Nikon Just Df things, seen by M shooter

mike3996

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Finland
Just for curiosity, why you bracket?

And little explanation why asked, I've become lazy, I just shoot and expose roughly right.
That works for daylight.

I am thinking of a night time scenario where my ISO might float around 12800 (and up) and I'd like to slow down my shutter to get the ISO down. In these situations a little burst helps make at least one stable shot, and why not make it a 3-frame bracket by ISO.

It is also true that maybe the slow 135/3.5 or a 200/4.5 is not the right nightscape lens but at least Nikon's sensor could technically allow good results. With bursts one could achieve usable shots at 1/60 - 1/100 sec and I just think a bracket could be cool since one doesn't always predict correctly if the exposure is a spot-on or not. Two birds with one stone.
 

mike3996

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Location
Finland
A tangenting wish for Nikon and Df in particular would be easier access to 'Auto ISO minimum shutter speed'.

Panasonic gets this quite right: you can adjust the minimum pretty fluently on the fly.

If on Nikon I could configure this setting under a custom button that could dissolve 99% of my needs for Manual mode.
 
That works for daylight.

I am thinking of a night time scenario where my ISO might float around 12800 (and up) and I'd like to slow down my shutter to get the ISO down. In these situations a little burst helps make at least one stable shot, and why not make it a 3-frame bracket by ISO.

It is also true that maybe the slow 135/3.5 or a 200/4.5 is not the right nightscape lens but at least Nikon's sensor could technically allow good results. With bursts one could achieve usable shots at 1/60 - 1/100 sec and I just think a bracket could be cool since one doesn't always predict correctly if the exposure is a spot-on or not. Two birds with one stone.
OK, understood. My technique differs, I just put the ISO to acceptable maximum and review that time is in acceptable limits (because I never use tripods) and start finding something to lean to and start shooting with target shooting practices (I mean with the real gun) and sometimes get what I want 🤣
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
I find it curious how much I like the 35~200 f/3.5-4.5. The lens feels like designed for sports and action, hence the fast aperture and very limited macro capability.

I have previously predicted that while I don't for some reason like normal zooms at all, I do like superzooms that cover 28-200 or more.

The lens' weak point must be the wide end at wide apertures, but otherwise I don't mind the optical performance too much. It has certainly plenty of chromatic aberration and other factors of "zoom look" that I've seen in zooms over the years.

Not related to the lens but the variable aperture is a little pain with DSLR metering tactics. If stopped to f/5.6 I wish the lens behaved as a constant-aperture one but I don't think it does. Camera has little knowledge about the zoom or the changing maximum aperture.

Now I am left wondering if I should get a "better" superzoom that would preferably do 28 mm and which would preferably do 0.7 m wide angle minimum focus (or better).

An old Tamron or a new Tamron or a Nikkor 28-300 are all interesting ideas. Too bad they're autofocus lenses. If Nikon would have made the 28-300 as an Ai lens I'd be all over it. Then again, once I have my focusing screen fitted, I have a hunch that it will also increase the satisfaction of using AF lenses on my Df. Because now you observe the split prism aligning and it gives you the visual, fully optical, feedback that the camera's autofocus has done its job.

28-300 is a largeish lens but only 60 grams more than the 35~200. It has weather sealing so it could be a fun idea to pair with Df in snow, drizzle, whatever. Forget all that noise about intense focus breathing at tele end, doesn't really affect my shooting. At 300 mm and MFD the lens breathes into 120mm but 120mm at 0.5m focus is stellar in any case. The more important thing is to have the 0.5m MFD with wide angles.

Panasonic 14-140 is yet another idea, for G9. Much more lightweight and the camera is a stellar performer to be sure. But the satisfaction is not there, not in the same manner as with Leica or Nikon.

Edit: There's also a screw-drive, all-plastic, 28-200 G? This is getting interesting.
 
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mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
I was worried that Df clipped the highlights here but the DR of the scene was such that there was no real problem. I had a +1/3 EV comp.

2021-04-20 (Tue) 16-50-49.jpeg
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
As much as I have enjoyed shooting Df the past few days there's no denying Leica M is more of my choice.

The handling of the camera, how it fits in my palm.

The AWB and better leica color. On this contact sheet you may immediately notice where I switched cameras.

contact.jpg


As clumsy as it may be, my metering process with M is fluent and fully manual. I could do the same exact technique with my Nikon but it just doesn't flow the same way. One part might be how on Leica the metering indicator is superimposed on the viewfinder image and on Nikon it is in the sidelines and I have to actively seek to look at it. Secondarily the dial placement, thirdly simply because Nikon has such nice workign metering, why not use it. But like with autofocus, it just doesn't feel good when the camera fails to meter well.



