camera upgrade to the Nikon D600

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dorothy_kay, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. Hi, I have a Nikon D90 and am considering upgrading to the D600 while keeping my D90 as my second body (or back up). Insofar as I have sold/traded in all of my dx lenses, I am left with the following which was purchased with the idea of an eventual move to the fx format: 24-70 f/2.8; 70-200 f/2.8 VR with a TC-14E II teleconverter; a 105 f/2.8 macro; 85 f/1.8. I enjoy travel, nature and wildlife photography and have begun shooting portraits and weddings this past year. I am moving to Costa Rica next fall to indulge my passions, and pursue a wedding/portraiture business. Please advise on the camera I am considering. I also plan on purchasing the 14-24 f/2.8 to round out the 'holy trinity', and adding the Nikon 300 f/4 IF-ED to my wildlife arsenal. Any suggestions, ideas, etc. will be greatly appreciated.
    Thanking you in advance!
    Dorothy (of the jungle) Kay
  2. Since you have and will have a complete set of Nikon's best glass and shooting weddings, sounds like you are more than just a casual shooter. Perhaps a D800 or D4 would be a better choice for you.
  3. Assuming you already have a reliable tripod and ball head, I think your switch to the D600 with your exisiting lens line up is a logical move.
    The possible lens purchases are also excellent choices, the 300/4 combines well with the TC 1.4 given bright shooting conditions. The 14-24 f/2.8 will provide a lot more impact on the D600 than the D90.
    Seeing that you are in a potential purchasing mode my own preferences for bokeh would see me seriously considering the 85/1.4 over the 85/1.8 (I now have the older 851/1.4 AF-D model with which I replaced the 85/1.8 AF-D model)
  4. I upgraded from a D7000 to a D600, and so far so good. It wasn't a huge step up from the D7000 because alot of the ergonomics and button layout resembles the D7000 and felt familiar. I opted against a D800 because I don't need that many megapixels for what I shoot, which would have also meant an upgrade to my computer's power and memory, and a D4 is way out of my price range. I liked the price of the D600 which allowed me to put some money towards good lenses. There are some second hand D700 for sale online which are amazing cameras, but I opted for newer technology and video. The D600 has received really good reviews for the most part, and stellar reviews for its sensor. There are widespread reports of dust and oil on the sensor in some cameras which may be visible at small f/stops, and although there appears to be some truth to these concerns, I think they are greatly overblown. Those who have had this issue report that it is minor and usually clears itself up over time and/or with a sensor cleaning. I've also been reading and hearing about pros and semi-pros opting for the D600 as their primary or backup camera. Buy the D600 and put your money towards your new 14-24!!!
  5. Sorry for the multiple posts... I see I am not the only one, LOL!
    I should add that the D800/D4 bodies have numerous enhancements/features over the D600 (all not related to image quality which is pretty much equal) that you would probably appreciate, including/especially Nikon's best AF system. Refurb D800s with warranty are just a few hundred dollars more than a new D600. Good luck.
  6. Man, crazy!!! Soooo sorry for the multiple posts, but there seemed to be something wrong with the Photo Net site and the upload feature for the comments. Ugh, I feel silly, but honestly not my intention. I know how to post lol.
  7. Yes, as Elliot noted, the only thing that does bug me is the 39 AF are concentrated in the middle, which means a bit more focus recompose depending on your composition.
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    When I first reviewed the D3 back in 2008, I found its 51 AF points (Multi-CAM 3500) too concentrated in the center of the FX frame. That same Multi-CAM 3500 AF module works much better on the smaller DX frames on the D300/D300S.
    Unfortunately, Nikon continues to use that same Multi-CAM 3500 AF module on the D4 and D800, although AF accuracy has improved on the newer models introduced in 2012, but even on the D4, the AF points are still too concentrated in the center. The D600 has the same issue but a little worse.
