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Nikon Df Review - Design Review


Nikon Df: Design

The Nikon Df is made of magnesium alloy and is weather-sealed, while its styling echoes the Nikon F3 and FM2/FE – sporting the same angular pentaprism with a leatherette finish either side.

Other touches that hark back include the slender grip and ridged dials, along with the high position of the shutter button and old, thin Nikon logo sitting upright on the front of the pentaprism.

The Df’s viewfinder is large and bright so manual focusing is relatively easy. It’s taken from the Nikon D800, so has a 100% field of view and magnification of 0.7x.

Meanwhile, there’s a 3.2-inch 921k-dot LCD display at the rear, which is razor sharp and has high contrast levels. When in live view it allows you to quickly zoom in on the area of focus to assess sharpness, though there’s no focus peaking.

Now, while the Df looks nice, it’s not instantly charming like Fujifilm’s X100S. This is down to a couple of things. The first being its comparative chunkiness.

Of course, Nikon has had to cram in modern technology, yet the camera still seems rather too big, appearing even more so when alongside those classic Nikon film SLRs.

Then there’s the weight, or lack of it. Nikon boasts that the Df is its lightest full-frame DSLR ye, but it’s a little too light for its proportions – zoom lenses feel slightly off-balanced, although primes sit better.

The textured handgrip is slender and squat with a more aesthetically pleasing finish than the rear thumbrest, which seems slightly more modern and ‘grippy’.

Of course, the features and controls required by a DSLR necessitate extra buttons and switches. However, they are laid out more or less in the standard Nikon fashion with the manual controls for ISO, exposure compensation, exposure mode (PASM) and shutter speeds being obvious.

The shutter speeds increase in 1EV increments, but for a more precise exposure there’s a dedicated 1/3-step setting entered via the rear control dial.

In aperture priority, the aperture can be set via either the lens’s aperture ring or the front command dial. This is angled roughly 90° differently compared to other Nikon DSLRs.

The Df, which in the UK comes in a kit with a re-skinned AF-S 50mm f/1.8G lens, is available in black/silver or matt black. Of the two the latter is the more successful as the silver finish looks rather painted on and plastic.

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