The more I see of this camera, the less I like it: I find it very ugly -too big and lumpy and wanting in its deign philosophy.
Even Nikon doesn't seem to be sure about returning to an interface based upon dedicated marked dials, so they provide both. Pure photography? My arse! This is pure marketing gimmickry that has actually complicated the control interface through duplication.
This is a camera that claims to address the issue of over-complication in modern DSLRs, but actually does nothing of the sort, other than removing video. So video over-complicates a modern DSLR, but all the in-camera retouching options, a 39 point AF system with umpteen different tracking modes, banks of custom setting, etc. That's all fine it seems!
If you really want "Pure Photography", you need to make pure design decisions: you must decide what the camera can do and what it cannot. The DF attempts to be simple and yet lose none of the sophisticated features of a modern autofocus digital SLR camera; it fails because our expectations of what this constitutes a modern DSLR, lead to a design that is inherently complicated.
I fully agree with almost everything you say. Except, that "no video" is an absolutely necessary step in getting to a "pure photography camera ... without clutter and disctractions."
Unfortunately, Nikon did not go the rest of the way.
Nikon wanted too much
1. compatibility not only for older AI lenses (like any other "better" Nikon DSLR) but also for those really old dog Non-AI lenses ... instead of leaving these uncoated, unsuited for digital photography clunkers alone! They are strictly for use with film cameras or as deco objects or as collector's items. Or all three. But nothing else.
2. "Retro-UI" befitting a manual focus, aperture auto only classic SLR (FM/FE) and on top of that a modern UI to control a "very bland and uninspired" DSLR. Now there are 7 (!) wheels on that camera, plus numerous buttons and switches. Not well thought out at all. In the end, that's what makes the Df complicated rather than easy and really "silly" - as dpreview puts it.
Nikon gave it too little
* instead of buidling it on the D610 chassis, they should have started with D800 chassis, electronics, battery and most importantly AF-system. Then put the D4 sensor in it, if they really got a huge surplus of those left over. And then retro-style the package in a much more elegant, restrained, pure and straightforward way.
* retro- design should not have precluded inclusion of WiFi (and possibly NFC - for wireless remote control and GPS) plus master-trigger pop-up flash hidden in that huge viewfinder bump
Then Nikon could have easily sold it at 3k (body only, forget about that 50/1.
. It would have given them a meaningful and potentially attractive addition to their DSLR line-up:
* fast/reportage D4 on top (max fps), not cannibalized by D800 or Df
* Df for medium res/low light stuff, medium speed, WEDDING etc. and "retro-fans"
* D800/E for hi res stuff - landscape/studio stuff
* D610 for budget restrained hobbyists willing to put up with a marketing cripple
But ... they botched it.