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Nikon Df Review

December 2013 | By Richard Butler, Barney Britton
Buy on GearShopFrom $2,746.95


Review based on a production Nikon Df

The Nikon Df is, at first appearance, the camera that many people have been asking for, for years - a classically styled DSLR with traditional external controls. But, for all Nikon's talk of a return to 'Pure Photography,' an awful lot of what's under the Df's confidently retro skin is pretty familiar. The Df is built around the 16MP full frame sensor from the company's flagship D4 with the processor and AF system borrowed from the comparatively affordable D610.

The camera's appearance is inspired by a much earlier generation of film cameras. In fact, from the front the Df looks like an oversized Nikon FM (and not dissimilar to Canon's F1N). And, as well as the styling and dedicated external controls, the Df's other nod to the company's history is the inclusion of a retractable meter coupling tab, allowing the use of pre-1977 non-AI lenses.

For those of us raised on film SLRs the effect is rather intriguing. We understand that the Df has been at least four years in the making, and the glee of its creators is almost palpable in the many specific design cues obviously taken from earlier SLRs including the FM/2 and the long-lived professional-targeted Nikon F3.

Nikon Df key features

  • 16 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor (same as D4)
  • ISO 100-25,600 (expandable to ISO 50 - 204,800 equiv)
  • Maximum 5.5 fps continuous shooting
  • 39-point AF system with 9 cross-type AF points (same as D610)
  • 3.2-inch, 921k-dot LCD screen
  • Physical shutter speed, ISO and exposure compensation dials
  • Compatible with virtually all Nikon F-mount lenses (including pre-Ai standard)
  • Single SD card slot
  • EN-EL14a battery (quoted endurance of ~1400 exposures)

According to Nikon, the 'F' in Df stands for 'fusion' - specifically, fusion of the old and the new. We know all about the old - the 'retro' styling - which leaves us with the 'D'. This of course stands for 'Digital'. The Nikon Df boasts a full-frame sensor, 39-point AF system and a maximum shooting rate of 5.5 fps. The LCD on the rear of the camera is a 3.2", 921k-dot display and, despite its 'fully manual' pretensions, the Df boasts front and rear electronic control dials alongside the dedicated physical dials on the top-plate. It's a thoroughly modern DSLR for the most part, but with one major difference.

What, no video?

That major difference is video - the Df cannot shoot it (making it one of only two current DSLRs which don't - the other being the Sigma SD1 Merrill). In conversation with Nikon engineers, we were told that video was never on the table as an option for the Df, apparently as much a philosophical point as anything else. This is a serious camera for serious people which is to be used for 'pure photography', not videos (oddly though, the Df still boasts a full complement of retouch options including the decidedly lightweight fisheye and miniature effects).

While it's true that many potential Df owners might not care about video, if you can add a function, why not do so? Since it's based around a video-capable sensor and shares its image processor with a camera that can shoot video, it's reasonable to assume it could be added via firmware, but the question is probably academic, since the Df has no built-in microphone nor a jack for adding one. Equally, the Df's relatively low-capacity EN-EL14a battery wouldn't last terribly long, even if such a feature were enabled.

Df - a D4 in F3 clothing?

If you look beyond the Df's outward appearance, another aspect of its appeal is the relatively inexpensive access it gives to the image sensor used in the company's flagship DSLR, the D4. And while that's true, the omission of video and high-speed frame rates mean you don't get to take full advantage of its capabilities. Even without those aspects, the well-respected low-light capabilities of the D4's sensor should lend some appeal to the Df.

Viewfinder

The Df's optical viewfinder is very large - the same size as the D800. The magnification is 0.70x and, naturally, coverage is 100%. We've also shown the viewfinder of the film-era F3 here for reference. As you can see, the F3 offered an impressively large finder, and even the high eye-point viewfinder that glasses wearers tended to prefer was still larger than the Df's. When a DX lens is attached to the Df, the viewfinder shows frame-lines indicating the DX image area.

One real shame (although perhaps not a surprise) is the fact that the Df's focusing screen is fixed. We had hoped for an accessory split-prism focusing screen for manual focus, but it's likely that the additional cost and incompatibility with modern pattern metering modes ruled that out at the design stage. Instead the Df has Nikon's standard 'rangefinder' display in the viewfinder, which uses the autofocus sensor to indicate when it thinks the lens is correctly focused.

Kit options and pricing

The Nikon Df comes in two color options - silver and all-black, and in the USA, both will be available for $2749 body only. Nikon has created a special edition of its AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G to match the 'retro' look and feel of the Df (optically it's identical to the standard version) and this is available separately for $279, or bundled with the Df for $2999.95.

The Df is being sold with a cosmetically reworked version of the AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G, with some 'classic' (but entirely cosmetic) design accents to match the look of the new camera.

In the UK, the Df is available only as a kit with the 50mm lens, at a suggested price of £2749.99 - only £50 less than the recommended price of the 36MP D800 and revamped 50mm F1.8. Unlike the US figure, this includes 20% VAT, but that still works out as around the equivalent of $3660, even if you take this into account. That said, prices change at different rates in different markets so, once the initial rush of customers has subsided, the prices might begin to look less unreasonable.


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.

To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.

DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2013 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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Comments

Total comments: 1616
45678
Pritzl
By Pritzl (8 months ago)

So it's a Frankencamera?

Such a shame to handicap such a great sensor with so-so AF and confused manual controls. I just hope that this is not the last foray into retro design because with a little more thought (e.g. non-locking, better placed dials and removal of the redundant mode dial) the directness of control would have been nice.

2 upvotes
optic67
By optic67 (8 months ago)

i dont recognise the camera in this review , mine is fantastic and performs superbly , especially in low light

7 upvotes
nikheat
By nikheat (8 months ago)

You obviously dont use your camera in low enough light, my D600 struggles to AF in low light situations my D4 has no problems in, and so the Df sensor and its AF are mismatched in my opinion.

I would love a camera in the Df form factor if it could AF in low light better, no point of a great low light sensor if the AF reduces your chances of low light focus. The D4 is just a bit to bulky for for band photography in small venues. The D600/610 has very good low light performance up to ISO3200 and costs half the price. Function is more important than aesthetic, and the sensor to AF mismatch in the Df kills it for me, so sticking with D600 and D4.

3 upvotes
Bamboojled
By Bamboojled (8 months ago)

@nikheat
The focusing system on the Df is improved over the D600 as EVERY review has said.
So once again we have individuals that have never shot the Df giving their opinion.
Interestingly no other reviewer has had any issues with the Df focusing

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

@nikheat:

The D610 is not half the price of the Df, really now. (Don't here claim you referred the D600--no one in his right mind will buy one of those, hence the discount.)

And frankly for a full framed DSLR ISO 3200 is not considered high ISO any more.

0 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (8 months ago)

I haven't finished my review yet, but I have had some issues with the Dƒ AF in low light. It could be better. The far AF points are especially prone to hunting in low light.

Since the AF array is so cramped, for concerts I've resorted to focus/recompose anyway, so using the center AF point (which works great in low light) is the only logical workaround.

I like my Dƒ a lot, but it isn't perfect. Really the weakest link in my book is the AF.