When I have the camera serviced, the camera as a tool will reach its full potential. But it hardly means I can utilize it all by then. It would be a long, dedicated process to reach that level -- I wonder if it's a level I can even reach if I keep shooting several systems side by side? So yes, right now my mood is back towards Leica. But what can I do, the gear is here and it's not like there's a deadline or a time limit somewhere about any of this. I guess I am having a feeling of guilt, that I have offended the Leica gods by exploring Nikon this far, and going a bit further.

But I am proceeding with the "deep dive" idea. I have the new lenses, I have the focusing screen. The only thing left is to have the service done, which will be a couple of hundred. If it's very costly then I will have some serious remorse about it all.
 
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mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
I am a bit frustrated at the metering of Df, at times. Without WYSIWYG preview of the mirrorless systems and without the "fluency" of my Leica M technique it's a bit of a fallinbetweener.

---

At least I am getting accustomed to the camera's picture review controls and playback. I have as my default playback screen the highlight blinkies screen (just like on Leica M). I can quickly hold OK to check the histogram to see if underexposed too severely. To check the technical details it's a matter of "Down" and "Up" to check them and return to the default screen. I'd like if the highlight blinkies screen could contain the strategic numbers but can't have it all obviously.

On Leica it's nice to have all the relevant information on the glance: clipped highlights or shadows, shutter, aperture, and ISO. You first evaluate if your shot needs to be corrected and you can immediately check the taking settings to see which value you can flex.

---

Yesterday was an easy overcast and steady light day so I turned to full manual approach. Turned the meter to center-weighted and made one metering against the overcast sky at meter saying +1 EV overexposure. It was perfect for the light, I filled the histogram to the brim but not clipping anything.

Because the vintage Nikkors only click at full stops, in this way it makes some sense that the shutter speed is also in full stops. That's not a good excuse anyway.

Adjusting ISO on the Df remains the clumsiest operation. It is also a clumsy-ish operation to adjust it on Leica but nowhere nearly as clumsy as on Nikon. I wonder if the ISO lock could be somehow be disabled so that the wheel could be turned freely. This could make a huge improvement.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
The Zoom-Nikkor 35~200 has quickly become my "travel lens". It is quite poor at the wide end and perhaps there could be some play with the macro feature of the lens. One evening it suddenly stopped focusing at infinity and I can't quite rule out whether I accidentally activated the macro (it needs a press of a lock button in order to turn the builtin macro extension ring) but all the same, it was "magically" corrected the next day. If this reoccurs again I'll be sure to check about the macro ring -- a natural suspect when it comes to the lens's inability to focus at infinity.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
The soft look can look pretty fantastic
I can immediately tell I should have taken this scene below with the lens wide open. The exact aperture is unknown because the lens is variable-aperture, but if it's f/5.6 by the exif data then it's closed down by 1.5 stops from its widest. Could have been a magical rendition of what already looks pleasantly painterly.

With the exception that is Nikon color, simply abhorrent in my opinion. I will probably have to learn to set white balance manually in the future, Nikon's vision of what passes for good WB is not exactly what I agree with.


2021-04-30 (Fri) 17-36-30.jpeg
 

agentlossing

All-Pro
Location
S. Oregon Coast (the Northernmost-Cal of them All)
Real Name
Andrew Lossing
I am a bit frustrated at the metering of Df, at times. Without WYSIWYG preview of the mirrorless systems and without the "fluency" of my Leica M technique it's a bit of a fallinbetweener.

---

At least I am getting accustomed to the camera's picture review controls and playback. I have as my default playback screen the highlight blinkies screen (just like on Leica M). I can quickly hold OK to check the histogram to see if underexposed too severely. To check the technical details it's a matter of "Down" and "Up" to check them and return to the default screen. I'd like if the highlight blinkies screen could contain the strategic numbers but can't have it all obviously.

On Leica it's nice to have all the relevant information on the glance: clipped highlights or shadows, shutter, aperture, and ISO. You first evaluate if your shot needs to be corrected and you can immediately check the taking settings to see which value you can flex.

---

Yesterday was an easy overcast and steady light day so I turned to full manual approach. Turned the meter to center-weighted and made one metering against the overcast sky at meter saying +1 EV overexposure. It was perfect for the light, I filled the histogram to the brim but not clipping anything.

Because the vintage Nikkors only click at full stops, in this way it makes some sense that the shutter speed is also in full stops. That's not a good excuse anyway.

