Nikon Df Announcement and Overview

During the last few years, the interchangeable lens camera industry has seen massive changes. If only a few years ago, a DSLR was considered to be the only serious photographic tool (not counting film cameras), we now have mirrorless cameras that are no less impressive. They’ve already stolen quite a few APS-C sensor DSLR sales. The full-frame market, on the other hand, has seen a huge increase in offerings. It would seem only yesterday when Nikon had three distinctly different full-frame cameras in its lineup – the D700, D3 and D3x. Now, if you count D800 and D800E as separate models, it has five. The newest sibling has been announced, one surrounded with so much hype and hope, you can only ask – what took Nikon so long? But let’s not dwell on the past, because the digital FM2 – or something as close to it as you might have hoped – is finally here. And just look at it. It has dials, and lots of them!

Nikon DF Black and Silver

1) Nikon Df Key Specifications

Before we get all excited, let’s take a quick look at Nikon Df key specifications:

  • Solid, magnesium-alloy construction with weather-sealing
  • 16.2 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor (same as the one in Nikon D4)
  • ISO sensitivity range of 100-12,800 (boost down to ISO 50 and up to ISO 204,800)
  • Shutter speed range of 30-1/4000s, flash sync-speed 1/200s
  • 39-point AF system (same as the one in Nikon D610), 9 cross-type sensors, focuses down to f/8
  • 2016-pixel RGB image sensor, full non-AI-S lens metering
  • EXPEED 3 processor
  • Large 3.2″ LCD screen with 921,000 dot resolution
  • Pentaprism optical viewfinder with 100% coverage and approximately 0.7x magnification
  • SD card slot
  • Maximum continuous shooting speed up to 5.5 frames per second
  • Measures in at 143.5 x 110 x 66.5mm
  • Weighs 760g with battery and memory card
  • $2749 body-only, $2999 with the new Special Edition AF-S 50mm f/1.8G lens

The camera is obviously capable of producing very high quality images under any lighting conditions thanks to that marvelous 16.2 megapixel sensor from the D4. For those who do not need 24 or 36 megapixels, this resolution is just perfect (something a lot of D700 owners who passed on D800 due to high resolution will appreciate). On the other hand, the 39-point autofocus system also used in D600/D610 will not receive as much praise. It is fast and accurate, yes. As we’ve found out, D600 was even decent for some wildlife photography. However, in the case of this particular camera, I am pretty sure a lot of users would have preferred a simpler autofocus system (with, say, 11 points, all cross-type), but one that covers more of the frame. Another issue is the SD card slot, which, for those who use CF cards, is not very practical. I myself prefer CF mostly due to their chunkier size and stronger build. Speed and storage space is not an issue with SD, but they are a bit too… fragile. And, finally, the shutter speed range is also not great with a maximum of just 1/4000s – for that sort of price, we are used to seeing 1/8000s, a must in daylight if you want to shoot a fast prime lens wide open. On the other hand, for existing D700 owners it is not as much of an issue, because the base ISO sensitivity is now 100, which effectively makes the Df just as usable in bright light as the older D700 was.

Nikon DF Rear_black

What is a little unexpected and very welcome is that the retro body is weather-sealed (similar to D610 in that respect). I guess old-fashioned dials and switches don’t usually imply weather protection, but I am glad Nikon pulled that off. In any case, the analogue controls are not truly analogue – the shutter-speed dial is not physically connected to the shutter mechanism, for example. But it does the trick – the feedback is there. The back of the camera is dominated by a large 3.2″ LCD display for image reviewing. Nikon Df does not feature a video mode (possibly a firmware trick), but Live View is implemented.

Nikon DF Sealing

If I were to judge the on-paper specifications alone, the new Nikon Df is not only more expensive than the Nikon D610 to which it will be compared to most often (and on which it is based), but is also inferior in several respects. For example, Df accepts only a single SD card at a time and can shoot at 5.5 frames per second – the same as the now-discontinued D600, but half a frame per second slower than D610. It also does not have a built-in flash (for some, it is important) or video mode at all, a feature that has become an obvious must-have ever since the Nikon D90 and Canon 5D Mark II were launched (the first two video-capable DSLRs). All of this for a whopping $750 more? Already, for the average photo enthusiast, Df makes little sense. However, others will find there is more to Df than raw specifications. Something a lot of photographers have been asking for many, many years.

