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Bad Ass New Nikon in Old School Rags

by on November 18, 2013


Year Manufactured



Hot looking,
Solid feel,
Old lens backward compatibility ,
Tons of features,
Big Viewfinder


No Video,
No microphone,

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Bottom Line

Buy it.


Remember the old school film cameras that weighed a ton but were as sturdy as a Nokia or a brick?

If you like taking pics as much as me but hate having to worrying about scratching the plastic body? Fret no more! The Nikon Df is now officially here. The Df is a 16MP (for mega huge posters of that most excellent meal you snapped), full-frame DSLR with the sensor and processing guts of the company’s flagship D4, and an AF system borrowed from the D610. The body is inspired by a much earlier generation of film cameras, think 1985 (woah, that’s heavy).

For those raised on film SLRs the effect is rather intriguing. Nikon has been working on  the Df  for at least four years, and the glee of its creators is almost palpable in the many specific design cues obviously taken from earlier SLRs including the FM/2 and the long-lived professional-targeted Nikon F3.

topplatecontrols Bad Ass New Nikon in Old School Rags

So,what’s it got?

  • 16 megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor (same as D4)
  • ISO 100-25,600 (expandable to ISO 50 – 204,800 equiv)
  • Maximum 5.5 fps continuous shooting
  • 39-point AF system with 9 cross-type AF points (same as D610)
  • 3.2-inch, 921k-dot LCD screen
  • Physical shutter speed, ISO and exposure compensation dials
  • Compatible with virtually all Nikon F-mount lenses (including pre-Ai standard)
  • Single SD card slot
  • EN-EL14a battery (quoted endurance of ~1400 exposures)

Nikon says, the ‘F’ in Df stands for ‘fusion’ – specifically, fusion of the old and the new.  The ‘retro’ styling ,s that make the the body of the Df was widely leaked before its announcement and Nikon has been teasing us with it like its a pinata at a kid’s party.

The ‘D’ (heh heh ;) is of course for ‘Digital’. The Nikon Df boasts a full-frame sensor, 39-point AF system and a maximum shooting rate of 5.5 fps. The LCD on the rear of the camera is a 3.2″, 921k-dot display and, despite its ‘fully manual’ pretensions, the Df boasts front and rear control dials alongside the dedicated physical dials on the top-plate. It’s a thoroughly modern DSLR in fact, but with one major difference.

Dude, where’s the video button?

There is none. WHAAAAAAAT??! Same thing I thought, for a camera that costs well over $2k (USD) I was shocked to hear that the Df does not have the capability to shoot video. Nikon engineers, have said that video was never on the table as an option for the Df, apparently as much a philosophical point as anything else. This is a serious camera for serious people which is to be used for ‘pure photography‘, not videos (, the Df still boasts a full compliment of retouch options including the decidedly lightweight fisheye and miniature effects).

While it’s true that many potential Df owners might not care about video, we’re not convinced by this explanation. All things being equal, if you can add a function, why not do so? It’s possible that the Df’s relatively low-capacity EN-EL14a battery isn’t quite up to the challenge of HD video from a full-frame sensor, but this is speculation. Maybe video could be added via firmware, but the question is probably academic, since the Df has neither a built-in microphone nor a jack for adding one.

Lens compatibility

Despite looking like Austin D Powers himself would sport this camera, the Df is an autofocus camera. Unlike entry-level Nikon bodies, but in common with its other full-frame peers, the Df has a built-in AF drive motor, and as such it will focus automatically with Nikon’s AF and AF-D lenses (and equivalent third-party options), as well as more modern AF-S designs with built-in focus motors.

As far as aperture control is concerned, if you only own modern ‘CPU’ lenses the Df works as you’ve come to expect – in aperture-priority and manual exposure modes you set the aperture using a dial on the camera body. If your CPU lens has an aperture it must be locked to the smallest aperture ‘auto’ setting, and by default you cannot use the ring directly to set aperture. This isn’t a huge surprise (in common with other high-end Nikon DSLRs there’s a well-hideen custom function that allows you to do it), but does seem a shame in such an openly ‘traditional’ camera design, and it’s a feature we wish Nikon had exposed better.

Up to nine ‘non-CPU’ lenses can be programmed in for use with the Df. When one of these is attached, aperture is adjusted using the dedicated ring on the lens. But here is the best part in my opinion (which I know you will want to hear since you are reading this) you can also attach very old, pre-Ai (automatic indexing) lenses to the Df!. That’s right this baby will work with OLD LENSES!! Blow the dust off the old gear, hit the thrift stores for some antiques, this camera will work with them!


So, if you want to make your hipster outfit functional, buy this, if you want to impress a chick, buy me one.

~Dani D. <3

allroundview 001 Bad Ass New Nikon in Old School Rags


MSRP $2749.95 (body only), $2999.95 / £2749.99 (with 50mm F1.8 lens)
Body type
Body type Mid-size SLR
Body material Magnesium alloy
Max resolution 4928 x 3280
Other resolutions FX: 3696 x 2456, 2464 x 1640; DX crop: 3200 x 2128, 2400 x 1592, 1600 x 1064
Image ratio w:h 3:2
Effective pixels 16 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 17 megapixels
Sensor size Full frame (36 x 23.9 mm)
Sensor type CMOS
Processor Expeed 3
Color space sRGB, AdobeRGB
Color filter array Primary color filter
ISO Auto, 100 – 12800
White balance presets 12
Custom white balance Yes (4 spots)
Image stabilization No
Uncompressed format RAW + TIFF
JPEG quality levels Fine, normal, basic
File format
  • JPEG (EXIF 2.3)
  • RAW (NEF)
  • TIFF
Optics & Focus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Phase Detect
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lamp No
Number of focus points 39
Lens mount Nikon F mount
Focal length multiplier
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCD Fixed
Screen size 3.20″
Screen dots 921,000
Touch screen No
Screen type TFT-LCD
Live view Yes
Viewfinder type Optical (pentaprism)
Viewfinder coverage 100%
Viewfinder magnification 0.7×
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed 30 sec
Maximum shutter speed 1/4000 sec
Exposure modes
  • Program Auto
  • Shutter Priority
  • Aperture Priority
  • Manual
Built-in flash No
External flash Yes (via hot shoe or PC sync)
Flash modes Auto FP High-speed sync, front-curtain sync, rear-curtain sync, redeye reduction,
Flash X sync speed 1/250 sec
Drive modes
  • Single-frame
  • Continuous high
  • Continuous low
  • Mirror-up
  • Quiet shutter
  • Self-timer
Continuous drive Yes (5.5 fps)
Self-timer Yes (2, 5, 10, or 20 secs)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation ±3 (at 1/3 EV steps)
AE Bracketing ±3 (2, 3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV, 2 EV steps)
WB Bracketing Yes (2 or 3 shots in 1/3 or 1/2-stop intervals)
Videography features
Microphone None
Speaker Mono
Storage types SD/SDHC/SDXC card
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
HDMI Yes (mini-HDMI)
Wireless Optional
Wireless notes via WU-1a wireless mobile adapter
Remote control Yes (Cable release, wireless remote)
Environmentally sealed Yes
Battery Battery Pack
Battery description EN-EL14/EN-EL14a lithium-ion battery and charger
Battery Life (CIPA) 1400
Weight (inc. batteries) 760 g (1.68 lb / 26.81 oz)
Dimensions 144 x 110 x 67 mm (5.67 x 4.33 x 2.64″)
Other features
Orientation sensor Yes
Timelapse recording No
GPS None
GPS notes via GP-1 or GP-1A adapter


 Buy the Nikon DF on Amazon