In this article, I will show feature differences between the new full-frame Nikon D600 (FX) and the older cropped sensor Nikon D7000 (DX). I have received a number of requests from our readers asking me to provide this comparison, since many photographers are considering to move to the Nikon D600 from their D7000 cameras. Please keep in mind that this Nikon D600 vs D7000 comparison is purely based on specifications. A detailed comparison with image samples and ISO comparisons is provided in the Nikon D600 Review.
With Canon having recently announced its take on budget DSLRs, the Canon 6D, the most obvious rival just happens to be the brand new Nikon D600. We’ve already seen how the latter stacks up, at least on-paper, with such great cameras as D700 and D800, but neither of those cameras were direct rivals. Priced at the same relatively low price for a full-frame sensor camera, $2099 body only, Canon 6D is as direct a rival as it can get. Lets see how it measures up against its Nikon counterpart spec-wise. Please keep in mind that this Nikon D600 vs Canon 6D comparison is purely based on specifications. A detailed comparison with image samples and ISO comparisons will be provided in the upcoming Canon 6D Review.
UPDATE: there has been a misleading set of specifications spread throughout the internet, indicating that the top shutter speed of Canon 6D is 1/8000th of a second. It’s incorrect – according to official Canon specifications, the top shutter speed of their newly announced “budget” full-frame camera is 1/4000th of a second.
Since the Nikon D600 DSLR has been released this morning, I have been receiving a number of emails and comments about it from our readers. Looks like there is some confusion about the capabilities and limitations of the camera. A number of online resources are talking about the D600 and thanks to some famous bloggers, people now think that the D600 has serious problems. I am not here to defend the camera that I have not touched yet, but I would like to clarify these issues so that there is no misunderstanding or confusion.
1) Sharp Images
After I posted the Nikon D600 Sample Images, some of our readers started questioning the quality of the camera, blaming softer images (particularly from the owl shot) on the camera. First of all (and I am sure most photographers already know this), the softness of images has little to do with the camera. Even the cheapest entry-level DSLRs like the D3200 are capable of producing very sharp images. Take a look at my article on making sharp images and you will know exactly what I mean.
Here is another quick specifications comparison between the new Nikon D600 and the D800 that was announced earlier in 2012. I am sure many photographers will be interested in seeing feature differences between the resolution king, the D800, and the $900 cheaper D600. Looks like both cameras are quickly becoming popular among many amateur and professional photographers, so what feature advantages does the former offer over the latter? Let’s take a look in this Nikon D600 vs D800 comparison. Please keep in mind that this comparison is purely based on specifications. A detailed comparison with image samples and ISO comparisons is provided in the Nikon D600 Review right here.
Now that the Nikon D600 is officially out, I am sure many photographers will be interested in seeing feature differences between the old and discontinued Nikon D700 and the new D600. Please keep in mind that this Nikon D600 vs D700 comparison is purely based on specifications. Note: a detailed comparison with image samples and ISO comparisons is provided in the D600 Review.
A couple of weeks ago I had an opportunity to visit Norman Koren, founder of Imatest, LLC. I have been fascinated by his software for a while now and after evaluating the software, decided to purchase it to use in our lens reviews. When I found out that his company is right here in Boulder, Colorado (where I lived for over 5 years), I gave him a call and asked if I could come over and interview him. Despite his busy and hectic schedule, he was able to accommodate me for an hour during his lunch time. Below is the text version of the interview.
Nasim: Thank you for giving us the opportunity to visit your office and learn more about you and your company. Let’s get started with your background, your company and how it all started.
Norman: You are most welcome Nasim. I grew up in Rochester, NY, about a mile from the George Eastman House, which I visited frequently. Both the technical and artistic exhibits made a deep impression on me—it was there that I first saw the beautiful prints of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. I had a long career in magnetic recording technology, where my job involved simulating the performance of read, write, signal processing and detection in disk and tape drives. It started back in 1967 at Honeywell in Boston. I then worked for a number of companies including, curiously enough, Kodak in San Diego. Kodak at the time— we are talking 1985— believed that very small tape drives would be used in digital cameras. Well, it didn’t turn out to be a winning technology, but I had an interesting 12 years there. At the same time, I’ve always been a passionate photographer.
