Df - Second Attempt

Started Dec 10, 2013 | Discussions thread
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user_name Veteran Member • Posts: 3,134
Df - Second Attempt

Df = Disappointing Form factor for me.  Your mileage may differ.

I took a second look today.

I really, really wanted to like this camera, but for what I want it does not meet my needs.  I want a smaller FX travel camera as a companion for my D800 and staying in the Nikon F-mount family really makes a lot of sense.

Two things really are keeping me from buying the Df.

1. The viewfinder actually appears smaller than the D800, which makes it hard for my aging eyes.  I tried this twice comparing it to the D800.  Even the sales rep agreed that there is a size difference.  I know they are supposed to be the same coverage, but maybe it is the eye point that is causing this effect.  Perhaps someone here could explain why?

2. The dial ergonomics are a little cumbersome.  I like the way they feel when turning them, but actually using them is a different story.

The worst offender is the command dial on the front.  I know they did this to match the look of the camera, but actually trying to turn it is a problem.  I mostly shoot in aperture priority mode and use the command wheel on the D800 to set aperture a lot.  The D800's wheel is very precise and smooth, which is everything the front dial on the Df is not.

Yes, you can use the aperture ring on your lens, but only if that lens has one and you still do not get the same number of choices you do with the in-camera settings.

I know these are minor picks, but when you are paying a premium price for a camera you have a good reason to expect excellence in the product.  In this case function is trumped a little too much by form.

Everything else about the camera really shines.

Sony A7 = Nice Try - But keep trying...

The dealer had one in stock and when you first grab it you realize that this is not an uncomfortable camera to hold.  I know the Df feels a little cramped in your hands, so I was expecting worse with the A7, but it wasn't.

Both cameras had the kit lens and felt about the same weight, but the A7 body is significantly smaller.

I won't go into the menu nightmare that Sony has with the A7.  There are plenty of reviews that hammer on that.  However, the EVF surprised me.  Lloyd Chambers really rated the EVF highly, so I was hopeful I would find it better for my eyes.

Well, the answer is NO.  I just don't know if I could get used to the way it works.  When you pan the image smears a lot.  When you stop there is a jerking or flickering kind of adjustment that goes on.  The experience looks like a older video feed to my eyes and I found it unsettling.

If EVF is our future I hope they can address this as I feel the technology has a long way to go.

Personally, I would favor a OVF overlaid with digital data, but that is not going to happen with a mirrorless.  I wonder what Nikons hybrid finder would be like on a DSLR?  Maybe in a few years we will get one.

Summing it Up

Don't accept my observations as fodder for or against either camera.  What works for you is probably completely different than for me.  However, you should try the Df and see if the ergonomics is something you will be happy with.  Most people have better eyes than I do, so the viewfinder will probably make you happy.

For me I want something that works alongside my D800, so every time I put the D800 down and pick up the Df I will be critical of the ergonomics, particularly the command dial on the front as I wrestle it like some wild pig into submission.  Others may not care.

The Sony is a nice camera, but you will have to learn the impossible menu system of the camera (or reprogram all the buttons to something that makes sense) and contend with the EVF, which may or may not be your cup of tea.  Arguably the Sony EVF is pretty much the state of the art out there, so anything else is downhill from there.

For now my money is safe until the next generation of cameras appear and we go through this trial again.  Meanwhile I will enjoy what the D800 has to offer, which is a lot.

 user_name's gear list:user_name's gear list
Leica M8 Nikon D700 Nikon D800 Leica M Typ 240 +1 more
Nikon D800 Nikon Df Sony Alpha a7
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