Nikon went back to its roots to create a full-frame DSLR for the old-school photographer who likes to control everything without messing with multiple menus. The new Df ("Digital Fusion") features a design reminiscent of Nikon’s classic 35mm film SLRs, with simple control dials galore. But inside the very compact, magnesium-alloy body is current high-tech: the 16.2-megapixel, full-frame CMOS sensor from the flagship D4, 2016-pixel 3D Matrix Metering and scene-recognition system, a versatile 39-point AF system with 3D Tracking and Auto Area AF, in-camera HDR, two- and five-frame auto-bracketing and more. EXPEED 3 processing optimizes image quality, provides quick startup and 5.5 fps shooting, and ISOs up to 204,800. And in keeping with the back-to-basics theme, there’s no video.
The back is similar to other higher-end Nikon DSLRs, with a 3.2-inch LCD monitor, a glass pentaprism eye-level finder that shows 100% of the actual image area and the usual DSLR buttons. But the top plate is where the action is. To the right of the pentaprism is a shutter-speed dial (4 to 1/4000 sec., plus B, T and X, and a 1/3-step position). To the left are concentric dials. The top one contains exposure-compensation settings from +3 to -3, in 1/3-step increments. The bottom one sets ISOs; normal range is 100-12,800, plus L1 (50), and H1 through H4 (25,600 through 204,800). Adjacent to the shutter-speed dial is the drive-mode switch (S, CL, CH, self-timer, mirror-up, etc.); to the right of the shutter button is a simple exposure mode selector. The key point: You can set and check all of these settings without looking at the LCD monitor—actually, without even switching the camera on. Very cool.
The Df can use all current AF, AF-S, DX and AF-D Nikkor lenses, but it’s also compatible with classic Ai and non-Ai Nikkor lenses with full-aperture metering. Introduced with the Df is a new classically styled FX-format AF-S Nikkor 50mm ƒ/1.8G Special Edition lens. Dimensions are 5.6×4.3×2.6 inches and 25 ounces.
STANDOUT FEATURE: Retro styling in a new full-frame DSLR, with analog dials for most camera settings.
1. To the left of the finder are concentric dials to set ISO and exposure compensation.
2. To the right of the finder is a dedicated shutter-speed dial.
3. There’s no built-in flash, but the hot-shoe accepts dedicated Speedlights, and there’s a PC terminal for studio flash.