Wow! This is a gorgeous picture indeed!
AF is indeed not the strongest Df feature. I have been using mine for more than 2 weeks now, and, while I genuinely love the overall experience, I do find the Df's AF a bit less sure footed than the D800's. Specifically in very low light situations where this camera otherwise excels. In those situations, it hunts a bit more and sometimes does not lock on subjects that I feel the D800 would. Typical example is focusing on model eye at portrait distance in dark bar or dark street. That comes marginally easier with the D800. As per light sensitivity data for the AF module in spec sheet.
For the rest, I do find it very good at manual focusing. Not sure if there is any black magic going on in the viewfinder or if it just a placebo effect, but it works for me with MF lenses, including with the f1.2 50mm. Success rate around 90% wide open when careful.
A great companion for nostalgic old farts like me, or for the younger folks who crave for a more "analogue" interaction with the world.
CFynn: Wonder how this compares to the Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f/1.4?That lens is the same focal length and speed, but available at less than one third the price. Has nice bokeh too.
Nokton 58..... I am curious as well. That one is a jewel....
DaveE1: I like the design of old cameras. I can see why some people collect them.
But a modern camera mocked up to look retro? Personally, I don't quite get it. Maybe it is the modern screen on the back mixed with the vintage style that makes me wince.
This one looks particularly odd to my eyes; almost looks like a digital camera in a underwater housing from some angles. It's not ugly, and Nikon are perfectly right to test it in the marketplace.
Then again camera manufacturers are catering for people who run their high resolution photos through filters to make them look like they were taken with a film camera with faulty light sealing.
"Then again camera manufacturers are catering for people who run their high resolution photos through filters to make them look like they were taken with a film camera with faulty light sealing."
Uuno Turhapuro: I am surprised that the fact that iso and exposure compensation dials are on the left side of the camera has not been discussed here before?
I am using my left hand to support the camera and setting focal length, focus and maybe aperture ring. So if I am using manual mode and want to use fixed aperture and shutter speed and setting the correct exposure via ISO I have to move my left hand from its correct position. Same if I am using aperture or shutter priority I have to move my left hand again to change exposure compensation. So how is this exactly better than using command dials with and without simultaneous button press with my right hand to set all these important setting without moving my left hand?
@T3: absolutely right!
That said, I have been re-using my FM3A since the rumours started on the Df, and rediscovered it gave me the greatest pleasure to operate. A pleasure I have never found when using the D800, even if the latter is a very high performer, fast, accurate, responsive. The D800 is a tool so perfectly efficient, that it spoils my fun (I am not making a living out of pics). Go figure.
I also use my old M6 every once in a while, again with the same great pleasure. The digital Ms try hard to replicate that experience, but it is not the same: they are clunkier, heavier, slower, noisier. I tried to like them, but just not as much fun (and not really that good).
Tried the Fujis as well, and while they look good, they are just....clunky (cannot find a better word), and the command and control dials and buttons feel cheap and fragile. No fun for me either.
Maybe the Df then. Nothing to do with ergonomy. More to do with (the hope of) pleasure and fun. Looks solid and fast.
dprmja: No split screen for manual focusing!!
My Nikon FM, thanks to split screen, was way more comfortable to adjust focus than any DSLR I had.
I was waiting for a Digital FM, and ready to pay the price for that.But this is one of the key features that is missing here!
I don't know, like an iPad without multitouch!This makes absolutely no sense.
No ground glass, no optical focusing aid. Cannot use this reliably with fast manual focus lenses. Makes no sense to pitch AI and pre-AI metering capability, and deny the option of a good focusing screen. Never mind the "hybrid" viewfinder option that was rumoured a month ago, and that could have made this camera an absolute winner.... Disappointed. It is pretty though.
No ground glass, no split screen focusing aid, this means the Df is unfortunately as useless for the fast old or new manual focus lenses as the other Nikon DSLRs. What a shame!!!!
