Nikon Df Review

 
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Nikon Df Performance


Timing and Performance

Generally good speed for a prosumer full-frame DSLR, though autofocus is somewhat sluggish for its class, and burst speed is unremarkable.

Startup/Record to Play/Buffer Clearing
Power on
to first shot
0.55 second
Time it takes for camera to turn on and take a shot.
Play to Record,
first shot
0.32 second
Time until first shot is captured.
Buffer clearing time
L/F JPEG
~9 seconds
(after 50 frames)
Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't shut down until the buffer is cleared.
Buffer clearing time
14-bit RAW

(Lossless Compressed)
~10 seconds
(after 29 frames)
Buffer clearing time
14-bit RAW + L/F JPEG
~7 seconds
(after 22 frames)
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I SDHC memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times.

Startup and Play to Record mode switching times were fairly quick. Buffer clearing time depends on the image size and quality, burst length and the speed of memory card used, but was generally pretty good with a 95MB/s UHS-I SDHC card.

 

Shutter Response (Lag Time), Optical Viewfinder
Full Autofocus
Single Point
(Center) AF
0.274 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture using optical viewfinder. All timing performed with Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Special Edition kit lens.
Full Autofocus
39-point Auto Area
0.493 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture using optical viewfinder.
Manual focus
Optical Viewfinder
0.079 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".
Prefocused
0.054 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.
Shutter Response (Lag Time), Live View mode

Full Autofocus
Live View
Single-servo AF

1.388 seconds

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Pre-focused
Live View

0.233 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

In terms of the Nikon Df's ability to determine that it's properly focused when shooting the same target multiple times (with no change of focus setting between iteration, to remove the impact of lens AF speed), its speed was a little slow for prosumer model. With its 50mm f/1.8 kit lens, the Df 's full autofocus shutter lag was 0.274 second using single-area center AF mode, and 39-point Auto Area AF lag measured 0.493 second. Quite a few consumer DSLRs are actually faster in this test.

Manual focus shutter lag was very fast, though, at 0.079 second, and prefocused shutter lag was faster, at 0.054 second.

Full autofocus was much slower in Live View mode, as expected. The Nikon Df only offers contrast-detect AF in Live View, which took about 1.39 seconds to focus and take a shot with the 50mm f/1.8 kit lens. (How fast the lens can adjust focus makes a big difference here -- with our Sigma 70mm f/2.8 lens, it took about 1.74s.) Prefocused shutter lag was also much slower in Live View mode but not too bad, at about 0.23 second.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.

 

Cycle time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
0.54 second
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 1 second to clear.
Single Shot mode
14-bit RAW
0.54 second
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 1 second to clear.
Single Shot mode
14-bit RAW + L/F JPEG
0.53 second
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 7 seconds to clear.
Early shutter
penalty?
No
Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.
Continuous Hi mode
Large Fine JPEG
(Optimal quality)
0.19 second
(5.38 frames/sec);
50+ frames total;
9 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over 50 frames with no signs of slowing.
Continuous Hi mode
14-bit RAW (Lossless compressed)
0.19 second
(5.41 frames/sec);
29 frames total;
10 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 29 frames.
Continuous Hi mode
14-bit RAW (Lossless) + L/F JPEG
0.19 second
(5.38 frames/sec);
22 frames total;
7 seconds to clear*
Time per shot, averaged over buffer depth of 22 frames.
Flash recycling
n/a
Flash at maximum output.
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I SDHC memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle time performance was good, at just over 0.5 second per frame no matter the file type.

Continuous High Speed modes were fair for a prosumer full-frame SLR model. We measured a consistent 5.4 frames per second, not matter the file type, just slightly lower than Nikon's 5.5fps spec. The Nikon Df also has a Continuous Low Speed mode with a programmable 1 to 5fps framerate.

Buffer depths were good at over 50 best quality JPEGs, 29 14-bit lossless compressed RAW and 22 14-bit RAW+ best quality JPEGs. (Even better buffer depths are likely available when shooting typical subjects and/or using lower quality settings.) Buffer clearing was fairly swift considering the buffer sizes, ranging from 7 to 10 seconds after maximum-length bursts.

 

Download speed
Windows Computer, USB 2.0
13,378 KBytes/sec
Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-770=USB 2.0 Low;
More than 770=USB 2.0 High

Download speeds were fairly fast, fast enough that you probably won't feel the need for a separate card reader.


Bottom line, the Nikon Df's performance is generally good for a full-frame DSLR with fast startup, single-shot cycle times and low shutter lag, though both autofocus and burst mode speeds are a little slower than most DSLRs. Even the more budget-friendly full-frame D610 had slightly faster AF and burst rate despite being higher resolution, though the Df has deeper buffers.

Battery

Battery Life

Excellent battery life for a prosumer DSLR.

Test Conditions
Number of Shots
Lithium-ion rechargeable battery,
(CIPA standard, Optical Viewfinder)
1,400
Lithium-ion rechargeable battery,
(CIPA standard, Live View LCD)
Unknown

The Nikon Df uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, and comes with both a single battery and charger. The CIPA rated 1,400 shots per charge using the optical viewfinder is excellent, but keep in mind the Df does not have a built-in flash which is normally fired for 50% of shots when tested using the CIPA standard. Unfortunately, Nikon does not seem to publish battery life results for when Live View mode is used, but it's a safe bet that it's considerably shorter.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of on fully-charged battery, based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 



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