In The Nikon Df Crossfire – Heart vs Head

The following conversation is entirely fictitious. Any similarities to opinions expressed on this forum or elsewhere are purely coincidental.

Nikon Df - Heart vs. Head

Head: So you are pretty excited about the Nikon Df, huh?
Heart: Absolutely!
Head: Just what is it about this new DSLR that has you so enthused?
Heart: Well, the Df brings us back to what some of us call “Pure Photography.” Sadly, it has been missing for quite some time. Then again, given your analytical mindset, which is utterly devoid of human emotion, I would not expect you to understand such a concept.
Head: Perhaps thinking is a bit over-rated at times, but it does come in handy, particularly when evaluating marketing slogans and attempting to discern the value of various camera models and lens choices. So help me out here – just what have those of us using digital cameras over the past 13 years or so been engaged in – “Impure Photography?”
Heart: You just don’t get it, do you?
Head: I suppose not. Then again, that is why we are having this conversation.
Heart: Just look at the state of the DSLR market until the introduction of the Df. It was one bland, bloated-looking black DSLR body after another, virtually indistinguishable from one another. A never ending stream of gadgets and gizmos clamoring for our attention and our pocketbook. And people spending more time in front of their computer than in front of their camera. The Df is one of the first cameras that hearkens us back to the golden age of photography. It represents the spirit of photography personified. Just look at metallic finish, knobs, and controls. It’s got style, class, elegance, and grace!
Head: Are you describing a camera or a Bolshoi ballerina? I grant you that most DSLR bodies are difficult to tell apart. But how does the style of the camera affect the quality of our photos?
Heart: Well, if you were capable of feeling and expressing some real emotion, you would understand! Photography is about creating art and the Df allows you to do so in droves.
Head: Interesting… So having a camera with some retro-styled knobs allows me to be more artistic and create more interesting photos than a traditional looking DSLR? And as a result of how my camera looks, I will somehow become much more enthused about taking photos?
Heart: In a matter of speaking – yes! You see, photography has become polluted by the tremendous influx of modern mass-marketed camera products. The Nikon Df breaks new ground by making a bold fashion statement which appeals to both photographers and their subjects.
Head: You will forgive me if I am struggling a bit with the concept. I have seen some stunning photographs produced with the so-called “bland boring DSLRs” over the years. Even the humblest of DSLRs and low cost lenses have won highly competitive photography contests, such as the one sponsored by UK’s Digital Camera World Magazine. In fact, the sense I often have from examining the cameras and lenses that win or place in such contests is that one’s camera is not nearly as important as one’s vision, perspective, and creativity. Those seem to be traits that I would expect a Heart to appreciate.
Heart: Hmmm… that indeed sounds more like an argument I might make! I should have realized when we sat down to talk that it was going to take a while for you to understand the concept of the Df. I am not saying that you can’t create “art” with a modern DSLR, but rather that you are much more likely to realize pure enjoyment and create a photographic masterpieces with a Df.
Head: Just what makes you think that I would feel differently with a Nikon Df in my hands as opposed to a Canon 5D MKIII?
Heart: They will be different because you will feel different about photography.
Head: How so?
Heart: The Df will inspire you to be more creative, have more fun, and be consumed by the joy of photography once again. Trust me – you will feel it once the Df is in your hands again.
Head: I would love to trust you on this one, but I seem to be weighed down by this nagging “value” concept.
Heart: Don’t I know it! You remind me during every conversation. Don’t you ever get tired of thinking all the time and needing to make sense of everything before believing in something? You must be a complete bore at parties…
Head: Well, I would like to be a bit more carefree, but there is this notion of limited funds and concern about the value of a given product relative to its cost and competitive offerings.
Heart: Here we go again… concerns about money and value. You really are pretty tedious!
Head: Perhaps, but it seems to me that there are quite a few competitors to the Df that offer photographers more value for the money. The Nikon D800 and D610 seem to have better sensor ratings, video, and higher megapixels. And the D610 can save you $750. And the Nikon D7100 or Canon 70D in the DX arena, with their smaller lighter lenses, represent attractive options if camera size and weight are a serious concern. Granted, more megapixels alone are not an indication of quality, but they do come in handy for pure resolution and cropping abilities. The Df does not even have a flash or video capabilities!
Heart: No video or flash – a bold stroke, don’t you think?
Head: Bold stroke? Don’t you think that in this day and age, with the use of video exploding, it might make sense to include it? Maybe, just maybe, a Nikon Df user might wish to take a video? Once in a while? Since when does leaving out mainstream features spell I-N-N-O-V-A-T-I-O-N?
Heart: Since it comes in such an attractive package! Video-schmideo… Have you seen the retro knobs and dials?
Head: Well, they certainly do look nice. But I understand that in practical terms (and perhaps cold weather), these dials may not be quite as usable as Nikon would have us believe.
Heart: Nonsense – Form over function! Aesthetics at all costs!
Head: I will grant you the point that style has its place. But I can’t help but notice that everyone keeps hyping the silver version of the Df. You may be aware that camera companies used to charge a premium for the black version of an SLR. Could it be that Nikon believes the black Df looks a bit too much like other DSLRS?
Heart: Don’t be ridiculous. Anyone seeing you take photos with either version of the Df will immediately react favorably to it. Their smiles will be brighter, they will stand a bit taller, they will enjoy the photographic experience more, they will become more attractive, and your photos of them will simply stand out above the rest!
Head: Wow! Not bad. You only left out parting the Red Sea, finding a cure for cancer, and achieving world peace. How about a little test?
Heart: Sure. What is it?
Head: I will hold up 2 DSLRs from a distance of 15 feet and you can tell me which models they are.
Heart: Ok – let’s do it!
Head: [Walks 15 feet away and holds up a silver and black camera]. Which one is this?
Heart: Obviously it is a silver and black Nikon Df!
Head: Sorry – it is a Nikon FM2. Let’s try DLSR 2. [Walks 15 away again and holds up another DSLR].
Heart: That is obviously the black version of the Nikon Df!
Head: Nope – that one was a Nikon D610. Call me crazy, but it seems that at 15 feet, most people could not tell which camera you had in your hand. So why do you still believe people are going to “respond more positively” to the Nikon Df when they can’t tell one camera model from the next at a reasonable distance?
Heart: There are times that I really can’t stand you…
Head: Forgive me for being “logical” again. I know rational thought seems like a vice to you…
Heart: You have seen the Df’s retro-styled knobs and controls, haven’t you?
Head: I think you mentioned them…
Heart: Look, there are things I don’t expect a head like you to understand, such as feelings, art, creativity, style, grace, and beauty. You live in a world of product spec sheets, model comparisons, budgets, and that dreadful thing – money!
Head: Don’t you find it rather odd that Nikon is charging nearly the same price as the D800 for the Df and $750 more than the D610? For a DSLR that, all things considered, offers less features than these other models?
Heart: Good looks costs money!
Head: It would seem that Nikon wants us to believe that! I have nothing against good styling, but limiting features, adding stylish knobs and controls, and then charging a premium price hardly seems like it offers Nikon’s customers anything new. It merely seems to have taken a page out of the book used by some household product companies, whereby they simply change the product label and then call it “New & Improved!”
Heart: You are so cynical! On some forums, you would be labeled a “Df Hater!” The Nikon Df is much more compact and lighter than other DSLRs, making it much more inconspicuous and pleasurable to carry around all day. That is rather revolutionary, don’t you think?
Head: Whoa! Df Hater? I thought we were just having a good-natured conversation regarding a new DSLR? And forgive me for pointing out the obvious, but a DSLR body that is roughly the same size as the Nikon D600 or D7100 hardly seems like a revolutionary breakthrough.
Heart: But the Df is lighter.
Head: Technically, you are correct – the Df is lighter than the D610. But who believes shaving approximately 3.3 ounces or 90 grams off the weight of a DSLR is going to make a difference in someone’s day? Anyone?
Heart: Do you ever take a holiday from rational thinking? Ever?
Head: Sorry to be rain on your parade, but not everyone makes decisions using their heart alone. You might be surprised at the number of people that invoke a bit of rational thought when making a decision to purchase a new DSLR.
Heart: Perhaps, but such people lack soul.
Head: That might be a bit harsh. Some people may have to attribute more weight to the totality of the features they can purchase for their hard-earned dollars instead of being seduced by vague marketing appeals to their sense of nostalgia or glittering knobs and controls.
Heart: What about the fact that the Df allows people to make use of their pre-AI lenses? Surely that has some value?
Head: Surely you jest. Do you or Nikon seriously believe that the main challenge for photographers is finding a new DSLR that can take advantage of pre-AI lenses? Is that what is really causing DSLR sales to stall? I guess they are going to use the Df’s split screen focus aid with those pre-AI lenses, huh?
Heart: You know the Df does not have a split screen focus aid! You really don’t fight fair, do you? But as much as it pains me to say it, I had to wonder why they left this feature off as well.
Head: Even if the Df had one, do you believe that photographers over 40 who need bifocals to read their cellphone or DSLR screen would do a better job focusing manually with a split screen focus aid than relying on Nikon’s advanced autofocusing technology?
Heart: Must everything “make sense” to you? Surely you can’t argue with the quality of the high ISO capabilities of the Df?
Head: This may be one area where we agree. I will grant you that the Df seems to test pretty well on this front, besting the D800, and D610.
Heart: Finally!
Head: I will acknowledge that the Df may come in handy during situations where we need ISO ranges above 6400, but how often is that? I went through our library of photos and found that less than 2% of our photos were taken at ISO 3200 or above. To hear some people on the forums drone on, you would think they earn their living taking photos by candlelight or spend most nights taking pictures in dark smoky nightclubs illuminated by a single 60 watt light bulb!
Heart: Well, perhaps the Df’s low-light capabilities will encourage more people to shoot in conditions that would not be possible with other DSLRs.
Head: Keep that up and I may accuse you of rational thinking! Ok – I will grant you that point. But I will maintain that the importance of this feature is at best exaggerated and contrary to the data presented most people’s EXIF data. And the Nikon D800, D610, and Canon 5D MKIII are no slouches in this department either. Remember, DXO gives the D800 and D610 higher overall sensor ratings than it gives the Df.
Heart: Look – The digital revolution is ruining the soul of photography. Megapixels, computers, look-alike bodies, autofocus lenses, and the most abominable creation of all time – Photoshop – are destroying everything photography was meant to be! Don’t you understand that the Df is Nikon’s attempt to save photography from being destroyed?
Head: Lovely speech, but I fail to see how the Df addresses any of the so-called problems you list. Face the facts – the Df is simply another DSLR. A bit more stylish than most, but it comes with a limited set of features compared to its Nikon and non-Nikon competitors and sports a premium price tag to boot! Apart from a bit more usable high ISO range, it offers nothing over the competition, apart from those shiny retro-looking knobs.
Heart: Have you seen the knobs and controls? They really do look great!
Head: Sigh… You seem to have forgotten that most people stopped buying Nikon FEs, FMs, and other SLRs because of the advantages offered by their digital counterparts. If you are so enamored with photography of yesteryear and think that digital technology is somehow leading the field of photography astray, why don’t you simply buy a Nikon FE and pre-AI lenses, some black and white film, and say goodbye to it all? You can get an FE SLR for less than $100 and pre-AI lenses for a song on eBay. I would bet that for a total investment of $500 (US dollars), you could buy an entire FE/pre-AI lens kit. And the $2,250 you save over the price of a new Df can provide quite a bit of spending money for film development.
Heart: And give up the ability to see my photos instantly on an LCD and take advantage of other new technologies?
Head: That’s what I thought… It seems that you are only enamored with the “feeling” of using old cameras and lenses but are as well-steeped in the digital age as much as anyone else. And perhaps that is my main concern with the Df – simply putting some retro style knobs on a high-priced DSLR that looks like something from the middle part of the last century, while giving it an uninspiring feature set and charging a premium price, is not going to help anyone take better pictures or “create art.” The more I listen to you attempt to convince me that simply using a retro style camera will improve one’s enthusiasm regarding photography or ability to create art, the less soul I think you have.
Heart: Watch it pal – you’re pushing it! Facts, facts, and more facts! You don’t buy the Df with your head, you buy it with your heart! Don’t you have a heart?
Head: That’s your department. Mine is to prevent your feelings from running away with our wallet, and get the most camera for our money!
Heart: You are insufferable…


