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Nikon Df review

January 23, 2014

Overall Rating:

4

Nikon Df


  • Features:
  • AWB Colour:
  • LCD viewfinder:
  • Dynamic Range:
  • Build/Handling:
  • Autofocus:
  • Noise/resolution:
  • Metering:

Manufacturer:

Manufacturer:

Price as Reviewed:

£2,749.00

It's been a long time coming, but now Nikon has released a DSLR in the style of its F-series film cameras. Can Nikon's 16.2-million-pixel, full-frame Df really live up to the hype? Read the Nikon Df review...

Nikon Df review – Noise, resolution and sensitivity

Image: Plenty of detail can be recovered from shadow areas without introducing image noise

With only a 16.2-million-pixel sensor, the Df understandably doesn’t resolve as much detail as those cameras with sensors in excess of 20 million pixels, notably the new 24.3 and 36.4-million-pixel, full-frame units featured in the Sony Alpha 7 and 7R compact system cameras. That said, the Df does an impressive job with what it has, reaching around 28 in both JPEG and raw images shot at ISO 100 in our resolution chart test.

Impressively, this resolution is maintained right up to ISO 3200, before the effects of luminance noise and moderate noise reduction starts to soften some fine detail. By ISO 12,800, the resolution is still an impressive 24-26, with JPEGs looking a little softer than their raw counterparts. At the extended Hi ISO sensitivity of ISO 25,600, luminance and colour noise can be seen creeping into resolution chart images and starting to really break down the detail, yet it still reaches around 24.

At the impressive maximum ISO of 204,800, there is significant colour noise that appears as a heavy magenta cast, with blue and green freckling. Line readout noise is also present, with some heavy banding. Unless there is no other option, these extended Hi sensitivity settings should be avoided, although given that they are so extreme it shouldn’t really be an issue.

Overall, what the Df lacks in fine resolution it makes up for with an efficient sensor that performs excellently in low light and at high sensitivities. Shooting in good light, it is possible to use even the ISO 6400 setting and produce images that have very minimal noise. However, I would suggest that ISO 50-3200 is a better working range, and if you really want to keep luminance noise to a minimum then try to keep the sensitivity to below ISO 1600.

These images show 72ppi (100% on a computer screen) sections of images of a resolution chart, captured using the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 macro lens set to f/5.6 . We show the section of the resolution chart where the camera starts to fail to reproduce the lines separately. The higher the number visible in these images, the better the camera’s detail resolution is at the specified sensitivity setting.

  • White Balance: 2 auto, 6 presets (with fine-tuning), plus 3 custom and Kelvin adjustment settings
  • Built-in Flash: No
  • Dioptre Adjustment: -3 to +1 dioptre
  • Memory Card: SD, SDHC and SDXC
  • Shutter Type: Electronically controlled focal-plane shutter
  • Output Size: 4928x3280 pixels
  • Viewfinder Type: Pentaprism single-lens reflex viewfinder
  • LCD: 3.2in TFT with 921,000 dots
  • Field of View: Approx 100%
  • AF Points: 39 points, selectable manually or automatically
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/250sec
  • Sensor: FX-format (full-frame) CMOS sensor with 16.2 million effective pixels
  • White Balance Bracket: 2-3 exposures in increments of 1, 2 or 3
  • Focal Length Mag: 1x (1.5x in DX-format crop mode)
  • Exposure Modes: PASM
  • Weight: 710g (without battery or card/s)
  • Power: Rechargeable Li-Ion EN-EL14a
  • File Format: NEF (raw), JPEG, raw+JPEG simultaneously
  • Shutter Speeds: 30-1/4000sec in 1⁄3 steps, plus B
  • Exposure Comp: ±3EV in 1⁄3EV steps
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • Drive Mode: Single, continuous (Hi/Lo selectable, up to 5.5fps with AF, self-timer
  • RRP: £2,749.99 (with 50mm f/1.8G lens)
  • Lens Mount: Nikon F
  • ISO: 50-204,800 (extended)
  • Focusing Modes: Manual, single-shot AF, continuous AF with AF fine-tuning
  • DoF Preview: Yes
  • Dimensions: 143.5x110x66.5mm
  • Metering System: 2016-pixel RGB 3D matrix metering, centreweighted (adjustable), spot (1.5%)
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, HDMI
  • Compression: 3-stage JPEG, 3-stage NEF
  • Tested as: Enthusiast DSLR
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