Nikon Df

I ordered mine at B&H. I’ve been a customer with B&H since I started shooting. They’re hands down my favorite photography store – great service, wonderful staff and a delight to shop with. They currently have the DF on sale for $2746 (body only).

Available in black and chrome.

Overview of the Nikon Df

Retro seems to be the latest trend with various camera manufacturers. Fuji has worked extensively with recent models designing cameras that share the look and some of the feel with street cameras of the golden age. Nikon is now jumping into the fold, but with a full frame sensor camera that brings to mind some of the classic 35mm offerings such as the F3 or even the FM/FE series.

Nikon Df

What makes this camera interesting is the combination of the retro feel mixed with the top of the line sensor from the Nikon D4 – the top of the line of the full frame series. This theoretically gives us a camera thats amazingly comfortable to use, isn’t too heavy and offers the image quality of the top of the line DSLR. The downside is that the price is still a little high at $2700 and there is no video function.

I have mixed feelings, but overall I think this is an awesome camera. Yes the price might seem high, but considering you basically get the image quality of the D4 at under 1/3 of the price it seems a little easier to deal with. I really don’t think Nikon have gotten the video right yet so the fact that its not there is not a big deal for me. I shoot a lot of video and I shoot a lot of it on DSLR and APX cameras, but I don’t use Nikons. There always seems to be a “gotcha” with Nikon video. What I am excited to see is a camera that tries to do one thing extremely well.

Nikon Df :: What’s Awesome

Nikon Df Chrome

One word folks – knobs!!! I grew up shooting on semi-mechanical and mechanical camera bodies. To change the settings we used physical dials. This is why I had such a hard time warming up to digital cameras – everything was buried in a computer menu that you actually have to learn. And this slows everything down in a frustrating way.

Well the knobs are back and that’s one thing I’m really excited about on this camera. You can control the ISO, exposure mode, exposure compensation and bracketing – all within a fingers reach. Yes there is still a menu system so it seems the Nikon Df combines the best of both worlds in one nice camera design.

As far as lens compatibility and what lenses are recommended for the Nikon Df, well you can use just about any Nikon SLR lens going back to 1977. It supports all the current lenses dating back to the AI and AI-S mounted manual focus lenses. There is a coupling lever so you can actually mount the original F mount lenses dating back to 1959. You can use full matrix metering on just about any lens. With F mount lenses you’ll have to set the command dial to the f-stop of the lens and use stop-down metering.

Nikon Df :: What’s Not So Awesome

There’s only 1 card slot so you can’t run a second card as a backup. This is kind of disappointing for a camera in this price range. It might have been done this way to save space, but its unfortunate.

There’s also a limit on the maximum auto exposure time. This isn’t the end of the world, but if you do a lot of long exposures, you’ll have to work manually. The maximum auto exposure time is 30 seconds. On the plus side – the high ISO performance is exceptional so unless you’re in a really specific situation, you probably won’t need longer exposure times.

No video here either. As I said before, I don’t think Nikon have ever gotten video perfect so its not the end of the world for me – I’ll use other cameras that do this better anyway.

Finally, the biggest annoyance for me is the .70x viewfinder. The old SLR’s like the FE/FM/F3 lot all had wonderful .86x magnification in the viewfinder. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this right here is the entire point of this camera design right? Why would you essentially deliver a digital F3 style camera without this? My 2 biggest complaints with DSLR’s are complicated menu systems and tiny viewfinders. Nikon addressed 1 of these 2 for me.

Overall Impressions of the Nikon Df

The Nikon Df looks to be quite promising. I’m actually pretty excited about it. I’ve got mine on order and I’m really excited to get to shooting on one.

I’ll give more thoughts here once I’ve had a chance to use the camera. Overall I’m very excited about this though. Sure there are some complaints, but time will tell if they matter enough to get in the way.

This is a professional grade camera, but does seem to be special use. If you’re needing a camera that’s more versitle I’d still recommend having a look at the Nikon D600 and even the Nikon D7100 as both have a few more features to offer.

I ordered mine at B&H. I’ve been a customer with B&H since I started shooting. They’re hands down my favorite photography store – great service, wonderful staff and a delight to shop with. They currently have the DF on sale for $2746 (body only).

Available in black

Specifications of the Nikon Df

Sensor: 16.2MP Full-frame CMOS
Image Processor: EXPEED3
LCD: 3.2″ Rear Screen LCD (921000)
Auto Focus: 39 Point phase detection
ISO Range: 100-12800 (Extended Mode: 50-204800)
Shutter: 1/4000 – 30 sec
Flash Sync: 1/200 sec
MLU: well, live view
Frame Speed: up to 10.0 FPS Continuous Mode
Storage: Single SD, SDHC or SDXC
Viewfinder: 0.70x magnification