Test: Nikon Df in Modern Classical Spirit

2013 was the year that many will remember as retro design-year, where cameras with designs from the past came back. So is also the case for Nikon, who in his new Nikon Df inside a camera in classic design fused with modern technology.

Yes, Nikon Df is probably one of the cameras that it discussed most about on various online forums. There have been many speculations, and aspirations about the features and some specs even more.Once it came to the camp was split in two, something to which I will return later.

The first notes of the new Nikon Df goes hand in hand with its name, Df, which is an abbreviation of “digital” and “fusion”. The name is derived directly from a fusion of a classic Nikon design from Nikon Fa, Fm2 and F3 from around 70 ‘s – along with new modern technology from the present day. Of contemporary technology is mainly the sensor, which is the same 16-megapixelssensor that we find in the flagship Nikon D4 has a sensitivity of up to iso 204800. Autofocus module is the same as we find in the D610 and D600.

But the technology in all its glory – there are things that Nikon Df can’t. One of these things is that the film, which I will check in later. But overall, Nikon has opted in, opted out, mixed together, changed, but still retained some of the goodies from then and now, but the question is how good the mix really becomes.

Classic Nikon-feeling

The camera body is made of a magnesium alloy that makes it both easy and durable. Actually, this was one of the things that made that it felt different to pick it up, because df is much easier than the older cameras with steel construction. So how much Nikon than invested in feeling so present themselves really never that robust weight feeling.

The grip is also slightly different, both then and now. It is smaller than, for example, D800, but larger than the older classics I mentioned earlier. It feels a little different, but still good. Biggest drawback is if you like to rest with your fingers in the grip and have the camera hanging down when walking – it must not be real good grip in order to feel assured that not to drop the camera.

Buttons and controls are enough Conversely, that which bears witness to the legacy of the real analog. Here we find the look that Nikon had for a long time, mainly with the prominent shutter speed wheel on the camera’s right over the side. You don’t want to use this control, you can set the slider on the» 1/3-step «, which opens up for a more regular adjustment of the aperture through the thumb wheel. On the left we find a hjulreglage even for iso and exposure compensation. Sliders are also in style with the Fujifilm retro design, with mechanical reels that change important settings.

I am used to the older analog Nikon cameras, and can absolutely understand the allure of this approach. At times both work there, and feels good, but sometimes it gets a bit stuffy. For example, it becomes quite fiddly to adjust exposure compensation, press down the button on top of the slider, and then rotate it. And a setting of iso, I do not know if it is the primary that I want to change, and have the steering wheel on top of the camera. Probably would have been easier to have a program selection knob there, but then had the style also become more modern.

Button on these hjulreglage, I think is also a bit ill-conceived. The idea of this release button is so clear that one does not accidentally to change position on this, but why not have a button that you press down – and that stays down – to adjust? Then press again to unlock. In this way, you can get choose between speed or security.

Classic trigger

Also the trigger feels a bit too classical. The reason is mainly that it sits higher up, just like on older Nikon models, but it’s really nothing that will be directly helped by this, in addition to the camera’s look. The same is true in fact and on the slider, and the selector knob. Switch to the index finger on the front of the camera has a slightly different design, and also feels something different and not fully accurate to adjust settings with. The same is true of Nikon’s commitment to follow the older forms with the two soft keys that sits near the bottom of the front of the camera. Now it’s the ring and little finger that makes the natural place for these, but if the button has been higher up so we had a better ranking and also support for the grip.

Other buttons on the back feels a bit like a legacy from Nikon Coolpix (A).

Retro are all very well, but once again, it feels as if the camera design takes over the function, which we also knew with this camera. It’s about nostalgia, forms from the past, and a design that makes us remember our earlier days as young photographers.

The fact is that this feeling can be quite important. Some believe that the difference is non-existent, for instance, between analog and digital photography, while others think the difference is like night and day. Same thing when it comes to how the camera feels like to keep – a slowly and thoughtfully workflow or a fast and more efficient manner. No one can say that something is right or wrong, but what we do know is that the feeling is not something to ignore.

