From the Author
At nearly 600 pages, this book is the most comprehensive guidebook available for the D600, and the first of three books I'm writing about Nikon's pioneering full-frame camera. I've organized my tips into six sections, so that, no matter what your level of expertise, you can quickly access the information you need to master the camera.
Frankly, this is an advanced camera, so I didn't want to fill it with basic, beginner stuff, nor pad it with general-purpose chapters on, say, how to shoot landscapes, or how to shoot sports. I do recognize that many aspiring photographers lured by the D600's high megapixel count may need and want additional information. So, I've put as much of the background material as possible into a "bonus" section at the end of the book, where you'll find expanded set-up instructions, lens basics, software recommendations, and trouble-shooting. Advanced shooters can refer to this information only as required, and jump right into the "meat" in the first 500 pages of my book.
I know many books on the D600 are being rushed to the shelves, but I've been stuffing mine full of things you won't find elsewhere, such as a printable/downloadable focus chart to use to fine-tune your autofocus (accompanied by step-by-step instructions), a simple, clear discussion of diffraction, and examples of shooting HDR with this camera.
There are thumbnail descriptions of virtually every lens Nikon offers, including the new, inexpensive 24-85mm mid-range VR zoom kit lens. I've got frank evaluations of the pros and cons of specific lenses (my comparison photos of the "non-breathing" 70-200mm f/2.8 VR I and "breathing" 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II are eye-openers!)
I'll show you the exact areas of the frame covered by the D600's RGB exposure sensor -- including a color-coded representation of the 8mm, 12mm, 15mm, and 20mm center-weighted zones. I'll share with you some tricks for shooting your best movie clips ever, particularly with a brand-new mixing device that enables high quality microphones.
Confused by wireless flash? Nikon's Creative Lighting System really deserves a full book of its own, but I pack all the basics you need to get started in my three lighting chapters.
Everything in this huge book is organized for easy access, with the beginner stuff tucked away in the "bonus" chapters at the end of the book, and everything else organized logically and up front.
- Part I: Getting Started with Your Nikon D600. I won't insult you by giving you the newbie tour outlining the procedure for unboxing your camera and charging the battery. At least, not here. If you really do want the 50-cent introduction to your camera, you'll find it in the "bonus" material in Appendix A. Part I is devoted to letting you hit the ground running, with a quickie guide to exposure, autofocus, and other controls, a Streetsmart Roadmap that shows you what every component is, and how/when to use it, and a full chapter of recommended settings. Nikon's default settings for your D600 are okay, but mine are better.
- Part II: Mastering Your Tools. The four thick chapters in this Part tell you everything you need to know about exposure (including my dismantling of the myth of the 18 percent gray card), autofocus, HDR, and other tools. There's a chapter where I evaluate most of the current Nikon lens line-up (and a few old favorites.) Beginners who need to know basics of using lenses can jump to Appendix B in the bonus section at the end of the book.
- Part III: Working with Light. Three chapters here explain the nature of light, and how to use it, with a full chapter on electronic flash (even the basics), and another on using the Nikon Creative Lighting System's wireless/multiple flash modes.
- Part IV: Configuring Your Nikon D600. Most guidebooks have a chapter near the front of the book that list all the menu options available, and what they do. Just like Nikon's own manual, only with more words. Part IV, more than 100 pages long, not only tells you when and why to use each of the dozens of shooting, custom, and setup options of your Nikon D600 - but when not to use them.
- Part V: Introduction to Movies. How far we've come! When the Nikon D90 was introduced, I explained movie-making in part of a chapter that also discussed live view and other techniques. Now, with the Nikon D600's full HD video mode, I needed three full chapters to explain just what you need to know to get started. If you're serious about movie-making, this Part will ready you for more in-depth study. Entire books have been written about dSLR movie-making (I've written one myself with video guru Rob Sheppard), but these chapters offer a good summary of the tools and techniques at your disposal.
- Part VI: Bonus Material. You'll find four appendixes here and a glossary, each with kernels of essential information that was better put at the end, keeping the main body of this humongous guidebook more streamlined. You'll learn about the D600 and its accessories; basics of wide-angle, telephoto, zoom, prime, and specialized lens technology; how to choose your software tools, from Lightroom 4 to Photoshop CS 6 to Nikon Capture NX2 and Camera Control Pro 2. There's also an appendix on troubleshooting your camera, upgrading firmware, and cleaning your sensor.