Nikon Df First Impressions: Wandering At Night

As a professional photographer, time is often spent working on the business of photography. Whether it's commercial or editorial shoots, meetings with clients or even brainstorming sessions, it takes a lot of the day. Add the fact that I have a little toddler running around the house, and the demands on my time seem heavier than ever.

As any photographer will know, work is great, but there needs to be some special time you keep for yourself. Time for you to make your own pictures and time to photograph things that aren't work related, for the express reason of keeping things fresh.

So it seems like the only time I really have to myself these days are the late nights. After clients have gone home from the office for the day, when the toddler is fast asleep, I usually sling a camera onto my shoulder, hop on my motorbike and go and explore.

Taking the Nikon Df along with me was a no brainer. With a great low light sensor, it allows me to get the kinds of pictures I want, often times even without a tripod (though I will still carry one along with me just in case I see a long exposure I want to do!)


There was a time when the argument would be if digital would ever catch up to film, these days, it's easy to see how digital has surpassed the world of film, especially when it comes to low light sensitivity. While I used to be confined to color films up to ISO800 and b/w films up to ISO3200, the Df allows me to get great color reproduction at up to IS3200  with ISO6400 producing more than acceptable results too.

If I'm shooting black and white nightscapes, it gets even better as the slight noise at ISO12800 passes off nicely as film grain when converted to b/w.


As mentioned in my previous post, it took awhile to get used to the controls on the Df, but in the dim light of the Singaporean night, the large dials made it especially easy to fiddle with settings on the camera. The fact that the camera is also much lighter than the other pro-grade bodies also makes it easier to tote around when you wander. I'd always choose performance over comfort, but if I can get the same great low light performance as my D4 with the weight of the Df, well you know which I will choose for my day-to-day wanderings.

For my night time forays out with the Df, I decided to visit an abandoned, soon-to-be demolished block of flats as well as a brand new housing estate with only one occupied apartment. I also ventured out to the industrial area in the southwest of Singapore as well as Faber Point, a place to get some of the best views of the city skyline. 

The amazing thing was that almost all of the images were photographed without a tripod, not just at dusk, but also in the wee hours of the morning with minimum available light.

I'll finish up in my next post on taking the Df out on the street to do a little street photography and wrap up with my overall impressions of the camera.