2) What is so Special About It?

Nikon Df is the photographer’s typewriter. Like a typewriter, it clicks. It chatters. It responds. But underneath the retro looks and analogue controls lies a modern sensor, a modern processor, autofocus system – as if that typewriter was a MacBook in disguise. It saves you from having to refill the ink – change film. It lets you fix any mistakes with the screen on the back. For when you want a film camera for the pleasure of it, but digital results for flexibility, Nikon Df is the golden compromise. With all the benefits of digital, it doesn’t scream about it in your face. It is humble. Purposeful. You can do over 5 frames per second with it, but it does not want you to. It can do HDR, but there is no HDR written on it. This is a camera for photography – slow, mindful, artistic. You know what? I think Nikon nailed it. And even if you can argue with that – after all, it is just an opinion – it is hard to argue with the fact that Nikon Df will be loved just as much as it will be hated. But how about we break it down a bit.

Nikon DF Front_Classic Silvert

2.1) The Looks

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. At first, I did not find the Nikon Df to be all that good-looking, at least the front of it. But then it grew on me. The more I look at it, the more I like it. It is dashing. There’s a black/silver and black version available, the first for style-conscious, the second for those who prefer to remain less noticeable. Naturally, plenty will not like it and plenty will not even care about the looks. After all, who cares about the design? But as I’ve already mentioned, it is important for several reasons. First of all, it is just more fun to use a tool you like everything about. Secondly, when dealing with people, they will react to this camera differently than they would when shot with, say, a D800. It’s interesting, curious. The recent return of retro among camera manufacturers is not at all surprising. Such design is classically timeless, no wonder so many people like it, no wonder the Nikon FM2 is remembered so fondly. Nikon Df will be, too.

2.2) The Controls

One of the reasons why Fujifilm X-series are so popular is the analogue-ish control dials of old. Buttons make sense, of course. But there is just no denying the feedback you get when that shutter-speed dial clicks into place. As I’ve already said, it’s like a photographer’s typewriter focused for one thing – photography. With this camera, the less you need to look at an LCD screen, the better. Nikon made sure you could change all the fundamental settings with dials – there’s a tiny M/A/S/P dial, shutter-speed dial, ISO dial and exposure compensation dial. You can change the shooting speed or engage timer with a dedicated switch surrounding the shutter-speed dial, too.

Nikon DF Top_Classic Silver

2.3) Spiritual Successor to Nikon F Film Cameras, a Natural Replacement for D700

Nikon Df is unapologetically photography-focused. It has most of the usual digital tricks, such as HDR mode and live-view, but it does not scream about it. In some ways, it reminds of my trusty D700 which, too, is a photographer’s tool, reliable and dependable. Like the D700 in its day, Df features the sensor from current Nikon flagship camera for outstanding image quality in any light and resolution that is enough for most uses. But the Nikon Df builds upon that formula with the aforementioned features and wants you to slow down. Not all photographers will be happy to switch from D700 to Nikon Df – in several ways, it is actually inferior despite being a much newer camera. But plenty have finally received exactly what they have been waiting for – a camera with less features. No video? On paper, a disadvantage. But for those who want less, it is actually an improvement. And as we have pointed out before, the Nikon Df is not targeted at sports and wildlife shooters, so it might not be a true D700 replacement for some.

Nikon Df Magnesium Alloy Construction

3) Official Press Release

Here is the official press release by Nikon:

FALL IN LOVE AGAIN: NEW Df D-SLR IS UNDENIABLY A NIKON WITH LEGENDARY PERFORMANCE AND TIMELESS DESIGN

Photo Pros and Enthusiasts Alike Will Embrace the Lightweight FX-Format Df D-SLR, Which Strikes the Ideal Balance of Classic Iconic Style and Advanced Imaging Technology

MELVILLE, NY (November 4, 2013): The new Nikon Df is a modern classic designed for those who have felt a connection to their camera, who revel in the idea of going out to photograph an unfamiliar location, and who know the effort and ultimate satisfaction that is part of getting the shot. Announced today, the Nikon Df is a unique, advanced-level D-SLR that harmonizes Nikon heritage and modern performance in a lightweight and very capable FX-format camera. The new Df pays homage to the enduring style and controls of Nikon’s distinguished “F” series of 35mm film cameras, yet features technology similar to Nikon’s professional flagship D4 D-SLR. Released alongside the similarly styled AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition lens, Nikon’s newest FX-format D-SLR presents a versatile and reliable option to help passionate photographers truly achieve their creative vision.

