My Nikon Df Experience by Ata Adnan

My Nikon Df Experience

by Ata Adnan – See his website HERE

So, I have had 3 different Nikon Df bodies- thats how much I loved it. When it come out, the retro look had me hooked. Some folks gave it bad reviews, but more importantly, none of its real users thought it was a bad camera.

(Steve’s Df Review is Here)

Personally, it has been my most favorite Nikon camera, ever. I have used the D750 and D800 as well, but never liked those much. Had the D700 before this which was also a fantastic camera.

I have travelled the world with the Df, from Nepal to many countries of Europe, took it to hundreds of weddings, used it in every possible situation over the past 3 years. I have around 300 uploads on Flickr but chose a few to share on this blog.

So why did I love it so much?

– The Sensor: Nikon Df boasts of Nikon D4‘s sensor- their flagship model at that point of time. The colors, high ISO performance were all top notch. The color rendition and image quality is a treat to the eyes.

– No video: I’ve been a fan of cameras which only help take photos.

– The retro look: I had the black version for the first 2 times,but opted for the silver one for 3rd time.

– Lightweight: Nikon Df is Nikon’s lightest DSLR(around 800g). I am personally done with carrying heavy DSLRs and I can’t stand D810 kind of bodies. I mostly use primes so the Df was a perfect companion.

SO WHY AM I FINALLY LETTING GO OF IT? MORE SO WHEN I LIKE THE CAMERA SO MUCH.

Because I have been using the Sony A7R2 as my prime camera system for the past year or so. But I couldn’t shift entirely to Sony since I thought the Df gives me something additional at certain times, especially at weddings and street. Now with the introduction of Sony A9. I feel like the Nikon has nothing additional to offer me as a camera.

The tricky bits:

– The megapixel count: 16 megapixel is a sweet megapixel count, although 24 megapixels sound like a better number off late(especially if you want to crop images)

– Plenty of folks complained about AF but I thought its quite alright: never had much problem. But I realise now that the focussing points are not very well spread.

More images…

44 Comments

  1. Hi,

    Thanks for sharing the experience and the nice photos !

    I (also) have the A7rII and Nikon Df.
    I will never get rid of the Df because I bought a nice AF adapter to use the Nikon lenses with my Sony. So I bought some lens that I cannot find in the Sony E-mount system : the incredible 1.8/20, the 1.8/28, the 1.8/35 and the ultra cheap 1.8/50 sold with the body.
    So my too systems are totally combined. (on the sony 18/25/55/85/135)

    At first I had the A7s, but I sold it to buy the Nikon Df, and never regretted that choice.

    Best regards,

  2. Hi, nice colors in the images!
    While shot wide open, focussing issues of the dF appear, Fokus sits anywhere but never on the eyes, that was my experience with the D610 also. However overall image appearance is nice, my Face are the painted Face and the blue fisher boat.

    Whats impressive are the very few dF on ebay. Seems 1) only few bought it or 2) its a camera you keep owning.

    I wait for an dF2. Anyways, thanks for sharing your impressive images and experience Ata!

  3. Great images, especially the colour ones. My question is, why have you gone through so many bodies? I mean is something going wrong with them or are you just using them so much they stop working or? Thank you.

    • The first body did have a problem after 70K odd actuations- something with the AF!
      The 2nd body was bought to replace that since Nikon Bangladesh took 4 months to fix that! I tried shifting to sony completely so sold off the 2nd body, only to buy the 3rd one a few months later!

  4. I’m very impressed with the brilliance of the color in so many of your shots. Your ability to draw the viewer into the photo is just super. To me, these photos speak as much of the excellence of the photographer as they do of the camera. Thank you for sharing these with us!

  5. Lovely photographs. I am also a Df photographer that travels the world and I agree that the Df is special. According to Nikon, the Df was designed to travel and mechanically it was intended to harken back to the original Nikon F. The output of the Df has a subtle beauty, color and tonality that is photographic, particularly with faster prime lenses. My favorite walk around lens is the 50 1.4 they go so well together. It is a unique camera and I believe a successful design for it’s intended purpose.

    Well done.

  6. Df is fantastic with primes, even better with vintage primes. Only serious design flaw was using a standard DSLR focusing screen.

    I had mine modified with a K3 screen from an FM3a and now the camera is essentially a digital FE2. Mine almost always has a 50/1.2 AIS or a 105/2.5 AI-converted P-Nikkor (Sonnar type) attached.

  7. I’ve always lusted after the Df, notwithstanding its foibles, but there’s something about 36 Mp (smooth sharpness) that the D4 sensor just doesn’t give.

    Great images, and great to see a (gifted!) Df photographer using those 1.4G primes!

  8. I’ve always lusted after the Df, notwithstanding its foibles, but there’s something about 36 Mp (smooth sharpness) that the D4 sensor just doesn’t give.

    Great images, and great to see a (gifted!) Sf photographer using those 1.4G primes!

  9. I also went from D50 to D300 to D700 to D4. Tried the Df and loved it so much I rarely used the D4. But once I tried the Sony A7R2 a year ago I couldn’t pick up ant of my Nikon’s and sold them for FE E-Mount glass. Those were good times Nikon, but the future was calling. Great shots in the article! Thanks.

  10. Whaouuuuu. Marvelous photographies. If there is only one great digital Nikon you are right this is DF. This is a marvelous camera which has a beauty which other digital Nikon like Canon are uggly. It permits to use great Nikon AF which are till good as new Nikon in plastic.
    Now it seems Nikon is in difficulties in front of Sony and Canon. I dont like Canon, only Canonet and Ltm Canon, so still using film with the king the M3 and sometimes a Sony A7 r2. Considering i have prime Ais Nikkor, DF could be en option but I like the size of Sony A7 r2.
    But I really prefer to photography with films with M3.
    And follow only 3 web sites:
    http://www.stevehuffphoto.com
    http://www.japancamerahunter.com
    http://www.kenrockwell.com
    and some of very good photographers as
    http://www.pierrealivon.com
    Pierre ALIVON is my favorite one.

