The Philosophy of Nikon Df

Started 7 months ago | Discussions
Shotcents
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Re: The Philosophy of Nikon Df
In reply to Dennis Watts, 7 months ago

Dennis Watts wrote:

development cost?

The D4 is at the end of it's product life the development cost should have already been paid for. I am pretty sure the D4 was a success, and that in the next year (month) there is going to be a successor (D4s?).

Of course this is speculation, but here is fact.

2 year old sensor, still one of the best, buy 2 years old.

And this effects picture taking how exactly? And isn't the Df sensor tweaked?

3 year old auto focus (D7000) what good is ISO 25k if you can't focus?

Have you tried the Df in extreme low light? I have not been able to find a situation where my D800 can focus and the Df can't.

In this test, the cat statue was totally black to my eye and the Df locked right away (as did the D800).

Using the Df at a party with poor lighting left me with no doubt that the Df AF is perfectly fine.

If the AF on the Df was weak in low light I'd return it plain and simple. I'd send it back, order a D5300 as a small second body and call it a day. But the fact is that the Df can focus beautifully in poor light. The weakness of the Df AF is the tight array of points, just like on the D610.

Robert

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philharris
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Re: You are so wrong!
In reply to Matt, 7 months ago

Matt wrote:

you clearly fail to see that just by leaving out modern electronics and controls you will be able to take much better photos!

Your landscape photos suck because you had to set the shutter speed with a little plastic wheel?

Fear no more! On the Df you can set the aperture with a large metal wheel on top of the camera and your pics will be stunning!

Your long exposures leave something to be desired and are not creative?

Worry not! By using a mechanical remote shutter wire that your grandpa used, you can now also attain the photographic perfection that a wireless remote had denied you for so many years!

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What is so wrong with having a choice? I can do either with the Df, sometimes I like to use the large metal wheel, others I like to use the little plastic wheel.

There is also something tactile about an old cable release that's rather nice to use, I know it doesn't appeal to many but it does to me, if that's ok with you of course.

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Patrick McMahon
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Re: The Philosophy of Nikon Df
In reply to Shotcents, 7 months ago

Shotcents wrote:

Have you tried the Df in extreme low light? I have not been able to find a situation where my D800 can focus and the Df can't.

In this test, the cat statue was totally black to my eye and the Df locked right away (as did the D800).

This picture illustrates the frustration I am having with fellow Df users over the low light AF. You are focusing on an extreme contrast - the spot vs. the light color. On a stationary object to boot! It doesn't matter that you can't see the spot, it is a point of contrast that is very different from a face in a bar.

The AF is not optimal! That doesn't mean the camera is crap, but I have been shooting in dimmly lit bars and there are instances where it doesn't focus on a face. I have no doubt I could nail focus on the image above.

You guys do us all a disservice by saying the low light AF is as good as 51 points and a focus assist light. It ain't! The instances where I have had it happen it zoomed in and out and gave up. It happens, but it can be dealt with - it is simply a product of the AF system and no light.

I am so sorry to have waded into one of these ongoing threads between the two extremes... You guys are arguing in absolutes... enough already

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jenella
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Re: this is why I now use D610 as backup to my D4 & passed on the DF
In reply to Cliff Fujii, 7 months ago

Cliff Fujii wrote:

I press the Fn button and spin the command dial to turn AutoISO on and off. When AutoISO is on, whatever is set on the dial is the base sensitivity.

Glad your wheel doesnt stick like most DF's

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Cliff

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"if it ain't broke" Get a new one anyway!

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philharris
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Re: this is why I now use D610 as backup to my D4 & passed on the DF
In reply to jenella, 7 months ago

jenella wrote:

Cliff Fujii wrote:

I press the Fn button and spin the command dial to turn AutoISO on and off. When AutoISO is on, whatever is set on the dial is the base sensitivity.

Glad your wheel doesnt stick like most DF's

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Cliff

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"if it ain't broke" Get a new one anyway!

Wheel sticking?

Why would you say that, and what is your definition of most? How many have you tried and what's your evidence for saying "most Df's" have a problem with this?

I am not sure why someone would invent a issue that simply isn't there. Is it because you don't want people to buy a Df?

It's not unreasonable to say you don't like something, but making stuff up to try to dissuade people from buying what they may want is just beyond the pale.

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sgoldswo
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Re: The Philosophy of Nikon Df
In reply to Patrick McMahon, 7 months ago

Patrick McMahon wrote:

Shotcents wrote:

Have you tried the Df in extreme low light? I have not been able to find a situation where my D800 can focus and the Df can't.

In this test, the cat statue was totally black to my eye and the Df locked right away (as did the D800).

This picture illustrates the frustration I am having with fellow Df users over the low light AF. You are focusing on an extreme contrast - the spot vs. the light color. On a stationary object to boot! It doesn't matter that you can't see the spot, it is a point of contrast that is very different from a face in a bar.

