Nikon Just Df things, seen by M shooter

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
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.
Thank you Matt! Much appreciated.

Yes, so far I've particularly loved the 85mm and this 135mm on Nikon, because these narrower FLs are missing from my Leica toolbox.

Neither has a short MFD so in theory Leica equivalents could do the same things. But in practice they'd be difficult to operate and harder to compose (although I did buy the magnifier in hopes I'd get a nice 90 mm).

A simple grid that DSLRs place on the viewfinder is a great way to ensure level horizons.

Still frustrates me to a bit that full manual exposure operation is not as fluent, and sometimes letting Nikon matrix-meter the scene leads to blown details in shadowy scenes. Certainly a thing most shooters learn to master after a few weeks.
 
Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
Thank you Matt! Much appreciated.

Yes, so far I've particularly loved the 85mm and this 135mm on Nikon, because these narrower FLs are missing from my Leica toolbox.

Neither has a short MFD so in theory Leica equivalents could do the same things. But in practice they'd be difficult to operate and harder to compose (although I did buy the magnifier in hopes I'd get a nice 90 mm).

A simple grid that DSLRs place on the viewfinder is a great way to ensure level horizons.

Still frustrates me to a bit that full manual exposure operation is not as fluent, and sometimes letting Nikon matrix-meter the scene leads to blown details in shadowy scenes. Certainly a thing most shooters learn to master after a few weeks.
Actually, your observations about metering feel very familiar: I've learned to work with regular compensations of -0.7 or -1.3, depending on the scene, and that's pretty much across the board. I hardly ever over-expose, but with multi-spot ("matrix") metering, I routinely dial in one of those two compensation values because they have proven to be the ones that usually work well; of course, fine-tuning is possible with EVFs, but by now, I see what's needed (with shadows dominating a scene I want to illuminate or isolate something in, I use -2.0). But you know what, that's often the best way of working with Leica's metering (or sensor characteristics, respectively) as well - you have to protect your highlights with all bodies up to and including the M10 anyway.

As for TTL composing, there's a reason the photographic world has long ago shifted this way ... However, I still love the immediacy of composing through a rangefinder, and you get a very good feel for how best to work this way over time. But whenever I feel less than confident with my vision

However, I think that your use case for the Df is very sound, and your results bear that out. And I love the 135mm FoV myself, but after my experiences with 90mm on the Leica, I'll probably not continue looking for a 135mm M mount lens. I have, however, bought the Fujifilm 90mm f/2 - a great lens, and a 135mm equivalent of great quality. Together with the X-E3, I get an experience which is at least reminiscent of Leica ... but with all modern conveniences. It's not an DSLR experience - but I'm good ...

M.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
Full evaluative/multispot/matrix (depends on what manufacturer's literature one is reading at the moment) plus exposure compensation is a very decent and fluent technique with mirrorless cameras.

Panasonic in particular has the best full evaluative metering I've ever used. Add in the fact that Panasonic bodies have very cool and unobtrusive (very important!) live histograms. Add in the fact that the bodies have EC wheels in great locations makes them very pleasant in this regard.

Leica M has the best shutter speed dial (it's firstly half-stop dial and secondly it's easily operated with eye on the VF) bar none so the full-manual prize goes to it.

As for Nikon, I'll have to see how it'll place in the world of things. Yesterday I also hit a situation where EC of -3 stops wasn't enough so that's also something.
 

rayvonn

Hall of Famer
Generally with all the Nikons I've tried, the exposure always seems to be about right with -1 as a starting point. I agree with the 135mm fl, lenses and use being best served though a DSLR, my silly problem is that I use a Nikon and the lens I find the most interesting is the 135mm F2 from...Canon.
 

Bart J D

Top Veteran
Why don't you set the Df to meter on weighed average and use the ae-lock to fix the shutter speed on the appropriate area?
I set the shutter release to ae-lock on half press.
This makes it really simple to work aperture priority and no need for exposure compensation and it can be a common operating method as on your Leica.

