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Hands-on with the retro Nikon Df

By Andy Westlake on Nov 5, 2013 at 04:00 GMT
Hands-on with the Nikon Df
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Hands-on with the Nikon Df

The Df is a rather handsome camera, especially in silver, and absolutely festooned in buttons and dials. Nikon has made a matching version of the AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G, with a silver band round the lens barrel and 'retro' focus ring grip, which complements it rather nicely. It's a long time since we've seen a 50mm f/1.8 sold as a kit lens.

188
I own it
392
I want it
83
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 230
12
peevee1
By peevee1 (5 months ago)

Good summary.
But the real problem is that they use a cheap low-res sensor, cheap slow shutter and mirror mechanisms, cheap battery from their entry-level DSLRs like D3200, cheap old AF shared with entry-level like D5200, cheapest slowest processor, cheapest kit lens, have excluded lots of modern features... and for some reason try to charge $3000 for it?
Somebody thinks they figured out how to make money without working too hard.

0 upvotes
HawaiiVolcanoes
By HawaiiVolcanoes (5 months ago)

there is nothing to excited about here...Nikon...you are a company in decline..you make marketing decisions that are determined by the roll of a dice..this camera must not have cost much to produce...i doubt u will sell very many...that you would make a big deal over an ugly brick like this disgusts me....how about a really nice camera for a change...how about a Full Frame Nikon Rangefinder..or something people actually want...looking at this UGLYYYYYYYYYYY camera is depressing...REALLY DEPRESSSING

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

The D800 sure seems to sell well for Nikon. The D700 sold well. So too the D7000 and the D71000.

Why do you think that you thinking this body is "ugly" means that others will think it ugly?

Then those who'd not buy this camera because it's "ugly" are clearly in the market for camera bodies as jewelry--not camera bodies as functioning tools.

To do a FF range finder Nikon would likely need a curved set of lenses on the sensor--so that's great added expense. Or Nikon would have to do entirely new lenses.

Provided there are no oil spotting problems or something similar, that Nikon then ignores, many people will want this body simply for the sensor inside.

Before getting depressed why not handle the body, look at sample raws and read reviews of this body?

Your reaction is that of a group think fashionista uninterested in the real world of photogear.

1 upvote
alx357
By alx357 (5 months ago)

I have had just about every Nikon made since the 1950's. I started with the FM in around 1977, and bought and used older and newer cameras since then.
The Df is one of the better looking Nikons ever. TO MY EYES. Of course it is a subjective call. All the common Nikon, Canon etc. cameras for the last 10 years are what I'd consider ugly, but I have become used to them, and they never DEPRESSED me anyway. What's with getting depressed just because you don't like the way a camera looks, anyway.
Personally, I like a chrome camera, made of mostly metal on the outside, with discrete dials for shutter, etc. "Retro" is a punky kids term for "classic". Classic never gets old, that's the point. A Nikon FM looks great today, just the way a 1965 Corvette still looks right ; They were both made right in the first place, and that quality remains.

0 upvotes
rondhamalam
By rondhamalam (5 months ago)

Retro.... This is only to proof that the owner is OLD !!!

You are old with strong nostalgic longing with the old model

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
HawaiiVolcanoes
By HawaiiVolcanoes (5 months ago)

YAWWWWWN

0 upvotes
bytom
By bytom (5 months ago)

i've been wishing for a retro Nikon like an S3 or S4 rangefinder...

0 upvotes
aris14
By aris14 (5 months ago)

Boring retros...
Lack of fantasy...

0 upvotes
le_alain
By le_alain (5 months ago)

Boring Pseudo Modern Camera
Thanks to Fantasy :)

3 upvotes
Easycass
By Easycass (5 months ago)

Well, good for Nikon to give us an alternative, but I think Andy's summing up on page 10 of the Hands On says it for me...

Probably like to redesign the whole control layout, but even a subtle redesign would do it, perhaps: -

1: Top-plate left: Dials for ISO and WB - Lockable
2: Top-plate right: As is, take away mode dial, move LCD forward, and add non-lockable exposure compensation operated by thumb.
3. Front: Change rotary control on right-hand fore-finger to non-lockable mode dial, use stepped rotating ring around lens mount to cover apperture control of G-lenses.

That is just one idea, undoubtedly lots of others everyone wishes for. Nice idea Nikon, but for me, the implementation leaves me wondering...

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

Why not try it out before deciding of redesign suggestions.

4 upvotes
Easycass
By Easycass (5 months ago)

I am sure I will try it out. Believe me when I say I love the idea of the sort of control lay out offered here, but only wished, according to my style of shooting, that there were a few changes, an opinion only, but based on what I need, which may of course differ from your needs...

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

Easycass:

And the point remains that you've not tried it yet, so the body may suit your needs.

0 upvotes
Easycass
By Easycass (5 months ago)

Well, I bow to your great wisdom in knowing my needs better than I do...

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

Easy:

I don't know your "needs", but I do know that you've not handled this body and may find once you do so that it meets your needs.

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (5 months ago)

Few if any of the other reviewers I've seen had any issues at all with the locks or any part of Nikon's implementation except the locking mode dial.

So if you like the camera, I'd suggest watching or reading some other user reviews from more DSLR oriented websites.

Chris Niccolls - Camera Store Hands on Preview

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lM0M-l6eu0

0 upvotes
Alizarine
By Alizarine (5 months ago)

No interchangeable focus screens and no focus assist...

I hope it has focus peaking.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

With the D700 one could send the body into Nikon for the installation of a different focus screen.

0 upvotes
Regueira Photo and Film
By Regueira Photo and Film (5 months ago)

I made a poll regarding DF buying or not.

