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Digital Nikon FM2

cam

New member
I was travelling all day and haven't caught up on all this… curious about the "silent shutter" mode… does anyone have more info?
 

Mark K

New member
I am always an SLR guy, shooting a an SLR from the age of 10....so DF is a dream camera for me...retro look, D4 sensor etc etc....
However, the size and weight do not feel right...It is much larger than my FM2s...
 

charlesphoto

New member
I think Nikon were aiming more for an F3 feel than an FM/FE (which I fondly used back in the late eighties/early nineties). Unfortunately I think size wise the closest one will get to a full frame FM size is the new Sony, a camera that leaves me colder than cold to say the least.
 
Bit puzzled by the negative sentiments here seemingly outnumbering the positive ones.
Twenty seven hundred US dollars.

If it were two grand it would still be somewhat stingy.

I am thrilled by the specs on this camera. The user interface matters a lot to me. Look at that top plate: crammed with analogue dials, dials, dials!
That you need to lift or press a pin to rotate. PASM dial is redundant. Exposure comp is on the left side. shiggy diggy doo.

I think that with this design direction, Nikon have been strongly influenced with what Fuji has been doing with their successful X series...they took that ball and ran even further with it! Hurray, I say; let that be the way forward in camera design. My Canon 5DII has all the charm and attractiveness of a TV remote control. My Mamiya 645AFD's design falls somewhere in between; the later Mamiyas from AFDII to DF+ are progressively worse, more Canon-like. People talk about Olympus doing retro well, but I disagree: their Pen and OM-D bodies are still all fiddly Canon-esque buttons.
If it gets the shot, I don't mind any kind of control layout, it simply has to be laid out well, whether the focus is on automation or direct control.

So for me it's not perfect, but it's the most appealing Nikon since the F4 or F5, and definitely the most appealing thing they've ever produced in digital.
Interesting, if this is the most appealing Nikon, then I no longer have to wonder why I never got into using one. :p
 

Steen

Senior Subscriber Member

Bit puzzled by the negative sentiments here seemingly outnumbering the positive ones.

I am thrilled by the specs on this camera. The user interface matters a lot to me. Look at that top plate: crammed with analogue dials, dials, dials!

I think that with this design direction, Nikon have been strongly influenced with what Fuji has been doing with their successful X series...they took that ball and ran even further with it! Hurray, I say; let that be the way forward in camera design. My Canon 5DII has all the charm and attractiveness of a TV remote control. My Mamiya 645AFD's design falls somewhere in between; the later Mamiyas from AFDII to DF+ are progressively worse, more Canon-like. People talk about Olympus doing retro well, but I disagree: their Pen and OM-D bodies are still all fiddly Canon-esque buttons.

Everyone is saying that in appearance it's very like the FE2/FM2/F3, but to me, with the PASM exposure mode dial and the drive-mode dial on top, and the focus mode switch on the front, it's functionally a lot more like the exquisitely designed F4. All it's missing really is the F4's interchangeable viewfinders and focus screens...I'd settle for a tilting LCD screen instead, but they didn't go for that either, pity.

So for me it's not perfect, but it's the most appealing Nikon since the F4 or F5, and definitely the most appealing thing they've ever produced in digital.

Ray

For me it's simply the price, Ray.

I do agree a lot with you. I also like the Df user interface with all these analogue dials. That's what I have been asking for, for years.

And since my D800E has recently been stolen I am coincidentally right now in search for a replacement FX camera. Couldn't be better timing.

So I also want that new Df camera, but definitely not at the announced price. No way.
 

Steen

Senior Subscriber Member

(...) Seriously, my guess is Nikon is going after an elite market with this one, a-la Leica. (...)

I'm afraid you may very well have an important point here, Jack, at least if you mean economic elite market.

In Denmark the Df retail price is now announced to be 24595 DKK (Danish Kroner). Which equals 4457 USD, or 2770 GBP, or 3297 EUR.

For what is basically a retro-styled D610. It's a joke. And a very bad one.

Could it be that in this new economy the competition parameters have changed totally ?

Is it from now on all about selling prestigious luxury items wrapped in old and legendary history, aimed at the emerging markets ?

The higher the price, the more prestige, is that the embarrassing logic ?

And is Nikon now also entering that wagon, testing the waters with the Df ?

Maybe it is about time to change to a brand without too much prestigious history :rolleyes:

I just want quality tools, not overpriced, prestigious luxury items.
 
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peterb

Member
While I was a bit apprehensive at first (I still think the pricing may be questionable), the more and more I read these posts about the Df the more and more intrigued I become. But not because I'm some 60 year old romantic nostalgic for a camera bristling with dials and metallic edges to teleport me back in time to Woodstock.

From what I can tell (and what most would agree), the sensor is certainly top notch. When developing the D4 it was Nikon's decision to give folks a sensor with enough MP's for high caliber IQ over a wide range of ISO's. "But you can't make prints 40 x 60" like you can with a D800 or the new Sony A7r!!!" people cry. Seriously? How many actually make prints that size? (And if you do big-assed images for trade shows, billboards or lobby photos, you already know what's out there. And one of them is a Nikon.)

