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Nikon D810 vs Df

The Nikon D810 and the Nikon Df are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in June 2014 and November 2013. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The D810 has a resolution of 36.2 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 D810 versus Nikon Df
Nikon D810 Nikon Df
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
36.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor 16.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor
1080/60p Video no Video
ISO 64-12,800 (32 - 51,200) ISO 100-12,800 (50 - 204,800)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.2 LCD, 1229k dots 3.2 LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
5 shutter flaps per second 5.5 shutter flaps per second
Weathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
1200 shots per battery charge1400 shots per battery charge
146 x 123 x 82 mm, 980 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 D810 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

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D810 and the Nikon Df is provided 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 width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The Df can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D810 is only available in black.

Size Nikon D810 vs Nikon Df
Compare D810 versus Df top
Comparison D810 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 notably smaller (12 percent) than the Nikon D810. Moreover, the Df is markedly lighter (22 percent) than the D810. 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. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D810 gets 1200 shots out of its EN-EL15 battery, while the Df can take 1400 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon D810 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 34.6 oz 1200 Y Jun 2014 3,299i
 
Nikon Df 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.6 in 26.8 oz 1400 Y Nov 2013 2,749i
 
Canon 5DS 6.0 in 4.6 in 3.0 in 32.8 oz 700 Y Feb 2015 3,699 i
 
Nikon D850 5.7 in 4.9 in 3.1 in 35.5 oz 1840 Y Jul 2017 3,299 i
 
Nikon D4S 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.6 oz 3020 Y Feb 2014 6,499i
 
Nikon D750 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.1 in 26.5 oz 1230 Y Sep 2014 2,299i
 
Nikon D610 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i
 
Nikon D4 6.3 in 6.2 in 3.6 in 47.3 oz 2600 Y Jan 2012 5,999i
 
Nikon D600 5.6 in 4.4 in 3.2 in 30.0 oz 900 Y Sep 2012 2,099i
 
Nikon D800 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 35.3 oz 900 Y Feb 2012 2,999i
 
Nikon D800E 5.7 in 4.8 in 3.2 in 35.3 oz 900 Y Feb 2012 3,299i
 
Nikon D700 5.8 in 4.8 in 3.0 in 37.9 oz 1000 Y Jul 2008 2,999i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The Df was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 17 percent) than the D810, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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.

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.

Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

In terms of chip-set technology, the D810 uses a more advanced image processing engine (EXPEED 4) than the Df (EXPEED 3), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Nikon D810 and Nikon Df sensor measures

With 36.2MP, the D810 offers a higher resolution than the Df (16.2MP), but the D810 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.88μm versus 7.29μm for the Df). However, the D810 is a somewhat more recent model (by 7 months) than the Df, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D810 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D810 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D810 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 36.8 x 24.6 inches or 93.5 x 62.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 29.4 x 19.6 inches or 74.8 x 49.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 24.5 x 16.4 inches or 62.3 x 41.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon Df are 24.6 x 16.4 inches or 62.6 x 41.7 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.3 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.8 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Nikon D810 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 64 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 32-51200. 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.

D810 versus Df MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under review, the D810 has a notably higher overall DXO score than the Df (overall score 8 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1.1 bits higher color depth, 1.7 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.2 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-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
 
Nikon D810 Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/60p25.714.8285397
 
Nikon Df Full Frame 16.2 4928 3280none24.613.1327989
 
Canon 5DS Full Frame 50.3 8688 57921080/30p24.712.4238187
 
Nikon D850 Full Frame 45.4 8256 55044K/30p26.414.82660100
 
Nikon D4S Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/60p24.413.3307489
 
Nikon D750 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/60p24.814.5295693
 
Nikon D610 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594
 
Nikon D4 Full Frame 16.2 4928 32801080/30p24.713.1296589
 
Nikon D600 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.2298094
 
Nikon D800 Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/30p25.314.4285395
 
Nikon D800E Full Frame 36.2 7360 49121080/30p25.614.3297996
 
Nikon D700 Full Frame 12.1 4256 2832none23.512.2230380

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D810 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the Df does not. The highest resolution format that the D810 can use is 1080/60p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D810 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), as well as the same magnification (0.70x). The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D810, the Nikon Df, and comparable cameras.

