The Philosophy of Nikon Df

Started Jan 5, 2014 | Discussions thread
Robin Casady Forum Pro • Posts: 12,898
Re: The Philosophy of Nikon Df

Richard Murdey wrote:

In Japan, the Asahi Camera magazine come out last month with a special issue dedicated to the Df, called "The Philosophy of Nikon Df " (Nikon Df の哲学).

In a nutshell, that's the problem with the Df - it's built into its DNA, it's fundamental design brief to support four generations of Nikkor lenses : auto, Ai, AF, and G, straddling two different control paradigms. It is not possible to do that and at the same time have a clean, concise, straightforward, and intuitive control layout.

If the D4 sensor is so great, Nikon should put it in all the FX bodies. It's not like it costs any more than the one in the D800 of D600. (A D800x could be 36MP.) Then the D600 could be the "modern" small FX body, and the Df could have been the "retro" small FX body: no support for "G" lenses, no AF, split prism focus screen... I'm pretty tight-fisted when it comes to buying cameras, but I would have lined up for that.

If you were running Nikon it would go into bankruptcy. A Df that didn't support G lenses would be a failure in the market. A "retro" digital camera has to be a mix of modern and old. Exactly what that mix is will determine whether it fails or succeeds. It is obvious from the posts on this board that many of Df buyers use their camera as modern DSLR. If it was limited in function so it could be "true" 50 year old cameras, those people wouldn't be buyers. I think the number of people who want a DSLR with only retro controls is tiny.

Putting the same sensor all FX bodies is another way to fail in the market. It would reduce Nikon's market share. They have done well with their current mix of cameras. They have attracted a new demographic—serious landscape and studio photographers—with the 36 MP D800, have a professional workhorse in the D4, and the D610 fills the middle ground. The Df captures some of those who miss the D700, and adds some suffering from future shock.

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Robin Casady
"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."
— Bertrand Russell

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