Thank you Matt! Much appreciated.

Yes, so far I've particularly loved the 85mm and this 135mm on Nikon, because these narrower FLs are missing from my Leica toolbox.

Neither has a short MFD so in theory Leica equivalents could do the same things. But in practice they'd be difficult to operate and harder to compose (although I did buy the magnifier in hopes I'd get a nice 90 mm).

A simple grid that DSLRs place on the viewfinder is a great way to ensure level horizons.

Still frustrates me to a bit that full manual exposure operation is not as fluent, and sometimes letting Nikon matrix-meter the scene leads to blown details in shadowy scenes. Certainly a thing most shooters learn to master after a few weeks.
 
Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
Why don't you set the Df to meter on weighed average and use the ae-lock to fix the shutter speed on the appropriate area?
I set the shutter release to ae-lock on half press.
This makes it really simple to work aperture priority and no need for exposure compensation and it can be a common operating method as on your Leica.
That's presuming the Leicas always get it right, which they don't if the image isn't either evenly lit or the subject is in itself big enough and/or evenly lit.

That said, I often use the method you describe (shutter button with AEL). It's a big help. But metering of an "appropriate" part of the subject area is assuming there's always one available - and there's always enough time. Often, there is both. But not always, and it's impractical if you work with diverse lighting and/or small highlighted areas (or fast and/or in changing conditions). I've learned to quickly judge a scene and often dial in exposure compensation even before framing (but see below for the safest method in my experience).

Matrix metering has a lot of uses - I switched back from spot metering with all of my EVF equipped cameras, and on the DSLR because it usually means getting a quick impression on what to do, and often is sufficient to get workable files.

Spot metering with AEL is very helpful, too - if you are prepared to AEL and recompose (maybe including back button focus) because the spot is fixed in the center of the frame; that's the case on most DSLRs, at least, and certainly on the Df (it is on the D750). I usually set any AE lock buttons to "push and hold" to be able to use that technique. But guesstimating the exposure compensation needed usually works out sufficiently well ... so I hardly use AEL any more, in spite of my preference for aperture priority (or, in rare cases, shutter priority) over full manual - because frankly, it's usually somewhat quicker to work that way. And aperture is my perferred creative tool anyway ...

Spot metering with highlight priority (i.e. highlight protection, usually) is another useful tool. But all in all, I found framing (including focus), metering and exposure compensation the most controlled way of doing things. In this case, the metering mode doesn't really matter that much (except as a point of reference - and in that case, it's just a matter of "pick your poison": You have to know what suits you best).

M.
 

Bart J D

Top Veteran
You are right of course.
I suppose I skipped a few steps by referring to "appropriate area".
I normally expose for the highlights and count on my processing software to take care of the darker areas.
So for me that mostly means the sky or the clouds.

It's possible the more recent Nikons follow the focus area with the metering area, I don't know. I haven't really kept up with the advance in the newer camera bodies.
Anyway, mine is always set to central focus point anyway, using backfocus button when an af lens is used, recompose, meter, use AE-lock, recompose and trip the shutter button.
Takes time for sure but I have time and in fact, it takes less time to do than to describe 🙂
Also, I rarely if ever, shoot people. Mostly things that don't move :)

That's presuming the Leicas always get it right, which they don't if the image isn't either evenly lit or the subject is in itself big enough and/or evenly lit.

That said, I often use the method you describe (shutter button with AEL). It's a big help. But metering of an "appropriate" part of the subject area is assuming there's always one available - and there's always enough time. Often, there is both. But not always, and it's impractical if you work with diverse lighting and/or small highlighted areas (or fast and/or in changing conditions). I've learned to quickly judge a scene and often dial in exposure compensation even before framing (but see below for the safest method in my experience).

Matrix metering has a lot of uses - I switched back from spot metering with all of my EVF equipped cameras, and on the DSLR because it usually means getting a quick impression on what to do, and often is sufficient to get workable files.