  1. Profile photo of ricardovaz 1) ricardovaz
    January 3, 2014 at 11:26 pm

    Lol, I’m the Head and my brother is Heart. Im trying to make his mind to not buy the DF and get a D610/800 instead.

    • January 8, 2014 at 8:09 pm

      i finally got over the fact that it doesn’t have the video feature but the bad AF in low light is such a deal breaker for me.. i will wait for the upgrade or the future firmware update that might fix this problem..

      juste got a D5300 to shoot my videos ;)
      And my D800 for work and passion !! :)

      ps sigh

      • 1.1.1) Allan
        January 13, 2014 at 11:55 pm

        Duncan, are you serious? Have you actually shot with a Df yet? My Df shoots incredible in low light. I think there are some good bodies out there and some not so good ones. That, is inexcusable in my opinion, but really, you should shoot with one and see just how good it is.

        If I was reading everything people were saying – good and bad about something, before buying, I’d probably lean towards the bad as well, but that’s a disservice to you. Go rent one and see for your self.

        I obviously love mine. It’s not perfect, but it’s so much fun to use and the IQ is insane.

        After shooting with it for over a month I don’t think Nikon borrowed anything from any camera, but rather improved on it. The 39 pt is better than the D610 just as the sensor is better than the D4’s – just my opinion.

  2. 2) AGuest
    January 3, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    Hit a home-run here, sir.

  3. 3) mdlutfi
    January 3, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    This is exactly what happen to me over the past 3 weeks.. LOL.. and finally head wins it for me..

  4. 4) Tom Crossan
    January 4, 2014 at 12:44 am

    Great article.

    I got my first SLR in the late 60’s – a Yashica and have had numerous SLRs over the years. Some good and some . not so good. I gave photography away for about 30 years and only started again about 5 years ago with a Nikon D60, then went to a D300s and now just got a D800.

    I am so impressed with this “new” digital technology, and computers and all the processing software programmes etc etc. I don’t know how many hours I have spent totally mesmorised in front of the computer. Almost as good as meditation.

    Now since I have started back in photography I have seen a lot of “camera envy” and “kit envy” that was not around when I stopped photography all those years ago. Going into a camera shop or on-line today is now like going into a fishing tackle shop. There are that many bits and pieces out there to entice the buyer and I put the Nikon DF in that group.

    • 4.1) Brian
      January 4, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      And you know, the fishing lures are designed to attract the fisherman more than the fish. It seems this camera is designed to attract the photographer, not help him/her make better photographs.

      Put a D4 sensor in D800 body with 8+fps at $3k, call it D800S, and you will sell a lot of those.

      • January 4, 2014 at 5:48 pm

        As someone that grew up fishing, and being a former golf addict, I can attest to the truth of your analogy. In the golfing world, people that buy new clubs each year based on the latest marketing gimmick always tell me the same thing – “I get 10 yards more on every shot!” Over the last 20 years, this would have them hitting their pitching wedge over 300 yards! Oddly enough, they seem to hit their new pitching wedge the same distance as I recall from 20 years ago. Then again, I wouldn’t tell them that! :)
        I agree that the configuration of a mythical D800 would indeed be popular. All the more reason to question the decision to bring the Df to the market at this time.

      • 4.1.2) Tom Crossan
        January 4, 2014 at 6:23 pm

        Agree Bob, and throw in split ring focusing for us “older”guys and they would have a winner.

  5. 5) Ertan
    January 4, 2014 at 1:05 am

    Perfect. Exactly how I feel about DF. Put some knobs, spill some “magical photography” powder in press releases, then charge 750$ more on d610. Really Nikon?