Please visit and vote to see what others thinks about Nikon DF.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3571345

Thanks!
.

0 upvotes
huyzer
By huyzer (5 months ago)

What's up with people voting "I had it", when this is a brand new camera. Darn haters.

1 upvote
Matt Random
By Matt Random (5 months ago)

Thought it says 'I hate it'?

0 upvotes
mestreamador
By mestreamador (5 months ago)

Parabéns a NIKON, por esta investida no mercado acordando as maquinas retro.
Gostei muito do conjunto, botões de manuseio a vista, regulagens no momento ena hora certa, acho que todo fotografo gosta deste acerto para a melhor situação fotográfica. eu penso que se, a Nikon deveria pensar também em outros equipamentos da Nikon, como por exemplo fazer a mesma coisa com a D1(1999), que tinha sensor de 2,3 mp, sensor pequeno,porem oobturadorr de 1/16000 ????.
Parecida com a D4???!. Só pensar, pois a e engenharia seria pouca. Ai sim a NIKON estaria sempre a frente.
Vamos aguardar novos investimentos.
abs a todos e boas fotos!

0 upvotes
inframan
By inframan (5 months ago)

I don't know if I'd actually want to shoot with this but I do think it would look beautiful prominently displayed in a glass case. Maybe Nikon could come out with a "dummy" non-working version like some gun collectors buy, all looks & no guts. They might even get more buyers.

2 upvotes
Tee1up
By Tee1up (5 months ago)

If you are looking for a trophy, save a couple thousand and grab an old Nikon off ebay.

1 upvote
inframan
By inframan (5 months ago)

Many thanks, Tee1up. My shelves are already full of trophies & precious relics. Guess I forgot to include a winky-face. ;).

0 upvotes
HiRez
By HiRez (5 months ago)

The rubber port flaps also stand out as out-of-place to me. Ahatever that big round thing is next to the Df logo ruins the top lines. And they should have just lost the top LCD and placed a bigger shutter buttony there. It's an interesting concept, but ultimately, not one that works for me. I'm still using my D700, I guess that is retro enough now.

0 upvotes
joyclick
By joyclick (5 months ago)

Just what I have been longing for-Thank you Nikon

Did yo have to price it $2746 body alone

I would rather wait for Richo-Pentax FF and Canon FF in similar vain with $ shaved down to two thousandish

Comment edited 41 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

How much is the Canon 1D Mark X?

And Ricoh-Pentax makes a FF DSLR body?

1 upvote
JDThomas
By JDThomas (5 months ago)

@HowaboutRAW: The 1DX is in a different league. I'm a Nikon shooter through and through, but I'll admit, I'm a little jealous of my friend's 1DX's...

I it's off-topic, but I'm just sayin'...

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (5 months ago)

At close to 3 times the price, over twice the size/weight the 1DX is in a different league. And after all that, IQ from the D4 beats the 1DX hands down.

But Pentax may be able to pull off a FF DSLR w/ older K-mount compatibility (if they ever do produce a FF DSLR) but a similar EOS manual camera will never happen as it could not possibly support the smaller FD mount that they discontinued years ago.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

JDThomas:

Um, my point was that the Canon 1D X and the Nikon D4 are in the same league, but Nikon has chosen to put the sensor from the D4 in this new less expensive body called the Df. To my mind this portends the release of the Nikon D4s.

Redundancy: You see Canon has not chosen to use the sensor from the 1D X in a more budget minded body like the 5D series. So in fact bringing up the Canon 1D X here in comparison to the Df is valid. (Of course the Canon would like beat the Df for AF and weather sealing and frame rate.)

0 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (5 months ago)

Um, my point wasn't to argue. my point was the 1DX is a pretty sweet camera.

Why does everyone get so damn aggro? Not every comment is meant to start a debate or argument.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

Okay, yes that Canon is a nice fast probody.

0 upvotes
Al Downie
By Al Downie (5 months ago)

Leica manage to fit a large LCD display behind the sensor without turning the camera into a cube, and my old D200 isn't nearly as 'fat' as this Df - I really don't care for the trend to make fat cameras. The cynic in me wonders if their objective is simply to increase the surface area of the box to enable EVEN MORE buttons and knobs and dials and modes and settings and levers and switches and wheels and controls to be crammed into the design. Because that's what people loved about the FM2, right?

3 upvotes
avronaut
By avronaut (5 months ago)

Large Display ? Which Leica has a large Display and which digital Leica has a mirror ?

Comment edited 32 seconds after posting
1 upvote
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (5 months ago)

@ avronaut

The Leica S

0 upvotes
Al Downie
By Al Downie (5 months ago)

They're large enough!

What's the mirror got to do with anything? The presence of a mirror doesn't increase the lens-->sensor distance, which is the same in a D200 (slim-ish) as it is in the Df (bloated), otherwise the lenses wouldn't work. It's the huge space *behind* the sensor that makes these new cameras so fat. Clearly Leica are better at using that space than Nikon. Or maybe Leica are just better at concentrating on the basic functions that really matter, and feel no dumb compulsion to smother every single surface molecule with 'features'.

1 upvote
JackM
By JackM (5 months ago)

Presence of a mirror most definitely does increase the lens->sensor distance. It's called flange distance, look it up. Leica and other rangefinder lenses do not work on SLRs for this reason.

Comment edited 53 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
avronaut
By avronaut (5 months ago)

I like it and I like this negative statements, too.

0 upvotes
DRNottage
By DRNottage (5 months ago)

What a disappointment. It looks like some bloated Zenit-like knockoff. Silly indeed. And the price? This has flop stamped on its forehead. Look to Olympus and even Pentax for classy, neo-retro, functional DSLRs. Nikon's in trouble, imo.