2 upvotes
Bamboojled
By Bamboojled (8 months ago)

The focusing points on all DSLR's are weakest at the edges, that's a given.
The review did not specify the far edges, it said focusing in low light was poor (as in all Points)
Based on your comments the center points focus fine in low light.
So I believe this is where you and the review differ.

1 upvote
JDThomas
By JDThomas (8 months ago)

The far focus points on the Df are worse than on any other camera I've used. In my opinion that makes it poor for focusing in low-light. Yes, the center point is fine. But if I can ONLY use the center point in low-light, which is what I shoot 80% if the time then YES. The AF is poor.

My assessment of whether an AF system works is based on the AF system as a whole, not bits and pieces. And on the whole the AF kind of sucks in low light.

You're so insistent on calling people out about this. Let me ask you, how many times have you used the Df in a low light situation? And I mean a real working situation, not strolling around the block at night.

3 upvotes
Cailean Gallimore
By Cailean Gallimore (8 months ago)

So it's a triumph of form over function.

Good to know.

9 upvotes
drummercam
By drummercam (8 months ago)

Yes, obviously:
"The Nikon Df is a product that's as much about invoking nostalgia as it is about capturing the moment."

1 upvote
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (8 months ago)

Is this the first camera that Dpreview didn’t even give a Silver or Gold award to?

4 upvotes
drummercam
By drummercam (8 months ago)

They had a gold stamp on it for a while, at least. I saw it. Maybe it was pulled.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (8 months ago)

No. The Pentax K-01 and the Nikon V1, the first mirrorless camera that with a quality PDAF system and blazing fast processing/fps got zero love from reviewers.

But in general, almost every half way decent camera gets at least a Silver Award. But with Amadou seemingly gone, and few DSLR shooters on staff I expect we'll see more negative reviews like this one to come.

8 upvotes
Bamboojled
By Bamboojled (8 months ago)

@marike6
Wow you hit the nail, the reviews on this site definitely have a slant to them.

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (8 months ago)

@ marike6 - you've been trolling our reviews for years - do you need me to explain our scoring system to you again?

8 upvotes
JakeB
By JakeB (8 months ago)

Wow.

marike6 officially called out as a troll.

Well done, Barney, for exposing that tiresome know-it-all.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Digital Suicide
By Digital Suicide (8 months ago)

Thanks DPR for the right review. Got your final words. They speak to me in only way: D610 is much clever choice (for me).

6 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

The D610 a good camera, but not great above ISO 10,000 and not on sale for $1200.

Consider too the Canon 6D.

And suggestion: Handle a Df.

1 upvote
Nukunukoo
By Nukunukoo (8 months ago)

Seriously, how many DSLR people will use anything above 3200 regularly?

8 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

Nukunukoo:

Many do, or would like to. That you don't isn't important to the general point.

In the 35mm film era until about the year 2002, ISO 400 was the limit for colour film. Higher ISOs existed but had real problems--particularly in lowlight.

Then came decent Kodak ISO 800 colour film. So by your logic you'd never go above ISO 800 with a DSLR.

Technology moves on.

2 upvotes
Digital Suicide
By Digital Suicide (8 months ago)

What is wrong with people obsessed with huge ISO numbers?
I don't need 10'000. It's ridiculous. And why would you offer me canon for my MF Nikkor lenses?

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (8 months ago)

@Nukunukoo: just any dark venue where you need high SS to freeze action, like ballet, concerts, etc., especially with longer lenses. Actually, ISO 3200 is the minimum requirement for such shooting.

0 upvotes
dyoon153
By dyoon153 (8 months ago)

I'm not a pro but enthusiast... I don't carry any flash nor use on-camera ones that often either, and often I cannot carry tripod around (it's too burdensome after off-work shooting) Which means I occasionally have higher ISO settings (3200, 6400, 12800, sometimes higher on extreme cases). I'm not obsessed in numbers, but good high ISO performance is a perk for someone like me to keep on shooting..

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

Digital Suicide:

Higher ISO numbers make for better lowlight shooting, like concerts. Or higher shutter speeds for things like indoor sporting events. This is all really obvious. And in fact 35mm film had advantages over digital, until about the year 2003 when digital's higher ISO capacity permanently won the race. Yet again: Technology moves on and improves, irony Kodak TV screen tech is about to replace all monitors.

You didn't say that you were limited to Nikon. Right the D610 is a plenty good camera.

0 upvotes
the Mtn Man
By the Mtn Man (8 months ago)

I love the retro styling. This might be the perfect anti-theft camera design. What thief is going to want to steal what at first glance looks like an obsolete, 35mm film camera that wouldn't fetch more than $10 at the pawn shop?

0 upvotes
Red5TX
By Red5TX (8 months ago)

Thieves are smarter than you think.

5 upvotes
audijam
By audijam (8 months ago)

they use dpreview you know....geez

4 upvotes
stevens37y
By stevens37y (8 months ago)

a nostalgic thief

6 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

stevens37y:

Kinda think most thieves are interested in a quick sale.

0 upvotes
nikonhudson
By nikonhudson (8 months ago)

Rating this review, I give it a 62% with no bronze, silver or gold award. The quality of reviews on DPR has declined and this one hits bottom.

5 upvotes
JakeB
By JakeB (8 months ago)

Or you could stop being a child and provide REASONS why you disagree with dpreview's assessment.

4 upvotes
Maji
By Maji (8 months ago)

How about the speed of AF in low light... here is an excerpt from an Df user shooting a gig in low light - "Ray your question is most important - how is autofocus in low light. Tonight I shot with stage lighting and the Df felt quick and responsive in both focusing and tracking and very similar to the D800 or D3s. After tonight (stage lighting of course), my confidence level in Df focus ability went way up. Only a handful of images were out of focus and it was because of user error and small grip (my thumb came off the af-on button)."

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3594551#forum-post-52746911

I think DPR may have gotten a faulty camera. I can't believe Nikon's QC will be sloppy after the other problems they faced recently.

1 upvote
PicOne
By PicOne (8 months ago)

How does one digest the apparent contradictions?

"Conclusion - PROs
...Good blend of traditional and contemporary controls
...Fairly accessible menu system, considering the camera's complexity

Conclusion - CONs
...Locking exposure comp dial is inconvenient (especially with large lenses)
...Front command dial not terribly comfortable to use
...No two-button card format option
No 'live' aperture control in live view mode presents inconsistencies between lens types
No time-lapse option (available on D610)
No infrared remote trigger option"

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (8 months ago)

Re AF, maybe reading this thread would help people get a better perspective:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52746911

1 upvote
mpgxsvcd
By mpgxsvcd (8 months ago)

For the people who want a camera like this it is perfect. For the people who don't there are so many other options. That sounds like a success to me.

4 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (8 months ago)

"a camera like this" meaning "interesting looking but of poor quality build and without basic functions like battery level indicator"? all for $2750 before tax? perfect indeed.

5 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (8 months ago)

> without basic functions like battery level indicator

Of course the Df has a battery level indicator, just no percentage of charge left. It also gets an extremely high number of shots per charge (CIPA 1400), something I didn't see mentioned in the review.

