Nikon Df vs Sony A7R: which full-frame camera should you buy?

Nikon Df vs Sony A7R: which full-frame camera should you buy?

Released within weeks of each other, the Nikon Df and Sony A7R offer their own unique selling points for photographers. But which full-frame camera is the better buy? Marcus Hawkins sheds some light in our Nikon Df vs Sony A7R comparison.

Nikon Df vs Sony A7R: which full-frame camera should you buy?

The Nikon Df, Nikon’s new full-frame FX-format camera, occupies a unique position in the current Nikon DSLR line-up. Designed as a ‘fusion’ camera, the Df blends vintage styling inspired by Nikon’s classic F-series of film cameras, with an imaging sensor taken from the flagship Nikon D4.

A camera that combines classic design with high-end features doesn’t come cheap though. Despite being the smallest and lightest Nikon FX-format full-frame camera, the Nikon Df commands a high price. Launching at £2749.99, the Df is almost £800 more expensive than the D800’s current street price – although you do get a new 50mm lens with the Df.

The Nikon Df also faces some stiff competition in the shape of the Sony A7R. Sony’s new full-frame compact system camera is smaller and lighter (and a bit cheaper) than the Nikon Df, but has a full-frame sensor that offers the same 36.4MP resolution as the Nikon D800E.

See our Sony A7R vs Nikon D800 comparison

On paper, it seems that the Sony A7R is the runaway winner. But both the Nikon Df and the A7R are aimed at different types of photographer and they deliver very different picture-taking experiences. Which one should you buy – or, in all likelihood, dream of buying?

Our Nikon Df vs Sony A7R comparison should help you choose between the two retro-styled cameras…

SEE MORE: Nikon D5300 vs D5100 vs D5200: 13 key differences you need to know about

Nikon Df vs Sony A7R comparison: Price

Let’s run over that price again. The Nikon Df price tag stands at £2750 with the 50mm kit lens. The Sony A7R price tag is £1700 for the camera body only.

While neither camera is cheap, the Sony A7R seems like the ‘bargain’ at first glance. However, once you add a Sony FE 55mm f/1.8 ZA Carl Zeiss lens to the A7R lens, the difference in price between the two small full frame cameras becomes minimal.

There’s no getting away from the fact that the Nikon Df represents a significant outlay though. So what does that premium buy you?

On the surface, at least, lots of dials.

ISO, shutter speed and exposure compensation are set independently via their own dedicated mechanical dials on the Nikon Df’s top plate. Each of these carved and knurled dials has indicators that have been engraved and painted to give that reassuringly expensive feel.

While it lacks the details and design finesse, the Sony A7R is still a full-featured, well-built compact system camera. It packs a serious amount of technology into its small body, including Wi-Fi and Near Field Communication (NFC) for easy sharing and remote control with compatible smartphones.

If maximum resolution is what you need, the Sony A7R is also the better investment.

We must mention the Nikon Df’s kit lens, too: an AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G SE (Special Edition) based on the regular AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G.

The new lens features an aspherical element, designed to reduce reflections and improve clarity. It also gets a makeover on the outside, complete with ‘leather-like texture’ a silver aluminium ring and a knurled focus ring. Fancy.

PAGE 1 – Nikon Df vs Sony A7R comparison: Price
PAGE 2 – Nikon Df vs Sony A7R comparison: Sensor resolution
PAGE 3 – Nikon Df vs Sony A7R comparison: Design and build quality
PAGE 4 – Nikon Df vs Sony A7R comparison: Viewfinder and LCD screen
PAGE 5 – Nikon Df vs Sony A7R comparison: Autofocus
PAGE 6 – Nikon Df vs Sony A7R comparison: Metering and Processing
PAGE 7 – Nikon Df vs Sony A7R comparison: Lenses
PAGE 8 – Nikon Df vs Sony A7R comparison: Video
PAGE 9 – Nikon Df vs Sony A7R comparison: our conclusion


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