Nikon Df

There’s lit­tle in­side the retro-styled Nikon Df that’s new, it’s the build and han­dling that’s the real draw. An­gela Ni­chol­son takes it for a spin…

NPhoto - - Test Team -

Nikon Df

Feel the dif­fer­ence

£2749, $2999 (with 50mm f/1.8G Spe­cial Edi­tion)

It’s been clear ever since Nikon an­nounced the lux­u­rypriced full-frame Df that it’s a case that di­vides opin­ion. Like Mar­mite, some love it but oth­ers just don’t like it.

Its key fea­tures are the 16-megapixel sen­sor, high ISO range, retro con­trols and a pre­mium price tag. In­ter­est­ingly, it lacks both built-in flash and movie modes.

Nikon is aim­ing it at pho­tog­ra­phers who want to re­cap­ture the feel and me­chan­i­cal in­volve­ment of old­fash­ioned cam­eras, so it re­ally has to deliver on both the im­age qual­ity and the user ex­pe­ri­ence to jus­tify its price. While it is quite chunky, the Df is much smaller than the D4, whose

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sen­sor it shares. It’s about the same size as the re­cently launched D610, but with a more an­gu­lar de­sign said to be based on the FM2.

Al­though the link to past Nikon SLRs is clear, mod­ern ma­te­ri­als and cer­tain small el­e­ments of de­sign give away the fact that the Df is a mod­ern cam­era. It’s su­perbly retro, yet is weather sealed to the same stan­dard as the Nikon D800 – al­though it has to be said that the faux leather coat­ing on the pen­taprism hous­ing is a lit­tle cheap-look­ing.

One par­tic­u­larly nice touch on the Df is the threaded shut­ter re­lease, which can ac­cept a tra­di­tional-style ca­ble re­lease.

You set the fo­cus mode in the same way as on Nikon’s other re­cent SLRs, via a switch to the side of the lens mount. This switch has a but­ton at its cen­tre which, when pressed and used in con­junc­tion with the front and rear con­trol di­als, al­lows you to se­lect the AF op­tions (Sin­gle-AF, Con­tin­u­ousAF, and so on).

It’s nice to see a re­turn to a switch on the back of the cam­era to set the me­ter­ing mode, and a but­ton on the front of the cam­era, which is used in con­junc­tion with the com­mand di­als, to set the brack­et­ing op­tions.

The Df’s right strap lug seems to be in the wrong place. It’s above the grip, which means the grip isn’t as tall as it could be and the strap can get in the way when reach­ing for the shut­ter re­lease. It de­pends how you like to carry the cam­era. If you tend to put the strap over your shoul­der or wrap it around your hand, you’ll find that you are able to reach the shut­ter re­lease quickly and eas­ily in most in­stances. How­ever, if you carry the cam­era around your neck, you may find it a lit­tle more awk­ward at first.

While the Df feels rugged and sur­vived a few rain show­ers dur­ing our test­ing, it’s rather wor­ry­ing that the bat­tery bay door fell off a few times when the lock was open. It feels solid enough and seemed to snap back on sat­is­fac­to­rily, but we picked the cam­era up on more than a cou­ple

De­spite be­ing cov­ered in hatches and di­als, the Df feels pleas­ant to hold, though the faux leather is a lit­tle bit cheap

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