Why all the Df hate?

Started 5 months ago | Discussions thread
anotherMike
Veteran MemberPosts: 7,027
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Re: Same reason they hate on the 58mm
In reply to Stacey_K, 5 months ago

You're close with that answer when you bring up the 58.

Since you brought that up, might as well stick my thoughts in here....

1) Nikon has history of occasionally going off and making what I'd term a "project camera" or "project lens", meaning something that might not make sense in the more traditional view of things or from a marketing/sales point. Things Canon would generally not do, for example. The DF is one, a portrait oriented 58mm lens in the day and age of test chart sharpness obsession is another. Niche products meant for certain people. While my view is that neither of these products is (or was) meant for everyone, we should be glad Nikon still has the balls to go make some of them, because that means they think at least a bit outside the hypothetical corporate box.

2) That being said, this is an equipment forum. Nikon hasn't really announced any DSLR other than the DF lately (the D4S is just a revision) and like gear forums go, whatever is announced is going to get talked about and critiqued. If the DF had come out with a D400 and a D750 or something, perhaps it wouldn't have gotten as much "attention" in the forums, right?

3) Regarding the above, when things get talked about and critiqued, people who perhaps have bought a niche product, particularly if it is perceived as a touch over priced, are likely to get very defensive in defending THEIR purchase once some opinions of that product go out, particularly if they are not overwhelimingly positive - and with a niche product - the consensus on such a product IS more likely to be split and polarized. Witness some of the threads and posters a while back who were temporarily banned for this very DF discussion. Some people struggle to let things go, some get hurt, understandably so, when something they dropped 3 grand on isn't perceived to be the "best", whatever that term means. Just like it takes Nikon some cojones for introducing a DF or a 58/1.4 portrait oriented lens, it perhaps takes some cojones for someone to buy them knowing they might be going against the grain or the current trend of whatever.

4) However, at the same time, I also find it annoying that some DF owners put forth some BS claims at to it's ultimate superiority as well, almost like an over-reaction defense to those who critique it. I'll get back to that in a bit.

5) Not everyone who critiques the DF (or the 58/1.4) has never used it. Sure - there are always the "I judge on the spec sheet even though I've not used the product" guys in the forums, or those who only look at MTF charts to determine worth, but quite a few of the people who aren't enamored with the DF have actually shot with one (same with the lens).

In terms of the DF itself, my view is as such:

- I don't like it's ergonomics. Single card under the battery cover is a fail, a big one. The front selector switch is a fail. The locks are a fail. True, all subjective, but I honestly think most design bureaus would find fault with the UI of the camera.

- Viewfinder is nice.

- AF should have been the 51pt pro version.

- 16mp is a nice size for moderately, but not highly demanding tasks. Unfortunately, it's not enough for my needs. In terms of those who claim the DF "wipes the floor" with the D610, that's about as much BS as you can sling. First off, at low ISO the D610 will clearly be superior to the DF as soon as you print reasonably large (remember, I've shot the DF, own the 610 and 800E, so this is not a casual statement I'm making), and second, I'm not sure there is ANY Nikon DSLR that "wipes the floor" with another at low ISO these days. The magnitude of difference can be from subtle to moderate, but "wipe the floor"? No - that's hyperbole.

- Overpriced for what you get. Now, this is where it gets subjective. To me, the DF wouldn't interest me in current form even at 2 grand - add in the better AF, better ergonomics, better card location, and 24mp, and 2 grand to 2.5 is it for ME.

HOWEVER, the big thing here is that IF the DF *enables* a photographer to CREATE images because the photographer RELATES to the camera better than a D610, D800E, 5Diii, etc, THEN the camera is absolutely worth it *to that photographer*. My thing is that that's not a global decision. Just because some posters seem to post nothing else in the forum except how great their personal DF is and how they don't use any other camera and do it time after time after time after time does not mean it's automatically the best match for every photographer.

And that last sentence is pretty much it for me. I appreciate that some folks like it, but I tire of some of the BS flinging that goes along with it too. It's a nice machine, but it's not the camera for everyone - wasn't meant to be either, and that's fine. (Same thing for the 58/1.4 lens - not gonna be the best match for everyone either)

-m

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