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Opinions on the Nikon DF with 50mm 1.8G lens

fx df 50mm 1.8g

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21 replies to this topic

#1
alden

alden

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So, I am considering a DF in the near future. ​I discovered I can get a nice used body for around $1,600 and a used 50mm 1.8G for around $160 from Ebay. So for around $1,800 I can have one of these, much cheaper than buying new (new they sell for $2,250-$2,800).

 

I like the older style look of it, and I like the older style mechanical dial controls on the top. I'm almost 60 years old, so it's familiar to me.

 

My question is, what is the downside with this camera? I have not read many reviews of it, and everything I have seen so far is positive.

 

If you have one, what is your opinion of it? How does it compare to a D7100, or  D610, for example? (Those are the two I presently use.)



#2
Merco_61

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You will recognize the AF performance as it has the D610 AF module. With it's lower readout speed, it wrings much more DR and better high-ISO performance out of the old D4 sensor. The user interface is something you either really like, or not. I wish it had a better solution for the front wheel. For me, it is so nearly there that it is frustrating that they didn't run it past some more focusgroups during development. If you like shooting in available dark and like using older lenses, it might be a firm favourite as long as the user interface feels right.


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#3
alden

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So the dynamic range is better in lower light conditions, because of lower readout speed? Not sure exactly what that means when you say "readout speed" -- also, by "user interface" you are referring to the older style dial system for settings, on the top of the body?

 

I assume it has the standard menu driven interface on the back LED screen as well?



#4
Merco_61

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The fast digitizing and signal processing don't get the optimum out of the sensor in the single-digit bodies. We saw it in the D3 where the D700 gives better results from the same sensor and again in the D4 and Df. The DR is better all over compared to the D4.

 

By the user interface, I mean the whole experience with the dials and switches, how the grip feels etc. I like the lockouts for the dials that many reviewers hated, but I very much dislike the front wheel.

 

The menus are there, but when you have set things up, you won't need them much.



#5
Brian

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I love mine, bought the first week of introduction. I use it with manual-focus primes, but also have the 50/1.8G. Very sharp lens, and a bargain- aspheric optics. Nice when you need a sharp lens.

 

I use the Menu for formatting SD cards and selecting manual focus lenses. I read through the manual when first bought, turned off most of the "auto-ISO" and the like, use it with the classic dials that I grew up with.

 

The low-noise of the sensor is just amazing. No Video, lower frame-rate: the electronics are optimized for still photography.



#6
alden

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The fast digitizing and signal processing don't get the optimum out of the sensor in the single-digit bodies. We saw it in the D3 where the D700 gives better results from the same sensor and again in the D4 and Df. The DR is better all over compared to the D4.

 

By the user interface, I mean the whole experience with the dials and switches, how the grip feels etc. I like the lockouts for the dials that many reviewers hated, but I very much dislike the front wheel.

 

The menus are there, but when you have set things up, you won't need them much.

 

What is it about the front dial you dislike? Everything else sounds marvelous.

 

I love mine, bought the first week of introduction. I use it with manual-focus primes, but also have the 50/1.8G. Very sharp lens, and a bargain- aspheric optics. Nice when you need a sharp lens.

 

I use the Menu for formatting SD cards and selecting manual focus lenses. I read through the manual when first bought, turned off most of the "auto-ISO" and the like, use it with the classic dials that I grew up with.

 

The low-noise of the sensor is just amazing. No Video, lower frame-rate: the electronics are optimized for still photography.

 

Wow. I think you just sold me a camera. I have three older lenses -- two of them are around 20 years old, and a fourth lens I have is the most recently manufactured one, a Rokinon 85mm manual focus. I use these with my D610, and they will all work with a DF.

 

I have heard good things about the 50mm 1.8G, so I want to have that one as well.



#7
Merco_61

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For me, the dial doesn't stick out as much as I would like and it is a couple of millimeters too low on the body to be really comfortable. It simply isn't where my finger falls naturally when I want to use it.

 

If you get the Df, you will probably want to explore the wonderful world of Nikkors manufactured between 1959 and 1976 as so many of them are cheap to buy as they need to be modified to be used on the D7xxx and Dxxx bodies but they will mount and meter on the Df.



#8
alden

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For me, the dial doesn't stick out as much as I would like and it is a couple of millimeters too low on the body to be really comfortable. It simply isn't where my finger falls naturally when I want to use it.