  6. 6) David Jenkins
    January 4, 2014 at 1:32 am

    Nice piece, made me smile.

    I’ll wait now till I see some of these more “artistic” photos taken with the Df.
    Meanwhile, I’ll ooh and ahh over the great images I see being taken with those bland, banal, black nondescript old style bodies.

    Its still in the hands of the user that the magic happens.

    Other than some lovely leatherette on chrome, the camera feels impassively dull.

  7. 7) Erik
    January 4, 2014 at 1:59 am

    Spot on. Head wins for me. Even though heart was leading part of the race.

    As an amateur with a long history with several Nikon FE2 and FM3A:s over the years I really like what Nikon tries to do with the Df. But, especially the focus screen is the deal breaker for me. I could live with all other shortcomings if it only had a focus screen meant for manual focus (ideally split screen with a microprism ring around it). So simple. So sad. What a great mistake.

  8. 8) autofocusross
    January 4, 2014 at 2:04 am

    Maybe we should book Head and Heart a room, and then invite ‘gut feeling’ around to talk to us for a while.

    My analysis of a camera model works on two levels, firstly, now. Secondly, then. What on earth do I mean?

    OK I mean this: ‘now’ means my gut feeling about if I collect a new camera from the store / amazon / whatever, once I have mastered the basics, will it give me great results? I have always been a results oriented photographer, so pushing boundaries I leave to the geeks and the pioneers. When I read reviews that talk about iso performance at 6400 being a bit noisy, it leaves me cold. What on earth are people doing using such a high iso anyway? Have they not heard of faster glass? Bounce flash? frankly, ANYTHING that helps them use iso 800 as the maximum speed, and lower if possible!

    What I mean by ‘now’ is that, once I have mastered the basics, taken my shots, got home, post processed where needed, and printed them out, what do I have? Is the camera providing the image quality I seek, or is it better, or worse? That is my ‘now’ criteria, will this camera give me what I need, and want, NOW? or does it fall short?

    This takes us to the ‘then’ side of the ‘gut feeling’ analysis. I like to hop into a time machine and look at the new camera ten years from now. When I rematerialise ten years in the future I pop into a camera store and strike up a conversation with an amiable salesman, and ask him what he thought about that Nikon x-y-z that came out ten years ago. I imagine his reply, and in the case of the Df I imagine him saying ‘yes, hmm, the Df I remember that one, yea, Nikon really screwed up there. I think they were trying to capture a slice of the quality market, older photographers who came from film backgrounds – do you remember film sir? does it ring any bells? – anyway, it was just another failed experiment. They sold about three hundred and packed up. No one was surprised at the time, there were two other better cameras around from Nikon, and of course Canon and Sony were there too. What really killed it was the resolution upgrade when the D900 and the D620 came out. Poor sales of the Df became NO SALES after that – dealers were returning unsold stock by the dozen, I think most of them found their way to the ‘refurbished’ market at a third of the RRP before they vanished from sight. It must be 7 years since I saw one, Sir.

    I then hop back into my time machine and return to the present, look at my own camera, and thank God I don’t have a head or a heart, but a very helpful ‘Gut Feeling’.

    Very thought provoking analysis though, enjoyed reading it, thanks :-)

  9. January 4, 2014 at 2:09 am

    Pretty funny Bob!

    I had a similar conversation with my wife, it went like this…

    ME: Looking at the DF on the screen. “Подивіться мій дорогий!” (“Look my dearest!” Figured I would pour on the sugar.)

    Wife Walks by, looks at screen … “NO!” Walks away.

    Clearly, her English has improved, I guess that’s a positive, sorta.

  10. 10) Peter G
    January 4, 2014 at 2:42 am

    I’m sticking with my D3S, D3 and D2Xs., as I dislike small bodied cameras.

    I use Nikon 14-24, 70-200mm f2.8, 300mm f2.8, 500mm f4 etc.

    • 10.1) Ertan
      January 5, 2014 at 4:11 am

      Thanks for info.

      • 10.1.1) Larry
        January 5, 2014 at 4:45 am

        Now that there is funny, I don’t care who you are! :-)

        • Peter G
          January 14, 2014 at 12:14 am

          What’s so funny about the statement ?

          • Larry
            January 14, 2014 at 5:02 am

            If you assume, as I have, that your original post is completely irrelevant to the article and any succeeding comments, It would be easy to assume, again as I have, that Ertan’s reply was sarcasm. If it was, it was funny due, in part, to the terseness of the reply. If he was serious, well…I can’t imagine he was.

            • Peter G
              January 14, 2014 at 5:34 am

              Well Larry, all I meant was that I wasn’t going to get caught up in all the hoopla about a new camera. It’s a small bodied camera, at a D800 price. I’m not even interested in a D800 BTW for similar reasons .

              Small cameras do not interest me when using big lenses , as they become unbalanced , and awkward to use .

              Take my comments as you wish . :-)

  11. 11) BARBU
    January 4, 2014 at 4:30 am

    The answer about NIKON DF is very simple : You can LOVE it or you can HATE it ! ! !

  12. 12) Steve
    January 4, 2014 at 5:06 am

    Well, the Heart won with me last December. DF is slight sharper than my d600 and have amazing high ISO Performance. But lately the Head is trying to convince me that I took wrong path that I followed Heart.

    DF is one beautiful and luxury DSLR but simply overprice. Maybe I should get d800e or d610 and a lense…

  13. 13) Anthony
    January 4, 2014 at 5:21 am

    Great to hear from Bob again! It’s been way too long! I enjoyed this article a lot, almost as much as the Nikon press release… It’s too bad you think you need to drape the article with disclaimers to dissuade readers from thinking Bob is a real person, and not just a figment of Nasim’s imagination. We know better, that “Bob” is really the result of a split personality, the “evil Nasim” getting out! But, I prefer to think of Bob as a real person, with excellent insight, good ideas, enjoyable writing style, who values many of same things I do. Including sarcasm. (Disclaimer)

  14. 14) tom
    January 4, 2014 at 9:35 am

    This is why I just purchased a D800E. WhenI buy a product I want a workhorse not a show piece

  15. 15) jd7000
    January 4, 2014 at 10:21 am

    I like the smaller lighter body with the full size sensor. I don’t use video much. One of my other cameras does not have video and I don’t miss it. I prefer cameras that are more like cameras and less like computers. If the Df body and buttons are more intuitive, then I could spend less time setting up or thinking about setup, and the result for me will be better pictures.

  16. 16) Ernesto Quintero
    January 4, 2014 at 11:17 am

    I read it and loved it. Great post Bob. A little comedy is a good thing. Pro and con is personal, unless ones spouse needs to be involve in the decision too.

    I truly have a issue with how adamant those that hate the Df are. They seem to take it personally if another photographer spends money on something they despise so much. They keep on repeating the negatives that other already pointed out many times before. Funny I didn’t know I told strangers to convince me otherwise what I should buy or not. I knew perfectly well the D700 didn’t have video before buying it, heck never shot video on the D300s nor Fuji X100, nor Olympus XZ-1.

    It’s refreshing that one of the BIG 3 did think outside the box. Sure the pre release marketing campaign was successful and caused blow-back and derision for the words “pure photography”. Get over it, it’s just advertising. It HAS the flagship sensor and still people say it’s too expensive,or it lacks a second memory card slot, need two fingers to adjust knobs, yada yada. Hey drama queens this camera is not for you, buy another one, move on already.

    • 16.1) Jorge Balarin
      January 5, 2014 at 4:40 am

      Of course, this camera is for people without brain and a lot of heart : )

  17. 17) rodrigo
    January 4, 2014 at 1:24 pm
  18. January 4, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Thanks everyone. Glad to see that people still have their sense of humor intact, especially in the case of the controversial Df. There is nothing inherently wrong with the Df, but rather there is nothing innovative or interesting about it. It is an odd duck product introduction at a time when digital camera sales are taking a dive. With respect to value, I believe the Df’s feature set simply doesn’t cut it.