“Nikon cameras have played an important role in documenting world history for the better part of 50 years, and have earned their position as a reliable tool that pros and enthusiasts can count on. The Nikon Df represents much more than a storied legacy of cameras; it’s more about giving the user a chance to truly enjoy the experience of taking amazing images,” said Masahiro Horie, Director of Marketing and Planning, Nikon Inc. “The design is unwavering, and the features are the latest in Nikon imaging technology. The Df brings together the best of yesterday and today for advanced full frame photographers.”

A Classically Styled, Thoroughly Modern Masterpiece
From a robust feel, to mechanical dials and finely detailed craftsmanship, the Df embodies the very best of Nikon’s photographic legacy. The classically styled camera recalls design cues such as a recognizable pentaprism and top cover, which is now constructed of durable, lightweight magnesium alloy. The top of the camera features elegant yet sophisticated mechanical controls for settings, letting users feel the tactile reassurance of adjustments, such as a familiar click stop for shutter speed adjustment. Additional dedicated dials also control ISO, exposure compensation, release mode and exposure mode, while modern controls are also easily accessible. The intuitive control layout allows for quick and confident setting adjustment, yet retains a solid operational experience that “feels like a Nikon camera.”

The Df has been designed with an emphasis on familiar intricate details made famous from previous generations, including the leather-textured top and grip, along with the body mounted shutter button with a threaded release port. The design also recalls the slenderness of the previous generation’s cameras, making this the smallest and lightest FX-format camera in Nikon’s lineup.

It isn’t all about good looks though, as this enduring design is coupled with legendary performance to create a very capable and extremely appealing FX-format offering for professionals and enthusiasts. The 16.2-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor of the Df is inherited from Nikon’s professional flagship D-SLR, the D4. The large 36 x 23.9mm CMOS sensor is praised for its ability to produce amazing image quality in a wide variety of lighting conditions. Whether shooting landscapes, wildlife or weddings, the frames captured with the Df exhibit amazing clarity, accurate color and a broad dynamic range. In addition, Nikon’s exclusive EXPEED 3 image processing engine helps propel image quality, yielding images with a natural color and depth, all while enhancing subtle and nuanced tones.

Additionally, like the professional Nikon D4, the Df performs well in a wide variety of challenging lighting conditions with an exceptionally wide ISO range from 100 to 12,800, expandable to a staggering ISO 204,800. The combination of low noise and wide range make this an appealing camera to take on the challenges faced by photojournalists and event photographers, as well as those who enjoy the pursuit of extracting otherwise impossible images using natural light.

A Feature Set for Passionate Photographers
The Nikon Df is engineered to enhance the experience of taking photos and represents a culmination of decades of experience and feedback from photographers in the field, the studio and the sidelines. From its proven AF system to modern connectivity and legacy lens compatibility, the Df contains the century’s best photographic features for an enjoyable all-day shooting experience.

  • AF System: The convenience and precision of Nikon’s 39-point AF system is proof-positive of the benefits of modern technology. With 39 selectable AF points throughout the frame for precise focus, the Df also features nine cross-type sensors, and seven AF points capable of working down to f/8. Users can also choose from a variety of AF area modes to match their shooting style: 9-point, 21-point, 39-point, 39-point with 3D Tracking and Auto Area AF.
  • Get the shot with 2016-Pixel 3D Matrix Metering and Scene Recognition System: This Nikon system analyzes each shooting scenario and determines proper camera settings, resulting in even exposures, accurate white balance and precise AF. To capture action sports, wildlife and other fast moving subjects, the Df has a continuous burst shooting rate of up to 5.5 frames-per-second (fps).
  • Compose with a 3.2-inch LCD Display and Glass Pentaprism Viewfinder: Users can easily compose through the high-resolution LCD screen or the bright optical viewfinder. The LCD screen has 921K-dot resolution, making it easy for users to adjust additional settings, review images or compose using Live View. Using the glass optical viewfinder, users will enjoy 100 percent accuracy and a bright field of view. What’s more, the shooting data presented through the viewfinder has also been updated and digitized.
  • Connect and Share Instantly: Another modern touch allows users to connect and share their images instantly using the optional WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter1. By connecting to a mobile device, users can download and share images or remotely fire the camera.
  • Features for Creativity: Photographing dramatic monochrome or vivid landscapes is easier with Nikon’s Picture Controls, which allow for the customization of color, saturation and tone. The Df also features built-in High Dynamic Range (HDR) to combine multiple shots with enhanced tonal range, and two to five-frame auto-bracketing. For maximum control, images can also be captured in JPEG, TIFF or RAW file formats.
  • Support for a Storied NIKKOR Legacy: In addition to being compatible with all current AF, AF-S, DX and AF-D NIKKOR lenses, the Df is also compatible with classic Ai and non-Ai NIKKOR glass. Thanks to a new metering coupling lever located on the bayonet, the user has the ability to once again enjoy their lens collections with renewed functionality. Full-aperture metering is also supported.
  • Accessory System Support: The Df is compatible with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (CLS), letting users take advantage of i-TTL exposure or fire multiple units remotely using a Speedlight commander. To remotely trigger the shutter, the camera also supports the new WR remote system, as well as the threaded AR-3 cable release, which screws in to the shutter button in the traditional style.

