649 of 690 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Camera, Bad Quality Control by Nikon
WHO IS THIS CAMERA FOR?
1.) More advanced photographers moving from DX/crop format to full frame (assuming they already own FX glass or plan to buy at least a couple FX lenses with the D600.)
2.) Photographers who want a second body to accompany their pro body as back-up.
3.) Nikon D300, D300s and D700 users who want better ISO performance, much...
Published 14 months ago by J. Pivkova
579 of 634 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great camera with FATAL FLAW!
This camera has a fatal flaw that is affecting a large number of D600s. Specifically, the camera mechanism that raises the mirror during exposure is flinging lubricant onto the sensor. This is completely unacceptable -- for more about this go to: [...]
Because of this, you get very distinct spotting on your images. The website referenced about mentions that...
Published 12 months ago by R. Thompson
Most Helpful First | Newest First
649 of 690 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Camera, Bad Quality Control by Nikon,
This review is from: Nikon D600 24.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Electronics)WHO IS THIS CAMERA FOR?
1.) More advanced photographers moving from DX/crop format to full frame (assuming they already own FX glass or plan to buy at least a couple FX lenses with the D600.)
2.) Photographers who want a second body to accompany their pro body as back-up.
3.) Nikon D300, D300s and D700 users who want better ISO performance, much better resolution and dynamic range and won't miss a couple of the pro features of the D300, D300s and D700.
4.) Patient beginners with very deep pockets who understand it's going to take more than "Auto" mode to create beautiful photos. Open yourself up to RAW.
WHO I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND THIS CAMERA TO:
1.) Beginners with no $$$$. You're gonna need money. Lots of money. Good full frame lenses are expensive. Forget the kit lens that comes with the D600. You're going to need something better to make this camera really shine. EDIT: A few people mentioned in the comments that the kit lens is fine for beginners. Yes, the kit lens is fine for beginners who are just getting started and don't know what they're looking for, however the kit lens can be quite expensive for what it is. In my opinion there are better, sharper, faster lenses out there for that price even if they are not as flexible as this slower zoom lens. Some people may be perfectly happy with the kit lens, but eventually you will want something better and that will most likely cost you lots of money.
2.) People who only want to shoot JPEGs. Yeah... you can shoot beautiful JPEGs with it, but that too requires adjusting settings. JPEGs can be unforgiving as opposed to RAW. Some might really disagree with me on this point, but I've known too many people who bought DSLRs and were surprised when the camera was taking unsatisfactory pictures. It's not the camera, it's the user!
3.) DX/crop sensor photographers who don't own any FX glass. Get yourself FX lenses first. No matter how much you're tempted, it makes much more sense. Trust me.
4.) Anyone expecting $3,000 + features for $2,100.00.
SHOULD YOU BUY THE D600 or the D800???
Depends on what you're shooting, why you're shooting it and how much money you have.
D800 = Pro 51 AF point module vs. 39 AF points - slightly more accurate/faster focus and a tad more viewfinder coverage
D800 = 36 megapixels vs. 24 megapixels - slightly more resolution
D800 = Up to 9 consecutive shots for HDR vs. 3 consecutive shots - better HDR
D800 = Shutter life of 200,000 vs 150,000 - longer life span
D800 = Teeny tiny bit more dynamic range
D800 = 1/250 flash sync speed vs. 1/200
D600 = 5.5 FPS vs 4 FPS - better for sports and wildlife
D600 = Lighter and less pixel density - easier to shoot hand-held with slower shutter speeds (Good for nightime and daytime photography. Less chance of camera shake/motion blurr)and easier to carry during long hikes.
D600 = Just a teeny tiny tad better at high ISO in low light
D600 = $1,000 less
D600 = Smaller file sizes, which means easier file handling.
There are a few more differences, but both cameras will give you incredible results, both cameras have insane high dynamic range and resolution, and both produce beautiful RAW and JPEG files. If you're a serious amateur, the D600 is plenty of camera for you. If you're a beginner, the D800 may be too much camera to start with. By the time you learn the ropes with the D800 (which may take years), the next best thing will be on the market, and you would have wasted $3,000.00 on a camera which you were able to use only 50% of its potential before you trade it in (then again if you're not the type who must upgrade as soon as something new is on the market, the camera will keep you busy for years). For beginners even the D600 may be a bit too much. Pro landscapes could do just fine with the D600, but may appreciate the 12 more megapixels and 9 shot bracketing (for HDR) when they're printing large posters. Wildlife photographers may appreciate the faster FPS, slightly better ISO performance and lighter body of the D600. In my opinion the D800 is more of a tripod camera while the D600 is more of a hand-held camera. If you're still not sure, rent them both and decide that way.
I WANT TO START OFF WITH THE POSITIVES:
I absolutely LOVE my new D600. I moved up from a D7000. Although I like the D7000 a lot, the D600 is even better in many ways.
