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Nikon D1 vs Df

The Nikon D1 and the Nikon Df are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in June 1999 and November 2013. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D1) and a full frame (Df) sensor. The D1 has a resolution of 2.6 megapixels, whereas the Df provides 16.2 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D1 versus Nikon Df
Nikon D1 Nikon Df
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
2.6 MP, APS-C Sensor 16.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 200-1,600 (200 - 6,400) ISO 100-12,800 (50 - 204,800)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.0 LCD, 120k dots 3.2 LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
1.5 shutter flaps per second 5.5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
157 x 153 x 85 mm, 1100 g 144 x 110 x 67 mm, 760 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D1 and the Nikon Df? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The physical size and weight of the Nikon D1 and the Nikon Df are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The Df can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D1 is only available in black.

Size Nikon D1 vs Nikon Df
Compare D1 versus Df top
Comparison D1 or Df rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon Df is considerably smaller (34 percent) than the Nikon D1. Moreover, the Df is markedly lighter (31 percent) than the D1. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor (as in the Df) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (D1). You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

As can be seen in the images above, the D1 has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the Df, there are third party battery grips available as optional accessories (see here on eBay).

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D1 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g .. Y Jun 1999 5,499i
2.
 
Nikon Df 144 mm 110 mm 67 mm 760 g 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749i
3.
 
Nikon D850 146 mm 124 mm 79 mm 1005 g 1840 Y Jul 2017 3,299 i
4.
 
Nikon D750 141 mm 113 mm 78 mm 750 g 1230 Y Sep 2014 2,299i
5.
 
Nikon D810 146 mm 123 mm 82 mm 980 g 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299i
6.
 
Nikon D610 141 mm 113 mm 82 mm 850 g 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i
7.
 
Nikon D4 160 mm 157 mm 91 mm 1340 g 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999i
8.
 
Nikon D300S 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 938 g 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799i
9.
 
Nikon D3 160 mm 157 mm 88 mm 1300 g 4300 Y Aug 2007 4,999i
10.
 
Nikon D300 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799i
11.
 
Nikon D2Xs 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Jun 2006 4,699i
12.
 
Nikon D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699i
13.
 
Nikon D2X 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1252 g 3800 Y Sep 2004 4,999i
14.
 
Nikon D2H 158 mm 150 mm 86 mm 1070 g 2900 Y Jul 2003 3,499i
15.
 
Nikon D1H 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 Y Feb 2001 4,499i
16.
 
Nikon D1X 157 mm 153 mm 85 mm 1100 g 1200 Y Feb 2001 5,999i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Df was launched at a markedly lower price (by 50 percent) than the D1, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D1 features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon Df a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the Df is 132 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D1 and Nikon Df sensor measures

With 16.2MP, the Df offers a higher resolution than the D1 (2.6MP), but the Df has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.29μm versus 11.93μm for the D1). Yet, the Df is a much more recent model (by 14 years and 4 months) than the D1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon Df implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Df for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.6 x 16.4 inches or 62.6 x 41.7 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D1 are 10 x 6.6 inches or 25.4 x 16.7 cm for good quality, 8 x 5.2 inches or 20.3 x 13.3 cm for very good quality, and 6.7 x 4.4 inches or 16.9 x 11.1 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Nikon D1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 200-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Df are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.

D1 versus Df MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Nikon D1 APS-C 2.6 2000 1312none........
2.
 
Nikon Df Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280none24.613.1327989
3.
 
Nikon D850 Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.414.82660100
4.
 
Nikon D750 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/60p24.814.5295693
5.
 
Nikon D810 Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397
6.
 
Nikon D610 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594
7.
 
Nikon D4 Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589
8.
 
Nikon D300S APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770
9.
 
Nikon D3 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2229081
10.
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
11.
 
Nikon D2Xs APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.210.948959
12.
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
13.
 
Nikon D2X APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.110.947659
14.
 
Nikon D2H APS-C 4.0 2464 1632none18.910.035240
15.
 
Nikon D1H APS-C 2.6 2000 1312none........
16.
 
Nikon D1X APS-C 5.9 3008 1960none........
The Df offers Live View, so that it can project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen for framing. The D1 lacks this capability. Both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.
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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D1 and the Df are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the Df offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D1 (96%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the Df has a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D1 and Nikon Df along with similar information for a selection of comparators.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Nikon D1optical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 1.5 n n
2.
 