A Classic FX-Format Special Edition NIKKOR Prime
The new AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition lens is the result of classic NIKKOR styling combined with today’s optics to create the ideal focal length companion lens for the Df. The design honors original NIKKOR Ai lenses, with colors, texture, and an aluminum mounting ring that is mated to the style of the Df. This lens is ideal for everyday portraiture, landscapes and casual photography, but offers a wide aperture and seven-blade diaphragm for natural image blur and a dramatic depth of field. Despite the timeless design, the 50mm f/1.8G is created with modern AF-S design benefits to give photographers rapid response, quiet operation and excellent sharpness and clarity throughout the frame.

Price and Availability
The Nikon Df will be available in late November 2013, invoking classic Nikon silver and black color schemes. The suggested retail price (SRP) of the Df (body only) will be $2,749.95*, while the Df and 50mm f/1.8 Special Edition lens kit will have a SRP of $2,999.95*. The AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G lens will be sold separately for a SRP of $279.95*. For an additional flair of nostalgic style, Nikon is also offering black or brown leather carrying cases, the CF-DC6B and CF-DC6S (pricing and availability to be announced).

Official Nikon Df Promotion Video:

4) Pre-Order Links

Pre-orders have already started and shipping is expected on November 28th. Here are the links:

Our team at Photography Life is very excited about this announcement. We will be reviewing a Nikon Df as soon as we get our hands on one.


Avatar of Romanas Naryškin About Romanas Naryškin

A student and a wedding photographer with a passion for cinematography and writing. You'll see me buying film even when there's no food in the fridge. Follow me on Google+, Facebook or visit my wedding photography website to see some of my work.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Jon McGuffin

    Well, it’s a nice release by Nikon but I, like many others, feel like they missed the mark a little here. For me, a home run probably looks like this:

    - 1/8000th and 1/250th flash sync
    - Dual SD or at least a single CF card
    - $2399.00 body only pricing
    - ELN-15 Battery

    All else remaining the same, and I think Nikon not only satisfies their own customer base but also brings in strong appeal to canon crop customers wanting to make the FF jump and gives all the Sony A7 enthusiasts reasons to pause as well.

    I own a D700, I’m not likely to buy this camera but perhaps in a year or two, if the price is right I’ll give it a look.

    My two cents..

    • 5
      ) peter2

      I’m totally with you. The lower (way lower) lines such as D7000, D7100 have 2 SD cards. I can’t imagine hiking in the wild taking tons of pictures and the card failed for some reason…

      I like your suggested price. I wish.

    • 33
      ) Peter Pan

      It’s a plus that is has SD and not CF.
      I never liked the CF on my other Nikons.
      SD is a more versatile format.

      Otherwise I agree

  2. 2
    ) Alex

    Same AF the 610 has for $3K? What a disappointment…

    • 16
      ) Simon_R_L

      I am totally with you and after putting my D600 in for warranty work yesterday (yes dirt and oil on the sensor), I am totally wishing I went Canon, if I did not have so much invested in Nikkor lenses I would sell up and get myself the 5D Mk III and some Cannon Glass. I wish Nikon would brig out a real replacement for the D700, I have no desire to get the D800/E given you cannot shoot passed f11 without getting issues with diffraction.