1 upvote
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (8 months ago)

Page 4, marike6. They even mention the necessary caveat (which you omit): the CIPA battery-life test fires any built-in flash every second shot, and the Nikon Df has no built-in flash, so its 1400-shot rating is not directly comparable with the CIPA numbers of cameras with built-in flash units.

1 upvote
stevens37y
By stevens37y (8 months ago)

"For the people who want a camera like this it is perfect."
Theory Of Relativity of the camera world.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

mpgxsvcd:

I like this camera plenty, but see some problems: No separate SD compartment, a battery door that interferes with a tripod mount, having to send it into Nikon to have the screen changed and in some situations, particularly with the silver body, I can imagine having difficulty reading the knobs. So that list means that it’s not “perfect” to someone, me, who really likes the camera.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (8 months ago)

@Samuel Dilworth

Yes the Df has no flash which contributes to the extremely high 1400 shot rating. That said, DPR complains about the lack of a battery percentage meter (causing confusion like above), but unlike Thom Hogan in his Nikon Df review, they don't mention the excellent battery life it gets from such a small battery. Kind of an odd omission wouldn't you say?

1 upvote
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (8 months ago)

That the battery charge isn’t described as a precise percentage doesn’t matter to me. There’s no pressing need for that kind of granularity. Evidently DPReview thinks slightly differently, which is hardly an unforgivable difference of opinion. The reader can make up her own mind.

In real life most of us chimp and check histograms and autofocus five times before we take a shot, and we almost never use a built-in flash. In this kind of usage, it would surprise me if the Df lasts any longer than a D600 or D800 – or even as long – but hey, maybe pushing fewer pixels really does offset the lower energy capacity.

Apparently the Df’s battery life wasn’t remarkable enough, one way or the other, to make the conclusions page.

0 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (8 months ago)

I use the percentage meter A LOT. If you shoot all day music festivals or sporting events it's a very handy feature to have.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (8 months ago)

From Page 11

"...but the Df costs as much as the D800, *which* does include the more sophisticated 51-point Mulit-Cam 3500FX system."

Nikon D800 $2996
Nikon Df $2746

Adding emphasis via italics can help drive a point home, but it won't make a false statement more true. :-) But seriously, why the claim that the Df is the same price as the D800?

2 upvotes
xpanded
By xpanded (8 months ago)

In Europe the Df is almost 50% more than the D800.

5 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (8 months ago)

Yes in Europe. In the US, where DPR is mostly based these days and has a Gear Shop, the Df does not cost as much as the D800. Not sure why the reviewers are making this confusing claim in the region where they are based.

0 upvotes
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (8 months ago)

B&H Photo or Amazon price for Nikon D800: $2,796.95
B&H Photo or Amazon price for Nikon Df: $2,746.95

That’s a difference of only fifty bucks.

In Europe prices are set by the retailers (competition law and all that), so initial prices are always very high. The Df price will collapse after the first few months, as the price of all recent Nikon cameras and lenses has done after the early adopters pay through the nose and availability improves.

3 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (8 months ago)

The D800 released at $2996 and the D800E at $3296.

The D800 price of $2,796 on B&H you are quoting is a special "Instant Savings" for the holidays, something you didn't mention.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/842926-REG/Nikon_D800_D_800_SLR_Digital_Camera.html

2 upvotes
Toccata47
By Toccata47 (8 months ago)

I know three pro's that are using a df to at least back up a d4, (in one case replace). All three circumvent the retro dials in favor of manually programmed buttons and menu diving.

I think this is probably an excellent camera despite the handling hiccups, but the "pro" column in the summary here seems rather well padded, not something I expect to see in a dpr review.

Classic styling
Good blend of traditional and contemporary controls
Gives sensible choice for using aperture ring or command dial
Fairly accessible menu system, considering the camera's complexity
Screw-in shutter release socket
In-camera Raw reprocessing

6/12 pro's seem either superfluous, subjective, obvious or even dubious. Given the tone of the review I'm quite surprised to see the camera score as highly as it has.

1 upvote
marike6
By marike6 (8 months ago)

If anything a number of the Cons are padded and completely dubious:

* SD card slot under camera awkward for tripod work
* No two-button card format option
* No time-lapse option
* 1/4000th sec maximum shutter speed

These things are true for tons of cameras. I mean the 6D, D600, X-E1, X-Pro1 have the same 1/4000 max shutter. 1/4000 is typical for this class of camera. Heck the Nikon F2 and FM maxed at 1/1000 so a retro Df with 1/4000 makes complete sense. But they needed to find "Cons" to fit their narrative about this camera.

In the Pro section they absolutely should have added:
* Extremely quiet shutter
* Class leading battery life of CIPA 1400 images
* Smallest, lightest FF DSLR on the market

And THE most surprising omission from the "Pros" list:

* Lowest noise high ISO performance of any camera to date including the previous low-light king the Nikon D3s (See DxOMark sensor ratings)

But they had a set narrative and stuck with it.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
7 upvotes
Horshack
By Horshack (8 months ago)

Maybe those cons were listed because they're expected features on a $2,750 body but not on bodies costing much less?

Would a reviewer for a Porsche 911 use the same criteria for cons as he would for a Toyota Camry?

* Fits only two people
* Suspension too stiff
* Trunk is small
* Cup holder can't accommodate a Big Gulp
* Poor gas mileage

Comment edited 34 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (8 months ago)

If I hear another weak car analogy I’m going to throw myself under the wheels of the next passing skateboard.

2 upvotes
Biowizard
By Biowizard (8 months ago)

Lack of time lapse is fairly obvious, considering that video is not supported. Or did you mean an intervalometer? Which is different. And thanks to the threaded shutter button, should be easy to arrange with any number of third-party, mechanical devices.

Brian

0 upvotes
VBLondon
By VBLondon (8 months ago)

I have a Df I am delighted with. I do think this is a good and useful review.
I happen to value the Pros of the Df and not really care about the Cons identified.
That weighting is a personal preferences, DPR's overall conclusion reflects the reviewers' judgement (and I guess the price), which is fair.

I've found the AF in low light just as good as the D3S I had before, but, to be fair, I think that's only using the centre focus point.

7 upvotes
retro76
By retro76 (8 months ago)

Dpreview, I used to worship your reviews, but I feel as though bias now plagues your site. A site that praises the SL1 which uses a dated sensor that can't even produce the dynamic range of many mirrorless models ( a glorified repackages T3i from years ago). A site which gives praise to Olympus mirrorless models which also have quite a steep 'retro' tax applied and many models continue to suffer from shutter shock which in my experience with the EM5 led to countless OOF shots. I don't own the DF, but I can't help to feel as though their is inconsistency and/or bias in your reviews. I dunno, maybe I am wrong, if so I do apologize in advance.

6 upvotes
plevyadophy
By plevyadophy (8 months ago)

Well they scored the camera over 80%, and you're still whining?!! Wow!! That's a darn sight more than I would have scored it. I think the cam is a mess. Great concept, great looks, great compatibility with old lenses (notwithstanding the lack of interchangeable focus screens), but overall poor in execution (e.g. what's with the falling off battery door?!, the mismatched materials on the top plate of the silver version, and why can't Nikon still not get live view right?!!!)

I think this cam is Nikon's "Fuji X100 moment".

