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Op ED: My Opinion on The New Nikon D600

by Peter Walkowiak on 09/14/2012

So its here, the cheapest full frame camera ever, the Nikon D600. News of this camera came out last night as I was driving home from San Francisco. It’s everything we expected and nothing more except a bit more money than the initial rumors.

As a full time Nikon photographer I thought that I would share my opinion of the camera. I own the D700 and D800 so I have a good deal of history with the company. I will also mention main critiques made my big names and the little names on blogs.

To start you will have a hard time trying to explain to me why this camera isn’t for you. Even though the camera isn’t the $1,500 camera we thought was coming it is still the most affordable camera in its class to date. I am having a hard time thinking about trading in my D700 for this camera because I think that I will miss the smaller, easier to work with 12mp files. These files are a breeze to work with and compared to the monster 50mb+ RAW files from my D800 these files might as well be a 6mb file from my original D50. When it comes down to it, I do believe I will own a computer in the future that will handle all these large files just as well as my current computer handles the D700 files. You can always increase hard drive space or computer speed but you cannot go back and get more detail in your old files. This is a true fact that will lead to me selling my beloved Nikon D700. If I wanted to add a 12mp camera to my arsenal I would just buy a used D300, simply one of the prettiest CMOS sensors.

I just got done going over all of the specs and it appears that it doesn’t share the same exact metering system as the D800 or D4 (same system) nor does it have the same as the D700. Instead it appears to be the same metering that has existed on the D7000. I am surprised to find this since I (and the internet?) just assumed that the metering also trickled down from the D4 to this camera as well. The other element it does share with the D7000 is a smaller body and frame.

The 39 point system doesn’t scare me off, honestly more is better when it comes to AF points but I started with 5 points on my  D50 and that taught me its all I need. It has a few points along all 4 four corners as well as the center, Im not sure there is much more to ask for. The main reason why I would trade in my D700 for this camera would be the consistency for the button layout including the AF button at the front right of this camera. I brought up the fact that I hate the button on the D800 to someone and they asked me where the switch is on the D700 and I stuttered and searched franticly on my body to show him. The button has become more of a reflex to me and I am getting used to it but nothing compared to the switch on the D700 in my opinion. Even though I still cant stand the location of this button on the D800 at least I will have a consistent workflow on the 2 cameras. Will I miss the extra points on the D600? Yes I will but fully converting to the new Nikon AF system is more important to me.

There are two big complaints about the camera that I have read on the internet. The first is that it only has 1/4000 shutter speed, the typical defense for Nikons shutter speed choice is “why do you need that?”. My simple response is obviously you don’t live in sunny San Diego and shoot large aperture primes. If you have never had 1/8000 shutter speed you are probably wondering why when you shoot at f1.4 during the day your images are consistently blown out. Sigh, this is a huge huge issue for me, good thing the camera would live its life mostly unused in a camera bag as a backup body but this is a near deal breaker for me.

David Hobby over at Strobist is pretty upset about another feature, the flash sync speed. Most Nikon cameras sync at 1/250th and even though thats only about a 1/3rd of a stop slower David feels quite strongly that its a big deal. Please visit the link if you are a speedlight or flash user but for me and a lot of other people a flash will only go on this camera if my arm is twisted.

Nikon still doesn’t have a professional APS-C camera replacement for the D300s since this camera even with the 24mp sensor is only 10mp with DX lenses. Those waiting for a replacement for either the D7000 or the D300s will have to continue waiting.

At this moment this camera as I stated earlier is the cheapest full-frame camera. By this I mean it is the cheapest camera at launch, Some people think that this is the answer to Canon still offering the 5D mk2 for just under $2,00 new. The price then continues to confuse people because the price difference in the UK is very close £150 difference from this and the D800. After the dust settles a bit Im sure the prices will flex to where they should be.

In the mean time dpreview has posted image samples here and a preview here. I would love to hear your opinion about this camera, leave some love to the comments and I will get to you!

 

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