The digital world moves quickly. We are all being swept along by one constant reality—continuous change.
In 2002, I “went digital” with a Nikon D100. Within months, I had abandoned film. The digital method gave me complete control over the entire photographic process from shutter press to image printing. I was hooked and simply reveled in the flow of cameras as they were released, all of them marvelous cameras, like a wave carrying me forward with more and more features and ever thicker manuals. You know exactly what I’m talking about because you’ve been on the same ride.
Once in a while, though, I (and you too) open the dresser drawer that contains those old friends, my (your) AI/AI-S Nikkors and film Nikons. They sit there forlornly waiting, but I never use them anymore. I have no interest in film photography but I do have an interest in my old favorite camera bodies. I pick them up and handle them, remembering so many pleasant days in the mountains and at family events. They feel good in my hands, yet I am still drawn to digital and its creative control. I close the drawer, again.
Just a few months ago I was thinking to myself, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a digital FM. It could be called the Nikon DM and it would use all my old and new f-mount lenses, and it would have all external controls, like the good old days.” Somehow, the collective thinking of all of us who desire the simplicity of the past was somehow picked up by Nikon. They have answered our desire for the simplicity of the past—updated. The Nikon Df DSLR is here!
Figure 1: A silver/black Nikon Df, top view
External Controls are Finally Back!
Examine the top view of the Nikon Df in figure 1. Notice the design that allow you to return to the simple days of using external controls to make camera settings. No need to use the menus unless you want to. You can set the shutter speed, aperture, exposure mode (PSAM), ISO sensitivity, exposure compensation, depth of field, and metering mode (matrix, spot, center-weighted) without using a single camera menu. You can have the simplicity of manual mode, whenever you feel like it, while using manual controls like you used on your favorite film Nikons in bygone days. Or, if you aren’t in the mood for manual, you can use the camera’s menus and external buttons to set things in the new digital way.
The Nikon Df is a “hybrid” in the sense that it is a digital camera in a film camera’s body. It has all the film camera controls and digital camera controls too. You can change operation methods according to how you feel.
The camera has a glass pentaprism and mirror (it isn’t mirrorless). The physical size is smaller than newer Nikons for ease of carrying. The top, bottom, and back covers are all magnesium alloy and the frame and front is made of polycarbonate. This is the familiar build of the Nikon D7100 and D610, light yet strong. This camera will be easy to carry all day for those photography walkabouts you can picture yourself enjoying with your Df.