If I have to buy a new DSLR camera right now I would pick the Nikon D600 without thinking twice. I am en enthusiast photographer and for years I have been shooting with both the Nikon D3100 and D7000, both have APS-C sensor. However, I was always excited with what full frame DSLRs have to offer, especially the ability to take full advantage of the wide angle of 35mm lenses and the high ISO performance. The D600 is an entry-level Full Frame DSLR. If you’ve gone over the specs you could already know why I am so excited about this camera.
Before the D600 came out I still wanted to purchase a full frame DSLR, but the D700 and D800 where over my budget. Now with the new D600, it’s seems that the initial price might make me get this camera. The Nikon D600 is also the most obvious upgrade path from the D7000 for those who want and able to take advantage of its FX-format sensor capabilities and advanced camera functions. The D7000 does have its advantages which one of the is the 1.5x crop factor which means that you get higher optical magnification when using Full Frame lenses. So for example, the Nikkor 70-300 mm VR will result in image that is equivalent to 105-450 mm focal length. For some of you who are already used for this zoom range, you need to understand that with the D600 you get exactly the focal length that is stated for the lens, so with the 70-300mm you get 70-300mm, no multiplication here, because 35mm have a 1x crop factor.
The Nikon D600 already got some very high score in various camera reviews websites, that includes 8.6/10 Editor’s Choice from CNET Australia, Recommended and Editor’s Choice from Trusted Reviews, Hot Product 4.5 stars from pocket-lint.com, 4.5 stars out of 5 from photographylife.com, 5 stars out of 5 from ephotozine.com and the list goes on and on. It seems that everyone praised this camera for its excellent image quality and noise performance, it’s compact body (compared to other full frame DSLRs), weather-sealing, headphone and mic sockets for shooting videos and of course its relatively low price. The image quality reported not to be better than the D800, but that ‘s not a bad thing, the image quality of the D600 is just amazing.
No doubt that the D600 open the door to many photographers who were eager to shoot with a Full Frame DSLR but just couldn’t afford getting one. For many enthusiast photographer, the better choice was to buy the D7000 and investmore money on better lenses, and of course it’s a wise decision. Without a good lens in front of the D600, you won’t be able to take full advantage of the sensor capabilities. Now that the price is relatively low, more people can taste how it feels to shoot with a FF DSLR and getting the most out of the D600 and take their photography skill to the max.
One of the main reasons why many people will get this camera is its high ISO performance, for the same reason why many people buy a APS-C dSLR instead of high-end compact cameras, or even prefer getting an APS-C DSLR over a Micro Four Thirds camera. Being able to shoot at high ISO with much less noise opens up many possibilities, especially for people who mostly shoot concerts, indoor shots, night shots, etc. I remember many times that I was shooting with the D3100 at night and I felt that I was quite restricted to shoot at ISO1600 and below. The reason for that is there was too much noise at higher ISO sensitivities, and that noise was hard to get rid off in noise reduction software.
Both photographylife.com and forospekter.si posted some high ISO sample images that gives you a good understanding how good the high ISO performance of the Nikon D600 really is, and it’s GREAT! ISO 6400 images looks very good with relatively low noise and such noise patterns, dotty ones, that are much easier do remove/ reduced in noise reduction software (I personally prefer NeatImage, best NR software in my opinion). At ISO3200 and below the noise level is very low, at ISO 3200 you mainly notice the noise just a bit in the shadows, but the overall image is very clean. The D800 seems to perform slightly better, and I mean slightly – it’s hard to notice the difference unless you zoom in 100% and do some pixel peeping and investigating the shadow areas. However, if you look at photographylife.com D600 and D800 high ISO sample images, it seems that the D800 lacks the contrast of the D600, but it’s hard to come to a clear conclusion because it might be the way the JPEG images were save or white balance settings, but maybe you’ll have a better explanation for this.
Just imagine the low-light performance of the D600 with a fast lens like the 50mm f/1.4? You can shoot in very dim light and get some incredible shots without even using a flash. The D600 will certainly perform best with high-grade lenses like the Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G and the 70-200mm f/2.8G, so just make sure that you get a good lens in front of this amazing sensor to get the best out of this camera. Of course the camera by itself won’t get you professional results, but it gives you the right tool in your hand to maximize your creativity and enables you to shoot photos in various lighting conditions that even weren’t possible with an APS-C DSLR.
