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Nikon Df Hands-On Review

Want to see exactly what the new Nikon Df DSLR camera looks like in the flesh?

Check out our extensive hands-on gallery of photos of the Nikon Df DSLR camera, including both the silver and black versions, a side-by-side comparison with the F3 film SLR, and all the background slides from a presentation held by Nikon UK.

The Nikon Df is a retro full-frame DSLR camera, available in an all-black or chrome/black finish. The "f" in Df stands for "fusion", of the past and present. A mixture of classic design with modern Nikon technologies, the Df uses the same 16.2 megapixel sensor and viewfinder as the D4 and is as weatherproof as the D800/800E.

Highlights of the Nikon Df include an ISO range of 50-204,800, new Expeed 3 processor, 5.5fps burst shooting, 39 AF points, massive 1400 shot battery life, and a quiet shutter mode. The Nikon Df supports SD cards, with one slot available in the same compartment as the battery. A special coupling lever allows non-AI lenses from as far back as 1959 to be mounted on the Nikon Df.

The Nikon Df feels large and substantial in the hand, with a plethora of controls on top of the camera allowing for quick and easy access to most of the principal controls, while the excellent viewfinder from the D4 is a joy to use.

With no built-in flash or any video mode at all, the Nikon Df is definitely one for the purist stills photographer who wants a more direct, hands-on experience with their camera, and who values the gorgeous retro styling that Nikon have so lovingly lavished their attention on.

The Nikon Df will retail for £2749.99 / $2,999.95 with the new 50mm f/1.8 G kit lens and is due to ship in the UK on the 28th November 2013.

We look forward to reviewing the new Nikon Df in a lot more depth as soon as we can get our hands on one...

A gallery of 84 photos of the new Nikon Df DSLR camera.

Published: Tuesday, November 05, 2013

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Reader Comments

  1. This camera reminds me of the Camaro ZL1....
    Its a retro, vulgar and overpriced thing made for old farts. I used to use a Nikon FE2,FE,and Nikormat FS and i loved em...but those days are gone. I think Nikon went to far with the retro thing here.. Fuji and Olympus seem to have got it right with a mix of classic and modern tech.

    dj at 06:49am on Tuesday, November 05, 2013

  2. That is quite, quite beautiful, I think I've just arrived

    NIck at 09:48am on Tuesday, November 05, 2013

  3. Couldn't agree more with dj, they already have a full frame camera in the size and that is the D610, so why bring out one ugly over-styled over-retro camera?
    Fuj has gotten it right with their cameras...

    macjim at 11:10am on Tuesday, November 05, 2013

  4. As a 60 year old existing Nikon user, I no doubt fit the “old fart “ demographic you speak of, but this camera isn’t for me. I do like dials because you can see at a glance what they are set at, and they were a significant factor in my buying into the Fuji X system, which I enjoy very much as a small compact 2nd system. I get the impression from pictures of the Df of dials squeezed together in an awkward way that won’t be pleasant to use.

    I do like the concept of the Df, but there seem a lot of areas I’m not happy with, and I would need to be VERY happy with a camera to even think about spending this sort of money.

    Jojo at 03:23pm on Tuesday, November 05, 2013

  5. F3 film DSLR. Sigh. The F3 is an SLR, the D stands for digital. Single Lens Reflex.

    Just a typo I hope.

    Scott Morgan at 04:28pm on Tuesday, November 05, 2013

  6. Too bad there is no battery grip. But I see why, the SD card is accessed from the bottom. That should be enjoyable if a bracket is mounted to it.

    Alex at 04:32pm on Tuesday, November 05, 2013

  7. When I first saw this I thought wow - it looks a bit like my wonderful Nikon FM of almost 40 years ago. Then I returned to 2013 and thought what is the point apart from getting money from people with more money than sense. 16 mb pixels and no video. Mens jewellery maybe.

    David at 10:20pm on Tuesday, November 05, 2013

  8. The top does indeed look nice and retro, but the back controls just look like its off a budget SLR!
    I think the only camera that ever got proper retro right was the Epson R-D1.

    Dan at 10:45pm on Tuesday, November 05, 2013

  9. Being that it is as gorgeous as a 1960s Nikon F or leica rangefinder makes it tempting for me to buy; the fact that in ten years or less, it will be just as obsolete, convinces me not to.

    Warren Lyons at 06:12pm on Wednesday, November 06, 2013

  10. I like it very, very much.
    Now I am going to buy a Euromillions ticket & than ...

    jure at 06:20pm on Wednesday, November 06, 2013

  11. So sad. Cobbled together with off-the-shelf parts and made to appeal to nostalgic Nikon owners. I am a nostalgic owner who loved my Nikkormat and FM2, but why would you buy this over a D800, as the prices are so close?
    Df features: D600 focus system; no video, no built-in flash and 1/250 sync speed, 1 SD card (and in the compact camera location along with the battery), no 10-pin connection for accessories, etc.
    Still hoping for a D400...

    Michael Shaw at 10:39pm on Wednesday, November 06, 2013

  12. I used all kind of F Nikon and other ,old cameras. I never cared about the look of those cameras but what they stood for. Simple photography. Nikon is commercializing this one talking about pure photography. Well, you look at the size of the camera (very close to d610), the back of the camera (the same as any other NIKON Dslr), the technology etc. and you realize that this is just an imitation. At the end, you can use this camera as you would use any other DSLR. The only difference is that people who look at you when you take their picture have the illusion that you have an old camera and that you are a purist. I rather pay less and buy a d610. What is important in using a camera is my experience to use the tool and to forget about it and if I can have that with a cheaper camera for better results...

    Amm at 05:41am on Thursday, November 07, 2013

  13. I do not understand you folks:

    does anybody see how simple and quick is access to most important settings by this Nikon?

