Today, Nikon unveiled an all-new full-frame DSLR with strong retro-styling and highly mechanical interface. The Nikon Df – short for Digital Fusion – is truly a blend of modern technology and classic ergonomics. While the Df is new the smallest DSLR in the Nikon lineup, it is an extremely capable professional camera which offers the same sensor as the enormous and class-leading Nikon D4 reviewed here.
With its proven 16 megapixels CMOS sensor, capable of an unmatched ISO range from 50 to 204,800, the Df is certain to deliver stunning images in an unusually-compact body. Its powerful EXPEED 3 processor lets it shoot continuous at up to 5.5 FPS with continuous autofocus from its 39-point Phase-Detect AF system.
The Df also offers unprecedented support for legacy lenses dating from the 1950s. Nearly any Nikon F-mount lens ever made, even those predating electronic-coupling – called pre-Ai lenses – can be used on this DSLR. This camera also offers a standard hot-shoe, PC sync-connector and mechanical wired shutter-release.
Ergonomics of the Df are a mix of old and new. There are mechanical dials for ISO, EC and full-stop Shutter-Speeds, plus dual control-dials and a sparse mode-dial. Each dial, expect for the mode-dial, is independently lockable. Parameters other than shutter-speed are marked in 1/3 steps. To select intermediate shutter-speeds, the rear control-dial must be used. In a departure from recent Nikon designs, the Df requires two hands to operate, making it less practical with zoom lenses as one would constantly switch between the zoom-ring and ISO or EC dials.
A small hang-grip provides the Df with a shallow profile compared to modern DSLRs. Markings on each dial make the state of the Df recognizable even when the camera is off. A small monochrome LCD shots basic exposure parameters, including aperture, plus shots remaining and battery-life. Speaking of which, the Nikon Df manages an incredible 1400 shots-per-charge while having a small battery.
The back of the Df is decidedly modern. It offers an extra-large pentaprism viewfinder with 0.7X maginification and 100% coverage. Just below is a large 3.2″ LCD with 920K pixels and a wide viewing angle. The LCD offers Nikon’s Live-View. Unlike most current DSLRs, the Nikon Df cannot record video despite having Live-View which is basically an unrecorded video-feed.
The Nikon Df is scheduled to ship this month for a suggested retain price of $2999 USD or $3099 CDN with a special edition of the Nikkor 50mm F/1.8G matching the Df which will also be available separately for $299 USD or CDN. Amazon, Best Buy, Adorama and B&H Photo are all already accepting pre-orders.