Nikon Df

Discuss Nikon E2, E3 (incl. Fujix DS-505, 515 and 56x models), the original Nikon D1 and other discontinued Nikon DSLRs. Ask questions, post general comments, anecdotes, reviews and user tips.
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Stan Disbrow
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Nikon Df

Post by Stan Disbrow » Mon Sep 10, 2018 12:32 pm

Hi,

The Df is probably too new to be considered collectible, but I wonder if any of the gang here shoot with one?

It seems to be to be *the* DSLR for me. I have a nice set of AI'd, AI and AIS lenses left over from a series of Nikon film cameras (F2, FE, FA). They work fine on my F5 based Kodak 7xx DSLRs. But, that takes me only as far as the last Kodak 6 MP APS-H sensor.

On the Nikon DSLR side, I have (or have had) the E2, E3, D1, D1H, D1X and D2H. After the D2H, I got off the merry-go-round so never did get a D2X or anything newer. I did wrestle with maybe getting a Leica R9 with a DMR which had the last of the Kodak imagers at 10 MP, but never did. Too much money for that setup.

So, now we have what is more-or-less a D4 with 16MP and the full 35mm frame size imager. I know lenses vary and I won't go into a long list of those. This is just an in-general query. How do folks like the Df and/or the D4? Lots of such data on the web but it is all over the map. Seems one either loves the Df or hates it....

Or, misunderstands it. I think one would have had to have shot with an older film body to understand the Df.

Me, that part is exactly what I want. My first 35mm film camera was a rangefinder, then an FE, then an F2, and lastly an FA (which I was still shooting alongside the E3 and the D1). I get what Nikon was up to with the Df.

Heck, if anyone had ever been successful with making a digital back for any of the older film cameras, I'd be using one still. And, this explains why I stuck with the Kodaks. F5 film cameras with digital backs. As close as it came, and as far as they got.

But, I am ready to add one more. And, that Df seems like what I had in mind for the D1 and didn't get.

Plus, some day the Df will be a collectible. ;)

Stan
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Re: Nikon Df

Post by NikonD1X » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:34 pm

Hi Stan

You wrote: „The Df is probably too new to be considered collectible, but I wonder if any of the gang here shoot with one?“

Beside my D1, D1X, D2Hs and D2X I use the fullframe D800. Within the last days I bought a D4. Yes, almost as double as heavy like the Df and no folding Non-AI-Lens aperture-ring dog. I modified all my Non-AI-Lenses with a rasp/file… Even my wonderful 2,8/8 mm Fisheye. But I wanted the D4-autofocus instead the Df/D600-AF. Is the Df collectible? Yes in 5 to 10 years?

Best Regards

Ralf

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Re: Nikon Df

Post by Stan Disbrow » Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:15 pm

Hi,

I hope you will tell me how you like (or not) the images made by your D4. That, after all, is what is most important.

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Re: Nikon Df

Post by Webmaster » Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:01 pm

Hi Stan,

I’ve never used the Df myself, but I have used two D4s professionally for the past 6-7 years (since it was first introduced). It’s a obviously a great camera in many ways (robust, fast, reliable, great low light capabilities) but for me it has just been a tool. Never really fell in love with it. Has some color/wb issues, files require quite a bit of processing. These days my favourite tool is the D850. I only use the D4 for sports or when I need to quickly transmit photos directly from the camera (using the WT-5 transmitter).

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Re: Nikon Df

Post by NikonD1X » Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:55 pm

Hi Stan

Image

I took the D4 where it belongs to – a horrible illuminated gym. Please read my report and use Google Translate:

https://www.digicammuseum.de/geschichte ... n-dslr-d4/

I would never carry the heavy load D4 through my (family) holidays. In that case I use my favorite Nikon D90…

Best regards

Ralf

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Re: Nikon Df

Post by Stan Disbrow » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:35 pm

Hi,

Well, I have been playing 'catch-up' for the past month. Looking very hard at both the Df and the D3. There was a *lot* of things to sort thru in regards to the Df. It seems that there is a lot of confusion and even hate out there, much of it from folks that didn't bother to actually try one. Plus, I also had to take a look at the D4 while I was at it.

In the end, I am going to give the Df a try. So, the next step is to keep an eye on the used market. Maybe for another couple weeks, anyway. I am leaning towards buying a refurbished unit, probably from B+H. It will cost a bit more than what I see on the used market so far, but a refurb does get checked by Nikon along the way.

The way I am looking at it right now, the Df is pretty much an F3 with D4 innards. It is smaller and lighter than my F4 film and my D1H digital, and a bit larger and heavier than my ex-FE and FA film, bodies. And, it'll work with all my ancient prime lenses as well as the newest zooms. And, that is my Master Plan: Manual focus primes and auto focus zooms.

Stan

Edit:

And....DF is used regarding microscopes, where it stands for Dark Field (as opposed to Bright Field, BF). As in microscopes for looking at solid objects (as opposed to slides). Many scopes have objectives where you can select between looking at what is bright vs what is dark. Especially, metallurgical scopes.

