2. Nikon Df – Travel, Social and Wedding Photography
The Df as a general travel camera
I would definitely put myself in the “passionate amateur” category of photographer and I most often use my cameras to simply capture pleasant memories of the places I visit. The Df is a wonderful travel camera as it is sufficiently lightweight to easily put in a bag and carry it about all day without noticing it – particularly when paired with a lightweight prime like the 35mm 1.8G or 50mm 1.8D. I typically carry it with 3 lenses and the total weight is barely noticeable when carried in a messenger bag. You couldn’t exactly put it in your jacket pocket but if you are comfortable carrying a bag with you (I cycle most places so am never without one) it is pretty easy to take with you and grab as and when.
Coupled with the 24-85mm VR its a fun combo as it is sufficiently flexible and I particularly like the wide end. There is a fair bit of distortion at the wide end but Lightroom sorts that easily. Over the last few years I have mostly been using an Olympus OM-D EM5 which did me proud during that time but I can really see a difference in the quality of the end result on the Df. That shouldn’t be a surprise but as I have learnt more about how to use it and particularly what you can do with the files in Lightroom, it is a far more flexible and impressive solution. Obviously one area where the Df excels is in low light and its great pushing the ISO to things like 1600 and not even noticing any noise. I have been able to get usable images easily up to ISO 12800.
One observation I would make is that the Olympus occasionally does take more pleasing pics straight out of the camera with the Df feeling more muted. If I was shooting JPEG only I might have been slightly underwhelmed by the output of the Df. But as said, take them into Lightroom and its amazing the detail it can capture. The images from the Df feel very accurate, whereas sometimes with m43 the images can feel a little digital/processed. So it probably simply comes down to personal preference.
The Df does weddings
Now let me pre-empt this section by saying I have only ever attended weddings as a guest. Wouldn’t have the bravery to take on such a responsibility. But I have taken my Df along to a couple of weddings purely to capture some moments that an official photographer might not be interested in. I have been to a couple now, one in Ireland, the other in South Africa and both times the Df performed admirably.
Below is a small cross section of pics taken at those weddings.
I use a little compact flash with it and that’s good for a bit of fill when its really dark. Otherwise you can fire away at whatever ISO you fancy and not worry about it too much. Only issue is its a slightly terrifying object to have with you when you are drinking! But thus far I have not lost it, so that’s a plus (hopefully haven’t jinxed myself with that one).
I often like to bring my camera to various social gatherings. I have found the Df to be a fun camera for this type of thing. People can be intimidated by the usual big DSLR’s but the Df doesn’t seem to elicit that same response. People seem fairly comfortable with it and are often intrigued by the looks of it as it is a fair bit different to the norm.
I would still probably say something smaller like m43 is probably better overall in this situation as its still a pretty big camera if we are honest. But the joy you get out of the images you get from it make it worth using given any opportunity (not sure what my friends honestly think about that one).
I have also recently acquired the Nikon 85mm 1.8G and it is a wonderful companion to the Df. Only managed to give it a whirl at a friends son’s 1st birthday party and the image quality you get out of it is wonderful. I was fortunate to pick one up from Parks in London as it seemed to be reasonably hard to come by at the time I wanted it. Funny how when you are told there are none in stock you suddenly find yourself wanting it more! Below are a few samples.
Interested in some of my other reviews, please follow these links:
- Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Contemporary
- Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 PRO
- Panasonic Leica 15mm f1.7
- Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8
- Olympus 75mm f1.8