Nikon DF vs F2AS

Started 9 months ago | Discussions thread
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Paul P K
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Nikon DF vs F2AS
9 months ago

Considering the many postings lamenting the DF compared to the old film bodies (and admittedly also many other DSLR's), I today took the opportunity on the local NPS Netherlands Check and Clean service day to leasurely and extensively compare the two above mentioned cameras (lens used was a 1.8/50mm)

I'm considering the DF for use with the old manual lenses (eg 1.4/50mm Ais) I have left from my film shooting days, but for the 'really' pro stuff have a D800 and D3. So it I must admit would rather be a luxury purchase then a real necessity (which is the reason why I have not bought it yet) although the high ISO capacities and old fart retro look do seem apealing for me

Please note I obviousy didn't compare IQ, AF and (high) ISO, but simply used and compared the two camera's in area's of handling and practical use. So no pictures to compare the before mentioned technical area's.

Also in my films days, the F2 and F3 were the 'standard' bodies for pro Nikon shooters, and although Nikon offered smaller camera's as the FE and FM, with a winder/motordrive attached (seems only fair to me as the DF also boasts a -be it built in- motordrive those camera's still rival a D3/4 size wise.

What are the most often heard cmplaints about the DF:

  • too big
  • too heavy
  • not as sturdy as a 'pro' camera should be
  • viewfinder not as bright as that of a 'film' camera
  • AF points too close together

My observations:

  • Yes, bigger i.e. taller and thicker then a F2AS, but only by maybe 5 to 8mm, and way less then e.g. a D800 let alone a D3
  • Lighter then a F2AS
  • Don't know about the sturdiness. The F2AS is heavier due to the use of old school materials like brass and steel then magnesium alloy and 'plastics) but the DF definetly (sorry if miss spelled, not a native English speaker) did not feel not cheap or toylike. (Remember eg the F301 or the EM for plastic fantastic quality and eg the Pentax ME and Olympus OM10 for toysize and usability with big hands or gloves)

On a sidenote, I've learned the hard way modern DSLR's defintely can't stand the kind of 'abuse I used to put my film bodies through. E.g. even with a bent prism (don't ask me how) my FE it still keeps on working, while eg my D3 already needed AF recalibration after I dropped it on the bottom of thhe motordrive from less then two feet on a hard wooden floor

  • The viewfinder of the DF was the big eye opener for me. I already read it had the best viewfinder for manual focussing on any DSLR, but focussing was smooth and easy, and in my personal experience on par and in low light superior to focussing with the K type focussing screen on the F2 (I have in the past used the H types on the F2, but did't find them very practical due to the way they infuenced the TTL light metering)
  • Yes, the AF points are not as spread as on my D2X and D3, but still wider spread then the 3mm split-screen/1mm micro prism of the K type ( apart from the fact that the K type splitscreen is practically unusable in low light, while the DF AF fields and AF confirmation remain better visible/lit )

So all in all a far better experience then expected, which goes to proof you should believe everything you read on the internet

I'm not buying the DF yet, but if the price drops may well do so in time

Mt two cents

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all in a day's work
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 Paul P K's gear list:Paul P K's gear list
Nikon D70s Nikon D1H Nikon D2X Nikon D3 Nikon D800 +20 more
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