Personally, I prefer polarized light source and another polarized filter in front of the objective. That way, I can rotate the light and see a continual change in reflectivity of what I am looking at. As in changing bright to dark, and dark to bright, and everything in between.

And....Nikon makes microscopes. So, searching for Nikon Df returns some unexpected results sometimes. That got me to chuckling. Photographers wondering why all these microscopes show up! :P

I have had several Nikon scopes over the years. They do make good ones. My personal one happens to be a Leica, though. With polarized light and objective filters. ;)
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Re: Nikon Df

Post by Stan Disbrow » Mon Oct 29, 2018 9:34 pm

Hi,

So, the hunt continues. The used market seems somewhat odd. Very few out there and all in the $1600-2000 range. Most have quite a bit of use on them.

Plus, that price isn't far below refurb cost ($2100) But, lately, seems there aren't many refurbs to be had, and they all seem to be Silver. I want a Black one. Well, not that it is terribly important. But, I also want just the body and not the kit with the AFS version of my 50mm f1.8 if I can.

So, I am now going to look for a new one. Try some shops reasonably close and see. Looking about the web, I get the impression this is still in low-volume production. If so, that would explain both the high used cost and dearth of refurb units. I can see where the rate of return for refurb would have dropped off since 2013.

If it is still in production, this would have to be some sort of a DSLR record. Five years is a long time in this world....

Stan
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Re: Nikon Df

Post by Stan Disbrow » Wed Oct 31, 2018 12:38 am

Hi,

Ok. Found out Nikon USA has no stock (of black ones anyway) right now, and no ETA. Rumor mill is full of 'DF2 is coming!' but no idea as to when. I checked several decent shops within 100 or so miles of me. One silver one in stock. Well, was. I have it now. :)

I wasn't terribly interested in a Df2 anyway. The Df1 sports more performance than my 760 and 720x in a far smaller and lighter package.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

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Re: Nikon Df

Post by pieroc91 » Wed Oct 31, 2018 1:37 pm

intresting... how does it behave in low light? i work mostly in really dim lights shows and using a d800 is not the correct aproach since is very noise, i was thinking in a d750 but that Df is one sexy machine...

Stan Disbrow
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Re: Nikon Df

Post by Stan Disbrow » Thu Nov 01, 2018 10:36 am

Hi,

Many reviewers called it the low-light machine. ;)

I messed with it most of the day yesterday. Ran it up to ISO 12k. Looked pretty darned good to me. I probably should have waited until after dark, tho. I just stopped down and worked the Df in whole ISO steps and took shots of the cat snoozing in the chair in the living room mid-morning yesterday. :P

The normal ISO range is ISO 100-12k. It can go one stop lower and two stops higher, but I didn't try those. Just stayed within the normal range.

Keep in mind, my experience is with the D1 and D2 series, nothing newer until the Df. And, I chose long ago to settle with the Kodak DCS 760c (ISO 80-400) and 720x (ISO 400-6400). So, a 6 MP for good light and a 2 MP for low light. Those are Nikon F5 film bodies with Kodak digital backs. Big, heavy and huge. But the 720x was once the best in low light as it was designed specifically for that. Anyway, so far the Df is cleaner at ISO 12k than the 720x was at ISO 3200.

I have an event, not particularly important as far as photos go, on Saturday. The NC Gourd festival in one of the buildings at the State fairgrounds. Going to shoot some with the Df with the AFS version of the Nifty Fifty just for grins. Along with some of my old MF lenses. Sort of a try-out without flash. That being my main point here. No flash. And, no big zoom lens. Try and return to the days when the camera and lens were not so obvious. ;)

Oh, and one of the things we do business-wise is grow gourds. And, my wife crafts them. So, this is a work day for us, but there will be time for some shooting. :)

Stan

Edit: I ran the ISO up some this morning. Hi-1 is usable. Past that not so much. Lo-1 more-or-less ISO50 has an odd contrast to it. I think I will be good staying in the calibrated range.
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Re: Nikon Df

Post by Webmaster » Thu Nov 01, 2018 4:51 pm

Congratulations, Stan. Great sensor in a nice retro-ish body. Have fun!

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Re: Nikon Df

Post by Stan Disbrow » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:09 pm

Hi,

I have been testing it out. It is quite a step up from the F5 based Kodaks! Heck, it is quite a step up from the D2 series which is as far I went on the merry-go-round. Then, I sold off the D2 units to stick with the Kodaks all this time. The Df has more menu options than Bayer has asprin....

I also had to go and get a new notebook computer so I can run the latest Adobe stuff. I was sitting at CS-1 on my notebook and CS-3 on my Mac G5. Neither of which support the Df. We always have up-to-date stuff at the screenprinting shop, of course, but I didn't want to have to go there to process photos. As usual, I will shoot Raw and process later where I have more control over everything.

As I mentioned, the noise levels are impressively low up to ISO 12k. The Df will nicely replace the 720x for low light. All my old MF lenses appear quite happy on it. It came with the AFS 50/1.8 and it looks huge next to the old AI version.....