    Some companies can charge a premium for some luxury items. That’s fine for high end products with high prices, high margins, frivolous features that those with a virtually unlimited supply of funds care about, and relatively small sales numbers. The high end luxury car market is a perfect example of this.

    But the Df is hardly some luxury good or an exotic sports car. It is simply a DSLR that incorporates Nikon’s attempt at retro styling and a nearly 2 year old sensor in a D610-sized package, while leaving out the features of the D610. Hardly the definition of luxury… With 4 years or so of development invested in the Df, it seems that Nikon could have given consumers a better mix of features for the money or done something truly innovative.

    As examples:
    – Match the exact features of the D610, leave the 16MP sensor and retro styling, and up the FPS rate to 7 or 8 and a price of $2,500 (US).
    – Reduced the size of the Df to that of the FM or FE, perhaps by making it mirrorless, perhaps not. That would have been revolutionary and really done something meaningful to reduce the size of the camera. This would have turned some heads and at least made Nikon’s Df size/weight claims credible.

    Nikon’s claim that the Df is the smallest/lightest FX camera on the market are little more than a technicality, exploiting the very slight difference in weight between the D610 and Df. This claim alone, made in such a boastful way, is a bit embarrassing. You have to wonder what’s next, a new 24-70mm f/2.8 lens that offers no new features, but shaves 2 ounces off its predecessor and the same level of sharpness? ;)

    Either of the configurations above (and likely other permutations) could have made the Df introduction a much bigger deal and likely moved the sales numbers noticeably higher.

    As it stands, anyone looking at this rationally and not blessed with unlimited funds has to wonder why he/she is trading off flash, video, a different battery format than the D610/D800/D7100, and a card slot for some retro styling, a slight bump in high ISO capability, and a bit better battery life for the extra $750. While some emphasis the metal components, if you are really banging your camera around such that metal will make a difference, then I suspect you will damage your camera one way or another. And as the firearms industry has demonstrated, some of today’s plastic composites are extremely durable and behave better then metal in extreme conditions.

    Thus apart from its looks, there is simply nothing “premium” about the Df to warrant its premium price, matching the price of what many believe is the best DSLR on the market, the D800. Then again, I am aware that there is a market for just about any product and there are many people that disagree with my opinion of “value” when making their purchasing decisions.

    I just have to wonder, however, if this was the wisest use of Nikon’s resources in light of its existing product line-up, those of its competitors, and a rapidly changing market. Perhaps some at Nikon are wondering the same.

    As always, time will tell… ;)

    • 18.1) Tor
      January 6, 2014 at 2:46 am

      I’m sorry but you are wrong. Your dialogue was funny but it only goes to show that you don’t have a grasp of how artist tools work. What matters is how a camera feels in your hands, how it feels to make photographs with. Does it inspire you to be proactive et c? Nikon can charge a lot because this is the only dslr in the world with manual controls. You mention it in your sketch as something cosmetic. Dials are the main reason I’m still using old film cameras. It’s fine for you not to nees this but it’s clear that you purposefully ignore that others, especially artists who work slowly and often with external light meter, need to have real dials. Pretty much all my colleagues have been wanting this for a decade. Our option has been Fuji X, Leica or medium format.

      Control wheels are not the same thing for a couple of reasons. A number on a screen does not give you the same “thinking space” as a dial. Why do you think most people prefer to look at an analogue dial rather than a digital? Clue: visualization. Another important part is to be able to look at the camera quickly and see the aperture, shutter and ISO settings at a glance without turning the camera on. If I’m out making pictures I think about exposure constantly, about light and I don’t need a machine to try to be clever on me.
      So you see, your joke fails because it is dishonest – it’s just you justifying your own opinion and apparent lack of insight into the methodologies of fine art photography. It’s not your head speaking but your ass, pardon the french.

      There would have been less confusion to who this camera is for had Nikon not made it G-lens compatible and elected to exclude the control wheels, autofocus and only had M and A mode just like on FM3A. The FM3A was marketed in the exact same way as the Df, pure photography, but there was no confusion to who the camera was for so we didn’t have to suffer ignorant folk who can’t tell concepts apart.

      • 18.1.1) Tor
        January 6, 2014 at 3:09 am

        Some further ways of putting it to get my point across:
        The styling doesn’t matter. They could have made look futuristic or whatever. What matters is simple accessible controls who’s status are always readily apparent and also acts as support for making exposures.

        It really is a shame that the Df is not a digital FM3. But the wheels are discrete so it’s possible to stick a manual lens on there forever and forget about the wheels and other speed optimized HMI. Sure, the good looks are nice but that really isn’t what this camera is about.

      • 18.1.2) Jorge Balarin
        January 6, 2014 at 12:41 pm

        Tor, when you say: “you don’t have a grasp of how artist tools work”, you are talking like the “heart” of Bob’s parody. The DF was not released only for artits, but for normal people who want to get something consistent with their investment. If you compare the D610 with the DF – considering their prices – the D610 is the clear winner.

        I’m not an expert in manual focus, but I understand that in this last point the DF is also a disapointment. By other side I don’t like the wheels salad. I find it confusing.

        • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
          January 6, 2014 at 5:38 pm

          Cameras are just tools – nothing more. It is the person behind the camera/lens that creates. If you can’t take a great picture with a D610, I assure you that you have no better chance with a Df.
          I find it odd that you don’t seem to think you need the camera to do any thinking for you. If that is the case, why bother with digital at all? Why would you need to see your camera’s setting when it is off? How does that help anyone create a better picture? As others have already documented, the Df’s controls can indeed “lie” about the real settings, since in some modes, the actual values of ISO, shutter speed, and aperture, may be different than what the dials indicate. Thus you cannot tell anything for certain regarding a Df when it is off. Neither can you know its true settings when it is turned on, unless you check the viewfinder or menu.
          I suspect what you really don’t care for is the fact that you have bought into the Df’s obtuse marketing pitch and I happened to mention that the underlying product was not all it was cracked up to be. I realized when I wrote this piece, that for some, it would be akin to telling the king he had no clothes, or their baby was ugly. That is to be expected.
          I have admitted that I like the Df for its looks, but the features and cost, when considered with even a slight bit of objectivity, don’t wash for most that have to consider the concept of “value” in their buying equation. I wouldn’t buy a D4 either, but I can at least appreciate its feature set and value proposition for those that shoot sports or fast moving wildlife. I cannot say the same for the Df.

          • Alvin/Pat
            January 6, 2014 at 7:38 pm

            Well, this just isn’t going to end, is it?
            You’re a golfer, or were; have you ever met a guy who had to wear a certain pair of pants or a particular shirt in order to golf well? Of course his clothes are irrelevant but being in “the zone” matters more than practice or having a great set of clubs, custom made to fit you. In a similar fashion, having a particular camera that just “feels” right can make all the difference in the world. It doesn’t matter if that feel comes from the way it looks, the dials or buttons, or even that it was your dads camera; it can be the thing that separates a technically perfect photo from art. If you can’t understand that, I can’t think of anything else to tell you…

          • Tor
            January 6, 2014 at 8:03 pm

            Hi Bob, when I went to art school the first thing that happened was that the tutors put large format cameras in our hands – “to slow you down”. Many years after I return to ponder how clever that was as a first course. The camera is indeed a tool, and like any artists tool it has great impact on how you work. You draw differently with different pens or pencils for example. I’m pasting a reply I made in another thread answering a question on what a Df can do that a 610 can’t. It is the same answer that explained my preference for an FM2 over a D100 or F5 (this is not about digital vs film, digital is just a capturing format like film, daguerreotype, caletype or glass plate, this is about the interface between man and machine (which is exactly what that first course was called, in which we also studied Walter Benjamin and Vilem Flusser, I suggest you do the same). The Df can indeed lie – a shortcoming stemming from the greedy inclusion of AF and G lens compatibility (the stupid PASM-dial). For me and others of the intended user group, who don’t give a damn about the looks, it matters little as my camera will never leave “M”. I can assure you the kitschy sentimental marketing has no effect no me. The only interesting thing is that this time they use a young model whereas with the FM3 it was an old man.

