Nikon Df Review
The Nikon Df is, at first appearance, the camera that many people have been asking for, for years - a classically styled DSLR with traditional external controls. But, for all Nikon's talk of a return to 'Pure Photography,' an awful lot of what's under the Df's confidently retro skin is pretty familiar. The Df is built around the 16MP full frame sensor from the company's flagship D4 with the processor and AF system borrowed from the comparatively affordable D610.
The camera's appearance is inspired by a much earlier generation of film cameras. In fact, from the front the Df looks like an oversized Nikon FM (and not dissimilar to Canon's F1N). And, as well as the styling and dedicated external controls, the Df's other nod to the company's history is the inclusion of a retractable meter coupling tab, allowing the use of pre-1977 non-AI lenses.
For those of us raised on film SLRs the effect is rather intriguing. We understand that the Df has been at least four years in the making, and the glee of its creators is almost palpable in the many specific design cues obviously taken from earlier SLRs including the FM/2 and the long-lived professional-targeted Nikon F3.
Nikon Df key features
- 16 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor (same as D4)
- ISO 100-25,600 (expandable to ISO 50 - 204,800 equiv)
- Maximum 5.5 fps continuous shooting
- 39-point AF system with 9 cross-type AF points (same as D610)
- 3.2-inch, 921k-dot LCD screen
- Physical shutter speed, ISO and exposure compensation dials
- Compatible with virtually all Nikon F-mount lenses (including pre-Ai standard)
- Single SD card slot
- EN-EL14a battery (quoted endurance of ~1400 exposures)
According to Nikon, the 'F' in Df stands for 'fusion' - specifically, fusion of the old and the new. We know all about the old - the 'retro' styling - which leaves us with the 'D'. This of course stands for 'Digital'. The Nikon Df boasts a full-frame sensor, 39-point AF system and a maximum shooting rate of 5.5 fps. The LCD on the rear of the camera is a 3.2", 921k-dot display and, despite its 'fully manual' pretensions, the Df boasts front and rear electronic control dials alongside the dedicated physical dials on the top-plate. It's a thoroughly modern DSLR for the most part, but with one major difference.
What, no video?
That major difference is video - the Df cannot shoot it (making it one of only two current DSLRs which don't - the other being the Sigma SD1 Merrill). In conversation with Nikon engineers, we were told that video was never on the table as an option for the Df, apparently as much a philosophical point as anything else. This is a serious camera for serious people which is to be used for 'pure photography', not videos (oddly though, the Df still boasts a full complement of retouch options including the decidedly lightweight fisheye and miniature effects).
While it's true that many potential Df owners might not care about video, if you can add a function, why not do so? Since it's based around a video-capable sensor and shares its image processor with a camera that can shoot video, it's reasonable to assume it could be added via firmware, but the question is probably academic, since the Df has no built-in microphone nor a jack for adding one. Equally, the Df's relatively low-capacity EN-EL14a battery wouldn't last terribly long, even if such a feature were enabled.
Df - a D4 in F3 clothing?
If you look beyond the Df's outward appearance, another aspect of its appeal is the relatively inexpensive access it gives to the image sensor used in the company's flagship DSLR, the D4. And while that's true, the omission of video and high-speed frame rates mean you don't get to take full advantage of its capabilities. Even without those aspects, the well-respected low-light capabilities of the D4's sensor should lend some appeal to the Df.
The Df's optical viewfinder is very large - the same size as the D800. The magnification is 0.70x and, naturally, coverage is 100%. We've also shown the viewfinder of the film-era F3 here for reference. As you can see, the F3 offered an impressively large finder, and even the high eye-point viewfinder that glasses wearers tended to prefer was still larger than the Df's. When a DX lens is attached to the Df, the viewfinder shows frame-lines indicating the DX image area.
One real shame (although perhaps not a surprise) is the fact that the Df's focusing screen is fixed. We had hoped for an accessory split-prism focusing screen for manual focus, but it's likely that the additional cost and incompatibility with modern pattern metering modes ruled that out at the design stage. Instead the Df has Nikon's standard 'rangefinder' display in the viewfinder, which uses the autofocus sensor to indicate when it thinks the lens is correctly focused.
Kit options and pricing
The Nikon Df comes in two color options - silver and all-black, and in the USA, both will be available for $2749 body only. Nikon has created a special edition of its AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G to match the 'retro' look and feel of the Df (optically it's identical to the standard version) and this is available separately for $279, or bundled with the Df for $2999.95.
|The Df is being sold with a cosmetically reworked version of the AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G, with some 'classic' (but entirely cosmetic) design accents to match the look of the new camera.|
In the UK, the Df is available only as a kit with the 50mm lens, at a suggested price of £2749.99 - only £50 less than the recommended price of the 36MP D800 and revamped 50mm F1.8. Unlike the US figure, this includes 20% VAT, but that still works out as around the equivalent of $3660, even if you take this into account. That said, prices change at different rates in different markets so, once the initial rush of customers has subsided, the prices might begin to look less unreasonable.
