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Old 01-07-2013, 10:02 PM   #1
neil1138
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My D600 Review (100 days in)

Let me preface by saying that this review is going to be nothing more than me talking a bit about my experience with the camera for the past 100 days.

Also, every full frame camera is going to be awesome. They all have "professional" grade bodies that are built to be water resistant, robust etc. They all are going to take superb photos so I'm not going to talk about that kind of stuff, I'm going to talk about whether I think Nikon made decisions about the camera that "made sense." Whether I think the D600 is a worthy upgrade for DX owners.

Upon arrival and after mounting the 85mm f/1.4d

D600

The D600 was my introduction into the world of full frame. After shooting with the D90 for years, I felt as though I had reached my peak, pushed the camera to it's maximum capability. I needed more and thought full frame was the only way I could get it. So why did I go for the D600 and not the D700 or D800? For me I think it was a bit of goldilocks. Not too hot, not too cold. The D700 is a legend. The robust body, it's bigger and heavier, has a faster shutter speed (1/8000th) among more. The D800 is an absolute beast, however the 36mp files, combined with the green tint issue and price tag, pushed me away. The D600 is, in its own way, the runt of the family. A full frame sensor in a sort-of consumer body. Is this a bad thing though? It's lighter, more affordable and the image quality is simply stunning at 24mp. This is why I bought it.

D600

There are a few things I've always strived for in my photography. Sharp subjects, accurate focus points and tons of bokeh. I mean, who doesn't want these things? These points are easily achievable with all camera setups but does the D600 make it any easier, coming from a DX camera? These are things we are going to address.

D600

D600

Let me say that my experience with the D90 was nothing but trouble. It was known that it would frequently back-focus, and not having AF fine tune, I was out of luck. I dealt with it and focused using live view (contrast focus) most of the time. In addition, the focus was terrible in low light conditions. It would search and search forever unless I shifted the focus point onto a higher contrast area.

D600

The upgrade to the D600, comes with a much more advanced AF system (for one, it isn't broken!). Of course it's not as good as the D800/D4 but damn, I haven't noticed any weakness. Maybe it's because I shoot with fast primes but the D600 never searches for focus in low light conditions, it locks instantly. Additionally, the ISO performance of the D600 is just amazing. On the D90, I used to be afraid to go past ISO 640 for fear of tons of noise, on the D600 you can barely tell. The below photo was taken at ISO 800!

D600

Additionally, the D600's 3D tracking is absolutely amazing. The new pup never stops moving. With the D90, it would be impossible to get a shot of him. The D600 has no issues whatsoever. I have switched between 9 point/21 point/39 point and 3D tracking quite frequently and can say without a doubt, that the D600 AF is simply stunning. Being a primarily automotive photographer (stationary subjects) normally I shoot on single point AF. But I've noticed that even if I leave it on 3D tracking accidentally, it still picks out the best focus point when taking photos of cars. Pretty cool

D600

Some people, when the camera was first introduced, complained about the consumer style dial. Maybe it's because I've become accustomed to shooting with DX cameras (the D60 and then D90) but I love the consumer dial. The addition of the customizable U1 and U2 modes make it even better. One thing I hate, the locking dial. I despise it. Don't get me wrong, it's a good idea. However, it makes operating the dial one handed almost impossible.

D600

A few things I can clear up:

Regarding the dust/oil on the sensor issue, I haven't noticed anything. However, that issue is only noticeable when stopped down and I always shoot wide open (f/1.4 or f/1.8). Never at f/8-f/22 on the primes. So if there is dust, I haven't seen it... yet. If there is dust (which there probably is, judging by everyone else with a D600), Nikon USA will cover it under warranty and clean the sensor from what I've read. I've also heard that after about 3000 clicks, the dust/oil issues goes away/subsides greatly.

D600

Another issue being discussed, the dual SD card slots vs a CF slot. I do not mind the dual SD slots, why you ask? One, SD cards are much cheaper than CF cards. Two, in my experience, the size of the internal buffer is enough to handle quite a few shots in burst before it fills up (I believe 16 14-bit RAWs). If you have a fast SD card, like a 45mb/s or higher, you should be more than fine. Also, my macbook has an SDXC card slot right on the side. If I had a CF card instead, I would have to buy a card reader and deal with cables. Not my cup of tea.

Another critical point: The AF points. The D600 has a similar AF layout to the D7000. The points are in the same places on the screen but they are all concentrated towards the center of the frame. This of course is a curse of all FX bodies but is it a problem in the D600? The short answer is No. Maybe it's because I'm a 'focus and then recompose' kind of person but it has never bothered me. If you frequently shoot on a tripod, then I could see why it might get annoying.

