Half a dozen of mysterious videos and a long list of rumors that have preceded what certainly is one of the most anticipated cameras in Nikon’s history. This strong full-format digital SLR is based on a complete reformulation of the company’s philosophy. Reviewing in detail the specifications and the historical context of this series can help us understand a little better the arrival of a camera that many wanted but not everyone can or want to pay.
Digital fusion Df
It was known until recently as the digital FM, but Nikon has opted instead for a new name instead of playing the historic asset. It’s a shame, because an FM-D similar to many Olympus models or something similar to the Leica FM4 would have been better. Df –which means digital fusion, or at least that’s what they say-, is ultimately the name chosen for a DSLR that certainly seeks to fuse classic features and design with the latest digital technology.
No mirror less system or a hybrid model as was rumored; the Nikon SLR Df is a classic SLR, with mirror and a pent prism viewfinder with 100 % coverage. With a burst mode of 5.5 frames per second and a shutter that boasts a life of 150,000 cycles, the sound of the shot, if we listen to videos of Nikon – promises to be blunt.
Many will look for similarities between the Df and the recent Sony A7 and the Olympus OM-D E M1, but in fact the DNA of this reflex design-wise – so says the firm itself – is more related to the F2 and F3. Despite this, many will surely prefer it as a digital version of the FM2, which is still used and sought by photographers. Unfortunately, this new Nikon cannot inherit one of the most liked features of this popular model able to work even without batteries.
It has three mechanical dials for speed, exposure compensation and sensitivity, supported by a small LCD at the top; the proposal of this Df is very clear: you don’t need to look at the screen to use it. The camera is available in two colors (black and silver with black motifs) and features a textured grip.
F lenses (even non-Ai)
Equipped with F mount, unlike the rest of the DSLRs of the company, the Df can work with lenses other than the Nikkor Ai without requiring any modification or use an adapter. Every lens made before 1977 and without Ai (Automatic maximum aperture indexing) should work.
A 50 mm f1.8 for the occasion
Along with this SLR, Nikon has also released a renovated 50 mm f1.8. This is a special version, no changes in their optical scheme and the conventional model specifications have been made, and it features a classic-like design. The Df, like many Nikon FX models, can also work with lenses designed for APS- C sensors.
The trend today is making increasingly smaller cameras; something the Df does not like follow. Though his 710 grams -without battery – make it the lightest SLR of the company, that figure nearly doubles the weight of the Sony A7. In return offers a magnesium alloy body and the sealing featured in the D800.
The full-frame 16-megapixel CMOS the Df features is the same as the one used for the D4, and just like it, it boasts a maximum sensitivity of 204800 ISO. But the similarities end there, because both the measurement of 2,016 segments and the auto focus system of 39 points (Multi -CAM 4800) place this Df closer to the D600.
No, no video
The Nikon D90 was the first DSLR that could record video back in 2008. Interestingly, five years later, the Df removes this feature and becomes one of the few digital cameras (along with ME and Monochrom Leica) that do not offer this function. This is obviously not a limitation for technical reasons, but a decision that seeks to reinforce the idea of this camera being truly for purists. Definitely a topic to talk about, especially if you consider the Leica M even now can record video.
Although there were already many rumors about the high price of this camera, it will undoubtedly cost 2,900 dollars with the new version of the 50 mm f1.8 – presumably without it, it will be about 250 dollars less – which is the most controversial aspect of the Df. This figure makes it one of the most expensive SLR, which clearly intends to make this Nikon camera a rather exclusive piece. In any case, the faces of shock and the inevitable comparisons with the much lower price of the Sony A7 and A7R are to be expected.