Ever get those moments when all your creativity leaves you? Yes, well so do we all. Here YouTuber Jamie Windsor shares his tips for getting back on track
Colin Goudie is a film editor with a career spanning over 35 years, known most recently for his work on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. He talked with DPRevew about editing movies back in the film days, and the transition to a fully digital workflow.
Photographers used to do crazy things like smear petroleum jelly on their lenses to create interesting photos, but thanks to the Lensbaby Omni you can get those same effects without plopping goo on your glass. Join Chris and Jordan for some creative photography.
The ‘Overall’ winning shot was captured with a DJI Phantom 4 Pro, marking the first time the winning image has ever been captured with a drone.
The system can simulate the camera's movement and the set lighting to perfectly match the background with the scene.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) isn't new technology, but this does mark the beginning of an era where you can search for text found within your images hosted on Google Photos.
Photographer Aryeh Nirenberg used an astro-modified Sony a7S II to capture the 1,100 images that went into making this 55-second timelapse.
The Sony RX100 VII takes the place of its RX100 VA sibling as our top overall pick, while the Canon G5 X II replaces the Panasonic LX100 II as our alternate choice.
A recent screenshot from the German Nikon Professional Service website shows that only 1,000 of Nikon's 500mm F5.6 PF ED VR lens are being produced each month.
Viltrox has shared photos and specifications on its official Weibo account of three upcoming APS-C lenses for Fujifilm, Sony and Leica camera systems.
Weird lens aficionado Mathieu Stern quite literally got more than he bargained for when he paid just €2 for a rare projector lens that creates some of the most intense swirly bokeh we've ever seen.
The short video shows off the silhouettes of four new lenses — one large lens and three compact lenses — alongside two current Tamron Sony E mount lenses.
The Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 VII is the most capable pocket camera currently on the market thanks to a combo of good image quality, smooth stabilized 4K and an industry-leading autofocus implementation. For these reasons it receives our gold award.
New top end calibration package aims to reduce waste when printing on difficult surfaces by making color measurement more accurate
Moment's new 37mm Cine filters are compatible with various models of iPhone, Pixel, OnePlus and Galaxy devices.
Instagram has dismissed another viral spam image that is circulating on its platform, this one claiming that, starting tomorrow, all user content will be made public (including deleted messages) and that the company will be able to use images against users in court.
The upcoming products are designed to create a ‘complete line of photo and video products’ designed for photographers of all levels.
Sony's FE 35mm F1.8 answers a lot of a7-series photographers' prayers. But was it worth the wait? Find out in our full review.
Nikon has finally made it possible to transfer Raw images from their Wi-Fi-capable cameras to smartphones and tablets running the new SnapBridge 2.6 application.
DroneDJ conducted a comprehensive search of DJI's official online store and noticed most models were out of stock.
The new app, which is limited to iOS, for the time being, makes it easy to deliver images to clients, who can easily sort through and download images on-the-go.
The adapter uses a six-element design to make the most of even the fastest Hasselblad V lenses on Fujifilm's GFX mount camera systems.
Huawei's upcoming high-end devices are likely to catch up with Apple and Samsung in terms of 4K video frame rates.
In this video we’ve traveled to southern Spain with the Olympus OM-D E-M1X. There, we headed for the town of Sevilla to meet up with action sports photographer Fernando Marmolejo.
Henry Diltz recounts how he became the official photographer of Woodstock and shares what it looked like through the viewfinder.
Canon Australia appears to have leaked two upcoming cameras in a pair of promotional videos - an ‘EOS M6 II’ and an ‘EOS 90D.’
The adapter sits inside the camera and compresses the lens image to fit the camera's Super 35mm sensor, and restoring the look of the original focal length of the lens
Sydney-based coder Greig Sheridan and his photographer partner Rocky have introduced Intervalometerator, an open-source intervalometer designed for deploying inexpensive remote time-lapse systems involving Canon DSLRs, Arduino and Raspberry Pi hardware.
The lens, set to ship later this year for a yet-to-be-determined price, is an update to Yongnuo's original 35mm F1.4 lens that adds an ultrasonic motor.
The One Action's ultra-wide camera lets you to record horizontal video while holding the phone vertically.