According to popular digital camera review website DXO Mark, the Nikon DF is the world's best low light/high ISO camera. This report comes on the heels of an in-depth, RAW-based (see also: the benefits of RAW), computer-driven test that goes to make DXO Mark's lab results truly objective in their nature.
So, how wide is the DF's lead on the competition? Short answer: it's nearly a photo finish.
According to DXO Mark, the Nikon DF scores an amazing 3279 on the low light performance scale. In comparison, the second place D3s scores 3253. In comparison, when DXO tested the D4 and found it inferior to the D3s for low-light shooting, the D4 scored 2965, which was described as only being about .15 stop behind the D3s. Bottom line: if 300 points equates to only .15 stop, 25 points is virtually nil. The good news: Nikon has managed to tweak the D4's sensor to up its low-light performance, which was disappointing on the D4 considering the high hype Nikon itself helped create.
As for other facets of image quality, namely color depth and dynamic range, the DF does well here, too. For bit depth, the DF scores 24.6, which makes the DF an ideal camera for portrait shooting because of its ability to render rich color tones. Unfortunately, DF's 16Mp sensor may be too low of resolution for some portrait photographers. In terms of dynamic range, the DF scores 13.1, a full f-stop better than the last generation of 12Mp chips while lagging about a stop behind the 24 and 36Mp FX chips. . All together, the DF scores 89 on DXO's scale, making it the 9th best sensor ever tested by the website in and camera format.
Bottom line: if you place high ISO capability at the top of your priority list when shopping for a new camera, the Nikon DF is your camera. Oh yes, not only is the DF king of the hill for low light/high ISO, but it is also relatively affordable and can use and Nikkor F-mount lens ever made without and limitations.
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