1.) It has incredible high ISO performance
2.) Sharp, accurate and fast to focus (much better than the D7000) even in dim light
3.) Incredible resolution at 24 megapixels
4.) Very high dynamic range and the color reproduction is beautiful
5.) Fairly light compared to other Nikon pro bodies
6.) 5.5 frames per second which is slightly less than the D7000 6 frames per second, but the D600 has a larger buffer.
7.) Auto-ISO feature is very helpful.
The list goes on.....
As far as use and picture quality goes, this camera blows away anything within the same price range, and even some of the slightly older pro bodies that still go for well over $3,000.00. DXO Mark rates this camera as #3 on it's list, and the only cameras listed above it are the Nikon D800 and Nikon D800E. Believe it or not, the D600 sensor scored higher than the D3s, D4, D700 and all the current (2012) bodies in the Canon line-up. Obviously the D600 lacks some pro features like faster frames per second, an even bigger buffer, a couple of nice easy-setting-access buttons and full magnesium body, but let's face it; If Nikon had put all the good pro-features into the D600, why would anyone in their right mind pay $6,000.00 for a pro body? The D600 is purposely held back in some aspects by Nikon, but this does not mean that great performance and incredible image quality were sacrificed. In my opinion the price (at this time) can't be beat for what you're getting in return.
Contrary to what some believe, the D600 is not a repackaged D7000. It shares some features with the D7000, but it also shares some features with the D800. It's the best of both worlds. It is slightly bigger and heavier than the D7000, and slightly smaller and lighter than the D800. The body design in the front resembles that of the D7000, and the back of the body resembles the D800. Some have commented that the body feels cheap in their hands. I don't understand this sentiment. I guess some people feel that the heavier something is, the more expensive it feels. I can see why someone who has handled a D4 or D800 might say that, but in my opinion the D600 feels just fine. It has slightly better build than the D7000, and the D7000 is solid. I hear this mostly from people who have never taken their "pro" bodies outside the city. They need all this ruggedness, but they never use it. I've put my D7000 through a lot of abuse in the rain, snow, heat, climbed old castle ruins with it,...even dodged unruly kids, beer and drunks in bars and there's not a scratch on it. Do some of these people plan on dribbling their cameras? I keep mine on a neck strap, protecting my lenses. I think the D600 will be just fine.
NOW TO THE NEGATIVES:
Nikon's quality control is suffering greatly, and it's the only reason I'm rating the camera at four stars. It hurts me to do so, but I have to. I don't know if this is common with a lot of camera brands, but out of the four DSLRs I've owned, this is my second Nikon camera in a row suffering some kind of defect. Everything is absolutely perfect about it except the fact that it came with dust/oil spots on the sensor straight out of the box. I didn't notice this at first, but when I was shooting a fairly featureless subject stopped down, I noticed many small round spots concentrated mainly around the top left corner of the photo. These spots can be found all over the picture, but most of them are up in that corner. This is by far not as much of a concern for me as my D7000 back/front focusing issue was, because at least I can clean my own sensor. However it is disappointing to find something like this. It affects picture quality. I have done my best to remove these spots from photos in Lightroom 4, but at some point it becomes a chore. I have contacted Nikon about it and they want me to send it in. Since I love the camera so much, I don't want to be without it for a week or two, but if I don't get this issue resolved, maybe it will make me more upset in the long run. I will update the review once it's fixed.
WHAT ACCESSORIES TO BUY WITH THE D600
This is purely my opinion, but you may want to consider buying the following either directly with the D600, or a sometime after you purchase the D600:
1.) Make sure you buy a good-quality FX lens to go with the D600. Choose the lens based on what you like to photograph most. There are many specialized lenses out there such as wide angle, macro and telephoto. There are zoom lenses and prime lenses. Most pros already know that a well-rounded Nikkor lens line-up to own is the 14-24mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8 and the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR I. or VR II. There's also many great, fast prime lenses to choose from (cheaper options being the 50mm f/1.4G or f/1.8). I know of no lens that is good at everything, so you'll be making sacrifices no matter which one you choose. There are cheaper third-party options out there such as Sigma and Tamron. I myself prefer Sigma if I'm buying third-party. I've had a couple of Sigma lenses, and in fact one of my favorite lenses is the Sigma 150mm f/2.8 macro. I've used it for macro, birding, as well as portraits. It is super sharp and definitely rivals Nikon's 105mm macro lens in sharpness. Basically choose your first lenses based on what you will photograph most, and later on add more specialized lenses to your collection.
2.) A fast SD card, preferably nothing slower than 45MB/s. write/read speed and at least 16GB such as the SanDisk Extreme Flash memory card (maybe 2 of them), or even better, the 16GB or 32GB 95MB/s SanDisk Extreme Pro Flash memory card. Anything slower than that and you will find the buffer not clearing fast enough when you're shooting in burst mode.