    I think that you must take it in your hands & test it. After that sit down & write opinions.

    jure at 06:19am on Thursday, November 07, 2013

  14. Jure, I have no doubt that it's a prince that was turned into a toad but unfortunate the designers forgot to kiss it as it's just plain ugly. At least the black version looks a bit better.

    MacJim at 10:35am on Thursday, November 07, 2013

  15. @ Macljim .. I like the silver model. The old Greeks
    used to say: "The tastes are not worth discussing."
    So ... have a nice day.

    jure at 10:42am on Thursday, November 07, 2013

  16. Jure,

    MacJim at 10:46am on Thursday, November 07, 2013

  17. Don't know what happen there. Jure, yes enjoy your day too.

    MacJim at 10:49am on Thursday, November 07, 2013

  18. @macjim:

    Because this has the sensor from the D4. That alone is reason to seek out this camera instead of the oiled D600.

    Yaj at 10:21pm on Thursday, November 07, 2013

  19. @Michael Shaw:

    Why buy this over the D800? Better in lowlight.

    Yaj at 10:23pm on Thursday, November 07, 2013

  20. @Amm:

    This is likely a good bit better at lowlight high ISO work than the D610. "Likely" is an understatement.

    Yaj at 10:27pm on Thursday, November 07, 2013

  21. The absence of video would be reason enough to pique my interest. Dial controls clinches it. As for all the 'ugly' comments, y'know what's ugly? Pretty much every other DSLR that has ever been made, with all their hideous, bulbous curvy bits. This design is clean, sharp and classic. Now if only Pentax would get its act together and produce something like this, with a split prism viewfinder for 'proper' manual focusing then I'd be saving my pennies.

    Mike Chopra-Gant at 05:17pm on Friday, November 08, 2013

  22. Hi!, Hi! Lol, lol

    Now I won't be shy to get and carry my old F Model.
    It will look like new model now. :)

    Claude B. at 06:01pm on Friday, November 08, 2013

  23. It obvious who this camera is aimed at. Old farts like me, who used to haul an F2, extra lens, and a bunch of film, and loved every minute of it. Who got used to interplay of ISO/F-stop/Shutter/focus in taking each and every picture. Treasured when when you saw something, and used all that those factors to capture, in one shot, that one instant that told a story. Then, when digitals became common, looked sadly, as none of those cameras were designed to use those wonderful lenses, and they were left behind. Ten years ago, I wished that Nikon had developed a digital back for the F2, but now they have done the next best thing. I have one now, and every time I handle it, I feel a re-energized connection to photography, and relish the challenge of working a shot in the moment, rather than in Photoshop. Bravo, Nikon. Yes, we may be a dying breed, but respect that, while we enjoy technology, we also enjoy exercising some basic skills we learned because it was what we had. The Df is not the camera of the future. It's a sidebar item for a select group, much like they still make stick-shift transmissions because some of us can still dance the gears with finesse.

    GerryD at 10:11pm on Wednesday, December 11, 2013

  24. A very high quality built camera, image quality is slightly better then the D4, BUT, a limited camera for serious big pro zooms, handling is bed and ugly. Purposely designed to make impossible to add an optional battery grip for better handling with bigger pro lenses. It is a walk around camera with small lenses, mostly those small AI-S primes. Basically, a very expensive, high quality P&S camera. Unfortunately, I bought one. If I had a chance for using, testing for 1 or 2 weeks, I would never buy this camera.

    Albert at 04:35pm on Friday, January 24, 2014

  25. I agree with JOJO. I'm even older then him. Yes, old fart, still running fast. I started photography with the Nikon F and all the models to the F5. Most of the time 2-3 cameras in the same time, and still have all of them. Dedicated and stubborn loyal NIKON user em I. Seeing the camera first time, I get exited, and in a rush I bought my Df. At the moment, I using a D3s D4 and a D40 for social photography. Occasionally loading some B&W film and shoot film with any of my Nikon film cameras, mostly the oldest, or the beloved FA. So. I get the camera, surprised of the fattiness, still, much smaller and lighter then the D3s or the D4. I was also surprised of the quality of the images. jpg and RAW, the camera produced. Using first all my beloved AI-s lenses it was beautiful, But! When I tried to mount the latest pro lenses like AF-S 17-35/2.8, AF-S 24-70/2.8 oh not, the AF-S 70-200/2.8 I realized, the camera is not balancing well by itself with those big lenses, hard to handle, its need an extended bottom, a battery grip, for better handling, witch turned out, IMPOSSIBLE, Nikon designed the camera in the way they blocked all the possibility to attach an optional battery grip to it. Walking around shooting with those small primes up to the 200/4 AI-S, was very nice, lovely to use. But the big AF lenses was a big disappointment for me. This camera is a high quality camera in every way, but, limited camera for the well of people, it is not an upgradable camera, it is a collection item all ready, and start to hate the whole concept, the way it was designed. WHY FUJI was able to design a camera so beautiful and practical logical then the XT1? It same to me, I'm not alone with my disappointment, in Toronto Cryiglist, 5-6 Df available for sale all ready. It is really and awkward stupid design of Nikon. It is the first time in my 40-50 years of photography, I'm disappointed by Nikon.

    William at 02:29am on Thursday, January 30, 2014

  26. CRAP by NIKON

    Fujica at 12:27am on Thursday, March 13, 2014

  27. I have totally agree with the macjim ,Nikon is always better clarity of their camera and their pixel was nice as well.

    Raygan at 07:47am on Monday, December 28, 2015

  28. Yes I always using the Nikon camera. Nice pictures quality.

    Taher Hussain at 10:49am on Wednesday, March 16, 2016

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