0 upvotes
TFD
By TFD (5 months ago)

I guess it should really have match needle metering a mechanical shutter and a mechanical self timer. Maybe a hotshoe mounted flash with #5 flash bulbs.

Just too weird, retro cameras, why not retro TVs - how about selling a 27 inch tube TV for $3000, or maybe a PC with a 286 processor and a 10M hard drive.

2 upvotes
Al Downie
By Al Downie (5 months ago)

You're missing the point. We want best of -both- worlds, not just the old world. For example, yes, I *would* prefer match needle metering to any modern system, and a mechanical shutter and self timer, because I do believe they're better and more reliable than electronic equivalents (watching a needle move slowly along a scale is surely better and more intuitive than watching LEDs flash on/off, or LCD values jumping/flickering). But your other suggestions are just dumb.

1 upvote
Polytropia
By Polytropia (5 months ago)

Why do you think "electronic equivalents" are less reliable?

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
JDThomas
By JDThomas (5 months ago)

@Polytropia: I don't presume to speak for Al Downie, but electronic components always have a higher failure rate than mechanical components. Mechanical things can easily be repaired and are built sturdier. Mechanical gear needs to be lubed once in awhile to keep it going.

Microchips and solder and PCBs aren't designed for the long haul.

Look at a '68 Camaro and a '13 Camaro. You could tear down a '68 and put it back together with everyday tools. Not so with a 2013 Camaro. The same with cameras. I can completely tear down my Nikkormat, give it a CLA and have a perfectly functioning camera. If I took apart a DSLR, I'd be screwed.

Comment edited 32 seconds after posting
1 upvote
ABM Barry
By ABM Barry (5 months ago)

Let me make the difference quite clear. Whilst doing a shoot in the Out Back of Australia. I had a Hasselblad with a 150mm mounted on a sturdy tripod setting up a series of shots when a family arrived, set up camp. An hour or so later, the "daddy" came over. He asked about my weird camera as he called it, then proceeded to tell me his new ultralite 20mp+ Sony could out shoot the blad any day of the week as it had so many features and was really light.
*Never argue with an idiot, you will only get dragged down to his level and they will then beat you with experience!*
He chatted on for about an hour, watching what I was doing. He then decided to head off. He turned to pick up his Super-Sony from the rock he had placed it on, ... It had melted to the point of distortion in the direct Sun of Cel44deg. Result: One totally useless soft plastic camera and a very shocked owner.
All I could offer was to say: "Try a metal one next time"
I shoot Pro Nikon always.
Barry M. Ausrtralia

Comment edited 60 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Marc T
By Marc T (5 months ago)

Interesting but.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 8 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Griffo 155
By Griffo 155 (5 months ago)

This is what Nikon should have done, instead of introducing the Nikon 1 system..
I think this is a cool looking camera -It will entice photographers to switch back or into Nikon 'cos as Photographers we like manual dials and knobs, not menu systems, don't we?
Its full frame and takes all the Nikon lenses..
Don't kill this one off guys with negative comments, especially when you haven't even picked the camera up!
I only have one gripe about it - THE DAMN PRICE!
Now what will Canon do - I bet they do something similar!

2 upvotes
michelowski
By michelowski (5 months ago)

Now finally I know what made me so uneasy about the Duff's looks: It looks so - prototypey. So tryharding. So beta! Like this: http://www.mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/special/f4prototype1.htm

0 upvotes
Regueira Photo and Film
By Regueira Photo and Film (5 months ago)

I made a poll regarding DF buying or not.

Please visit and vote to see what others thinks about Nikon DF.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3571345

Thanks!

0 upvotes
Al Downie
By Al Downie (5 months ago)

There's no option for "Won't buy it because it's nothing like the digital FM2 they suggested it would be"

0 upvotes
michelowski
By michelowski (5 months ago)

Mr Westlake,
I gather you do, to quite some extent, share the views of Mr Britton, that were so entertainingly expressed in yesterday's piece. (He managed to find the very word for the ergonomics of this - thing: "SILLY".) Hence, I am astonished to find this post has been sent to digital nirvana.
Right behind me on my camera shelf sit my black F2 with its plain prism (nix Photomic; meters are for losers!) next to my ugly, much hated and used D800e. I know what I'm talking about, you know.
The Nikon Duff is too fat. To make it slimmer, they'd've had to leave out either the mirror box or that half inch of sensor/monitor that sits behind the shutter. I'd say, to keep it a digital camera, keep the sensor. Skip screen and mirror; if you install an EVF, you don't need either. Chimping with the camera to your eye is smarter, anyway.
Also, the Duff is too high: Those measly 39 AF Modules... Skip those. A K-Type screen will do better. (A-Type for me, please!) Or Om-D E-M1 style on-sensor-PDAF!

Comment edited 54 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Jay A
By Jay A (5 months ago)

I've been wishing for a retro Nikon like an FM2 or F3 Nikon digital for years, but I too think this will flop. It looks more like a combination of both and frankly I think it looks ridiculous.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

I remember the F3 clearly, is the FM2 much different? (I'm too lazy to look up the FM2 on Wikipedia, but know what a F and Nikromat looked like too.)

Thing is I also remember the D700, and that was a sales success for Nikon at this price.

0 upvotes
sandy b
By sandy b (5 months ago)

Saw a post on Miranda about having to press the release every time you change the shutter speed, " Apparently dpreview got this wrong - the lock is only to change the shutter dial out of 1/3 stop (command dial) mode."

1 upvote
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (5 months ago)

OK, so does that make a big difference to the otherwise horrid ergonomics?