3.) A good photo-editing program such as Lightroom 4, Photoshop CS6/Adobe Camera RAW. I personally use Lightroom 4 for all my photo editing, but some people prefer Adobe Camera RAW and Photoshop. If you're not shooting RAW with the D600, you're wasting a lot of its potential. RAW files hold the most information and give you greater dynamic range. Consider the program your developing room. The camera records the information and you develop that information into what you saw or what you wanted to see in the scene when you were shooting. If you're shooting JPEG only, the camera saves only very limited amounts of information. JPEGs also lose quality every time you re-save them, whereas RAW never loses quality and can be modified as many times as you want. It can also be reset to it's original form. RAW is the only way I shoot.
4.) If you have big hands, you may want to consider picking up the MB-D14 battery grip to give the D600 a little more size and better balance. It's also very handy for extended battery life and vertical shooting. There are cheaper third-party battery grips out there, but the quality is lacking and you risk possible damage to your camera. Many people are very satisfied with the cheaper third-party grip options, but I personally would not risk it with an expensive camera.
5.) Second battery. If you already own a D7000 and you plan on keeping it, the good news is that the D600 and D7000 share the same battery. I use my D7000 battery as a spare. Of course if I decide to use both cameras at the same time, this could be a problem. You can get a lot of shots out of the D600 battery on one charge, but it's always nice to have back-up. If you buy the battery grip, you can use regular AA batteries in the grip.
6.) A good sensor and lens cleaning kit. I would recommend at least getting a blower. I bought the Giottos Rocket Air Blaster and that seems to work nice. Other people use things like the Visible Dust Arctic Butterfly, but that's fairly pricey. I guess you get what you pay for. You can always get your sensor cleaned by a camera shop, but they'll charge you anywhere from $40 to $60 each time you bring it in. There's the security in knowing you got it done right, but that can add up to a lot of money down the line. If you don't feel confident enough to clean your own sensor, you're better off having it done by a professional.... however... it is nice to learn to do it yourself. I learned to clean mine on one of my older DSLRs for practice. It's easier than you'd think, but I'm not going to push you if you don't feel good about it.
7.) A camera sling strap like one of the Black Rapid straps or a Carry Speed FS-Pro strap. These attach to the tripod screw mount on the bottom of the camera and you can wear it over your shoulder with the camera and lens swinging next to your hip. You would really appreciate this carry method on longer hikes. or just walking around in general. The Carry Speed FS-Pro strap for example is very rugged and sturdy. The shoulder pad is wide and stretchy. It makes you feel like you're not carrying any weight at all. Neck straps are O.K. for lighter point and shoots, but if you want to save your neck some hardship, you'll look into getting a sling strap instead. It's easy to use, the camera is out of your way when you don't need it, and it's right there when you do.
I have sent my D600 to Nikon service for the dust issue. They serviced the camera within one week. After I got it back, the sensor was spotless until I took about 600 shots with one lens (a prime, not a zoom) attached the entire time. After considering sending it back again, I decided to buy a sensor cleaning kit instead and cleaned it myself twice. After these two cleanings the spots are not coming back (at least none that I can see). Between shoots I use a Giotto blower to make sure I get rid of any possible spots. So far so good!
I would highly recommend this camera to the category of people I listed at the very top, but I would also recommend caution as far as these dust/oil spots go. Not everybody has had this problem, but there are a number of people who are experiencing it. I'm one of the lucky few. Fact of life is that you're taking a risk no matter what manufacturer you choose. Nikon has had it's issues and so has Canon. The only thing we can do is hammer these companies with complaints and demand justice.
579 of 634 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great camera with FATAL FLAW!,
This review is from: Nikon D600 24.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Electronics)This camera has a fatal flaw that is affecting a large number of D600s. Specifically, the camera mechanism that raises the mirror during exposure is flinging lubricant onto the sensor. This is completely unacceptable -- for more about this go to: [...]
Because of this, you get very distinct spotting on your images. The website referenced about mentions that Lensrentals.com had to clean 100% of their D600 bodies to fix the problem.
For the record, I have three other pro-grade Nikon DSLRs, and 20+ Nikon lenses, and have shot only Nikon for 35 years. I've never seen anything like this on my other cameras. My first 200 shots were fine, but the more I took the worse this problem became. Sadly, I purchased the camera for the recent Formula One race in Austin, TX. I took roughly 3,500 shots during the four days I was at the track. I am infuriated that most of these shots will need extensive retouching to fix these flaws.
If you already own one of these cameras it's easy to find the problem. Shoot a picture of the sky or a light-colored wall. Underexpose a stop or two to help you see the spots. If you have the issue it will be very apparent.
And IF you have the issue please return your camera immediately! I don't have any issues with Nikon on a personal level, but they need to be pressured into fixing this problem -- and big companies don't spring into action unless financial circumstances warrant it. If enough people return their D600s -- and if enough people complain and make this problem known -- Nikon will be forced to fix the design flaw. Furthermore, they will be less likely to let another design with this flaw slip through into production.
I hope this review keeps others from going through this same experience!
361 of 405 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nikon D600 vs D700 vs D800,
This review is from: Nikon D600 24.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Electronics)So after getting to play with the new camera I wanted to give you a heads up on what I thought about it. I've shot over 100,000 images with my d700 and have loved that camera. I've rented the D800 for weddings and shot thousands of images with it. I want to tell you how I landed on the D600 as the camera I will use along side of my D700 at weddings. All cameras all full frame so I think it's pretty fair to compare.
