In his first blog post for planet5D, Simon Bailey addresses an interesting point that we’ve heard very little about Nikon cameras and the EBU broadcast video tests. Learn more about Simon in his bio at the bottom of the article.

Nikon D4 & D800 – first DSLR cameras fit for broadcast

Update… we earlier reported incorrectly that the Nikons had been approved by the BBC – the EBU broadcast test is often referred to as “the BBC test” – the BBC is not saying they approved the Nikon D4 and Nikon D800. We were asked to remove the statements about the BBC from the article by the BBC. We apologize for the error.


From the myNikonLife news

Nikon’s pro range reaches new heights this week as the D4 and D800 have opened an important door into the professional video broadcasting market. Both models have become the first DSLR cameras to pass the very elaborate European Broadcasting Union (EBU) test.

These tests were conducted by Alan Roberts, who spent most of his career in research and development at the BBC and wrote the new EBU guidelines and testing procedures. Alan commented that both the D4 and D800 exhibited the lowest amount of rolling shutter he has ever seen in a CMOS equipped camera. He also commented that the exposure latitudes of the D4 were truly remarkable at around 13 stops; a figure only bettered by top grade LS rated cameras.

It seems both the Nikon D4 & D800 are on a winning streak, with the duo recently picking up awards such as TIPA Best Expert DSLR 2012, GP2012 Camera of the Year & European Camera of the Year 2012. This further showcases the strength of Nikon’s superior technology across both photography and film.

For an in depth report on how both the D4 and D800 performed in the EBU test, click here.


Simon’s take

The importance of this announcement by the EBU and Nikon isn’t so much Nikon‘s achievement, but that DSLR’s are being viewed as viable options within the broadcast industry.

The reports don’t seem to indicate that the uncompressed 4:2:2 HDMI output of the D4 & D800 were the reason for passing the tests so its reasonable to assume we will see other DSLR’s from other manufacturers joining their ranks in time.

While the reports both commend strengths and point out weaknesses of both camera’s, both met enough of the test requirements to pass. The D800‘s last line of the report “This camera cannot be recommended for serious programme-making” is unclear of the context

Neither of the reports say failed. Both have pros and cons and the “not recommended for serious programme-making” line is a recommendation for just what it says and doesn’t mean it failed.  There are many tiers within the EBU that cameras fit into and that line seems to indicate it doesn’t fit into the LS tier.

The important thing to take away from this, is not this brand or that brand but that DSLR’s are at least getting a look at.

These were not the first DSLR’s to be tested by the EBU.  Also worth noting was the tested 13 stop dynamic range tested of the D4 and 12 stops for the D800, both using just the standard colour profiles.

Its a win for all DSLR shooters and manufacturers in the long run.

Simon Bailey is an award-winning filmmaker and commercial director. With almost 20 years experience in a range of roles within the broadcast and film environments, Simon’s always keen to help where he can.