REVIEW: Nikon FX-Format Df DSLR Camera Experts’ First Impressions, Hands-Ons 0

The waiting is finally over. Nikon has finally announced the 16.2 MP Nikon Df camera.

The new full frame shooter comes with a “modern classic” design that pays tribute to Nikon’s 35mm “F” series film cameras.

Read the key features and some of the early verdicts below.

Read Also: Nikon D610 Review Roundup: The Early Verdicts

nikon-df-silver nikon-df-silver-back nikon-df-silver-front nikon-df-silver-side

Here’s an excerpt from the official press release:

The new Nikon Df is a modern classic designed for those who have felt a connection to their camera, who revel in the idea of going out to photograph an unfamiliar location, and who know the effort and ultimate satisfaction that is part of getting the shot. Announced today, the Nikon Df is a unique, advanced-level D-SLR that harmonizes Nikon heritage and modern performance in a lightweight and very capable FX-format camera.

For those who love to see the specs, here are some of the highlight features of the Nikon Df:

  • 16.2MP FX-Format CMOS Sensor
  • EXPEED 3 Image Processor
  • 3.2″ 921k-Dot LCD Monitor
  • Optical Glass Pentaprism Viewfinder
  • Dedicated Still Image Only Camera
  • Mechanical Exposure Control Dials
  • Multi-CAM 4800 AF Sensor with 39 Points
  • Expandable Sensitivity: ISO 50-204800
  • Continuous Shooting up to 5.5 fps
  • Rugged Magnesium Alloy Body

Here are some of the experts’ first hands-on impressions of the new Nikon Df full-frame camera:

Barnaby Britton of Digital Photography Review:

“As such, although I hate to say it: from a cold, hard practical point of view, I can’t shake the feeling that the Df is a little bit… silly. Hardcore Nikon fans will point to the support for 50 year-old non-Ai lenses, which is valid, but I suspect that the constituency of photographers for whom this is a real selling point is vanishingly small. Of course, I could be wrong. Naturally, there will be some photographers who will see the Df purely in terms of a lower-cost shell for the D4’s very capable sensor, and might not care about the design.”

Mike Lowe of Pocket-lint:

“The Nikon Df is as much an exciting prospect as it is an oddity. We were hoping for something smaller, something a little more deft to use – the all-locking mode dials are something we’ll need to play with extensively before they take, we would think – and a touch more up to date. Mid-level focus system with -1EV low-light autofocus abilities, last-gen processor; we get the retro charm, but feel the Df had the opportunity to show off all the very latest Nikon tech, not be an experimental model to sit on rest year’s laurels.”

Hunter Skipworth of Digital Spy:

“We will be honest, Nikon’s Df camera is one that we have been waiting for for a long time. It combines the absolute top end of Nikon’s current photo technology with a lightweight body and awesome retro looks.”

Angela Nicholson of TechRadar:

“The Df looks and feels like an excellent camera that serious enthusiast and professional photographers will enjoy using. Given that it shares many components with respected Nikon cameras such as the D4, D600 and D610 we expect that it will be capable of delivering high-quality images, but we’ll have to wait until we get a full production sample in for testing to be sure.”

Mark Goldstein of PhotographyBLOG:

“With no built-in flash or any video mode at all, the Nikon Df is definitely one for the purist stills photographer who wants a more direct, hands-on experience with their camera, and who values the gorgeous retro styling that Nikon have so lovingly lavished their attention on.”

Mike Tomkins of Imaging Resource:

“The Nikon DF is a full-frame DSLR that puts you in a time machine and takes you back to those days of film, merging the control-rich aesthetic of F-series film cameras with modern digital design, and bringing new support for your classic Nikkor lenses. The DF trades on our nostalgia, but it’s a lot more than just a throwback to another era. Sure, the weather-sealed, magnesium alloy-bodied camera sports physical controls aplenty, but it will also excite photographers who’ve never touched a classic film camera, because it’s the smallest and lightest full-frame camera Nikon has produced to date.”

Joshua Waller of ePhotoZine:

“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.”

Richard Sibley of Amateur Photographer:

“The Nikon DF looks the part, and from having it in my hands and firing a few shots, it certainly seems to handle well, and the viewfinder is excellent. There are a few questions that need to be answered. For many the choice of the 16.2-million-pixel D4 sensor, rather than the 36.4 million-pixel of the D800, or even the 24-million-pixel sensor used in the D610 is an odd one. Of course it provides superb image quality in low light with excellent noise performance, but in terms of resolution both the Sony Alpha 7 and 7R will potentially be better.”

Dan Havlik of Photo District News:

“On a positive note, I loved the Nikon Df’s classic styling (it comes in black or silver-and-black two-tone) and Nikon’s decision to cover the camera with an array of adjustable knobs and dials for shutter speed, exposure compensation, and ISO. I also liked that the Nikon Df has a special Ai (automatic indexing)/Non-Ai lens coupling lever on front that makes it compatible with over 400 types of Nikon lenses from the past and present. Easy-to-use options are always good thing on a camera.”

Ming Thein of MingThein.com:

“In conclusion: much like the final form of the Df, I’m confused. On one hand, there are very sensible engineering choices – the sensor, for instance; but on the other hand, marketing said that you have to have AF and a full digital set of controls and a retro look, so we land up having too many buttons and knobs and a bit of an F3-collided-with-a-D600 appearance to it. The more I think about it, the more I really, really don’t know quite what to make of the Df. I’m going to wait until I have the chance to shoot with one before saying any more. But again, like the A7/A7r: even if the first effort isn’t quite right, and it takes several iterations, everybody benefits from products like this. In the meantime, I think I need a panadol for the headache that’s developing.”

Also unveiled is the AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition lens, which is similarly styled in a classic iconic look.

Nikon-Special-Edition-AF-S-NIKKOR-50mm-f1.8G-lens1

You can now pre-order either a black or silver Nikon Df at B&H Photo for $2,746.95 (body only), and $2,996.95 with 50mm f1.8 lens. The special edition Nikkor lens is $279.

[Nikon Rumors]