Nikon Cameras Actually Failed The BBC Test
Last week it was widely publicised by Nikon that both the D4 and D800 had passed the European Broadcasting Union test, known commonly as the BBC test. BBC’s Head of Technology has now issued a statement contradicting Nikon’s stance.
The Nikon press release stated that the D4 and D800 had been named as the “first DSLR cameras fit for broadcast”. The photography blog PetaPixel examined the actual report and found that in relation to the D800 that, “This camera cannot be recommended for serious programme-making.” This suggests that the D800 actually failed the test. The ambiguity exists here as there is no simple pass/fail summary of the test. There are simply too many factors to take into consideration when discussing broadcast quality camera gear.
Shortly after PetaPixel’s article, Nikon replaced their post with a new one claiming that it was only the Nikon D4 that passed the test. In an email to the Phoblographer, Andy Quested, the broadcasting company’s Head of Technology said, “The cameras did not “pass” and the BBC is not and will not be using them for HD programmes.”
In relation to the D4 he wrote, “ […] However, even though the sensor has 16.8 million photo-sites, it achieves only about 1,355×764, only a little better than 1,280×720.” For the D800 he wrote, “[…] Video performance in not really acceptable at 1080p, much less 720p. Even though the sensor has 36.8 million photo-sites, it achieves only about 1,355×764, little better than 1,280×720.”
There is no question of these camera’s quality as both still photography and a HD video but it is strange that Nikon decided to push “passing” the BBC test as a major reason to buy this camera. The D4 and D800 are receiving rave reviews about the quality of the images so this seems like a major blunder on behalf of Nikon’s PR team.
Nikon has now removed all mention of the BBC test from their Australian website, My Nikon Life, where the post first appeared.
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