Nikon D4 Virtual Horizon in the Viewfinder

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I took delivery of a new Nikon D4 yesterday. Wow! It’s an awesome camera. Right now, I’m still learning about it, so I’ll have a more detailed hands-on review soon. Until then, I thought I’d share one of those “hidden” features that is an improvement from the Nikon D3s: the viewfinder implementation of virtual horizon.

The virtual horizon was a new feature in the Nikon D3, and it works really well on a tripod with the rear LCD. However, you can use the VH in the viewfinder, too. On the D3, the metering scale was co-opted to show a level indicator, but it was kind of tricky to use in practice. The biggest drawback of the viewfinder VH was that you had to take your eye off the scene while using it.

Enter the Nikon D4, which now uses the AF points in the viewfinder to accomplish the same function. When you engage the VH in the viewfinder, you’ll see some dots appear along with the center AF point. As the camera is tilted, the AF points start lighting up in the opposite direction of the tilt. So, if the camera is tilted to the right, the squares light up on the left side of the viewfinder. This tells me to tilt the camera back to the left to level it. The more the camera is tilted, the more squares light up. Cool!

This is just one of many “nice touches” that the D4 has that make it Nikon’s new flagship DSLR body.

3 thoughts on “Nikon D4 Virtual Horizon in the Viewfinder”

  1. Greetings,

    I happen to have a D4 and even tho’ I was initially very excited about the virtual horizon feature, I find it in the end to be a drawback from my D700 and certainly inferior to my friend’s D800E.

    Maybe I’m using it wrong but I seriously doubt it.
    Not being able to change the focus point while checking for “horizontality” is a “no-no” for me.
    D800E (and maybe D800 too) has by far the best implementation of this feature and possibly the kind of we’ll all see in future Nikon cameras.

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