I have loved this camera this has been my workhorse. 70% of my images are taken with the 85 1.4 and D700 combo. It just works. That being said this camera is old and compared to the others it doesn't stack up very well.
Feel - It has the best feel out of all the cameras because it is a bit taller and fits nicely in my hand.
AF Mode Button - The placement on the back of the camera means I can switch without looking or taking my eyes of my subject. This is huge!
Lower resolution 12 Megapixels
1 card slot
Lots of detail in files
Insane amount of resolution - 36MP
CF & SD card slot
More $ than D600
HUUUUUUGGGGEEEE files (I think most of my files were 45megs a piece - fast computer & lots of storage space needed)
No sRaw or smaller raw file option (deal breaker for many, canon's have this option)
I didn't like the feel in my hands as much
The photos out of this camera look awesome but you better be in focus!
Least expensive out of all of the cameras
High ISO looks better than the D700 to me
The resolution seems just right 24 megapixels
The photos out of this camera look awesome!
2 SD card slots
It doesn't feel as nice as the D700 in my hands
That damn AF Mode button is in the weirdest place, I hate it. I wish they kept it where it was on the D700. I use this button constantly
No CF card slot
When it came down to it, the price on the D600 was just right along with the file size. I considered buying a used D700 or a New D800 (instead of renting) but when the D600 was announced I knew it would be the right fit. It was bigger than I thought, which was a good thing because I've held the D3200 in my hand and that feels like a toy. This camera is almost as big as the D700. I still have to see in low light how fast the AF performance is on the camera but I am guessing it will be about even with the D700. On Saturday I will have my first full wedding with the camera but all the files that I have seen look incredible. This camera will be a hot seller and people WILL be raving fans. I can guarantee that. Also if you are between the D800 and the D600 and aren't a landscape photographer, you won't be disappointed with the resolution of the D600. In real world situations there isn't much difference once a photo is printed out between 36MP and 24MP.
A rumor: It is rumored that the images out of the D600 are of a slightly higher quality than the Nikon D4 (the $6000 brand new pro camera). Of course the D4 was built for speed but it is amazing to think that their prosumer camera is on the same quality level or higher as their newest top of the line camera.
So far I'm extremely happy with my decision to go with the Nikon D600. I hope that will be your choice too!
> HACKS & UPDATES SINCE ORIGINAL REVIEW WAS WRITTEN (Last updated 10.3.2012)
Didn't notice there is no AF-ON button till I went to separate the Autofocus & Shutter button like I had setup on my D700. So I had to reprogram the AE button to be the AF-On button. So far so good.
It seems like the AF is really snappy in lower light and locks on better than the D700 or D800.
I went ahead a filmed a minidocumentary of my friend Fearless Jaleel King with it (go and watch it to see the quality of the video - amazing!). Turned out pretty awesome. I used a $30 lapel mic from Radio Shack and a set of cheap headphones.
125 of 142 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Love the camera, but....,
This review is from: Nikon D600 24.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Electronics)...same dust and oil issues. Purchased serial #3004XXX. Within the first 20 shots noticed spots developing on sensor (upper left in view finder)and had dust inside prism area. I removed many dust particles from the sensor with a "rocket blower" but the oil spots required a wet cleaning. After cleaning, the spots started to reappear within 5 clicks so I returned the camera for a different unit. Serial #3035XXX. The sensor was clean out of the box with only 4 shutter activations on the counter but dust and oil starting to appear at 35 clicks. This body also has dust inside the prism box. A rocket blower removed the dust but the oil spots remained. I also noticed a small area on the mirror mechanism where the paint was starting to flake off, which I suspect is the source of the "dust". These problems show up at f8 and are not user caused and make the camera unusable for landscape and video. I returned it and the pro level lenses I purchased. I'm evauluating other options and would wait on purchasing this camera until Nikon solves these issues.
49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dust/Oil Spots-Kiss of Death for the D600,
This review is from: Nikon D600 24.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera with 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR AF-S Nikkor Lens (Electronics)I was worried about all the negative reviews regarding the dust/oil spot on the sensor problem. I put 2000 shots through it. So far, I only see 3 dust spots, not a problem. The serial no is 3011XXX. The D600 is a great improvement, coming from the D700 and D300. I'll update if there is a dust issue with this D600.
This is the best DSLR I have used. The oil/dust flaw is real. 500 more shots and the oil/dust spots got worse. 12 appeared on the high left. I'll try more shots to see if it'll stabilize. Nikon needs to address this issue. I have over 30 Nikon lenses so going to Canon is out of the question. With the D800 and the D600 having problems, sad days for Nikon users.
The function and image quality are the best I have seen. 300 more shots, and the dust/oil spots didn't get worse but are there if you look for it. The bottom line is how much can you accept. Nikon must come up with a resolution for the problems with both the D600 and D800. I will return this camera for an exchange, hoping that I'll get luck next time. For those of you who are still waiting, don't buy it until Nikon has a fix for it. After 25 years of using Nikon, I'm slowly losing faith.
