Nikon Df - an unabashedly self-conscious blast to the past

So after a long period of rumours, the new Nikon Df has been announced. This is basically Nikon’s ultra-retro retro camera - a solid metal block, with 1970s styling, that looks and feels like a classic Nikon F-series film camera, but which is completely digital.

It’s an interesting experiment which should appeal to the wealthy nostalgia market. It even has the usual solid lockable top dials and the ability to use ancient pre-AI Nikon F lenses. But no video - that would undermine the purity of the stills-only approach!

It does look pretty cool and I’ll bet it’ll be a lot of fun to use. But it is amusing that Nikon is billing the UI as intuitive and stuff, after decades of vaunting an increasingly digital UI as being, well, intuitive. And I also just don’t buy it. I do like big chunky dials and the like, but they’re not inherently more intuitive. They’re just a product of the technological capabilities and cultural traditions of the 1970s.

But, speaking of not buying it, it’s also not a camera that’ll be making it to my house anytime soon. I don’t have any cameras in the Nikon system, but the main thing about the Df is that it is mind-blowingly expensive.

Still, good on Nikon for doing something fun like that. It’s certainly a change from the me-too cameras out there, flooding the market!

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