            The Df has a manual ISO dial, the 610 does not. The Df has an exposure compensation dial, the 610 does not. The Df has a shutter dial, the 610 does not. Conveniently, the Df takes the same shutter release as my FM2 and Hasselblad, the 610 does not. Nor does any other dslr in the world do these things. The Df is unfortunately unique.

            It’s about working methodology. I work with an external light meter, camera on tripod. It can take me 15 minutes or longer to make one exposure (and I make only one), so picture me walking around, taking readings or constructing the scene, returning to the camera, I use the dials as aid when calculating exposure. Just as most people prefer an analogue watch face to a digital one because the analogue face also acts as a diagram helping you “see” the day in front of you. Manual dials on a camera work the same way (another example are the analogue displays of speed and RPM on most cars). So, I have just returned to the tripod, I can see the settings at a glance. Had it been a conventional dslr I might be looking at a blank display, press buttons, turn it on, “oh! Just lost my concentration because the 610 got in my way, what was that thing I was just thinking about that glistening highlight?”. By the way, it’s winter in Sweden so I’m having gloves on – oops need to take gloves off to manipulate tiny control wheels, unlike big lens aperture ring and big dials which are easy to operate with gloves. And you don’t even look at the camera, you count clicks. Of course I can mount a manual lens on a 610, and I have on a d600 I borrowed for a while, but you still need the other dials for this way of working to be intuitive. I am very grateful for the locks. They work exactly like the locks on earlier Nikons – very similar to F3. The Df control scheme almost mirrors that of the F4 which is praised as having one of the best UI’s of all time. The F5 was the first that sadly omitted the dials us deliberate slow-goers need to work well. So there you have it, for a photographer like me, a camera with the manual, physical dials of the Df is a bliss. Of course I can make a picture with anything, but I can make best use of my inspiration and stay with the vibe as long as the camera stays out of my way and is perfectly honest about its intentions. I hope my answer could give you some insight into how this photographer works.
            I am very happy that there is finally an option for us manual guys. It’s incredible how little choice the digital world has to offer compared to the film days. Then there were cameras for everyone’s tastes. Now they all work and look exactly the same. But as image quality seems “good enough” for most people I think manufacturers will diversify their lines further. Which is great for us consumers – more choice.

            • Alvin/Pat
              January 6, 2014 at 8:20 pm

              Couldn’t have said that better myself. Seriously! I suck at debate. I’m way to argumentative. I really have no interest in the Df, myself, but I agree with all your reasoning for why someone would choose it. Actually, I’m getting ready to add film back to my photography after a 30 year hiatus.

  19. 19) Tom Crossan
    January 4, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    I suppose it all boils down to what we want in a camera.

    When I came back to photography I got a Nikon, mainly on its reputation that it had some 40 years ago and I could now afford to get one, plus the lens.

    Over the last year I have wondered if I did the right thing, and not looked at other brands. As I am getting older and eyes not 20/20 what I am really want in a camera now is the “old fashioned” a split ring focusing system.

    • 19.1) Jorge Balarin
      January 6, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      I’m 52 and my eyes are terrible, so for me the best is to have a reliable autofocus system. Specially when I do a lot of reportage style photography.

      • 19.1.1) Alvin/Pat
        January 6, 2014 at 7:42 pm

        I feel your pain. I’m also 52 and couldn’t manually focus to save my life! I have three different pair of glasses, depending on the situation and none of them really help for photography. It sure does suck getting old! ;-)

        • Jorge Balarin
          January 7, 2014 at 2:16 am

          We are in the same situation. I need glasses to see far away, and then I must take them out to see what I’m eating. Astigmatism is also not helping.

  20. 20) Paul Evans
    January 4, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    I have only held the DF in my hands once. I felt small and light, but personally that didn’t bother me. I like the retro look. If I could build my own camera to order, it would be the D800 in a D4 body and no video!!! Save the battery and electronics for what a camera was designed to do, take photographs. I too would like to see a split focus screen so that it would be possible to manually focus in low light or be sure that your autofocus is working properly. I would like to see a battery grip incorporated into the camera, so that you could simply move a switch instead of fumbling with a battery with cold hands when you are out taking photos of wildlife, or at night when you don’t have enough light to see what you are doing. I know that these are not situations that the majority deals with, but I do on occasion. I would like to see some type of calibration in the camera to adjust your lens to the camera body. And last but not least, have a viewing screen that has more than enough resolution for us old farts who can’t read up close. I cannot shoot with glasses and I get tired of digging them out of my pocket to examine the photos.

  21. 21) Watashi wa Alvin desu
    January 4, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Do you get paid per published article? Needed some extra money but couldn’t think of something useful to write? I don’t really care about the Df, one way or the other, but this article, like your “burberry” article, is kinda stupid. If you know anything about using flash for nature photography, could you do an article on that? I’ve looked around and most of them concentrate on wildlife.

    • January 4, 2014 at 6:53 pm

      If you don’t like what you read here, you are always free to submit something better. Show us how it is done! We are always looking for talented writers.

      • 21.1.1) Watashi wa Alvin desu
        January 4, 2014 at 7:13 pm

        I have no illusions as to my literary skills. I just get tired of people complaining about things. I can’t stand the idea of mirrorless cameras but I don’t care if Nikon, or anyone else, makes ’em. I do get a little aggravated when someone says they’ll replace dSLRs, though. But then, nobody is telling you the Df is a template for all future cameras.

        • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
          January 4, 2014 at 7:19 pm

          Get used to it. Companies in a free market economy thrive on immediate and honest feedback from their customers. While you may view this as criticism, feedback – good and bad – is what allows companies to change. Companies that don’t get such feedback fail to make changes in a timely manner. Believe me – when we like the products, we give solid positive feedback. And when a company screws up or makes what we believe is a less-than-stellar move, we let them know. My suspicion is that Nikon and others would have it no other way.

          • Watashi wa Alvin desu
            January 4, 2014 at 8:39 pm

            First of all, let me say that I don’t mean to be contentious or disrespectful. I just happen to have a personality flaw that makes not responding to, what I see as, poor logic nearly impossible.
            While you are correct in your statement, your implementation is flawed.
            First of all, there are a number of articles reflecting your basic assessment of the Df. They almost all make the same mistake as yours: they’re comparing the Df to other cameras, real or imagined, for purposes for which it was not designed. Recently, Nikon Rumors posted the link to a statement made by one of the main Nikon employees behind the Df’s design. While I didn’t read their google translation of the article, I’ll assume it’s accurate enough for this discussion. He stated the targeted audience of the Df was a professional or enthusiast photographer who didn’t want to deal with all the bells and whistles of a professional camera for his personal photography. While many people have bought the Df for other purposes, it isn’t fair to Nikon to analyze it’s value for those purposes. If you think it doesn’t fit their intended purpose, that’s fine and I’m sure they would appreciate your comments in that context.
            If your intent was satire, which it seems to be, it still doesn’t meet the requirements of addressing the camera’s intended purpose and, further, it fails as such. Satire requires an intelligent use of humor to convey the intended point. While I’m sure you’re an intelligent man, satire is difficult to do well and there’s no shame in not being very good at it. You might want to work on it in a more private venue or switch to something less challenging.

            • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
              January 4, 2014 at 8:50 pm


              Nonsense. Every product can and must be compared to others. People always have decisions regarding how to spend their money. Choice is a vital part of any free market. Nikon may be creative, but they didn’t re-write the rules of marketing with the Df. Almost every review of the Df gives it a poor mark for value and/or comes to that same pithy-type of suggestion – “You don’t buy it with your head, you buy it with your heart.” Touching but rather shallow…

              Thanks for the satire lesson. I promise to work on my satire if you will promise to acquaint yourself a bit more with fundamental product marketing concepts. You can start with Geoffrey Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm” #3 – Defining the Battle.

