Nikon Just Df things, seen by M shooter

Bart J D

Veteran
Nov 11, 2019
Through the viewfinder I see things in f/1.8 and I get accustomed to things being at f/1.8. Then one can only get disappointed when the closed-down shots develop on the back screen. And when one suddenly uses the aperture preview button things are always so dim. :)
Kind of wish the viewing aperture could be changed using the menus from lens' maximum to f/2.8 or even f/4 to see more of the world.
I'm not sure I quite follow, Mike
The viewfinder shows the view at the maximum aperture of the lens attached (*). It was actually a significant step forward that one could focus and set the exposure with the aperture wide open.
But the preview button shows the effect of the selected aperture.

(*) never more than f/2.8 if I remember correctly, even when the lens is f/1.4 for instance.
Try attaching a zoom lens that is only f/5.6 on the long end and set the zoom to the long end.
It's quite dim and not exactly pleasant. In fact, it will be harder to see the world.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Apr 2, 2018
Finland
I'm not sure I quite follow, Mike
The viewfinder shows the view at the maximum aperture of the lens attached (*). It was actually a significant step forward that one could focus and set the exposure with the aperture wide open.
But the preview button shows the effect of the selected aperture.

(*) never more than f/2.8 if I remember correctly, even when the lens is f/1.4 for instance.
Try attaching a zoom lens that is only f/5.6 on the long end and set the zoom to the long end.
It's quite dim and not exactly pleasant. In fact, it will be harder to see the world.
I read the same thing about half-opening lenses but at least Df fully opens the 85mm f/1.8 AF-D to f/1.8 for composition.

I know that dim lenses are no fun but the human eye certainly can adjust. Focusing will be less accurate but if you focus at f/5.6 and then stop down to f/11 it probably doesn't matter.

It could be a configuration option that everybody tries once and then decides they prefer the usual behavior.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Apr 2, 2018
Finland
Suffering some mild buyer's remorse right now. Not to worry, it's totally expected. :D

Excuses for BR can be just as irrational as the ones for GAS.

"Ugh the sensor is dirty"

"My $80 zoom lens doesn't resolve as well as my (Leica) primes!"

"Damn OLPF"

"The raws are more lackluster before I start adjusting the color and contrast"

"Darktable outputs lens metadata in such a format that Cameraderie's exif reader won't read it properly"
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Apr 2, 2018
Finland
Previous owner had a default AF fine tune value of +6 on every lens. I resetted those too, but today made my own trials at distance. Turns out +6 is a bit better than +0.

AF -6



AF 0


AF +6


LV


EXIF data reports focus distance at 22 km but that's a bit of an overestimation.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Apr 2, 2018
Finland
Everybody raves and raves about Df's great Auto ISO implementation. I just don't understand it.

From every review I get the impression that you can set the auto-ISO range in the menus and then adjust the upper bound using the dial; but it's the other way around. Everybody seems to explain it the opposite way. :)

Regardless, I can't use auto-ISO if I choose to go all manual exposure. Then again, having the camera make instant changes will help avoid losing shots like I periodically do with Leica.

EDIT: Ok I think it works as "advertised" when shooting in M mode. That clears things a bit.
 
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mike3996

Hall of Famer
Apr 2, 2018
Finland
Have to say how I chuckle to myself when I operate the picture playback mode. The view that cannot be disabled has the most useless things. Picture resolution and raw status, and filename.

Not many makers even get these things right or configurable enough.

I think I'd prefer to see full picture with blinkies for highlight clipping, and small information about SS and ISO on the black margin.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Apr 2, 2018
Finland
Sun setting, the light faded.



With scenes like these generally needing -2.0 stops of EC the dim f/3.5-4.5 lens simply put the camera on its knees. It would refuse to focus on the roses and I would have hard time confirming anything on the viewfinder -- @Bart J D you may be right that it's not a terribly useful thing to have lens dimmed out. :)

I first thought maybe the screwdrive motor is giving up, not doing anything. Racked the focus from infinity to back and then let the camera try again. Then I remembered that yeah, maybe the dimming conditions are the cause of this.

DF might be the king of the night but not without fast lenses to help it focus. I'll chalk it up as the shortcoming of the SLR platform.

The rangefinder easily wins this round. ;)
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Apr 2, 2018
Finland
Dimming further, a couple of casual snaps, focused against grooves and edges of these cars were alright but I had lost my confidence in camera focusing at that point.

-2.7 EV EC


 

Bart J D

Veteran
Nov 11, 2019
DSLRs are in fact developed with AF in mind.
And in that sense, the Df is far from the best. Older D700 is much more capable to find correct focus in dim light, plus there is an AF assist lamp.
Newer generation cameras than Df can AF at much lower light levels.
So for manual focus, indeed best use brighter lenses to have a clearer viewfinder.
When the light really gets dim, neither rangefinder nor Df will be very effective at acquiring focus.
In such circumstances, newer DSLRs or mirrorless will be better using AF.
I suppose with mirrorless and adapted lens, you could open up the lens for focussing and close it down while metering like in the older days of SLRs :)
The gain on the EVF will be boosted so you can actually see what you are focussing on.
My experience is limited to the inside of roman churches where there's only available daylight (= very dim). I have always been able to obtain focus there. With brighter lenses though.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Apr 2, 2018
Finland
I got 90 € store credit in Kamerastore. The collection of interesting F lenses around 90-100 € is vast. 200 f4, 75-150 f/3.5. Even some 70-200 f/4 AF lenses. But damned if my enthusiasm isn't diluded by the fact that these lenses may not perform very well after dark. :(
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Apr 2, 2018
Finland
I thought I'd throttle down with Nikon F things and for instance spend that 90 euros in something else. There's for instance a very juicy 7artisan 55mm f/1.4 portrait lens for micro-four-thirds, looking really swell!

