Nikon Df Unboxing: First Impressions By Chase Jarvis

The new Nikon Df retro styled camera is rustling the feathers of the photography world. People seem to either love it or hate. Today Chase Jarvis unboxes Nikon's newest offering and gives his first impressions. Could the Nikon Df DSLR be the ultimate travel camera or is it just another alternative to the modern DSLR?

Obviously the above video leaves a lot of questions unanswered. After reading Chase's blog post about the Nikon Df, it is clear that the camera is more than capable of producing killer photographs. The ISO clarity is amazing, the resolution is more than what most people need, and besides crazy frames per second and high definition video, many of the features found in Nikon's flagship D4 DSLR are present in this "prosumer" bodied camera. Similar to our own findings after playing with the Df, Chase expresses some frustration with the actual ergonomics of the buttons and the size of the grip. Also the auto focus leaves a lot to be desired especially considering this camera shares the same sensor as the fastest focusing camera Nikon has ever produced.

Mr. Jarvis does bring up an interesting comment when he says "[Nikon] doesn't know what their consumers want. Generally speaking we are not posers. This camera’s appearance it trying too hard."

Which begs us to ask, "Is the Nikon Df camera aimed at traveling photographers who want a smaller professional camera, or novice photographers who want a solid but trendy looking camera?" We will attempt to answer that question here on Fstoppers very soon.

nikon df camera size

Lee and I are wrapping up our own review of the Nikon Df camera which should be out before the end of the week (it's out now). Our initiall thoughts are much like Chase's in that the Nikon Df camera seems a lot larger than it should be. My understanding was the Df was going to be a smaller packaged full frame DSLR that also came with a cool retro remodel. Instead, the Nikon Df is pretty much a Nikon D4 wrapped up in a retro styled body that is about the same size as the D600 or D800. So who does this new camera appeal to and who will ultimately buy it? Stay tuned of our own findings!

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Jon Sharman's picture

I shot a wedding with a Df in December. Image quality is fantastic as I expected, and low-light performance is phenomenal. Auto WB also was more accurate than my D800, which was nice. The two issues I had were deal breakers though (at least for what I do) - the AF was very, VERY hit and miss - I'm not even talking about having less AF points and less AF area, I'm talking about the ability to see contrast separation and focus on it - it was very disappointing. The 2nd was the grip - after an hour I just wanted to put the camera down and pick up my heavier, bulkier D800 that weighs more, but doesn't feel like it weighs more when you've held it for a while.

I really really wanted to like the camera, because I think we'd all happily take a smaller, lighter alternative - but the AF particularly was a massive deal breaker.

Patrick Hall's picture

I was hoping to buy one of these to bring to weddings because I think it would spur some conversation and help me befriend more guests at the wedding. But as you said, the AF and even more so the controls are too slow to be useful for weddings. I think this camera was aimed at street photographers too but the reality is you need to be able to react fast in that genre too.

Jon Sharman's picture

Yeah, the exposure comp dial especially. Whilst I get that on the film bodies that's where it was, it's not been there for bloody years so my muscle memory was not happy at all.

Jayson Carey's picture

I think you hit it right on the head with that comment; it's a $3,000 conversation piece.

Love the look of it, hate the inferno of knobs on it. I´d get a real FM2 before I get this one...

Unboxing : the test charts of the video world

I love that it looks like my old film SLRs but at $3,000 I can shoot about a mile of 35mm film for that same price. If they got the kit price down to $999.95 I would've bought one, even if they had to run a cropped sensor to make the money work.

Ariel Martini's picture

5 minutos of my life wasted. check kai's video for a equally useless but at least very funny hands on of the same camera:

Kai, who?

I am pretty sure you haven't seen the review by Lee Morris yet ;-)

Different styles but they both call out the Df pretty good.

Ariel Martini's picture

i had and blew me away.. really good stuff :)
but it was posted one day after this

don´t like that guy... gives me the cringe.
attention wh*re...

I can't help but notice that in Lee's video, the over the top hipster look he was going for is how Jarvis actually dresses in his videos without trying to be ironical.

The Morris video is simply amazing-just the right amount of OTT (over the top) humour.
Kai's work pulls no punches and style is as entertaining as it is informative. Both of them-nothing half-arsed about their work.
This poor guy-what is the point of "Out of the Box" videos?

So in conclusion get a D800?