Now the fact that you whine about bias, and Fourt Thirds fanboys whine about bias (in favour of Canikon), and Sigma fans whine too, tells me that there is no real bias here at DPReview, and that they are obviously getting things right overall.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Tonio Loewald
By Tonio Loewald (8 months ago)

Can't really say dpreview is biased against nikon or retro cameras, but i do agree it's a tad inconsistent. Frankly, I think "value" should be set aside when rating things — prices change. Is this a good camera or not?

Many of the criticisms stand, even ignoring price: why use an inferior AF system? Front command dial is poorly designed. Design of back is inconsistent with rest of camera.

0 upvotes
retro76
By retro76 (8 months ago)

plevyadophy, i am not whining, nor am I biased. I have owned too many brands to be biased. You yourself admitted to the inconsistency - that they scored it 80% and yet listed a ton of CONS with the camera and admitted at the end they really didn't like it.

0 upvotes
Bamboojled
By Bamboojled (8 months ago)

What is funny is that the inferior focusing system as many are stating, is still far more advanced than pretty much all cameras reviewed by DPreview from Olympus, Sony, Fuji, Panasonic, Ricoh, and even over some Nikon and Canon models.
So everyone that is making comments on the focusing system and have never used the focusing of the D610 or Df have no clue as to how accurate it is.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (8 months ago)

Every time we post a review that is perceived as unusually positive or negative, the accusations of brand bias start flying. If you actually track the specific conspiracy theories, we're supposedly anti-Canon, pro-Canon, anti-Nikon but also biased in favor of Nikon, we were anti-Olympus for a long time (until Olympus started making really good cameras, oddly, at which point we were pro Olympus)....

It's all very tedious.

6 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (8 months ago)

"It's all very tedious."

Welcome to the interwebs Barney.

1 upvote
whawha
By whawha (8 months ago)

You have to be truly insane to buy a £2700 camera with lousy autofocus and bits that fall off...

17 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (8 months ago)

The Df doesn't have "lousy AF". Lousy AF would be something like the original Fujifilm X-E1, one of DPR's Gold Award cameras. Sighs. The X-E1 AF even after the firmware update is pretty mediocre in ALL kinds of light. Using a consumer grade camera like the D600 or Df, it's a question of knowing when to use the center AF point (or one of the other 8 cross-type sensors).

But I do agree that the UK price is high. In the US, the Df is absolutely NOT the same price as the D800 as the review incorrectly states, its $250 less.

7 upvotes
Bamboojled
By Bamboojled (8 months ago)

What is funny is that the inferior focusing system as many are stating, is still far more advanced than pretty much all cameras reviewed by DPreview from Olympus, Sony, Fuji, Panasonic,
Ricoh, and even over some Nikon and Canon models.

So everyone that is making comments on the focusing system and have never used the focusing of the D610 or Df have no clue as to how accurate it is.

2 upvotes
Coliban
By Coliban (8 months ago)

I find this Review close to reality and the main issues DPR is complaining are the same features i am missing: The too small AF-Area. The AF-Module from the D610 (Low ISO and problems with the AF??). And, for me, one of the severe issues ist the fixed focus screen, and, very ridiculous, no split-prism focus screen. That the..., is the sense in building a camera also for manuell and old lenses without a split-prism focus screen? Had Nikon never tried to screw a Zeiss lens on a Nikon and tried to focus with a shallow focus area of several mm? I do not understand this. This camera is in the right way but Nikon stopped at the wrong milestone. And the dimensions like depth could be a little more Analog like, a little bit less.

Nevertheless, i think 81% percent is not quite fair, about 90% this camera has deserved more, it still has one of the best sensors. It is a step in the right direction, but i will wait until the DF2.

1 upvote
Revenant
By Revenant (8 months ago)

81% may not look impressive, but according to DPR's explanation of their scoring system, everything above 80% is "outstanding". I don't think any camera have ever been given a 90% score.

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

Coliban:

With the D700 one could send the body into Nikon for a screen swap. The Df sure looks the same.

I don't own the Df, but I've tried it and had no particular problem with lowlight AF. Manual focus is pretty easy too.

1 upvote
Ryan Harkin
By Ryan Harkin (8 months ago)

> No infrared remote trigger option

Interesting that you should mention this. It's something I was surprised by when I moved from a D50 to a D300S. I would have thought that the IR sensor should be present in higher models, but it never has been.

Looking back, I don't see it listed as a "con" in the D300S, D600 or D800 reviews.

More surprising, you didn't mention the lack of 10-pin connector or the poor positioning of the accessory port for those who use an L-bracket.

And as a Df owner, I mostly agree with the conclusions.

However, I don't have a problem with my battery door falling off. And the position doesn't seem to be a problem when I use a tripod. But time will tell on that one.

I haven't noticed a problem with AF, it outperforms my D300S in terms of speed. But perhaps my expectations are lower having not used a wide variety of cameras? The poor coverage is the biggest drawback, IMO.

1 upvote
babalu
By babalu (8 months ago)

Why isn't there an award ? I am interested in the reason for not qualifying the camera with an award, like most other cameras .

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (8 months ago)

for awards to exist, there have to be some losers in the competition. unfortunately modern western society has imposed the idea that even participation deserves an award, in effect rewarding mediocrity and rendering awards meaningless.

0 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (8 months ago)

81 is pretty good. But they just didn't like it overall.

I'm ok with that.

I disagree, tho.

0 upvotes
babalu
By babalu (8 months ago)

@agentul
Thanks, interesting statement, really.
Still, I'd like to know the real reason for not establishing an award for this camera.
The final conclusion space seems void without that award.
I cannot help think that the feeling was : either Gold or nothing . In the given situation this camera , running as quite unique -and maybe without a planned sequel at this point in time - may indeed not warrant an award, having no direct concurrence . Was that the reason?

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (8 months ago)

i think the reason was the impression the camera left on the reviewer: good image quality, but badly designed and built for the money.

i would have liked to see the Df get a good review. i'm actually disappointed that Nikon believes design omissions at that price deserve to be looked over because of nostalgia or trendiness. i mean, i would expect a $2,750 camera to not receive complaints on the build quality. quite the contrary.

0 upvotes
snow14
By snow14 (8 months ago)

it may be beauty in past but it looks ugly as hell today

3 upvotes
mma173
By mma173 (8 months ago)

I call this camera Ken Rockwell's edition :D

Comment edited 20 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (8 months ago)

From Preview day, I knew DPR was going to give this camera a bad review but few could foresee that they would totally pile on ridiculously pedantic Cons like:

* No two-button card format option
* No time-lapse option

But if it has the same AF module as the D610 and D7000 I can't imagine AF would be any different. Besides in extremely low-light the center point AF point (or other cross-type sensor points) is your friend.

Anyway, just like I take their Gold Awards for mediocre cameras like the SL1 or the absurdly small GM1 with a grain of salt, I'd be inclined to take this Df review with similarly small grain of salt. After all, when you call a camera "silly" on Preview day, you then need to back it up in your review.

13 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (8 months ago)

We'll ignore the fact that the preview and review were helmed by different people.

