Camera Upgrade: What’s the Big Deal? Part 1

The Nikon D4 is here! Um – who really cares, besides a small circle of photgraphers? Actually, our clients should. The bar has been raised yet again for the quality of images photographers in my niche (children in school and family settings) can capture. My mission is to create high-quality photographs of children showing spontaneity of expression as well as natural interaction with others.  

Friends play with puppets in first grade classroom

shot at ISO 500


The new camera has a sensor that is even better in low light than the previous pretty-good version of the camera. Lower light levels means less reliance on on-camera flash, which is unattractive light and is also bright and distracting during a photo shoot. When photographing indoors with the new Nikon D4 camera, I still can’t get publication-quality photographs without the flash, but I can turn the amount of light output by the flash way down. The image samples on this page were photographed from ISO 500 – 2000; these were unthinkable numbers in the past!


Portrait of young child (girl, age 5) smiling at school

shot at ISO 1600

A greater reliance on ambient light makes for more beautiful photos where light sculpts the faces. It also means the flash puts out a smaller amount of light so it is less glaring and distracting to kids, especially young children.

Face and upper body portrait of child, aged 8, Hispanic-American

shot at ISO 2000

Keep going Nikon and Canon! Each of these two rivals for the pro DSLR market keeps raising the bar, forcing the other to improve as well. Can we keep going, please, till we don’t need on-camera flash at all?