The AF is not optimal! That doesn't mean the camera is crap, but I have been shooting in dimmly lit bars and there are instances where it doesn't focus on a face. I have no doubt I could nail focus on the image above.

You guys do us all a disservice by saying the low light AF is as good as 51 points and a focus assist light. It ain't! The instances where I have had it happen it zoomed in and out and gave up. It happens, but it can be dealt with - it is simply a product of the AF system and no light.

I am so sorry to have waded into one of these ongoing threads between the two extremes... You guys are arguing in absolutes... enough already

I don't understand what you mean. I've never struggled to take pictures in low light with the Df. Just switch to single movable point focus (and if necessary recompose). The photos in this set were all taken in poor light in a variety of bars (no, I don't claim they are great examples of anything other than that I was able to take pictures in (very) poor light):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgoldswo/sets/72157638898070543/

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Scott McMorrow
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Df low light AF ability should not even be a question
In reply to Patrick McMahon, 7 months ago

It shouldn't even be up for debate.

Nikon specifications state that the lower end of the sensitivity range of the AF module in the Df is -1EV.  Whereas the D4 and D800 are -2EV.  Given that these are the specs for the cameras, dim indoor artificial light is at the edge of the detection range for the Df/D610 AF module.  It should be no surprise that auto focus is hit or miss indoors at night. By the way, this is the same AF detection sensitivity as the D700 had.  If you were okay with D700 low light autofocus, you should be good with the the Df.  If you are used to the D800, then I suspect that the Df will get frustrating from time to time.

There's no question that Nikon itself thinks that the D800 has much better low light AF capability than the Df.  It's a shame, since the sensor is superb in low light.

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Robin Casady
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Re: D is for Digital, F is for film.
In reply to Cliff Fujii, 7 months ago

Cliff Fujii wrote:

Digital backs for film cameras? They tried and failed in the 90s. They are trying again. The original version almost made it to market.

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Cliff

Not going to happen. Nikon has patents for a lot of things that wont ever see the light of day. In  the 90's it might have made sense. Now, not so much.

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Patrick McMahon
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Re: The Philosophy of Nikon Df
In reply to sgoldswo, 7 months ago

sgoldswo wrote:

I don't understand what you mean. I've never struggled to take pictures in low light with the Df. Just switch to single movable point focus (and if necessary recompose). The photos in this set were all taken in poor light in a variety of bars (no, I don't claim they are great examples of anything other than that I was able to take pictures in (very) poor light):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgoldswo/sets/72157638898070543/

It happens...

I don't think I have ever "struggled" to take a picture in my life, but as this is a Df thread we must speak in hyperbole.

Recomposing is exactly what one may do - this should be done when the Df is unable to focus. and you can focus it on a contrasting point.

I have a slew of shots that came out great in low light... but there are times when the camera can't lock - it happens.

Unfortunately I can't play this zero sum game of why the camera either "sucks" or "is on par with the D4/D800.

Have fun

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amobi
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Re: Df low light AF ability should not even be a question
In reply to Scott McMorrow, 7 months ago

Scott McMorrow wrote:

There's no question that Nikon itself thinks that the D800 has much better low light AF capability than the Df. It's a shame, since the sensor is superb in low light.

This is exactly why some people are not too happy with Df. You have a camera made for low light with mediocre AF. It defeats the purpose.

The only people I see buying this camera so far are those with a lot of money to burn. I'm yet to see a real pro with this camera.

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sgoldswo
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Re: The Philosophy of Nikon Df
In reply to Patrick McMahon, 7 months ago

Patrick McMahon wrote:

sgoldswo wrote:

I don't understand what you mean. I've never struggled to take pictures in low light with the Df. Just switch to single movable point focus (and if necessary recompose). The photos in this set were all taken in poor light in a variety of bars (no, I don't claim they are great examples of anything other than that I was able to take pictures in (very) poor light):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sgoldswo/sets/72157638898070543/

It happens...

I don't think I have ever "struggled" to take a picture in my life, but as this is a Df thread we must speak in hyperbole.

Recomposing is exactly what one may do - this should be done when the Df is unable to focus. and you can focus it on a contrasting point.

I have a slew of shots that came out great in low light... but there are times when the camera can't lock - it happens.

Unfortunately I can't play this zero sum game of why the camera either "sucks" or "is on par with the D4/D800.

Have fun

I guess I would be amazed if you had a camera that focused dead on every time, and yes, my Df refuses to focus sometimes. What I'm lacking is any kind of materiality between when that happens and when it might happen with my D800E in real world use. In fact I often found the D800E AF more hesitant in low light than my old D600 and I'm almost at the stage where I say that applies to the Df also.