Were DPReview wrong about the lock on the ISO dial and yet another lock on the Exposure Compensation dial, which by the way is stupidly placed on the left of the camera rather than the right (thus forcing you to move your left hand from where it should be permantly stationed ............... cradling/support the lens)?

0 upvotes
sandy b
By sandy b (5 months ago)

I think it adresses one of the main complaints. I don't even know if the Fred Miranda post is true. I do think most of the dial stuff can be controlled by the two wheels, just like any DSLR. Not enough hard feature data out on this camera yet. C'mon Nikon.

0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (5 months ago)

Looks like this is right - I've corrected the text. Sadly though, that doesn't help with the ISO and exposure compensation dials.

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
sandy b
By sandy b (5 months ago)

Thanks Andy. It will be interesting to see how auto iso is implemented in the camera, is easy ISO available?

0 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (5 months ago)

@sandyb: No doubt the Auto-ISO will be the same as the D600/610. Which is actually pretty damn great. In my opinion programming your Auto-ISO settings to function as you want it to is similar to setting it manually. They're you're parameters you just don't have to press the button and move the dial.

I think Nikon's Auto-ISO is genius and I use it frequently.

3 upvotes
effstawp
By effstawp (5 months ago)

In the grand scheme of things, I highly doubt Nikon's DF can take away Fuji's thunder. Even the upcoming XE-2 is a more compelling option for most; body+lens being cheaper.

3 upvotes
sandy b
By sandy b (5 months ago)

The Nikon can actually focus. I know its a small point, but still.

2 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (5 months ago)

The X-E2 can focus too. Strange but true.

2 upvotes
JamesVo
By JamesVo (5 months ago)

I think this camera will appeal more to those with an existing investment in Nikon glass. But when you consider it as part of a system, how many lenses and flashes this camera can use, with full functionality and without adapters- it should also appeal to newcomers if they take a more holistic view of the brand. I think Nikon does not capitalise, in their marketing, on the full extent of the F-mount system.

I mean, seriously, the A7/A7R is an awesome camera but how many lenses can I mount on it - right now without adapters - that will retain AF, metering, aperture control and give a full field of view? How much do I have to pay for those lenses and how do they perform compared to Nikon glass?

Same goes for the XE-2, OM-D EM1 - superb cameras but as part of a system, what can it do and how many roles can it fill?

Right now the FX lens system covers from 14mm to 800mm excluding converters and older lenses. All will mount directly on the camera and work - Olympus?, Sony?, Fuji?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 14 minutes after posting
1 upvote
sandy b
By sandy b (5 months ago)

Tounge in cheek Andy. Keep hearing in threads and reviews how much better Fuji is. Have talked to several users who admit AF is down right poor compared to Nikon. Sorry, very silly of me.

1 upvote
JDThomas
By JDThomas (5 months ago)

@sandyb: Being a previous Fuji owner I can assure you the Fuji is not stellar in focus. I really WANTED to like the XPro, so much that I bought it twice, but for me and a lot of folks like me who shoot just about every type of photography the Fuji don't cut it.

Personally, for my needs, this Df fits in where I need it. It's small enough, has manual dials, but can still function like a true pro DSLR when the need arises.

4 upvotes
ABM Barry
By ABM Barry (5 months ago)

I agree with Jamesvo. The Nikon system is complete. The lenses are so good that adapters are made to allow them to be used on other camera's that simply lack the choice and in the case of Sony, quality. No one makes an adapter for Sony to Nikon or Canon?
I have used Nikon professionally for years, I also have an Olympus EM-5 with a Novex adapter so I can also use my Nikkor lenses on it.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

ABM Barry:

Nikon needs to vastly improve the optical quality of high end Nikon lenses, right now they can't touch a good Zeiss or Leica, even good Olympus and Samsung NX lenses embarrass Nikon.

Perhaps Nikon has started to get its act together with the new 58mm f/1.4 lens just announced.

0 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (5 months ago)

A well written preview.

I really can't see this thing selling in great numbers to the people it's aimed at. It seems that this cam will be a flop, certainly in the U.S. and U.K. markets.

0 upvotes
monkeygrip
By monkeygrip (5 months ago)

The camera I've been waiting for. Don't want video. Never did. Just want a camera that I can set manually like my old FM2s & FE2s that I used for 20 years.

If you need more than 5.5 frames a second because you can't get 'your decisive moment' right. Not the camera for you. I managed with an old F to start with. No motordrive. Just my thumb.

Note: In the teaser video #5 that our tweed clad Scottish photo gent adjusts the shutter speed without his digits on the locking button. That is just for the thirds adjustment with ya little wheel on the back. A bit like the old A shutter setting on FE cameras when using Aperture priority.

Now have a little think people. To Adjust ISO, EV on a non retro camera you have to push a button then turn the little wheel on the back. This is no different except the locking button is where the dial is. I'd like if it had the option for a battery grip. Big lenses balance better with a grip.

Price? It's a D4 sensor. I'll have a D800e flavoured one as well.

3 upvotes
Stitzer23
By Stitzer23 (5 months ago)

where's the film wind lever? :-)

0 upvotes
nasserdjawas
By nasserdjawas (5 months ago)

next version Df -T (Titanium)

3 upvotes
Daniel Bliss
By Daniel Bliss (5 months ago)

Hmm, they blew it. Dials, easy on the eyes, easy to manipulate, but wrecked by all the locking pins; Compatibility with all the manual lenses, totally welcomed, undermined by the lack of interchangeable focusing screens; a sensor that's less of a data hog than some I could mention, only it's the 16MP unit from the D4, rather than a 24MP without low-pass filter that could go toe to toe with Leica and win and still be serviced at 5.5 frames a second by the Df's CPU.

