Nikon Df long term user review
I have now been using it since it came out in early 2014 and in that time I have used it for all sorts including airshows, weddings (as a guest), plenty of social and travel photography. As a result I thought it might be of interest to share some of my thoughts for those interested… and this is very much a practical perspective. I love photography and find it a wonderful motivator to travel and so I am far more interested in how this camera works in real life and that is what this review is intended to illustrate for those interested.
I think we can all agree the Nikon Df has polarized opinion. I think that is a good thing – I remember when the Olympus EM5 came out and there were people that loved it, and people that hated it, but I absolutely loved that camera and still use it regularly today.
Back to the Df – I managed to get hold of one the month it came out and have, on the whole, loved the experience of using it and the images I have collected over the last few years. However since the moment it was announced there were some common complaints/criticisms.
The main points of contention that I have observed would be (and there are probably others):
- Price (in the UK particularly, but still a lot in the US)
- AF system
- Lack of video
- Fidgity manual controls
When it was announced, I really liked the look of it but I remember seeing the price and thinking that was way beyond what I realistically could afford. At £2749.00 in the UK that put it way above the D800 and D610. So I can completely understand peoples objection to that. However after looking at alternative options, I discovered that buying it from the US or HK could save me a fair bit of cash and might, just might make it affordable. Panamoz in HK are a company I had heard about but never tried. I read a lot of positive reviews and they had it listed at just over £1000 cheaper than the UK list price. So at that cost I worked out if I sold a couple of things I would be able to justify treating myself. I decided to eBay my Olympus 75mm f1.8 and a Fuji X10 to help fund the purchase as photography is a hobby to me and I couldn’t justify spending the full amount without selling a few things.
So by doing it that way, the price was no longer an issue and when compared within that price range to the competition, for me it really was a no brainer. As for video, I feel I should really try to concentrate on one thing at a time. My EM5 does video for those little videos you occasionally want but I really have little interest. Then the controls, again the EM5 had similar detractors and I have found since using the Df that I really have no issues with the controls. I could understand if you were coming from another Nikon DSLR it might be more of an adjustment. But coming from the EM5 it was a blank slate of sorts. I found after just a few outings, I was more than comfortable with how it all worked.
The only complaint which to me, has justification is the lack of AF assist lamp. In really low light situations it would really help and I have absolutely no idea why they wouldn’t include it.
Since picking up the Df in early 2014, I have accumulated the following 4 lenses that I use with the Df:
- Nikon 85mm f/1.8 AF-S G
- Nikon 35mm f/1.8 G FX AF-S
- Nikon 50mm 1.8D
- Nikon 24-85mm 3.5-4.5 VR
In the future I would like to add a high quality wide angle prime (probably the Nikon 20mm 1.8G) and a semi affordable super telephoto. I have over the course of the last year rented the Tamron 150-600 and Sigma 150-600 for airshows and in the future I would like to add one of those to my collection. But for now those 4 cover the majority of things I like to shoot and the 35mm is my newest addition as I like that focal length more than 50mm for general photography.
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