Now we love old school retro styling as much as the next photo geek, but there’s something that doesn’t quite sit right about Nikon’s new high-end Nikon Df dSLR camera.
Although those chunky old school lines pull at our heartstrings, we’re not entirely convinced in the logic of basing a modern camera around something as hefty as the old Nikon F series, much-loved cameras though they were.
It looks like Nikon have clearly been inspired by the hugely successful Olympus OM-D digital retro cameras, but missed the point along the way: the old Olympus OM 35mm film cameras were a hit because they were so small whereas this beast looks needlessly bulky.
You can see that the top plate looks reassuringly old fashioned with lots of welcome mechanical dials, the little LCD screen looks unpleasantly cheap, and the extra fatness of the body doesn’t seem to suit the old-school stylings.
Another thing that irks us: despite this camera being released at the end of 2013, the fact that there’s no touchscreen or articulated screen is something of a disappointment too.
Although there’s no denying that there’s a fabulous camera living inside this homage to Nikon’s traditions – the camera boasts the same 16.2-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor as found in Nikon’s professional flagship camera, the D4 – the price is hideously high at £2749.99/$2749.95 for the body only and $2999.95 for the camera body plus a Special Edition AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G prime.
That’s not to say we wouldn’t gladly accept one of these if you’re offering thanks very much, but given the eye-wateringly high price, we’re not sure that this is something we can recommend unless you’re seriously loaded.
Here’s the US/UK press releases with all the tech details:
Nikon UK Press Release
I AM PURE PHOTOGRAPHY
Nikon unveils the Df: a retro-styled high-end D-SLR
- RRP: £2749.99 / €3350 (Selected retailers only)
- Sales start date: 28th November 2013
- Available in black or silver
London, UK, 5th November 2013 Nikon today announces the Df, a new D-SLR dedicated to pure photography that boast looks inspired by Nikon’s iconic 35mm film cameras and technology from the latest professional models.
The Df expresses a passion for photography in both form and function. Sitting proudly in a class of its own, this retro-style camera paints a unique picture against the uniformity of modern-day D-SLRs. Equipped with the same image sensor as Nikon’s flagship D4, it offers uncompromised dynamic range and phenomenal light sensitivity. The Nikon Df is the lightest of Nikon’s current FX-format models, yet features the durable build and reliable operation that you’d expect from a high-end Nikon camera. Perfect for camera purists and design aficionados alike, the Nikon Df is set to capture the hearts and minds of photographers who are as passionate about their camera as they are about their art
Hiro Sebata, Product Manager at Nikon UK, says: “The concept for this camera was based on the emotion of photography and will appeal to passionate photographers who enjoy pure photography and cherish their cameras, as well as their images, old and new.
“The stylish, classic design of the new Df reflects Nikon’s heritage, whilst its capability to produce flagship quality images allows photographers to focus on the creative aspect of photography. This new camera is in a class of its own; it’s an emotive product that will inspire you from the moment you pick it up.”
At the heart of the Df is the same 16.2-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor and EXPEED 3 image processor found in Nikon’s professional flagship camera, the D4. Such a powerful combination of professional grade technology ensures the Df delivers superior image integrity under a broad range of lighting conditions. Photographs boast faithful, well-saturated colour and natural depth, even when shooting at the high end of the ISO range, which extends to a phenomenal ISO 204,800 (equivalent).
- 16.2-megapixel FX-format (full-frame) CMOS sensor: Thanks to an optimised balance between the size of the FX-format sensor (36.0×23.9 mm) and an effective pixel count of 16.2 million pixels, the Df delivers images with stunning depth and detail, low noise, and wide dynamic range.
- Superb light sensitivity: With ISO 100–12,800, extendable up to 204,800 (equivalent), the Df retains Nikon’s status as the sovereign of low-light shooting . Finely detailed images with minimal noise are possible even when you shoot under challenging lighting conditions.
