Nikon launches retro Df as DSLR camera sales slow
November 6, 2013
The camera in question lives in a big green backpack alongside other photographic “essentials” - a 70-200 f2.8, wide zoom, filters, flash triggers and a SB flash. That's just the stuff that fits in the bag. There are mono pods, tripods, studio flashes, background sets, large reflectors, small reflectors, soft boxes and beauty dishes.
For me, and it seems many others, it's all gone too far.
Worldwide sales in DSLR cameras is slumping. In a recent statement, Nikon confirmed that prices of entry-level single-lens reflex cameras have tumbled because of slowing demand and “rising competition”.
Others have already predicted the demise of the DSLR.
So, after months of rumour, Nikon finally announced this week their new “retro” styled full frame camera, the Nikon Df.
The response has been mixed on the net. Steve Huff of www.stevehuffphoto.com commented that the Df “Looks like a Sexy Awkward Frankenstein of a camera but it beats the usual bubbly fat rounded look of a DSLR”.
Photoshelter's Allen Murabayashi summed up his views with an article posted on the on the Photoshelter blog “I don’t know many things, but I’m pretty sure the camera of the future isn’t from the past.”
Nikon may well sell quite a few Df cameras in the coming months. I'm sure that as a Nikon with the same sensor found in the D4, it's going to have excellent image quality and all the bells and whistles one would expect from a modern DSLR.
That said, I'm sure I'm not the only one that thinks that with the Df, Nikon does not really “get” the reason why they have been losing DSLR sales to smaller, lighter and arguably less complex cameras such as the Fuji X series and the latest micro four thirds cameras.
Fuji “gets it” with their X100s - a small, lightweight camera with one high quality prime lens. The camera is optimised for quality stills photography, but has the ability to capture video. Most importantly, both the X100 and X100s are small enough to take high-quality photography with you wherever you go. The X100s looks sexy too - but its form follows function.
By contrast, Nikon's Df looks just like a small full-frame camera with a lot of oversized “old school” dials. Nikon have attempted to make it look “cool” to be “retro”. The function follows form approach usually fails. Time will tell if Nikon has got it right with the Df.
Regardless, it will still live in a bag along with all the other “essential” accessories we all “need” to take decent picture.
The Df does not capture video. Not because it would be a technically challenge to do so - but because Nikon thought it would be better if it didn't.
Personally, I can't help agreeing with Steve Huff that it's sad Nikon did not rather have a crack at a modern interpretation of the Nikon S2 Rangefinder. Now that would have been awesome.
Pictures of the new Nikon Df are available on my durban photographer site where this post was originally published.
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This article has been read 764 times. Photo credits: Alistair Cotton.