Nikon recently unveiled its newest SLR camera, the Nikon Df, and while the mildly archaic style has some reviewers drooling, others are concerned. The concept isn’t the most groundbreaking, but its classic bulky appearance raises a couple of conversations about where we’re headed architecturally. It begs the question ‘where is the future of photography headed?’ as you shop for the gear assisting in your most involved projects.
At a moderate 16.2 megapixels, its manual control kit and zoom length are very impressive. Those who favor diverse lighting and media, however, may see its retro look to be as limiting as it is sexy. So, where are photographers going with this new piece? A little backward, and a little forward.
Manually Ahead of its Time
Dated technology is handy, but every inch matters when up against the new generation. The Df is a model for this way of thinking. Through its 50-milimeter lens, according to Stuff.tv, you’ll see both crisp picture and convenient controls that are strangely awesome compared to your average manual SLR. In place of an on-screen dashboard, almost every function has an external dial, and with physical shutter-release and autofocus together, you’re the 50s paparazzi and a millennial designer at the same time.
Nikon also reduced the size of the handgrip, affording it unique compatibility with every mount lens the developer has ever made.
Low Focus, No Video
The Df’s old-fashioned style isn’t just aesthetic, however, and more versatile artists may suffer. Nikon’s latest doesn’t record video—the first SLR in a while to lack that ability, explains ExpertReviews—and its autofocus is similarly primitive. With no assist lamp, low light is no friend of this camera; you may find it spending most of its energy searching for the object before capturing it. In this case, manual focus is therefore your best bet.
That, however, may just be the final attribute of a product built specifically for the old-school pro picture-snapper—not for the hard of focus, or home video junky. This is perhaps the new highlight of the industry, and something you’ll need to know before making a purchase today.
A Nostalgic Future
What it comes down to is performance at its best, and what the Nikon Df lacks in efficiency, it makes up for in the freedom sharpshooters have to create a shot all their own, even if it takes some extra torque. And capturing a camera’s inherent RAW file allows you to access detail in a still that is complementary to the HD footage you’d purchase via download in Shutterstock‘s most elaborate video galleries.
Over half a century, aperture stops have continued to increase with better control over exposure, as a Nikon infographic from Petapixel highlights. However, SLR models haven’t truly established a “physical” trend. Photography therefore isn’t falling behind new technology, nor is it ignoring it with the Df. A retro model celebrates where the art form began, and what’s possible with a human’s touch. The latter is exciting now more than ever. With wider zoom and quicker shutter speed, the shots created through physical and on-the-fly configurations revisit a simpler style through modern software. This encourages Instagram addicts to roll up their sleeves for slightly more rewards at the end of the lens.