As I was growing up, it seemed you had to choose between two things, supporting one while bashing the other at every opportunity.
It started with the “Beatles vs. Stones” (I was Beatles), and then migrated to “Star Trek vs. Star Wars” (I was a Trekkie) and, once I became interested in photography, we had the eternal “Nikon vs. Canon” battle for the best.
I had a friend at work named Ric, who brought in and showed me his Nikon F2AS, and I was transfixed. As solid as a steel block, yet containing the internal mechanics as precise as the finest Swiss timepiece. While an F2 was way out of my price league, I did eventually get myself an original FM.
The FM was a completely manual camera, the only thing the coin sized battery powered was the light meter within, so it was my training ground to learn the rudiments of photography, the interaction between the aperture and shutter speed, and why you’d want to prioritize one over the other, depending on what you were shooting.
Those were invaluable lessons, and I keep those hard learned practices with me today, despite the advances in digital photography where every camera now has the ability to be a PHD (Push Here, Dummy) and yield amazing images.
As I moved through the world of film, I eventually obtained an F4, which was the most amazing camera I’ve ever used, even to this day. I got some amazing images with that camera, many of which are found on this site today.
It broke my heart to part with this beloved workhorse, but the writing was on the wall. Digital had taken over the world, and the value of these best of breed cameras was dropping like stones. I sadly parted with mine and entered the digital world, where I went through a number of bodies over the years, searching in vain to find something I could bond with as I’d done with my F4.
And then it happened.
Turns out the lead engineer at Nikon who pioneered the F4 worked on one last project before he retired, and his touch is all over this interesting hybrid.
Meet the Df (Digital Fusion)
As I call it, the heart of a digital, but the soul of film. This is the last camera I plan on getting, and so I have two of them in order to have immediate backup in case one needs to go to the shop for anything.
This model was met with derision and sarcasm by much of the industry, which didn’t surprise me. “That expensive and it doesn’t do video???” Nope, it’s a camera, not a camcorder. “What’s up with all those confusing dials and controls on top???” You’d think you’d taken away their beloved cell phones and pointed to a rotary phone mounted on the kitchen wall. No, it’s not for that crowd, but for those of us who came up through the film era, this was a breathtaking entry to the Nikon lineup!
Now, despite my obvious loyalty to the Nikon brand for half a century, I don’t bash Canon. Or Fuji, Sony, Olympus, Pentax or any other camera brands. They’re all good quality instruments, and they all have their own loyal following.
I just prefer my Nikons. This old dog isn’t interested in learning any new tricks, thank you very much.