I will be using it quite a bit tomorrow, so that will be a lot of fun. :)

Stan
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Re: Nikon Df

Post by Stan Disbrow » Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:51 pm

Hi,

So far, so good. This thing operates every bit as well as I expected from my research. It is a happy camper with all my AI lenses (I have all the focal lengths from 24 to 300mm. I never did get a 20mm, and now I see where the new AFS f1.8 is the best option there optically). Being able to load the lens data into the camera helps. Of course, I knew that from my D2 series when I had those, but the Kodak 760 doesn't work that way.

Only thing I noticed that needed changing was the operation of my SB28d (not dx, this is the SB28 modified for the F5 with the Kodak sensor to give TTL on that rig). I had to use it in flash Auto mode on the DF. And, set the flash zoom manually. Even with my one D-type zoom lens. It auto zooms on the 760, but not on the Df. Oh, well. Can't have everything. So, I wandered into the local camera shop and picked up a used SB400 for cheap. Nowhere near the power of the SB28d, but much smaller and cuter. Plus, all I can really see needing is a little fill sometimes. And, this will do that nicely.

For example, I was at an antique farm show a few weeks ago with the 760. It was cloudy, but I had enough light with the Nifty Fifty. Until I wanted to shoot the guys running the sawmill under the roof. Then, they were too dim. I needed a little fill flash. That came out well with the SB28d on the 760. But, I doubt it would come out as well on the Df. The SB400 does TTL on the Df, and ought to have done that job OK. Come Saturday, we have a meeting at the farm park and I will go take a couple test shots of the sawmill with the Df and SB400.

All I need now is another show somewhere to shoot with the Df. Might be a bit of a wait since we're running into Winter and the shows die off with the trees.....

The final item is what I like to do with shots from shows. Print folks restored stuff onto T-shirts with a specialized inkjet printer I bought a few months ago. The 760 with 6MP was a little low res for this work. The Df with 16MP is a much better fit. It is perfect for portrait mode and actually a bit too much for landscape (which most prints will be). That is actually a great thing. :)

Stan
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Re: Nikon Df

Post by Stan Disbrow » Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:41 pm

Here is an update. So far, I have used it with every lens I have, and it works just fine. My issue now is: more lenses. There is the new AFS 20/1.8 and that is now on my list. As may be the AFS 28/1.8 to boot. I really didn't want the Df Lens Kit with the AFS 50/1.8 but now that I have it, I rather like it.

I only ever had one zoom lens, the old AF 28-105D f3.5-4.5 Macro. It works just as good as it ever did. Handy little sucker. But I got to thinking about adding a tele zoom, and so went shopping. I went to look at the Nikon 80-400, the Nikon 200-500, the Tamron 150-600 and both Sigma 150-600 (Contemporary and Sport).

The Nikon 200-500 and Tamron 150-600 both won't work on my old F5 based Kodak. I need a mechanical aperture lever and they don't have one. New electronic aperture on those. That left the Sigmas which do. The Sport is a bit too big and I don't really need the features which make it larger and costlier. So, I got the Contemporary. And for $800, which was the best price of them all. Ironically, I hadn't asked price to begin with, but once it came up that knocked the Nikon 80-400 out of the running. Actually, that price would have knocked the other two out even if they did work with the F5.

In the end, we never got the 80-400 out of the box. There wasn't a reason to at that point. My wife thinks the Sigma is a cannon. Well, she has a much smaller AFS 70-300 VR, so that fits. I call it The Howitzer so cannon won't be confused with Canon. :P

While in the store, and having four lenses out of the box, all four boxes sitting there, and one more box with a lens still in it, there was a couple picking up a new Z6. They wanted to play with it right there, and so began shooting video in the store. When they got over to where I was, they made the comment 'and this customer is buying all these lenses'. So, now I am probably known as 'The Lens Guy' out on YooToob or some such place! :P

Stan
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Re: Nikon Df

Post by Stan Disbrow » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:37 pm

Hi,

Well, we took our trip. Went to Sanibel Island in Florida. That is on the Gulf Coast. We took one day and walked thru half of the Ding Darling preserve. I had the Df with the 150-600 on a monopole and the 760c with the 28-105 on my shoulder. Shot mostly with the Df and the shots are quite good. I only took a few with the 760, but it was good that I carried two. Eventually I can see having a second Df.

I also dug up my old FE and FA and put them on display. Having the old film cameras lets me see just how well Nikon did on the Df. The prism looks just like the FE (and FM) but the operation is much more FA like. The Df is a little larger until one equips the older film cameras with a motor drive and a data back. This is how I always used my FA, BTW, so I have those parts. The Df then becomes shorter and almost the same thickness.

One thing I noticed is the Df has a ridge along the back side of the top plate. That is representative of where the back edge of my FE and FA (and presumably the FM as well) are. So, they put in a line so we can tell just how much thicker the Df is. But, with the data back in place, the older cameras become just about as thick.

I quit using the FA long ago when the shutter crinkled itself. So, it is not useable. I then switched to my F4. The FE still works, though. Not that I am likely to ever shoot film again.

Stan
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