Nikon's $2,750 Df DSLR lets you shoot full-frame digital images like it's 1959 (hands-on)

Reincarnation is the new innovation -- the camera industry's latest salute to days gone by comes compliments of Nikon. The 16.2-megapixel Df blends a full-frame sensor and modern capabilities with a "timeless design." It may look like something you just dug out of your great grandfather's secret chest in the attic, but people on the other end of your images will assume those snappy shots are the product of a serious professional tool. And they'd be right -- even if pros prefer something more modern for their day jobs, the Df stands up extremely well on paper. In fact, it contains the same incredible sensor found on the flagship D4, along with the same level of weather proofing you'd get with the D800 -- all wrapped in a 710-gram (1.56-pound) body that feels great and is the lightest in Nikon's full-frame range.

Other key specs also stand up to scrutiny: the Df has an EXPEED 3 processor, a 204,800 top ISO, 39 AF points, a 2,016-pixel 3D matrix metering system and 5.5 fps burst shooting. In addition to the 3.2-inch, 921k-dot LCD, you can also frame shots using the pro-grade, glass pentaprism viewfinder, which has virtually 100 percent coverage and also lets you remove the visible AF points when shooting in manual focus -- something a lot of photographers will do if they're using very old lenses. Speaking of which, the Df is compatible with not only current AF, AF-S, DX and AF-D lenses, but Ai and non-Ai Nikkor glass going all the way back to 1959, the year in which the manufacturer introduced its first F-series SLR. This compatibility comes with enhanced functionality courtesy of a new metering coupling lever on the bayonet mount.

You also get a full array of dedicated dials, including EV, shutter speed and ISO, all of which have the same tactile gravitas you'd get on something like the 30-year-old Nikon F3. Additionally, Nikon is announcing a special edition 50mm f/1.8 lens, which is set to retail for $3,000 in a kit with the camera or $280 on its own. The Df will also be available individually in the US and ships later this month for $2,750.

Sharif Sakr contributed to this report.