Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Nikon Df review - Pocket

Looking behind to pierce brazen – that’s what a Nikon Df is all about. This retro character DSLR marries a classical Nikon SLR character of years left by with many of a Japanese company’s complicated tech. It’s a usually Nikon DSLR means of ancillary stream F-mount and comparison non-AI lenses interjection to a collapsible coupling pull in a design. So if you’ve got aged lenses it could be a ideal partner.

We consider there’s a lurch of change from a rising recognition in a Fujifilm X-series compress complement cameras that’s helped assist in a Df’s conception. But irrelevant of that, this is a camera that long-time photographers have been seeking for: a full-frame DSLR with correct primer control dials finished in a character that raises that clarity of nostalgia. A camera that puts we in a pushing seat, no gimmicks, and gives a best of Nikon’s imaging abilities.

But is nostalgia overrated? And in a try to equivocate any gimmicks has a Df left full circle, positioned itself during a “because it can” cost indicate and missed out on a truly future-proof selection that savvy photographers will seek? We’ve been vital with a Nikon Df to find out possibly it’s prompted a state of sentimental consternation of left us wondering since we’re not usually regulating a Nikon D610 instead.

Back To The Future

The Nikon Df is a complicated homogeneous of a Nikon FM2. Well, arrange of. It’s not a 70s or 80s any some-more and apparently this camera is an wholly new and digital format rather than film model. Designed to interest to reminiscers and complicated day snappers who have their retro hats on, a china finish indication we’ve got in for examination positively has a decades-old cultured about it. It’s also a usually new Nikon camera to opt for a classical non-italic logo.

And we like a approach a Df looks. We unequivocally do. In cinema it looks great, yet afterwards in a palm it’s a somewhat opposite story. There are a integrate of things that bewilder us: firstly a ideal distance of it – there’s tiny prodigy of it being smaller than a D610, even though, technically, it is – and, secondly a finish usually lacks a reward feel.

It’s not so many that corners have been cut in a camera’s making. All a mode dials, for example, are done from steel and do feel great. It’s usually a mistake leather cloaking that dresses a infancy of a physique looks some-more Fujifilm XF1 compress camera than full-frame reward in this regard. Although for many we consider it’ll be a matter of taste.

By a unequivocally pattern a Nikon Df has a specific – and niche – intensity audience. You know that, we know that and positively Nikon knows that too. The camera’s cost tab attests it, as do those accumulation of mode dials on a camera’s body. This isn’t one for point-and-shoot snappers. It’s not an apparent choice for initial time full-framers either. It will locate a eye of specific impending buyers.

But does branch a time behind and regulating an array of earthy mode dials supplement genuine advantage in use? We’re all for full primer control, yet any and any one of those dials thatch into place and needs to be expelled with a press-and-hold symbol or, in a box of a sharpened mode dial, lifted and rotated. We consider it’d be potentially useful to have a resource to “open up” any dial, in a identical format to a Pentax K-3.

READ: Hands-on: Pentax K-3 review

Shutter speed composition is a difference to a rule, as a dial does not tighten between a 1/4000th sec and 4 second specifications. For 1/3 Step (auto), X (sync) and T (time) it thatch into place, yet bizarrely B (bulb) can be clicked out of place usually as openly as any other shiver speed can. We unequivocally like a black lettering that turns to red to code speeds larger than a full second or some-more – helps to keep things additional transparent – and a blue finish of a 1/3 Step option.

Aperture values are tranquil regulating a front ride dial, contingent on a sharpened mode and presumption a complicated lens is attached. Although that’s standard of any DSLR, in a Df a dial is feeble positioned. It faces plumb upwards, a trail is partial blocked by a tag eye and we found ourselves trip a ride from a dial from time to time. It lacks a some-more deliberate functionality of a complicated DSLR, and that’s during a responsibility of styling. Form over function.

If it ain’t broke…

There’s a clarity of a Df withdrawal one feet in a past given a specification. The categorical nuts and bolts see it duty many like a Nikon D600 or some-more new Nikon D610. Even yet that means tech a integrate of years aged and tiny to zero code new that’s indeed no bad thing overall. This is attempted and tested tech.

READ: Nikon D600 review

The camera’s 39-point autofocus complement isn’t a top-spec 51-point complement as found in a Nikon D4, yet it’s still quick and means around a several setups. We would have favourite extended low-light sensitivity, however, as a -1EV autofocus ability trails behind some of a some-more new Nikon offerings by a stop. A tiny thing, yet that’s a ubiquitous story with a Df’s specification.

There’s an AF/MF switch to a front side of a camera to toggle between autofocus and primer concentration options, finish with a hold-and-press symbol to make additional autofocus adjustments. The choices are singular (S) accessible in singular indicate or auto, or continual (C) that can use a singular point, or an array of 9, 15 or 39 points, a fullest array with an discretionary 3D tracking mode. It all works unequivocally good for still or relocating subjects, definition zero feels off boundary when sharpened regulating a Df.

Making AF adjustments is a bit scruffier than with other high-end Nikon DSLR cameras, however, given there’s usually a tiny tip arrangement and so a use of a behind 3.2-inch LCD shade is instead required. As we’ve already mentioned that honest front thumbwheel can feel a tiny ungainly to use for creation these AF adjustments, and a integrate of times we slanted a camera brazen to see a LCD shade and complacent fingers opposite possibly a Pv or reduce Fn duty buttons by accident. As many as we like carrying these duty buttons that was a bother in a integrate of situations, as many as we fast practiced for it.

