Nikon pioneered HD video recording in D-SLRs with the introduction of the D90—the first D-SLR to offer 720p HD video recording capabilities in addition to still image capture. Subsequent models added Full HD (1080p) video, full time autofocus and full manual controls. Nikon calls its HD video feature D-movie Mode.

The technology that makes video capable D-SLRs possible is Live View. Live View is essentially a video image, played back to the LCD monitor for viewing; with the camera recording the video to the memory card.

Sound can also be captured in D-movie Mode, by using either the cameras’ built-in microphone or, in certain models with an external accessory mic, such as the optional accessory Nikon ME-1 microphone.

Enhancing D-movies further are the long line of high quality NIKKOR lenses, which provide an incredible choice of focal lengths from fisheye, to super-telephoto, macro to perspective control, prime lenses and zooms.

And, because the imaging sensor in video capable Nikon D-SLRs is much larger than a typical camcorder, the resulting D-movie is of higher image quality and exceptional high ISO performance during low light shooting. Movies also exhibit shallower depth of field due to the size of their sensors compared to typical camcorders creating a very unique look.

Select Nikon D-SLRs such as the D4 features a host of exciting new technologies that will make Nikon the camera of choice for everyone from the photojournalist capturing breaking news, to the wedding photographer adding “fusion” components to her offerings, to the broadcast videographer and cinematographer shooting his latest big budget film.

The brand new D4S pushes the envelope even further with added video functionality. [See D4S features boxed out at the end of this article —Editor]

Nikon packed a plethora of groundbreaking technologies into the D4, including:

  • H.264/MPEG 4 using B-frame compression for improved quality and modest movie file size.
  • The ability to shoot uncompressed video when recording directly to an external recording device via HDMI.
  • The ability to shoot both still images and HD Video simultaneously.
  • The ability to pull a still JPG from the HD Video footage.
  • Index marking for post-production editing.
  • Simultaneous Live View so the camera operator can view the scene being captured on the camera’s LCD while a producer or art director can watch it on an external monitor display.
  • The ability to set independent still image and HD Video exposures which you can go back and forth between if you’re shooting both HD Video and still images during the same shooting situation.
  • Full manual exposure controls.
  • Full time autofocus.
  • The ability to control mic sensitivity in-camera.
  • The ability to connect headphones to the camera and control headphone volume independently from the audio capture.
  • Linear PCM audio compression.
  • Variable Bit Rate for movie files.
  • Multi area HD mode—in FX and DX Crop modes, as well as the Multi-area Mode Full HD D-Movie Mode—1920x1080 (2.7x) crop mode.
  • Video capture at 1080p for either 24 fps or 30 fps and 720p video at 60 fps.
  • HDMI Overlay, (on or off via a custom setting).
  • Built-in Time-Lapse video mode in addition to the camera’s built-in interval timer function. This mode automatically creates an in-camera movie file from the time-lapse images.
  • Picture Controls can be customized specifically for movie recording and editing.

Other HD Video capable Nikon D-SLRs offer photographers the ability to record HD Video with special effects such as miniature effect, selective color, color sketch (images on playback are shown as stop motion), HDMI CEC controls using your HDTV’s remote control when hooked up to a compatible HDTV, video editing in-camera, and much more.

Video Functionality Added to the New D4S

  • 1920x1080/60/50/30/25/24p.

  • Multi Area Mode Full HD D-Movie with three image areas (FX, DX, 2.7x Crop) that are selectable during live view.

  • ISO Auto control for Manual exposure.

  • Simultaneous recording to memory card and external recorder.

  • View simultaneous live view output and record uncompressed video via HDMI.

  • Audio levels are adjustable during video recording.
  • Selectable audio frequency range (wide/voice).

  • Time Lapse Movie feature improved. Number of exposures increased to 9,999, setting until one week later is possible and Exposure smoothing has been added.