Spot metering with AEL is very helpful, too - if you are prepared to AEL and recompose (maybe including back button focus) because the spot is fixed in the center of the frame; that's the case on most DSLRs, at least, and certainly on the Df (it is on the D750). I usually set any AE lock buttons to "push and hold" to be able to use that technique. But guesstimating the exposure compensation needed usually works out sufficiently well ... so I hardly use AEL any more, in spite of my preference for aperture priority (or, in rare cases, shutter priority) over full manual - because frankly, it's usually somewhat quicker to work that way. And aperture is my perferred creative tool anyway ...

Spot metering with highlight priority (i.e. highlight protection, usually) is another useful tool. But all in all, I found framing (including focus), metering and exposure compensation the most controlled way of doing things. In this case, the metering mode doesn't really matter that much (except as a point of reference - and in that case, it's just a matter of "pick your poison": You have to know what suits you best).

M.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
I will need to check the manuals but is there any chance AE-L button can be configured to work as an "AE-ON" button so that you

(1) point the camera to your 18%
(2) press the button
(3) camera meters and stores the value
(4) it will keep the value for any subsequent images until I press have it meter again

So like back button focus works is for focusing, back-button metering? :)
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
In essence I really like to manually adjust exposure values like I do with Leica, but on an occasion I lose a shot because of my technique (to overexposure) so that's why I tend to stick to evaluative/matrix metering on those cameras that offer it.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
I'm having good time with Df, of course my eternal love is dedicated to Leica and unless Df actually topples that, I will continue having thoughts of the following form:

* Is OVF-TTL worth the larger form size (compare to a equivalently specced FF MILC).
* Is the nice vintage rendering of Nikkor glass worth the weight and MF and long MFDs. (Compare to M4/3 lenses.)

These questions can perhaps be reiterated:

* What if say Nikon Z6 becomes really affordable due to upcoming releases
* What if Panasonic does release a "GX8 Mark 2" that improves "everything"

Well I guess it's my lucky day; Panasonic is not going to do that and Z6 doesn't interest me. M4/3 lenses are simply nothing short of sensational if you ask me, and the existence of adapters and speedboosters further make the case. But the perfect camera body still lingers...

You may just as well say to buy whatever comes and extend my collection. Not quite easily done. I'm still the hopeless romantic who thinks there's that one true camera out there, that can do it all.
 

Bart J D

Top Veteran
Indeed best check the manual.
Like people like to say these days: "It's complicated" 🙂
There are quite a few combinations of choices to consider that have a different effect.

I will need to check the manuals but is there any chance AE-L button can be configured to work as an "AE-ON" button so that you

(1) point the camera to your 18%
(2) press the button
(3) camera meters and stores the value
(4) it will keep the value for any subsequent images until I press have it meter again

So like back button focus works is for focusing, back-button metering? :)
 

Bart J D

Top Veteran
I'm still the hopeless romantic who thinks there's that one true camera out there, that can do it all

I like to use the different aspects between SLR, rangefinder and mirrorless.
I find they each have their strong points and weak(er?) points and I enjoy to get into the roll of this or that camera type.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
Absolutely. Rangefinder, OVF-TTL and EVF all have somewhat unique roles that I've been thinking about a great deal over the course of 2020.

But what I have also been thinking is how Leica M240 and M10 variants sport the live view plus have capacity for EVFs -- in this sense a single Leica M camera can fulfill two of the three positions. The question is how enjoyable the EVF experience is -- I can't try M10 anywhere so that's a part reason why I'm in my position right now: if M10 has a fluent enough live view that could easily serve as the one true camera, and I'd probably bite the expensive bullet to get one. If it doesn't (as I suspect) then things are good as they stand.

Another consideration is whether OVF-TTL is unique enough for me anyway: will it offer enough benefits and pleasant shooter's experience. During this new toy period sure it's pleasant but let us see how things go as time goes on!