  3. 3
    ) Paul

    I think the biggest let down with this camera, is the lack of improvements to view finder for manual focus. Even with it’s questionable price to feature ratio, give me a better way to use manual focus and I probably would be pre ordering this. Now I will probably wait for the price to drop if I am going to purchase one.

    • 6
      ) Dino Brusco

      I agree. So far, for a camera that shouts past legacy from every pore this is perhaps the biggest miss. Enabling superior manual focusing straight in the viewfinder would have been a huge plus for this specific kind of camera.

  4. 4
    ) Brian

    BRAVO for Nikon. I am so excited.

  5. This is not the D700 replacement you’re looking for… you can go about your business… move along…

    • 9
      ) Frank Miller

      L.O.L Classic!

  6. 8
    ) Alis

    Well as cool as this camera is… It’s really expensive. And it seems quite big too compared to Fuji X-E2…

  7. 10
    ) Arun D

    Yeah, this is true D700 replacement. If this cam has 51 pt AF system, it is the true winner.
    And also they mentioned “synchronizes with shutter at 1/250 s or slower” means suppose to be Flash sync is 1/250 sec?

  8. 11
    ) mikha__

    I think, the Df for mi is a disappointing of the year. Nikon put in the camera with an excellent sensor and ergonomics poor af and metering system, declares full support of old manual lensese and not offers any removable screen for viewfinder. And all this only in aim – to not spoil the sale of D4(like d700 and D3). To my opinion, not necessary to wait D700 replacement, I go to by D800.
    :(

  9. 12
    ) EvanZ

    As a former Nikon FE owner and as someone who has switched to a New but still uses Nikon manual lenses with an adapter, I really wanted to fall in love with this camera, but…

    No LCD swivel is a deal breaker for me. I’m so used to shooting waist-level now with the Sony, that I don’t think I can go back to holding up the camera to my head. Shooting from the hip enables me to get much more candid photos than the usual position. People don’t usually even know I’m taking their pictures, so it’s much more comfortable for the, and me. Oh, well. The perfect camera is still elusive.

  10. 13
    ) Donz

    Romanas, I see you prefer blonds to brunettes! I’m not so sure about, ‘The black/silver version is for style-conscious, the second for those who prefer to remain less noticeable’. I’ve got a ‘blonde’ black/silver version FE …which I find a bit ho-hum …and the totally SEXY all-black FM …but beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say, and it’s brunettes for me !

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151896509854771&set=a.57183849770.63730.647964770&type=1&theater

  11. 14
    ) Marko

    I was expecting some improvements towards making MF usable and enjoyable. Also, the lack of video is a bit surprising, considering all the technology in in there already. As a family camera this is a serious downside.

    The design is absolutely fantastic. Couldn’t ask for more.

    Price ? 20% to high, especially when compared to a D800. I know is a different league, but still, when you compare the D800 tech to the Df the price just doesn’t follow quite well.

  12. 15
    ) Edward Liu

    I want to love this camera. I love the analog controls (though the locking buttons make me wonder how easy they’ll be to change without pulling away from the viewfinder, though I get that might be the point). I like the 16 megapixel image size, because as much as I dig my D600, the image files are huge and chewing up hard drive space really fast. I like the overall design and the lens compatibility. I don’t care that it doesn’t have video.

    But the Df is only marginally lighter than a D600 even though it seems significantly smaller. Perhaps that magnesium frame? Like many, I’d have taken an 11-point autofocus system like the D5100 if it had more coverage of the frame (and made shifting focus points that much easier/faster). And that price tag is astronomical, IMO, even taking the D4 sensor into account.

    I have no doubt that this is going to be a camera where the appeal will become clearer when shooting it vs. reading spec sheets. I hope it succeeds well enough that NIkon starts propagating some of these features to their other cameras, or starts a Df line in parallel to the main DSLR line. But I’m going to enjoy the thrill vicariously, unless I hit the Powerball, win a giveaway contest, or find an extraordinarily generous friend. And, as I said elsewhere, I also hope Nikon doesn’t ship this with any glaringly obvious QA issues like they did with the D800 and D600.

  13. 17
    ) Louis Phan

    i really impress with the Df, it make us have to slow down, enjoy taking photo. help us improve on each shot.
    Nikon has nailed it. although it pricy but i believe it will worth it. because you get what you pay for. i love to own of this. not now. in the future maybe.

