The Nikon Df, the manufacturer’s brand new retro-styled DSLR, recalls the look and feel of classic Nikon film cameras, but how does it stack up against Nikon’s existing full-frame DSLRs? And how much do you pay for this blast from the past? Is it really a serious proposition for the modern digital photographer? There are so many questions, and we try to answer them in our Nikon Df vs D610 vs D800 comparison.
Our resident Nikon guru, Rod Lawton, of our sister title N-Photo, examines all three cameras, looking at their sensor specifications on down to their construction and battery life.
Nikon Df vs D610 vs D800: 01 Sensor
Nikon has chosen the 16.2-megapixel full-frame sensor from the D4 for the new Df, which seems an odd choice in some ways.
It makes sure that the Nikon Df doesn’t overshadow the performance of the D610 and D800, and it does promise excellent high ISO performance, but the Nikon Df doesn’t provide the high continuous shooting speeds of the Nikon D4, so the relatively low resolution (for a full-frame camera) doesn’t quite bring the benefits of the D4.
We would expect the D610 to produce higher levels of detail, and the D800 will be sharper again.
On the plus side, the Nikon Df should get better shots in low light than either the D610 or the D800, and it’s aimed at photographers who want to recapture the experience of photography rather than just the end result, so megapixels are not necessarily the point.
Besides, from our experience of the Nikon D4, that 16.2-megapixel sensor should deliver pictures of great clarity and quality regardless of the number of pixels.
Nikon Df vs D610 vs D800: 02 ISO range
The Nikon Df shares the same ISO range as the D4, from ISO100-12,800, expandable to ISO50-204,000.
This puts it way ahead of both the D610 and the D800, which both have an ISO range of 100-6,400, expandable to ISO50-25,600.
The Nikon Df may have fewer megapixels, but this is where it pays off, because each photo site on the sensor is bigger and can capture more light.
Nikon Df vs D610 vs D800: 03 Continuous shooting
The Nikon Df has the sensor of the Nikon D4, but it does not have the D4’s 11 frame-per-second shutter mechanism or massive buffer capacity.
Instead, the continuous shooting speed is limited to an adequate but unexceptional 5.5 frames per second, which is beaten – just – by the 6 frames per second of the D610.
The Nikon D800 lags behind at just 4 frames per second, but can be excused because of its high resolution, more than double that of the Df and 50% more than the D610.
The Nikon Df is not sports camera, then, but it holds its own amongst its similarly-priced stablemates.
We have no news yet on the buffer capacity (how many shots you can take before the camera has to stop to process them).
PAGE 1 – Nikon Df vs D610 vs D800: Sensor, ISO, Continuous shooting
PAGE 2 – Nikon Df vs D610 vs D800: Movies, Lenses, Memory
PAGE 3 – Nikon Df vs D610 vs D800: Flash, Construction, Handling
PAGE 4 – Nikon Df vs D610 vs D800: Size, Battery, Price
PAGE 5 – Nikon Df vs D610 vs D800: What we think
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