On DRF

I find myself rely on Nikon's "digital rangefinder" dot quite a bit. Whenever I think I got the focus by relying on the VF I'll check the dot and more often than not there's a big discrepancy between what I see and what Df does. The dot is correct, unlike I.

Comparing to a mirrorless camera where you might need to magnify the view to focus and then come back to the full view to compose, this dot approach is definitely welcome to be sure, as it is unobtrusive and offers me to keep an eye on the evolving scene. (Now why does Fuji X-Pro not have something like this as this "DRF" dot could be located in the center of screen...)

So far I don't mind that the dot dominates my focusing experience but perhaps that'll cause some friction after some time. Leica M remains the purest form of photography which is fine. :)
 
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mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
There's some scent of panic-returning in the air.

I'm thinking I might return the Micro-Nikkor 55. It works well as a close focus lens but everything about the lens is optimized towards that end, very understandably so.

It's very difficult to shoot at longer distances. I'm not sure if I need/want such a speciality fifty. CV 50 Heliar absolutely beats it as streets/landscape lens!
 

Bart J D

Top Veteran
From what I have seen, the Voigtlander 58mm f/1.4 nokton is a terrific performer.
I would certainly have added one if I didn't already had that focal length covered in Nikon mount.
Cheaper and only 2nd hand but also an excellent reputation as an all rounder is the 50mm f/1.8 Series E. And it's small and light as well.

There's some scent of panic-returning in the air.

I'm thinking I might return the Micro-Nikkor 55. It works well as a close focus lens but everything about the lens is optimized towards that end, very understandably so.

It's very difficult to shoot at longer distances. I'm not sure if I need/want such a speciality fifty. CV 50 Heliar absolutely beats it as streets/landscape lens!
 
Location
Switzerland
Real Name
Matt
Cheaper and only 2nd hand but also an excellent reputation as an all rounder is the 50mm f/1.8 Series E. And it's small and light as well.
I agree, but the last batch of the 50mm f/1.8 AIs is even more desirable - basically the same lens, with better housing and shorter minimal focusing distance. I own the slightly older model with 0.6m minimum focusing distance - and the first AF model of the 50mm f/1.8; but I prefer the AIs.

The Voigtländer ticks a lot of boxes for sure ... But funnily enough, at the moment, I'm eyeing the 50mm f/1.4G. It's not perfect, but has a very solid reputation, and it is pretty small for a fast fifty. Of course, it's not MF, so YMMV ... but it should work well on both the D750 and the Z6 with FTZ adapter. However, I own the 50mm f/1.8 Z ... so I'm in a totally different position. It's just "nice to have"; the desire will go away soon-ish, I guess.

M.
 

Bart J D

Top Veteran
The 50mm f/1.4G is one of those lenses in Nikon mount that already cover the focal length.
Really very pleased with it.

I agree, but the last batch of the 50mm f/1.8 AIs is even more desirable - basically the same lens, with better housing and shorter minimal focusing distance. I own the slightly older model with 0.6m minimum focusing distance - and the first AF model of the 50mm f/1.8; but I prefer the AIs.

The Voigtländer ticks a lot of boxes for sure ... But funnily enough, at the moment, I'm eyeing the 50mm f/1.4G. It's not perfect, but has a very solid reputation, and it is pretty small for a fast fifty. Of course, it's not MF, so YMMV ... but it should work well on both the D750 and the Z6 with FTZ adapter. However, I own the 50mm f/1.8 Z ... so I'm in a totally different position. It's just "nice to have"; the desire will go away soon-ish, I guess.

M.
 
DSC_5800.jpg


Someone on another forum made the statement that fast manual focus lenses could not be used in low light on most digital SLR's. I suspect he is correct, and I find the Df very easy to use in low-light with fast lenses.

This picture may be extreme-
Nikkor 85/1.8 Factory Ai converted, ISO 12,800, 1/6th second hand-held, wide-open at F1.8.

Did I mention that all Df owners should get this lens?
 

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