Kind of makes you wonder where the F-mount is going. This is called, having a great design idea and then laying an egg.

The consolation prizes; at least it shows they can produce an FX DSLR with a sturdy build at a DX prosumer body weight, and at least it syncs with flash at a true, even-f-stop, 1/250th.

The frustrating part; it would have been so easy for them to get this right. Why did they make such basic mistakes?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
cboulakia
By cboulakia (5 months ago)

Good points but I still like it more than any other product offering out there - dials, easy to manipulate, compatible with manual lenses, 16 MP probably enough

2 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (5 months ago)

Probably enough... ;)

0 upvotes
Gesture
By Gesture (5 months ago)

The more I look at this camera, the less it amazes. Love the sensor size and type, all the technology, fond memories of film era SLRs, but what is missing is that Nikon didn't try to re-think the interface for a digital SLR. Over the years, the digital SLR has come to resemble the flight deck of the space shuttle. Let's figure out how to simplify, yet gain ergonomic power, not simply patch on every conceivable interface control.

6 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

let's skip redoing the digital interface, Nikon's is good.

Have you tried the lowend Sony Nex camera bodies' interface? Yuck. Even the Samsung Galaxy NX has a better interface than Sony's early Nex bodies. And that Samsung's aint good.

1 upvote
cboulakia
By cboulakia (5 months ago)

The interface is what I like about this camera - dedicated, non-programmable dials for everything is the way to go.

4 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (5 months ago)

Sony isn't going to build any more NEX anyway...

0 upvotes
MIC37
By MIC37 (5 months ago)

DOA because of price, lack of video and split focusing screen for manual focus lenses.

0 upvotes
Kelvin L
By Kelvin L (5 months ago)

In the 80s and 90s I used to change the screens on my FM2, F3 and F4 to B-type plain focusing screens as I found microprisms and split-prisms getting in the way. The only time they were of use was focusing with 'ultra' wides such as 24mm and 20mm lenses, and even then their accuracy was dubious. I found the focusing confirmation light in the F4 much more useful.

I've never had a problem with the plain B screens of the D700 and D800 with manual focus.

5 upvotes
petepictures
By petepictures (5 months ago)

No CF card- not suitable for me.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

No pins, great.

4 upvotes
DaytonR
By DaytonR (5 months ago)

CF cards are now undergoing a slow painful death by strangulation :) , the writing is on the wall for them ....

4 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (5 months ago)

I hate that CF cards are dying, but yeah DaytonR you're right.

CF is sturdier and faster, but SD cards are smaller and they break a lot so you have to buy more. That's the key.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

JDThomas:

There are new CF cards that don't use pins and are based on open licenses--unlike the XQD cards. So likely those new very fast CF cards will be coming out in at least pro Canon DSLRs. XQD is tied up in Sony and Lexar, but anybody can make the new CF cards. Also supposedly they're even faster than XQD cards, which are plenty fast already.

0 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (5 months ago)

You know, I have NEVER bent a pin. I must be lucky, 'cos I've broken just about everything else on a camera.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

It happens. And then the bent pin can mess up the CF card.

0 upvotes
vvk
By vvk (5 months ago)

Interchangeable split-prism manual focusing screen (large and bright, geared towards large aperture primes) and aperture ring on the kit lens are absolute must have features that this camera lacks and, therefore, misses the mark by a mile. Of less importance is awkward use of PASM dial instead of using A mode on shutter speed and aperture dials.

Nikon should do it right next time.

4 upvotes
hexxthalion
By hexxthalion (5 months ago)

Can see that Nikon fanboys strongly defend this abomination. Nikon has lost the plot, get over it!

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

and you know the "plot"?

Looks like a fine variation of the D700 to me.

3 upvotes
hexxthalion
By hexxthalion (5 months ago)

@HowaboutRAW - does it? what exactly are you getting after 5 years (release of D700) ?

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

hexx:

Yep. It's an updated D700 with knobs, and a better sensor. Nikon should have released a DSLR body with the D3s' sensor as soon as the D4 started to ship.

For fun try buying a D700 in decent shape for less than $2000.

0 upvotes
ABM Barry
By ABM Barry (5 months ago)

Why are you doing here, hexxthalion ...
If you want to see a real "strongly defend abomination" Go and look in the mirror!
Run back to your holga gay boy

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
krassphoto
By krassphoto (5 months ago)

That's a very cool looking camera, but the price tag... kind of too much for the nostalgia.. there are much better choices for almost $3K.

10 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

Name a body for $3000 or less that can do as well in lowlight as the D4's sensor?

And I want a link to raws for download from said body--I already discount the the Canon 5D III, the Nikon D800 or D600. So just maybe the Canon 6D.

Right the more than $3000 Canon 1D Mark 4 challenges the D4 for shooting in lowlight.

Now if high ISOs aren't important to you, you do have a point that say the Nikon D610 is a plenty good camera as is the APSC D7100.

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
hexxthalion
By hexxthalion (5 months ago)

@HowaboutRAW - are you Batman that you require only high ISO? that seems to be the only argument when it comes to D4 sensor.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

hexxth:

No I don't require only high ISOs, but it's not simply about shooting in dark conditions--so batman makes no sense. Higher ISOs mean the ability to shoot with slower lenses at greater shutter speeds. Or one can set fast lenses to greater DOF fstops.

I think you have a point about my "only argument" but it's a very big argument for the D4 sensor, smaller raw files can also help. I suspect that the D4's sensor does DR a bit batter than the sensors in the D800/600, but haven't done extensive testing with the same lens.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
pbailey4
By pbailey4 (5 months ago)

shame the Nikon UK advert features one of the worse, if not the worst lenses Nikon ever produced the 43 ~ 86 zoom. You do wonder if the Ad agency had every carried out any research.

