Nikon D600 Review

4.5
October 1, 2012 | Zoltan Arva-Toth |

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#1 JS

Too big, too heavy, too expensive…Unless someone else creates a compact size, mirrorless body for about 1 000$, it is good for some people only. Too bad!

7:08 pm - Monday, October 1, 2012

#2 J

Great review, thanks!

7:14 pm - Monday, October 1, 2012

#3 School Ball Photographer

I am so looking forward to this camera! Sure it will only be a backup to my D4 - but the freedom to have 2 bodies and not constantly changing lens. I can’t wait.

3:33 am - Tuesday, October 2, 2012

#4 Z

JS: Welcome to the wonderful world of single lens reflex cameras!

Other than that, really nice sample photos in the review and for not-so-serious DX->FX wannabe-upgraders like me the 1/3 off from D800 price tag is most welcome.

8:13 am - Tuesday, October 2, 2012

#5 Roy

Good review, helpful in its own way, thanks.

Some people are champions in whining, unable to appreciate the goodness of things, real shame.

8:58 am - Tuesday, October 2, 2012

#6 Coffee

Amazing stuff ... very impressive technology and very likely an extremely capable camera (in the right hands). And yet, not for me. I find the bulk and the functional overload of cameras like the new D600 distracting and intimidating for both, photographer and subject. I much prefer more simple and purposeful designs that concentrate high quality photography.

As a counterbalance to and repentance for technological excesses like the D800 and the D600, Nikon should have the good sense to continue the low volume production of the FM3a with a handful of AIs primes, one zoom, lens hoods and other accessories. There is a market for this ... amateur photographers, people with their own b&w lab in the cellar, photography classes all over the world. But sadly, this won’t happen because global sales of a couple of thousand units per year are not regarded as economically attractive by molochs like Nikon, Canon, Sony etc.

11:48 am - Tuesday, October 2, 2012

#7 Uebersetzer

Good review and good move from Nikon. Unfortunately I have too much Canon gear to make the change.

12:15 pm - Tuesday, October 2, 2012

#8 Emopunk

“At full resolution, the Nikon D600 captures an astonishing amount of detail - not quite as much as the D800 but still more than most people will ever need”. Finally someone says it fairly and clearly: 99% of the users doesn’t need and won’t need more megapixels.

12:45 pm - Tuesday, October 2, 2012

#9 Nikon John

Great review, informative and concise. I certainly am enjoying my D600 so far. I’m curious about the flash sync speed since so many reviewers talk about the slower 1/200 max speed. I set my flash sync to 1/250 FP and the built in flash seems to work fine at all speeds up to 1/250. Manual says you can do that on page 146. Am I missing something?

2:52 pm - Tuesday, October 2, 2012

#10 Ruth

I love my new D600. the D800 had a little too many mp for me but this is just right. I get a smooth work flow in Photoshop in my computer.
Takes great photos.

10:06 pm - Wednesday, October 3, 2012

#11 Kate

Image quality is good… but definitely nothing spectacular… Pretty much in line with what we’ve come to expect out of a full-frame camera…

Nikon probably tweeked the D3X sensor slightly… and are now marketing it ostentatiously as a “brand new Nikon design” ...

But lets face facts… it pales in comparison to the stellar performance of the Canon 5D III in terms of overall IQ & High ISO performance… In my estimation, there is about 1 full stop difference in favour of the Canon in JPEG ... and the diffeence is somewhat narrowed in RAW ... but again better detail retention by the 5D III albeit with slightly more chroma noise…

The only things attractive about the D600 is its 39 point AF, uncompressed HD output & current price point…

11:17 am - Thursday, October 4, 2012

#12 dylan emmett

its to expensive for what you get, save money and a good camera 600d canon

1:13 pm - Friday, October 5, 2012

#13 robj

Nicely written review. However, I’d like to have read the difference between the virtual horizon implementation, D600 vs D800. Also how well face detection AF works -again a distinct implementation D600 to 800.

7:28 pm - Saturday, October 6, 2012

#14 Fabio

The d600 is a good camera and what I was looking for. Not too big, not too heavy and not too many mp. I’m still waiting for the lightroom update so I can see the NEF files though.

9:15 pm - Saturday, October 6, 2012

#15 gianni

oil on the sensor in many photos!!!!!!!!!

