Nikon Df vs L840
The Nikon Df and the Nikon Coolpix L840 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in November 2013 and February 2015. The Df is a DSLR, while the L840 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on a full frame (Df) and a 1/2.3-inch (L840) sensor. The Df has a resolution of 16.2 megapixels, whereas the L840 provides 15.9 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon Df||Nikon L840|
|Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Nikon F mount lenses||22.5-855mm f/3-6.5|
|16.2 MP, Full Frame Sensor||15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor|
|no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO 100-12800 (50-204800)||ISO 100-6400|
|Optical viewfinder||No viewfinder, LCD framing|
|3.2" LCD, 921k dots||3.0" LCD, 921k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Tilting screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|5.5 shutter flaps per second||7.4 shutter flaps per second|
|Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|1400 shots per battery charge||590 shots per battery charge|
|144 x 110 x 67 mm, 760 g||113 x 78 x 96 mm, 538 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon Df and the Nikon Coolpix L840? 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.
The physical size and weight of the Nikon Df and the Nikon L840 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The Df can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the L840 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, red).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon L840 is considerably smaller (44 percent) than the Nikon Df. It is worth mentioning in this context that the Df is splash and dust resistant, while the L840 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the L840 has a lens built in, whereas the Df is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the Df and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
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.
|Nikon Df»||5.7 in||4.3 in||2.6 in||26.8 oz||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749||Nikon Df|
|Nikon L840«||4.4 in||3.1 in||3.8 in||19.0 oz||590||n||Feb 2015||299||Nikon L840|
|Canon SX530« »||4.7 in||3.2 in||3.6 in||15.6 oz||210||n||Jan 2015||429||Canon SX530|
|Canon SX60« »||5.0 in||3.7 in||4.5 in||22.9 oz||340||n||Sep 2014||549||Canon SX60|
|Nikon B600« »||4.8 in||3.2 in||3.9 in||17.6 oz||280||n||Jan 2019||349||Nikon B600|
|Nikon D850« »||5.7 in||4.9 in||3.1 in||35.5 oz||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299||Nikon D850|
|Nikon B500« »||4.5 in||3.1 in||3.7 in||19.1 oz||600||n||Jan 2016||299||Nikon B500|
|Nikon P900« »||5.5 in||4.1 in||5.4 in||31.7 oz||360||n||Mar 2015||599||Nikon P900|
|Nikon D4S« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.6 oz||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon D750« »||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.1 in||26.5 oz||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D810« »||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||34.6 oz||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299||Nikon D810|
|Nikon D610« »||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.2 in||30.0 oz||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D4« »||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.6 in||47.3 oz||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D600« »||5.6 in||4.4 in||3.2 in||30.0 oz||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||Nikon D600|
|Nikon D800« »||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||35.3 oz||900||Y||Feb 2012||2,999||Nikon D800|
|Nikon D800E« »||5.7 in||4.8 in||3.2 in||35.3 oz||900||Y||Feb 2012||3,299||Nikon D800E|
|Nikon D700« »||5.8 in||4.8 in||3.0 in||37.9 oz||1000||Y||Jul 2008||2,999||Nikon D700|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The L840 was launched at a lower price than the Df, despite having a lens built in. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better 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 Df features a full frame sensor and the Nikon L840 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the L840 is 97 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 5.6. The sensor in the Df has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the L840 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 16.2MP, the Df offers a slightly higher resolution than the L840 (15.9MP), but the Df nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 7.29μm versus 1.33μm for the L840) due to its larger sensor. However, the L840 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 3 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 L840 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Nikon Df has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 50-204800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Coolpix L840 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400 (no boost).
