Nikon Df Review: A Vintage-Inspired Camera That Delivers Timeless Results

Discover the nostalgic appeal of the Nikon Df, a retro-inspired camera that packs modern features. This expert review delves into the camera's performance, design, and value, highlighting the aspects that make it stand out in a sea of digital shooters.

Written by Victor Chan | Updated: Mon May 01 2023

Nikon Df article cover photo

Key Features

Dec 20 2013


16 megapixels


Sensor TypeFull frame

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Overview of the Df

In an age where sleek smartphones and advanced mirrorless cameras reign supreme, the Nikon Df offers something different. This classic-looking shooter pays homage to the golden era of photography while still providing cutting-edge technology. With its 16.2MP full-frame sensor, 39-point autofocus, and ISO range of 100-12800, the Nikon Df is more than just a pretty face. But does its performance live up to its nostalgic appeal? Let's find out in this Nikon Df review.

Nikon Df Pros and Cons

Now, we will look more closely at our review of the Nikon Df camera. We will see what it can do and compare it to other cameras like it. We will tell you what's good about it and what's not so good. This way, you'll know if it's the camera for you!


Full-frame sensor
Great low-light performance
Impressive depth of field control
Classic design appeals to traditionalists
Durable construction ensures longevity
Compatible with a wide range of lenses
Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity for easy sharing


Expensive compared to similar models
No video capability
No built-in flash
Limited autofocus points
Heavy and bulky, not ideal for travel
Not weather-sealed, making it vulnerable to the elements
Limited battery life

Build and Construction

Body and dimensions

Nikon Df

Weather sealed
Dimensions144 x 110 x 67mm

Weather Sealing

The Nikon Df camera is equipped with environmental seals that make it resistant to weather, preventing water and dust from entering the camera. If you enjoy outdoor photography and need a camera that can handle extreme conditions, the Df is an excellent choice.

Design and Handling

Main design features

View FinderOptical (pentaprism)
Screen TypeFixed Type
Screen Resolution921k dots
Body typeMid-size SLR

Suitable for:

PhotographyAbove Avg.
VideographyAbove Avg.
TravelAbove Avg.

LCD Screen

This camera has a fixed type 3.20" screen, with a display resolution of 921k dots. This makes the Nikon Df not as suitable for those looking for a vlogging camera as you cannot view yourself while shooting selfies easily. Unfortunately, the camera does not have a touch screen, which may make it less user-friendly.


Df includes a optical (pentaprism) viewfinder with no electronic viewfinder of resolution with a coverage of 100% and a magnification of 0.7x. This feature enhances the camera's suitability for outdoor photography in bright conditions.

Image Quality

Nikon Df has a 16MP sized CMOS sensor. You can shoot at maximum resolution of 16 pixels. Nikon Df has a native ISO range of 100 - 12800 which can be boosted to 50 - 204800. It can also save files in RAW format which gives you a wider room for post processing.

Key Features

Dec 20 2013


100 - 12800

ISO Range

SensorFull frame
Extended ISO50 - 204800
Max resolution4928 x 3280 pixels

DXO Sensor Scores


89 / 102

Color Depth

24.6 / 26.5

Dynamic Range

13.1 / 14.8

Low Light ISO

3279 / 4505

DXO mark sensor scores

The DXOmark rankings indicate that the Nikon Df camera has excellent color depth performance, which refers to the number of colors the sensor can distinguish. Additionally, its dynamic range is also above average, allowing it to retain medium amounts of details in both bright and dark areas of a scene. The camera's low light ISO performance is average, which is an important factor to consider if you plan to use it in dimly lit indoor environments or at night. Overall the image quality of the Df is above average

Crop Factor

Camera crop factor (or focal length multiplier) refers to how a camera's sensor size affects the apparent field of view of a lens. Crop factor is determined by comparing the size of a camera's sensor to that of a full-frame sensor, which is a standard reference size for camera sensors.

Size comparison

Medium FormatFull FrameAPS-C (Sony, Nikon)

Crop factor calculator

Crop factor


Full frame equivalent


This camera: Full frame



Connectivity, storage, battery

StorageSD/SDHC/SDXC card
Battery Life1400 shots
Battery ModelEN-EL14,EN-EL14a
Wireless Connectivity


The Nikon Df supports SD/SDHC/SDXC card with 1 slots for storage. This may suffice for everyday use. However, for professional applications such as wedding photography, it is not recommended as a memory card malfunction could lead to the loss of all footage.


The Nikon Df uses the EN-EL14,EN-EL14a model of battery pack. This is rated for 1400 shots shots which is high. If you intend to take photos or record videos for an extended period, it might be a good idea to bring along additional batteries.

Photography Features


The Nikon Df does not have a built-in flash, but it does offer a flash shoe that allows you to attach external flashes. This provides more versatility in your lighting choices.


The Nikon Df boasts a maximum mechanical shutter speed of 1/4000s, which is ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects in bright environments, such as in sports photography. Faster shutter speeds enable you to freeze the action and capture every detail, making it easier to get the perfect shot.

With a continuous mechanical shutter speed of n/a or an electronic shutter speed of n/a, this camera is not capable of capturing the perfect moment more easily, making it not as suited for wedding, sports, and wildlife photography. Higher shutter speeds make it easier to capture fast-paced action, ensuring that you never miss the perfect shot.


The Nikon Df includes two autofocus (AF) systems: contrast detection and phase detection, with 39 number of focus points.

While contrast detection is generally more accurate and precise, phase detection autofocus is faster and more effective in most situations, particularly when photographing moving subjects.

Phase detection autofocus works by dividing the incoming light into pairs and then analyzing how they intersect on the camera's sensor. This method allows the camera to determine not only if a subject is in focus but also the direction and distance needed to adjust the focus to achieve perfect sharpness.

On the other hand, contrast detection autofocus works by analyzing the contrast of an image and adjusting the focus until the highest contrast is detected. While this method is very accurate, it can be slow, especially in low light conditions or when photographing moving subjects.

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What is the sensor size of the Nikon Df?

The Nikon Df features a CMOS sensor

Is the Nikon Df weather sealed?

Yes the Df does have weather sealing.

When was the Nikon Df announced?

The Nikon Df was announced on Dec 20 2013

Does the Nikon Df have in-body image stabilization?

No the Df does not have in-body image stabilization that can compensate for camera shake, making it easier to shoot handheld in low light conditions.

What is the ISO range of the Nikon Df?

The Df has a native ISO range of 100-12800, which can be expanded to ISO 50-204800 for even greater sensitivity in low light conditions.

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