Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve surely grown aware of the trend camera makers have recently been following – packing larger imaging sensors inside progressively pint-sized camera bodies.
Most notably, Sony has been spearheading the aforementioned movement, with more manufacturers like Fuji rumored to be working on full-frame offerings in mirrorless-sized packages, aimed at cutting into the pro-DSLR market share.
So, when we first heard word that Nikon was prepping a retro-inspired full-frame camera, the general consensus was that it would be mirrorless and quite small. Well, we now know neither is the case as Nikon decided to follow a more traditional route with the new ‘DF’ – it’s a DSLR, it’s beautiful bulky and it’s primarily focused on taking great images and nothing less.
The ‘retro’ resurgence
To call the Nikon Df a “baby D4″ wouldn’t exactly be inaccurate. It shares the same 16.2 MP sensor and EXPEED 3 imaging processor as it’s $6,000 brother with image quality that Nikon touts as indistinguishable. But unlike the D4, Nikon chose to deliberately leave features such as video capture out of the Df’s feature set entirely, and focus on its pure photographic capabilities, while paying homage to its 35mm film roots with its loud styling.
Moreover, the Df packs a 39-point (9 cross type) AF system, 3.2″ 921K-dot rear LCD, ISO capabilities up to 12,800 and 5.5fps continuous shooting – all in a D800-level weather sealed body that weighs in at only 710 grams – Nikon’s lightest full-frame camera to date.
Click Out: Nikon Df Image Gallery
Probably one of the most intriguing Df features, and absolutely fitting given the type of consumer this camera is geared toward, is the Df’s ability to mount the older “non-AI” Nikkor glass. A lever near the bayonet grants the ability to mount classic Nikkor glass on the Df with full aperture metering.
Will it’s price-point let it compete?
With Sony setting the bar high, releasing the Alpha A7 at a sub-$2k price point, the Df is going to find it hard to compete on equal terms, especially since Nikon’s latest full-frame offering is so geared toward the “enthusiast.” At $2,750 body only and $3,000 for the 50mm f/1.8 kit option, it will be interesting to see if the Df sees the market adaptation Nikon is obviously hoping for.
The Nikon Df will be available at retailers by month’s end with the special-edition 50mm f/1.8 arriving at the same time for $279.95. Here’s a detailed overview from our friends at DCW: