This week, we were lucky to have Aaron Sheldon set up a photo walk at Easton Town Center to capture their holiday lights display. The walk began at 6pm, and despite it feeling like -100 degrees that night (which was why I brought Freehands Photographer Gloves), the twenty or so photographers who showed up were enthusiastic about photographing in a place notoriously strict with their photography rules.
The rest of the photographers there were smart enough to bring a tripod to capture long exposures. I, on the other hand, prompted by DxO Mark’s recent exultation, decided to push the Nikon Df‘s low-light capabilities to the limit and forewent the tripod in favor of cranking up the ISO and opening the 50mm 1.8G lens that comes with the Df kit.
I’ve found that reactions to the Nikon Df have been mixed. Some people are skeptical about the price point, which is understandable, though it becomes less understandable when you realize you’re getting a Nikon D4 sensor for about half the price of that hallowed professional’s camera. Others say that it feels “cheap” (despite the body being made of magnesium alloy) or that it looks “weird.” On the contrary, I think its purposeful throwback style, while perhaps an aesthetic gamble, at least speaks to Nikon’s past and future in one camera body; at least it says something. Of course, these aesthetic quibbles are mere surface concerns, and will be based largely on personal taste and opinion. (Though, in my opinion, those who don’t like how the Nikon Df looks are just drinkin’ that haterade.)
The real question is how the form affects the function, and I’d say that the setting dials on the camera actually make shooting with the Df incredibly intuitive and, above all, fun. If you have fun shooting with your camera, you’re more likely to pick up your camera, and thus more likely to get good shots. Plus, when I saw there was a switch right on the back of the camera that allowed me to jump from evaluative metering to spot metering, I nodded appreciatively. “That’ll do, Nikon Df. That’ll do.”
Overall, I thought the Nikon Df performed quite admirably. I was shooting mostly at f/1.8, with a generally fast shutter speed, at some of the highest ISO settings, and while I wouldn’t necessarily make prints of any of these shots, I do think they are worthy of posting online. Below, check out some of my shots from Tuesday evening’s walk.