you well for motorsports. It's size and weight for this usage is not an issue. The lenses will be large as well... which means a monopod is required for survival.
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Old 08-16-2015   #31
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Quote:
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Got home a few minutes ago to discover I am now the owner of a D4 .... the auction ended a couple of hundred dollars up on what I would have preferred but none the less I'm very pleased to get such a fine camera at around half what it cost new!
Good stuff. Enjoy it!

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Yay!
Old 08-20-2015   #32
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Talking Yay!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
Got home a few minutes ago to discover I am now the owner of a D4 .... the auction ended a couple of hundred dollars up on what I would have preferred but none the less I'm very pleased to get such a fine camera at around half what it cost new!
*applause*

Congratulations, and enjoy.
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Old 08-20-2015   #33
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Congratulations!

..... always nice to win a bid that you really wanted.

Look forward to hearing about your experience with the D4.
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Old 08-20-2015   #34
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when you get am XQD card, get the newest one Sony makes. Apparently they SMOKE, as in no buffer issues shooting NEFs with these. shoulda borrowed one from Nikon to try out
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Old 08-20-2015   #35
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Great news Keith! I'm sure you'll do good things with the D4 and use it to its fullest potential. Keep us informed.
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