9:53 pm - Saturday, October 6, 2012

#16 Lou

I have seen and downed some of the shots to compare to those of the NEX-7. Yes, it is another technology, heavy, needs expensive lenses, but, on the end, i see nothing in that shots that would make me step over from the 24 mpix APSC to the FF.

All I see is a typical FF picture with restricted DOF and of same quality as the one I get from the NEX, I would even say that the NEX-7 draws finer in detail. If only the better ISO performance is the reason to go for this, then I stay on what I have now. The price-tag from 1400 to 1600$ was announced long time ago, and, we are far away form that. At the price they sell this, it could at least have a swivel mounted LCD panel.

11:16 am - Monday, October 8, 2012

#17 robert barry

i am starting to use the d600 as a food photographer. the camera gives me all i need. fantastic texture and color range. must congratulate you on your blog. without any doubt some of the best reviews; utterly complete. good stuff!

7:47 pm - Tuesday, October 9, 2012

#18 Dave

I’ve had my D600 for a couple of weeks now.  It is simply stunning in the image quality department - I think the person who has said above that the NEX 7 shows finer detail needs to learn about the difference between a full frame sensor and a cropped one.

As for the 5D III having a one stop advantage - let’s wait for the comparison reviews, and I think some words will need to be eaten.

7:19 pm - Friday, October 12, 2012

#19 David

Here is a superb review of the Nikon D600 by Photography Life:

http://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-d600

5:51 pm - Saturday, October 13, 2012

#20 BlackBox

First of all, as a newcomer to this blog, I’d like to say that I like Zoltan’s style. A well-written article.

But I have to say I disagree with his view of this camera as a derated D800. If you look at it like that, you’ll only find lots of cons instead of seeing one big happy pro. Comparing it to D7000 is also not a good idea. D7000 plays in a different league.

The D600 could have been an “entry-level full-framer” with minimal features. I even believe, it was SUPPOSED to be that, as rumours predicted. But at the last (and very happy) moment someone very clever at Nikon said, NO. And that was a very good decision.

We actually know by now, what “entry level full-frame camera” looks like. It’s the Canon 6D - a completely stripped out, totally derated and ridiculously overpriced parody of their own 5D.

The D600 is NOT a second body for D4. It’s also NOT meant to be a Porsche Cayman for those who can’t afford the 911 (which in this strange metaphor is D800). It’s Nikon’s idea of an entry-level full-frame camera.

Yes, it is expensive. Yes, it is heavy. BUT!!! That’s how it SHOULD be. If you want to go full-frame, you have to THINK. Because you’re entering the world where your plastic lenses no longer work. Where your “post-to-the-blog-out-of-camera” habits are ridiculed. Where even shooting JPEG is considered a mauvais ton.

If you want to go full-frame, you NEED all those features that Nikon installed into this camera. You need the sophisticated AF system. You need the weather-sealed body. You need all those other bells and whistles.

So here it is - your $2000-worth ticket to the world of professional photography. And as such, it’s a wonderful camera without any visible comptetitors as of tomorrow morning.

4:59 pm - Sunday, October 14, 2012

#21 Darren

Blackbox, I disagree with your comment about comparing it to the D7000.  Take a look at the comparison at http://www.squidoo.com/nikon-d600-camera-price-and-review and you will see a comparison to the D7000, D800, and 6D.  Anyone considering purchasing the D600 needs to see the information in this chart.

1:26 pm - Monday, October 15, 2012

#22 BlackBox

Darren, I’m not sure I quite see your point. That website gives a description of the camera exterior and “review” links leading to an online-store. And the chart… A John Deere tractor has the same engine displacement as Rolls Royce Phantom. Which one you choose depends on what you are planning to do, because Rolls is as bad at plowing as JD is at transporting oil tycoons.

Same with cameras - (most sane) people don’t go to full-frame just for the fun of it. They either need to crop hard or to print large. Or do something else a half-framer can’t do.

D7000 is a good camera, maybe even the best in its class. It has larger ISO range than D600, but that’s almost irrelevant. Anything beyond ISO 3200 is what I call salvage photography - only good when taking ANY photo is better than not taking one at all. And even at that, the extra size of the full-frame sensor is better than higher ISO.

But maybe I just misunderstood what you were trying to say.

