Monday, November 4, 2013
The New Nikon Df Is Far More Ridiculous Than I Was Expecting
The press embargo of the new Nikon DF has ended and all of the major websites are talking about it. It is a stunningly tone-deaf product. It is not an arrogant product in the way that Canon produces arrogant products, but it is a stupid product.
First, the price is eye-watering, especially in the face of the already-released Sony A7 and A7R. $2,750 for just the body places it in D800 territory, and seeing as the size of this camera isn't that much smaller than other SLR cameras, only a maniac would choose this over the D800 or D610.
After learning that the D600, and now likely the D610, will be selling at discounts from the MSRP at most dealers, that means the DF will sell for a one-thousand dollar premium over the D610, which is better-specced in every way.
Everything about this camera is a step backward technologically. This is Nikon seeing the huge success of the Olympus E-M5 and Fuji X-series, and thinking that they can throw a dash of retro appeal onto a camera and jack its price way up. Nope. Sorry, Nikon. The market no longer works that way. The retro appeal functions only to keep your product competitive. It does not give you an advantage that allows a sky-high price. Because make no mistake, this is a sky-high price.
The Fuji X-Series sold well because it was cutting edge while also being retro. The Olympus E-M5 was the best Micro 4/3 camera to date while also being retro. The Sony RX1/10/100 sell well because they are the bleeding edge. Nikon has none of this!
This is perhaps Nikon shooting for a bit of Leica, but as with every computer company and their attempts to sell their products for Apple prices, people don't buy Leica. They buy Leica. The name accounts for the majority of the value for most Leica customers. There is legacy, and history, and a romantic narrative. Nikon has absolutely none of that.
This is a big disappointment. When I saw the first images of this camera, I must admit, I got a bit excited. This is such a let-down.
Long story short, don't buy this camera. It will be discounted down to around $2,000 within six-months of release. Then, don't buy this camera. Buy the D610 instead. It may not look retro, but it's a much better tool. And while I'm more than susceptible to the romance of photography, even I recognize that a camera's primary job is as a tool for producing images.