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Nikon Df Digital Camera Review
nikon20140702a.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Ashley Akers

Every now and then you’ll feel a little skip in your heart, triggered by something memorable, something nostalgic, something comfy, soothing and satisfying. It might not happen often but when it does you’ll know it’s right, you’ll know you’re where you belong. Don’t interrupt me when I’m there because I’m pretty sure I’m busy taking a photo right now with the Nikon DF. And boy is it a beautiful photo. Complete with all the gorgeous features anyone would like to see in an image. You won’t need anything more than this.

Appearance / Functionality


Appearance is where the Nikon DF stands out from the crowd. It stands out from it’s own growing and fancy family of Nikons and it stands out from the crowd of digital cameras clogging up the arteries of the market. The DF takes it’s appearance from classic film cameras from days gone by and boy is it a pretty sight. While it’s a little on the large and chunky side, you’ll barely notice when holding this beast as it give you that little feeling of joy.

The body on this Nikon itself feels heavy, solid and well constructed. The plastic leather imitation on the body casing feels a little out of place with such a beautiful classically designed and thought out camera.

You’ll find buttons and knobs on the Nikon DF that feel like they belong where they are and they’ll do their job for years to come. They’re very solid and fit the feel of the camera beautifully. You’ll find all the classic knobs and dials a plenty for adjusting exposure compensation, ISO, etc on the top of the camera. There’s a little button or switch for each dial which will lock it into place to avoid it being bumped. This is a little tricky to use at times and in some cases requires two hands.

nikon20140702b.jpgMenus on the Nikon DF perform as any other DSLR on the Nikon range. This system for navigation and menu design is very easy to navigate and find the settings you need. It carries with this functionality a sleek design that brings the classic exterior of this camera into the present day where you’ll be able to use it to the best of it’s abilities and create the images that you really want to create.

You’ll find an acceptable continuous shooting frame rate of 5.5fps allowing you to easily capture action or to choose the best shot from a bunch. SanDisk memory cards were used with these tests for reliability and speed.

Shooting in RAW is a great way to improve the amount of data in your images that would otherwise be lost through compressing to JPG images. It’s like keeping your negative file for reprinting so it’s availability in the Nikon DF is certainly appropriate. If I can’t have real negatives anymore then theres a definite appreciation found in it’s digital equivalent.

Another ability of the Nikon DF is immediate and easy retouching and filters available in camera. This function allows you to make adjustments to images without the need for a computer. It allows for added creativity because the reality is, that’s just what you’ll be using this camera for. It feels good to use so you’ll want to be as creative as you can and put the effort in to capture the perfect scene.

nikon20140702f.jpgImage Quality / Lens Quality


The Nikon DF continues to excel in the area of image quality. There’s always that one kid at school that was the best and almost every subject. This is that kid and on the subject of image quality, he/she’s done a mighty fine job.

Images are so sharp it hurts. Combine this with a perfect, accurate representation of vibrant colours, including the densest and most beautiful primary colours. Your skin tones will be just as you’d expect them to be on this Nikon beauty: Natural, naturally.  These will be easily retouched and viewed at their best if you’re lucky enough to own an EIZO monitor.

Let’s not look past the lens on this DSLR. It’s a subject that is not only passed but excelled at. The DF was tested with the kit 50mm f/1.8 lens. With a lens that’s aperture opens up this wide, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be basking in the glory of an amazingly shallow depth of field. Perfect to create brilliantly, professional portraits and enjoy the extra glory of a beautiful, creative close-up. Still life? Do it.

While there’s no zoom in a fixed lens such as this 50mm. You’ll still enjoy a decent angle of view on the full frame 16.6 million pixel sensor. It’s this lack of a feature like zoom that you don’t care about when using this camera and lens. You get uncountable benefits from this lens that it’s not even close to an issue.

nikon20140702c.jpgThis lens will also help you with any low light scenes. However it’s not the lens that’ll impress you, it’s the Nikon DF’s ISO capabilities. When testing this camera in my usual low light scene at home, I had to change to a darker location in order to push the camera’s capabilities to a point where the difference in ISO settings was actually noticeable in the image.

ISO up to 6400 will show no noticeable grain and images remain clear and crispy. When you push the camera as high as ISO12,800 you’ll really only start to see grain in the shadows of your images. Bump it up even more to ISO25,600 and you’ll see grain but can you use the image? You most certainly can. But don’t stop there, or maybe do, because when you go up to the ridiculous ISO204,800 you’ll have a very colourfully grainy image that’s almost unusable. This ability in low light again pushes this camera beyond the rest and gives you those butterflies again.
 
View street test images via our Facebook page

LCD Screen / Viewfinder


nikon20140702d.jpgNikon DF’s viewfinder works as well as any DSLR’s and does what it classically needs to do. The additional 8cm LCD screen will show you what you need to see in a sharp and crisp image. Colours are interpreted correctly which means you’ll be able to check how you’re going in your creative endeavours. This is another push this camera has to bump it into the present day to a point where it’s perfectly balancing, borderline between classic strength and modern brilliance.

You’ll find as much image information as any DSLR shown on this LCD and menus and settings are displayed vibrantly to ensure easy navigation and ease of use.