Interesting camera - but disappointing in its resemblance to the Leica D-lux 3, oh and the price!

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

Um the Leica D-lux 3 is a P+S with a tiny sensor.

http://www.amazon.com/Leica-Digital-Camera-Optical-Stabilized/dp/B000J6FTUQ

You know a Panasonic.

2 upvotes
hidden1
By hidden1 (5 months ago)

Its a shame the included kit lens doesn't have an aperture ring.

It kind of ruins the retro camera experience when you have to use an e dial to set the aperture.

3 upvotes
BJL
By BJL (5 months ago)

Apparently you have to use the dial anyway with any CPU lens: the aperture ring only works with (very old) non-CPU lenses.

0 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (5 months ago)

Good spot! The aperture ring control is an ergonomic tour-de-force, and all quite by accident (as in, that was the only way they could do it back then). It falls neatly to hand, is portrait/landscape agnostic, and its location communicates its purpose. For me it was one of the best parts of old camera control layout, such a shame to lose it on this of all lenses.

4 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (5 months ago)

From the preview: "The choice of putting ISO and exposure compensation on the top left and adding locking buttons leaves me cold. In contrast I love the Fujifilm X-Pro1, because its traditional control dials are carefully-placed for ease of use."

They are? There are only two dials: Shutter speed and ISO. I can't imagine how they are more conveniently placed or well thought out.

The X-Pro1 has no ISO dial so you need the Q menu or Fn button for ISO. And using Auto ISO, you have the camera defaulting to 1/30 minimum which is barely passable for handholding.

As long as the DF has the current ISO setting display in the VF, you could theoretically change ISO without removing the camera from your eye. There is no difference. Besides with the great D4 high ISO ability, there will be a ton of Auto ISO shooters.

As far as locks on dials, all X100 users who have accidentally moved the EV compensation dial will tell you how important the locks for dials are.

6 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (5 months ago)

If you use the Fn button for ISO on the X-Pro1, it's very easily changed with the camera to your eye. Meanwhile the exposure compensation dial is easily operated by your thumb without having to take your eye for the finder.

In contrast on the Df, you have to move your left hand from supporting the lens, locate the release button for the requisite dial, hold it down and spin the dial to change the setting. I'm not sure how much hands-on time you've had with the Df, but I found this to be very awkward.

As someone who's extensively used the X100 and X-Pro1 (and lots of old mechanical cameras too), I completely disagree about dial locks being important. What matters is getting the weight of the click-stops right - do this and you don't need locks.

Auto ISO is of course near-unusable on the X-Pro1, and semi-fixed on the X-E2, but vastly better implemented on the Df. But if you're using Auto ISO all the time, why have an ISO dial?

9 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (5 months ago)

> I'm not sure how much hands-on time you've had with the DF

I agree with some of your comments and certainly appreciate your preview more than the other one that flat out called the DF "silly". But I'm on my third Fujifilm X camera, there are some things that are well implemented and some that are not. But the suggestion that the Fuji X cameras are "retro done right" while the DF is a poorly implemented, pointless camera is frankly absurd. And no I have no experience with the DF, as you know so the snarky comment wasn't really necessary. But it's all good.

As long ISO is indicated in the VF, unlocking and turning the dial without removing the camera from eye level doesn't sound all that different from the D800 method of pressing ISO and turning the command dial.

2 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (5 months ago)

You're right, the D800 method isn't great either, especially if you're shooting with a large lens. Luckily you can set it up on Auto and leave it most of the time.

Nowhere did I say the Df is a poorly implemented, pointless camera. Please stop inventing accusations.

Comment edited 34 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (5 months ago)

> Nowhere did I say the Df is a poorly implemented, pointless camera.

I didn't say you did but the combination of your comparison with the X-Pro1 and the extremely harsh Preview conclusion leave an extremely unfavorable impression, some of it by way of unwarranted bias and unfair comparisons.

In a Preview to conclude with: "As such, although I hate to say it: from a cold, hard practical point of view, I can't shake the feeling that the Df is a little bit... silly."

http://www.dpreview.com/previews/nikon-df/6

Do you think it's fair or useful for a Preview to leave users interested in this camera with such a negative summary considering few reviewers have spent much time at all with the Df?

So many photographers would jump at the chance to get camera with D4 IQ, and nearly unlimited F-mount lens compatibility for less than half the price. The overall negative tone is truly puzzling considering the huge interest in this camera.

Comment edited 11 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (5 months ago)

Presumably if you are into the whole retro, film-era way of thinking then you will not be thinking of changing your ISO on the fly anyway. And if you have decided to take a break from retro-mode then I guess you'd go the whole hog and set auto-ISO.
The exposure compensation lock does look a pain, but it was ever so. I hated the system on my FE2. I think the lock should apply only to the 0 position, with detents for all the others. or even get rid of the lock altogether and have a heavier detent on 0. Serioulsy, how easy is it to knock a rotary dial out of position?

4 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (5 months ago)

I think it's entirely fair and useful for us to state our initial opinion of the camera. We're a review site - that's what we do.

Just because you disagree, for whatever reason, does not make us guilty of 'unwarranted bias'. It just means you have a different opinion (and you're perfectly entitled to that). One key difference, though, is that our opinion is informed by having actually handled the camera, and then having time to think hard the implications of the design (and pricing) decisions that Nikon has made.