- EXPEED 3: From image processing to transfer, Nikon’s image-processing engine makes light work of data-rich tasks without sacrificing speed and quality. The 16-bit image processing offers optimal colour, perfect tonality, and minimised noise throughout the frame, delivering smooth gradations with abundant detail and tone all the way up the scale to pure white, even when shooting in JPEG. In addition, the powerful EXPEED 3 is fast, accurate, and exceptionally energy efficient, prolonging the camera’s ability to endure extended shooting.
- Fast performance: Start-up time is approximately 0.14 s* and the shutter-release time lag is just 0.052 s* . High-speed continuous shooting is available at up to 5.5 fps in both FX and DX formats.
Iconic Nikon design: Tactile precision mechanics and flagship image quality
The Nikon Df may incorporate looks from Nikon’s iconic 35mm film SLRs, but it’s built to handle the demands of modern digital photographers. When you’re passionate about photography, you know that taking the picture is as rewarding as enjoying the final images, and the Df boasts the kind of rugged build and superior ergonomics that has made the Nikon name synonymous with durability and reliability. Crafted to respond perfectly to your command, this camera will delight the senses of any photographer who’s passionate about still images—and cameras.
- Elegant mechanical dials: Comfort meets control with knurled mechanical dials that make operation simple and secure. The dials let you set ISO sensitivity, exposure compensation, exposure mode, and release mode independently, enabling you to access all parameters relevant to still photography without using the camera’s menu.
- Full-frame portability: Experience the creative thrill of FX-format photography wherever you go, thanks to a compact body that weighs approximately 710 g without the battery. Built to withstand severe conditions, the camera features tough yet lightweight magnesium alloy top, bottom, and rear covers, and is weather-sealed to the same degree as Nikon’s D800 D-SLR for enhanced resistance to moisture and dust.
- Durable shutter unit: The highly accurate shutter unit has been tested to 150,000 cycles, with a maximum shutter speed of 1/4,000 s and flash synchronisation at up to 1/200 s.
- Self-cleaning sensor unit: Reduces the accumulation of dust in front of the image sensor.
- Energy-saving design: Achieves approximately 1,400 shots* (when using the EN-EL14a battery, in single-frame mode).
- Classic details: The Df body comes in classic black, or silver with black highlights. The textured grip, mechanical dials, and flat top-panel hark back to Nikon’s iconic silver-halide film SLR cameras such as the F2 and F3, and the GUI boasts an original monotone colour.
Vintage glass: Compatible with non-AI lenses
Taking its dedication to pure photography a step further than any other D-SLR on the market today, the Df boasts a unique collapsible metering coupling lever that enables even vintage non-AI NIKKOR lenses to be attached directly to the camera. Nikon’s lenses are renowned the world over for their optical superiority, and NIKKOR celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. Photographers using the original F-mount NIKKOR lenses broke boundaries, and those same lenses remain well-loved by many today. But it’s never been possible to use them easily with a modern D-SLR, until now.
When shooting with a non-AI lens in A (Aperture Priority) or M (Manual) mode, the Df allows full-aperture metering—equivalent to that of AI lenses. Lens characteristics such as focal length and the widest aperture setting can be easily defined via simple camera settings, enabling the camera to recognise the aperture setting and calculate correct exposure.
Professional-quality still images
The Df’s wealth of cutting-edge image technology ensures still images of the highest possible integrity. Working alongside its formidable image sensor and processing engine, the camera’s highly sensitive AF system and 5.5 frames-per-second frame rate allow even the most unexpected photographic situations to be captured with outstanding precision. Meanwhile, advanced Spot White Balance metering and features such as the dual-axis electronic virtual horizon, high-performance optical viewfinder, and Live View shooting provide valuable freedom of composition.
- Highly sensitive autofocus with Multi-CAM 4800 39-point AF system: Sensitive down to -1 EV, compatible with lenses up to f/8, and featuring four AF-area modes (including 3D tracking), the Df’s AF system delivers fast and precise coverage across the frame, even in difficult lighting conditions.
- Spot White Balance metering: The Df enables highly accurate manual white balance settings by letting you quickly assign a Spot White Balance to the specific area of the frame you select during Live View shooting.
- Scene Recognition System: The camera’s image sensor and its 2,016-pixel RGB sensor provide precise data to the Scene Recognition System, which optimises exposure, autofocus, and white balance immediately before the shutter is released, ensuring sharply defined images.
