Nikon D600, First Impressions

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by shuncheung, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    EDIT: Shum has expanded his "first impressions" thoughts into an article here: Shun's D600 First Impressions Review"

    Nikon USA is nice enough to overnight a D600 with the 24-85mm/f3.5-4.5 AF-S VR kit lens to I have previously reviewed that lens, which is very good:
    The D600 is clearly a cross between the D7000 and D800, both of which I have (mine is a D800E). Therefore, I immediately feel familiar with the D600. Width-wise, the D600 is slightly wider than the D7000 while the D800 is in turn a bit wider than the D600. However, the D600 clearly has a bigger viewfinder for FX compared to the D7000.
    The controls on the D600 are much closer to those on the D7000 with a knob on the top left to control the SPAM exposure modes as well as the customized U1 and U2 plus the beginner scene modes. That is a good indication that the D600 is more consumer oriented. Personally, I prefer the D700/D800 style pressing a mode button and rotate the command dial to select P,A,S,M, but I can easily deal with either type of control. Nikon clearly has listened to the complaints that the SPAM knob on the D7000 can easily be moved unintentionally; on the D600, there is a lock and you need to press on the little button in the center to change the settings. I am glad that Nikon makes these little improvements.
    Similar to the D7000, the auto bracketing BKT button is on the front side and a little above the lens release button. And also similar to the D7000, BKT is limited to either 2 frames (normal plus over or under) or 3 frames (normal plus over plus under). There are clearly people who prefer 5-frame and 7-frame bracketing, for high-dynamic-range merge.
    On the back side, controls on the left are similar to those on the D7000, but the positions for the + and - (enlarge and reduce) buttons are reversed, similar to the D800. Controls on the right are similar to those on the D800 with a live view button and info button. However, there is no dedicated AF-ON button; it is merged into AE-L/AF-L just like on the D7000, although there is clearly room for a dedicated AF-ON.
    Similar to other recent cameras, on the top right side, the D600 has a dedicated video on button (with a red dot in the center) next to the (still imag) shutter release. Other than that, the top controls are the same as those on the D7000.
    As far as shooting options go:
    • Unlike othe recent FX bodies, for image capture area selection, the D600 only has the FX mode and DX mode. There are no 1.2x or 5:4 capture modes, although the D600 has a 100% viewfinder.
    • RAW can be lossless compressed or (lossy) compressed. There is no uncompressed mode. Both 14-bit and 12-bit captures are available.
    • Similar to the D7000, there is only one Custom Setting bank and one Setup Menu bank, not four banks as on the D300, D700, D800 and up. But again there the U1 and U2 options to compensate.
    • Exposure delay (custom setting d10) has 1, 2, and 3 second option just like on the D800.
    • The 24mm/f3.5 PC-E lens works fine with the D600; there are no real limiations.
    I haven't captured all that many images with the D600 yet, and I also have no compatible RAW converter. More on those later.
    I know other people have received their D600 also. Please feel free to add your personal experience with this new camera.