Adjusting ISO on the Df remains the clumsiest operation. It is also a clumsy-ish operation to adjust it on Leica but nowhere nearly as clumsy as on Nikon. I wonder if the ISO lock could be somehow be disabled so that the wheel could be turned freely. This could make a huge improvement.
Man, highlight weighted metering is a game changer. You know how the best analogue camera meters just instantly get a handle on metering for the highlights, where you can easily judge from a glance at the scene if there's enough shadow or highlights to fool the meter, and just dial in a bit up or down and know the scene is exposed more or less correctly? At least that's how my Bessa-T functions. Highlight weighted metering is just like that. If it's sitting on, say, +0.7 and when you glance at the scene you notice that something is obviously going to be biasing the metering, you can just throw a little bit of exposure compensation in and know the exposure is going to be correct. I don't feel like I can do that with complicated modern matrix type metering. It just somehow obfuscates the way the camera is going to capture a scene. Sorry for the bunny trail, but I have a hard time using digital cameras without EVFs when I'm paying close attention to metering - except for the GRIII due to the awesome highlight weighted metering. It's a thing to look for in future cameras.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
The next and hopefully a major step is to have the camera serviced. The K3 focusing screen will be fitted and I will also ask about the ISO wheel lock.

I will need no highlight weighted metering because I've been pretty successful at adapting my clumsy Leica metering technique to Nikon. Yes, the Nikon's controls and dials aren't as nice as Leica's but I'll make do. If the ISO dial can be adjusted lockless in the future then things should really open up!
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
Oh yes. Today is the day. I've been putting this thing off for too long now. Today I will take the camera to be maintained. The usual MO is to ship the patients to them but for what the post office charges for sending packages these days I can might as well take a bus to Helsinki and hand the gear to a store that will ship it for me without further cost I imagine.

I have to say, it is actually somewhat frightening to see how much I've been shooting the Nikon the past few weeks. I thought Leica was my eternal love? Maybe I love being a part of the elite but there's simply not a similar ring to being a "nikon shooter" than a "leica shooter". The small 50 f/1.4 Nikkor is just another blow to this ordeal. It's hardly any bigger than a 50 f/1.4 Leica M lens!

Leica still is the more compact and qute of the two, but even then, it's not exactly compact enough to be pocketable or anything. I am in such a conflict about my feelings.

If the focusing screen fits well and offers in-sync focus confirmations this all will go to the next level.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
Boy does it feel good to finally stop procrastinating and get the thing to the shop! I believe the job's going to cost such a dear penny that I will get some BR on the Nikon overall, but let's worry about that later. I originally planned on doing the fitting last August but I was pretty unsure about my future with Nikon at that time.

I don't know what to expect from the SLR split screen at this point. The way it even can work is dark magic to me. Because it works from the information acquired TTL it cannot probably beat a rangefinder in extreme cases (extreme wide angles with very slow apertures). Hopefully it would make 55mm f/3.5 usable, hopefully the calibration helps with making 20mm f/1.8 usable. These two lenses yielded bad results with my camera, the mirror might have been a tiniest bit off and the 20/1.8 Samyang might have needed AF fine tune for that focus confirmation to become trustworthy.

We know a rangefinder doesn't care what the lens sees. A rangefinder in a way gets better and better the wider and/or slower you go. We have all these lenses like 16mm f/8 which would be simply impossible to focus accurately with a TTL camera.

What I expect is that the split prism is that the wider and slower you go, the less pronounced the split effect is going to become. But perhaps the technology works well enough to get a significant boost to my shooting.

I also know that the focusing screen should have a significant boost in user experience also when shooting autofocus lenses. It's an optical confirmation that the camera has actually focused where I wanted it to focus. Occasionally, due to a user error I must stress, I back-button-focused a lens to say 30 meters and then later on I assumed it was hyperfocal-focused at infinity but back at home I noticed it wasn't the case. With rangefinders one hardly ever tends to make these sorts of mistakes because you're constantly seeing the rangefinder patch in the center of your view. I reason that the split focus screen will eliminate these sorts of mistakes to the best of its ability.

~~~

Meanwhile I am enjoying my Leica M. I don't know if it was the bulky DSLR camera that showed me the alternative reality but these days I really enjoy and appreciate the ergonomics of the M body. Compact body fits on the palm nicely. I guess a year ago it was my Leica M and my Panasonic GX80 so back then the Leica was the bulky one.

So now it's going to be my Leica and me for the next week or two. Two years of Leica ownership hadn't vanished "overnight" even when my shooting has been very Nikon-focused for the past month. I had a nice stroll with the M and CV 50/1.5, no shots lost. One thing I do admit: after setting Nikon to behave very closely to my Leica, now I was half-hoping I could have the histogram over my picture review when pressing OK.
 

mike3996

Hall of Famer
Location
Finland
So things progress. The service just sent me a quote: all in all with the parts and all we're talking about 500 € ! That's steep but I didn't think I'd get away with much less anyway. These guys are the Finland's authorized Nikon repairers.

For a body I paid 1010 € for, the 50% extra can sound a bit steep. But with the ISO lock removed and a real focusing screen fitted I feel like I am getting back a 115% of my camera, if not more. The camera will be much better than the factory standard one.

For a bit of good news, they were able to confirm my suspicions that there was something off with the AF module. Kind of funny that I was still able to get sharp shots with my 50/1.4 and 85/1.8, only the slow zoom 28-70 had trouble towards infinity. I have a good feeling about this.
 

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