In his recent post about the Nikon DF, Lee Morris has contributed an awful lot of nonsense to the internet. Probably to generate page views, but the absurdity is too great to let pass by. Let’s have a look.
First, the headline. It is so blatantly obvious that this is pure click-bait—and why I chose to mimic it—that Lee actually inserted a paragraph in bold, all but acknowledging that fact. Shameless.
“I’ve never heard a professional photographer complain that a camera was too big or too heavy.”
Right. I have two professional photographer friends who are both really interested in buying Fuji cameras because of the form factor. And I guess he’s never heard of Zack Arias to name one of many.
“There is also no way that holding this camera with your fingers will ever be more comfortable than a full-handed grip on today’s cameras.”
Whoa! Lee has access to a pre-production unit that he’s handled, and with which he can judge the ergonomics of for every human being on earth? Really looking forward to reading the exclusive early review. Yeah.
“The one thing that does intrigue me about the Nikon DF layout is that ISO and shutter speed are on physical rotater knobs.”
So not quite everything that’s wrong with photography then.
“You could make the argument that these physical knobs are easier and faster to deal with than a digital LCD and I might agree with you.”
“Could” and “might.” Sure.
“Obviously I won’t know until I try...”
Sort of like those ergonomics we talked about just up there?
“If physical knobs were faster, they would be in use today right?”
The fact he disregards every other possible reason for moving from dials to buttons is telling. I have a sneaking suspicion that plastics or rubber buttons cost a little less to manufacture than quality metal dials do. Beside that, speed isn’t always paramount. If it was, the DF would share all its internals with the D4, not just the sensor. Every single one of the DF teasers highlighted—hell, beat us over the head with—slowing down, considering our photographs, taking time to select the right places to turn those glorious knobs. This is not meant for sports photographers who want every means possible of not having to take their eye from the viewfinder.
“I wish that they could have made all 4 of the major settings (SS, F-Stop, ISO, and WB) all physical knobs”
Please make up your mind, Lee.
“...a simple shutter release cable has now become the next trendy thing to use to look fashionable”
There’s also the fact you can buy one for about $3 vs. $100+ for some of the fancy wireless ones. I realize if you can afford a DF you can probably afford more than a cable shutter release, but suggesting the only reason to use them is to be a hipster is a tad myopic.
“It doesn’t matter what your opinion on video is, the fact is that removing features from a product does not make a product “revolutionary.”
Here’s a fun game, open Nikon’s press release page for the DF and search for the word “revolutionary.” Perhaps he’s referring to other internet pundits’ claims, but even a quick search will show F-stoppers and one other site as the only two who really state the DF is intended to be “revolutionary.”
I don’t care about video and if he considered what I think the point of the camera might be (smallest FX form factor, removal of features for simplification and improved user experience, D4 sensor in a camera that’s not $6,000, etc.), Lee might understand why video isn’t in there.
Why is he excited?
In his past paragraph, Lee tries to reconcile why we should collectively reconsider if and why we’re excited for this camera. I’m going to unapologetically draw upon anecdotes on this one. My wife and I recently got a Fuji X-E1 and X100S respectively. Since getting those cameras, we’ve taken more photographs in the past few months than in the last couple years for me, and in the last 4 years for my wife. That’s all down to the user experience. The X-E1 isn’t a great deal simpler in terms of functionality than the D60 my wife had before, but it makes sense to her and is simpler to use, in no small part because of the dials. Some of this is comes down to it being what she grew up with, but I think more of it is down to it being easier to use.
I personally learned photography on my Dad’s Pentax K1000, but I didn’t really get into it until I purchased a D70s. So while I was used to the DSLR way of things, I enjoy and prefer the way my X100S operates much more than any of the largely button-operated Nikons I’ve owned over the years. So much so that I recently abandoned the DSLR altogether and what little “professional” photography work I’ve done for the time being. That’s why I’m excited by the idea of the Nikon DF.
At $3,000 I’m not sure it will be in my future. One point I totally agree with Lee on is the notion of sticking a giant pro 2.8 lens on the front of the DF. Sort of defeats the purpose. I think Nikon needs a separate line of Fuji XF-style lenses for me to really be interested. Imagine a reintroduction of AI-S quality lenses with AF capabilities. That would get me really excited.