But I decided to go for a 135mm f/2.8 Ai lens, also somebody selling a fast manual-focus Samyang 20mm I guess I "have" to grab that as well.

Battling with some continuing BR I feel currently that every further investment into F is one mistake further. But what comes to making mistakes, buying cheap lenses for a cheap (resale-value-wise) body, this is not a very big one. It can also be a beautiful mistake. It might be a bitter sweet mistake too.

The learning experience, the possibility for me to say with confidence that this thing is or is not working for me, will be worth the couple hundred euros this exploration will cost me ultimately.
 
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mike3996

Hall of Famer
Apr 2, 2018
Finland
I didn't quite notice the diopter manages to tumble around when I stuff the camera in my Hadley Pro. (The bag is too small for the Df IMO)

Now that I make sure it's in the correct position my shooting experience is much improved.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Apr 2, 2018
Finland
My F lens collection currently, in the order of acquisition:

- Nikkor 85 mm f/1.8 AF-D
- Nikkor 28-70 mm f/3.5-4.5 AF-D
- Samyang/Rokinon 20 mm f/1.8 ED AS UMC
- Nikkor-Q 135 mm f/2.8 pre-Ai
- Micro-Nikkor-P.C 55mm f/3.5 Ai (conversion maybe)

Samyang 20mm is a manual-focus lens and it focuses really close -- exactly what I am missing from my Leica M! Ultrawides and long MFDs are just a big limiting thing. But at the same time it's mighty hard not to focus this lens past infinity -- the same problem I had with my M4/3 Laowa lens.

The zoom lens is a weird one. Have fun with it but somehow the ultimate experiences I'm having are the worst with it. This lens doesn't behave well with this particular Df body, I think. The results are largely lackluster. Adapted on the Leica, the results were better?! But the lens does have a great MFD, and the bokeh turns wonderful at close distances so there's that!

Micro-Nikkor-P is apparently not geared towards infinity as it gets quite soft, and the focus throw for distances is very short and fiddly.

I acquired these lenses in quite a short period and now I think I'll slow down with the purchases and focus on using these.

The camera body was 1010 €, the lenses combined some 680 €. Very affordable when compared to Leica M gear. Of course, optically my M lenses are mostly ahead still.
 
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Not as sharp as my Voigtländer 50 f/3.5 Heliar but this Micro-Nikkor renders beautifully and filmlike, (motion pictures)

View attachment 232119
The Micro-Nikkor 3.5/55 is the only Nikon F lens I have ultimately kept after I sold off my other Nikon lenses and I have no intention of letting it go. It's not great wide-open in my experience but it really shines in close-up shots when stopped down to f/5.6 or smaller.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Apr 2, 2018
Finland
Yeah I first considered whether this lens shines for street work because its focus throw around infinity to 0.7 meters is very short.

But alas, this ain't no rangefinder and I noticed many shots to be slightly out of focus because of inaccuracies.

Other than the inaccuracies, I prefer the light focus touch. M lenses are dampened and it doesn't matter -- probably just helps in all regards -- but very light rings feel good.
 
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mike3996

Hall of Famer
Apr 2, 2018
Finland
There's no denying it, Nikon's sensor allows great things and big freedoms to focus on the view. The files are great with big dynamic range. Many third-party presets and tone curves that aren't specifically tailored for Leica, work much better with Nikon files out of the box.

Placing auto-ISO mechanism to require a minimum shutter speed of 1/250 sec helps a ton.



But I also find myself to be hastier with my scenes. And I find myself letting the camera to decide about exposure for me. The way I adjust exposure on Leica is clumsy and it occasionally makes me miss the shot but it feels good, proper, manual work and keeps me in charge.

Nikon offers all the tools in the box to master every scene and shot before triggering the shutter and I value their existence but I wonder if I ever choose to employ those tools.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Apr 2, 2018
Finland
On my sunset walk I took Nikon + 135mm and Leica + 50mm and nothing else. Nikon and the mid tele being the more exotic thing I shot most of the things with that combo.

After a rocky start with the Df I think it has showed enough merits to help alleviate my concerns, and my "panic". While Leica may be much faster to accurately focus with lenses below 70mm, Nikon *is* offering me a nice way to shoot and experience longer focal lengths the way Leica M, or any mirrorless for that matter can't.

The day turning to night, and miles accumulating on my stroll, at that point I'd have appreciated an image-stabilized Panasonic option to be sure. :)

 

MoonMind

Hall of Famer
Dec 29, 2013
Switzerland
Matt
On my sunset walk I took Nikon + 135mm and Leica + 50mm and nothing else. Nikon and the mid tele being the more exotic thing I shot most of the things with that combo.

After a rocky start with the Df I think it has showed enough merits to help alleviate my concerns, and my "panic". While Leica may be much faster to accurately focus with lenses below 70mm, Nikon *is* offering me a nice way to shoot and experience longer focal lengths the way Leica M, or any mirrorless for that matter can't.

The day turning to night, and miles accumulating on my stroll, at that point I'd have appreciated an image-stabilized Panasonic option to be sure. :)

View attachment 232257
Mike, judging from your shots, the Df suits your way of seeing extremely well. Very clear and controlled framing, and often quite pleasing, balanced results. I know what you're talking about in terms of convenience and speed when manual focusing - but seen as a medium, a tool for image taking, you really take to the Df. I'm quite impressed.

M.
 

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