okay, i know i know, gears aren’t important, what is more important is the person behind the camera. But as a photographer, I always believe in knowing what you are using and how to use them is very important in my line of work. So, this time around, I’m just going to do a really quick and simple straightforward review about my nikon DF. I’ll won’t be talking much about the picture quality of the DF because you can find all kinds of ISO pictures all over the internet writing great reviews about it. But for my review, you’re going to get my personal user experience of what did DF made right and wrong and it’s usability.
So lets start with what I like about this camera, I really really like the image quality that it produces, the awesome 16mpx D4 sensor without the bulkiness and the price of a D4, reminds me alot how much I love my d700 until today. Surprisingly, this new camera tends to also attract alot of curious people asking me why am I using such an old camera to shoot wedding, it is indeed an interesting way to spark a new conversation. Lastly, a really so much better screen compare to the horrendous D800, thank God for this.
Now on to my rants and complains, the most surprising and disappointing things about this camera is that there is NO EASY EXPOSURE COMPENSATION, this is absolutely a very big drawback for me. Shooting wedding days for me are very fast paced and under all kinds of very tricky lightings, so adjusting compensation dial is what we do alot, and I do it by enabling “Easy Exposure Compensation” and turning the main command dial for a quick exposure compensation. But now, this function is not available for the DF, everytime I try to adjust exposure compensation, the DF made me look like a monkey scratching its head. This was a huge huge disappointment as to what was the DF designers thinking when they did not thought of putting this function back, how hard can it be? its just software. But then again, alot of people would say this is not designed for fast pace shooting, if you want something fast paced, get the D4. But Nikon was always famous as a camera build by photographers for photographers, this is why I love Nikon in the first place, everything was very well thought of, the placements of buttons, the customizable buttons, all the way down to the firmware of the camera itself.
While the focusing system on the df is pretty good, I didn’t quite like the very concentrated 39 focusing points to the middle of the viewfinder, it is as though nothing else would ever matters at both sides and top bottom of the frame. Same problem as the D600, even my trusty old D700 has better laid out focusing points. While the retro design attracts lots of curiosity, but the retro design gives you a very bad grip onto the camera. Needless to say, if you try fitting it with heavier lenses like the 24-70, or the 14-24, the weight just shifts forward and it gets even harder to grip and you need to use your left hand to suppose the lens weight, to make things harder, if you want to change your exposure compensation, your right hand needs to support the whole forward weight of the lens while you do the monkey pose to change your exposure compensation dial manually.
All in all, I would recommend this for slow paced shoot, like portraitures, pre-wedding work, travel whereby you have the time to slowly tweak the dials and enjoy the shooting, DF would work perfectly fine. Its definitely not for fast paced shooting, as the dials and buttons are everywhere. Its also light weight, 50mm f1.4D works perfectly fine with it. It makes you look cool too. Image quality is without a doubt top notch.