New Nikon Df Digital SLR Camera

The new Nikon Df, a recently announced FX-format digital SLR camera will surely generate a lot of interest due to its classic design. In an age when digital cameras pack tons of features, settings and customizations, all buried under menus and button combinations, the Nikon Df is like a breath of fresh air.

Nikon has gone back to a more retro design in which the most important settings are controlled via dials, just like in the good old days. This means that you can check the camera's settings (ISO sensitivity, shutter speed, exposure compensation, etc.) without even turning it on, just by taking a quick glance at the dials on the top of it. The design is so classical that just by looking at the front side of it you'd probably think you were looking at a 35mm film camera. You'd have to turn it around to discover the 3.2" TFT-LCD screen. Let's take a closer look at a camera that has clearly steered away from the pack.

Nikon Df Specs

Nikon has touted the Df as having the smallest and lightest FX-format body, and compared to the Nikon D4, the company's flagship model, the Df looks tiny. The Nikon Df's dimensions are 5.6 x 4.3 x 2.6 inches, compared to the D4's 6.3 x 6.2 x 3.6 inches. They weigh 1.68 and 2.5 lbs respectively.  Impressive, when you consider that both cameras house the same FX-format CMOS 16.2 megapixel sensor. It supports standard sensitivities from ISO 100-12800, with additional reduction to the equivalent of ISO 50 and expansion to the equivalent of ISO 204800. 

The Nikon Df, which will be released by the end of November, will be available as body-only and as a kit with a special edition AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G lens. This lens will maximize the portability of the Df and will serve well as a good all-around lens, especially in low-light situations. 

As the Df is equipped with the Nikon F mount, which has not changed since Nikon released its first SLR camera, older NIKKOR lenses can be used with it.

A magnesium alloy has been adopted for the top, back, and bottom covers on the camera body for a solid metal touch, and surfaces such as those of the grip are finished with a leather-like texture to fit the hand comfortably. Each of the metal mechanical dials has been carved, and all of the indicators on the top of the camera are engraved and painted. All parts of the camera are effectively sealed for a level of dust and water-resistance equivalent to that of the Nikon D800-series cameras.

The optical viewfinder offers a frame coverage of approximately 100%. A camera menu option enables display of a framing grid that makes it easy to compose shots that are level horizontally and vertically. 

The Nikon Df is equipped with an AF system offering 39 focus points offers high-speed continuous shooting at approximately 5.5 fps. It also supports SDXC high-speed memory cards, as well as Eye-Fi memory cards that enable wireless transfer of images captured with the camera.

On the Df, Nikon has adopted a more efficient power supply circuitry to minimize the camera's power consumption. When a fully charged rechargeable Li-ion EN-EL14a battery is used, approximately 1,400 still images can be captured.

One thing this camera lacks is video capture capability, but for its intended target, photography purists and those interested in a more retro/mechanical experience when shooting, I doubt it'll be a deal-breaker. At $2,999.99 for the camera with 50mm f/1.8 flens kit, the Nikon Df is clearly geared towards those individuals willing to pay more for a high-quality, beautiful piece of photographic equipment. The Nikon DF can be purchased on Amazon without the hefty sales tax here.

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