  14. 18
    ) xpanded

    Based on the weight this is not the DM3a many of us have been asking for, myself included for the last 6 years. It is however very close in looks and weight to the F3 and thus the name DF3 would be more appropriate.

    In my home country “DF” is the name of the most right winged main stream party. I am sure it will be dubbed the “Pia cam” after the former leader ;-) I am not so sure how Nikon DK will react to that :-)

    Seriously it looks like a wonderful camera, but too heavy for my taste (which is good since I cannot afford one). I am looking forward to reading your test and see it in the hands of fellow photographers.

    /Xpanded

  15. 19
    ) nestor

    Hi Romanas

    Interesting camera, but it seems overpriced, it is not full magnesium alloy, just only top and rear, it has 39 AF points instead of 51 (problem is coverage, not quantity), it has a D600/610 shutter and it DO NOT have a viewfinder blocking lever as the pro cameras. it uses a round cap resembling the DK5 solution for square ocular cameras. It is nice you can use the AR3, video is not so important, but lacking a built in flash is, at least to use as commander. I think that the price would be OK if we would get 51AF points, full magnesium body, a D800 shutter, a small commander flash, a blocking lever for eyepiece, in other words I mean a D800 with a scaled down sensor and withouth the 91K metering. When I said scaled down D800 I was trying to say size and weight, not shape.

    This is my opinion, resuming a nice camera, highly overpriced, and with only one strong point, a high sensitivity D4 CMOS.
    If you need D4 high ISO caps, this one is a cheaper and valid alternative, otherwise I prefer to pay a little more for quite a lot more, or pay much less for an equivalent one.

    Do not misundestand me, it is my opinion, it seems a good camera, and I think Nikon will sell it as bread, but unless you need really need it, or you like the retro-fashion it seems a little overpriced.

  16. 20
    ) cgw

    DPreview said it best: “As such, although I hate to say it: from a cold, hard practical point of view, I can’t shake the feeling that the Df is a little bit… silly. ”

    It looks like a mutant F3. It still has control wheels in addition to the manual locking dials. Nikon’s seemingly got “wrong” what Fuji got “right” with the X cameras. The pricing is absurd.

    The Df concept is especially troubling as an example of Nikon’s problem with “commitment escalation” to a product(the DSLR)and not to a rapidly changing market. This killed Blackberry/RIM and could seriously wound Nikon.

  17. With a fake German accent: “Very interesting.”

    Two cards would have been better than one, however, as a poor mans’ D4, it is still a camera to consider.

    Request: When you get one in for testing, try it on some sports to see how well the focusing tracks. Would further request this be done with low light sports (high school gyms, stadiums, ball fields), and with primes (50mm, 85mm, 105mm??) and if possible with the 70-200 zoom. A lot to ask for, I know. Or (wink, wink), send it to me for such testing.

    WEJ

  18. 22
    ) plevyadophy

    They nearly got it right
    ========================

    Well, in my view as far as ergonomics goes, they nearly got it right and it’s a sin, stupidity beyond stupidity that they didn’t get it right; and as for good looks they have just done a slam dunk.

    As far as ergonomics goes, I have always said that if I designed a cam I would design it so that that Aperture, Shutter, ISO, Exposure Compensation, and PASM were all adjusted by external dials ….. and Nikon have done just that. Awesome.

    But then there are the flies in the ointment. I think it daft that they put the often used Exp Comp dial on the left (thus forcing you to regularly move your left hand from where it ought to be permanently stationed ….. supporting the lens) and the least used PASM button on the right. That seems daft beyond stupidity.

    Also, all them buttons to the left of the LCD simply shouldn’t be there; they should be placed on the right of the LCD, so that one can engage the buttons with the thumb of one’s right hand. In my view, good ergonomics means that a camera is operable almost entirely with the thumb and forefinger of the right hand; each button, dial or what not that is placed on the left of the camera and forces you to move your left hand from cradling the lens is an act of stupidity so the fewer things on the left of the camera the better.

    Then the mother of sins. In typical idiotic Nikon fashion, and the reason I have never owned a Nikon nor never will, they have over-complicated the damn thing. The ergonomics look awesome at first glance but are rubbish in actual use; all them fekkin awesome looking dials have to be unlocked before use instead of being able to use them with a swift reflex action of the thumb and forefinger. Dumb idiot design, dumb!! Typical Nikon over-engineering.

