Light is Everything!

I bought a Nikon Df

20140218-NikonDf-001

My Df showed up today in the mail. I was totally stoked! I ordered it last Thursday. It shipped Friday and was here today after a long weekend! Thanks to the great folks at The Camera Store in Calgary, Alberta. I’ve bought all my cameras there for the past two years and I love the store. The staff rock the set. Buy all your gear there. 😉 So I had my old 50mm f/1.8 AF-D lens still kicking around. But I don’t use it much anymore since I bought my 50mm 1.4G. But it’s still a great little lens. Soft wide open with lots of nice chromatic aberration. But whatevs. It was my first prime and I love it for nostalgia reasons. It’s a perfect match for the Df. I bought the camera straight up without the kit (on account of my 1.4). And at first it appeared that I couldn’t use the aperture ring to change aperture. But thankfully you can change that. If you use setting f7 in the menus you can in fact use the Aperture ring on the AF-D lenses for that sweet manual touch and feel.

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Speaking of which, the Df truly does feel FANTASTIC. The dials are very tactile and distinctively clicky. I was used to this feel in my Fuji X100s. I love the ISO dial. All the YouTube videos make it look like you have to contort your hands into some kind of lobster creature to move them, but you don’t. One handed operation works just fine. Thumb pushes lock button, finger flicks the dial. No sweat. The exposure compensation dial never moves on my camera because it never leaves M mode.

20140218-NikonDf-003Speaking of which, this is by far the biggest guh-fah of the Df. The shooting mode dial is stupid and wrongly implemented. Fuji has this figured out far better. It would have made more sense to incorporate an “A” onto the shutter dial for aperture mode – the way Fuji does. Oh well. I’m just going to epoxy mine to M so you can’t change it. 😉

20140218-NikonDf-004I like the shutter speed dial though. Again for it’s tactile feel. I think I will most likely have it on the handy 1/3 step increment and run it the same way I do my D800. It’s fast and easy. But the dial is nice too and very familiar from my Fuji experience. The jury is still out on the aperture sub command dial on the front. It’s not as easy to manipulate as a standard dial, but it’s not heinous.

20140218-NikonDf-005Now in comparison to the over all feel of other cameras like the D800, there is no contest. The Df sucks in comparison. Ergonomically correct this camera ain’t. It’ verges on uncomfortable in comparison. The D800 has good beefy grip, ripe with purchase. The Df is small. Very small by comparison and requires some getting used to. But I still like it. It’s almost as if the whole camera, with all of it’s paradoxes, is inviting the user into this magical land of photographic goodness. “Take the red pill Neo.” 😎

But I bought the Df to fill a specific niche. The Df is not my main camera. It will work seamlessly with my D800 and oddly enough, shore up what is lacking in it. Primarily in regards to the sensor. The crown jewel of the Df is the D4 high ISO wonderland sensor. And that’s why I bought this camera. I love the D800 but it can be too beefy with its 36 megapretzels sometimes. The Df, with its light and sassy 16MP is really a fantastic all round, ready for everything camera. Plus, the hype is true. The files are really, really nice up into the stratosphere. But the bubble really bursts at 204,800. Still, there’s at least a 2 stop quality advantage over the D800 past 6400. Not to mention dynamic range. The Df will hold together where the D800 gives up the ghost. It’s a fine paring really. Like popcorn and ice wine (try it!). 😀

20130325-DfTestShots-011This is at 12,800 ISO shot RAW. The noise is really tight and the colour is still really, really good. The blacks rock the set. Check out the shots of Ethan for a progression of high ISO performance. Not too shabby!

20130325-DfTestShots-002All in all the camera handles really well and is a lot of fun to use. It can truly be a sweet little do all, bring anywhere DSLR. It looks great, it performs even better. The light body weight does make it wonky when you put big zooms on it. Thankfully, my 70-200 f/4G lens really fits it quite well. Because the lens is light it matches the Df quite well too. But in my mind, the Df begs to be a prime camera. And the old tactile lenses are a blast to throw on it. You can’t beat old school tactile. 😎

20130325-DfTestShots-009I’m really impressed with the colour rendition of the Df too. I’m not sure what it is but there does seem to be quite a bit more pop with this camera which I love. It’s very nice.20130325-DfTestShots-001

I will have more posts in the future about the Df. Suffice it to say, don’t drink the Hater-Aid of the internet. There’s nothing worse than a bunch of d-bags flappin’ their gums about this and that without even trying the camera out – let alone buying one. And by and large, the majority of the reviews have been heinously critical of the Df. The camera is not without it’s faults. There’s lots of goofy things that Nikon ought to have done better with it, no contest. But it’s still a phenomenal camera! It begs to be shot. The shutter sound is inspiring. Really it is. The Df marketing campaign that hinted at the shooting experience has not disappointed. And the image quality is unbelievable. So is there a lot of value in this camera? Yes. Yes there is. Will it be the same value for everyone? Nope. But it isn’t just an fstoppers hipstermatic 4000. It’s a D4 chip for less than $3000.00. It’s a bargain! 😀

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