- High-performance optical viewfinder: The glass pentaprism viewfinder offers approximately 100% frame coverage and 0.7x magnification, as well as a DX Crop Mode with viewfinder marking.
- Large 8 cm (3.2-in.) 921k-dot LCD monitor with wide-viewing-angle and reinforced glass. Delivers bright, crisp image playback with a wide colour reproduction capacity.
- Dual-axis electronic virtual horizon: Roll (horizontal inclination) and pitch (forward or rear inclination) information can be confirmed via the LCD monitor, and roll information via the viewfinder.
- Live View: When shooting in Live View, optional assist gridlines for 1:1 or 16:9 image ratios help with composition, and the contrast-detect AF system boasts enhanced operability, accuracy, and speed. You can also confirm exposure simply by pressing the preview button when shooting in M (Manual) mode.
No matter which kind of photography you focus on, the Df’s range of creative and practical features can accommodate both your preferred style of shooting and your creative vision.
- Quiet Release Mode: Perfect for discreet photography, the sound of the camera’s mirror return mechanism is noticeably reduced during the burst.
- Crop Modes: DX format and 5:4 ratio. The DX Crop Mode can be automatically enabled when a DX lens is attached.
- HDR (High Dynamic Range) Mode: Shoots one overexposed and one underexposed frame in a single shutter release. The range can be widened by up to ±3 EV for different looks, full of saturation and tonal gradation, while the smoothness of the edge where the two exposures meet can be adjusted for a more natural appearance.
- Active D-Lighting: Nikon’s Active D-Lighting automatically retains the details in both dark and bright areas for stunning images with natural contrast when shooting in high-contrast situations.
- Retouch menus: Menus include options to correct red-eye and colour balance, as well as RAW processing and resize options. Filter effects include Skylight, Colour Intensifier and Cross Screen, in addition to Soft filter effects. Quick retouch options include distortion control, perspective control, straighten, and fisheye.
Picture Controls: Customise the look of your stills by fine-tuning parameters such as sharpness, saturation, and hue before capture.
As an FX-format camera, the Df is fully compatible with Nikon’s extensive range of NIKKOR lenses, and the camera comes packaged together with a special edition of Nikon’s popular AF-S 50mm f/1.8G NIKKOR lens. Now boasting a retro look-and-feel to complement the Df camera body, this lens is one of the most popular primes in the Nikon lineup, thanks to its compact, lightweight build and its fast f/1.8 maximum aperture.
In addition to NIKKOR lenses, Nikon’s vast array of photographic equipment and accessories can help you realise your ideas in countless ways. For photographers who want to get creative with light, Nikon’s industry-leading Creative Lighting System includes a range of versatile Speedlights that offer extensive opportunities for on-camera or wireless flash photography. For image transfer, the Nikon WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter enables photos to be transferred straight from the camera to a smart device; and support for remote shooting comes via Nikon’s WR-R10 Wireless Transceiver and WR-T10 Wireless Transmitter, which let you control key camera functions from a distance even if there are objects between yourself and the camera.
Exclusive leather straps and cases are available in classic black and brown.
* Approximate measurements are based on CIPA guidelines.
Nikon USA Press Release
Fall in Love Again: New Df D-SLR is Undeniably a Nikon with Legendary Performance and Timeless Design
Photo Pros and Enthusiasts Alike Will Embrace the Lightweight FX-Format Df D-SLR, Which Strikes the Ideal Balance of Classic Iconic Style and Advanced Imaging Technology
MELVILLE, N.Y. – The new Nikon Df is a modern classic designed for those who have felt a connection to their camera, who revel in the idea of going out to photograph an unfamiliar location, and who know the effort and ultimate satisfaction that is part of getting the shot. Announced today, the Nikon Df is a unique, advanced-level D-SLR that harmonizes Nikon heritage and modern performance in a lightweight and very capable FX-format camera. The new Df pays homage to the enduring style and controls of Nikon’s distinguished “F” series of 35mm film cameras, yet features technology similar to Nikon’s professional flagship D4 D-SLR. Released alongside the similarly styled AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition lens, Nikon’s newest FX-format D-SLR presents a versatile and reliable option to help passionate photographers truly achieve their creative vision.