Nikon Dfoptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n n
3.
 
Nikon D850optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 n n
4.
 
Nikon D750optical Y 3.2 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
5.
 
Nikon D810optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
6.
 
Nikon D610optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
7.
 
Nikon D4optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
8.
 
Nikon D300Soptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
9.
 
Nikon D3optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
10.
 
Nikon D300optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
11.
 
Nikon D2Xsoptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
12.
 
Nikon D200optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
13.
 
Nikon D2Xoptical Y 2.5 235 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
14.
 
Nikon D2Hoptical Y 2.5 211 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 n n
15.
 
Nikon D1Hoptical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 5.0 n n
16.
 
Nikon D1Xoptical Y 2.0 120 fixed n 1/16000s 3.0 n n

The Nikon Df has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

The D1 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the Df uses SDXC cards.

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Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D1 and Nikon Df and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Nikon D1Y-----FW---
2.
 
Nikon DfY----mini2.0---
3.
 
Nikon D850YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYY
4.
 
Nikon D750YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y--
5.
 
Nikon D810YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--
6.
 
Nikon D610YmonomonoYYmini2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D4YmonomonoYYmicro2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D300SYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D3Y----mini2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D300Y----mini2.0---
11.
 
Nikon D2XsY-----2.0---
12.
 
Nikon D200Y-----2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D2XY-----2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D2HY-----2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D1HY-----FW---
16.
 
Nikon D1XY-----FW---

Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.

Both the D1 and the Df have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D1 was replaced by the Nikon D1X, while the Df does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.

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Review summary

So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D1 and the Nikon Df? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D1:

  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/16000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 1999).


Advantages of the Nikon Df:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (16.2 vs 2.6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 147%.
  • Better image quality: Is equipped with a larger and more technologically advanced sensor.
  • Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 96%).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.53x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 120k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.5 vs 1.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More compact: Is smaller (144x110mm vs 157x153mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 340g or 31 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (50 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 14 years and 4 months of technical progress since the D1 launch.

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Df is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 3 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D1 03:15 Df

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D1 and the Nikon Df place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D1 or the Df perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D1....+ +.... Jun 1999 5,499i
2.
 
Nikon Df4/5..81/1004/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749i
3.
 
Nikon D8504.5/5+ +89/1004.5/55/5 Jul 2017 3,299 i
4.
 
Nikon D7505/5+ +90/1004.5/54.5/5 Sep 2014 2,299i
5.
 
Nikon D8105/5..86/1005/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299i
6.
 
Nikon D6104/5+ +87/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i
7.
 
Nikon D4......4.5/54.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999i
8.
 
Nikon D300S5/5+ +82/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799i
9.
 
Nikon D3....+ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 4,999i
10.
 
Nikon D300..+ ++ +5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799i
11.
 
Nikon D2Xs.......... Jun 2006 4,699i
12.
 
Nikon D200..+ ++ +o.. Nov 2005 1,699i
13.
 
Nikon D2X....+ +.... Sep 2004 4,999i
14.
 
Nikon D2H....+ +.... Jul 2003 3,499i
15.
 
Nikon D1H....+ +.... Feb 2001 4,499i
16.
 
Nikon D1X....+ +.... Feb 2001 5,999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon D1:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon Df:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications: Nikon D1 vs Nikon Df

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D1 Nikon Df
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date June 1999 November 2013
    Launch Price USD 5,499 USD 2,749
    Sensor Specs Nikon D1 Nikon Df
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 36.0 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 860.4 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 2.6 Megapixels 16.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 2000 x 1312 pixels 4928 x 3280 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 11.93 μm 7.29 μm
    Pixel Density 0.71 MP/cm2 1.88 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 12,800 ISO
    ISO Boost 200 - 6,400 ISO 50 - 204,800 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 89
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 24.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 13.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 3279
    Screen Specs Nikon D1 Nikon Df
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 96% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x 0.70x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.0inch 3.2inch
    LCD Resolution 120k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D1 Nikon Df
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 1.5 shutter flaps/s 5.5 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D1 Nikon Df
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector Firewire USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D1 Nikon Df
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-4 EN-EL14
    Body Dimensions 157 x 153 x 85 mm
    (6.2 x 6.0 x 3.3 in)
    144 x 110 x 67 mm
    (5.7 x 4.3 x 2.6 in)
    Camera Weight 1100 g (38.8 oz) 760 g (26.8 oz)

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