Nikon loses plot–starts selling ”lifestyle” cameras

Oooohkaaayyy so Nikon has finally released their new “Df” camera.  Whilst other manufacturers like Sony are advancing the art of the digital camera by removing legacy “features” left over from the days of film (flappy mirrors and shutters), Nikon has put a random collection of DSLR parts into an F3 film camera body and is asking Two Thousand, Seven Hundred and Forty Nine actual real pounds for it.

Nikon Df Digital SLR Camera with 50mm Lens - Silver

If you’ve watched the ads on YouTube, you will have seen a dodgy looking unshaven Inspector Clouseau geezer tramping around the Scottish Highlands in entirely inappropriate clothing “doing landscape” with just his trusty Df  (The strap-line for these vids btw is “It’s back in my hands again”.  I’ll leave you to make up your own jokes about that ).  So apparently all these guys with their tripods and filters, and remote releases are all bogus latter day charlatans with all the gear and no idea – Pure Photography is done by just aiming your “pure” camera and clicking one button.  Heaven forbid you may do anything else to ruin the “purity” of the crappy flat shots he’s making stood up in middle of the glen with his 50mm lens

Here’s the “highlights” on the spec:-

  • 16Mp 35mm sensor from D4
  • 5.5 fps
  • 1/4000 max shutter speed
  • 1/200 max flash sync speed
  • 765g with battery and card
  • Dual SD card slots
  • 1400 shots off of one battery
  • 39 point AF system


Manufacturers link
Click here

So it’s 2 millimetres narrower than a D610, 1 millimetre shorter and 15.5 mm thinner.  So it’s not any smaller then really – certainly not in a way that makes any difference to how you’ll carry or use it.  The Dx format D7100 is smaller, and the 3200 smaller still – any smaller and you’d struggle to hold it.  It’s no lighter either at 710g

  • It has the crappy shutter from the D610 which tops out at 1/4000th of a second – a whole stop slower than most top end DSLRs
  • Flash sync speed is 1/200th sec:  again, slower than most Nikon DSLR’s at 1/250th or even 1/320th in the right conditions.
  • It has the sensor from a D4 – 16mp with very high ISO possibilities.  It allows you to select up to 204800.
  • It shoots at 5.5 fps, so hardly going to win any speed trials.  The D610 goes at 6 fps.
  • It has 39 AF points – so any D3/D700/D800/D4 shooters will be wondering how the other 12 escaped.
  • Did I mention it costs more than a D800E ?

Also – laugh at the brochure:-
“Lightweight portability”… riiight.   Despite it being not much smaller or lighter than say a D610 then, and bigger than a D7100?
“Intuitive simplicity” … er if you say so Nikon – it has a *shit load* of dials and buttons.
So all in all, this is an average DSLR in a retro body, that looks like an ergonomic nightmare, for a ridiculous price.  And then there’s this:-

Nikon Df Digital SLR Camera with 50mm Lens - Silver

Yes folks, Nikon have brought back all of the authentic handling problems from the days of the F3.  Imagine you have the thing to your eye.  Instead of flicking the relevant wheel which sits right under your thumb or index finger to adjust the exposure, you have to fumble around on top of the thing to twiddle a knob.  Now we might imagine that the currently selected shutter speed, compensation and ISO are displayed in the viewfinder as normal, however this is still pretty useless for fluid adjustments on the fly. 30 years of ergonomic development written off.

I’m sure the Nikon fan boys will be queuing up to buy these in silver.  They have even resorted to making a “special edition” 50mm 1.8G with a fake aperture ring.   It does look very nice I have to admit, however I don’t really care what my camera looks like – it’s a tool not a handbag.

So a cynical toy for rich boys more interested in style than actually making images.  Well done Nikon:  Fuji and Sony must be quaking in their boots over this.

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