    A friend of mine is critical of the camera for not having an EVF. As for OVF, yeah we should send them to the headmaster to explain themselves; but as far as OVF cams go this thing could have been perfect but it seems that they got close to perfection and then got scared and instead decided to do some foolishness. Take for example that HUGE prism hump; with the hump that big I would expect to find either a pop-up flash (there isn’t one!!!) or an enormous viewfinder view (there isn’t one!!! a mere 0.7x magnification, which isn’t anything to boast about; with a hump that size I would expect something like 0.8x at the very least)

    I think as far as this new retro camera craze goes Nikon have got a slam dunk as far as good looks goes; they have p!ssed on everyone else and that’s some achievement given how cool the Fuji X-Pro 1 cam is and how handsome Oly’s retro cams have been. But the problem with this Nikon cam is that it seems to be form over function; an ergonomic failure.

    Regards,
    plevyadophy

    • 25
      ) nestor

      I don’t like this camera, but I don’t agree with you to consider the locking dials a drawback, if you think so the only reason to do so is because you never use a non locked Nikon dial, you must check every time you use it because they walk away changing modes or whatever they control. For Nikon cameras locking dials is a must, perhaps because they don’t know how to make useful non locking dials. 0.7x viewfinder magnification for a high eyepoint FF camera is OK, perhaps a little more would be best, but I doubt it would be an easy task to get 0.8x, perhaps 0.74x would be closer to reality.

      • 26
        ) plevyadophy

        Hi Nestor,

        I do indeed understand the desire for and supposed need for locking dials. To my mind though, they are over engineered over fussy nonsense and should NEVER be needed in the first place if the camera was built properly; they are just there in my opinion to give a veneer of well thought out sophistication. I hate them with a passion. It’s a pity I probably can’t meet you to do a live demo as to why they are stupid beyond belief.

        This constant nonsense about them being needed to prevent dials moving from where the photog placed them is utter nonsense. The simple solution is to make the dials have enough resistance such that they do not require locking. The only cams I have where I have a locking option on a dial and it is actually needed is on my early generation Canon 1D series cams. And the reason it’s needed? Bad design. Simple. The main reare dial is large, which ain’t a bad thing in itself but it means my thumb comes into contact with it a lot easier and then …………… stupidly the designers didn’t have the sense to make the dial stiffer (i.e. have more resistance), choosing to make it almost “free wheeling”; that there kinda silliness then requires this additional option of a locking feature (and of course more features on a cam gives the semblence of sophistication). No other cam that I own (I have five within 5ft/2.5m of me now) or have used/like has had the need for this silly locking nonsense.

        And if they really must have that silly locking thing, why not be clever about it, like Olympus have been, with their new OM-D E-M1 cam, where the locking button can be pressed to engage a lock and then pressed a second time to disengage the locking mechanism for peeps like me who hate locked dials and prefer to use our cams without such interference.

        As for the vf, yeah I take your point onboard, I can well see that having a good eyepoint for those who wear spectacles (like myself) is a good thing, but still, with that HUGE prism hump I would expect something for it (flash or huge magnificiation).

        Looking further into the development of this cam, it seems to me that Nikon are treating potential buyers like idiots, it’s as if the marketing department have said “oh look, all these peeps are really into retro nowadays, lets cobble together a cam from existing parts and then change the entire top plate (replacing it with some retro looking dials) and they will fall for it! Voila!”

        If you look at the other retro cams, and cam makers, they have something special that one can point to that makes the camera what it is or gives a halo to the producer; Oly have the new sensor and super fast contrast-detect af with onboard phase detect as well as that insanely awesome 5-axis (or 4-axis as CIPA say it must now be called) in-body stablization whilst still paying homage to cameras of a bygone era; and Fuji, in their X100S have that insanely clever veiwfinder (e.g. the ability to offer split-screen focusing without the need for a split-screen focusing screen) and Fuji have the X-Trans sensor (not something I am overly keen on, but it does have it’s merits and supporters).

        And what does have Nikon in this camera to point to? Erm, erm, erm……… oh yeah, you can physically attach any F mount lens to the camera but erm, you can’t focus them easily because you can’t have an interchangeable split-screen focus screen. So what other great wonders of unique technology or features have Nikon brought to the table? Erm, let me see now, erm, erm……………. can someone help me here please?!!!

