Nikon Df vs D610 vs D800: 07 Flash
Here, the Nikon Df is just like old film-based Nikon DSLRs in a bad way rather than a good one – there’s no built-in flash.
You can attach a regular external Speedlight to the accessory shoe on the pentaprism, but the Nikon D610 and the D800 both have a flash built in, which gives them a clear advantage.
It’s the same unit in both, with a Guide Number of 12 at ISO 100, and the flash in each camera can operate in commander mode, operating external Nikon Speedlights wirelessly.
You could argue that the Nikon Df’s low-light performance make flash less necessary, but often flash is needed to balance foreground and background lighting, and not just as an emergency light source.
It’s not a deal-breaker, but you might want to factor in the cost of an external Speedlight – and if you want commander mode, that means the SB-700 and above.
Nikon Df vs D610 vs D800: 08 Construction
The Nikon Df’s design might hark back to the days of the all-metal Nikons of old, but in fact it shares the same construction principles as the D610, using a polycarbonate chassis and magnesium alloy top and back plates. It’s a sturdy design, but one rung below the durable all-alloy chassis of the D800.
The Df is sealed to the same standard as the D800 against dust and moisture, but then so is the Nikon D610, so there is no clear winner in terms of weatherproofing. It would have been nice if the Df had been all-metal, though.
Nikon Df vs D610 vs D800: 09 Handling
Nikon says its new DSLR is dedicated to ‘pure photography’, a simpler approach to shooting that harks back to pre-digital days, when cameras were small and straightforward and had a manual ‘gears and knobs’ feel compared to the buttons and menus of their modern counterparts.
The Nikon Df has a shutter speed dial on the right-hand side of the top plate, with a release mode dial underneath. Just to the right is a small mode dial, and over on the left side of the top plate is another two-deck dial with adjustments for exposure compensation on the top and ISO below.
The only thing missing from the Df’s retro layout is an aperture ring on the lens. Interestingly, Nikon has opted for a restyled modern G-type lens, which looks the part but requires the aperture to be controlled from the body. This somewhat undermines the hands-on retro feel of the camera itself.
Users could fit the older 50mm f/1.8D lens instead, but Nikon will only be selling the Df as a kit, not in body-only form, so it’s not as simple as ordering one lens rather than the other.
The Nikon D610, by contrast, uses a conventional modern DSLR design with a mode dial on the top but buttons for ISO, EV compensation and release mode – you press in the relevant button and then turn the rear command dial to change the setting.
It’s a way of working that DSLR owners will have become used to, but it’s a poor substitute for knobs that show the setting you’ve selected with markings on a dial rather than numbers on an LCD display.
The Nikon D800 uses Nikon’s ‘pro’ DSLR layout, with no mode dial – you set the mode with a button and the command dial. There’s a control cluster at the left end of the top plate for adjusting the release mode, image quality, bracketing, ISO and white balance.
Shooting information is displayed in a status panel on the top plate, but compared to the Df’s, the controls on the D800 do, like those on most DSLRs, feel ‘disconnected’, in that you press a button in one place, turn a dial in another and look at an LCD panel somewhere else to see the settings change.
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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