              Here’s the link:

            • Watashi wa Alvin desu
              January 4, 2014 at 9:11 pm

              Products should be compared within context. For example: some time ago, I posted a comment regarding whether to buy the Nikon 24-120 f/4 or the 24-70 f/2.8. I was called a “twit” for comparing them. In fact, as you state, I was looking at their relative strengths and weaknesses relative to what I was looking for in a lens, within a range which I could only afford one or the other. For me, as a consumer with a limited budget, this was a valid comparison. If you were comparing the Df to another camera, or a theoretical camera, given the constraint that you can only buy one, that would be valid. If, in fact, that was your intent, I apologize; you were spot on. From Nikon’s point of view, however, it was designed as a second or third camera. You can advise people to not buy it as their only camera but you can’t advise Nikon to not manufacture it for their intended purpose. There goes your favor to Nikon.

              As for your generous offer, you are a practicing author, even if only part-time, while I am not a practicing marketer. I would gladly accept any advice you can give me regarding getting my point across without alienating my audience. I obviously have some room for improvement there.

            • Jorge Balarin
              January 5, 2014 at 4:57 am

              The DF must be a third camera at more than 3,000 bucks ? Think a bit about it.

            • Watashi wa Alvin desu
              January 5, 2014 at 5:19 am

              I wish this system allowed more nested replies.
              Actually, I couldn’t afford a third camera at almost any price but there are a lot of people who can. Could you afford $1,000,000+ for a car? Totally silly but there are more of them than you might think. My siblings think I’m crazy for spending as much as I did for a first camera. “WHAT? That’s without a lens??” My grown children see it as a personal attack on their eventual inheritance. It’s all about perspective.

    • 21.2) Jorge Balarin
      January 5, 2014 at 4:51 am

      Sorry Watashi, but to to lack sense of humor is even worst than to lack a head.

      • 21.2.1) Watashi wa Alvin desu
        January 5, 2014 at 5:11 am

        I have a sense of humor. It just wasn’t funny. There’s a difference between intelligent satire, which is meant to make a point in a humorous way and…well…this! It reminds me of grade school jokes that everyone laughed at simply because they contained a sexual reference.
        Again, I have absolutely no love for the Df or Nikon. I shoot with Nikon products but that’s more a reflection of my feelings about Canon than anything else. This article just fell short of its intended purpose. And, honestly, I can’t figure out what the intended purpose was. I, for one, don’t need anyone to tell me how to evaluate my needs/wants in a product. I certainly appreciate an evaluation of a product’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as how the product fits the author’s needs/wants, but to tell me what I should buy!? No thanks. He says he’s concerned about Nikon’s use of their resources and infers concern for their financial health but the camera is selling well. Does anyone think the Df is the reason for there not being a D400, D750, 300mm f/4 with VR, or fill in your desired product? That’s just silly.
        Gee. Reading back over my comments, they make me sound like I have no sense of humor. I wish we could all get together in person. I guarantee I’d make you laugh. Did I tell you the one about the Nun and the Rabbi? They were having sex at the… ;-)

        • Jorge Balarin
          January 6, 2014 at 3:43 pm

          Watashi, It is good to know that once you reviewed your past posts on this topic, you found that they look like written by a person without sense of humor, or slightly angry; because that was my first impression. However, I believe you are not this way, but I disagree with your opinions related to Bob’s satire. You said that he didn’t have a point, and that it is not true. Bob’s clear point is that the DF doesn’t give enough value for the buyers money . When I have some cash and I want to invest it in one product, the first thing I do is to check and compare what the market is offering for my money. Then I choose what is best for me.

          The Df is in the same range of price with the D800, so we could say that is targeting people that is ready to spend 3000 euros (in europe) for a camera. However the DF is a sort of “features stripped down D610”, a camera that costs almost 800 euros less than the DF. Clearly we could see that something is wrong or incoherent in Nikon’s strategy related to the DF, and not in Bob’s satire.

          A tilt and shilt lens is a specialized architecture lens. The DF is not a specialized camera. It is not an “artist” or a sub-acuatic device. It is a normal camera directed for people with some money and……well here we come into Bob’s land : )

          Lines outside, and as a Nikon client that is waiting long time for a proper D700 replacement, the DF is a disapointment. Even when I’m a “middle aged man”, I was born for photography in the digital era, and for me the DF and all its wheels is confusing. Greetings, Jorge.

          • Alvin/Pat
            January 6, 2014 at 7:57 pm

            Would you appreciate it if I wrote two rather lengthy satirical essays on why eating is better than starving? Of course not. It’s obvious to all but the most casual observer. He hasn’t raised one single point that hasn’t been posted all over the photographic blogosphere. Furthermore, no one should have ever needed to raise them in the first place. If you can’t look at the Df specs and decide FOR YOURSELF if it represents good value FOR YOU, then nothing anyone else says or writes will make a difference.

            And, believe it or not, value is not the most important thing in life. Unless you’re a professional photographer, you shoot because you enjoy it. There are plenty of photos on the internet of EVERYTHING you’ve ever shot and a whole bunch of them will be better than anything you can do! If a particular camera helps you enjoy it more, no matter what the reason, what else do you want?

            And if you are a professional photographer, the Df wasn’t made for you anyway unless, of course, you want to leave your D4 at home and take something else that will help you shoot just for the joy of it. Maybe that’s the Df, maybe it’s the D610, or maybe it’s your father’s old polaroid.

            I’m not angry…just frustrated with people.

            • Jorge Balarin
              January 7, 2014 at 2:07 am

              Alvin/ Pat, I didn’t say that you are angry, I said that your initial posts looked like, and you confirmed that by your own. Now, try to relax a bit and hear me: Bob is not trying to sell you anything. Nikon is tying to sell you the DF. Bob is just telling you the true about the products that other people want to sell. Be grateful and enjoy life. Best wishes.

            • Pat
              January 7, 2014 at 5:34 am

              Bob is telling me that, based on his views, the Df is not a good value. He’s mentioned a few times that he would like it if it were cheaper or had more/different features. My position is that value is: 1. not the point of the camera and, 2. different for every individual, based on their particular wants/needs. Being subjective, it is appropriate to say it doesn’t represent a good value for him. It is NOT appropriate to say it doesn’t represent a good value for ANYONE. And THAT is what he’s trying to sell. I am very grateful to people who give me the information I need to make a decision. I’m also grateful to hear their subjective opinion regarding my decisions. I REALLY don’t like someone inferring that I’m an idiot for doing or not doing something: “…seduced by vague marketing appeals to their sense of nostalgia or glittering knobs and controls,” sounds a lot like he thinks anyone who buys this camera is an idiot. I wonder what Lola Mansurov thinks about this article!?

              I would enjoy life a lot more if I could force myself to stop reading some of the articles on photography blogs ;-) Unfortunately, I AM an idiot. But at least I didn’t buy the Df! ;-)

            • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
              January 7, 2014 at 6:42 am


              My commentary was indeed a bit of a twist on many of the discussions regarding the Df. If you would have read the intro sentence, you would have understood that I understood that I was indeed selectively combing through the various perspectives and tying them together in satirical way. You didn’t appreciate my attempt at humor. That’s fine. Some others did. We make no guarantee of pleasing everyone on PL…

              Most of what I have heard from those that disagree with my humble attempts at humor, however, have largely been added up to little more than marketing slogans parroting Nikon’s Df advertising campaign. “Joy” has been used ad nauseam by every many of those that are enticed by this camera. And yes – I am absolutely poking fun at the robotic repetition of commercial buzzwords by those advocating the Df.

              A few others have presented some reasons why the Df might be a better choice for their style of photography. Of the group, those that consistently shoots in low light environments probably make the best argument that I have heard for the Df.

              The most comical arguments are by those that seem to ask us to suspend the laws of supply/demand or fundamentals of consumer choice. To divorce price from a product’s feature set and pretend that someone would not or should not compare it to alternatives is very unrealistic. Occasional impulse buying aside, if that was even remotely true, there would be no rationality in the marketplace and prices would have no linkage to product quality, features, support, etc.

              I will grant that there are plenty of niches within any market, and some products, such as pet rocks, bell bottom pants, and cabbage patch dolls, can linger in the market perhaps a bit longer than they should (and occasionally be reborn every generation or two!). While some products may strain our credulity, we do have plenty of evidence to confirm that most products succeed or fail because of price, features, support, quality, and how these qualities stack up against their competition over the long haul.