“Nikon cameras have played an important role in documenting world history for the better part of 50 years, and have earned their position as a reliable tool that pros and enthusiasts can count on. The Nikon Df represents much more than a storied legacy of cameras; it’s more about giving the user a chance to truly enjoy the experience of taking amazing images,” said Masahiro Horie, Director of Marketing and Planning, Nikon Inc. “The design is unwavering, and the features are the latest in Nikon imaging technology. The Df brings together the best of yesterday and today for advanced full frame photographers.”
A Classically Styled, Thoroughly Modern Masterpiece
From a robust feel, to mechanical dials and finely detailed craftsmanship, the Df embodies the very best of Nikon’s photographic legacy. The classically styled camera recalls design cues such as a recognizable pentaprism and top cover, which is now constructed of durable, lightweight magnesium alloy. The top of the camera features elegant yet sophisticated mechanical controls for settings, letting users feel the tactile reassurance of adjustments, such as a familiar click stop for shutter speed adjustment. Additional dedicated dials also control ISO, exposure compensation, release mode and exposure mode, while modern controls are also easily accessible. The intuitive control layout allows for quick and confident setting adjustment, yet retains a solid operational experience that “feels like a Nikon camera.”
The Df has been designed with an emphasis on familiar intricate details made famous from previous generations, including the leather-textured top and grip, along with the body mounted shutter button with a threaded release port. The design also recalls the slenderness of the previous generation’s cameras, making this the smallest and lightest FX-format camera in Nikon’s lineup.
It isn’t all about good looks though, as this enduring design is coupled with legendary performance to create a very capable and extremely appealing FX-format offering for professionals and enthusiasts. The 16.2-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor of the Df is inherited from Nikon’s professional flagship D-SLR, the D4. The large 36 x 23.9mm CMOS sensor is praised for its ability to produce amazing image quality in a wide variety of lighting conditions. Whether shooting landscapes, wildlife or weddings, the frames captured with the Df exhibit amazing clarity, accurate color and a broad dynamic range. In addition, Nikon’s exclusive EXPEED 3 image processing engine helps propel image quality, yielding images with a natural color and depth, all while enhancing subtle and nuanced tones.
Additionally, like the professional Nikon D4, the Df performs well in a wide variety of challenging lighting conditions with an exceptionally wide ISO range from 100 to 12,800, expandable to a staggering ISO 204,800. The combination of low noise and wide range make this an appealing camera to take on the challenges faced by photojournalists and event photographers, as well as those who enjoy the pursuit of extracting otherwise impossible images using natural light.
A Feature Set for Passionate Photographers
The Nikon Df is engineered to enhance the experience of taking photos and represents a culmination of decades of experience and feedback from photographers in the field, the studio and the sidelines. From its proven AF system to modern connectivity and legacy lens compatibility, the Dfcontains the century’s best photographic features for an enjoyable all-day shooting experience.
- AF System: The convenience and precision of Nikon’s 39-point AF system is proof-positive of the benefits of modern technology. With 39 selectable AF points throughout the frame for precise focus, the Df also features nine cross-type sensors, and seven AF points capable of working down to f/8. Users can also choose from a variety of AF area modes to match their shooting style: 9-point, 21-point, 39-point, 39-point with 3D Tracking and Auto Area AF.
- Get the shot with 2016-Pixel 3D Matrix Metering and Scene Recognition System: This Nikon system analyzes each shooting scenario and determines proper camera settings, resulting in even exposures, accurate white balance and precise AF. To capture action sports, wildlife and other fast moving subjects, the Df has a continuous burst shooting rate of up to 5.5 frames-per-second (fps).
- Compose with a 3.2-inch LCD Display and Glass Pentaprism Viewfinder: Users can easily compose through the high-resolution LCD screen or the bright optical viewfinder. The LCD screen has 921K-dot resolution, making it easy for users to adjust additional settings, review images or compose using Live View. Using the glass optical viewfinder, users will enjoy 100 percent accuracy and a bright field of view. What’s more, the shooting data presented through the viewfinder has also been updated and digitized.
