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…
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
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