Hands-on with the retro Nikon Df
So does the 'fusion' work?
The 'f' in Df stands for 'fusion', and Nikon is clearly hoping to grab a slice of the nostalgia pie that's proved so appetizing for Fujifilm and Olympus buyers. But much as I wanted to love the Df in the way everyone at Nikon clearly does, I'm not convinced. The concept is great, but key details of its implementation are puzzling.
The choice of putting ISO and exposure compensation on the top left and adding locking buttons leaves me cold. I want a camera that makes it easy for me to change key exposure settings while looking through the viewfinder - this does anything but. (In contrast I love the Fujifilm X-Pro1, because its traditional control dials are carefully-placed for ease of use.) Likewise the choice of a tiny mode dial that has to be lifted before it can be turned - I don't fancy trying that with gloves on.
For a camera that wears its lens back-compatibility so proudly, the decision to use a fixed viewfinder screen with no split-prism manual focus aid is odd. To me this camera is crying out for interchangeable focus screens, even if it means limiting the metering to centre-weighted average. After all, that's pretty retro too.
Then there's the eye-watering price. If it cost in the same region as the D610, the Df would make perfect sense. But instead it's a huge premium for a camera that trades on looks rather than features - you can buy yourself a very nice lens or two for the difference. It seems as though Nikon is gambling on buyers letting their hearts rule their heads on this one - but in the run-up to Christmas, this might just pay off.
- Andy Westlake
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