Again, I suspect this comes down to technique. If you regularly use the outer points or all 39 points to focus, I suspect you may have a higher "fail" rate. Those who don't may not.

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JF69
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khaledgawdat calling the pot black
In reply to khaledgawdat, 7 months ago

khaledgawdat wrote:

I love and enjoy my df camera and i am using my old nikon lenses again with it. I do not need some techno freak with a biased opinion to help me make a choice. If you like it buy it, if you don't forget it.
--

You shouldn't do that son

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Josh152
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Re: The Philosophy of Nikon Df
In reply to jjnik, 7 months ago

jjnik wrote:

sgoldswo wrote:

tissunique wrote:

Eastvillager, I agree. I've heard it said that the DF is a D4 at half the price. What absolute nonsense. And so untrue. In fact the DF is more expensive than the D4 and I'll explain why:
It lacks several features. It is not a 'pro' camera in the strict sense. It doesn't offer video. It's way smaller and of far lesser build quality. It is far less capable. It is far slower. And I could go on. When you add up all the minuses it's actually way more expensive than a D4 and just about every other full-frame camera out there. That's how silly it is. Now if it was 40% cheaper I would buy one but why should I when there's the D800 and D610 available from Nikon - both offering much more.

But what if I don't care about continuous shooting speed, don't want video, want a smaller full frame camera and the build is far better than my D600 (it is) and virtually on a par with my D800E (it is)

Actually, the Df adds a metal bottom plate to the D600 build quality but it still isn't on par with the D800E:

D600 - alloy top/rear but with plastic bottom and plastic subframe, including the area that the lens mount screws into.

Df - alloy top/bottom/rear but with plastic subframe, including the area that the lens mount screws into.

D800/D800E - alloy top/bottom/rear and alloy subframe, including the area that the lens mount screws into.

I love how in the Df is display they have the lens mount on so it's harder to see that it screws into a plastic chassis.  It's the same game Canon plays with the 5D and 7D series which actually have about build quality about the same as the D600/D7100 but because of Canon's marketing everyone thinks are built like the D800/D300s.

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Josh152
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Re: D is for Digital, F is for film.
In reply to nunatak, 7 months ago

nunatak wrote:

D is for Digital, F is for film. I had hoped Nikon would live up to their promise of the F6 not being Nikon's last film camera — by supplying a film back for this camera. Unlikely, but perhaps the next iteration will honor that commitment ... ?

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Why? what would be the point. Just buy a Nikon film camera of some sort. For example an F5 which will work with almost any Nikkor lens can be had for under $500. I'm sure it would be much cheaper than what the film back would cost.

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Josh152
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Re: Df low light AF ability should not even be a question
In reply to amobi, 7 months ago

amobi wrote:

Scott McMorrow wrote:

There's no question that Nikon itself thinks that the D800 has much better low light AF capability than the Df. It's a shame, since the sensor is superb in low light.

This is exactly why some people are not too happy with Df. You have a camera made for low light with mediocre AF. It defeats the purpose.

The only people I see buying this camera so far are those with a lot of money to burn. I'm yet to see a real pro with this camera.

I don't think the Df was made for low light exactly. It was designed to be an as cost effective to produce as possible retro styled camera which would tug at heart strings of certain people who will pay a premium for such a camera and in doing so make it a high margin product that will provide a nice profit for Nikon. They just used the D4 sensor to help amortize the cost of the sensor (or maybe the D4 sensor is just less expensive for them than the Sony sensors in the D610/D800), get people who want the D4 senor to think the camera is a bargain and perhaps buy it as well even if they dont' care for the retro look, and maybe to use the lower resolution hide some of the flaws the old lenses it is designed to work with have. I don't think low light performance was a specific design goal other wise it probably would have had the better AF. Also the low light ability would be one of the major marketing messages about the camera if that was one of the main design goals.

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Rich Rosen
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Re: The Philosophy of Nikon Df
In reply to Richard Murdey, 7 months ago

I'm not a great lover of "retro" style cameras. When the F100 film camera came out, I sold my FM2 and F3, and purchased the F100 and the F5, precursors to the digital user interfaces of today. My passion with Photography began with a gift from my wife; the Pentax ME Super, in 1980. But in 1995 I purchased a Nikon N50, then a N90s, after that so on and so on. The F3 and Fm2 purchases occurred after the other purchases. Don't get me wrong; they were great cameras, but I had already become so accustomed to the command dials and buttons, that I felt hampered by the older cameras.

So the Df was not exciting to me. After reading about it, I decided not to purchase a camera that lacks the specifications I wanted. That decision was confirmed by its outlandish price and some of the reviews, that came out. I imagine its images are very good, probably excellent, but I have cameras that also produce excellent images and are more comfortable to use.

