Df: The Crucial Question...

Started Nov 4, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Old Ed Senior Member • Posts: 1,815
Df: The Crucial Question...

As a Nikon SLR and DSLR user for almost 50 years, I think almost all DPR posters are missing the true potential of the Df. (I say potential because there are still several unknowns.)

IMO, it's not the classic styling--although that's very nice. It's not even the "real camera" ergo's of the mechanical controls--although they're very, very nice. So what is it?

The crucial factor (again IMO) is full MF support. Full MF support is more than being able to mount the lens, and more than being able to meter with it.

A usable focusing aid is essential. (Sorry, a rubbish green dot in the wrong place is not even close!) Also, Aperture Indexing is a huge advantage relative to manually keying in maximum aperture. No other current Nikon has either of these things, never mind both.

The (leaked) Df spec's strongly suggest that it will be capable of AI. This alone would put it ahead of all other Nikon DSLRs for MF use. But for the Df to be the smash hit it could be, AI is not enough.

The crucial factor is a usable MF focusing aid. A split-image would be heaven, and would also reinforce the retro vibe. The minimum would be a really good ground glass screen, one designed to facilitate focusing.

Alas, the (leaked) spec's give no clue about the Df focusing design. So we wait, with fingers crossed. A smash, or a stylish near-miss? Perhaps we'll know within hours.

For you youngsters saying "Why would we care about MF," I'll lead with the business answer: There are somewhere around 20 million MF Nikkors floating around out there, with NO DSLR body that adequately supports them. If the Df provides that support, it will completely own that market, with no competition. And that's before factoring in the style-conscious crowd that digs retro, or the hands-on shooters that dig real controls. There is also the superiority of MF in some scenarios, and the sensual pleasure of using MF lenses; but let's save those topics for another day.

As for the Df style, you like it or you don't. Count me as a Like, but I have no interest in trying to persuade others to like it. Camera style is not that important to me.

As for the mechanical ergo's, I don't expect the camera-phone generation to "get it." But those who do "get it" could be thoroughly intoxicated with a combination of "real camera" ergo's and modern DSLR performance.

I'm hoping, rooting, even praying that Nikon remembered the focusing. Please Nikon, don't fumble the ball on the one-yard line, even if none of your current employees remember your glory years!

Happy shooting to all DPR users...


Full Disclosure: I have about a dozen gorgeous, mint, AI and AI-S Nikkors (along with my much smaller collection of AF-S G Nikkors).

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