    However, for wedding photography, the D600 should be just fine. I have used the D600 to shoot sports and its AF works great; for non-sports such as weddings, I am sure it is more than enough. In particular, given the higher rate of left AF issues on the D800, I hesitate to buy any refurbished D800 because of the higher probability of running into a lemon that has been returned.
    As usual, you are better off spending more on lenses and lighting rather than one expensive camera body. And if you are going into wedding photography, having a backup camera body and to a lesser degree backup lenses and flashes is critical. I don't shoot weddings very often, but when I do, I have at least two backup bodies and I bring several flashes.
  9. If you are starting a wedding/portraiture business you should look on your purchases with an eye to what you are going to need and also return on investment.
    The 14-24/2.8 and 300/4 is of very little use in weddings. Well, on a few shots it's nice to be able to go wider than 24mm on full frame but it's a lot of weight to carry and a lot of cash for very little return. You are probably better off getting something else like the 20/3.5 Voigtländer for low weight and a lot less cash.
    But what's more important is to have a backup camera and your D90 wont really cut it anymore since you have sold your DX lenses. You could survive with the 24-70 on the D90 but that is going to be really tough since you can't shoot anything wide. So if you intend to use the D90 as a backup you need to budget for a lens like the Nikon 17-55/2.8 or a Sigma/Tamron 17-50-ish zoom.
    For weddings and portraiture it's also nice to have a few primes for low light and to be able to throw the background out of focus. On the tele side you are set but you have no wide and normal primes. At least a 50/1.4mm and perhaps the new 28/1.8 would be a good addition to what you already have. If you are forced to shoot candle lit ceremonies and stuff like that an extra stop or two of light over your f/2.8 zooms is invaluable.
    If I where you I would look to satisfy my business needs first.
    BTW, I think the D600 is one of the top cameras for weddings because you get the full frame advantage for low light, and ability to throw the background out of focus and it's not as heavy to shoot with for many, many hours as D3/D4 cameras and it's cheaper than the D800 so faster return on investment yet with it's 24 megapixels it has enough resolution but will not tax your postproduction workflow as heavily as a 36 MP D800. So all-in-all a very good compromise.
  10. I agree with Shun. The D600 should be just right for you. I really like your current lens line-up too but would add one more lens. I would add the 18-200 AF-s VR for your backup camera. A couple of reasons. You are going to need to go wide and if something happens to your FX you won't be able to. Also, you need a good, light walking around lens that will not attract too much attention and leave you with a backache at the end of the day.
    Please carefully review your lighting as Shun said. That is perhaps the most critical thing. I would have at least 3 SB-800/900 class flash units, stands, shoot throughs etc. These are for the wedding side where you can really put the CLS to work. For the portrait side you may already have equipped yourself adequately. I would really put some thought into that.
    I want to argue for your buying a D7000 to round out what you have. I don't know what repair services in Costa Rica are like but if you are in the business you really can't be left with one camera for any period of time. The D7000 is MUCH better in low light than is your D90. Its controls mirror the D600 so it will be familiar in your hands and has the added benefit of being (with its crop sensor) just the ticket for your wildlife work. Put the 18-200 on it and it is a bang-up walking around camera.
    Good luck in your new life in Costa Rica. It is beautiful and it sounds like you are set to live the dream.