According to another favorite site I like (Imaging Resource) who offer an opinion on the optimal image sizes you can expect from a camera at given ISO's it is quite good indeed. According to IR, from 100 - 800 ISO you can enjoy prints as large as 20 x 30. (In my experience, those sizes in a matted frame sell very well, thank you very much! Not too small. Not too expensive either. A photo buyer's sweet spot.) Cropping capability will also yield decent sized images. It's a good distance from 20 x 30 down to 13 x 19.

And, coupled with a good fast lens, AF or MF, this could be quite the available light monster. Nikon has a number of prime AF primes for this sort of work (24mm f1.4, 35mm f1.4, 58mm f1.4, 85mm f1.4 for examples, not to mention their prized zooms) as well as others like Zeiss (take your pick here) and even Samyang/Rokinon (again take your pick here) in MF. The MF rangefinder confirm feature is quite good. (But I agree focus peaking on an EVF is waaaay better.)

And while we're on the topic of low light, it includes Nikon's rather well executed 'quiet shutter' mode. Although the teaser videos suggested a more mechanical "schluckkk" on pressing the shutter (lag time 0.05s which ain't too shabby by the way) Nikon's quiet mode as evidenced by the D7000/D7100 and other recent models is quite good. Curtain one comes off like an M6 click. Curtain two, re-cocks moments later. On a busy street this would hardly raise an eyebrow. And even in a museum most guards would hardly come out of their standing power naps. The shutter is also pretty robust. Tested to 150K actuations? More than enough for me.

Another factor I am considering is the file size. Let's be honest PROCESSING files produced by a 16 Mb sensor are going to be a LOT easier than processing files produced by 24 and 36 MB ones (and God knows what Canon's been rumored to come out with next year). I have a speedy computer and the enormous 45mb Foveon files my DP2 Merrill eventually creates really put it through a workout. Particularly when I do stitched Brenizer style shots or other composites. At times I could go see Hunger Games between processing. Twice.

And speaking of processing, the thing comes with Nikon's rather nice Expeed 3 processor which has been working digital miracles on the D800, D4, D600 and, now, the D610. IMHO, Nikon's come up with an algorithm for turning digits into images that no one else seems to have been able to match. There's just SOMETHING about their images that seem more real in terms of grain and romanticized look that I don't see elsewhere.

The body is built like a tank but isn't a tank like Nikon's typical DSLR offerings, thank GOD!. In fact, it's a little smaller and LIGHTER than Canon's 6D, a camera that I have been eyeing for a while as a way to move up to FF from my Sigma DP2 Merrill (which will probably remain my go-to camera for uber-detail at low ISO situations like landscapes and speedy snails.) I felt the Canon 6D was about the right size for a FF DSLR (the new Sony's not withstanding.) And while there is no grip currently available (and I'm not sure it may even need one) I'm sure someone like Really Right Stuff will probably craft something that would work. While not as small like an mFt rig or the new Sony's for me, it's big but not TOO big. I can live with that. (But I definitely prefer the black over the checkered-looking leatherette and shiny chrome.)

Okay, there are a lot of buttons and dials on the thing. Admittedly I wish there were less. But it's not nearly as buttoned up as others. My only wish would be the ability to set ISO by direct menu as well as a dial. (That may be the case after all. Just haven't read anything about that possibility so far.)

It's weather sealed. You can take it out for that once in a lifetime shot inside Yosemite Falls or Niagara. Or out during a Caribbean hurricane. ('nuff said.)

The battery capacity is apparently superb. 1400 shots per charge? What's to complain about???

OVF: 100% viewing at .7x magnification. While great strides have been made in EVF's (particularly with the Olympus flagship) this shares a view with the D800 and D4--which is pretty damned good. I'll get all the shading nuances I need.

No video? Well..if I wanted a camera for video I'd get a Lumix GH3 or the upcoming GH4. (Again, 'nuff said.)

No built-in flash. (Again, seriously? The thing can shoot at a stratospheric ISO 204,800. My guess is shooting BW at 25,200 to make a print at 20 x 30 won't be much of a problem.) I've never been a fan of those pop up things. In fact, one of the factors that had me considering the 6D was the fact that it didn't have a pop up flash. Sure it's nice to have but I'd rather avoid the I'm-at-a-party look. If I need to use a flash, I'll figure out some external means. Nikon has fantastic options as do soooo many others.

Only one card slot? (Once again, seriously??? Have you seen the sizes of SD cards these days? Capacities are well into Giga land--128GB or 256Gb anyone? But, in all fairness, having two is a good feature for either grabbing separate jpg and Raw or filming epic movies of your kid's first tooth coming in.)

Obviously everyone has different needs. But from what I'm seeing while at first I wasn't sure, now I'm not so sure I'm not so sure. And I genuinely like it.
 
