Nikon D600: Finally a full-frame camera for the rest of us!

Remember when I wrote that I wished Nikon would make a camera with specs similar to the Canon 5D Mark III, but at a lower price? well now they have and it sounds awesome. the Nikon D600 is a 24mp 5.5t fps monster tucked into a package not much bigger than a Nikon D7000. Somehow it also manages to have a 100 percent viewfinder and a pop up flash. All that for $2100 from B&H, shipping next week

The D600 packs nearly all the full-frame goodness of the Nikon D800 into a 15% smaller-sized, lighter-weight chassis. Despite having a price nearly a thousand dollars lower, it does that and still comes out ahead on speed -- 5.5 fps versus 4 fps. The tradeoff is lower resolution, at 24MP versus 36MP, and possibly not quite the same low-light performance, but if you don't need the ultimate in resolution and have been yearning for a quicker full-frame Nikon that doesn't break the bank like the Nikon D4, this might be it.

The Nikon D600 offers ISOs up to 6400, plus Hi modes up to 25,600. It's not going to push the D4 or anything, but it should beat any DX-format body by a good margin in low-light peformance. Nikon also mentions that the D600 has 39 AF points, a good number -- but more importantly it talks about wide-area coverage. I continue to hope that we'll see some of the sensors move back out towards the edge of the frame the way they are in DX cameras, so I'll be looking for this. Some of the cross-type sensors will focus down to f/8, making the camera easier to use with less than monster f/2.8 glass.

As we've come to expect from mid-range DSLRs, the D600 packs a pop-up flash. Not much use for serious shooting, pop-up flashes can be a lifesaver in a pinch. 

Pro features in a prosumer package

The D600 offers the same magnesium construction and weather-sealing as the D800, which is great for those wanting a less-expensive backup or walking-around camera that can still hold up on the job. The shutter is rated for a hefty 150K actuations. At 1.6 pounds, it is about 5 ounces lighter than the D800, and not much more than half the weight of the Nikon D4.

Video continues to improve

As you'd expect at this point, the D600 captures 1080p HD video, with the added bonus of fulltime AF and optionally face detection, although with less frame-rate options than the D800 or D4, so serious videographers should check to see if the D600 will work for them in lieu of the D4 or D800. It does have stereo mic and headphone inputs, so high-quality AV recording is definitely possible.

Awesome wireless control with the WU-1b

I'm almost as excited by the new wireless "dongle" as I am by the camera itself. For a mere $59 (when's the last time Nikon introduced anything wireless for a high-end camera for less than $400!) it does what you'd expect a really cool wireless interface to do. You can control the camera from your mobile device, while watching Liveview on its screen. Gone is the need for a wired tether. I'm looking forward to some remote shooting out of the studio.

Should you buy one?

I already have, so I'm biased. Interestingly, I guess because the D600 is not a full-up pro model, there hasn't been an NPS pre-order program for the camera. It is expected to ship in a few days, and B&H is taking pre-orders for the Nikon D600 now. If you want to go full-frame but haven't been willing to pull the trigger, now is the time. 

 

Note that if you add the D600 to your cart at B&H, it will give you the option to purchase Nikon's new full-frame 24-85mm lens for $500 ($100 off). That is a better deal, for some reason, than ordering the D600+lens as a kit.

Complete Specs courtesy of B&H:

 