Tested 2 additional D600 (not from Amazon) over the holiday. Same conclusion, dust/oil spots when you get to 1500 to 2000 shots. One of the D600 has SN 500XXXX. Nikon has no solution for this problem, even with the newer production. If the spots is a problem you can't accept, return them. Amazon is good with the return/refund policy.
2 more D600 bodies(not from Amazon), SN 50XXXXX, same dust/oil spots, one at 1200 shots, the other at 1500 shots. I won't touch another D600 until I see this problem is fixed by Nikon.
247 of 286 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, full frame value,
This review is from: Nikon D600 24.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Electronics)This camera replaced my F5/FM2n... yes, I've been a film holdout for all this time. I've had some digital point-and-shoot cameras, but stuck by my film for "real" photos for a few reasons:
1. Until full frame DSLRs hit 12MP, I was getting more resolution out of my 35mm film (Ektar 100 / Portra 400 / Velvia 50) easily. I was also getting way better dynamic range out of my film until the most recent generation of full frame DSLR sensors, which now finally comes close to the dynamic range of film.
2. I am an occasional shooter and not a pro - so the cost per film shot, which works out to around $0.25/frame for me with development and scanning/printing, was totally reasonable compared to what it would have cost until now to take the same number of photos on a digital camera at the same level of quality I was getting. Heretofore, I would have had to buy at least a D3/D3s/D800/D700, and those are expensive to have sitting around not being used professionally or even on a weekly basis.
3. I have only "FX" lenses, and about 70% of it is AI-S. None of it is AF-S (what's autofocus is AF-D), so I had to have a screw-drive AF motor and I had to have a non-CPU lens memory bank. D600 has both, and it's full frame, so I don't have any of this funky crop factor crap.
4. Depth of field. I've got mostly very high-quality lenses, all primes and mostly f<2. I like the control of DoF they offer me. DoF at sensors smaller than APS-C is a poor joke, and I've seen APS-C look ok, but just didn't see the point in limiting my lenses.
5. Viewfinder. If you haven't ever looked through a 100% "FX" viewfinder, you might not understand how awful most DSLR viewfinders look to people using film or a proper "FX" DSLR like the D4/D3/D3s/D700/D800. I might not take a lot of photos, but I'd rather not spend my time staring down a short railroad tunnel squinting at the lights on the other end, especially if I'm going to be focusing manually.
Ok, so ultimately, I bought the D600. Now down to the actual product review.
Things that took some getting used to:
- I don't have a full set of AF / AE-lock buttons like I used to on the F5. D800 and D4 still have these, but D600 has one "catch all" button. Thankfully, this button can be reprogrammed entirely to perform any of the three old functions, or it can be reprogrammed to an unrelated function, too, so it's quite flexible. I am using it as "AF-on" right now, and I have the "Fn" key bound to "AE-lock", which compensates for the loss of the dedicated buttons on the back.
- Auto ISO. I'm not sure how I am going to deal with this, but I find Auto-ISO both useful for time savings, and annoying conceptually. It tends to adjust ISO a little too readily for my taste, but perhaps this feeling will fade when I adapt to the whole "ISO is more or less unimportant nowadays" thing.
- Autofocus-Continuous/Single button simplified to AF/MF. This is a little annoying because it makes the functionality of autofocus ambiguous. I believe the default functionality is fairly similar to AF-Continuous on my F5, but I more typically use autofocus in AF-Single mode, which doesn't track subjects. My subjects don't move much. **Update: Thanks for the tip, James, I see that this was just me not exploring enough, or, put another way, I should RTFM. The switch has indeed been revised so it's a two position switch, modified by a button in the middle of the selector. All functionality remains, and all is well**
- Viewfinder has an odd eyepiece. It's a great viewfinder to use, but that eyepiece is a little small and odd (ergonomically) to hold up to the face. This coming from someone used to the veritable porthole-window on the F5 should perhaps be taken with a grain of salt. I'm also an eyeglass wearer, but my correction is so minimal that I don't mind just taking off my glasses to use the D600. Didn't have to do that with the F5, but not a big deal.
- It's not all that small. Yes, it weighs about a pound less than my last camera, and that's a welcome change, but it's thicker and just as wide. Actually, this is the thickest darn camera I've owned, and I don't understand why. The F5 is a tank and probably about as happy pounding nails as any hammer in my house, but the fact remains that it feels, and measures, slim compared to the D600 (or most full frame DSLRs I've seen). The comparison to film cameras gets even more odd looking when you place the FM2n next to the D600... FM2n looks like a rangefinder, practically. So maybe this has to do with the sensor or the screen or whatever, but I know that it's not the optics, since flange distance and all that jazz is identical. Nevertheless, I'm happy it's light, which is is... very light.
