Wednesday, November 6, 2013

It's Here! The Nikon Df.

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After much fanfare and mysterious marketing, the Nikon Df has been announced. The best description I've found was on Adorama's page.
(Click Here) to read the description and see three videos, by Joe McNally, Bob Krist, and Lynn Goldsmith.
Okay - so what's important about this camera for me?
  • First, the sensor. A full-frame, roughly 16 megapixel CMOS, reportedly the same as the Nikon D4, will be a monster (a good monster) in low light. The wider spacing between pixels (as compared to 24 or 36 megapixel sensors) provides superior noise performance.
  • This camera will work with all F-mount lenses. According to Adorama's page, that includes non-AI lenses! I need to verify this point, as the Nikon site says "non-CPU" but does not specifically say "non-AI." I still have a full suite of non-AI lenses that are a blast to use. They've been incredibly cheap up until now - I just bought a gorgeous 200mm f4 non-AI lens at a camera store(!) for $75. That is likely to change with the advent of the Df.
  • While it's styled like an FM or FE classic Nikon manual focus film camera, the Df has auto focus.
  • Some people speculated that the price would be less than $2,000. Nope. It's ~$2,800 for the body only. However, I think that's reasonable for what you get.
In the videos at the Adorama link above, I picked up a few things:
Joe McNally - "feels like home"
Bob Krist - "more in the moment" when using the Df
Lynn Goldsmith - has always used Nikon only, for over 40 years - "limiting factors" make you work a little harder, but in a productive way
For me personally, the most important features of this camera, in comparison to my D700, are the ability to shoot non-AI lenses and weight. My D700 works just fine with AI and AIS lenses, but it won't shoot non-AI lenses. That would be a plus. How about weight? The D700 weighs in at 995 g., while the Df comes in at 710 g. (or 71% of the D700). That's a difference of 285 g., or about .63 pounds. Significant weight reduction to my most comparable camera. One more benchmark, the historic Nikon FM2 film camera weighed 540 g.
So, am I excited about this camera? Yes. Am I preordering one? Hmm. Probably not. If I didn't have the Leica M9 I would. I will likely have a Df some day.