5 upvotes
Bamboojled
By Bamboojled (8 months ago)

So R Butler,
are you saying that the opinions expressed previously are not the opinions of DPReview?
If not, then you cannot ignore the statements made.
I have called DPreview out on a few reviews because of obvious pre-bias before the review, and it was pretty obvious early on that this was going to be the case with this camera.
The funny thing is that no other reviewer has had issues with the focusing system of this camera.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (8 months ago)

Hello again marike6. So, the Df was marked down for things like no time lapse option, a single card bay, etc., because these are features that can be found in cheaper Nikon cameras. At which point to find them left out of a premium model is frustrating, and worthy (we think) of being called out.

@ philharris - care to elaborate?

11 upvotes
intruder61
By intruder61 (8 months ago)

92 have it, 62 rid themselves...speaks for itself.
forget the in-between wannabes, they'll always be there.

5 upvotes
Adrian_Pentchev
By Adrian_Pentchev (8 months ago)

I saw it in the shop the other day. From what I see it is no more capable than D600 but has edges and therefore higher price tag.
I would skip.
Although I am no fan of Sony, I would say the last Sony's compact full frames are the most interesting cameras at the moment. The images I see are way better than the ones produced by Nikon d800. As functionality they seem quite able cameras. The only thing which sucks is the dedicated exposure compensation scroll - as I shoot always in manual.

2 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

So you don't care about lowlight high ISO performance. That's fine. But that is your choice.

Not one of the cameras you mention comes close to the high ISO performance of this body.

1 upvote
Biowizard
By Biowizard (8 months ago)

There is one set of amazing Nikkor lenses that the Df can't accommodate ... and I would KILL for a digital Nikon body that could ... and that's the Nikonos series of waterproof lenses.

C'mon Nikon, make me a DIGITAL NIKONOS. And with today's technology, it should be possible to design it so that it does NOT need to be opened up just to download images (WiFi?) or charge the battery (induction?).

[ed. spelling correction]

Brian

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Carlos Loff
By Carlos Loff (8 months ago)

Now that would be great and since there is no competitors in techs and brand for the Nikonos - That would be wise and successful

0 upvotes
iBuzz
By iBuzz (8 months ago)

The new Nikonos is the Nikon AW 1 and it's an amazing camera for outdoor photography and sport photography...

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

iBuzz--

A real Nikonos can be used hundreds of feet below the surface. And frankly, a real digital Nikonos would have at least an APSC sensor.

Right, the 1AW is for "sport" and "outdoor". Fine little camera, shoots raw and can be used snorkeling.

1 upvote
Biowizard
By Biowizard (8 months ago)

The AW1 doesn't go down to 60m unaided. And sure, I have an Oly TG-1, which is pretty much a go-anywhere camera - but its 10m maximum depth rating is again well short of that of my old Nikonos III. Besides which, I was thinking full-frame (D4 sensor) in a Nikonos-mount body, able to use those wonderful underwater Nikkor lenses. Manual focus only, of course, so should be easy to implement.

[edit: correction - mine was the Nikonos III, not IV as I originally said. The III was fully-mechanical, with NO electrics (not even an exposure meter)]

Brian

Comment edited 12 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (8 months ago)

I think for DoF considereantion in water I'd use a smaller sensor, an APS-C Nikonos makes more sense. The AW1 with the filter aid looks very interesting.

0 upvotes
mangofrefav
By mangofrefav (8 months ago)

@chooflaki
DPR are not the first ones to comment on the poor AF performance when light is lacking. Quesabesde reported the same as an example.

0 upvotes
temm
By temm (8 months ago)

I love this camera. I love the sensor, the size, the weight. I never shoot video.
The problem is, i cannot aford it.

2 upvotes
chooflaki
By chooflaki (8 months ago)

Bjorn Rorslett has posted quite a scathing retort to the Dpreview review. Basically questions the reviewers competence as photographers. Makes some valid criticisms on their methods and is in complete disagreement with the alleged poor AF performance.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
6 upvotes
PerL
By PerL (8 months ago)

@ chooflaki
Where, do you have a link?

0 upvotes
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (8 months ago)

I’m not going to search the whole web to discover what you’re talking about, but I suspect this is the same Bjørn Rørslett who thought the Df was easier to focus than the D600 (same viewfinder), and easier than the D800 (which has a different viewfinder – it’s slightly dimmer but slightly more accurate in its rendition of depth-of-field).

I’ve tried all the full-frame Nikon viewfinders, and I have a critical eye for this kind of thing (unlike 90 % of camera reviewers: their statements on viewfinders amaze me sometimes). They’re all very similar, which is to say inadequate; and to the extent they differ, the D800 is the best of the lot for manually focusing. That includes the D3-class viewfinders, unfortunately (though those have other advantages, again minor).

Compared to the stunning eye relief, perceived angle of view, and aberration correction of the latest wide-angle binocular eyepieces, all of these cameras have pathetic viewfinders. I wish Nikon would try harder.

0 upvotes
chooflaki
By chooflaki (8 months ago)

Bjorn posts on Nikongear forum.

0 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (8 months ago)

I'd take Bjorn Rorslett's assessment of a DSLR over DPR's any day. Sorry guys.

3 upvotes
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (8 months ago)

Don’t be sorry, marike6. Nikongear is thataway!

1 upvote
EssexAsh
By EssexAsh (8 months ago)

Bjorn who? just some other internet non entity who found out how to write a blog.

1 upvote
G1Houston
By G1Houston (8 months ago)

Thom Hogan's review largely agree with Dpreviews, as both care about the overall design, not just sensor performance.

http://www.dslrbodies.com/cameras/current-nikon-dslr-reviews/nikon-df-review.html

1 upvote
groucher
By groucher (8 months ago)

"While it's true that many potential Df owners might not care about video, if you can add a function, why not do so?"

The counter argument is that, if a function (of any kind) is of no use to the targeted purchaser, then why add it? Some people like lots of features, others don't. The latter have currently no choice other than to ignore 99% of the functionality that their camera provides. This is both annoying and leads to the danger that an unwanted mode will be selected, particularly if you're photographing in extremis.

The Df is a fine camera and a step in the right direction but it would be good to see Nikon create a digital FM - a purely manual camera with no rear display screen.

3 upvotes
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (8 months ago)

I would love to see a fully manual digital camera – even Leica hasn’t done that, much less removed the rear display – but Nikon’s timidness with the Df seems to rule out anything that adventurous in our lifetime.

I realise my wishes are a bit off-piste, so I would have been content if Nikon had merely provided a better viewfinder in the Df: one with optical focusing aids, a larger magnification, and greater eye relief. Instead Nikon reused the D600 viewfinder, which is actually slightly worse (though brighter) than the D800 viewfinder for manual focus.

Otherwise I agree that features need to be removed, not added. Feature-creep is out of control. The Df user manual, sans video, has nearly 400 pages! The FM2 user manual (a stapled leaflet) has 50 pages including sections devoted to “Duplication work and photomicrography”, “What depth of field is”, and nine pages of accessory ads.

A genuinely simple digital camera would be a wild hit – partly for the wrong reasons, but who cares?

1 upvote
Adrian_Pentchev
By Adrian_Pentchev (8 months ago)

Purely manual sounds well in a way. But i would not drop out the autofocus and speaking about dropping the rear display is... well why? I am sure even Ansel Adams would not drop the display if he could have one.