Video


This is a little confusing. From a standpoint of having a digital camera resembling a classic film camera as much as possible, it might make sense to not include a video feature. Your knobs, dials, buttons and body design all lend to a day where video on an SLR was not possible. However if this is the case the inclusion of an LCD screen and digital functions and menus would also seem out of place on the Nikon DF, but they’re most certainly not.
 

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Conclusion


There’s a point where classic and modern meet. There’s a point where you insist that you need to hold onto a piece of your history, (or someone else’s for all the youth out there). There also comes a point where the convenience of modern, digital technology can no longer be overlooked and almost becomes, itself, a necessary history. The Nikon DF is this crossover, it’s the border between what feels right and what is right. It sits in its place well and brings with it a company of features that won’t be lost in your unused pile. Amazing low light capabilities, excellent image quality, shallow depth of field and in camera editing and filters are only a few of these features. Add to this the most excellent selling point of the Nikon DF: It’s beautifully classic shape and design. Now you’ve got yourself a winning formula and the Nikon DF wins. Big time.

Recommendations 

 
Camera House Click Through
SanDisk Click Through
EIZO Click Through
   

Ratings

 
 
Appearance rating 5 stars
Functionality rating 3 stars
Image quality
5 stars
Video quality
n/a
Lens quality
5 stars
LCD screen 3 stars
Value for money 4 star
Street Price - Body
$3,199 (AUD)
Street Price - Inc Lens $3,499 (AUD) (With 50mm G Lens)
SPACER.GIF  
Effective Pixels 16.2 megapixels
Sensor Type
36.0 x 23.9 mm CMOS sensor
Image Sizes 6 Sizes / 2 Aspect
Lens Interchangeable
Lens Mount
Nikon F mount (with AF coupling and AF contacts)
Resolution Settings - Stills FX (36 x 24) image area : 4928 x 3280 (L), 3696 x 2456 (M), 2464 x 1640 (S) DX (24 x 16) image area : 3200 x 2128 (L), 2400 x 1592 (M), 1600 x 1064 (S)
Resolution Settings - Video n/a
Face Detection Face-priority AF
Manual Focus No
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Shutter Speeds 1/4,000 to 4 s in steps of 1 EV (1/4,000 s to 30 s in steps of 1/3 EV with main command dial), X200 (with shutter-speed dial only), bulb, time
Shutter Priority Yes
ISO ISO 100 to 12800 in steps of 1/3 EV; can also be set to approx. 0.3, 0.7 or 1 EV (ISO 50 equivalent) below ISO 100 or to approx. 0.3, 0.7, 1, 2, 3 or 4 EV (ISO 204800 equivalent) above ISO 12800; auto ISO sensitivity control available
LCD Monitor 8-cm (3.2-in.), approx. 921k-dot (VGA), low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with approx. 170° viewing angle, approx. 100% frame coverage, and brightness control
Viewfinder Eye-level pentaprism single-lens reflex viewfinder
FX (36x24): Approx. 100% horizontal and 100% vertical
DX (24x16): Approx. 97% horizontal and 97% vertical
Flash X=1/200 s; synchronizes with shutter at 1/250 s or slower
Hot Shoe Yes
White Balance Auto (2 types), incandescent, fluorescent (7 types), direct sunlight, flash, cloudy, shade, preset manual (up to 4 values can be stored, spot white balance measurement available during live view), choose color temperature (2500 K - 10000 K), all with fine-tuning
Self Timer 2 s, 5 s, 10 s, 20 s; 1 - 9 exposures at intervals of 0.5, 1, 2, or 3 s
Stills Format/s
NEF (RAW): 12 or 14 bit, lossless compressed, compressed, or uncompressed TIFF (RGB) JPEG: JPEG-Baseline compliant with fine (approx. 1 : 4), normal (approx. 1 : 8), or basic (approx. 1 : 16) compression (Size priority); Optimal quality compression available NEF (RAW)+JPEG: Single photograph recorded in both NEF (RAW) and JPEG formats
Video Format/s n/a
Video Recording Time/s n/a
Storage Type - External SD (Secure Digital) and UHS-I compliant SDHC and SDXC memory cards
Storage Type - Internal
-
Connectivity Hi-Speed USB
Type C mini-pin HDMI connector
Wireless remote controllers: WR-R10 and WR-1 (available separately) Remote cord: MC-DC2 (available separately) GPS unit: GP-1/GP-1A (available separately)
Power Source MH-24 Battery Charger
Battery Options EN-EL14a Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
Battery Life -
Dimensions 143.5 mm (W) x 110mm (H) x 66.5mm (D) 
Weight Approx. 765 g (1 lb 11 oz) with battery and memory card but without body cap; approx. 710 g (1 lb 9 oz; camera body only)
















 


 

 

 
 

 

About Nikon

 

The history of Nikon dates back to 1917 when three of Japan's leading optical manufacturers merged to form a fully integrated optical company. By the end of the century Nikon would have accumulated an immense poll of know-how and experience to become a world leader in not only optics and imaging but also industrial equipment and health and medicine sector.

Today Nikon designs, develops, manufactures and markets a gamut of optical, photographic and optoelectronic products globally. You will find them at work in virtually every corner of the earth. If it has something to do with light, Nikon has something to do with it.

The driving force behind Nikon is technology. Not only in manufacturing and assembling the finest lenses or most comprehensive photography system in the world, but also in making the glass itself. That is why Nikon products have gained worldwide customer satisfaction, and even professional recognition worldwide.

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