Fair review. I am one the crazy/lucky guys who ended up with both A and GR. always dreamt of an APS GR, but when the A came out I thought that was it, and had no idea the Ricoh was round the corner. So I have learned to use and love the A before splurging for the GR. in retrospect I was all wrong of course, and having both feels silly. All this to say is that, after time with both, I unexpectedly prefer the A. Despite the better ergonomics and UI of the Ricoh. Not sure why I do. It has to do with build and finish I think. The A is very well put together in all aspects. The materials used feel better, and the dials and buttons have great tactile feedback. Better for me than GR. and I just love the output and IQ. Finally, I like the "made in Japan" bit. It is noteworthy in today's age and a good thing for many fundamental reasons....
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JacquesBalthazar: One question from me, for the reviewer: what are the real life consequences of GR's 12-bit RAW processing vs the A's 14-bit ? I would have assumed there would be an impact on DR and maybe also on colour gradation. Or not?
@marike6: thanks for the reference. 1 EV DR difference can be meaningful, and something nice to have when one tries to salvage a pic marred by exposure error or excessive contrast. I am very impressed by the IQ I get with the A, shooting raw. I am pretty sure that in 90% of cases (or more), the GR will provide just as much quality. Cool cameras..... Wonder how the GR's 21mm adaptor performs....
One question from me, for the reviewer: what are the real life consequences of GR's 12-bit RAW processing vs the A's 14-bit ? I would have assumed there would be an impact on DR and maybe also on colour gradation. Or not?
JohnyP: Another useless preview. In the last 30 days there have been 2 camera reviews! Most cameras are either announced or previewed. Those previewed ones are likely to end up just like Nikon D4 - previewed and forgotten.
@R Butler: what would be the downside in publishing a schedule of coming reviews? It is not like you would be disclosing strategic insight to your "competitors". Such a schedule would help potential buyers better time their own purchases. Those of them who trust your methodology and share your views anyway. The indirect advantage of publishing that schedule would be to force you guys to feel the healthy heat of a public deadline... ;-)
SunnyFlorida: I've been a Nikon user for a long time but a consumer for longer, it's great to see products like the Ricoh bring a dose of reality to the Nikon Accounting Execs who over the past 6 years have been overpricing their products relative to similar products in the market, sorry Nikon I'm not paying a 40% mark up for brand name.
I do not think it is "for a brand name". It could be for a variety of good reasons:1) Manual focus on lens ring: preferable for many to lever or dial on the back;2) 14-bit colour depth. That will bring a real IQ advantage in real life (skin tones, landscapes, etc);3) Compatibility with existing Nikon accessories (flash system, GPS, wi-fi, etc) for people who already own Nikon DSLR;4) Nikon after sales and repairs all over the world (they might suck, but they exist);5) Integration in NEF workflows for Nikon users (NX2 fans in particular);6) Made in Japan (a democratic country).
Finally, not quite sure the real life "mark-up" is 40% now (I bought mine 100 EUR under street price just after release), and prices will come down further, a usual with Nikon (special rebates, bundles with hood or OVF, etc).
AbrasiveReducer: History repeating itself?
Once upon a time, Nikon introduced two premium compact cameras, the 35Ti and 28Ti. Both had very sharp, fixed focal length lenses and both were expensive. The 28Ti retailed in the US for close to $800.
Out of nowhere, Ricoh (who had been making junky cameras for places like Sears) introduced their GR1, which was functionally identical to the 28Ti, yet priced at $350. Nikon fans declared the GR1 was no good because the price was too low, but it was so good, it became a cult camera. And that was the end of the 28Ti.
The 28ti is as much a cult camera as the GR1 is. I have no idea of respective sales figures, but 28ti (and 35ti) appealed to many with its "analogue" user interface (kinda steam punk dials). I still have my GR1 and it still works except dead LCD, but I would have loved one of those Nikons as well. The GR1 was the ideal trouser pocket camera. The 28 or 35 it were great when you wanted less fiddly command and control and a more traditional user experience.
Harder to see unique selling points to the A though, except manual focus through lens ring, which is way better for me than the GR way. Also, am not sure that the Snap feature of the GR will be as effective on a high res large sensor as it was with the GRDs, due to much thinner DoF. People will realise that CoC conventions do not match pixel peepers sharpness expectations.
bobbarber: The Nikon A is too expensive, and not sharp in the corners. The GR seems to have solved both of those problems, awaiting further review.
The images look very nice.
