My review: Fuji X-T1 vs the Nikon Df

Started Jun 16, 2014 | Discussions thread
Ray Sachs
Ray Sachs Forum Pro • Posts: 10,580
Re: A comparison for prime shooters...

shigzeo ? wrote:

Ray Sachs wrote:

For those of us who generally shoot primes, the differences are not as great. Here an XT1 with the 35mm f1.4 next to an Olympus EM1 with the Pany 25mm f1.4, and a Nikon Df with a Nikon 50mm f1.8.

In fairness, the Panasonic 25mm is the largest m43 prime available on the site (the new 42mm f1.2 is considerably larger) - most m43 primes are a good deal smaller. The Nikon prime is relatively small, but there's a whole line of Nikon primes of about the same size, in addition to much larger premium versions. And the Fuji 35mm is a good bit smaller than the primes Fuji has developed since, so for premium lenses at different focal lengths, assume larger lenses (other than the 18 or 27, which are somewhat less premium).

The Df body is notably, but not overwhelmingly, heavier than the m43 and Fuji bodies - between about 200-300 grams more. But the lenses are right in the same range. My basic point is that if you're a prime shooter and you don't demand the best and fastest DSLR glass available (the 24mm f1.4 is a LOT larger), a full frame DSLR setup can still be a pretty comfortable carry. I had a loaner of the Df for about a month earlier this year and as long as I stuck to the smaller prime lenses (which are still quite good if not the best or fastest), I was very comfortable carrying it around. It was only when I played with a couple of pretty beefy lenses that the size and weight advantages of smaller format mirrorless became an issue.

But the files out of the Df (or the similar size D610, which shares the sensor of the RX1) are simply amazing. There are always tradeoffs, but the tradeoffs for prime shooters aren't nearly as great as for zoom and telephoto shooters...

We judge photographers by the photographs we see. We judge cameras by the photographs we miss - Haim Zamir

That is a huge lens for m43. At an equivalent of f/2,8 on FF, it's absolutely massive. Imagine an f2,8 50mm on FF. It would be tiny and inexpensive.

It's not a small lens, to be sure. But the Pany 45 is as larger or larger, the Pany 42 is much larger (about the size of the Fuji 56), and the Olympus 75mm, the lens that has kept me in m43 any time I've thought about bailing on it, is also a good deal larger. And, yeah, as small as full frame 50's tend to be at f1.8, they could probably pull off a pancake at f2.8.

If Nikon would take a look at the current market, build a mirrorless F-mount camera, keep the body traditionally sized and built, plus make lenses that match up to mirrorless users' expectations: slower, smaller, they would have an unstoppable system.

Current 1,4 AFS F lenses for speed and when you don't mind bulk, 1,8 - 2,8 lenses for when you want to shoot sort of like we shoot in APS-C land, and slower if you want the ultimate in portability and are used to what they get in m43 land.

You'd have everything from hiking to portraiture covered in one system and the advantages of mirrorless over dSLR and FF would be nearly completely void.

They've still got some gaps to close in terms of AF and a lot of people still just prefer the OVF - I rather like 'em myself. I think mirrorless and DSLRs will co-exist for quite a while. But full frame still has a notably advantage over APS. As good as today's best APS (and m43) sensors are, full frame are that much better. You can look at all the numbers in the world, but I know when I pull a file off of my RX1 or when I did off of the Df of D610 (I haven't and won't mess with a D800 - 24mp is more than plenty for me and I was really happy with the 16 on the Df), there was just so much more to work with there than with any of the crop sensors I've worked with. Whethe pulling details out of shadows, recovering highlights, whether coming up with stunningly accurate results OR processing files to within an inch of their lives with various Nik filters, those files can handle anything I can throw at 'em in ways that nothing else can.

I'm completely spoiled, I have to admit. Today's compact cameras are better cameras than the film SLRs I used to shoot with in almost every way other than narrow DOF, m43 and APS are worlds better yet, with even narrow DOF more than adequately covered (I'm not really a narrow DOF junkie at all). But, regardless, I always seem to feel myself pulled toward full frame. Getting an RX1 and playing extensively with a Df and briefly with a D610 wrecked me for the lesser sensors.

Whether Sony developes the lens lineup for the A7 series, or whether Fuji eventually develops a full frame system, or whether Canikon eventually get around to realizing they can make money on both their DSLR line and a mirrorless alternative, within the next few years there are gonna be amazing full frame options in mirrorless and there will continue to be in DSLRs. Pretty exciting times...

We judge photographers by the photographs we see. We judge cameras by the photographs we miss - Haim Zamir

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