        Regards,
        plevyadophy

        • 27
          ) Nestor

          I understand your point, and as I told you before I don’t like this camera, it is highly overprized from my point of view, and the only reason I found to buy it for myself is to have a cheaper D4, but as I don’t need a D4 it is worthless for me. i think you expressed quite well the need of locking devices, the only reason they are needed is because of a poor free wheeling design. And instead of increasing resistence they added a Rube Goldberg solution.
          As I remember my old mechanical F3s has 2 locking devices, one for A in the shutter speed dial (very handy, press with your finger and turn without taking your eye from the vf) and the other one for exp compensation, not so handy, two hands needed.

  19. 23
    ) Faz

    Well another new body from Nikon?
    I was hoping there would be no more new camera releases this year at least from Nikon.
    Is this a replacement for D800 like D610? I know the sensor is half the size but still.
    I think there would be D810 sooner or later.. NIKON is doing some crazy stuff….

  20. 24
    ) Colin Scott

    I guess we uncool dudes with the big lumpy unretro gear will now have to take extra care as we hump it through the woods for fear of tripping over a zenned-out Df worshipper pondering the spirit of photography.

    Seriously, I have enjoyed your series of articles on the Df, Romanas but, I’m old enough to have used a typewriter and I prefer a word processor! However, if the Df is “your bag, man” I wish you well (plus, of course, “peace”).

  21. 29
    ) Harry Samuel

    I stopped reading when I got to “it is a replacement for the D700″

    A retro camera with a “G” lens, really?

    If this had 1/320 sec flash, 8 frames a sec, AND video, yes. I see no reason to replace my D700 without adding video. What does this camera do my D700 does not due, and faster? The only upgrade is the sensor, and not a big difference. I want a Nikon D700 WITH video. I HAVE been waiting to upgrade my D700. My Dy700 replaced my D2Xs. I want a true upgrade to my D700. The D3s needed AF on video, all the canons have it. The D700s is coming, just not with that name. Maybe a D710s or D900 or whatever. It is overdue, and this is not it. Maybe next year, until then my D700 and Fuji x20 will get me by.

    This is a beautiful camera, and with video might be in my bag. Nikon did not “nail it”.

    Where is the D700 upgrade coming? I bought a Fuji X20 for a retro camera WITH video, and its sync speed is 1/4000 of a second. Ok, it does not use any of all those Nikon lenses, but it does take great pictures until Nikon brings the D700 replacement. I might just buy a D600 in the meantime, but my D700 is still working fine. Why could they not make a D800 with 16 mp sensor? Maybe call it the D816.

    A perfect “nailed it” would be 12-16mp, 1/320 – 1/500 sync speed, video, CF card and pop-up 3 group controller flash.

    I still wonder at these prices why a new sensor related to CCD is not in the works. 1/2000 sync speed is so nice, remember the D1x? Who says they can’t improve on the D3s ?

    Nikon don’t forget a radio trigger built in to flash AND bodies with 1/2000 sync speed.
    And why could Nikon not design the D4 to use both the new battery and the EN-EL4a, ever hear of an adapter? For that matter EN-EL3e could be used too.

    Will the D5 go back to dual CF cards with the new sandisk extreme pro CFast 2.0. Cf does not work in CFast slots? These SD cards are not easy to change in the middle of an event with gloves on, at least micro SD has not been used.

  22. 30
    ) gianpaolog

    I too own a D700…
    still a very, very pleasant camera.
    I normally use a 17-35 as a walkaround lens (I like wideangle more than anything else).
    The only problem I have is the weight, but the lens is a big percentage of it and so a lighter body will not solve it.
    Also, the quality of D700 sensor is good enuff for most shots…
    I am sorry for Nikon, but I don’t feel really tempted to upgrade!
    And the D700 autofocus seems to be better.

  23. 31
    ) autofocusross

    I think this video review of the Df kind of nails the way many of us feel – it’s the price that really kills the Df, you get nothing for the money imho

    Take a peek:

  24. 32
    ) autofocusross

    sorry, you have to click on the ‘playlist’ icon top left to escape from the ‘flash’ review – the Df is the third item on the menu, I can’t get a direct link to it sorry!

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