5:58 pm - Monday, October 15, 2012

#23 John Franco

To all of you who are commenting on how the images from the D600 compare to other cameras: Wake up! you’re looking at images on a computer monitor at 72dpi. How can you possibly see any meaningful detail.

9:27 pm - Monday, October 15, 2012

#24 wedding photographer - Kam Yau

Humm, I’m using Canon 5D III at the moment. D600 is very affordable compare to 5D III. Will rent 1 to try ...

8:30 pm - Thursday, October 18, 2012

#25 Friedmud

I rented a D600 3 weeks ago - along with a 24-70 f/2.8.

In the time since then I have sold my Canon 7D and all of my other Canon gear… and just two days ago I bought my D600.

My time with it as a rental blew me away.  Of course there are things about the control layout / feel that didn’t sit well with me (and still don’t).  But once you get past that and start taking photos with it you realize just how awesome this camera really is.

As primarily “landscape photographer”  the low ISO capabilities are incredibly good.  The DR _really_ is as good as it’s touted and the complete lack of noise at ISO 100 is refreshing (coming from my 7D where I had to apply NR at ISO 100!).

Here is a photo I took with my rental:

http://500px.com/photo/14938023

And here are some high ISO pics (all at ISO 6400 with no flash) I took at a card game the other night (with the 50mm 1.8G I bought with the body):

http://www.flickr.com/photos/friedmud/sets/72157631808729691/

What you find out about this camera is that it’s a _tool_.  It is so damn good at metering / white balance / focusing / IQ that you just let it do it’s thing.  I already have complete confidence that it is going to capture the picture I’m seeing.  That leaves it up to _me_ to think about the photo I want to take and to see the art in the scene.

In short: This camera lets me be an artist… while it captures my art perfectly and without fuss.

6:28 am - Sunday, October 21, 2012

#26 tom

@ JS Clearly your an idiot. a broke one at that. Stick with the camera on your flip phone.

“Too big, too heavy, too expensive…Unless someone else creates a compact size, mirrorless body for about 1 000$, it is good for some people only. Too bad!”

8:44 am - Tuesday, October 23, 2012

#27 macva

Nice review. But on top of the page you have add for Nikon D600 for 1999.99$. When clicked you go to ad for 2099.99$  !
That is sign for me not to visit your site next time.
Macva

9:27 pm - Friday, October 26, 2012

#28 silvio

Blackbox please read this article from professional phot.

http://kenrockwell.com/nikon/d600-d800-d4-are-the-same-camera.htm

D4 D800 and D600 are identical cameras….

10:14 am - Sunday, October 28, 2012

#29 brian

silvio, Ken can be a bit subjective sometimes.

Here is video that shows another assessment of these cameras in terms of ISO, noise, DR, etc:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPyYm38AC7Y

12:11 am - Wednesday, October 31, 2012

#30 XYZed

Friedmud - Thanks for the links & thoughts. One step closer to going the D600 now.

Only thing really stopping me is the 39 point AF on a FX sensor. My D300 (DX) has 51 points and I frequently use the outer edges of that (concert photography).

I might go the rental route too and see if that’s a problem in real life for me.

1:53 pm - Sunday, November 4, 2012

#31 Tim

Hi All - I’m interested in feedback from those who have actually used the D600.  I have a D300 with professional lenses (24-70 f/2.8 and 70-200 f/2.8 VR version 1).  I believe in buying quality glass first, THEN the camera body.  I was disappointed with the MP count and price of the D800, so the D600 is appealing to me.  I shoot mostly high ISO pics of music and theater productions.  Weather-sealing is important to me, as some of my commercial work is taken outside in wet weather conditions.  Right now with my D300 I can only comfortably shoot at ISO 1600, but am looking at ISO 3200 to get higher shutter speeds.  It looks like the D600 can do it, but maybe not as well as the outdated but legendary high ISO of the D700?  I want to go full-frame, so is the D600 the answer to my prayers?  I would love your opinion.  Feel free to email me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with your opinions before I plunk down $2100+ on a body plus a 32GB UHS SD card.  Thanks in advance!