Now time for the bullet points... Things I like:
  • AF fine tune. This is amazing. Has the ability to set profiles for multiple lenses.
  • U1 and U2 customizable modes.
  • The new way to switch between photo and movie live view, as well as the new record button near the shutter release.
  • The relocated AF mode button, right near the AF toggle switch. It's perfect.
  • The 100% viewfinder. Oh my
  • Maybe a thing with all FX bodies, but the ability to disable DX crop! I normally have the 85mm mounted but recently I've been shooting a lot with the 35mm f/1.8G (a DX lens). I've gotten some pretty cool results with the 35mm even though it's 'meant' for DX bodies. Only problem? Lots of vignetting at the corners.

Things I don't like:
  • Why did Nikon switch the zoom in/zoom out buttons. It gets me every time.
  • The locking dial. It is unnecessary. I rarely 'bumped' the dial on my D90.
  • Although I'm not a fan of the max 1/4000th shutter speed, the base ISO 100 makes it ok. Because pretty much, ISO 100 @ 1/4000th ~ ISO 200 @ 1/8000th (with the D700).

Hope this helps. Also, I hope the resizing images are working. If they aren't, let me know. I wanted to show the images as large as possible. Any specific questions, I'd be happy to answer!

<3

Last edited by neil1138; 01-07-2013 at 10:22 PM.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:04 PM   #2
AlexD330
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moreso you just sold me on the 85mm 1.4 lol.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:12 PM   #3
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Great write up Neil! I had no idea the max shutter was only 1/4000! Im a little bummed by that i was highly considering one of these...still am but I find that interesting Nikon would limit it like that
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:39 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by neil1138 View Post
Why did Nikon switch the zoom in/zoom out buttons. It gets me every time.

Holy crap this drives me nuts....

thanks for the write up. Learned a good bit just by reading. So far i am loving my new body. I just need to invest in some FX lenses now. Every shot i have taken so far has been with my 35 f/1.8.
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:53 AM   #5
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Nice write up, interesting read.

Have to ask though, what breed of dog?
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Old 01-08-2013, 11:37 AM   #6
neil1138
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexD330 View Post
moreso you just sold me on the 85mm 1.4 lol.
It's truly a great lens. But it's a purpose-built lens, not good for all kinds of photography.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SkrApUNB View Post
Holy crap this drives me nuts....

thanks for the write up. Learned a good bit just by reading. So far i am loving my new body. I just need to invest in some FX lenses now. Every shot i have taken so far has been with my 35 f/1.8.
Definitely spring for some FX glass. Maybe a 50 f/1.4?

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Originally Posted by rover220 View Post
Nice write up, interesting read.

Have to ask though, what breed of dog?
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Old 01-08-2013, 12:39 PM   #7
malina
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Glad to hear you enjoy your D600. If I were on the market for FF today, I'd buy one as well.
How precise do you find the AF performance at F1.4-2.4 with DOF less than half inch? Do all cross type sensors work equally well? Can you do individual AF point micro adjustments like in 5D3?
Check out new Sigma 35/1.4, it's a serious performer.
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Old 01-08-2013, 04:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neil1138 View Post
[*]Why did Nikon switch the zoom in/zoom out buttons. It gets me every time.
[/LIST]
Hope this helps. Also, I hope the resizing images are working. If they aren't, let me know. I wanted to show the images as large as possible. Any specific questions, I'd be happy to answer!

<3
hah! I was playing around with it in the store, and had the EXACT same issue.
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:49 PM   #9
neil1138
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malina View Post
Glad to hear you enjoy your D600. If I were on the market for FF today, I'd buy one as well.
How precise do you find the AF performance at F1.4-2.4 with DOF less than half inch? Do all cross type sensors work equally well? Can you do individual AF point micro adjustments like in 5D3?
Check out new Sigma 35/1.4, it's a serious performer.
I haven't noticed any focusing issues thus far. It definitely does not have the left focusing issue the D800 unfortunately has.

I do not think you can do the individual AF micro adjustments. Just the standard +20 -> -20 for multiple lenses.

I really do enjoy shooting with the 35mm on FX but sometimes I feel as though it's not the right focal length for me. I'm not really sure why I never got into 50's but I just ordered one so we'll see!
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Old 01-08-2013, 10:51 PM   #10
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Nice review. Honestly you could take cool photos with a camera phone circa 1999. lol
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