Comment edited 10 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (8 months ago)

Removing the rear display would terrify broad swathes of the camera-buying population. You’d be entering seriously niche territory with a move like that.

But since you asked, Adrian, the purpose would be to cut out all chimping, forcing you to look up, engage with the world, and keep shooting until the opportunity disappears or you keel over from exhaustion – because you won’t know if you’ve got the shot. The hope is you might end up with two good shots by working like that.

With a display on the camera it’s almost impossible to keep shooting once you’ve got a good shot. You feel your job is done. Here, listen to an expert talk about it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=bP4twN7187g#t=726

Fully manual operation is much less radical, and such a camera might gain a cult following among luddites, hipsters, artists, gearheads, and anyone with the grace to admit they’re ill at ease in the 21st century.

1 upvote
Al Downie
By Al Downie (8 months ago)

@ Groucher & Samuel: great to hear my own views articulated so well. Also worth noting that removal of the LCD screen from the backup would enable Nikon to market a range of external chimping screens!

0 upvotes
Adrian_Pentchev
By Adrian_Pentchev (8 months ago)

Samuel, I see your point. It is similar to the point that you must better shoot with limited range of prime lenses than use zooms.
I do agree with this and tend to take on a shoot only one prime.
However one can always switch off the rear display and have it just in case. It is a matter of discipline.
I would not deprive myself of the display when shooting in studio or for any other critical work. It is also quite useful for learning a new camera.
So, no, the problem is not in the rear display but in the photograph.
In this line of thinking I would rather get rid of any mode different than M and metering different of spot as I never use them. This somehow renders 90% of the functionality of the modern camera useless to me since I would never let some kind of black magic as the matrix metering do the exposures for me.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
jadmaister2
By jadmaister2 (8 months ago)

well done DP review. Nikon; Please read and think before bending any further toward the backside of fashion. Thanks.

6 upvotes
alenis
By alenis (8 months ago)

I have a questions for the experts. I own 5 old (60s-70s) Nikon lenses: 105 f2.5, 35 f2, 24 f2, 55macro f 3.5, 200 f2. Questions are:
1) are those old lenses still good, compared to the new ones? Does it make sense spending 2700$ to buy the DF, just to be able to use them?
2) Is it possible to use them (with obvious limitations) on a Canon Dslr (400d)?

Thank you very much in advance

0 upvotes
groucher
By groucher (8 months ago)

I know nothing about the Canon 400d but the performance of some of these old lenses is amazing. They are just as sharp as the best modern lenses and they have a much better feel, being metal bodied. They are not as resistant to flare though, so care is needed when shooting into the sun. I'm using them with the D800 but am not sure whether they need to be modified to Ai for use on the Df. The mod is very simple and easy to do. Instructions are easy to find on the 'net.

0 upvotes
chooflaki
By chooflaki (8 months ago)

The 105, 55 and 200 versions you have can be highly regarded depending on the exact version. Need more precise info.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (8 months ago)

It's entirely possible to use these lenses on a Canon EOS 400D, but the limitations are so severe that it starts to look distinctly impractical. Most importantly, manual focus with a viewfinder that small isn't much fun, and won't be sufficiently accurate for shoot them wide open with any confidence. The lenses also have to be manually stopped down for shooting.

In general, it's far easier and more practical to shoot old manual lenses on mirrorless bodies than it is on SLRs.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

either Nikon or Canon should be good for serious shooters
but very few pre-2007 Nikon products are still good today.

you can mount Nikon lenses on Canon bodies which are currentlly inferior to Nikon ones (though 1DX looks better than D4). many Canon shooters use Nikon lenses, from 85/1.4, 70-180, to new 14-24/2.8G.

for MF using 85/1.4, carefully leaning forward/backward while firing a burst works well for me, same for AF (leave thumb from the AF button so that only the first shot is different), and continuous AF will have the same effect for random AF error will basically work the same).

24/2 wasn't a good lens. new 70-200/2.8 lenses from either Nikon or Canon beats the hell out of 200/2 AI-S ED stopped down to f/2.8 (where it's mostly actually used I think).

D800 + 24-70/2.8 + 70-200/2.8VR2 looks a good starting kit,
with some primes like 60/2.8 micro.

Comment edited 13 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Richt2000
By Richt2000 (8 months ago)

81% for a camera with duff AF?
I guess it looks pretty (to some).

2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (8 months ago)

a Nikon user for decades I didn't know Nikon cameras were so ugly.
there are so many fans of retro cameras but old designs mean ugly.
ugly for they are not good for use, why we abandoned them.

1 upvote
mailman88
By mailman88 (8 months ago)

"The Killer"....Disappointing AF performance drops off in moderate light

6 upvotes
ovatab
By ovatab (8 months ago)

consumer-grade AF module combined with pro-grade sensor makes a consumer camera for half price of pro-camera

1 upvote
JamesVo
By JamesVo (8 months ago)

I like the retro look but for the same money I can get better value from another D800, or satisfy my lust for a small retro styled body with a Fuji XE-2 and 3 Fuji XF lenses.

I know the Fuji won't match the D4 sensor capability but I already have a D800 which is not far off the D4's pace in poor light.

1 upvote
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

The D800 loses value above ISO 6400, and has dynamic range troubles.

For better both and a compromise consider either the D610 or Canon 6D if good, not extraordinary, high ISOs are important to you.

0 upvotes
km25
By km25 (8 months ago)

I the AF really that bad in low light? If it is why have camera that is good in low light? I think the camera is over priced by a lot. A split image on the focusing screen is really needed with the older lens, as a matter of fact interchangeable would be best. The camera has too may problems to be corrected by firmware.

I like the idea, maybe Df ll. 20MP, better AF, interchg. focusing screens and a grip.
And all the stuff in the review to bad.

Is this camera silver, gold or what?

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
new boyz
By new boyz (8 months ago)

"Is this camera silver, gold or what?"

Stone.

Kidding... hehehe.

6 upvotes
Alexis D
By Alexis D (8 months ago)

The AF is amazing, wonderful, compared to old classic cameras 40 years ago! ;-)

A shutter speed of 1/4000 sec is also matching the best there was 40 years ago, like the FM2. And one SDcard slot only, and no histogram, heavy ... This is nostaligic spec indeed. It does look fantastic though.
With so many faults, it still gets 81%. However that score apparently has no co-relation with Gold or Silver or whatever award.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (8 months ago)

The image quality is very good, which is what keeps the score high. The lower marks it gets for ergonomics and AF performance (which are most of the things wrong with the camera), don't make a big dent in that.

However, the overall reviewer's summary (the award), can more readily factor that in.

2 upvotes
sgoldswo
By sgoldswo (8 months ago)

In answer to your question about low light AF, not on my camera. For comparison I own a D800E and a D600.

0 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (8 months ago)

@sgoldswo - I've shot the D600 and D800 a fair bit, while Barney owns Nikons and used to shoot professionally with them. Both of us found the AF doesn't work as well as we'd expect in low light.