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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
 
Nikon D810optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon Dfoptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 n n
 
Canon 5DSoptical Y 3.2 1040 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 n n
 
Nikon D850optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 9.0 n n
 
Nikon D4Soptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
 
Nikon D750optical Y 3.2 1229 tilting n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Nikon D610optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Nikon D4optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 11.0 n n
 
Nikon D600optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.5 Y n
 
Nikon D800optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 4.0 Y n
 
Nikon D800Eoptical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/8000s 4.0 Y n
 
Nikon D700optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 8.0 Y n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D810 has one, while the Df does not. While the built-in flash of the D810 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The Nikon D810 and the Nikon Df both have 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 D810 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or SDXC cards, while the Df uses SDXC cards. The D810 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the Df only has one slot. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

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 D810 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
 
Nikon D810YstereomonoYYmini3.0Y--
 
Nikon DfY----mini2.0---
 
Canon 5DSYmonomonoY-mini3.0---
 
Nikon D850YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYY
 
Nikon D4SYmonomonoYYmini2.0---
 
Nikon D750YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y--
 
Nikon D610YmonomonoYYmini2.0---
 
Nikon D4YmonomonoYYmicro2.0---
 
Nikon D600YmonomonoYYmini2.0---
 
Nikon D800YmonomonoYYmini3.0---
 
Nikon D800EYmonomonoYYmini3.0---
 
Nikon D700Y----mini2.0---

It is notable that the D810 offers wifi support, while the Df does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.

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

Both the D810 and the Df have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D810 was replaced by the Nikon D850, 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.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D810 or the Nikon Df – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D810:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (36.2 vs 16.2MP) with a 49% higher linear resolution.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (8 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
  • Richer colors: Generates images with noticeably better colors (1.1 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.7 EV of extra DR).
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (EXPEED 4 vs EXPEED 3).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60p movies.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 921k dots).
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More modern: Is somewhat more recent (announced 7 months after the Df).


Reasons to prefer the Nikon Df:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More compact: Is smaller (144x110mm vs 146x123mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 220g or 22 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1400 versus 1200) out of a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (17 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2013).

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D810 is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 6 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. 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.

D810 14:06 Df

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D810 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D810 and the Df in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon D810..86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2014 3,299i
 
Nikon Df..81/1004/54/54/5 Nov 2013 2,749i
 
Canon 5DS+83/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2015 3,699 i
 
Nikon D850+ +89/1004.5/55/55/5 Jul 2017 3,299 i
 
Nikon D4S....4.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2014 6,499i
 
Nikon D750+ +90/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2014 2,299i
 
Nikon D610+ +87/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i
 
Nikon D4....4.5/5..4.5/5 Jan 2012 5,999i
 
Nikon D600+ +87/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2012 2,099i
 
Nikon D800+ +82/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2012 2,999i
 
Nikon D800E..84/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2012 3,299i
 
Nikon D70089/100+ +4.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2008 2,999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Nikon D810:
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 D810 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 D810 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 2014 November 2013
    Launch Price USD 3,299 USD 2,749
    Sensor Specs Nikon D810 Nikon Df
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format Full Frame Sensor Full Frame Sensor
    Sensor Size 35.9 x 24.0 mm 36.0 x 23.9 mm
    Sensor Area 861.6 mm2 860.4 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 43.2 mm 43.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.0x 1.0x
    Sensor Resolution 36.2 Megapixels 16.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 7360 x 4912 pixels 4928 x 3280 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.88 μm 7.29 μm
    Pixel Density 4.20 MP/cm2 1.88 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/60p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 64 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 12,800 ISO
    ISO Boost 32 - 51,200 ISO 50 - 204,800 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED 4 EXPEED 3
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 97 89
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 25.7 24.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 14.8 13.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 2853 3279
    Screen Specs Nikon D810 Nikon Df
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.70x 0.70x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.2inch 3.2inch
    LCD Resolution 1229k dots 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D810 Nikon Df
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 5 shutter flaps/s 5.5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy200 000 actuations150 000 actuations
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF or SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D810 Nikon Df
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 3.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port no MIC socket
    Headphone Socket Headphone port no Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D810 Nikon Df
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed bodyWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL15 EN-EL14
    Battery Life (CIPA)1200 shots per charge1400 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 146 x 123 x 82 mm
    (5.7 x 4.8 x 3.2 in)
    144 x 110 x 67 mm
    (5.7 x 4.3 x 2.6 in)
    Camera Weight 980 g (34.6 oz) 760 g (26.8 oz)

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