Df or D4s, what would you buy if the price was the same?

Now that the Nikon Z is announced and I know what it is, and what it isn't... I'm thinking about buying a new Nikon DSLR. I used to have a d810 but sold it before the d850 was announced and dropped the value too much. My only dislike with the d810 was how big and heavy it was.

On eBay I see some new Nikon Df bodies for ~2,100 -2,300 USD$, and some used Nikon D4s bodies for ~2,500 USD$. I have a 50mm f1.4 ziess milvus (manual focus lens) and split prism focusing screen.

I've herd the D610 is better than the Df bar the low light. I like the Df size more than the D4s, but have never used a dslr with a grip. I like the fact that the D4s has expeed 4 (df expeed 3). I like that the Df has an AE-L/AF-L button (I don't know if the D4s has another solution). I like that the D4s has better auto focus, but right now I have one manual focus lense and a split prism focusing screen. I bet the D4s would encourage me to buy other lenses and offer a lot more features however I mostly shoot in the woods (plants animals and fungi), on farms, kids, pets... slow moving subjects I easily nail the focus on first shot, I'm very used to and good with a manual focus lens.

My two biggest considerations are low light and size.

Talk me into either camera


  • mhedgesmhedges Posts: 444Member
    edited August 27
    Can you change the focusing screens on either of those cameras?

    Well size would go against the D4S, right? not sure which is better in low light. Those are pretty different cameras.

    As an aside I’m not sure the D810 prices really suffered much due to the D850. Possibly due to limited availability.

    As far as the D610 - I’ve heard good things overall, but it has kinda lousy AF in low light.
    Post edited by mhedges on
  • thoughtloopthoughtloop Posts: 5Member
    You can change the focusing screens on both.

    The D4s, D4 and Df are probably the three most similar Nikons, basically all the same sensor... maybe the Df is slightly better on low light

    I really prefer the Df size, however the D4s seems like such a more capable camera. I just know large size has hindered me in the past.
  • mhedgesmhedges Posts: 444Member
    I guess I was thinking more just about the controls. Do you think you would like the manual-style controls on the DF?
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,550Member
    Try hire one . Usually you can buy the one they send you minus the hire charge …….
  • sportsport Posts: 98Member
    I second what Pistnbroke said. Rent the cameras you are considering and use them in your work flow. Lens weight is bigger problem for me than camera but I won't compromise on it.
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,550Member
    low weight and size ??? Z6
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,698Member
    I have a Df and tried @Golf007sd D4. I like the D4 for sure it is like a big beast of a camera. The Df is a little beast of a camera. Both have the "same" sensor and if you want a grip you can add one to the Df, split screen and if you have non-ai and ai lens it will be a pleasure to shoot with. You can also add a eye cup magnifier to help you as well, plus you have the green dot to confirm focus.
  • thoughtloopthoughtloop Posts: 5Member
    good advice vipmediastar, i think i like the d4s more i'm just afraid I wont' use it due to size/weight
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,153Member
    I have been thinking of getting the Df lately.
    1) I think it is still the low light King.. maybe the new z6 will be better.
    2) I had a D610, Got it instead of the Df.. It is a good camera with a good sensor. However, I would get a D750 these days with a slightly better sensor and a much better AF. The D610 has the same AF system to the Df but a touch better. In both cases you can use the Flash AF assist system to get better results.
    3) D4 just too big for me to consider....

    Yes, I have Manual focus lenses I am missing using again in its FF ( only have Dx cameras at the moment. Gave away my D610 :-).
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • Ton14Ton14 Posts: 246Member
    D810 and go on, super camera, no learning curve, a much better D610 (D600).
    User Ton changed to Ton14, Google sign in did not work anymore
  • thoughtloopthoughtloop Posts: 5Member
    The d810 was great, it was just too big and heavy the size and weight deterred me from taking it everywhere. Someone famous once said, the best camera is the one you have with you.
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,550Member
    Both the DF and D4 are old 16 MP junk ..just forget it and go something current
  • Ton14Ton14 Posts: 246Member

    The d810 was great, it was just too big and heavy the size and weight deterred me from taking it everywhere. Someone famous once said, the best camera is the one you have with you.

    Yep, that's what the famous once said, so we can stick to our phones nowadays :). The famous did not mention image quality.
    User Ton changed to Ton14, Google sign in did not work anymore
  • Tradewind35Tradewind35 Posts: 61Member
    Bearing in mind that "the old 16 MP junk" is capable of new stunning image quality, the question of Df verses D4s is simple. The D4s is unquestionably the more capable camera as it should be at about twice the price. But it is also much bigger and as size is a key factor for the prospective purchaser, the Df has that clear advantage in its favour - particularly if one is to use it with a mf lens. So the choice may come down to the handling characteristics - menu driven commands on the D4s or the Df's old style control capability - shutter speed dial, aperture ring on the lens etc. If one likes the old ways with manual focusing then the Df rules.
  • sportsport Posts: 98Member
    If you didn't like the d810 because of weight and size then you are really going to have problems with a d4s. It's nearly twice as heavy as a df not to mention the physical size of it.

    I would pick a D750 over the df just for increased dynamic range.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,804Moderator
    edited September 11
    "I would pick a D750 over the df just for increased dynamic range."

    I agree sport.
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • framerframer Posts: 488Member
    Your logic is seriously not right. D4s is a tank. The D810 is fabulous. If you want lighter check out the D500.

  • IggypixIggypix Posts: 1Member
    I know you are using a small lens but with anything large, the DF’s styling has compromised the ergonomics so much that I sometimes get serious arm cramp. The D800 I have may be bigger and heavier, but if you are using them all day, go for the more ‘modern’ design. I think the Df is very cool though..
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