As with its specification, the camera’s handling is somewhere in between the D300 and D3, with a decent weight and excellent build quality, but heavier than the former and lighter than the latter. It lacks the sheer brute force of the D3, but shares similar handling traits to its stable mates (in fact, most Nikon or other manufacturers’ cameras do). The grip and finish of the camera is robust and secure and its size means that the array of buttons don’t get cramped and lost.
As well as a top plate LCD showing camera settings, Nikon has expanded and improved the large function menu on the back LCD. With a similar look and feel to the standard grey LCD, the new graphical interface is easy to read and relatively simple to work around. Certainly, as I get older, I appreciate the larger font sizes and bright backlit display. The camera menus continue to follow Nikon’s standard format and are clearly labelled.
While some users may respond instantly to Nikon’s style of button-based operation, some may find it quite intimidating. The buttons are many but are clearly labelled and once set up the camera is ready to shoot. Any further alterations can be made using either the function menu or the pair of command dials at the front and back for fundamental controls like aperture and shutter. The four-way controller doubles as the AF point selector, or you can switch the auto focus using the AF mode switch next to the LCD.
In the all too brief time I spent with the camera, I found that I could easily get around the camera for the most part but still found some quirks. As a reviewer I switch back and forth between makes and sometimes you forget how a particular system works. It took me ages to remember where Canon keeps the exposure compensation, with Nikon it’s how to get the thumbnails to full size on the LCD screen. I remembered after a few minutes but little obvious hindrances only serve to wind me up. Other than that, the external aspects of the camera are lovely and this is a dream of a camera to use.