              I am not saying the Df is a bad camera or that it won’t fit a particular niche, but rather for many people that need to carefully weigh value as a consideration in their purchasing decisions, and for which low-light shooting isn’t the defining requirement for a DSLR, the Df doesn’t score very well when stacked up against its Nikon and non-Nikon choices. Nikon’s commercials are a testimony to the fact that it doesn’t want you making such comparisons.

              I have ever made such satirical comments regarding any other Nikon DSLR in its respective categories (apart from the upgrades to computers, lenses, etc. associated with the D800!). The D3300, D5300, D7100, D610, D800, and D4 seem to stack up very well against their competition and each delivers solid value for their feature/set and price relative to one another. On the lens front, Nikon has some excellent values, particularly the entire f/1.8G series. I and others may have chided Nikon for the D800 focusing problems, but that was a quality concern that eventually became a company strategy/customer support issue – not an issue with the D800’s feature set, pricing, or value.

            • Pat
              January 7, 2014 at 7:20 am

              Good enough. This subject is wearing me down, anyway. I’ve said it before but it bears elaboration: I have absolutely nothing against you and am sure you’re a great guy.

              By the way, I was serious about an article regarding the use of flash for nature photography. For example, I’m considering getting a Better Beamer flash extender but haven’t seen any articles that deal with the differences between using it with manual flash (my most powerful flashes) or a TTL flash. I would probably buy the Phottix Mitros if TTL is better. I’m concerned that it would take too long using manual but, at that distance and using the flash extender, TTL might not work anyway. These kinds of how-to articles are the reason I read PL anyway. I don’t think ad nauseam product reviews are the best use of PL’s resources. Just so you don’t miss it, that last sentence was a satire of your statements regarding Nikon’s use of their resources to make the Df. See? More humor ;-) Let me guess, you don’t get it and it’s not funny… (sigh)

  22. 22) Peter G
    January 4, 2014 at 7:06 pm


    The guys’ name actually is : ” Alvin ”

    He is saying in Japanese : ” I am Alvin. “

    • January 4, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      Thanks, Peter. I updated my response and am looking forward to Alvin’s photography insights and wisdom! ;)

  23. 23) Watashi wa Alvin desu
    January 4, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Very good except for the assumption that I was being honest. It’s actually a line from “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked.” Honto ni boku no namae wa Patto desu.

    • January 4, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      I was being honest as well. Write something and submit it.

      • 23.1.1) Watashi wa Alvin desu
        January 4, 2014 at 8:21 pm

        I was responding to Peter G, writing that my name is Alvin. It’s not. I was trying to think of an appropriate pseudonym when the line from the movie popped into my head. And I literally mean, “popped.” Quite painful, actually.
        The third line translates to: ‘Honestly, my name is Pat,’ which was also for his benefit.
        I don’t submit articles or post any of my photos online. No reason, I just don’t.

        • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
          January 4, 2014 at 8:23 pm

          Too late, Pat/Alvin. You are on the hook for an article. We expect to see it by the end of the week. Minimum of 2500 words. No excuses.

          • Watashi wa Alvin desu
            January 4, 2014 at 8:42 pm

            Get used to disappointment. ~The Man in Black

            • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
              January 4, 2014 at 8:55 pm

              Gee, and here I thought I would get a good lesson in satire…

            • Watashi wa Alvin desu
              January 4, 2014 at 9:13 pm

              Check out some of the writings of Mark Twain or Benjamin Franklin. I trust you won’t need a link to find them.

  24. 24) Oliver
    January 4, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Love this hilarious article Bob! This is usually the inner conversation we have with our adventurous self and the our rational persona.

    Please don’t mind the troll. They’re usually people incapable of making a good image or writing anything sensible.


    • January 4, 2014 at 7:41 pm

      Thanks, Oliver. I get a kick out of trolls. They are fun in their own way, particularly when you ask them to try their hand at writing something more interesting.

      • 24.1.1) Watashi wa Alvin desu
        January 4, 2014 at 8:24 pm

        Hmm. I wonder what would happen if you asked the creative director of a magazine to take a better picture after he/she rejected yours.
        Earlier you defended the purpose of your article (I’m getting ready to reply to that in a minute) by stating it helps the manufacturer when you tell them what’s wrong with their product. Now, you’re denying that same value in my reply to it.
        You’re not very consistent, are you?

        • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
          January 4, 2014 at 8:40 pm

          You are indeed entitled to your opinion. Your simply telling me you think the piece is stupid doesn’t really tell me much.
          My purpose in writing this was to show the type of debates people might be having in their own psyche regarding an aesthetically beautiful camera that seems to come up a bit short on features and innovation, particularly given the price tag. I at least gave Nikon quite a bit of insight into why their product doesn’t pass the value sniff test, even if done so in a humorous way.
          Then again, when you attempt to write anything from a humorous perspective, there will always be someone that doesn’t get it and/or doesn’t like it. So it goes…

          On consistency – for your future reference:
          “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.”
          – Oscar Wilde

          “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”
          – Ralph Waldo Emerson

          • Watashi wa Alvin desu
            January 4, 2014 at 9:18 pm

            That was supposed to be humorous??
            As for consistency, I agree with Oscar and Ralph as it relates to literature, which, given their profession, I think it is safe to assume was the object of their comments. But when it comes to logic, I think consistency is called for.

    • 24.2) Watashi wa Alvin desu
      January 4, 2014 at 9:22 pm

      Who is “we”?
      Know a lot of trolls, do you? You must spend quite a bit of time on bridges…

  25. 25) Jorge Balarin
    January 5, 2014 at 4:29 am

    Thank you Bob for another master piece. It is so nice to laugh.

    • January 5, 2014 at 12:43 pm

      Glad you liked it. As you can see from the above, not everyone appreciates my humble attempts at humor… ;)

      • 25.1.1) Watashi wa Alvin desu
        January 5, 2014 at 9:13 pm

        I can’t speak for anyone else but my reason for replying wasn’t so much the attempt at humor as the subject matter. You seem to have an unhealthy obsession with a camera you’re not forced to use or buy. Have you considered Zoloft or Prozac? Not that there’s anything wrong with being OCD. I actually have CDO. It’s kinda like OCD but the letters are in alphabetical order…as they should be. :-)

        See? I have a sense of humor!

        • Profile photo of Bob Vishneski Bob Vishneski
          January 6, 2014 at 5:55 pm

          Sorry, Pat/Alvin. I just don’t get it. And it just wasn’t funny… :)

          BTW, I don’t know anyone “obsessed” with the Df, apart from those willing to apologize for its high cost and reduced feature set, and expecting everyone else not to compare it to other camera models based on value.

          There are many cameras that I personally would never buy, but I certainly can make sense of based on their costs, intended audience, feature set, etc. Very few reviews of the Df give it high marks for value, instead invoking some of Nikon’s own obtuse marketing slogans to explain why someone should buy it. Quite a few of the reviews suggest people buy the D610 instead, or for nearly the same money, but the D800.


          • Alvin/Pat
            January 6, 2014 at 8:11 pm

            I agree with you on every point except that I don’t think the Df was made for its value (see my previous rebuttal to your comment regarding art). If you look at the advertising campaign, which a lot of people have made fun of, value was very obviously NOT their goal. I, for one…or many :-), would never buy the Df. Not because it’s a poor value, but because it would take away from my joy of photography vs. adding to it. That’s the same reason I would never shoot a mirrorless camera. There are certain combinations of things (objects, circumstances, environment) that make photography wonderful for me. A lot of the time, I don’t even take a picture or look at the ones I have taken. There is no monetary value to that feeling but you couldn’t buy it for all the money in the world.
            And THAT is why they made the Df. If it doesn’t do that for you, fine. Don’t buy it. Look for things in life that DO do that for you.

