NIKON and the Df - loosing the plot or still one of the great camera makers?

Nikon Df - Nikon 28-200mm zoom lens - Gariz half-leather case

Nikon Df - Nikon 28-200mm zoom lens - Gariz half-leather case

There has ben a lot of fuss recently over this -

Now I'm not going to comment on this other than to say that 1) Thom Hogan, who is always an entertaining read, has made a career out of telling Nikon what they are doing wrong, 2) I'd rather appreciate a photographers work rather than the camera brand they choose and 3) If Nikon went bankrupt tomorrow and never made another camera, then it's hardly any great problem (unless of course you work for them!) as there is plenty of choice these days.

Now I enjoy having a 'pop' at one of the camera worlds great camera makers / dinosaurs (delete whichever applicable to your prejudices ) as much as the next internet chatterer, but they have made one of my favourite cameras ever, the DF. Much reviled, including initially by me, it has become something that gives me a lot of pleasure to use and produces quite amazing images. Plus it also looks great and I'm certainly not immune to it's old-school retro chic charms. 

Below is a gallery of images I shot with it a couple of days ago.

Nikon Df - Nikon 28-200mm zoom lens


Clicking on the image takes you to my Google Drive account where you can view the image at full size and / or download the image.

N.B. Please note that these are © images and CANNOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES be re-used, re-sold or shared with anybody, anywhere, anytime. Pleae respect copyright. These images are provided so that you can make an assessment of the camera / lens performance. If I detect ANY unauthorised use or sharing, I will take legal steps to obtain compensation. If the images are uploaded to a stock photography site, please note that they will also take legal steps to obtain compensation.

Nikon Df - Nikon 28-200mm zoom lens ISO 100 ©SOUNDIMAGEPLUS

Nikon Df - Nikon 28-200mm zoom lens ISO 100 ©SOUNDIMAGEPLUS

Nikon Df - Nikon 28-200mm zoom lens ISO 3200 ©SOUNDIMAGEPLUS

Nikon Df - Nikon 28-200mm zoom lens ISO 3200 ©SOUNDIMAGEPLUS

As well as it's looks the Nikon Df has an old-school retro chic attitude to producing images. Everything is designed to produce great images in an efficient way, emphasising the important parameters in creating quality images over gimmicks and using tried and trusted mechanical engineering to create a camera that's comfortable, rugged, yet easy to use.

Now these days amongst a large number of people on the photographic internet, DSLR's just aren't 'sexy' anymore. Mr Hogan with his somewhat pretentiously titled 'Sans Mirror' site seemingly being one of them. And yes we all know that these days Mirrorless / CSC / E.V.I.L cameras do a great job. But I grew up photographically with 35mm film SLR's and the Df is certainly a 'blast from the past' in that regard. Plus of course as DSLR's become more and more marginalised, the cooler they will become. As I'm fond of writing, if you see anyone using a camera seriously in a movie, chances are that it's a NIkon DSLR. Even these days a Sony a6000 somehow doesn't really say 'Photographer' does it?

Nikon however do have to do something. They are making less and less money every year, but seem to be carrying on as they always have by concentrating on DSLR's. The Nikon 1 system is too expensive for what it is and there are much better and cheaper options. But it's their choice. And they will either adapt to a changing and diminishing marketplace or not. They may well survive, they may go bankrupt and have to be taken over, baled out or whatever else happens to companies like this. 

It's not as if it's unusual. Apple before the return of Steve Jobs were making products nobody wanted and were close to disappearing. Likewise Leica would have gone under if they weren't baled out by a very rich man. Pentax have been bought and sold a couple of times and we all know what happened to Kodak and IBM. 

So Nikon may be loosing the plot, but they ARE also one of the great camera and lens makers. And for me the Df is right up there with the best of what they make. To those who criticise it on sight alone I would say, go and handle one. You still may not like it, but at least you will know what you are missing. I was guilty of rubbishing it without actually laying hands no the camera or seeing it in reality, so I won't pretend to be immune from prejudice and knee-jerk uniformed pontificating. 

So, as well as having fun pretending to be some kind of photographic market analyst, I'm still using a Nikon (and of course a Leica as well) And that gives me a degree of satisfaction. Because these seminal brand names are part of my history with photography. They were the logos I aspired to see on the gear I owned and now I do actually get to own and use gear with those brand names clearly visible. 

And much as I like what Fuji, Sony, Olympus and Panasonic come up with, there is still part of me that feels validated as a photographer because I use a Nikon and a Leica. Now that may be shallow and faintly ridiculous, but I'm not going to apologise for it and since it's my money I'll do what I want. Using my Df is an enjoyable experience and it produces great pictures that earn me money. And what more could I ask from a camera?


As a full-time photographer I make my living from selling images on Stock Photography sites. Writing this blog and doing the comparison tests takes time away from that and earns me very little. If you find what you read here of interest, then you can help me to fund the gear I buy to review, by clicking on the adsense banners, donating and / or buying your gear from the affiliate links. You don't pay any extra, I get a small commission. 

Previously I was posting on the free, Blogger platform, but this site, with it's greatly increased functionality, costs me money and the more it expands, the more it will cost.  If I can get THE SOUNDIMAGEPLUS BLOG economically viable, then I will be able to review a lot more gear and extend and expand those reviews. Running a blog these days that competes with the best out there requires a lot of time and effort and is close to a full-time job. This means that I'm neglecting other work to put that time in. It is my intention to turn this into a much more comprehensive review and user experience site and I can only do that if I can get it to generate more income. 

This site, like much of the internet, has free content and like much of the internet is funded by advertising and donations. I realise that not everybody likes advertising, but without it many of our favourite sites would have to resort to charging for what they do. Google, Facebook and all the other social networks sites remain free because of that advertising. I try to make the ads as unobtrusive as possible and I certainly won't be installing any of those annoying 'flickering' or video boxes. Below are some links to Amazon products relevant to each post and I will continue to put them at the end of the articles. 

There is an interesting article on the BBC website HERE, which deals with many of the issues above.

Many Thanks

David Taylor-Hughes