 

If you get the Df, you will probably want to explore the wonderful world of Nikkors manufactured between 1959 and 1976 as so many of them are cheap to buy as they need to be modified to be used on the D7xxx and Dxxx bodies but they will mount and meter on the Df.

 

I'm looking at photographs of it right now. You are referring to the small dial next to the top of the grip on the left side of the face, correct? What does it even do?



#9
Merco_61

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It does approximately the same as the secondary command dial on a D7xxx or D6xx, which means that it depends on the mode you are in exactly what it does.

For example, if you want to set the shutter speed in 1/3 increments in manual with a G lens, you set the speed dial to 1/3 and use the primary command dial for shutter speeds and the secondary command dial for aperture



#10
alden

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I see. Thank you.



#11
Ron

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Do you actually have to use the dials on the Df or can you use the aperture ring on your lenses to set aperture and the top shutter speed dial for that?

 

--Ron



#12
alden

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You might could do it both ways, depending on the type of lens.

 

Are you shooting in M all the time with yours?


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#13
Ron

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I don't have a Df and probably won't ever have one. I was just asking as a matter of interest since the rest of the camera is so analog oriented.

 

However, if I were to get one, and if you could use the aperture ring as opposed to dials, I would probably do that. One of the hardest things I've had to overcome in going digital was giving up the use of aperture rings on my older lenses. It's like learning to drive a car using a joystick when you've been using a steering wheel for years. And, I had to swap the control dial assignments anyway because I change aperture more often than I change shutter speed and I find that I prefer the rear command dial for that purpose. 

 

--Ron



#14
Merco_61

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Ron, you don't have to give up the aperture ring on the D7000 or D610. Look under custom setting f6, I think that is where you find the setting for using the aperture ring for non-G lenses.



#15
Brian

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You can use the aperture ring to set F-Stop on lenses.

 

If you have a pre-Ai lens (no Ai meter coupling), you use the aperture ring to set F-Stop and the front dial to indicate to the Camera's exposure meter which F-Stop has been set. This is like using an Uncoupled lens (no meter prong)  on one of the original Nikon F Photomic meters (Bullseye, T, and Tn) and the Nikon F clip on Selenium meters. On those early cameras, there was a slide on the front of the meter and an F-Stop indicated on a the back. You would set the uncoupled lens to an F-Stop, and then use the slide on the meter. The Df is "just like that" with a Pre-Ai lens. With a "pre-set" lens, or a lens with that is stopped down: leave the setting at the maximum F-Stop of the lens. I made that mistake once with a Schneider Xenon adapted to F-Mount. I have a lot of lenses for my Df.

 

15813605331_1e0d706b3d_o.jpgnikon_f_photomic (2) by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr



#16
alden

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Great information on how to use new high end digitals like old mechanicals, or rather, how to blend the old technology with the new technology.

 

I'm really glad I started this thread.



#17
Ron

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Ron, you don't have to give up the aperture ring on the D7000 or D610. Look under custom setting f6, I think that is where you find the setting for using the aperture ring for non-G lenses.

 

Thanks Peter. Much appreciated. I'll check it out!

 

 

You can use the aperture ring to set F-Stop on lenses.

 

If you have a pre-Ai lens (no Ai meter coupling), you use the aperture ring to set F-Stop and the front dial to indicate to the Camera's exposure meter which F-Stop has been set. This is like using an Uncoupled lens (no meter prong)  on one of the original Nikon F Photomic meters (Bullseye, T, and Tn) and the Nikon F clip on Selenium meters. On those early cameras, there was a slide on the front of the meter and an F-Stop indicated on a the back. You would set the uncoupled lens to an F-Stop, and then use the slide on the meter. The Df is "just like that" with a Pre-Ai lens. With a "pre-set" lens, or a lens with that is stopped down: leave the setting at the maximum F-Stop of the lens. I made that mistake once with a Schneider Xenon adapted to F-Mount. I have a lot of lenses for my Df.

 

Thanks Brian! Much appreciated!

 

--Ron



#18
leighgion

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I've always used the aperture rings on my AIS lenses on digital. I don't know if I ever knew it was possible not to use them.


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#19
Merco_61

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Older lenses as in screw-drive AF, not manual focus. As they are chipped, the default is controlling the aperture from the body.



#20
alden

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I talked myself out of buying one now because of the cost, but I may still get one.

 

I just really want one. A lot.

 

I may sell a few things to help finance it. In fact, I'm about 90% sure I will.







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