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Impressions of the Nikon Df

nikon df

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Poll: Impressions of the Nikon Df (305 member(s) have cast votes)

Are you going to buy the Nikon Df?

  1. Yes (71 votes [23.28%])

    Percentage of vote: 23.28%

  2. No (136 votes [44.59%])

    Percentage of vote: 44.59%

  3. Not sure (98 votes [32.13%])

    Percentage of vote: 32.13%

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#1 Dallas

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 06:23

If you go back some time here on nikongear.com you may remember me writing a post about how it would be awesome to get a digital Nikon FM styled body. 

 

They listened. 

 

Today we see the announcement of the Nikon Df, apparently shortcode for Digital Fusion. Well, fusion is a good descriptor for the camera they unveiled today. It looks like the 70’s and the new age somehow got merged in a hole in the time-space continuum and out popped something resembling a Nikon F3 or FM2 on the front side and a D600 on the back. It’s certainly divisive in as much as public opinion on the design element goes. I’m reading a lot of super enthused comments as well as a lot of people who are grossed-out by the look of the Df. 

 

Me personally, I think it looks awesome and I would love to have one. But… the asking price is about a grand heavier than I’m prepared to pay for it. At $2750 it’s just way too expensive to be taken seriously as a professional tool, so my guess is that this will appeal to the well-heeled Nikon enthusiast or coffee shop hipster who isn’t looking so much for a working camera as a conversation piece. Apart from the retro look and controls, there isn’t a whole lot there to justify the asking price. According to the initial reports its got a 16MP sensor onboard, which is the same as the one in the D4. It also has the AF system of the D610, which in my opinion is sub-standard. So what exactly are we paying $2750 for? Looks? There is a whole lot of missing stuff in this body that we have become accustomed to in recent years. HD video for one. 1/8000s shutter speed for another and 1/320s flash sync speed for yet another. Oh, what about wifi and GPS? Those features are standard fare these days, so why are they absent here in a camera that is priced at the professional level? 

 

What I like about the body is that it has knobs and buttons to do everything you need to set exposure easily. It’s easy to change the AE mode, easy to change the exposure compensation (although bracketing might be awkward), easy to change the ISO value, easy to change the drive mode and if you’re in shutter priority it’s also easy to change the speed. Those are old design features that worked but got lost over the years of technical innovation. It’s good to have them back. 

 

Having two colour options is indicative of Nikon’s aim with this camera - hook the retro buyer market. But is it too little too late? The first retro cameras introduced by Fuji and Olympus have been out for a couple of years already and they are way, way ahead of the technology curve when it comes to value for money in the products they’re offering. The only real advantage that Nikon has with this camera is that is has an FX sensor in it, which is great, but now so does Sony in the A7/A7r. And they have two resolution offerings vs a single resolution from Nikon. There is also the touch and tilt screen. This is something you cannot begin to appreciate until you don’t have it. My Olympus E-M5 has it and I love it. It’s made photography a lot easier for me in certain situations. Those cameras also have EVF’s which in my opinion are simply much more advantageous than the OVF option. If Nikon had these kinds of technological advantages in the Df then I could begin to understand the asking price, but hell… if they can produce an FX sensor for the D610 at its current price point, what the hell are we really paying for here? 

 

I think it’s a big gamble on Nikon’s part. If they can hook the magpie buyers and get them to part with their money then they will have had a great success, but if they fail to hook the discerning photographers at the asking price then they’ve got a potential disaster on their hands. Only time will tell. 

 

Again it looks like I will be sitting out this new model. In fact I’m beginning to think that if I am going to stick with Nikon I might as well capitulate and get the D800. At least then I know that my $2750 will be getting spent on the whole enchilada, not just half of it.

 

Nikon-df-black-lens.jpg

 

Nikon-df-silv-lens.jpg

 

Of the two colours I think the black looks better. 


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#2 Larry

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 06:36

Nope ... I am not buying this.  I think Nikon would have done better in sales and with very little effort, simply used the Nikon D4 16mp FX sensor on a D800 body than spend engineering resources making the Nikon Df.


Edited by Larry, 05 November 2013 - 06:39 .

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#3 nfoto

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 06:42

The new camera has an undeniable charm to it and I for one am pleased to see the controls laid out in this manner. Having D4 performance in a small neat body is positive news as well. The breaking point will be the finder which I'm soon to find out. Nikon specifically claims they had focusing manual lenses in mind for it. I brought a couple of manual lenses for the press launch to take place shortly.

 

The Df has the same WiFi and GPS support as say a D5200. Meaning the camera is enabled for these features but requires external devices. Hopefully the Foolography bluetooth GPS receiver fits the ports of the Df. I'll check that as well.


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#4 Dallas

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 06:48

The Df has the same WiFi and GPS support as say a D5200. Meaning the camera is enabled for these features but requires external devices. Hopefully the Foolography bluetooth GPS receiver fits the ports of the Df. I'll check that as well.

 

They should be including those features in the body if they are charging almost $3k for it. My opinion. 


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#5 nfoto

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 06:53

Well, I disagree as WiFi is not required for my own work so why pay for something not necessary. Besides you probably would have more buttons or menu options to consider. The more I use digital cameras the more I dislike menus.

 

GPS is different as it is a passive option and won't require user intervention. By having the GPS device externally I can select a device of the highest quality (which the built-in devices simply are not).


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#6 vivionm

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 07:09

I like the manual controls. I do not like the price. I will not be a buyer.