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. 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 following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89||Nikon Df|
|Nikon L840||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||..||..||..||..||Nikon L840|
|Canon SX530||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Canon SX530|
|Canon SX60||1/2.3||14.2||4608||3072||1080/60p||19.2||10.8||127||39||Canon SX60|
|Nikon B600||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon B600|
|Nikon D850||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100||Nikon D850|
|Nikon B500||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||..||..||..||..||Nikon B500|
|Nikon P900||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Nikon P900|
|Nikon D4S||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/60p||24.4||13.3||3074||89||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D810||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97||Nikon D810|
|Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D600||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||94||Nikon D600|
|Nikon D800||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.3||14.4||2853||95||Nikon D800|
|Nikon D800E||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.6||14.3||2979||96||Nikon D800E|
|Nikon D700||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2303||80||Nikon D700|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The L840 indeed provides for movie recording, while the Df does not. The highest resolution format that the L840 can use is 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the Df has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the L840 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon Df, the Nikon L840, and comparable cameras.
|Nikon Df||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||n||n||Nikon Df|
|Nikon L840||none||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4||Y||Y||Nikon L840|
|Canon SX530||none||n||3.0||461||fixed||n||1/2000s||1.6||Y||Y||Canon SX530|
|Canon SX60||922||n||3.0||922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4||Y||Y||Canon SX60|
|Nikon B600||none||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||7.4||Y||Y||Nikon B600|
|Nikon D850||optical||Y||3.2||2359||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0||n||n||Nikon D850|
|Nikon B500||none||n||3.0||921||tilting||n||1/4000s||7.4||Y||Y||Nikon B500|
|Nikon P900||921||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y||Nikon P900|
|Nikon D4S||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon D750||optical||Y||3.2||1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D810||optical||Y||3.2||1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D810|
|Nikon D610||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0||Y||n||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D4||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D600||optical||Y||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5||Y||n||Nikon D600|
|Nikon D800||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0||Y||n||Nikon D800|
|Nikon D800E||optical||Y||3.2||921||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0||Y||n||Nikon D800E|
|Nikon D700||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n||Nikon D700|
One feature that is present on the Df, but is missing on the L840 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
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.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the Df and the L840 write their files to SDXC cards. The Df supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the L840 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 Df and Nikon Coolpix L840 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Nikon Df||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon Df|
|Nikon L840||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Nikon L840|
|Canon SX530||-||stereo||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon SX530|
|Canon SX60||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon SX60|
|Nikon B600||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon B600|
|Nikon D850||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D850|
|Nikon B500||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon B500|
|Nikon P900||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Nikon P900|
|Nikon D4S||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D4S|
|Nikon D750||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D750|
|Nikon D810||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D810|
|Nikon D610||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D610|
|Nikon D4||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D4|
|Nikon D600||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D600|
|Nikon D800||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Nikon D800|
|Nikon D800E||Y||mono||mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-||Nikon D800E|
|Nikon D700||Y||none||none||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D700|
It is notable that the Df has a hotshoe, while the L840 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon Df (unlike the L840) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
The Df is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the L840 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the L840 was succeeded by the Nikon B500. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon Df and the Nikon L840? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon Df:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1400 versus 590) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in November 2013).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon Coolpix L840:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60i video.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7.4 vs 5.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the Df requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (113x78mm vs 144x110mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the Df).
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 3 months) more recently.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the Df emerges as the winner of the contest (16 : 13 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 wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon Df and the Nikon L840 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the Df or the L840. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts 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.
The above review scores should be interpreted 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 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.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Nikon Df vs Nikon L840
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 Model||Nikon Df||Nikon L840|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||22.5-855mm f/3-6.5|
|Launch Date||November 2013||February 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 2749||USD 299|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon Df||Nikon L840|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 23.9 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||860.4 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.2 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16.2 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4928 x 3280 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||7.29 μm||1.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||1.88 MP/cm2||56.73 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60i Video|
|ISO Setting||100-12800 ISO||100-6400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50-204800 ISO||no Enhancement|
|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 Df||Nikon L840|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||No viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Tilting screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon Df||Nikon L840|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5.5 shutter flaps/s||7.4 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon Df||Nikon L840|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon Df||Nikon L840|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1400 shots per charge||590 shots per charge|
144 x 110 x 67 mm
(5.7 x 4.3 x 2.6 in)
113 x 78 x 96 mm
(4.4 x 3.1 x 3.8 in)
|Camera Weight||760 g (26.8 oz)||538 g (19.0 oz)|
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