The Nikon faithful worked themselves into a fit this week with the introduction of the retro wunderkind: the Nikon Df. After weeks of raised expectations stoked by a series of ingenious teaser videos, the Df landed in the hands of reviewers with an enormous thud. The gear fanatics, who inhabit the camera blogosphere, envisioned such an insanely great photographic tool that nothing short of the Second Coming would’ve satisfied critics. When Nikon finally pulled the veil off a beautifully crafted camera with a bounty of manual metal dials that flashed back to the film era, the response was one of vitriol and disappointment.
What’s the big deal?
The Nikon Df is a new digital camera that looks like a film camera from the 70’s. It has a bunch of metal control wheels that appeal to old farts who still lament the golden age of film. For every photographer who used to blame the photo lab for their lousy technique, this is the Holy Grail of cameras.
Why all the Cry Face?
The problem is that the specs don’t match the price. The Df is an expensive mishmash from the Nikon parts bin. It may have the exceptional pro D4 sensor, but with the rent-a-center autofocus from the prosumer D610 and a $3,000 price tag, the Nikon loyalists are crying foul. Nikon is betting the farm that every guy with a closet full of golf pants is going to buy this camera, but pre-orders are already off the pace of last year’s D800.
Personal Note on the Nikon Df
From a distance, I love this camera (I guess I’m one of those old farts). I grew up shooting with an all manual Pentax K-1000 so this camera gets me on a very emotional level. It may be missing a few things like video and a backup SD card, but these features aren’t a big deal if the camera feels right in the hand. At the end of the day, all that matters are the images. If the Df gets it done, Nikon will get my money.
Photo credit: Nikon