There is certainly huge interest in this camera. But you have to be remarkably blinkered to conclude that everyone else's impression is as positive as yours seems to be.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (5 months ago)

> But you have to be remarkably blinkered to conclude that everyone else's impression is as positive as yours seems to be.

So you think it's perfectly appropriate to flat out call a camera "silly" in a Preview?

I've never once read a camera REVIEW, let alone a PREVIEW, flat out call a camera "silly". If you think that's fair, then I am truly astonished.

I get that you guys seem to want to push mirrorless cameras for whatever reason, but in case you didn't know, DSLRs are still best selling system cameras available. And a huge number of users don't agree that ALL cameras should be miniaturized.

But no, I absolutely don't think a Preview on announcement day is the appropriate time for in-depth analysis like "this camera is a bit silly". It's unfair and destroys DPR's credibility. And I would feel that way irregardless of whether you were panning a new Canon or Nikon. Irregardless of camera, it's unprofessional to summarize a Preview with "this camera is silly".

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 11 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
ageha
By ageha (5 months ago)

For God's sake, it's just a camera. They can call it whatever they want.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (5 months ago)

Of course they can call it what they want, but in all the years reading DPR they have never characterized a camera similarly in a Preview.

Notice that staff still hasn't answered whether or not he thinks it's appropriate for a so-called professional review site to summarize with "the Nikon Df is a bit silly".

0 upvotes
Babka08
By Babka08 (5 months ago)

Ouch.

OK, so just get a Pentax K3 (or K5 for that matter). Everything this is and more, minus full frame sensor. (Just get a KPS viewfinder magnifier for a full-frame sized view.) Backward lens compatibility. Amazing set of metal limited primes.

Perhaps DPReview might be reminded of this in their comments. Pentax rarely gets a mention with reference to the other companies and really that's forgetting some very relevant quality options.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

All well and good, but the Zeiss manual focus lenses for the K system don't appear to be available any more.

And the none of the K digital bodies can compete with the Nikon D4 for high ISO work. (This Df uses that sensor.)

So Pentax can introduce an APSC sensored K body with say 10-12MP and arrange for the Zeiss lenses for the K system to go back into production and then you have a point.

And I don't want to read claims that good Pentax lenses equal the optical quality of good Zeiss lenses, Canikon lenses don't, not even Fuji doing its best lenses can match a good Zeiss. So that leaves...

3 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (5 months ago)

And incredibly, the Pentax costs even more than the DF!

0 upvotes
hidden1
By hidden1 (5 months ago)

Isn't the Pentax 1300$? You can buy two for one df.

1 upvote
JamesVo
By JamesVo (5 months ago)

I don't know the new bodies that well but I had a Pentax MZ5n (ZX5n in USA?) and loved it. It was the most intuitively simple control interface I have ever experienced on a camera - all the essentials readily to hand and no frills in a very compact body. Sure, my Nikons have more features and a bigger system behind them but that Pentax was nicer to use in the field.

0 upvotes
Alizarine
By Alizarine (5 months ago)

@AbrasiveReducer

Which Pentax? The only Pentax camera that went over $2500 is the 645D...

...with exception of the Titanium and Gold LX's collector's items from way back then

0 upvotes
Charlie boots
By Charlie boots (5 months ago)

I use a D700 and D300. This seems like the ideal upgrade from my D700 so will sell the D300 and add this one, but first wait for a full review and to see if there are any bugs.

Don't like that it is missing a 10 pin connector as I use a gps and remote release that have these connections.

No programmable time lapse exposure.

No flash, I use the internal flash to trigger my other flash units.

Would have preferred around 20mp as 16 is not much of an upgrade from the 12 that I have.

Easy to criticize and hindsight is always 20/20 but overall I really like this camera and the manual controls.

1 upvote
JonathanRphoto
By JonathanRphoto (5 months ago)

I shoot with the D4 and trust me that it's sensor is an upgrade!

1 upvote
JamesVo
By JamesVo (5 months ago)

Have seen results of D4 sensor in poor light and it is special. Took a pic of a cat in a fairly dark room - at 5000 ISO there was no need to apply noise reduction and every hair was visible. Good as it is at high ISO, my D800 cannot match this. 16 Mp is enough for most uses, even for quite large prints.

Lacking built-in flash but surely the Df has flash Commander mode? My D200 could not use the built-in flash in Commander mode but the D300 and D800 can

I also have some 10-pin accessories that would not be useable on this body. Pity because its has features that complement the D800 quite nicely

0 upvotes
otcat
By otcat (5 months ago)

KITSCH

9 upvotes
Eiffel
By Eiffel (5 months ago)

Reminds me of the Minolta 600si Class, which was an attempt a recreating the manual focus look on a more modern camera ("Full Frame" film based, but with AF).

Designers went as far as to dress up the exposure compensation dial to look like a winding level but crippled the body in some other ways (slow fps)

http://tammesphotography.weebly.com/minolta-dynax-600si.html

At least the minolta brought back some great ergonomics and was good value (I still have one and it works well more than 15 years after purchase...). In fact it was a very coherent product, more so than the Df in my view.

1 upvote
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (5 months ago)

I'd say it's much more like the 600si's contemporary, the Pentax MZ-5 (ZX-5 in the US), which was an AF SLR with top-plate shutter speed and exposure compensation dials. But the Pentax captured the simplicity of manual focus SLRs a bit more successfully than the Df does.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
TacticDesigns
By TacticDesigns (5 months ago)

My dad would hand me Pentax brochures all the time . . . and the MZ-5(n) caught my eye . . . it looked pretty darn close to my sisters K1000, which I borrowed every now and then . . . I was considering either of those cameras . . . then this digital SLR craze started with Canon and Nikon bringing out their own digital SLR cameras . . .