Elsewhere a inclusion of D800-standard weather-sealing and a new shiver means of 5.5 frames per second limit and rated during 150,000 cycles gives a Df an corner over a progressing Nikon D600. The 100 per cent field-of-view visible viewfinder also sits proudly to a rear, finish with a round eyecup that not usually looks cold yet is gentle in use.

Battery-wise we took several hundred shots before a Df showed any pointer of exhausting a visible battery meter. This is displayed on that tiny tip panel, and as it usually shows adult remaining energy in divisible thirds, it’s reduction arguable as a magnitude than a Nikon D600’s one that is divided into fifths. However a Df should final out longer – usually not utterly as prolonged as a hulk battery of a Nikon D4 – and will simply see we pass 1,000 shots per charge. The central share is 1,400 per charge. And we can’t competition that.

Image quality

Sticking to a stills usually process – a Df is a usually Nikon DSLR given mid-2010 that can’t constraint video – a Df relies on a same full-frame sensor as found in a top-spec Nikon D4. That’s good if you’re after measureless 16-megapixels image quality. But, in fortitude terms, it’s miles behind a entirety of a remaining Nikon DSLR camera line. Relying on 2012’s Expeed 3 estimate engine rather than a latest Expeed 4 also goes to uncover a miss of progression.

READ: Nikon D4 review

Our take on it isn’t about a numbers though. It’s too easy to get hung adult on that usually since something seems like it’s a step behind. Yes we would have favourite Nikon to pull brazen and make a Df even some-more appealing with newer tech, yet that usually isn’t a box here. And we’ve come to accept that.

Nikon Df examination – representation picture during ISO 800 – click for full distance JPEG crop

And we’ve supposed it for a elementary reason: a Df’s ensuing images are positively brilliant. Sharp, good exposed, full of fact even during high ISO settings, it’s unequivocally a smashing thing to behold. If we aspire for Nikon D4 peculiarity afterwards here’s a approach to get it for half a cost (albeit reduction many of a D4’s other features, that’s a given).

It’s picture peculiarity that unequivocally creates a Df what it is and pulls it behind into a diversion for us. It’s an imaging appurtenance that delivers around a poignant apportionment of a attraction range, that is tranquil around a primer ISO dial to a tip left side of a camera. From “low 1″ (L1) to ISO 100 and right adult to local ISO 12,800, there are even H1-H4 prolongation options accessible on a dial. And for combined control there are third stop increments if you’re a stickler for ISO 160 portraits to impersonate that pro film sensation.

From that far-reaching operation of accessible attraction we found a shots adult to ISO 3200 still demeanour extraordinary and we’d have no qualms about regulating them during scale. The tender files come packaged with fact delivered with a pellet that has a filmic manner. ISO 6400 is still usable, nonetheless a JPEG estimate is a tiny on a oppressive side and this continues to lessen sharpness and colour as a ISO increases. We’re not assured by a need for any of a “high” settings unequivocally and consider Nikon should have been bolder and left them out – if there’s no video afterwards we needn’t fire during ISO 204,800 that positively did not exist decades ago.

Nikon Df examination – representation picture during ISO 1600 – click for full distance JPEG crop

For a unequivocally best formula ISO 100 by to a sub-four-figure sensitivities are tough to tell apart. Images are frail and sharp, while a inclusion of a ISO 50 (equivalent) environment is good news for those looking to get a many out of wider apertures in splendid conditions – even if it does meant come during a cost of reduction energetic operation in a tender files.

The peculiarity of what we can get from a Df will, in part, rest on a lens trustworthy to a front. We’ve not been means to exam any non-AI lenses for this examination so can’t criticism on a specific characteristics of comparison glass. Instead we’ve left a bundled singular book 50mm f/1.8 G lens on a front of a camera during all times. The primary lens has tied us to a retro approach of operative while delivering pleasant shots and that super-wide orifice positively has a uses too, even if f/1.8 on a full-frame sensor is a wily savage to control with comprehensive precision.

It competence not rest on a unequivocally latest tech, yet even 2012’s best charity stands high adequate in 2014 and it’s a ensuing images that make a Nikon Df a potentially superb camera.


The Nikon Df could be called over-ambitious. With a likes of Fujifilm pulling off a retro character with stronger balance in functionality and Sony putting out a affordable Alpha A7 there are substantial choice retro and full-frame options on a market.

READ: Sony Alpha A7 review

As we rebound between a posts in terms of where a examination measure pen lands for a Df we can’t evade that feeling that Nikon needs to learn some lessons from this release. People like retro cameras, as do we here during a Lint, yet usually since it’s a curtsy to a past doesn’t meant it should concede on anything during all. Why a Df wasn’t a subsequent step top-spec indication rather than a somewhat modded D610 is over us, utterly during this positively outrageous cost point.

Not that it’s a pursuit to tell we how to spend your tough warranted money. It’s some-more that a Df’s reward cost isn’t utterly reflected in a extraneous finish, nor a altogether specification, while a camera is usually too large compared to a picture we had in a mind’s eye.

But as many as we suspicion we’d done adult a mind about a Df and were tighten to a reduce score, we usually kept on holding photos, looking during a cinema and being impressed. And that’s what pulls it behind from a margin of shade since all that comes out of this camera looks so great. The sensor might not be code new, yet it would be ridiculous to even try to sneer during a top-spec silicon found in a Nikon D4 – a camera from that a Df adopts a sensor and, therefore, image-taking prowess.

At times we adore a Nikon Df and what it can do. But would we buy one? No. It’s an costly practice in nostalgia and one that, during times, creates us realize since a universe has changed forward. There’s really something in a concept, and while we are taken by a Df’s attracts this try usually doesn’t form into a ideal 5 star detailed apparatus that it could have been.

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