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.
|Astronomical Clock in PRAGUE by stadros|
from Your City - Clocks
|Glassball on a perforated metal plate_3 by harubux|
Adorama has announced the availability of a new studio flash head from its own Flashpoint range.
Instagram has quietly added the iOS-exclusive ability to post images or videos to multiple Instagram accounts at once on the same device.
Sony has announced major firmware updates for the a7R III, a7 III and a9. All three cameras gain improved Eye-AF, the ability to recognize and focus on animals' eyes, and timelapse capability. The a9 gets more sophisticated subject tracking.
Sony has announced the a6400, an updated 24.2MP mirrorless camera with a flip-up rear touchscreen and the processor and autofocus system 'borrowed from the a9'.
We're live blogging at Sony's launch event in San Diego, where the company is rumored to be announcing a new mirrorless camera with an APS-C sensor.
The latest CamFi model lets you tether your camera wirelessly to your computer and transfer images directly into 3rd-party apps such as Capture One, Lightroom or EOS utility.
United States Transportation Secretary Eleain Chao introduced a proposed rule change that could make it easier for commercial operators to use drones at night and above crowds of people.
SmugMug Films has released its latest film from its award-winning series. 'Framing the Journey' follows photographer Karen Hutton around the landscapes and cityscapes of Slovenia.
Timelapse+ has announced its VIEW intervalometer now offers support for select Fujifilm and Panasonic camera systems.
OPPO's 5x zoom prototype never made it into a production unit but now the company is about to release an even longer optical zoom for smartphones.
The Miami Beach Police Department is using a camera blimp to get around a drone surveillance ban that went into effect in 2015.
The Nikon Z6 may not offer the incredible resolution of its sibling, the Z7, but its excellent video quality and faster performance make it an impressive camera at a considerably lower price.
What do you get when you combine an iconic camera brand from the past with a crowdfunding campaign for a 'rangefinder' camera? The Yashica Y35, that's what. Watch Chris and Jordan try to make lemonade out of a lemon.
Photographer Jimmy McIntyre has been working with Nikon, shooting a pre-production sample of the new Z 14-30mm lens. We're reserving final judgement until we see a reviewable lens, but it looks pretty impressive.
Photographer Nigel Danson recently had a chance to use the new Fujifilm GFX 50R for one of his landscape shoots. In this video, he shares his thoughts on the benefits and challenges of using a medium format camera like the GFX 50R for his work.
2019 is DPReview's 20th anniversary year, so we decided to take a walk down memory lane and shoot with a couple cameras that helped usher in the digital era for pro photographers: The Canon EOS 1D and the Nikon D1H.
The International Leica Society has shared a video of a camera sensor being cleaned at the Leica service centre in the Wetzlar factory in Germany.
The Natural History Museum has shared a gallery of 25 photos for its 2018 LUMIX People's Choice Award shortlist.
The Indemnis Nexus is the first parachute system designed for DJI drones that qualifies as compliant with the ASTM F3322-18 standard.
Western Digital's latest portable storage solution offers large capacities and fast performance in a rugged case.
Sigma's 28mm F1.4 semi-wide-angle 'Art' lens it first showed off at Photokina last year is now listed for pre-order.
The Sony 24mm F1.4 GM is an impressively compact, high quality lens. So, when DPReview contributing writer Jose Francisco Salgado had a chance to shoot a sample gallery with it in beautiful Sedona, Arizona, he jumped at the opportunity.
Moza has launched a compact 3-axis smartphone gimbal that has a few tricks up its (extending) sleeve.
In an exclusive interview with Imaging Resource, Canon executive Yoshiyuki Mizoguchi said video 'will play a huge role' in the EOS R lineup and says 'an 8K video capable camera is already in our EOS R-series roadmap.'
Canon has proudly announced that it ranked third in the world for the number of patents awarded to it by the US Patents Office during 2018.
Vello has announced its new LW-500 Extendá Plus wireless controller, which brings remote control to select Canon, Nikon and Sony cameras.
Atomos and Nikon are teaming up to make the Z6 and Z7 the first mirrorless cameras to offer 4K Raw recording over HDMI to an external monitor — the Ninja V.
Lomography has released its latest film revival, Potsdam 100 monochrome.
We've seen Sony's IMX586 1/2-inch 48MP sensor appear in several higher-end devices in recent months but the Redmi Note 7 is now the first budget device to offer the chip that comes with a Quad-Bayer filter array for optimized 12MP output.
Sony and Nikon's flagship mirrorless cameras both offer impressive in-body image stabilization. According to our testing, you'll see a 2-stop advantage at the wide end and nearly a 5-stop advantage at the telephoto end on both cameras.