Nikon Df - Officially launched this morning

At launch the DF is shipping with a special edition 50mm lens
Following a lot of speculation (not least because of Nikon's series of teasers) Nikon has officially launched the much awaited Df, a full frame 16.2 megapixel DSLR.

Expressing a passion for photography embodying both form and function, the retro styling is heavily influenced by the 1970's Nikon 35mm SLR's.

Designed with both camera enthusiasts and the design conscious in mind Nikon have aimed to capture the minds of photographers who are as passionate about their camera, as they are about their subject.

At its heart are the same FX-format CMOS sensor and EXPEED 3 image processors found in the companies flagship D4, along with the AF shared with the D610, all packaged up in Nikon's lightest FX-format model yet, whilst still retaining the strength and durability that you'd expect from a high-end Nikon.

The self-cleaning 16.2mp sensor delivers staggering depth and detail
The 16.2 megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor is an optimal balance between the size of an FX format sensor (36.0x23.9mm) and an effective pixel count of 16.2 million pixels, delivering images with staggering depth and details, a wide dynamic range and low noise.

With ISO 100-12,88 (extendable to 204,800 [equivalent]) the new Df retains Nikons crown as being the king of low light shooters, with finely detailed images being possible even under difficult lighting.

Nikon's EXPEED 3 processors make quick work of data-rich tasks whilst ensuring speed and quality aren't compromised, the 16 bit processing engine providing optimal colour, immaculate tone, and minimal noise across the whole frame with smooth graduations all the way through the scale up to pure white, even in JPEG format.

With a rapid start up of approximately 0.14s and a shutter release time lag of only 0.052s the Df is no slouch, with high speed continuous shooting available at up to 5.5 fps in both FX and DX formats.

Stylish knurled dials allow adjustment of multiple parameters
Whilst the Nikon Df is undoubtedly retro in its looks, it's been built to handle the requirements of the most demanding of digital photographers; knurled mechanical dials allow you to set ISO sensitivity, exposure compensation, exposure mode and release mode independently allowing you to access all the parameters relevant to still photography without having to use the cameras menu.

Weighing in at 710g without the battery and built to withstand harsh conditions the Df features a strong and lightweight magnesium alloy top, bottom and rear covers, and is weather sealed to the same degree as the Nikon D800.

Nikon has tested the shutter unit to 150,000 cycles with a maximum shutter speed of 1/4,000s and flash synchronisation at up to 1/200s.

A self-cleaning sensor takes care of any dust in front of the image sensor, whilst Nikon's energy saving design allows up to 1400 shots (using the EL14a battery in single frame mode).

Available in a choice of two colour ways; classic black, or silver with black accents, the textured grip, mechanical dials and flat top panel are all reminiscent of Nikons iconic silver-halide film SLRs such as the F2 and F3.

One of the stand-out features of the Df which ties in perfectly with the pure photography ethos is the ability to use non-AI Nikkor lenses directly to the camera with no adaptors, a feature allowed by the use of a unique collapsible metering coupling lever. With Nikkor celebrating their 80th anniversary this year it seems a fitting tribute (no pun intended). When coupled with a non-AI lens in either A (aperture priority) or M (manual mode) the Df allows full aperture metering - equivalent to that of AI lenses. Focal length and the widest aperture setting can be defined easily via simple settings enabling the camera to recognise the aperture setting and calculate the correct exposure.

The Df packs a formidable punch as far as cutting edge technology goes ensuring images of the highest possible integrity. Working alongside the aforementioned image sensor and processing engine the highly sensitive AF system and 5.5fps frame rate allow even the most unexpected photographic opportunities to be captured in true precision. Advance Spot White Balance metering, a dual axis electronic virtual horizon and a high performance optical viewfinder allow valuable freedom when composing.

The highly sensitive (down to -1 EV) Multi-CAM 4800 39 point AF system is compatible with lenses up to f/8 and features for AF area modes (including 3D tracking). Spot White Balance metering is highly accurate with specific frame areas selectable during Live View shooting. The Df's image sensor and 2,016 pixel RGB sensor provide precise data to the Scene Recognition System optimising exposure, autofocus and white balance immediately before the shutter is released.

The glass pentaprism offers approximately 100% frame coverage
A glass pentaprism viewfinder offers approximately 100% frame coverage with 0.7x magnification as well as a DX crop mode with viewfinder marking, whilst the large 8cm 921k dot LCD monitor with its wide viewing angle and reinforced glass delivers crisp playback and wide colour reproduction.

The Df's dual axis electronic virtual horizon displays roll (horizontal inclination) and pitch (forward or rear inclination) information displayed on the LCD monitor with roll information shown on the viewfinder.

Live view mode offers optional assist guidelines for both 1:1 or 16:9 image rations to help with composition and the contrast-detect AF system boasts enhanced operability, speed and accuracy. Confirmation of exposure is also available by simply pressing the preview button when shooting in M (manual mode).

A range of in-camera tools allow you to concentrate on your preferred style of shooting as well as your creative vision, including; Quiet Release Mode - perfect for discreet or wildlife photography, where the sound of the mirror release mechanism is significantly reduced, Crop modes - DX Format and 5:4 ration, the DX crop mode can be automatically engaged when a DX lens is attached, HDR mode - shoots both an underexposed and overexposed shot in a single shutter release, the ranges can be widened by up to ±3 EV for different looks, Active D-Lighting - Nikons system for retaining detail in both dark and bright areas for stunning images whilst shooting in high-contrast situations, Retouch menus - including red-eye correction, and colour balance as well as RAW processing and resizing, and finally Picture controls - which allow you to fine-tune parameters such as sharpness, saturation and hue before capturing the shot.

As an FX format camera the new Df is compatible with Nikon's extensive range of Nikkor lenses, and comes packaged with a special edition version of Nikon's successful AF-S 50mmf/1.8G Nikkor lens, featuring a new retro look and feel to complement the Df's body. A wide range of accessories are available at launch, including; Nikons wide range of on-camera or wireless speedlights, the WU-1a wireless mobile adaptor, allowing you to transfer images straight from the camera to a smart device as well as remote shooting options in the form of either the WR-R10 Wireless transmitter, or the WR-T10 wireless transmitter which both let you control key camera functions from a distance.

First shipments of the Df are expected to arrive with Park Cameras at the end of November and will be available to see at both our new London and Burgess Hill stores, and as ever you can pre-order yours here.

James Vaisey - Park Cameras

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