- > 0 < indicator for manual focus is a little squirrely compared to the F5. I suspect this is because the emphasis is so much more on autofocus now, and the distance between AF sensors has gotten so much smaller. Anyway, it's good enough, just not as good as it used to be when cameras were made with manual focus in mind as a large percentage of lenses.
- No viewfinder screens from Nikon, at least yet. I used a grid screen with microprism collar and rangefinder center before this on the F5, which was nice as a MF aid. Also not a huge deal, just ergonomic.
- "Scene Modes" ?? Why is this useful? At least I can ignore it.
Things I like:
- I can shoot with impunity. Almost have to, now that I've got a $2000 debit from my account to justify to myself.
- Picture quality is really, really good. Certainly better than my photos deserve.
- I get matrix metering with my AI-S lenses. Maybe this is common now and I didn't realize it, but of the autoexposure film cameras Nikon made, only three that I know of had matrix for AI-S -- F6, F4 and FA. I'm fine with center weighted, but matrix is definitely more convenient for normal lighting.
- ISO 6400 looks a lot like ISO 1600, which looks mostly like ISO 800, which isn't so bad compared to ISO 400, which looks like ISO 200??? ISO is irrelevant on this sensor. Well, maybe not irrelevant, but it sure is impressive to be shooting above 800 and have such minimal noise.
- It's fast. Don't notice shutter lag, and the buffer hasn't given out on multi-shot sprees yet, though I do have a lot of the "auto" stuff off, which speeds things up (like the auto anti-vignette, auto d-light, etc).
- Mirror lockup. No, it doesn't have the little lever anymore, but I like the way they implemented mirror lockup. If you buy the IR remote, first click can lock mirror, second click triggers shutter. This is great for astrophotos.
- Key rebinding. Nikon allows you to rebind many of the buttons on the body to your preferred function. You could do this on the F5, but only to a very limited degree. D600 allows for comprehensive customization of the button functions, and this more than makes up for any shortcomings in the number of buttons included.
- LCD. Seeing what you just shot is great! I'm used to getting preview only on my crappy cameras, where critical focus is hardly a concern and sharpness is more or less limited by the crap lens attached. Plus, the screen on the D600 is quite nice. Very good resolution and brightness.
- Lens compatibility. Everything works, and my lenses are old. Non-CPU lens memory stores focal length and aperture for you, so you can shoot with full metering on AI-S lenses.
- Menu layout. Yes, there are a lot of settings. It's almost overwhelming compared to what I'm used to. But they're well laid out, and I have no issues with the depth of the menus. Plus, way easier to set "Turn on viewfinder gridlines" than try to remember that Option 15 should be "2". And if you find yourself using something all the time from the menu, bind it to a physical button and you're done.
All in all, I am glad I didn't get a D800E. I almost did, but just felt it was still too expensive. I'm also glad I never got bilked into the APS-C "DX" game. The D600 is a perfect camera for someone who isn't a professional, but who expects their gear to work like good film gear worked, and I figure I'm especially pleased because I've been living in the photography stone age, so this thing is practically magic.
I have not even tried the video features, so cannot comment there.
Highly recommended camera.
-------------- Update a few days on --------------
Still very pleased with the D600. I have now shot using most of my lenses, and I'm over 550 frames. It takes great photos in all light levels.
As an update to the auto-ISO matter, I maintain that auto-ISO is somewhat difficult to understand, at least in Aperture Priority and Manual modes. When I adjust aperture, for example, it often changes the ISO instead of changing the shutter speed to compensate. Shutter speed stays pretty fixed, and it's like I'm effectively balancing exposure with aperture and ISO instead of balancing between aperture and shutter, with ISO moving only once that balance becomes impractical due to light and shake constraints. I have not switched the mode back to manual ISO, but if I don't start figuring out its logic, I'm going to.
Another "Caveman Lawyer" moment - I found out this evening that I can bind a function to the "DoF" key. Here I was thinking DoF preview key would be mechanical, like on all my other cameras, but no- it's rebindable too! Good thing, since I almost never have need for DoF preview, especially now that I can simply take a photo and preview it on the beautiful LCD. I bound Spot Meter to this key, and the functionality is great.
To summarize, then, I have been able to rebind functions for:
- "DoF Preview" key (rebound to Spot Meter)
- "Fn" key (rebound to AE-L)
- "AE-L/AF-L" key (rebound to AF-On)
I tried a long burst earlier today, and filled the buffer for the first time. Was able to take 13 shots at full speed and full resolution / quality before it slowed down. That's a lot of pictures at full speed, and there's a neat "rXX" value that pops up in the viewfinder, indicating how fast the buffer is processing the shots you've taken (and how many shots you have in reserve that can be taken). When you exhaust the buffer, the value will read "r00", and when it's ready to take another, say, two shots, it'll read "r02". Time between shots after buffer was exhausted was around 1 second. Maybe people who know better will complain about this, but again: I'm from the stone age... it's true my F5 could go through a roll at about 8fps, but I'd rather go through 13 shots at 5.5fps and have it cost me nothing at all than be forever afraid that I'd invoke crazy-motor-drive-mode on the F5 and waste a roll in under 5 seconds. The buffer is definitely sufficient for my needs.