            • Jorge Balarin
              January 7, 2014 at 1:58 am

              What ? : )

            • Alvin/Pat
              January 7, 2014 at 2:05 am

              I’m not sure what you are questioning: my whole reply to Bob or some particular item. I do appreciate the smile though.

            • Jorge Balarin
              January 7, 2014 at 2:10 am

              Sorry Alvin but I didn’t understand your point, but I’m happy because you liked the smile. Have a good day !

  26. 26) Patrick Kelley
    January 5, 2014 at 8:13 am

    Thanks Bob for a great article, know I realize in the few years that 95% of all my purchases have been from the heart. If I had used my head , my kids inheritance would be sizable, but as they told me it’s your money so spend it.
    I thought about buying the DF, but I can only carry so much camera gear and since I am an amateur at best and getting older I decided to use my head this time.
    This article made me laugh and it’s almost like a good- vs- evil mind game, Humor is good, Keep up the good work. I had the pleasure of meeting you this fall in Colorado, and had a blast at dinner in the restaurant sitting around all of the make shift tables, best damn dinner I have had and the food was great.
    Patrick Kelley

    • January 5, 2014 at 11:44 am

      Indeed I remember you well. That was a delicious dinner and I believe I can say that we all had a great time on the trip. My one regret was not taking some photos of the stars that night. I can’t recall seeing such a beautiful clear sky with so many stars.
      Yes, I suspect my heart has been in the driver’s seat more than I care to admit. However, last summer, I took a pretty objective look at which lenses I actually use and which I don’t.
      I ended up selling 15 lenses, ranging from low cost models to some that had gold rings on them. And in some cases, I sold a “higher end” 1.4 lens and purchased its 1.8 counterpart and was able to put some money in my pocket and actually get a bit more sharpness for the trade, even if I lost a bit of the light advantage.
      I no longer buy lenses when they are first announced, but rather give them a while to be tested in the market. And I scrutinize my “need” for a given lens vs. my “want” of it. So far, my recovery is coming along pretty well, but as always, I worry about relapses! :)
      The Df could have been a much easier decision for some of us to make (and higher sales numbers for Nikon), but the feature set and the price simply don’t add up for many. And therein lies the issue… If they changed the feature set or pricing, that might change the equation a bit for those on the fence.
      Thanks for writing. Hope all is well with you and your travels are safe.

  27. 27) Matt Welborn
    January 5, 2014 at 10:41 am

    JHC! Just go out and take some photos!

  28. 28) Jeff
    January 5, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Attention Nikon!
    If you really, REALLY want to hit the biggest home run of 2014 – PLEASE put a 24MP APS-C sensor in the DF’s body and call it a ‘Nikon DX400’!!

  29. 29) Tom Crossan
    January 5, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    FYI here is one online price of this camera in Australia in Australian Dollars.

    Body – Black/Silver $2,990.00
    with 50mm 1.8G Lens – Black $3,278.00
    with 50mm 1.8G Lens – Silver $3,278.00

    From the same online outlet the D800 is $ 2,945.00 : Body only.

    If you checked around you may get them cheaper.

  30. 30) Piettro
    January 6, 2014 at 5:18 am

    Hello Bob,

    Nice article indeed. Amusing as well as informative.
    As much as I like PL’s pragmatic style of writing this was a very pleasant distraction… …and also made me realize some things I just don’t need no matter how shiny they appear ;-)

    Well done.


  31. 31) Art
    January 6, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Thanks for the wonderful article, I really enjoyed reading it. I rented the camera when it was available and after using it for a couple of days; my head won the argument over my heart and my wallet thanked me.
    IMHO the “Fatal Flaw” with this camera is the Price. As good as this camera is and it is good in many respects; its value for the money is not very good. The Df is a consumer featured camera with a professional featured camera price. Even Nikon does not consider it a professional camera but yet it has the almost the same price as the D800 which Nikon does consider a professional camera. This makes no sense to me.

    So with this in mind; what am I really getting (value added stuff) for that price?

    1.New retro style controls; so is that worth anything? The retro style controls IMHO are not worth paying any extra money for. Even today when I do shoot film for projects I prefer to use my F6 vs. FM2n because it has modern controls that do not get in my way of my shooting.

    2.It has the D4’s sensor; which is definitely worth something, but if the retro style controls do not mean anything to you, then all you’re really getting is a is a D610 with the D4’s sensor with, no video, a single card slot, no built in flash, and a camera that looks good.

    Tallying everything up I get a stripped down D610 with a D4 sensor that looks good at the price point of a Df. When I compare that to the price point of a D610; I lose the good looks but I gain dual card slots, built-in flash, and video. So for the difference in price between the two I am paying extra for the added good looks, value of the D4 sensor over the D610 sensor, less the cost of not adding video, no dual card slots, and no built in flash. Not worth additional $700 IMHO.

    For the Professional Featured Price Nikon is asking for the Df we should have gotten the following features to make that price easier to swallow:

    1.Same autofocus system that is in the D800, while the 39 point system is adequate, it is really meant for DX cameras ; Nikon should have used the 51 point system which works better in low light and represents a much better value.

    2.1/8000 top shutter speed. This high shutter speed comes in handy every once in a while when I use large apertures for subject isolation in bright light.

    3.Interchangeable focus screens – I find it strange that Nikon would make a big deal out of using the old manual focus lenses (even non AI) with this camera and then design it with a focusing screen that is incompatible with manual focusing. Yes you do have the green rangefinder focusing light to use but to really enjoy a manual focus lens you should be using a focusing screen compatible with manual focusing (i.e. “Pure Photography”).

    4.Eye piece shutter – Nikon omitted this from the Df and gave us a cheap piece of plastic similar to the consumer cameras (it is round instead of square) to put over the eyepiece to prevent stray light from influencing the meter when it is uncovered. Since I do a lot of tripod work; I now have to worry about keeping track of it or losing the cover. also if you use the DK-19 eyecup as I do this cover is now useless since it will not fit over the eyecup. Another feature the eyepiece shutter provided was to lock the eyepiece in place so that it would not come loose and get lost.

    5.10 Pin connector – there are a lot of neat accessories that I will not be able to use with the Df that I have for my D800/D3X now unless I buy ones compatible with the Df.

    6.Dual card slots- file backups are important to me.

    Even though I did not like a lot of things about the Df I still feel that it is a great camera and it would have had a place in my bag if the price was reasonable for its feature set. For me this camera should have been priced very close to the D610 and Nikon would have had a sale.


    • January 6, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      I really don’t have an issue with the Df as a concept, but rather its value proposition represented by its mix of features and price relative to its competitors. If the DSLR market was going gangbusters, I might see the opportunity for some exotic offshoots from the core product line.
      But with the market being in a state of turmoil, and sales estimates being revised downward, the Df simply doesn’t make much sense. Something revolutionary or perhaps a D400 makes far more sense than putting a nearly 2 year old sensor in an older style body and giving it less features than the D610 which costs $750 less.

  32. 32) Tom Crossan
    January 6, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Guys – It was a great article, but this thread this is starting to get boring. Lets us just say that we agree to disagree, and leave it at that. And some of the troll comments really.

    Time to kill this thread.

  33. 33) giovanni
    January 8, 2014 at 11:10 am

    hello all

    to me all these haters verses likers lol (head /heart).
    are all missing the point.
    there are people who buy fast italion sport car to show off.
    but there are race drivrs who need it.
    and there are colecters who collect them.
    so who is the idiot here lol. no one

    we are amatures who love that camera, good !.
    we are pro users for that camera ,good for you !.
    we have nostalgia for that camera , good good for you !.

    we buy what we like based on what we need or want or for a whim even , its all good.
    in the 30 years i remember buying my fist digital camera and film camera people laughed at me .
    now we are digital camera people laughing at film camera people or people who buy digital camera that looks like a film camera. lol

    is there no end

    enjoy the choices you make ,enjoy the camera you buy.
    stop letting people tell you what they think.

    i made my decision lol
    i have the d800 and bought the df recently , ha ha to all of you
    i will enjoy both cameras and laugh at you guys debating about it.

    go out and shoot some film oops, i mean spme RAW.


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