The Nikon Df Initial Thoughts

I wanted to hate this camera.  I wanted an electronic viewfinder on a full frame from the likes of Canon or Nikon that doesn’t look like crap (like the Sony A7).  If you’ve been reading PhotolisticLife for a while you’ll know that I’ve been saying electronic viewfinders will be on all cameras in the 3 – 5 years (think x100s style where you can switch between optical and electronic viewfinders at the flip of a switch) but apparently Nikon disagrees.  But after reading copious amounts of information on the Df as well as watching the few videos I could find about it I have to say I’m intrigued.  So much so that I ordered one to do a proper review as soon as it’s released to the public.  You can find my first impressions below.

Who is it for?

The internet is chock-full of previews of the Nikon Df with a recurring theme… Nikon’s newest addition is targeted towards old timers yearning for cameras of yesteryear.  I disagree.  Though they will like it none the less, Nikon would really like to eat some of the great X100S’s lunch as well as some of the new mirror-less cameras that have been popping up.  They’d like to grab some of the enthusiasts who have been using the M4/3 cameras as well as the X100S who would like to take their photography to the next level without having to pump iron to carry their over sized DSLR.

x100s Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 6.13.41 PM

However, most folks are comparing the Nikon Df to the D800, D4, and the D600/10 because… well it makes sense, right?  If Nikon puts out a new camera then it’s got to be the successor to something right?  Nope!  The Df is not replacing any of the Nikon line*, it’s filling a gap (whether you agree with their first attempt or not) in their product line.  Nobody will ever “need” the Df, they’ll want it.  The people who will buy this camera are the more successful pros or affluent amateurs looking for the best quality in a camera that does not need its own seat on an airplane.  Who knows, Nikon may even win over some X100S users who are looking for a similar camera with better image quality.

What I Don’t Like

The viewfinder.  I hate optical viewfinders.  You don’t have to and I understand their strengths compared to electronic viewfinders but I also know their weaknesses.  The Nikon Df would have benefited hugely from focus peaking when manually focusing which you’d be able to see right in your electronic viewfinder.  And there is something to be said about being able to see your exposure adjustments in your viewfinder as you make adjustments.  Are EVF’s for everyone?  Nope, but I like them.  The X100S did it right and Nikon should take note.

What I like

It’s image quality and low light capabilities using the same sensor as the D4 are going to be incredible (we hope).  It’s size is about the same as the D610 which is a comfortable size for a camera (this is obviously subjective).  The ability to use all sorts of awesome Nikon lenses with incredible image quality.  The manual dials, I was never a fan of the layout on most Nikon cameras.  I think the camera is a beautiful camera but again, this is subjective.

Why didn’t I talk about the price?  I don’t know whether it’s overpriced or not until I get my hands on it and see what it’s capable of (though it’s not cheap!).  And if it is overpriced who is it overpriced for?  I know plenty of people who spend over $3,000 on a watch or a suit and last time I checked your watch and suit can’t make you money while your camera can.  I don’t hate my money so I’ll give you a fair assessment once I get my hands on the Df.

Please remember, this is not a review and I have not used the Nikon Df.  Comments will be limited to friendly discussion, internet trolls will be blocked!

 

* You could say the Df is replacing some of the film cameras that were immensely popular back in the day and you’d probably be right.

 

More from John Barbiaux

What is the Golden Spiral – Composition

So you thought you knew composition?  I talk to a good amount...
Read More