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#7 stenrasmussen

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 07:16

I too like the control dials and smaller size.
What I (currently) don't like are the VF specs, smaller battery and probable LV implementation (of which image rendering while active is of importance).
Machina fotografica necesse est

#8 black_bird_blue

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 07:18

Well, I love it. Of course the pricing won't stay hard for long and other models will come along to plump out the range - history tells us so. A D4 sensor seems like a pretty good bit of kit. It's just a matter of time before I have one of these, I reckon. With a fast 50 on it, it will be fabulous. I'll learn to work around whatever limitations it has.

 

Just not yet...


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#9 Ron Scubadiver

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 07:30

I am happy with my D800 and its crazy large file sizes.  Like Larry said, Nikon could have put the D4 sensor in a D800 body.


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#10 stenrasmussen

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 07:33

Price with lens in Norway, is over 4000USD!
Machina fotografica necesse est

#11 PatrickO

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 08:07

I won't be buying!

Forget the price. This was always going to be a niche product, and that means price has nothing to do with what is in the product.

The top deck does it for me. All the controls, easy to access, nice.

Everything on the back doesn't do it for me. I don't want to chimp, press butons, browse menus or stuff around with more computing power than the Apollo 11 whilst trying to be creative. Electronics are a distraction and interfere with the creative process.

Electronics also add weight and suck battery life. I wanted something that could last an entire camping trip or holiday without having to carry extra batteries and chargers.

Focusing screen? Living in the dingey northern hemisphere means light levels are pathetic. I want a split screen because no other solution works as quickly and as accurately for manual focusing in the studio or in the field. Well, for me at any rate. I don't want my f/1.2 to hit the eyelashes and not the pupil. I want to be able to see the plane of focus on the tilt-shift and not have to guess (and get it wrong).

Video, wifi? Nope. Not for me. They are distracting, use power and possibly even gimmicks on a mid-range DSLR. Videography is an entirely diferent skill-set, and I don't think one can photo and video at the same time to a professional level. I wouldn't buy a Swiss army knife to chop down a tree.

16mp? I'd be happy with 6mp. I would like to use this camera to reignite my artistic side, so the more megapixies the more I'm going to be sitting behind a PC later. But, in balance, I'm happy with this.

So, in short, I see this as a couple of dials on top and a bit of retro styling. But we all know how far off the mark first impressions can be.

Edited by PatrickO, 05 November 2013 - 08:14 .

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#12 Dallas

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 08:16

Well, I disagree as WiFi is not required for my own work so why pay for something not necessary.

 

Well in this case you're paying for nothing then, because you are paying in a big way. 



#13 vivionm

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 08:25

There is an opinion poll form about the camera on the Nikon USA site. I just filled mine in, explaining that I would not buy the camera because of the high price.



#14 tommiejeep

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 08:29

The weight, sensor, no Vid are all pluses but do not understand the 39 Pt. Cam 4800.  For what I would use it for I want the 51 Pts.   This is one that I can easily wait and see on.  Interesting to see how good the lens is and will more small lighter weight lenses be coming.  Sort of defeats the object if I put the 70-200vrII on it.  Not cancelling my EM1, 12-40 2.8 :)

Tom


Edited by tommiejeep, 05 November 2013 - 08:31 .


#15 wildoat

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 08:30

I don't like to bang on and this is nothing against our american cousins

but in the UK we are asked to pay $4465.58 equivalent(U.S $2999) with the lens or £2799.

 

The american market gets it at £1879 equivalent.

 

I know there are taxes to take into account but yet again this seems unfair and slightly unbalanced.

 

Of course no one is is forcing us to buy.

 

I do like the fact that Nikon is continuing to give alternative products this has to be a good thing.

Maybe this opens up the D4 sensor to other iterations  :)


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#16 bjornthun

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 08:37

The focusing screen is according to Nikon's spec "Briteview Mark VIII", which is the same as the one in the D800. The eyepoint is 15mm compared to 17mm for the D800, at -1 diopter and magnification is 0.7x for the Df as well as for the D800. All given for a 50mm lens. The eyepoint is shorter than on the D800, so from the specs this viewfinder is worse, particularly if you wear glasses.

There is no "hybrid" EVF.
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Bjørn T

#17 stenrasmussen

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 08:39

I love the looks of the camera but with no emphasis put on improved manual focus I think Nikon have missed out on a very crucial point wrt. connecting back to their old manual lenses. Coming out of the fog is a camera looking more of a café table display object than real retro-style photographic tool.


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Machina fotografica necesse est

#18 stenrasmussen

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 08:40

I just notified my dealer that I am going non-Nikon way.


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#19 jramskov

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 08:41

At $2750 it’s just way too expensive to be taken seriously as a professional tool,

I have re-read this part several times and I simply don't understand it?

Well, I disagree as WiFi is not required for my own work so why pay for something not necessary. Besides you probably would have more buttons or menu options to consider. The more I use digital cameras the more I dislike menus.
 
GPS is different as it is a passive option and won't require user intervention. By having the GPS device externally I can select a device of the highest quality (which the built-in devices simply are not).

Agreed in regards to the WiFi. Considering how all smartphones comes with pretty decent GPS's included, I fail to see how a camera like this can't include one as well. Or at least include bluetooth in the camera so you can connect a gps wirelessly to the camera.

Edited by jramskov, 05 November 2013 - 08:44 .

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#20 jramskov

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Posted 05 November 2013 - 08:47

Interesting to see how good the lens is and will more small lighter weight lenses be coming.

According to the dpreview first look, the lens should be the same as the current Nikkor 50mm f/1.8.
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