Agree that the corners in the preview are not good with the A. This surprises me. I have been using the A for 2 weeks now, and find the IQ amazing across the frame. Really amazing. Including corners. Perhaps a fluke in this preview? Or a question of field curvature? Things might look different at other distances? Dunno. Just surprised. GR looks really great (as well).
For the rest, agree there is not a 300 USD advantage to the Nikon, unless one places high value in an exclusively NEF workflow or in interoperability with Nikon accessories (flash, wifi, GPS, etc).
At first sight, the A does have an operational advantage on the GR by managing manual focus from the lens ring rather than whatever lever/dial on the back. I like that a lot. For the rest, the GR is mighty convincing.
vodanh1982: Whoever bought a Coolpix A will want $300 back.
I would not mind trading in my wonderful A for this even more wonderful GR, and lose 300 bucks.
@Gatanoll: I do not think the issue is to gain "more resolution". It is more about maximising micro contrast and sharpness perception. Many of us prefer having that sharpness edge, even if that leads to more risks of moire. Is probably a pixel peeper thing.
As more and more pictures never get printed, even great pictures, pixel peeping has become part and parcel of the way we look at contemporary photography. I know it has become so for me, and I feel frustrated when I am not allowed a 100% zoom on any picture I am looking at.
By taking AA out, we get substantially more impactful results out of the box, at pixel level. It is probably "wrong", and we probably should all focus more on the aspects that make a good image truly great, but, hey, many of us enjoy that diving into the small details...
JacquesBalthazar: Looks great. I have the A already, and love it. But I am pretty sure I'd love the GR even more. If only because I still have a GR1 film version in my bag, purchased back in the mid Nineties, that i truly enjoyed and that still works.
Wish I had known this one was about to be launched.
The 21mm adaptor is pretty cool as well and not an option for the Nikon. Optical quality of that adaptor will need to be tested.
I like the GR's grip a lot. Makes it easier to grab and pull from pocket than the A.
The A produces superb pictures. Judging by the corner test here, looks like the GR might be even more spectacular in that respect. .
One thing I certainly prefer in the A is the manual focus ring on the lens! That is more user friendly than the GR lever on the back. OTOH, Ricoh's "snap" feature is cool, even if one will have to consider much less forgiving DoF than with the small sensor GRs.
For the rest, feature list looks practically identical. The Nikon A is made in Japan. The GR?
@R Butler: it is a personal thing. I try, whenever possible, to allocate my disposable income usage on purchases that comply to my views regarding ethical and sustainable trade. I try and avoid funding dictatorships or supply chains that do not provision proper social rights for workers and proper environmental impact controls. In a nutshell, I am mostly ok with purchasing goods manufactured in Japan, Europe and a handful of other locations. I try and avoid "Made in China" as much as I can (and often fail). China is a dictatorship that does not allow free unions and tolerates quasi-slave labour. Therefore I feel OK spending 200 EUR more on something manufactured in Japan, even if I assume that much of innards come from China. Some Nikon stuff is made in Japan. Some is made elsewhere. I pick and choose as often as I can. If I had more disposable income, I'd buy Leica. I do the same with clothes, bicycle parts, furniture, etc. I buy less quantity, and feel better in the process.
Looks great. I have the A already, and love it. But I am pretty sure I'd love the GR even more. If only because I still have a GR1 film version in my bag, purchased back in the mid Nineties, that i truly enjoyed and that still works.
Purchased my "A" this week, and getting to grips with it. The IQ is awesome. Files are very crisp, ultra detailed (certainly as good and maybe better than Nex 7 + best glass, even if 16 MP vs 24 MP).
It IS trouser/jacket pocketable (was wearing jeans yesterday and comfortably played bowling with camera in jean pocket). It is substantially thinner than a J1+10mm. It is also lighter , and does not make your jacket hang lopsided. Am using my old Ricoh GV2 VF (small and light as well).
In other words awesome IQ that you can always carry with you.
I had hesitated with X100s, but after borrowing one for 30 mins during a Fuji demo, I was really underwhelmed by the IQ at f2. Kind of defeated the 1 stop advantage. At the end, I decided that X100s was more style than function (for me) and not worth the extra bulk.
Anyway, 28mm eq makes the A very versatile (cityscapes, indoors, parties/groups). It is snappy in operation and excellent in low light. Close focus is fine. Very well built.