  11. Either the D 600 or D 800 ought to work well for you. With the D 800, in addition to full frame, it has a 1.2x crop mode that the D 600 lacks. This still allows a large image-- 25 megapixel image--but without using the outer edges of the lens, which might be its weakest part, optically speaking. There is also a 5:4 ratio crop available which can be great for landscapes. And the D 800 has a different—more robust-- AF system. Only you can decide if these differences are important to you.
    Joe Smith
  12. I replaced my D300 with the D600. Although, the 600 is a fine camera, I really miss the features and layout of the
    D300. If I could get even close to my money back I would gladly replace it with the D800. I use a D3s as my main camera.
    However, I can also say that if I had never owned the D300 or the D3s, I really feel that I would be perfectly happy with
    the D600 that I have now. I guess it's kind of like owning a very high dollar car for many years and then replacing it with
    one that is much less expensive. If you never owned it in the first place you really wouldn't know what you were missing.
  13. Costa Rica, I've never been there, but all year tropical type environment. I think the camera you want doesn't exist yet.
    Maybe a D5 if and when it ever arrives, $$$$$$, otherwise these D800 and D600 are toys, I think the climate will have
    lasting effects. Call Nikon directly and talk to someone in technical support about what they think is the best model for
    year round Costa Rica.
  14. Dorothy, I have only handled the D600 at Costco. I own a D800e and D3s and have been spoiled by the eye piece and over all build of these two cameras. Also the vertical grip for the D800 camera is much improved from the D200 grip I used to own. All in all though from the available reviews it seems like the D600 image quality is not too much different from the D800. I am sure it will spoil you. Smart to buy the best glass. As well you may want to purchase a new computer to handle the image size from the D600. I bought an 3.03 ghz i7 desk top PC with 12 gig of RAM two years ago and never imagined that I would own a camera that would create files that challenged its processing power. You can get the the same power now with a lap top and will need all of that for the files that a D600 will create. Good hunting. Andy
  15. Dorothy, you mentioned the 300mm f/4 ED-IF. I assume this is the older version. Although this is a fine lens I highly recommend the newest AF-S 300mm f/4 which has a much faster AF. Someone mentioned that the TC-14E works well with the lens, it should be specified that it will only provide AF with the newer version of the lens, it won't auto-focus with the older one.
    I recently purchased the AF-S 300 f/4, it's a gem.
  16. Thanks to all of you for your invaluable suggestions - so much information to digest!
    Insofar as I am anticipating the need to tighten the purse strings after my move, I am trying to purchase the best equipment I can in view of the 'late in life' new career and lifestyle change I will be making in my 'retirement'. Elliot, thank you for your input, but the D600 would leave me with funds I can apply toward another lens. I just purchased a MacBook Pro Retinal Display ($$$) which I had to remortgage my auto for, so I do not have unlimited funds.
    Matt, I have a gitzo tripod/ballhead, but would appreciate suggestions for a new ballhead. I cannot replace my 85 f/1.8 at this time, but would a 50 f/1.4G be a suitable substitute? Pete, the 300 /f4 would be for my pleasure (wildlife), while the 14-24 would complete the 'holy trinity'. I am very confused about your statement re: my D90 "not cutting it anymore"? What does that mean when I have been using it with my fx lenses and getting great results? Which leads me to Rick. I got rid of my 18-200 AF-s VR when I began purchasing superior glass, so ???. Still confused. I have 2 SB800's with stands, shoot thru's, etc. But you really piqued my interest with the mention of the D7000. This list of wants & needs grows longer and longer.
    Dave, I have made several trips to Costa Rica and have never had problems with my equipment in the valleys, rain forests, jungles, beaches, etc. I will be living in the central valley (75 and sunny year round), and do not anticipate any problems for which there will not be solutions.
  17. Georges, thank you for the clarification re: the Nikon 300 f/4. Yes, you have the model I am interested in purchasing. Thankyou.
  18. For what my limited experience is worth...