From the day of DF's announcement, I was skeptical about the digital fusion thing, because while the camera had older style controls, it also had the more modern command dials, menus and buttons. So what seems like simplicity could be very complicated. What evokes nostalgic memories in many minds, does nothing for me. Don't get me wrong; I hope those who do like the camera enjoy it for many years. But I'm just not buying into the philosophy of the Df, when the cameras I own are in my estimation exactly the tools I need... and enjoy.

I have beaten this subject to death, so I am going to move on.

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Shotcents
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Re: Df low light AF ability should not even be a question
In reply to Scott McMorrow, 7 months ago

Scott McMorrow wrote:

It shouldn't even be up for debate.

Nikon specifications state that the lower end of the sensitivity range of the AF module in the Df is -1EV. Whereas the D4 and D800 are -2EV. Given that these are the specs for the cameras, dim indoor artificial light is at the edge of the detection range for the Df/D610 AF module. It should be no surprise that auto focus is hit or miss indoors at night. By the way, this is the same AF detection sensitivity as the D700 had. If you were okay with D700 low light autofocus, you should be good with the the Df. If you are used to the D800, then I suspect that the Df will get frustrating from time to time.

There's no question that Nikon itself thinks that the D800 has much better low light AF capability than the Df. It's a shame, since the sensor is superb in low light.

Too many people are shooting with pairs of D600 bodies to do events/weddings for this to be "up for debate."

The D600, using center point does very well in poor light. I've rarely seen it miss and if it was poor, then my friends would not bother with them for wedding work.

I also suspect that while Nikon lists specs, the module may be more effective than is suggested. As I said, the light tolerances for low contrast dark targets appear to be VERY close and I've really put them through the ringer on this. Posting a thread with samples to show this in a few.

Robert

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Scott McMorrow
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Re: Df low light AF ability should not even be a question
In reply to Josh152, 7 months ago

Josh

I absolutely agree.  The Df is what it is.

The frustration that many have is that it could have been much more.  Clearly that was a design/marketing decision at Nikon.  It has a great sensor with low light capability that is not being fully utilized.  Had it been a little bit more than it is, I might have dumped my D800 for the Df.  As it is, I'm ambivalent about the camera.  Autofocus is a step backwards from the D800, and ergonomics are nowhere near as good.

There are some that have the camera who would like to convince us (actually themselves) that its low light autofocus capability is as good as the D800. It is not.  It's just as good as the D600/610.  And that's fine.  It's also just as good as the D700 (per the specifications), which people have used for years in low light settings.

If it's good enough for someone, that's fine.  They don't need to justify their decision on these forums.

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eNo
eNo
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The Brilliancy of the Nikon Df
In reply to Richard Murdey, 7 months ago

The keenest observation about the Df is how aptly it fulfills the poser mentality that infuses forums like this one and all but obscures clear-eyed considerations about what photography is about. In that sense, Nikon is tapping into a real market, namely that which is sustained by utter boredom-driven search for the next latest-and-greatest gadget.

Tip: gadgets don't capture life. Hearts and vision do.
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Josh152
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Re: Df low light AF ability should not even be a question
In reply to Scott McMorrow, 7 months ago

Scott McMorrow wrote:

Josh

I absolutely agree. The Df is what it is.

The frustration that many have is that it could have been much more. Clearly that was a design/marketing decision at Nikon. It has a great sensor with low light capability that is not being fully utilized. Had it been a little bit more than it is, I might have dumped my D800 for the Df. As it is, I'm ambivalent about the camera. Autofocus is a step backwards from the D800, and ergonomics are nowhere near as good.

There are some that have the camera who would like to convince us (actually themselves) that its low light autofocus capability is as good as the D800. It is not. It's just as good as the D600/610. And that's fine. It's also just as good as the D700 (per the specifications), which people have used for years in low light settings.

If it's good enough for someone, that's fine. They don't need to justify their decision on these forums.

I agree completely.

I think all the debating about the camera comes down to the price. If the Df was around the same price as a D610 it would just be seen as a retro version of that camera and those who weren't interested would have just been like "that's nice" and moved on and those who were wouldn't feel the need to justify it by over inflating what the camera can do. The same would have happened if it's features and build were on par with a D800 and it was it's current price.

IMO Part of the problem with the price is that the D800 and D700 before it have set the standard of what type of features and build quality are expected from consumers for a camera in the Nikon line up that's in the $2700-$3000 price range and the D600 and D610 have set the standard for what kind of features and build are expected in the Nikon line up for the $2000 price range. The Df breaks this convention in the worst possible way by offering less features than a D600/D610 while at the same time being priced at the D700/D800 level.

Those who don't care about the retro look or need/want the D4 sensor are left scratching their heads as to why anyone would pay that price for such a low spec'd camera and those who do like the design and/or D4 sensor are left trying to justify spending that amount of money on said camera. It's a perfect recipe to keep people discussing/arguing about the camera. Almost like Nikon planed it that way lol.

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