- Connect and Share Instantly: Another modern touch allows users to connect and share their images instantly using the optional WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter*(1). By connecting to a mobile device, users can download and share images or remotely fire the camera.
- Features for Creativity: Photographing dramatic monochrome or vivid landscapes is easier with Nikon’s Picture Controls, which allow for the customization of color, saturation and tone. The Df also features built-in High Dynamic Range (HDR) to combine multiple shots with enhanced tonal range, and two to five-frame auto-bracketing. For maximum control, images can also be captured in JPEG, TIFF or RAW file formats.
- Support for a Storied NIKKOR Legacy: In addition to being compatible with all current AF, AF-S, DX and AF-D NIKKOR lenses, the Df is also compatible with classic Ai and non-Ai NIKKOR glass. Thanks to a new metering coupling lever located on the bayonet, the user has the ability to once again enjoy their lens collections with renewed functionality. Full-aperture metering is also supported.
- Accessory System Support: The Df is compatible with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (CLS), letting users take advantage of i-TTL exposure or fire multiple units remotely using a Speedlight commander. To remotely trigger the shutter, the camera also supports the new WR remote system, as well as the threaded AR-3 cable release, which screws in to the shutter button in the traditional style.
A Classic FX-Format Special Edition NIKKOR Prime
The new AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition lens is the result of classic NIKKOR styling combined with today’s optics to create the ideal focal length companion lens for the Df. The design honors original NIKKOR Ai lenses, with colors, texture, and an aluminum mounting ring that is mated to the style of the Df. This lens is ideal for everyday portraiture, landscapes and casual photography, but offers a wide aperture and seven-blade diaphragm for natural image blur and a dramatic depth of field. Despite the timeless design, the 50mm f/1.8G is created with modern AF-S design benefits to give photographers rapid response, quiet operation and excellent sharpness and clarity throughout the frame.
Price and Availability
The Nikon Df will be available in late November 2013, invoking classic Nikon silver and black color schemes. The suggested retail price (SRP) of the Df (body only) will be $2,749.95*, while the Df and 50mm f/1.8 Special Edition lens kit will have a SRP of $2,999.95*. The AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G lens will be sold separately for a SRP of $279.95*. For an additional flair of nostalgic style, Nikon is also offering black or brown leather carrying cases, the CF-DC6B and CF-DC6S (pricing and availability to be announced).
About the NIKKOR brand
With a comprehensive assortment of FX and DX-format lenses and focal lengths, from the ultra-wide 10-24mm to the super telephoto 800mm VR, Nikon photographers have come to rely upon the NIKKOR core technologies that contribute to their optical superiority. NIKKOR is the brand name for Nikon’s photographic lenses, which are precision crafted to the most exacting standards in Nikon’s own glassworks. In 1933, Nikon marketed its first camera lens under the NIKKOR brand name, the “Aero-NIKKOR” for aerial photography applications. Since then, NIKKOR has been used as a brand name for Nikon’s lenses that symbolizes durability, high image quality and optical excellence.
Nikon, At the Heart of the Image™. Nikon Inc. is the world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology and is globally recognized for setting new standards in product design and performance for its award-winning consumer and professional photographic equipment. Nikon Inc. distributes consumer and professional digital SLR cameras, NIKKOR optics, Speedlights and system accessories; Nikon COOLPIX® compact digital cameras; 35mm film SLR cameras; Nikon software products and Nikon sports and recreational optics as well as the Nikon 1 advanced camera with interchangeable lens system. Nikon Corporation, the parent company of the Nikon Inc., recently celebrated its 80th anniversary of NIKKOR optics, and announced the production of over 80 million NIKKOR lenses in 2013, creating a new milestone in Nikon’s heritage of superior optics. For more information, dial (800) NIKON-US or visit http://www.nikonusa.com, which links all levels of photographers to the Web’s most comprehensive photo learning and sharing communities. Connect with Nikon and other photographers on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nikon and get the latest news and information from Twitter by following @NikonUSA.