    1) In a backup DX body for wedding shooting, I don't see the point in an 18-200 when the FX lenses cover that range with better quality. It
    depends whether having a lightweight super zoom kit matters to you - I used a 28-200 on my D700 a lot, so I can't criticise the concept, but
    it's not sharp on a D800.

    2) Just checking - is that 70-200 the VR or the VR2? The VR1 has iffy corners on FX at 200mm (though I believe it's a lovely - and possibly
    better - DX lens). If you have the old one, you might want to exchange.

    3) I've just added the 300 f/4 AF-S myself, having decided my 80-200 AF-D is too unreliable to use at a distance and my 200 f/2 + TC14 is too
    painful to take on business trips. So far so good, but it literally arrived today. I can vouch for the Sigma 150mm OS macro if you're after a
    very good macro that can double as a lighter 70-200 proxy.

    4) The 14-24 is an epic lens, but it's not perfect in the corners on a high res sensor - though nor is anything else. Don't expect magic (and
    check the 21mm Zeiss as an alternative). I'm not sure the 24-70 emerged from Nikon's D800 product shots unscathed either, to be fair. The
    holy trinity are all very good lenses, but the latest sensors show the limits of physics.

    Good luck, I'm sure you'll enjoy your new toys!
  19. Which leads me to Rick. I got rid of my 18-200 AF-s VR when I began purchasing superior glass, so ???. Still confused. I have 2 SB800's with stands, shoot thru's, etc. But you really piqued my interest with the mention of the D7000. This list of wants & needs grows longer and longer.​
    Of course the 18-200 is not absolutely necessary as with the 14-24 you have everything covered unless you lose the D600 to repair. Then you have 21 at the widest which is just fine. My thought about that lens is that it gives you an "off duty" setup with the D90 and it. You would have something light and versiatile to carry around.
    The D7000 is pretty important IMO. Again, if you lost your D600 you would still have two bodies to handle the wedding. For your wildlife you would also have 16 MP which, although not critical, is nice but more importantly it has a quiet mode which is just lovely for wedding shots during the ceremony. Its high ISO performance is much better than the D90. B & H has them on sale now for less than $900.00 so it is a good time to do it if you think it.
    So if you had to shoot a wedding without your D600 you would be very glad to have it. It is far more capable than the D90 which as you correctly say, is a good backup camera.
  20. Dorothy, your AF 1.4x tc mates with the latest Nikon 300mm f 4.0 AFS, not the older 300mm f 4.0 AF-D. You should get the latest AFS version for lots of reasons.
    You might want to consider the new Nikon 70-200mm f4.0 VR (III) lens just released. As stated, your VR (I) f2.8 version is perfect for your D 90 but will be soft in the corners wide open on a FX body. This will not necessarily be the case with the more expensive VR (II) f 2.8 or the less expensive f4.0 version. There is a good market for your VR 70-200mm f 2.8.
    If you can afford it, the ballhead I would buy would be one from Really Right Stuff, the BH-55. You might be able to get away with a lighter weight model like the BH-40, but once you have the BH-55, you are set for life.
    Joe Smith
  21. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If you shoot weddings, I would take the 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR version 1 over the 70-200mm/f4 AF-S VR any day. A lot of weddings and receptions are indoors; having f2.8 is critical both for AF accuracy and faster aperture during capture. I rarely worry about corner sharpness when the subjects are people.
    Landscape would be a totally different story.
  22. Dorothy, for Costa Rica, what part? Dry or humid/wet? (Guanacaste is a dry tropical desert.) That will certainly affect how you want to store your gear and perhaps the body choice.
    All I can say about your choice is that I am very happy with my D600, moving up from a D300. Two things especially: the low light performance is 2 stops better, and my wide lenses are wide again.
  23. I shoot alot of wildlife as well and have been asking myself the same question, as I am considering purchasing either a D600 or a D800 to replace my well used D90 (which I will, just as you, keep as a backup camera as i still think its an excellent body)
    I have heard that theautofocus on the D800 is not as quick and as good as the one on the D600, which of course is of high importance if you follow birds in flight or running aniimals, or for capturing quick "scenes" such as fishing ospreys for instance.
    I have also shot a few weddings, and would say that a 50 mm f 1.4D is essential. It is one of my favourite lenses and I have used it extensively for portraits and love the depth of field effects you can play around with, as well as its amazing f1.4. I was taking some pictures at a wedding dinner in california a while ago, which took place in a very dark, candle lit dining room. I used my D90 and the 50 mm f 1.4 with amazing results, only having to use the flash for 2 pictures only. (i did not want to disturb the guests and the nice atmosphere to much by flashing around to much). I have even shot some mainly candle lit portraits in dark environments with the D90 and 50 mm, at f 1.4 to about f 2.8, sometimes f 3.5, all with great results without flash.
    I am also planning a possible trip to Costa Rica for wildlife photography at the end of this year maybe, so it will be interesting to hear which equipment you find of most use there for wildlife photography. Of course, teh ideal when you are out in the woods, mountains, deserts..etc is to also have a bit of an all round lens, so you dont have to keep changing lenses all the time, as dust and dirt, even humidity can then easilly get into the sensor...
  24. In conclusion I would like to thank all of you for your valuable input. I am buying both the D7000 with an 18-200 VR II (walk around lens), and the D600 as upgrades to my D90. Having 3 bodies will make me feel much more secure. I got an AMAZING price for my 70-200 f/2.8 VR and have upgraded it for the VR II. I will also buy the 50 /f1.4 D and an additional speed light (giving me 3). I have to postpone the 14-24 f/2.8 and the AF-S 300 f/4, for a while and start making some money to fund this 'hobby' called photography!

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