The Philosophy of Nikon Df

Started Jan 5, 2014 | Discussions thread
sgoldswo
Senior MemberPosts: 4,624Gear list
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Re: Philosophy is Overrated?
In reply to Josh152, Jan 9, 2014

Josh152 wrote:

MarkJH wrote:

Richard Murdey wrote:

In Japan, the Asahi Camera magazine come out last month with a special issue dedicated to the Df, called "The Philosophy of Nikon Df " (Nikon Df の哲学).

I get the sense that "The Philosophy of Nikon Df" is a lack of philosophy? Or perhaps that philosophy is overrated?

In his little Df puff promo, Joe McNally hit the nail on the head when he said that a camera "user interface" needs to be a set of shutter speeds waiting for f/stops. Two dials. That is a philosophy, but it's not the Df's!

Two ways to set shutter and aperture, redundant soft-and-hard dials that can contradict each other? That is not a philosophy--that's a resistance to philosophy.

To me, that's the big head-scratcher about the Df (beyond the "pure" ad campaign for a camera with a split personality and redundant controls): was the lack of a camera body with redundant soft-and-hard dials the most pressing issue on the 2013 Nikon to-do list? The biggest problem they needed to solve?

More important than improving autofocus precision? More important than improving workflow (how many years old is CaptureNX2; how many Nikon bodies can do anything wirelessly without a goofy dongle)? More important than a DX body with a decent buffer? More important than DX lenses that aren't 18-to-something zooms? More important than adding TTL radio syncing to CLS? Four years of R&D for . . . redundant dials?

Eh, maybe I'm missing the point.

Anyway, I get that Nikon does labors of photographic love--it's not all hard-edged logic and business case analyses. That's why we still have brand new F6s. But I can see room for a lot of photographic love in the solutions to those other problems.

I think Nikon was afraid of limiting the market for the camera too much so instead of just making the camera be all manual using the top dials and an aperture ringed lens only they made it work just like normal DSLR and compatible with G lenses too so that those who aren't into that sort of thing but still want the retro "real camera" look can still get in on it. It also makes it an easier sell to the few that want one just for the D4 sensor and don't care about the retro looks or dials.

That said the Df is mostly a camera for people who are nostalgic for and/or romanticize the film days and want to (re)capture that feeling but don't want to mess with film or for people of the "look at me I'm using a REAL camera unlike all those posers!" mentality who with the Df can still feel superior without actually having to resort to using film or spend enough for a pretty good used car on a Leica. Contrary to what the promo videos implied the Df isn't really for people who were actually looking for a simplified, stripped down, all manual camera because they like the experience of shooting with one.

I also shoot a Leica M240 and an FM3a and I really enjoy shooting with the Df. One of its strengths is its flexibility. It's equally at home with a 28mm F2 AIS or a 28mm F1,8G. I should also point out that I'm in my 30s too...

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Leica M Typ 240 Nikon Df Nikon D810 Nikon D750 Tamron 15-30mm F2.8
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