Can You Spot the Humans?

What a camera. No in-camera stabilization, no sensor self-cleaning mechanism, no video. But unmatched handling, the right size and weight — and a sensor churning out velvet smooth imagery. Its a photo taking machine that looks a bit overpriced considering its specs with 39 focus points only and not even maximum 1/8,000th of a second shutter speed. Hey this is 2014. The camera is an anachronism, yet exactly the camera I want.

Took a stroll with the Nikon Df and Zeiss 28mm F2 Distagon T*. Bear with me. If you’re a reader of THEME you’ll probably have to endure more such posts. This combo is such a pleasure and makes photography simple as a breeze. Manual mode, auto ISO, medium aperture, reasonable shutter speed, that’s it.

JPEGs, no sharpening, some slight cropping and EV adjustment (’cause the Zeiss seems to underexpose a bit), but no other post-processing, I prefer photos with a certain texture to them and not clinically perfect:

Central Embassy, Bangkok | Daniel Kestenholz
Central Embassy, Bangkok | Daniel Kestenholz
Central Embassy, Bangkok | Daniel Kestenholz
Central Embassy, Bangkok | Daniel Kestenholz
Central Embassy, Bangkok | Daniel Kestenholz
Central Embassy, Bangkok | Daniel Kestenholz
Central Embassy, Bangkok | Daniel Kestenholz
Central Embassy, Bangkok | Daniel Kestenholz
Central Embassy, Bangkok | Daniel Kestenholz
Central Embassy, Bangkok | Daniel Kestenholz
Central Embassy, Bangkok | Daniel Kestenholz
Central Embassy, Bangkok | Daniel Kestenholz
Central Embassy, Bangkok | Daniel Kestenholz
Central Embassy, Bangkok | Daniel Kestenholz
Central Embassy, Bangkok | Daniel Kestenholz
Central Embassy, Bangkok | Daniel Kestenholz
Central Embassy, Bangkok | Daniel Kestenholz
Central Embassy, Bangkok | Daniel Kestenholz

  • Dan, I like the images very much!
    but – how about a Leica M9? Did you not consider a M9 before?
    M9 and the tiny Leica Elmarit-M 28mm/2.8 ASPH (170gr!) fits almost into a pocket and does all that, what you described perfect – but without AF.
    A real “back to the roots” camera for pure photography :-)
    dierk

    • Appreciate Dierk, yes, was considering the Leica, but I never really got along with its CCD because I’m not really a landscape and daylight shooter, I prefer the dimly lit and night. The Distagon is also manual focus and size-wise, well, just right. Many of the applauded cameras are a bit too small for my taste. Love to work with them, but at the end of the day I need a certain size. And trust me Dierk, I try about every camera! Nah, don’t want to carry a camera in a pocket, I want to use it, and boy this Df keeps me moving…

      • Dan, congratulations!
        you sure know all the alternatives and in that case the Df seems to be exactly the right tool for you and you will keep it after your tests.
        I am looking forward for great images from “far east” here on theme.
        dierk

  • Fiddlergene

    Yeah, I almost went for the DF, but waited until the Fuji X-T1 came out. The size and weight difference were crucial to me. The FF vs APS-C argument is meaningless to me. As for the Leica, I took it and my Fuji out with equivalent lenses for a test. Im happy I got the Fuji. I still love my M6 though. The XT1 is the camera the DF should have been.

    • The Fujifilm is a very fine camera and the Df is one of many tools. For the sake of versatility, luckily we have choices. I agree that equivalence renders certain aspects of photography preferences redundant. Well I consider myself a pioneer of (Micro) Four Thirds when I took delivery of the first Olympus E-1 in my country back in 2003. Marvel of a camera, pity I sold it, would still be up to most tasks to this day. Size and weight? Shooting primes, the Df offers about the same package… and controls and feel I miss on the X-T1 for a variety of tasks. And for certain jobs the Fujifilm is just perfect, especially with its great selection of prime glass.

  • one more from me,
    did you try these images in B&W?
    I can imagine, they will make another and different great graphical composition.

    • Aren’t they already, in a way, black and white?

  • Brad

    Dan, have you tried the Dg with a manual focus slept prism screen? Big improvement over the standard Nikon screen if u are using MF glass

    • No need so far Brad, maybe for a longer reach it would make sense — and these third party options void warranty if any damages occur.

      Focusing with the Distagon works fine. And the more you use it the easier it becomes.

  • less “endure”, more “enjoy” :-) Very nice set!