Not all the way

But when it comes to the practical use as Nikon has chosen to take it a bit easier. On the inside we find the sensor from the flagship Nikon D4, which is what draws most of the camera. The enthusiasts who want the best can now get the best, wrapped in a retro design. But it is also where it stops.

On the other hand, Nikon Df/with all possible previous lenses with f mount. On the camera there is a out-and invikbar heel, allowing us to mount so-called pre-AI lenses (pre-aperture indexing) that won’t mount on cameras without invikbar heel, when you can destroy the aperture transfer. Fold down the heel to get transmission aperture with ai lenses. This is great for those who want to use older lenses to get that manual feel.

But what I wondered is why Nikon not went all the way, and opened up the possibility to develop the concept further. An example of this would be to give the possibility to the so-called contour strengthening for manual focus, but this had so clearly required a digital viewfinder, and then to a certain extent, killed the charm (the viewfinder of the Nikon df is at 0, 7 x, i.e., the same as in D4, D800, D600). Left behind were the choice to release some new suitable mattskivor, and that the flag because it is easy to change this to easily find a way to focus manually. Unfortunately, we did not do this, which is really sad for those who want to be really retro — and manual.

Skip video

Interestingly, however, chose to skip the Nikon video feature in the new Df. Why, one might ask, but according to Nikon themselves, it was not necessary in this model, and to simply get away one step from the camera. This has been met with two little divided camps. One camp believes that it is an advantage as it becomes less stuff to think about, less controls and settings, while others think it is a problem with such a modern camera that can’t shoot – when all other cameras it can today.

Personally I’m more looking at it should go to the film, even if I don’t do it much, it is something you want to have access to. But sure, I understand the idea of excluding the feature, and it’s up to you to decide if it’s right or wrong way to go.

Several technology heritage

The screen of the Nikon Df is at 3.2 inches and of good quality with a resolution of 921 thousand pixels. We recognize it from Nikon’s other cameras in the higher segment. Here, we are also again autofocus module from Nikon D610. The auto focus works extremely well, and are safe and well. In somewhat murky environments can handle it too long, and it takes a lot to before it starts to look back and forth. The difference is, however, noticeable towards higher models such as the Nikon D4 and D800.

But overall, I have to say that I feel the camera as rapp, responsive and interesting in their design. Where inside, we find also some features that are good, such as råkonverterare, perspective and distortion control and snabbretusch, and recognize the whole menu system from Nikon’s other higher models.

Worth mentioning also is the new Nikkor 50 mm/1, 8 g that is built to fit the design of the Nikon Df with a ribbed steel ring in silver paint around the lens. Optically it is exactly the same as the regular 50 mm/1, 8 g.This is precisely why I think it is a pity that not adjusted a bit in the focus ring to make it easier to focus manually – it’s pretty slow, and cannot be akin to manual focus in better, or older, the lens.

For those who want to see a little cool out so have the trigger even threads to connect the classic wire trigger.

Image quality

Image quality does Nikon Df high up in the League. The reason is of course the really fine sensor of 16 megapixels, which we also find in Nikon D4.Shooting at high iso values are really high class, and the picture quality is really, really good – one of the best in full-frame class right now.

A total of performing it just a bit better than Nikon D4, and in class with the Nikon D3s, and thus end up in the top in our measurements.


Nikon Df parts completely clear the mass of photographers. On the one hand the good, on the other hand is the worse. The whole thing is very much about what you are looking for. The sensor and the design is quite clear that buying the camera, and the sense that it helps. That is also why it will not fit all. Are you looking for a workhorse that is the Nikon df no for you, not when it comes to video, since the camera totally lacks this.

But looking instead for a nostalgia kick, a cool designed camera, and taking pictures with really good picture quality, check out the Df.



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