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New Nikon Df Brings Old-School Control to Full-Frame DSLRs

Retro looks, advanced physical controls, and enhanced compatibility with manual-focus lenses. Oh my!

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Nikon and Canon have largely skipped out on the retro design trend that’s swept the camera market over the past couple years, but today that’s all set to change. Nikon has announced the new Nikon Df (MSRP $2,749.95 body-only), a style-conscious body that aims to put full manual control back in photographers’ hands.

Click here to read our hands-on First Impressions Review of the Nikon Df.

The camera is encrusted with locking, die-cut metal dials for ISO, shutter speed, and exposure compensation, and also features a manual lift-up-and-rotate dial for choosing the shooting mode. But while the controls are old-school, the technology powering the Df is cutting-edge.

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Inside you’ll find the 16.2-megapixel full-frame sensor from the Nikon D4 (including an ISO range that extends all the way up to 204,800), along with the 39-point autofocus system and mirror box from the D600. Powering it all is the company’s EXPEED 3 processor, which enables 5.5 fps shooting at full resolution.

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Built from magnesium alloy, the Df feels like a serious tool, and its dust and moisture sealing means it can be taken out in inclement weather with confidence—provided, at least, that it’s paired with one of the company’s pro primes or zooms. The Df is being offered in kit form with a new Special Edition 50mm f/1.8 prime that’s optically identical to the current 50mm f/1.8G, but styled to remind users of Nikkor Ai manual-focus lenses.

That affinity for old-school glass runs even deeper in the Nikon Df. The new camera is natively compatible with every single Nikon F-mount lens ever produced, going all the way back to the 1950s. While earlier Nikon DSLRs couldn’t be used with pre-Ai lenses (those made before 1977), the Df has a nifty folding aperture indexing lever that bypasses incompatibility issues. Hardcore manual focus aficionados might be disappointed to find that the Df’s focusing screen can’t be replaced with a split prism screen or other alternative, however.

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The Nikon Df will be available late this month in your choice of silver and black finishes, at an MSRP of $2,749.95 body-only, or $2,999.95 with the Special Edition 50mm f/1.8 prime. The lens can be purchased separately for $279.95 (though we’d suggest less style-conscious buyers pick up the cheaper, functionally identical 50mm f/1.8G instead). Nikon is also offering black and brown leather carrying cases, though pricing and availability are as-yet unknown.

We'll have the Df in our labs as soon as possible, but in the meantime you can head on over to our First Impressions Review for the full details from our early hands-on with the camera.

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Nikon Df 16.2 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera with AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition Lens (Silver)

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