5:54 am - Thursday, November 8, 2012

#32 CW

Nice review, thanks.  Anyone interested in this camera but worried about the dust on sensor issue, you could sign this petition to ask Nikon to take action.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/weetoon/

10:45 am - Tuesday, November 13, 2012

#33 Fabio

Thanks for all these tons of info

6:14 am - Saturday, November 24, 2012

#34 CW

Sorry, pasted my Flickr page instead of the petition.  http://www.change.org/petitions/nikon-nikon-d600-dust-on-sensor

9:32 am - Saturday, November 24, 2012

#35 Nikon D600 Review

Lens Rentals has a good discussion on the sensor dust issue.  I would be cautious before purchasing a D600 until it is resolved or at least admitted by Nikon. Otherwise this camera is fantastic.  The images are drastically improved over the D700.

5:52 pm - Saturday, November 24, 2012

#36 Marcus

Nice review. I tried a D800 on loan and, for my uses (hand-held available light documentary work) it was too critical of lens/focus/exposure to be a steady performer: better suited to less off the cuff, more considered shooting.

This might work - although I’d prefer this sensor in a D4 body.

Another point you highlight is the ridiculous variability of pricing worldwide - that really irks me, as does the variability of warranty (between 1 year and 5 years depending on market!) and the lack of international warranty even on a NZ$9000 D4!

9:36 pm - Sunday, November 25, 2012

#37 Jeffrey

When Nikon (and others) will make oil and dust spot free cameras, then I will buy one.

But having oil spots and dust on a new camera that cost 2500 bucks, is just throwing money out f the window.
Whatever the praises given to this model, there is no excuse for a company to release faulty equipments, due to a lack of quality control or else, it doesn’t matter, the fact is, this is a screw up as it was for the D800 which had also faults in its making.

As another person said, mirror less cameras are as good as traditional full frame in term of image quality and making and cost not even half the price.

The future will be fully electronic, no mechanical problems then with oily gears, camera won’t weight any more, lenses will be cheaper and smaller and everybody except the dinosaurs will be happy .

2:19 pm - Thursday, November 29, 2012

#38 sandypow

In 2012, Nikon enacted a new and ugly repair policy. Nikon no longer sells its parts to independent consumers or to independent camera dealers. If, for example, you drop your camera and damage the LCD screen, you will not be able to purchase a replacement screen to fix the camera yourself nor will you be able to work with a reputable camera dealer in your area. If a Nikon camera needs repair, it must be shipped to the Nikon Repair Center. This policy holds the consumer hostage as the cost of shipping, parts, and unnecessary labor will come close to the cost of a brand new camera. If you are capable of making your own repairs or if you have a reputable camera dealer in your area, do not buy Nikon. Change.org is hosting an on-line petition to encourage Nikon to revert to its more consumer friendly policies of the past.

2:42 am - Tuesday, December 11, 2012

#39 Howard Green

I have this camera, the D7000 and the Sony Nex 7.
      The other two cameras were priced at about $1200 plus whatever lenses you buy; This camera, I bought for $2400 at Costco with two zoom lenses…not appreciably more. It would seem that Nikon is aggressively going after the first time full frame user…and the deals will be out there to get this camera at an incredible value.
      While the images I get from the other two cameras are quite good, images from this camera are obviously superior. The images are clear, the dynamic range is really superb. 
      I have the $800 18-200 zoom for the Nex 7 which is an incredible lens. But still, on the exact same shot from the same location, this camera delivers a clearer image. And this camera gets much better images around the house at night, without flash.
    However, the Sony Nex 7 video capabilities are better…60 p 1920x1080 and the ease of use is way more convenient, and it is way smaller and lighter.  I will not give up this camera.
    On the other hand, the D600 is better in every way than the D7000. 
    Nikon cameras are designed by and for photographers…purists who want to squeeze the last measure of flexibility in the way the camera is set up for each shot. Reading the manual is like a trip into their world. But on this camera, learning how each function works.. the incredible flexibility of this camera can be overwhelming at times…but speaking only for myself, going through the manual and learning the camera page by page has been more than worth the effort, and rewarding.
      Would the 800 or The Canon 5d Mark III be better? Maybe for some people.  But even at 24 megapixels, it seems as though the sensor detail outpaces the ability of the lenses…
      Anyway my conclusion is that this is an incredible camera in the price range…

10:19 am - Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Entry Tags

hd, review, nikon, video, full hd, DSLR, prosumer, digital SLR, full frame, full-frame, 24 megapixel, 3.2 inch LCD, SLR, FX, DX, enthusiast, d600, nikon d600, Nikon D600 Review

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