    I like your photos so much. There are gorgeous.
    Thank you.

    https://www.eyeem.com/u/saulaire

  11. Beautiful images!
    I love the Df, use only MF lenses, and have no trouble focusing with help from the green dot. Would get a Df2, if Nikon ever made one — especially if it had 24mp, and weighed even less . . . but will Nikon take the plunge?
    I keep hoping . . .

    • Kept waiting and waiting! I do hope they come out with the Df2 at some point though! Not that I’d get it, but the Df was such a fantastic camera that I feel an upgrade can do wonders. Especially for people who dont like D610/D750/D810 kind of bodies.

  12. I’m with the rest of these fine commentators – you should not sell this camera. I’m thinking of buying one myself thanks to the look of the images in this article (and I brought a Pen F and a Sony A7S thanks to Steve’s reviews). My gut feel is that you are going to regret this after selling and just end up buying another one. Save yourself this pain and just keep this modern day classic and use (even periodically) when you need to scratch that itch.
    Wonderful photos BTW. Truly Wonderful!

  13. One of the fines sets of images I’ve seen posted here, period. Also a thoughtfully written article. It’s clear that you gelled with this camera, though I fancy you could take great pictures with a potato! Finding the tools that just work for you individually is crucial I think to enjoying the process of making great images.

    Thank you for sharing! Do you use instagram as well as flickr?

    Keep sharing! I’m off to your website to check out your work! 🙂

  14. These are absolutely wonderful images. I especially enjoy the photograph of the father balancing his child with one hand. If your current kit works (which it does), why switch?

    • I already use a A7R2 with Sony 85 1.4, 55 1.8 and Zeiss 18f2.8. Have been using that alongside the Nikon setup for over a year now.

  15. I agree about the focusing points, but in your case, your composition skills and choice of subjects makes only a very well trained eye notice it, and even then, who cares?! Keep the camera.

  16. Don’t sell. Go to focusingscreen.com and get the precision matte or one of the trick split prisms, sell all your AF lenses and start stock-piling AI converted glass.

    Though I have an A9, my Df will stick around as my “film camera” for shooting with brilliant and flawed older lenses and really taking my time. The Df controls and feel with the fact it is the camera that starts so many great conversations about photography mean I will probably hang on to mine for a very long time.

    Sure, you can get a metabones for your A9 and use focus peeking and blah blah blah, but looking through the prism, seeing the circles line up, triangles go away and getting the shot while interacting with all the big chunky dials is fun.

    • I have the K3 from the Nikon FM3a in my Df and it is pure manual focusing perfection, even at f/1.2.

  17. Great selection of images…. Was sad to see my Df go, too…oh, well…onward and upward… technology is racing into the future.

  18. You are right Df is an awesome camera, I just loved it, the short time I used it. Except the 16MP sensor as I already had two D4s bodies am seriousely waiting for the Df upgrade. Tks for sharing your photos. Thanks Steve for such a rocking blog.

  19. Yes, it is / was a great camera:

    (1) very good high-ISO performance; (2) the quietest shutter of Nikon’s big, full-frame cameras; (3) backwards compatibility with just about all of the lenses Nikon’s ever made for their SLRs; (4) excellent battery life (doesn’t run down overnight like the A7-series cameras); (5) all sorts of in-camera processing, including correction for converging verticals (like the Olympus EM-1 and PEN-F cameras); (6) instant shutter speed setting (with a dial on the top); (7) lightest of all the Nikon full-frame SLRs; (8) smallest of all the Nikon full-frame ‘pro’ digital SLRs.

    It’s the only Nikon I’ve ever been happy with – the other full-frame Nikons clatter too much, weigh too much, and are just too big ..for me. The only shame is – as Steve mentioned in his review – that the focusing screen isn’t much use for manual focusing ..even though the camera’s built to work with all the old manual focus film-era Nikkor lenses! But it’s a great – and surprisingly light-weight – auto-focus SLR!

    • Several Df aficionados have said that it is the “smallest” and “lightest” among Nikon DSLR bodies. However, this claim is contradicted by published specifications which show that, in fact, the D750 currently holds this title.

  20. Yep, this is the $#!†. :^)
    Always interesting to hear about the gear, and it’s worthwhile to figure out what’s the best fit for your style & preferences.
    But the star of this post is the images. And the artist that conceived them!
    (The choice of lenses – for bokeh – gets a supporting actor nod. :^)

    We all need to remember this name: Ata Adnan. National Geographic should, too.

    Great content, Steve H!

  21. I put down my D800 and picked up a Df. I still love it. I prefer primes, a 24, 50 and occasionally an 85. I still have the D800, but I don’t know why.

    • Already sold it for around 1800$. Interestingly, i bought it at the same price a year or two back, from Japan. Just check amazon Japan and you will be amazed to see how affordable the Df is out there.

  22. In principle I like the “retro” user interface with dedicated dials of wheels for aperture, shutter etc… It is fine for a basic, mechanical film camera. But over the years Nikon added so many features, and most got their own, dedicated switch. They are now scattered all over the body. With digital Nikon introduced another layer of controls via menus.

    Since digital camera bodies have a limited economic life in terms of sensor or processor performance, but no way to upgrade, it becomes pointless to design body and controls for 10 years of heavy use.

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