Question for Nikon Df owners or testers

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by pniev, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    Jun 10, 2013
    2014 has arrived so it's time for a new camera. As of now, I do not want to replace my Fuji x-pro1. One reason is that I expect Fuji to come with a revolutionary organic sensor-based camera in 2015-2016.
    So I am looking for a camera that is complementary to the Fuji with the 14-23-35 lenses (~21-35-50 FF eq). For various reasons, I am looking for a FF camera. Sony is no longer an option because of the lack of lenses. Two options remain: Nikon D800E and Nikon Df, each having its pros and cons. Currently I slightly prefer the Df because of its size/weight, sensor and low-light capabilities.

    I am seeking your advice based on your experience with the lens. Type of questions I have:
    1. How is AF in low light in real life?
    2. Is it indeed as good as said in the high ISO area?
    3. How difficult/easy do you find manual focusing?
    4. How difficult/easy is it to change settings via buttons while the camera is close to your eye?
    5. Is it a D600 with D4-sensor or a "speed-limited" D4?

    I am reading the reviews and charts but I prefer hearing/learning from practitioners.

    Thanks in advance!

    Peter
     
  2. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    The Df is smaller and lighter and has smaller files than the D800. It's not perfect, but the files are amazing. I get fantastic B&W conversions and I'm working on the color. Not that the color is bad, I'm just studying how to get the best color from any camera... lots to learn!
     
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  3. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    Jun 10, 2013
    I noticed that. ;-) Leaving looks and handling aside, the results from the 16MP D-4 sensor looks really appealing, especially with the new 58mm lens.

    Thanks, Andrew!

    Peter
     
  4. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Bingo! That lens is glued to my Df... it reminds me of the Zeiss C Sonnar 50mm. Dreamy.
     
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  5. Country Parson

    Country Parson SC Top Veteran

    682
    Apr 5, 2011
    North Carolina
    Dan
    Peter, the high ISO quality is truly excellent in both B&W and color. It is one of the things I love most about this camera. To give you an answer about low light focus I put the 24-85 zoom lens on and zoomed to 85mm and then focused in a room in my house with minimal light requiring H3 ISO to get the picture. Then I focused on something close and then turned to focus across the room at a bookshelf. The focus was instant. No searching. I don't know how to answer question 4 as I don't work that way. As for question 5 it is a totally different camera than a D600 in form and style, o I don't know how to answer that question.
     
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  6. RT Panther

    RT Panther SC All-Pro

    Dec 25, 2012
    Yes.
    But it isn't because of lack of noise - but rather it stands out because of color retention.
    (incidentally, like the D3s, the D4/Dƒ sensor is Nikon & not Sony)

    Anyways, as much as it pains me to do this...ISO 12800 here 85 ƒ1.8D
    Note the color retention at this high-ISO..

    11373625266_b568175911_b.
    Nikon Dƒ Practice: ISO 12,800 Christmas Cheer! by RedTail_Panther, on Flickr
     
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  7. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    Jun 10, 2013
    Thank you very much Dan, that is good news. I love your photos! Although I understand the comparison with the D600 (AF system, viewfinder), I cannot understand why people would expect a complete D4 in a retro body for half the price. Opinions, opinions.

     
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  8. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    Jun 10, 2013
    Thanks for your help. Congratulations with your retirement gift!

    The result looks spectacular! The Df/D4 sensor is something special indeed. It taught me that 16MP is probably enough unless you want to print really big or want to crop.

    I took the opportunity to look at your photos again. Beautiful. Reminded me to finally go to an automuseum that is in my areas and to plan a trip to the aircraft graveyard in AZ. So far, I have not been able to fit it into the travel schedule despite the fact that I've been in Phoenix multiple times.

    Peter

     
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  9. rbelyell

    rbelyell SC Top Veteran

    820
    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    the detail in that 12,800 photo is just absolutely insane. this camera is staying on my 'next purchase as soon as it dips below 2 grand' list. btw, its a really short list. ):
     
  10. Country Parson

    Country Parson SC Top Veteran

    682
    Apr 5, 2011
    North Carolina
    Dan
    It is extraordinary at 12,800. In my auto ISO settings I keep it set at the whole range up to 12,800 and do not fear if it needs that much ISO for the shot. AS for getting below 2 grand for a new one, that could be quit a wait, but some good used ones will probably show up before too long.
     
  11. pniev

    pniev Student for life

    Jun 10, 2013
    Although I haven't used it in a long time, I used the studio scene comparison tool to compare sony A7, D800, Df, and Fuji x-pro1. A couple of things surprised me:

    1. How good the x-pro holds up.
    2. The amount of noise and CA at higher ISO in the sony and D800 files. Much more than Df and x-pro.
    3. Color rendition differences.

    Clearly, the Df shows better color combined with less noise at higher ISO-levels in jpeg and raw. But the fuji is very close. It "only" looses color.

    As I am not really a fan of cropping and also do not make huge prints, adding a D800 to the collection does not really make sense. The ability to shoot at 12.800 and produce photos with great color is more appealing - and in my case - useful. I know I will have to accept a lesser viewfinder and AF-system but that shouldn't be too much of a problem.

    I am also starting to realise that there's more than resolution, sharpness and MP. The new 58mm nikon lens and the D4 16MP sensor prove that. Perhaps 16MP is ideal for the current generation of sensors. I also may be totally wrong as well. ;-)
     
  12. rbelyell

    rbelyell SC Top Veteran

    820
    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    i dont know about that. in my experience the xp1 i shot could not hold a high iso candle to the resolution and color fidelity ive seen from the DF. i'm not saying my fuji was bad, it wasnt. but the'smoothing' was terribly obvious; better than noise, but quite patent. there seems to be none of that in the very high iso ive seem from the DF. and lets not talk about iso 12,800--does the xp even go that high?
     
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  13. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I think the Fuji has a lot of NR applied to the raw files. To their credit, Fuji's baked in NR is really good (as is the NR in their jpegs, which is incredible), but that's what it is. There's also been a fair amount of discussion about ISO inflation in the various Fuji models, at least the X-Trans bodies. I've seen some technical analysis that says its only about 1/3 of a stop, but in my ongoing shooting experience, it's closer to a full stop. When comparing apples to apples, the Fuji couldn't hold a candle to the RX1 at high ISO and the Df appears to be somewhat better than the RX1. So I seriously doubt the X-Pro comes close to the Df. It's highest native ISO is 6400 and beyond that things get really really ugly really fast. The RX1 is quite useable at 12,800 and semi-useable at 25,600. The Df looks incredibly good at 12,800 and quite useable at 25,600. Pretty incredible. As much as I like low light shooting, if I thought I could be comfortable carrying that large a camera, I'd seriously consider the Df...

    -Ray
     
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  14. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    Can't speak for the Fujis, but the Df is amazing at high ISO. The comment that the files hold together well and color remains strong at high ISO is true. I wish that all cameras did that, even if it was ISO 3200 or even 1600 in some cases. I keep looking for breakup at high ISO Df files, even in B&W, and it's simply not there. But of course all this means that low ISO files are that much better.

    I just saw a picture of the rumored/announced Nikon D4s, and it was huge, like the size of an old school view camera. Makes me appreciate the Df even more, that I can get that in a relatively small size. I suppose compact is dependent on the context, eh?
     
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