Nikon Df Review - Df for Digital conFusion

Launch SRP ▼



I suspect there’s very little I can do to sway your opinion about the Nikon Df. From the people I’ve shared the camera with to the various reviews already on the internet, I’ve seen what Thom Hogan wrote in his review: the Df is a product to which you’ll have an emotional response to first, and that response tends to stick.

So chances are that you already like it or not, review be damned. On the unlikely basis that you’re sitting on the fence about the Df, let’s continue.

The Nikon Df is short for Digital Fusion, a camera which Nikon markets as “pure photography” (makes you wonder what previous cameras have been up to then) and is the company’s attempt at going retro. Unless you’ve been out of the scene for the past few years, retro is big in the camera world, with Olympus and Fujifilm leading the retro look and producing some beautiful cameras in the process.

According to Nikon though, the Df was already being designed four years ago, and its launch was derailed by the terrible 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, which took down its production facilities in Sendai. So - no, the Df exists totally not because of retro as the trend, since the Olympus E-P1, the first camera to bring retro back in recent times, was revealed four years ago too in 2009.

The Df is S$3,699 for the body alone. For that price you essentially get a 16MP D4 sensor with the Multi-CAM 4800 AF system from the D610, with 39 AF points bunched in the middle. The Expeed 3 image engine nets you 5.5 frames per second, and an ISO range from 50 to an astronomical 204,800.

The Df is slightly lighter than the D610, making it the lightest full-frame DSLR camera in Nikon’s stable. The magnesium alloy body is water and dust resistant, and the camera comes with a long battery life, to the tune of 1,400 shots per charge. It’s also Nikon’s first DSLR to be compatible with Nikon’s full range of classic lenses, including non-AI (automatic maximum aperture indexing) lenses, so if you have a few lying around, you’re in luck. A collapsible metering coupling lever enables the attachment of non-AI lenses, and allows for full aperture metering.

What the Df doesn’t have is video (that’s right, the first Nikon DSLR since the 2008 D90 without the ability to shoot video) and built-in flash. It also doesn’t have built-in Wi-Fi, which we suppose fits in with the whole retro theme.

Oh yes, the Df also comes with a retro-inspired look and top dials reminiscent of Nikon’s FM 35mm film camera. That retro-inspired look is important, as it will be the main reason many will be buying the Df for.

The Good
Lightest FX body in Nikon's stable
High battery life
Stellar image quality
High ISO low noise images
The Bad
Retro controls are clunky
Digital 'fusion' is inconsistent
Front dial is stiff and hard to use
AF points are bunched in the center

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