It's fast, but as soon as you move away from the centre point, it's not unusual to find the camera simply won't lock focus (and in focus priority this leaves you sitting there, finger on the shutter with nothing happening).

This seems to be the main point you disagree with about the review. We're happy to ask Nikon for another unit to check this against, but nothing about the Df's AF felt broken, just not quite good enough.

Comment edited 5 minutes after posting
9 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (8 months ago)

Further to that point - lots of people will buy the Df because of its traditional controls and will love it because of them. Equally, you shouldn't be surprised to find that people who have spent a lot of their money on a product like it more than people who haven't - it's human nature (and a well studied psychological effect).

I agree entirely with Thom Hogan when he says people respond to this camera emotionally, so the practicalities of it won't really matter to them. But, as a reviewer, I have to at least try to see it as a rational alternative to a D610 or D800 and, for the reasons stated in the review, I just don't think it fairs well against either.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
ovatab
By ovatab (8 months ago)

AF is not broken - it is not good enough ©R Butler

... for the hype

0 upvotes
caspianm
By caspianm (8 months ago)

@R Butler, a second copy should have been attempted already before publishing the AF weakness and ditching the camera as a result. Why rush your work?!

1 upvote
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (8 months ago)

Richard, I think a second body for checking AF is in order. Many users that have it and either D7000 or D600 report at least as good or better performance. You usually are not so strict re AF ;-) (check your mirrorless reviews).

1 upvote
tjwaggoner
By tjwaggoner (8 months ago)

This camera isn't scored against mirrorless cameras. DP scores are relevant against other cameras in its class. A $2800 FF slr isn't in the same class as a panasonic g5. I think the review is just saying that the camera doesn't hold up against other FF models where af is concerned. It's not saying that mirrorless cameras have amazing af and the DF doesn't.

0 upvotes
Bamboojled
By Bamboojled (8 months ago)

@ R Butler
So you agree with Thom's assessment of the camera?
Thom's assessment was that it focused as well as his D800 in low light, something DPrwview says is a weakness, so which is it?

1 upvote
sgoldswo
By sgoldswo (8 months ago)

Richard,

One of the D600 bodies I owned had a duff AF module. It did work, but focus was a hair slower with AF-S lenses (almost imperceptibly), but more importantly the camera was prone to hunt in low light. I was only sure it wasn't working properly when I tried I with some AF-D lenses, where at least 50% of the time it wouldn't focus at all. I'm left wondering if that's what was wrong with the Df body DPR tested.

I think it would be worthwhile retesting AF with another body.

Best

Simon

0 upvotes
D 503
By D 503 (8 months ago)

They had me at , "it's in my hands again." Pity about the camera.

1 upvote
RichRMA
By RichRMA (8 months ago)

The only shortcoming is AF, apparently, so those who shoot action would be advised not to buy it. But as always, don't blame the camera.

2 upvotes
RFC1925
By RFC1925 (8 months ago)

How come every Nikon DSLR doesn't have a flippable Ai tab? Such a cheap and simple feature.

0 upvotes
technotic
By technotic (8 months ago)

Could DPReview put the pros/cons and score at the top of page 1 and save most people those few extra mouse clicks?

1 upvote
AdamT
By AdamT (8 months ago)

Same AF module as the Consumer D5300 whereas the £700 (with cashback) D7100 gets the full hit Pro 3500 AF module .. Japanese camera companies never cease to amaze me

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
14 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (8 months ago)

I love my Df, but I agree with this statement entirely.

I think locking the exposure compensation knob was also a bad idea.

Otherwise, I'm all-in!

5 upvotes
AdamT
By AdamT (8 months ago)

The DF is a lovely camera but i`d have gone for the 24Mp sensor too - 16Mp with its small files and its high ISOs are paramount in a high speed low light sports cam like the D4 but the 24Mp sensor is more than clean enough and it`d allow primes more cropping space ...... so DF2 = 24Mp and Proper AF unit please Mr Nikon ------ err and keep the price sensible folks .

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

AdamT:

Drop the requests for more mega pixels, buy a D610.

0 upvotes
MPA1
By MPA1 (8 months ago)

Agreed, although remember that cash back often only happens in the USA, so the rest of the world don't get that benefit.

0 upvotes
cheddargav
By cheddargav (8 months ago)

Why review this camera? It's a novelty and the ones buying it won't care about performance, they'll know it'll be reasonably capable but mainly it'll be bought for the nostalgia it invokes.
As others have said, it would make much more sense to have reviewed the Pentax K3 by now.

21 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (8 months ago)

Not when Pentax has something like 2-3% of the DSLR market it doesn't. I'm sure the Pentax is a great camera, they just can't seem to sell them.

3 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (8 months ago)

Because it's at the top of the "Most Popular Cameras" list for ... how many weeks?

And the Pentax is where, exactly?

I'm really sorry that you Pentax guys feel slighted, and no doubt Pentax is making some real hits! Blame Pentax marketing department, not DPR.

1 upvote
Jason1972
By Jason1972 (8 months ago)

It's a camera... That's why they reviewed it! And quite frankly, I am thinking of buying it because it doesn't have a huge megapixel count, and it is full frame... plus it's not a D4. It can produce exceptionally good images to boot... and yes, it does look a little different, but it's the images it produces which are what it's all about with any camera..... some just make the operation a little different! And no video?? Buy a camcorder, or a different camera if you want it that bad. The K3 review will come along soon :) And it will probably take great pictures too!

2 upvotes
technotic
By technotic (8 months ago)

I agree. The Df Is not a camera to buy on what reviewers say - just look at those list of cons! People who want this camera will get it regardless. The K3 has more potential customers and their decision needs informing more as there are many more competing alternatives and the price point means it is much more accessible.

2 upvotes
Resom
By Resom (8 months ago)

@InTheMist - no, I blame DPR, but I understand your comment - as a Nikonian, you don´t really care about Pentax and their owner. You can be proud of the DF which has high low light abilities, except the AF (haha).

1 upvote
LensBeginner
By LensBeginner (8 months ago)

@InTheMist:
Not everything that many people like is good.

This one's just a novelty. It will come and pass, as all the vogues do.

0 upvotes
rhlpetrus
By rhlpetrus (8 months ago)

Good point, maybe just like the Leicas, leave it out of this confusing scoring/awards system. It's enough to see the excellent IQ in the comparison tool, and most people interested will already have used Nikons extensively. This is not the usual body with a large intended audience. Besides, rushing it with some weird comments on the AF sounds a bit careless on DPR's part.

0 upvotes
nevada5
By nevada5 (8 months ago)

To help with making a decision one often makes two lists - One list of Pros and one list of Cons. When the Cons list is significantly longer, well.....

1 upvote
JacquesBalthazar
By JacquesBalthazar (8 months ago)

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.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
Damo83
By Damo83 (8 months ago)

'Retro tax', So true.

6 upvotes
agentul
By agentul (8 months ago)

the most visually interesting camera of the year, probably Nikon's attempt to go for the "high profit retro luxury" market gets PWNED. way to close off the year in style, DPREVIW! the next time you hear a loud "bang" it will not be a sonic boom from an airplane, it will be the Df's price falling faster than Mach 1.

hey, maybe this is the revolution of the "cheap FF cameras" that some have been preaching. unfortunately, i don't think it will mean "cheap FF lenses" too.