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
JamesVo
By JamesVo (5 months ago)

MZ-5n was a wonderful camera to use. Very compact too considering its features and responsiveness. I still have mine but don't have any decent glass for it.

Comment edited 52 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Bryan M
By Bryan M (5 months ago)

Yikes.

1 upvote
VirtualB
By VirtualB (5 months ago)

Aesthetically disappointing. Nowhere near the beauty and high quality look of an F3 or F2. Stamped metal look similar to the lower range FM and FE.
Then there is the schizophrenic combination of a retro-design top with a modern-DSLR back...
I very much doubt that a sophisticated industrial design house was involved with this abortion.
Very disappointed as I was looking forward to this camera...

13 upvotes
threeOh
By threeOh (5 months ago)

No where near the beauty of the FM's or FE's as well. Nor the svelte size.

Also very disappointed.

7 upvotes
Laszlo13
By Laszlo13 (5 months ago)

Fully agree with VirtualB. Actually, it's one of the most hideous cameras in my opinion. Nikon didn't realize that the reason retro designs are popular is because of their charm, simplicity and elegance - coupled with good ergonomics. Instead Nikon attempted to cram every single control into a control wheel, turning out a Frankenstein instead. A shame if this flops - as it might discourage other mfrs. to attempt a simplified and smaller FF camera with traditional mount.

9 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

VirtualB etc:

And you know this design is bad because you've seen pictures?

3 upvotes
VirtualB
By VirtualB (5 months ago)

Euhhhh…. Yes.
Thankfully, I am not completely blind yet. So I don't need to feel an object to tell whether it might be pleasing to my eye or not.
The magic of modern photography...

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
calvinboy24
By calvinboy24 (5 months ago)

It looks like a turducken camera: a D4 crammed inside of a D800 crammed inside an F3. The insides (modern controls like bracket, USB ports, etc.) are popping out of the skin of the F3 and the overall body looks like its bursting at the seams (and hence fatter than the F3). It's almost just a superficial change, the front of the camera looks "retro" (mostly because of the prism) but the back is very modern, I figure because the designers figured its more the "wow cool" factor for seeing something "retro".

To be fair, it looks to be a nice product from Nikon, but certainly a response to the trend of retro-looking cameras like the Olympus OM-D. There is, of course, the granddaddy of the retro cameras... the Leica M's, but let me not unleash the Leica haters...

Final comment, there is something weird about folks who want a retro looking camera but shooting fully auto in digital... If you want to do retro... shoot film.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
LarryK
By LarryK (5 months ago)

I think you're right, I don't remember my old F being this cluttered, still I want to see one in person before making up my mind.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (5 months ago)

VirtualB:

Pictures don't even do the externals of cars that well, and it's not like you spend time handling a car's body to drive it.

So wait until you've seen and handled a Df, perhaps it really isn't for you.

1 upvote
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (5 months ago)

I'm pretty sure that magnesium, while lightweight, cannot be finished like brass so neither the silver or the black will duplicate the classic finishes. Then again, that gorgeous black enamel chipped like crazy.

0 upvotes
Alizarine
By Alizarine (5 months ago)

If they took out the LCD at the back then maybe it'll be a lot thinner and would need less buttons.

Then you'd have to go home and "develop" your photos in your digital darkroom. That'll be as nostalgic as design can get, wouldn't it?

1 upvote
Jake64
By Jake64 (5 months ago)

Terrible value aside, I like it. If I had the cash, I would definitely buy it. We all know many people that like photography have money so this will probably sell.

0 upvotes
ranalli
By ranalli (5 months ago)

Exactly. This is marketed to people with some dough to spare who love retro looks.

Nothing wrong with that. I can't believe the uproar.

6 upvotes
Higuel
By Higuel (5 months ago)

get less, pay more!

8 upvotes
Plastek
By Plastek (5 months ago)

Get more, pay more?

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (5 months ago)

Say what you want; if Canon or Sony made this, they wouldn't be able to charge this much. Fuji might get away with it, though. I'll be curious to see how everybody's wonderful old Nikkors perform on 16mp FF and if it's convenient enough to be practical.

4 upvotes
PBear2
By PBear2 (5 months ago)

. . . my 105 2.5 Nikkor silver body lens works incredibleby as a video lens on my Canon 69 D and 5d2

1 upvote
Higuel
By Higuel (5 months ago)

Plastek: it even does NOT have aperture ring! or split focus screen, or even as big viewfinder as the F3!!! (Not to mention the price of a good camera those days!)
Like i said: get less, pay more!

0 upvotes
HubertChen
By HubertChen (5 months ago)

Very romantic retro design.

Using excellent Nikkor manual focus lenses on such a great sensor with no any focus help (no split screen on the OVF, no live view in the viewfinder with magnification) will soon cause a very frustrating awakening.

The only way to focus will be at arms length same style like with a point and shoot using Live view and magnification.

All my Pentax DSLR can change the split-screen (and I use them successfully). I am surprised this camera can't. On my Pentax it is a cute option. On this camera which is emphasizing the use of manual focus lenses it would be a must.

2 upvotes
wetsleet
By wetsleet (5 months ago)

For me the whole benefit of manual focusing is that it frees you from the tyranny of fixed focus points. The camera just focuses wherever your eye directs, through the agency of your left hand.

I ditched my split image screen in favour of a ground glass screen and found my pictures were much improved. I would compose the shot, and focus anywhere I needed to on the screen. If you are framing a child's face for example, waiting for an expression to flicker across it, whilst keeping the composition correct and the focus on the eye (wherever that may be, seldom bang in the centre), I don't see any other way to get it right.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
2 upvotes
Total comments: 230
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