Nikon Df DSC_0001 and First Thoughts

It’s kind of a tradition for me to post my first DSC_0001 shots for each camera that I get, so I though I would take this opportunity to give my first impressions for the Nikon Dƒ.

Please note, it’s also my tradition to screw up the DSC_0001, so this one has the exposure adjusted.

Clicky for pixel-peeping.

Build Quality
The attention to detail and gloss and trim are really something to behold. It’s exceptional.  Yea, I know that someone is going to object and say “plastic front bits.” Ok, sure.  But you don’t see it, and you don’t feel it. When you have this in your hand, it has a very premium feel.  It shames the X100s.  In pure bling-factor, the D800 feels pedestrian.

Feel in the Hand
Not too heavy, not too light, in my opinion.  My eye went automatically to the viewfinder (same as the D800 as far as I can tell) and my finger found the shutter button instantly.  The locking exposure compensation dial is annoying, but the rest kind of make sense.  The grip is just ok – made for primes (and very small zooms).

The Sigma 35mm f1.4 or 24-85 3.5-4.5G (yes, the cheap kit) zoom is about the maximum lens size and weight that felt comfortable to me. I’m a fan of 24-85 as well as the Sigma, so they’ll be on the camera a lot.

Shutter Sound
If you’ve ever shot the D7000, it sounds similar with just a bit more pronounced “tick”.   The D800 is a smack in the face compared to this.  Quiet is very nice.

ISO Performance
What did you expect?  D4 sensor.  Pleasant noise and not nasty until well over H1.  H4 is colored sandpaper – emergency use only!

Focusing System
If anyone knows the guy who decided to put the D7000 focusing system in this wonderful camera, kick him in the balls, really, really hard, right now.

An example:  I took the 50 mm f1.8 that’s supplied with the camera (meh) and put the camera on H 0.3.  Aperture priority mode, f1.8. Then I walked around the house to find something with strong contrast that would give me a shutter speed of about 1/50.  Do you know what I was able to focus on?  Nothing.

Square in the balls. Really, really hard.

Strong contrast started to work decently at f1.8, 1/50th, ISO 12800. With no adjustments, all my lenses focused more accurately than my D800, so kick that guy in the balls too.

NEF Support
Nothing from Adobe yet, and I’d rather have my eyes gouged out while being kicked in the balls before I would use any camera manufacturers’ software, I’ve only shot JPEG so far.

Stay tuned: SOOC, unedited sample shots with the Sigma 35 f1.4 and size comparison mounted to the Dƒ.

7 thoughts on “Nikon Df DSC_0001 and First Thoughts”

  1. I have the Df and the Sigma 35mm f1.4. I have discovered that the Sigma 35mm does not auto-focus AT ALL in Live View on the Df. Does anyone else have this issue?

    BTW – I LOVE the Df (it’s easy to bag out, but you only appreciate what the hype’s about once you have used it). Also love the Sigma 35mm (especially on my D800E – the detail is incredible).

    I also have the X100S and (at the risk of provoking a flame war, which is not my intention), IMO the X100S is a great camera with a stellar sensor, but to me the Df is what the X100S should be in terms of responsiveness and handling. The X100S produces beautiful images, but I will easily pick up the Df in preference to the X100S when heading out the door; it (the Df) is just a beautiful piece of kit!

    1. About the x100s, too right, Matt!

      I was able to confirm not AF in live view with my 35Art/Df combination too.

      I hadn’t noticed, because I don’t shoot that way, but it’ll have to get a firmware update too.

      1. Cheers, Tim.

        I just stumbled across your site and have really enjoyed your postings.

        I agree with what you say about the X100S – although it has a great sensor, the Df is really the next step up in terms of responsiveness and handling. For me, as a walk around camera, the Df is the duck’s nuts!

        Re the Sigma 35mm f1.4, I truly love that lens (especially on the D800E). I noticed the non-focussing in Live View on the Df by accident (I rarely use Live View). On further investigation, if you put your camera in Live View and then go straight to the menus, you will notice that a lot of the menu options are blanked out, particularly anything to do with focussing (see custom settings A…). Not a major problem for me and I agree Sigma should come out with a firmware update (interestingly, they have just released a firmware update for the Df for a number of their lenses, but not for the 35mm f1.4) – might eventually get to use the USB dock after all 🙂

        All the best,

      2. I’ve had the same issues too! Of particular annoyance is the inability to AF fine tune with the lens, since it seems like my Sigma is just a hair off on focus. Any news on that firmware update? 🙂

        In the meantime, I’ve been making do with the new Nikon 35 1.8… Great in terms of weight, but nowhere near as sharp and contrasty wide open 😦

  2. This is indeed possibly a great camera for those that have been either waiting for D4 sensor in a smaller body or a D700 upgrade. There are some that think that this camera with its shallow grip will only be suitable with prime lenses. Without a deeper grip I don’t see me totting a 70-200 mm on this at a wedding or an event (I have a D700 and was looking for a companion) D4 is totally out of my range and I do not like the grip at all on D800/ D600. Ergonomics are a big deal for a person with bigger hands. I do see it somewhat as ideal for street photography and low light however they have seemed to have crippled it with D7000 focusing. If this is true that it does not focus in low light unless with subjects with strong contrast, then it defeats the purpose of having the D4 sensor. Furthermore, the location of the camera strap mount on the right hand grip is in an awkward position. Last but not least is this camera will not have the ability to have a vertical grip or will we see some 3rd party boutique accessories and add ons?
    -‘outkasted and holding true’

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