    From left: D7000, D600, and D800E


    The D600 is the first Nikon FX-format DSLR that is made by their Thailand factory.
    EDIT: Shum has expanded his "first impressions" thoughts into an article here: Shun's D600 First Impressions Review"
  2. Thank you, Shun. Can you please say a few words about the flash synchronization values of the D600 and D800? My D300 syncs at 1/250, which I find a bit too slow at times.
  3. "...with a knob on the top left to control the SPAM exposure modes"
    I suspect an undiagnosed mild case of dyslexia here. Looks like MASP to me in your photos. Or is it MAPS? ;-) :)
    Thanks for the review. I think this will do very, very well for Nikon.
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Flash sync for the D600 is a bit slower at 1/200 sec, but with Nikon i-TTL flashes, there is the FP sync option available for the D600 and also for the D300. The down side for FP sync is that the flash power is reduced; the faster the shutter speed, the larger the power reduction. But it is very useable at 1/500 sec, for example.
    Michael, I thought spam was easier to remember; maybe so is maps. And Spam tastes better. :)
  5. Shun, I am used to the finder of the D3 for eye focusing; I have found the finder of the D700 to be lower contrast than the D3, but still easily focusable.
    I recently experienced the D800 and found a significant reduction of optical clarity and focusability compared to the D700. Does the D600 continue this trend of "great imager, lousy finder" which Nikon seems to have started with the D800?
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Now everybody knows that I wear glasses. Ilkka certainly knows as he has visited us almost a decade ago. The thing is that while I don't like the viewfinder on the D50 and D70, I have no problems with most Nikon viewfinders. I have used all flavors of the D3 and D300, and I have a D700, D800E and D7000. All of those viewfinders are fine as far as I am concerned, so is the D600's.
    I think you are better off checking with someone who is more picky on this issue.
  7. I don't own a D7000 (although I am contemplating one) so I can't help there but I do own a D300s and here are some of my thoughts...
    - The D600 has a top shutter speed of 1/4000th, the D300s 1/8000th. In reality, it isn't a big deal as the D600 has an low ISO of 50 and the D300s only 100. It still bugs me though!
    - Yes, you lose a third of a stop on the sync speed. Annoying? Sure. Is one-third a stop a deal breaker? Not by any means. And keep in mind that you gain one full stop on the ISO, which nets you 2/3rds a stop.
    - You can set the front custom function button of the D600 to show you an in-viewfinder level. Nice. The back LCD horizon line as both roll (left/right) and pitch (forward/backward).
    - High ISO: for me, in a word, amazing. I have no problems using a D300s at ISO 1600 when I need too. ISO 12,800 from the D600 is as good as ISO 1600 from my D300s. Or at least arguable. At ISO 6400 it is no contest.
    - Shutter is quieter.
    - AF beep has high/low and off setting as well as a new pitch setting.
    - The AF selection switch on the front left side is more "sturdy", less likely to be accidentally switched to another mode. I have lost count of the number of times I would reach into my camera bag, grab the D300 and inadvertently switch from AF to AF-C or manual.
    - Detail is simply amazing at 24MP. I can set up a macro shot, use the LiveView too zoom in and manually focus and it is much nicer than using the D300.
    That's all I have to add!
  8. In terms of the viewfinder, there is a difference but I don't know how to quantify it. When I look through a D4 (in the store!), I can just see everything. When I look through the D600, while nicer than the D300s, my eye has to "roam" to take it all in. Now that might just be my own personal quirk (and I do wear glasses), I don't know, but I feel a difference.
  9. Thanks Shun, I will be getting my D 600 next week and will start testing it with my long lenses and tcs. Shun, did Nikon tell you what version of Nikon Capture NX2 is needed to process D 600 NEF images? NikonUSA has not updated Capture NX2 since the D 600 has shipped and I am wondering is the last/latest version Capture 2.3.4 will process the D 600 NEF images. I will test this once i get my D 600 and report .
    Where can we buy extra batteries for this camera?
    Joe Smith
  10. Yes, 2.3.4 will process D600 files.
  11. Thanks Shun.
    Looking forward to your D800 type tests on this camera also.
    With such huge resolutions, looks like there's no escape from down-sampling to compare noise nowadays. Gone are the days of pixel level crispness and comparisons.
    Someone should open a DP2 Merrill file to appreciate what i'm saying.
  12. Thanks for your reply, Shun. I have to check the FP sync option on my D300 - I guess I have not read the instruction manual as good as I should have... :)
  13. John,
    Maybe the slight differences in the viewfinders make a difference.
    D4: Magnification = 0.70 , Viewpoint = 18mm
    D600: Magnification = 0.70, Viewpoint = 20.6mm
    D300s: Magnification = 0.94 , Viewpoint = 19.5mm
    Maybe the difference between 18 and 20.6mm gives you that need to roam around the viewfinder.
  14. Although many people are likely not interested in the D600's video capabilities, they are advertised to be a big feature for this camera.

    However there is a blog post about the D600 which mentions that the HDMI video out is done at less than the selected size; note that it is outputting the video with a surrounding black frame in the photo at this blog:

    According to that blog, Nikon is apparently acknowledging this video out limitation here:

    When recording a movie through an HDMI interface, the output image may be smaller than the value set with the "image size/frame rate" menu.

    It would be interesting to note if this is a feature or a bug before everyone rushes to buy this new FX camera.
  15. Thanks Shun. The D600 sounds like a great camera. What's your impression of the rear LCD screen for image review and Live View focusing? Is it comparable to the D800's LCD?
    I don't mind the MAPS wheel. I'm used to it from shooting Canon bodies and of course my beloved Nikon N80.
  16. As a night photographer, I was impressed with the low light and high ISO capabilities of this camera, and that the D600 has a built-in intervalometer and that it can preview time lapse stills as a video sequence! I mention this and several other items in my current blog post, including a link to Florian Schultz's video, "Chasing the Light" -- in which he and his brother test the D600 (shot entirely with the camera). You also wanna see the behind-the-scenes "Making of Chasing the Light":
  17. Hi Guys, a couple of weeks ago I bought the Nikon D 600, I still have the Nikon d 300 (4 years old)
    So i wanted to go full frame plus a newer sensor, well..using the same lenses on both cameras, I made some comparisons, specially skin tones..I noticed that when shooting peoples faces with sunlight, the D 300 handles much better the highlights on the face. The D 600 gives me this golden burn...don t like it, both cameras with same settings.
    JPEG fine, standard flat on both cameras, same ISO, aperture etc...
    Lenses: 50mm 1.4 G- 105mm 2.5
    Any thoughts ? Txs,

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