Nikon D4 – Who’s the cleanest of them all? The D4’s 2.7x crop mode

Mirrors are not the only thing an HDSLR shooter doesn’t need. Here’s a reason to think differently about depth of field.

You can download the file and watch it in full quality.

Over the last months Johnnie Behiri used the Nikon’s new flagship HDSLR, the D4, to shoot this image video about the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna.

While some few shots were done on other HDSLR’s the majority came from the D4 and in particular from the D4’s 2.7x crop mode.

What is that mode?
It only uses a 1920×1080 pixels crop of the sensor. The result is much more depth of field (less blurry background) but also a very crisp, moire and aliasing free image.

The downside of the Nikon D4 with its crop mode is its lack of quality in any other mode. As we’ve heard before the other modes have a hard time competing with other HDSLR camera’s video.
Johnnie describes he was forced to work in 2.7 crop mode because the full frame mode was very soft.
After all the film’s quality seems not to have suffered from this limitation.
Quite the opposite actually, instead of covering up the depth by using longer lenses Johnnie decided to work with the camera and transform interview shots into works of art by embracing the power of the surroundings and accentuating them with controlled light.

Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned here, a piece of film that says that depth of field is not as important to a great image as commonly advertised.

Most interviews were done with Litepanels 1×1 LED light (LINK) and Viso kinoflow type light (LINK)


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Simon Bailey Reply
Simon Bailey March 1, 2013

Love your work.

So wish the D4 wasn’t soft full frame. I went for the D800 which I love.

Also wish the D800 had a 1920×1080 centre crop. Imagine what a zoom that would be :)

Kevin August 24, 2013

Beautifully done. As I teach my interns, don’t learn the camera, learn the lighting and then it does not matter what camera you use.