Tuesday, 5 November 2013
twisty dial cameras
An intriguing development on the photographic scene in the very month when I've decided (just experimentally) to take most of my photos using an iPhone.
Yes, Nikon have just introduced a new digital camera that looks very much like...an old film camera.
This Df unit looks very much like a last century Nikon Fx film camera, albeit with some fancy electronics inside. It will be interesting to see how this gets reviewed against the rest of the DSLR cameras, seeing how comprehensively it breaks the normal DSLR mould.
I've wondered whether digital cameras could get away from complicated layered menus and back to simpler twisty dials. This seems to be a reasonable attempt to do just that. I've only seen pictures of this Df and I've a feeling that it might be lighter in the hand than expected and also missing things like split screen focus.
It's also rather expensive in its current guise, apparently costing more than Nikon's fancy D800. It also seems to come with a new 'retro lens' as the only option - albeit one without an aperture ring, which I find somewhat curious. Something of a half-way house.
Whether it is the start of a new camera line, or the end of proper mirrors in the next generation of conventional Nikon DSLRs remains to be seen.
It will also be interesting to see whether, in design terms, the old-school look really does stand up in the 21st century or if its simply a market testing experiment. I'm wondering if the next 2014-ish conventional Nikon DSLRs will start to use the dials again too?
Nikon's recent raft of announcements somehow reminds me of London buses, where there can be a long gap and then a whole load come along in one go.
Of course, it's not the first camera to go along this analogue look route; my Fuji X100 does it as a kind of 'alternative to rangefinder' camera, admittedly with some early teething troubles that took a while to fix.
My little Olympus OM-D is another camera that has taken the more twisty dials route, seen here with a few of its old-timer friends.