Nikon Df review

Nikon Df review

T3 4
  • Nikon has expanded its flagship D range with a model that mixes retro looks with modern tech. But does it deliver? Here's our Nikon Df review

    Nikon Df review

    Love

    • Retro design
    • Fantastic picture quality
    • Weatherproof

    Hate

    • No video
    • No Wi-Fi or GPS
    • Pricey

    The Nikon Df DSLR sports a distinctive retro design that's based on the maker's old 35mm film cameras, such as the Nikon FM.

    The f in Df stands for 'fusion' between old design and new tech, with the thoroughly modern spec list featuring the same 16.2-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and EXPEED 3 image processor found in the maker’s flagship pro camera - the Nikon D4.

    This means that it sits somewhere below the D4 and above the Nikon D7100 in the brand's lineup and is aimed at pros, 'enthusiasts' and those who just want an insanely cool-looking camera.

    One of the Df's strong points is the inclusion of collapsible coupling lever means that you can use the camera with with vintage non-Ai lenses as well as Nikon's current selection of lenses.

    Nikon Df: Size and build

    Made from magnesium alloy, the camera body feels reassuringly weighty and doesn't feel like it's going to topple over the second that you attach a lens, like many compact system cameras do. However, it's actually the lightest of Nikon's FX-format cameras.

    The handgrip is modestly proportioned but very grippy and comfy, so the camera feels safe in your hands.

    The leather-look rubbery finish extends around the camera body, contributing to the retro aesthetics, along with the pyramid shape over the lens, and the throwback Nikon font.

    We've seen quite a few brands using retro designs as inspiration for their latest Compact System Camera models - step forward, Fujifilm X20, Pentax Q10 and Samsung NX300), but this is the first time we've seen it on a DSLR.

    The fold-out handle on the battery compartment is a nice touch that means the door shouldn't accidentally open itself in your bag - something that sometimes tends to happen on cameras lower down the range, like the Nikon D3200.

  • The Nikon Df DSLR is the maker's latest addition to its flagship D range, with the f standing for 'fusion' between old design and new tech

    Nikon Df review

    Love

    • Retro design
    • Fantastic picture quality
    • Weatherproof

    Hate

    • No video
    • No Wi-Fi or GPS
    • Pricey

    The Nikon Df is the brand's latest DSLR, sporting a distinctive retro design that's based on the maker's old 35mm film cameras, such as the Nikon FM.

    Launched at an event celebrating Nikon's rich history, including a talk from celeb photographer Richard Young, the new Df packs the same 16.2-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor and EXPEED 3 image processor found in the maker’s flagship pro camera - the Nikon D4 - meaning that it sits somewhere below the D4 and above the Nikon D7100 in the brand's lineup and is aimed at pros, 'enthusiasts' and those who just want an insanely cool-looking camera.

    Nikon Df: Size and build

    Crafted from magnesium alloy, the camera's chassis oozes quality, and feels reassuringly weighty, but a lot lighter than the likes of the D4 - in fact, it's actually the lightest of Nikon's FX-format cameras.

    You'll be able to choose from an all black model, or a black and silver finish, while the chassis features the same pyramid-like top and 'Nikon' font from the maker's old film SLRs.

    We've seen quite a few brands using retro designs as inspiration for their latest Compact System Camera models - step forward, Fujifilm X20, Pentax Q10 and Samsung NX300), but this is the first time we've seen it on a DSLR.

    Nikon will also be offering optional black or brown shoulder straps and cases to complement the vintage aesthetics.

    Nikon Df: Features

    Along with the maker's flagship sensor and processor on board, you'll also get an ISO range of 100-12,800 (extendable up to 204,800), the same weatherproofing as the Nikon D800, a burst speed of 5.5fps, and an AF module with 39 focus points. What's more, the Df offers an impressive 1,400 shots from a single battery charge, says Nikon.

    Nikon Df: Controls

    The camera features a range of classic click dials, with the dial locks that you'd expect on a pro snapper. They've been designed to give the same experience as the dials on vintage camera, with reassuring click stops - something that you don't get with many digital cameras.

    Nikon Df: Screen

    The 3.2-inch LCD screen appeared was crisp and bright in our brief hands-on, the 921k-dot resolution making light work of detailed shots. The Df also sports the same glass pentaprism viewfinder found in the D4 and D800.

    Nikon Df: Lenses

    The Nikon Df uses the F-mount lens system, and its also the first to features a collapsible coupling lever, meaning that you'll be able to attach your stash of vintage non-AI Nikkor lenses directly to the camera.

    The Df won't be available body-only at launch, but will come as a kit with a special edition, retro-styled version of the AF-S 50mm f/1.8G NIKKOR lens.

    Nikon Df: Picture quality

     

    So far, we've only had a very quick play with the Df, so we can't really comment on picture quality just yet, but with this heritage (and at this price), we're expecting big things. Obviously this is something we'll be looking at in more depth in our full review.

    Nikon Df: Verdict

    With a superb retro look, powerful sensor and plenty of manual control, as well as the ability to use your old non-AI lenses, there's not much to dislike about the Nikon Dfxc, eept for the price, of course, which puts it out of reach for many of us. We still want it, though. Keep your eyes peeled for a full review.

    Nikon Df release date 28 November 2013

    Nikon Df price: £2749.99 (only available with kit lens)

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