Having carried it now for a few hours at a time, I can definitely say I stick to my assessment regarding burden: it is not a small camera, but it is very light.
Oh, and battery life is excellent for something that has an LCD screen.
Finally, regarding quiet mode, represented by "Q" on the drive mode dial: this is the same as the "Cs" mode on the F5, and I'm sure other cameras have it as well. Just like the F5, it isn't really quiet at all. In fact, the sound pressure peak of the noise is nearly the same as the peak of the standard shutter noise. Granted the peak is shorter, and the total impulse of sound longer, but that's just the thing -- on both the F5 and the D600, "Quiet Mode" should really be called "what-the-hell-was-that-odd-unhealthy-camera-like-noise" mode. Just use the regular shutter and stop taking pictures if you need to be that quiet. Or get a Leica.
-------------- After a week --------------
No regrets. I took this out over the weekend to the dark wilderness and did some astrophotography. The battery life is fantastic, the mirror lockup mode using the remote is likewise wonderful, and the camera's noise levels in -complete darkness- are unbelievably low. It's like shooting a film camera, really, except not paying for film. Heck, about the only thing I can think of that might be disadvantageous for this camera vs., say, an FM2n for astrophotos is the battery consumption for very long shots. But with digital, to hell with long shots anyway. Take fifty 30-second exposures and stack them; then you hardly even need a mount.
After the night (mostly awake playing with the camera under the stars), I woke up and did some hiking. Spent that whole day using only MF lenses. Everything up to my 135mm is just fine with the stock viewfinder screen. Unfortunately, I do miss the microprism collar and rangefinder center for the 200mm and 300mm lengths. It's just darn hard to focus manually without those aids at such a power, and I can attest to it not being as hard on the F5 (with swapped viewfinder screen). Then again, I can stop down enough that focus isn't as critical with this sensor and still have good shutter speeds, so who cares?
I will probably get a third party / accessory viewfinder screen if that ever becomes available. If not, I can deal.
This weekend also marks the first time I used my "heavy" lenses for an extended period. No, I wasn't in -10F or anything, but the polymer faceplate didn't have any trouble supporting heavy telephoto primes. This camera is sturdy. Perhaps the F5 can stand up to abuse, but I plan on using my cameras, not abusing them, and the D600 is plenty good enough for any real use I might have. I will make sure to report back on how it performs next time I am in low temps.
Video! I finally used this mode. It works great and quality is very high. No bad noises in the mic, no "jelly" motion or shearing. I only shot with a 28mm AI-S lens, but all was quite well.
Ergonomics- I can do everything now without taking my eye off the viewfinder. This camera will be very familiar to anybody who has used a Nikon since the F5. Buttons are where they should be, and the stuff that's been invented since that era isn't much of an additional burden to learn, since it's all quite well thought out. What has been left out of this camera that remains on the professional line can easily be compensated for with the aforementioned key rebinding.
A few gripes:
- What could it have cost to give me an eyepiece shutter? I got some kind of plastic thing that that I'm never going to carry with me. Nikon, integrate this feature. Not a big deal, but silly.
- The stock strap is gaudy and stiff. Thankfully, the camera is light enough that I just swapped the strap out with paracord (550 cord) and it's plenty comfy. I've always swapped my straps on light cameras for paracord, but never could get away with that on the F5, since it was so heavy and the cord would press uncomfortably into my shoulder (even making marks after a long day).
- I wish there were a way to lock up the mirror for multiple frames. I feel bad cycling the mirror each time I take a series of astrophotos. No need for the mirror to work 50 times just because the shutter needs to cycle 50 times. Maybe I just don't know how to do this yet?
- Playback mode could be smarter. When you ask the camera to store JPG+RAW, you have to browse through both JPG+RAW in playback mode. I can see this being useful to someone, but you should be able to optionally limit playback to one or the other. Where this really gets annoying is deletion. When I shoot JPG+RAW, review, and decide I don't want to keep a shot, I must delete the JPG and then delete the RAW. They aren't always even sequential, which means I have to figure out what I haven't deleted yet, or be left with a patchwork of orphaned RAW/JPG files that I don't want! Just offer the option to hide one or the other in playback mode, and I'll be happy. And make deletion actions applicable to both the RAW and the JPG of the same photo.
- The Auto ISO thing never worked out. I turned it off, and I'm perfectly happy switching between ISOs when necessary myself. Ergonomics are so good on this camera that I've got that movement memorized now.
