Cameras

Nikon Df Review

The Nikon Df is a full-frame digital single-lens reflex camera with a vintage design that takes its cues from Nikon’s legendary 35mm film cameras. The Nikon Df incorporates the same EXPEED 3 technology and 16.2-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor featured in Nikon’s professional flagship camera, the D4.

Other notable features include sophisticated mechanical dials, a 39-point autofocus system, a 3.2-inch 921k-dot LCD monitor, a sensitivity range of ISO 50-204,800, compatibility with non-Ai (pre-Ai) lenses, continuous shooting at 5.5 frames per second, a self-cleaning sensor unit and a shutter tested to 150,000 releases, a maximum shutter speed of 1/4000th of a second, flash synchronization at up to 1/200th

The Nikon Df may be purchased in either black or silver, and its price is £2749.99, which converts to $2999.95 and €3350.00, including a limited edition AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G lens. You may also purchase just the body for $2749.95 in the United States.

The Nikon Df is a stunning camera with a nostalgic look that we think will appeal to both new and veteran Nikon fans. This is especially true when the matching limited edition silver-banded 50mm lens is attached to the camera. Nikon invested much time and effort into achieving the desired level of aesthetic quality for the Df. Their efforts have unquestionably been successful.

Having said that, when viewed from behind, the Nikon Df seems to be the same as any other digital single-lens reflex camera made by Nikon; however, given that you will spend most of your time with the viewfinder at eye-level, this fact is not very significant. More significantly, the overall appearance suffers when you install other Nikon lenses besides the 50mm kit lens since they typically feature a gold-banded design that quickly appears out of place on the Df. This is because the gold bands are a design element that is unique to Nikon lenses.

The Nikon Df is the most compact and lightweight 35mm full-frame DSLR camera that Nikon currently offers, just edging out the D610 in both categories. It feels perfectly balanced and like a natural extension of your hands, and we recognized the weight reduction when using the camera for more than a couple of hours. The general body ergonomics and the weight distribution of the camera are excellent.

The body material of the Nikon Df is mostly to blame for the camera’s lighter weight. The rear, bottom, and top plates of the Nikon Df’s body shell are metal, while the front plate is made of plastic. The fact that it is made of plastic does not make it any less durable; in fact, the Df has the same level of protection against the elements as the D800/E.

When using the camera for an extended amount of time, we found that the extremely shallow and very short handgrip did not give sufficient support for comfortable operation, which was one of the things that we did not like so much about it. As there is currently no corresponding vertical grip available, we strongly advise you to test out the DF before making a purchase.

Nikon Df Image Quality

Much like all other current Nikons, the Df can make many lens adjustments for the JPEG output it creates. Because it analyzes the image and makes adjustments to correct lateral chromatic aberrations, you shouldn’t see any strange colored fringing around the borders of your photographs, no matter what lens you use.

Within the Shooting menu, there is an option to apply distortion correction to the image. This needs the camera to recognize the lens that has been connected, which means it must be one of Nikon’s lenses and current enough to have a CPU that transmits the lens identification to the camera. This then corrects for the geometric distortion that was produced by the lens.

The third adjustment option is called “Vignette Control,” which can be found in the Shooting menu. This option brightens the image’s corners. This feature is exclusive to lenses of the D, E, and G types; nevertheless, in contrast to Auto Distortion Correction, it may be activated at any time, yet, it will only be valid if a lens is compatible with it is placed on the camera.

Even while it considers the lens you used and the aperture setting you selected, the function nevertheless allows you to apply the effect at one of three different intensities (Low, Normal and High). An illustration of this may be seen here; despite having been taken at F8, some vignetting still has to be removed.

Nikon Df Specs

Body typeMid-size SLR
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Sensor
Max resolution4928 x 3280
Other resolutionsFX: 3696 x 2456, 2464 x 1640; DX crop: 3200 x 2128, 2400 x 1592, 1600 x 1064
Image ratio w:h3:2
Effective pixels16 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors17 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (36 x 23.9 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorExpeed 3
Color spacesRGB, AdobeRGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 100 – 12800
Boosted ISO (minimum)50
Boosted ISO (maximum)204800
White balance presets12
Custom white balanceYes (4 spots)
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW + TIFF
JPEG quality levelsFine, normal, basic
File formatJPEG (EXIF 2.3)RAW (NEF)TIFF
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampNo
Number of focus points39
Lens mountNikon F
Focal length multiplier
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3.2″
Screen dots921,000
Touch screenNo
Screen typeTFT-LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeOptical (pentaprism)
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.7×
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/4000 sec
Exposure modesProgram AutoShutter PriorityAperture PriorityManual
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot shoe or PC sync)
Flash modesAuto FP High-speed sync, front-curtain sync, rear-curtain sync, redeye reduction,
Flash X sync speed1/250 sec
Drive modesSingle-frameContinuous highContinuous lowMirror-upQuiet shutterSelf-timer
Continuous drive5.5 fps
Self-timerYes (2, 5, 10, or 20 secs)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±3 (2, 3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV, 2 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes (2 or 3 shots in 1/3 or 1/2-stop intervals)
Videography features
MicrophoneNone
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC card
Connectivity
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMIYes (mini-HDMI)
WirelessOptional
Wireless notesvia WU-1a wireless mobile adapter
Remote controlYes (Cable release, wireless remote)
Physical
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionEN-EL14/EN-EL14a lithium-ion battery and charger
Battery Life (CIPA)1400
Weight (inc. batteries)760 g (1.68 lb / 26.81 oz)
Dimensions144 x 110 x 67 mm (5.67 x 4.33 x 2.64″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingNo
GPSNone
GPS notesvia GP-1 or GP-1A adapter

Nikon Df Conclusion

The Nikon Df is either an audacious attempt to provide a streamlined, back-to-basics photographic tool or a cynical attempt to cash in on the current trend of items inspired by the past; the choice is yours to make.

Even though it boasts an undeniably lovely old-school design, an abundance of controls that can be customized, a small and lightweight body (for a full-frame DSLR), and the same exceptional image quality as Nikon’s flagship D4 camera, the Nikon Df left us wanting more despite having a price tag comparable to that of the D800/E.

The retro aesthetic only really works when the matching 50mm kit lens is fitted, the handgrip is too small for comfortable extended use, some of the features have been borrowed from the cheaper D610 camera, and we did miss having video onboard and a much lesser extent a pop-up flash—the retro aesthetic only works when the matching 50mm kit lens is fitted.

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