Camera Type Digital SLR with Interchangeable lenses
Lens Mount Nikon F
Camera Format Full-Frame
Pixels Actual: 24.7 Megapixel
Effective: 24.3 Megapixel
Max Resolution 24.3MP: 6016 x 4016 @ 3:2
Other Resolutions 13.6MP: 4512 x 3008 @ 3:2
11.6MP: 3936 x 2944 @ 3:2
6.0MP: 3008 x 2008 @ 3:2
5.8MP: 2944 x 1968 @ 3:2
5.1MP: 3008 x 1688 @ 16:9
Aspect Ratio 3:2, 16:9
Sensor Type / Size CMOS, 35.9 x 24 mm
File Formats Still Images: JPEG, RAW, TIFF
Movies: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, MOV
Audio: Linear PCM
Bit Depth 14-bit
Noise Reduction Yes
Memory Card Type SD
SDHC
SDXC
Focus Control
Focus Type Auto & Manual
Focus Mode Single-servo AF (S), Continuous-servo AF (C), Manual Focus (M) , Focus Lock AF Area Mode
Autofocus Points 39
Viewfinder/Display
Viewfinder Type Pentaprism
Viewfinder Coverage 100%
Viewfinder Magnification Approx. 0.70x
Diopter Adjustment - 3 to +1 m
Display Screen 3.2" Rear Screen   LCD (921,000)
Screen Coverage 100%
Live View Yes
Exposure Control
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 100-6400 (Extended Mode: Auto, 50-25600)
Shutter Type: Electronic
Speed: 30 - 1/4000 sec
Remote Control MC-DC2 (Optional)
Mirror Lock-Up Yes
Metering Method Spot metering, Center-weighted average metering, 3D Color Matrix Metering
Exposure Modes Modes: Aperture Priority, Manual, Programmed Auto, Shutter Priority
Compensation: -5 EV to +5 EV (in .33 EV steps)
White Balance Modes Auto, Cloudy, Daylight, Flash, Fluorescent, Fluorescent (Day White), Fluorescent (Natural White), Fluorescent (White), Fluorescent H, Incandescent, Preset Manual, Shade
Flash
Built-in Flash Yes: 1st Curtain Sync, Auto, Red-eye Reduction, Second-curtain Sync, Slow Sync, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction
Max Sync Speed 1 / 200 sec
Continuous Shooting Up to 5.5 fps
Dedicated Flash System iTTL
External Flash Connection Hot Shoe
AV Recording
Video Recording Yes
File Size 1920 x 1080p (Full HD)
Frame Rate @ 1920 x 1080: 30 fps, 25 fps, 24 fps
@ 1280 x 720: 60 fps, 50 fps, 30 fps
@ 1280 x 720: 25 fps
Exposure Control Auto
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 100 - 6400, Expandable to 25600
Focus Auto
Manual
Continuous Auto
Continuous Shooting Time 1920 x 1080
@ 30 fps: 20 min.
@ 25 fps: 20 min.
@ 24 fps: 20 min.
1280 x 720
@ 60 fps: 29 min.
@ 50 fps: 29 min.
@ 30 fps: 29 min.
1280 x 720
@ 25 fps: 29 min.
Audio Recording With Video, Stereo, Via Optional External Mic
Performance
Start-up Time 0.13 Seconds
Shutter Lag 0.052 Seconds
Self Timer 2 sec, 5 sec, 10 sec, 20 sec
Connectivity 1x 1/8" Headphone, 1/8" Microphone, HDMI C (Mini), USB 2.0 (out)
Wi-Fi Capable (With Optional Transmitter) Yes
Power
Battery 1x EN-EL15  Built-in Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery, 7VDC, 1900mAh
AC Power Adapter EH-5b (Optional)
Physical
Dimensions (WxHxD) 5.6 x 4.4 x 3.2" / 14.2 x 11.2 x 8.1 cm
Weight 1.68 lb / .76  kg Camera body only

 


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Joined: 2007-09-29
D600
This looks really good to me. If it performs enough better than my D700 I can see getting it. Guess I'll wait to read some thorough reviews on it to decide. Then again, most of what I do is with my D300 and I'm still waiting to see if it will be upgraded to the rumored D400.
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Joined: 2009-03-12
Eric--I'm optimistic enough

Eric--I'm optimistic enough to have placed a pre-order, so I should have one next week to compare with my D700. I'll definitely be posting my results, so stay tuned. I'm also anxious to see what happens with a "D400" and whether there is such a beast before there is a D7100 (which might be what Nikon does instead?)

 

--David Cardinal Cardinal Photo

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