There are a few videos that I want you to see which demonstrates the strength of the D600 in low light. The first one is about the D600 dynamic range done by leraningcameras. IN this video the D600 was compared to the Canon EOS 7D. The photos shot in Raw and converted to TIFF files without any further image modification.
I agree, WOW! – you can see that the D600 image dynamic range is absolutely amazing. You can see a side by side comparison in the video (2:50 min.), the D600 performs much better (obviously, it’s a FF sensor), even when he pushes the shadows up the image looks like a very natural HDR image! – It really shows the strength of the D600 vs APS-C cameras (in this case, the Canon 7D). For landscape photographers, the D600 is a much much better camera. There is also a comparison against Canon 5D Mark III and the different is much less obvious.
You can’t argue with those results, this by itself might convince many landscape photographers to get the Nikon D600 over an APS-C DSLR- I’m sold! (thanks you Dan, great comparison). You can read its full Nikon D600 review here. Dan actually made a series of 6 videos review of the D600 and they certainly worth a look.
Now for video. The video quality is very good on the D600, but Dan from learning cameras as well as Crhis Niccolls from TheCameraStoreTV, as well as other camera reviewers have mentioned the problem which when shooting video in Live View mode, you have no way to change the aperture. That means that you need to change the aperture before going to Live View, then view the scene, and if it’s not OK, you need to turn off Live View, change the aperture again and do this process until you are satisfied with the exposure. That’s a bummer, but it might be ‘fixed’ by Nikon with a new firmware version, although I’m not sure if it’s possible and I still waiting to see what the community as well as Nikon has to say about this issue.
OK, enough of the serious stuff for a minute, let’s get excited together and watch an unboxing video to get a more intimate with the D600 and how it feels when you get this camera and open it for the first time! – Honestly, there are tons of D600 unboxing videos on YouTube that is scary. I think I haven’t see such a large amount of unboxing videos for any digital camera in the past.
I kind of liked Briant Tobey’s D600 unboxing video because he compares the D600 side by side versus the D4 and D800 (view in full screen and 1080p to get the full experience )
You can also compare the D600 vs D800 vs D4 on camera size website, as well as compare many other cameras side by side!
The Nikon D600 is really small compared to the D800 and of course much small and lighter than the D4. You get to enjoy the full advantage of a full frame DSLR but without the weight and size that is associated with other FF camera models.
OK, I know that you want to see and hear how the Nikon D600 5.5fps sounds like..mm.. OK, take a look at the next video.
I personally don’t like the sound, and it’s pretty slow – but hey, you can’t get everything for $2000. The D600 is not the best camera for sports photographer, and it wasn’t designed to be one. 5.5 fps is pretty nice burst speed, but fast-action shooters will probably be disappointed with that speed I guess. Me, I couldn’t care less, but I am not a fast-action photographer
I’ve searched for a good Nikon D600 in-depth video review and there are plenty of them, but one video I think will give you you a very overview of the features of the D600 so you can really understand all the available options available for you with the D600 – very interesting, take a look..
The D600 Kit comes with Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR AF-S Nikkor lens. This lens was released in June 2012. It’s a wide-to-medium zoom lens for Fx (full-frame) cameras but of course it’s compatible with Nikon DX cameras also. There is also the less expensive non-VR model. This is an excellent lens which performs amazingly well wide with amazing sharpness, but performs degrades as you zoom in. Still very good sharpness, VRII image stabilization, good build quality and the 24-85mm VR is relatively compact lens so it suites perfectly to the D600. You can read a review about this lens on ephotozine.com and slrgear.com. If you don’t have any lenses and really want the D600 you can start with this lens that can be very good walkaround lens and upgrade to a better lens in the near future when you know what lenses you need.
That’s all for now folks, I hope that this post gave you a better look at the D600 and understand some of its cons and pros to better help you decide whether this camera is for you or not. If you enjoy reading this article, please share it with your friends, thanks.
More Reviews and Articles
- Nikon D600 Unboxing Video (inc. 24-85mm lens)
- Nikon D600 Video Impressions (sample videos)
- Should You Upgrade from Nikon D7000 to D600 (APS-C to Full Frame)?
- Nikon D600 Cons and Pros with High ISO Performance Analysis
- Nikon D600 vs D800 vs D700 Comparison – Full Frame DSLR Cameras
- Canon 6D vs Nikon D600 Comparison / Differences
- Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR Lens