The new Nikon Df is a 16.2 megapixel full-frame Digital SLR that is said to be a fusion of old Nikon qualities with the latest digital technology from the other Nikon D range digital SLRs. It will be released with a special edition lens the AF-S Nikkor 50mm f1.8G which has the same optical performance as the standard 50mm f/1.8G lens. Available in black or silver, priced at £2749.99 with 50mm f/1.8G (only available as a kit) with no plans for body only at the moment, although this may vary depending on country. The Df is due to go on sale from the 28th of November at selected retailers.
Nikon DF Features
The Nikon Df features classic Nikon film-SLR styling, inspired by the likes of the Nikon FM-2, it features manual controls, including a larger shutter-speed control dial, and a small mode dial on the top right which is locked and can be pulled upwards to unlock. It is designed to give the feel of a real camera, a camera for photographers, to enjoy the photographic process, without getting held back by electronic controls. Nikon says the Nikon Df is made for "Pure Photography".
It's also possible to maximise existing non-Ai lenses, and also works with Ai lenses, making it compatible with lenses going back to 1959, using stop down metering with Ai lenses. This is accomplished using a new retractable mechanical lens coupling around the lens mount, and to take advantage of manual focus lenses, there is a new manual focus mode, where the AF points can be switched off. There are only 3 Ai lenses that are not compatible with the camera.
The camera features an electronic virtual horizon, as well as new 16:9, and 1:1 aspect ratios that are available during live view. The design of the camera features a vertical Nikon logo on the camera, which is styled in the same way as previous Nikon film SLRs. It is also the smallest and lightest FX (full-frame) camera at 710g excluding battery, or 765g with battery and memory card.
The body is a weather sealed magnesium alloy body, sealed to the same standard as the Nikon D800/D800E (waterdrop resistance, and anti-dust), and is available in two-tone silver and black or alternatively all black. The shutter life is rated at 150,000 cycles, giving it the same life cycle rating as the Nikon D600/D610.
16.2mp FX full-frame CMOS sensor (from D4)
F-mount, non-Ai and Ai lenses
3.2inch screen, 921k dot reinforced glass screen
ISO100-12800, extends to 50-204800
Exposure compensation dial, ISO control dial, drive mode dial
5.5fps continuous shooting, 150,000 cycles, 30s - 1/4000 shutter speed
Quiet shutter release mode (shutter sounds great according to Nikon)
39 focus points,9 cross-type, -1EV, f/8 compatible
Expeed 3 image processing
PASM dial (top, right)
Shutter speed dial, 1/3 step setting lets you set the shutter speed using the rear dial
Weather sealed to same level as D800/D800E
1400 shots per charge EN-EL14a (single frame mode)
Magnesium alloy used for top, rear and bottom
100% pentaprism viewfinder, same as D4/D800
HDMI out supported
Compatible with WU-1a (wireless), WR-1, WR-R10 (radio remote)
Nikon DF Handling
The top of the camera gives the biggest clue that this is a retro inspired digital camera, starting with the metal dials, switched and controls, as well as the shutter release and central screw thread to accept manual shutter release cables that were popular with film SLRs. Nikon has developed the Df making it as compact as possible, whilst also giving a good sized rubber hand-grip that extends round to the back so that your thumb also has good purchase on the camera. The control wheels at the front and back are well placed to give easy access without having to stretch or move your finger and thumb excessively, and this should make using the camera comfortable for extended periods. The front control wheel is a vertical control wheel, which differs from the usual positioning of this control wheel on other Nikon DSLRs, however should still be as easy to use.
The optical viewfinder is a 100% pentaprism, as featured on the Nikon D4 and D800/D800E, and on this camera features a round eyepiece along with dioptre correction.
On the back are the usual Nikon buttons that you would find on other Nikon DSLRs such as the D610 and D800 etc, although there is also an AF button, as featured on the D800/E and D4 which will aid those who like to fine-tune focus, or use manual focus.
Despite the option to set the shutter speed and exposure compensation dials on top, there is still the usual control wheel on the back, along with a front control dial, so that those used to other Nikon Digital SLRs will be familiar with the operation of the camera.
The menus on the Nikon Df are the standard Nikon menus that you find on other Nikon Digital SLRs, with the options neatly categorised, and there is the usual MyMenu where you can put your favourite options giving you quick and easy access to your favourite settings. There are also a number of settings to support Ai lenses, so that you can let the camera know about non-CPU lenses, such as older Nikon lenses. Picture control lets you adjust sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation, and hue.
The bottom of the camera is where you'll find the locking battery and memory card compartment, with the camera featuring 1 SD card slot, unlike the 2 SD card slots found on the D600/D610, and some will be disappointed that there is not side-access to the memory card. The battery life of the camera is rated at 1400 shots, thanks to improved electronic management, and the camera uses the same battery as the Nikon D5300.
Nikon Df Verdict
For those that use their camera in low-light conditions, such as weddings, music festivals, gigs and night photography, the Nikon Df should deliver excellent noise performance, thanks to the 16.2 megapixel sensor from the Nikon D4, albeit without the expense of the Nikon D4. In addition, those that value direct access to shutter speed, ISO, and exposure compensation, this camera will feel like using a true camera, without the overly digital (and often complicated) feeling of many modern Digital SLRs. However, for those that are interested in video, or have a more limited budget, they will be better served by the Nikon D610
, as the Nikon Df does not feature a video mode, the D610 is also over £1000 cheaper than the Df. We will be reviewing the Nikon Df fully as soon as possible when production versions of the camera become available.
Nikon Df Hands-On Photos of Equipment
Nikon Df Specifications
|Sensor Size||Full Frame|
|Sensor Size (width)||36mm|
|Sensor Size (height)||23.9mm|
|Screen resolution||921,000 dots|
- Face Detection
- AF Tracking
- AF Fine Tuning (Micro Adjustment)
|Shutter speeds shortest||1/4000sec|
|Shutter speeds longest||30sec|
- Centre-weighted - Average
- Multi Pattern
|ISO sensitivity||50 - 204800|
|Optical Zoom with Video||No|
|Box Contents||BS-1 accessory shoe cover, BF-1B body cap, EN-EL14a rechargeable Li-ion battery, MH-24 battery charger, DK-26 eyepiece cap, AN-DC9 strap, UC-E6 USB cable, String for eyepiece cap, ViewNX 2 CD|
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