105 of 119 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why will Nikon not acknowledge this issue?,
This review is from: Nikon D600 24.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Electronics)I just returned my second D600 due to the sensor spots. The first one went back 24 hours after I got it. The camera store people were nice and gave me a replacement, and even checked for sensor spots before it went out the door. I was there. We saw nothing. I got home, did some shooting, checked it the next day, found maybe four or five sensor spots -- to me, that's a little soon, but still acceptable. Today I returned it after a day of shooting, indoors, no dust, one lens change -- and literally dozens of sensor spots. I made a phone call to Nikon, and the rep told me she'd never heard of this -- yeah, right. In the meantime, several other photographer friends are having the same problem. Nikon clearly has an issue with these. Things happen, but to pretend it isn't, despite widespread reports by photographers, photographic sites, and even camera rental places, is unacceptable. It's a shame, because in all other ways, it's a wonderful camera for the price, full of features, and usable by pros and amateurs alike. It's a great move into full-frame, because it offers the option of shooting DX, so as to be able to use existing lenses. But when quality is bad, none of the rest matters.
74 of 83 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The DUST!!!,
This review is from: Nikon D600 24.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Electronics)I am on my second D600 body. The first one was purchased here on Amazon next week after the camera launched. The dust accumulated after first 100 shots and some of the particles would not go away even after the Rocket Air blower was used several times. The dust spread out very quickly (not just in the upper left corner) and after 2000 shots, the ENTIRE sensor was covered with spots, over 10 of which were visible at F4 and a couple at F2.8. Returned the camera, waited a month or so and got another one. After first 5 shots - several spots appeared. Serial # starts with 3031XXX. After another 2000 pictures taken, it seems to be worse then the first body. Some of the spots are REALLY large and I cannot blow them away. Do not want to do the wet clean myself and not willing to be without the camera for 2-3 weeks and deal with horrible Nikon service (most recently had my Speedlight SB-800 serviced, could not get it back from them for a month - awful experience!) Have to shoot a wedding today, I will use my F1.4 and F1.8 optics to avoid visible spots. This is absolutely unacceptable and disturbing. This was my dream-come-true camera. I loved the weight of it, the feel, the features, the image quality... I feel so frustrated with this problem!!!
I was considering D800, but because of the file size and possible left AF problem decided against it.
So... Now what? I have recently invested in bunch of Nikon lenses and really love them. I really want this camera to work and will probably give another D600 one more shot. I will update this review and change it to 5 stars, once they fix this REAL problem at the manufacturing level.
61 of 68 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's getting old...But it has to be said,
This review is from: Nikon D600 24.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Electronics)I probably won't add informative value to the discussion that's been going so it's just my 2 cents. I am so happy with the image quality, build quality, features and basically everything about this little dusty gem. The positives are countless and other reviewers provided excellent insight on the capabilities of this camera and that's why I didn't give it a 1-star review, because IT'S indeed a great camera. Scores speak for themselves. I used a D300, D700, D7000 before and the D600 really outperforms all of them in every aspect, except that the AF in the D700 is superior especially in low light. I used to shoot a lot of HDR but now I hardly do HDR due to the incredible dynamic range of the D600. ISO performance (not highest ISO setting) is one the best among all FX cameras if not the best based on scores and what I have seen. In a nutshell, for the price (or even for a much higher price) the D600 sets new standards for full frame cameras at this price level.
Now of course you saw that coming, the dust/oil issue. Folks who are apologetic/fanboys/offensive, seriously quit it. The issue is real whether you like it or not, and no it's not a fact of life with all DSLRs and those experiencing it SHOULD be upset, and they are many and I dare say more than those who are happy. If everyone is apologetic like you then the D800 AF issues and the D7000 issues would have never been addressed, if they were addressed to begin with. Not just users are complaining, even lensrentals, DPreview and many other credible photography communities have confirmed it. You only have to watch the now famous/infamous timelapse video to realize that the issue is internal, it's a design flaw with regards to the shutter mechanism. Wet cleaning your sensor every 500 shots is not normal. Wet cleaning a new camera is not normal. Bragging that you only shoot wide open and never noticed the issue is off-topic since it doesn't mean everyone shoots wide open. I mainly shoot landscape and typically use slow apertures for maximum depth of field (f/8-f/16) and a single spot would ruin the image for me. It's true that it's easily fixed in PS but that's only if it's one or a few spots, not hundreds, and certainly not in every image!
IMO, the main idea behind writing a review is to help potential customers decide whether to buy the product or not based on a general consensus provided by previous owners. Most of us who see a 2-star product with 100 reviews will shy away form that product without even bothering to read the reviews. That's why I think it's not fair to give the D600 a 1-star rating because of the dust/oil issue since it's a great camera in all regards. My 3-star rating is just a warning for potential buyers that if you are going to buy the camera expect dust, lots of dust even after sensor cleaning. Now I heard the issue goes away after 10000 clicks or so and I will update my review accordingly.
98 of 112 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dusty....,
This review is from: Nikon D600 24.3 MP CMOS FX-Format Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Electronics)+1 on the dust spots on my recent purchase here. After one thousand photos, my d600's sensor was very dirty. The 24-70mm was the only lens mounted on this camera and was NEVER unmounted since photo number one. The photos were clean when I first received the camera. My biggest worry is the camera will generate dust spots in mid shoot. I'm not talking about small specs, these are very noticeable dust spots on the photos at 2.8; I will recommend my fellow Amazon friends delay the purchase until this problem is resolved.
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