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JonPB

New member
[rant]

My fundamental problem with the Df is that you can't get a "pure photography" experience when you have both shutter/ISO/compensation dials as well as command e-dials. The design brief apparently said "make it work in fully automatic, electronic mode as our current customers are used to, but also with dedicated metal knobs as is expected of a retro camera," and given that requirement I think the design is great--but that dual purpose defeats any pretension of purity. A D800 in manual mode would feel more pure to me.

Better would have been a camera designed for manual use as the first priority, with as much automation as possible without interfering with manual operation. I suspect the excellent autofocus and metering modules used by Nikon take enough of the TTL light to make ground-glass focusing screens unpleasantly dark. So, give me one highly accurate center point autofocus sensor, and a choice of spot or center-weighted metering--and a nice, bright viewfinder suitable for manually focusing even f/5.6 lenses.

But that doesn't make sense unless the lenses are enjoyable to manually operate. Would it be possible to re-shell current lens designs, removing autofocus motors, making the focus throw longer with a focus scale to match, and adding an aperture ring? Some bits would need to be re-engineered, but not the optics. How much of a premium would I need to pay for an AI-S 14-24? 58/1.4?

I shoot Leica R lenses and my favorite camera to use is the R7, though I use a NEX as a digital back when straight-to-pixel is called for. I think I'm squarely in the target audience for the Df: I like premium products designed to make the act of photography enjoyable as well as productive. But bolting retro knobs onto an e-dial camera does not make for purity of design nor experience. I was hopeful about the Df, even thinking about moving to F mount, but this camera missed the mark by a wide margin for me.

[/rant]

I'm glad this camera hit the target for some people, and I hope that you all enjoy the heck out of it!

Cheers,
Jon
 
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bmacw

New member
One must wonder, what percentage of this price is artificially fixed, like the V1 series. If Nikon strategically priced the camera at this price point independent of the production cost, then there is hope this camera would drop in price when Nikon better understands it's potential customer base for this camera.
 

Lars

Active member
My guess: Nikon is making the Df at a loss. Small series, lots of metal hardware, made in Japan. Production cost is probably closer to D4 than D800. Of course, if it turns out to be a huge success then unit cost for tooling will drop.
 
V

Vivek

Guest
My guess: Nikon is making the Df at a loss. Small series, lots of metal hardware, made in Japan. Production cost is probably closer to D4 than D800. Of course, if it turns out to be a huge success then unit cost for tooling will drop.
I bet you they spent more money on the teasers on the whole than any new tooling.
 

Oren Grad

Member
My guess: Nikon is making the Df at a loss. Small series, lots of metal hardware, made in Japan. Production cost is probably closer to D4 than D800. Of course, if it turns out to be a huge success then unit cost for tooling will drop.
My guess: this is like Nikon 1, another attempt to carve out a niche where they can raise margins. There are lots of cost-saving design decisions in the Df, beneath the cosmetic glitz.
 

stephengilbert

Active member
The hands on video is a perfect representation of the discussion: the camera was not able to take photos, but who cares; it looks cool.
 

cmcmillan

New member
At first, I was really excited about the camera. Seeing the leaked picture of the body, seeing the controls. But realization crept in about it's size and weight, certainly compared to my FE bodies.

I was hoping that the price would come in lower. If it had been $2,000-$2,500, I would have had less trouble buying one. At $2,750, its so close in price to a D800, I would rather get that since it would be more versatile.

A lot of things would be tricky to shoot because of needing to take my eye off the viewfinder to adjust things. Sure, that may go away a bit after getting used to the dials and their "feel".

Also to me, I would be using the Df like I used my FE bodies. A small bag and a few primes, as a walk around camera.

I was thinking the same thing as Thom Hogan was, if they had done a 16MP DX version for $1,500-1,800, that would have sold well. Coupled with proper DX wide angle primes, it would have sold really well.
 

Oren Grad

Member
Like what?
Thom Hogan has laid these out clearly. Keep in mind that this is a camera aimed at hard-core photographers:

* sensor
* frame rate
* AF system
* slower shutter/flash sync
* no 10-pin connector for pro accessories
* no second card slot
* low-end battery
* no flash
* no video

To which I would add:

* run-of-the-mill AF viewfinder which doesn't live up to the promise of "use all your old lenses"

You can certainly argue about what functional compromises would be optimal in targeting this camera to the market. The choice that Nikon has made is to price it very near the D800 while stuffing it full of lesser parts.

To elaborate on what I suggested earlier, this looks like an attempt to gain margin by selling a bundle of mostly cheaper parts (plus a few that do add cost - the extra knobs, the coupling lever) at a premium price.

There's nothing illegal or immoral about that - it's just a bet on what the market will tolerate, whether the style factor addresses a sufficiently strong want on the part of enough buyers, to justify the premium. Only time will tell whether the bet will be successful.

I think again of the Nikon 1 cameras. Those are impressive feats of production engineering - very inexpensive to manufacture compared to an SLR. But Nikon is asking SLR prices for them. Is the benefit of sort-of-like-SLR-performance-in-a-really-small-package enough to sustain that? The J1/V1 fire sale says no; time will tell whether stock of V2 and later S/J models needs to be sold off in the same way.
 
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