2 upvotes
DC Akowua
By DC Akowua (8 months ago)

'is this a half-price D4 or a D610 with a 50% markup?' The reviewer ask....
This camera is clearly a D610 with a 50% mark up. I don't know why some people refer to it as a mini D4....nonsense
The D700 was a mini D3 because the D700 shared more than just the sensor.
The Df look nice though...especially the black one.

4 upvotes
DPReview Staff
By DPReview Staff (8 months ago)

Could be because the Df uses the same 16.2MP sensor as the D4, while the D610 uses a 24.3MP design.

3 upvotes
patcam7122
By patcam7122 (8 months ago)

Isn't it funny that camera praised for it's ability at high ISO's in low light is not for "Users of autofocus wishing to work in low light. "?

4 upvotes
DC Akowua
By DC Akowua (8 months ago)

@ Shawn Barnett.....Yes, ONLY the sensor. Nothing else. The D700 has same 51AF points, 1/8000
Df has same sensor, but diff. AF, 1/4000, no video like D4. So Df should be on its own but not a poor man's D4 as some claim

Comment edited 56 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

DC Akowua:

That AF on the D700 wasn't very good, no where near as good as the D3s or the D4. (Now the D700 may have had the same AF system as the D3, but that's not a body I've used nor would I get excited about its high ISO performance.)

Then the Df sure is quieter than the D4.

0 upvotes
Greg VdB
By Greg VdB (8 months ago)

I think this is a very fair review, well done DPR! I just wished that all "interesting" cameras were reviewed as quickly... (the K-3 definitely deserved the same level of priority, if not more so because it is potentially a very important camera for a much wider audience!)

10 upvotes
Richard Butler
By Richard Butler (8 months ago)

@Greg VdB - looking at the number of people reading our content and searching for the camera on our site, I'm afraid it simply isn't true that the K-3 has a much wider audience (even if it ends up selling more).

The K-3 is also a much more complex camera in many regards, which meant it would have been impossible to review before CES.

At which point the choice is: concentrate on the most discussed, searched and read-about camera of the year in time for Christmas, or write half a Pentax review and publish nothing until late January.

It's not a difficult decision, nor one based on brand preference.

4 upvotes
Greg VdB
By Greg VdB (8 months ago)

1) From your "What was the best DSLR / SLT of 2013?" poll, it would definitely look as if the K-3 is higher anticipated than the Df, regardless of what your pageviews say

2) your "First impressions review" on the K-3 was published on October 7, which is an entire month before the Df was even announced. Is it really *that* complex that the review couldn't be finished by now, i.e. over two months later?

3) I was not accusing you of brand preference, I was merely pointing out that the order and swiftness in which cameras are reviewed doesn't always make much sense. Personally I am hooked to the Canon system due to my lenses, and when the 70D came out it took you so long to come with a review I eventually jumped ship and bought mine *before* you finally published the review. I think it might be time to re-think your review format - longer is not better if it means that the reviews appear so long after a camera's release that they are rendered obsolete for many people.

4 upvotes
revio
By revio (6 months ago)

@R. Butler:

From only a price perspective, the K-3 would be a much much more potential "christmas present" than would ever the DF.

Seriously, du you really consider christmas to be a factor for decisions on which cameras to review first, really??

And, I may add that DPR´s influence is most probably valid for the more hobbyist kind of readers than for the average public. But, among the hobbyist segment of readers/buyers, many base their interest from what they have read in reviews (and previews) thus I might say that to publish a K-3 review may have been more interesting, generally, for DPR readers, than would a DF review. And, frankly, I don´t think most of either of those 2 models mainly were sold as christmas presents at all.

Comment edited 29 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
BorisAkunin
By BorisAkunin (6 months ago)

(I know this thread has been dead for two months but since it's been restarted already...)

@R. Butler:
You got the Df-review out on December 20th, I'd doubt that it had much impact on christmas shopping choices. 4 days is a very sort time to choose and procure such an expensive christmas present...

And even if you couldn't get the K-3 review finished before christmas, you could have published it in parts, like you did with the K-5II review (Which took 267 days to be finished!?!).

Frankly, it very much looks like you're favouring certain brands, i.e.:

Nikon D600: Reviewed in 61 days, posted 6 weeks before christmas day.
Canon 6D: Announced 4 days after the D600, reviewed in 148 days, posted 7 weeks after christmas day.

Nikon D7100 vs Canon 70D (direct competitors!): 61 days vs 121 days

And Pentax reviews always take forever:
K-5: 89 days
K-r: 183 days
K-30: 161 days
K-5II(s): 267 days (!!!)
K-50/K-500: 236 days and counting...
K-3: 119 days and counting...

3 upvotes
BorisAkunin
By BorisAkunin (6 months ago)

Frankly, the way you prioritise reviews (especially in case of direct competitors) does seem to favour certain brands and cameras.
This may just be due to your (correct or incorrect) perception of aggregate user interest but at least in some cases (D600 vs 6D is the most obvious one) the appearance of favouritism (mostly towards Nikon & Olympus, it seems) is hard to overlook.

All the parts of your reviews that require trust on the part of the reader (like your opinions on AF speed or ergonomics) are pretty much useless if we have to consider you to be biased...

I only read the reviews for the Studio comparison tool and to get a detailed look at the control layout and UI, for everything else there are more trustworthy sources out there...

3 upvotes
Leandros S
By Leandros S (6 months ago)

There is frankly no point in having a review site that doesn't offer any new insights. If you assume that your readers have no interest in anything other than CaNikon, what purpose does your life serve?

0 upvotes
chooflaki
By chooflaki (8 months ago)

I think DPR should retest the low light AF capabilities of this camera. Their impression of poor low light AF performance is way out of line with just about every user including myself and also all the expert reviewers.

6 upvotes
drummercam
By drummercam (8 months ago)

Reviewed already? Why did DPR skip Pentax K-3?

5 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

I handled a K3 yesterday, only got one raw before the battery died--excellent for ISO 6400 though.

Quiet, two SD card slots in a good location. Well built. Bright prism. Interchangeable screens.

Didn't try the video.

My one sample was shot with the "simulated" AA filter off--very sharp with the kit zoom.

Normal silly Pentax menus.

1 upvote
naththo
By naththo (8 months ago)

Yup where is the Pentax K-3 Review. I am waiting, waiting, waiting. I have not decide which new camera I want next year. Its all decision. I am fussy about the cost, lens, quality.

4 upvotes
naththo
By naththo (8 months ago)

Oh I should have ask you HowaboutRAW is it possible to leave simulated AA off and use image stabiliser? Just wondering though as I am bit confused by their feature.

0 upvotes
HowaboutRAW
By HowaboutRAW (8 months ago)

nathho:

Yes it appears that the simulated AA filter can be turn off while the image stabilization is still engaged. Check before purchase.

0 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (8 months ago)

Strangely, in my own review, I scored the individual scores lower, but still gave it 4.5 stars.

I just like it. I like the concept of it.

Some of the implementation ... meh. But it's what's in my bag and I'll be shooting it today, just like I did every day for the last two weeks.

Pure. Photography.

2 upvotes
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