Although a film only photographer, I'm still interested in digital gear so was wondering what people's thoughts are on this, Nikon's latest offering. As someone of a certain age (51), I love the retro styling, but I'm just wondering, even though it's full frame, if people are going to splash out not far short of £3000 on a DSLR with 'only' 16.2 million pixels? And I realise pixels aren't everything, what with the noise issues caused by over populated sensors, but even so. Personally speaking, though, if I was digital literate (made up term, I know) and in the market for a DSLR, I'd seriously consider it.
High pixel sensors aren't just problematic regarding noise, for most lenses the optimum pixel density to squeeze the best out of the lens is around 15-20 megapixels. Any more than that and in many cases you're simply creating extra pixels of softness, this is the reason Canon's current flagship is around 18mp and bear in mind that it also has a massively reduced AA filter compared to consumer models and therefore will be the sharpest camera in their lineup and will offer the cleanest images.
As for the cost, it's a niche product so will command a premium of sorts due to lower sales than (say) a D800 but also the design is probably much more expensive to produce (machined dials will be more costly than moulded plastic buttons for example).
Personally I think Nikon have come up with a good product that will appeal to those with money who want somthing quirky as an alternative to their workhorse camera. I'll confess I have been looking at Olympus' OM-D E-M5 camera (along with the 75mm lens they produce) but it'll be yet another system for me (as a Canon user) and I'd imagine there are enthusiastic Nikon owners who may have felt the same. In that respect I'm hoping Canon follow suit and come out with an F-1 style camera as there's something rather satisfying about old fashioned dials & controls, especially as you can read what the camera is set up as at a glance (without having to resort to a screen).
Thanks for your response, RedChecker, very interesting stuff. And it throws up a question I've wanted the answer to for ages, and you might be able to provide it. You mention the AA filter in respect of one of Canon's cameras and it reminded me that I'm confused about Nikon's D800e set up. When it first came out, it was explained that the AA filter was absent to improve image quality, but that certain subjects (intricate fabric patterns for instance), can be problematic. Ok, I can understand that. But recently I've read that the D800e DOES actually have an AA filter, but also has a second one to negate the first one. This I don't understand, and for 2 reasons; 1) if one cancels the other out, surely just don't have any, and 2) as I understand it, having an AA filter in front of the sensor softens images, even if only slightly, hence the need for image sharpening in post production. So surely having two, even if one negates the other, must have an adverse effect on images? Sorry if this is long winded but would appreciate it if you had the answer to this.
Can't comment on the twin AA filter but Hasselblad cameras certainly lack AA filters but their approach to filtering moire patterns (with fabric for example) is that their RAW software takes care of it.
I own a Canon 5D (12mp), 6D (20mp) and 1DsII (17mp). The 1-series range of cameras have weaker AA filters than the consumer/prosumer ones (5D & 6D in my case) and the quality of the images are evident that it is the sharpest camera. If I had the money I wouldn't hesitate in buying a 1DX (18mp) as it'll be similar in sharpness to my 1DsII albeit with massively improved noise handling and dynamic range.
[qt]Personally speaking, though, if I was digital literate (made up term, I know) and in the market for a DSLR, I'd seriously consider it.[/qt]
Just out of curiosity, what are you shooting on now?
Something that I'd overlooked until recently is that one of Nikon's highest regarded film SLRs was the F6, and its styling and control layout is pretty much that of their digital SLRs. Likewise the F5, and with the F4 being a sort of in between. Therefore, the "modern" system of pushing a button and turning a wheel was accepted as a superior method of making adjustments over a system of concentric dials.
So, with that in mind, is the layout of the Df anything more than just a rose tinted bit of cosmetic indulgence?
Something that I'd overlooked until recently is that one of Nikon's highest regarded film SLRs was the F6, and its styling and control layout is pretty much that of their digital SLRs.
In terms of Canon the same can be said with their 1V camera, their last pro grade film camera and their only one still being sold. Whilst it is their best in terms of features etc. I'd imagine sales wise and fondness would have been aimed at the Nikon F3 (or F-1 for Canon) as both of these were the most flexible in terms of accessories, bolt-ons and general customisation and remained the flagship cameras for many years rather than being thrown into a 3 year development cycle.
If sales of Leica, or rather their continued existence is to be taken into account it is evident that people do indeed miss the feel of the more mechanical cameras compared to all of the modern LCD screen stuff.
Just out of curiosity, what are you shooting on now?
I use a Pentax 645NII, but also have a Nikon F80 which I sometimes (very rarely) use if shooting inside derelict buildings (for example) and need to use flash. Even then, though, it's only the camera's built in pop up flash - my lack of knowhow's not only confined to all things digital, it also extends to lighting set ups.
Its a collectors camera...bit retro and very lovely. But would I buy one..no! I would have far preferred them to bring out a 24mp d700 replacement. The d600 just doesn't cut it for me in a small body! Somewhere under the d800 price sould be nice to, although at just over £1500 all shipping included from Hong Kong, the d800 is still an option! ?