Nikon’s play for a slice of the DSLR video market has met with a lukewarm response from UK rental firms.

Nikon’s D90 camera was the first DSLR to shoot video when it was launched more than three years ago, but rival Canon has dominated the market since then.

Last week’s launch of the D4 was Nikon’s “biggest video push yet,” said Nikon spokesman and professional services training manager James Banfield.

“Nikon has not had the success that our competitors have had with video in the DSLR market,” Banfield told Broadcast.

“But where people might previously have considered our competitors, when they see this camera’s image quality it will open doors to us as a brand.”

The D4 can record in 1080p at up to 30fps, or 60fps at 720p, and has a maximum recording time of 29 minutes 59 seconds.

The camera’s sensor has three formats: full frame, DX and 2.75 cropped. It records H.264 at 24Mbps, has an HDMI output and is the first camera to record to
Sony’s new XQD memory cards.

Rental firm Shoot Blue managing director Jon Howarth said the camera signalled Nikon’s intent and that he would follow the company’s plans.

But he added: “It doesn’t have any features that really stand out and make you think ‘wow’. It might appeal to those using Nikon who want to stay with the brand, but most rental firms have invested in Canon lenses, so I don’t think it will be a game-changer.”

VMI managing director Barry Bassett added: “It looks like Nikon’s version of Canon’s 5D, but [Nikon] has missed out on that market over the past few years. HDMI is not particularly reliable as the signal periodically drops, and it doesn’t have an HD/ SDI output.”

Alias Hire hire manager Danny Dawson said that with Canon’s C300 hitting the market and offering “a fantastic blend of SLR/video camera usability and a choice of EF or PL mounts” it could be too late for Nikon.

“The price for the Nikon, which is upwards of around £4,000 for the body only seems awfully high, which will put off owner operators when they can get a 5D for below £2,000,” he said.