When Nikon releases a new generation DSLR camera, it seems to often make little changes to the camera firmware. We typically see slight tweaks here and there, but every once in a while (especially when a new piece of technology makes it into the camera) we see some new interesting and useful features getting added into the camera firmware. In this article, I would like to point out current firmware issues that I believe Nikon needs to address, along with some recommendations (wishlist) on what Nikon should do in their future cameras. Or, perhaps Nikon might consider to implement some of the below firmware fixes/recommendations on current DSLRs – I am sure many of the Nikon owners would get excited about some of these requests.
1) Add DNG Support
As a Nikon shooter, you already know how painful it can be to constantly keep updating post-processing software, image codecs and photo viewing programs every time Nikon releases a new camera. Upgrading a camera should be easy and we as consumers should not have to go through this process every time. DNG has already become a universal format and companies like Hasselblad, Leica, Pentax and Samsung have already adopted it. Why not do the same? I am not asking Nikon to abandon its NEF file format. Just give us a choice to pick either NEF or DNG please!
2) Allow AF Fine Tune Calibration of Each Focus Point
Thanks to the recent Nikon D800 Asymmetric Focus fiasco, we now know that each autofocus point is calibrated at the factory during the QA process. We also know that Nikon keeps the ability to tune these AF focus points to their own calibration software. Why not add this capability to every advanced Nikon DSLR where AF fine tune is already provided? Sure, this seems like a headache to implement and could result in a some improperly calibrated cameras out there (due to user error). But for those of us who know what they are doing when it comes to lens and camera calibration, why not give this capability? Nikon would save a lot of money on not having to re-calibrate so many cameras. Adding this feature, of course, would not be an excuse for improperly calibrating cameras, but it would certainly make the AF Fine Tune feature way more useful.
3) Allow AF Fine Tune Calibration for Different Focal Lengths
Those of us that have attempted to calibrate zoom lenses know that one AF Fine Tune value is often not good enough for the whole zoom range. The AF Fine Tune feature would be a lot more useful if we had the ability to use different AF Fine Tune settings depending on the focal length of the lens.
4) Live View at 100% Pixel Level Should be Standard
Nikon’s implementation of Live View on the Nikon D90 was terrible, due to its interpolated output. Since then, Nikon has made many new cameras that had a 100% pixel view, which was very useful in obtaining precise focus on subjects. With the D800, Nikon brought an interpolated live view back (which is one of my biggest complaints on the D800). Nikon should fix this as soon as possible on the D800 and make 100% pixel level live view a standard on all future cameras.
5) Fix Custom Settings Banks
The Custom Settings Banks implementation on Nikon DSLRs is bad and completely impractical. I personally do not bother using them on any of my cameras, because I do not have the time to either switch them in multiple places (Shooting Bank and Custom Settings Bank), or constantly review the settings to make sure that they have not changed. First of all, memory banks should apply to all camera menu items. Second, these settings need to be “lockable”, meaning if anything gets changed, the setting should not get overwritten unless I want it to.
5) Out With The Old And In With The… Old!
I find it amusing to observe that long after a technology has been declared dead, it will magically reappear after nostalgic longing causes some to reintroduce it in some form. When I first got back into photography in 2007, I came across a fellow Pittsburgher who had concocted an interesting homemade device consisting of a heavy duty cardboard tube attached to an old, beat up Kodak Duaflex TLR (twin lens reflex) camera, which was quite popular in the 50s and 60s. He attached it to one of Canon’s top DSLR and lens combos. The resulting images were grainy, heavily vignetted, filled with a variety of textures produced by the old scratched lenses, and sported a rough black border. Of course, my first thought was, “So… you bought a high end Canon DSLR and some of the best lenses in order to take pictures while focusing through a 50 year old camera bought at a yard sale for $12?” Just when we thought all those yard sale Kodak TLRs were headed for the scrap heap, thousands of photographers brought them back to life by putting them in front of some of the best DSLRs and lenses of the world. All this to take retro looking photos, which they describe as “edgy.”
The digital camera revolution, in conjunction with the explosive growth of the internet has had profound changes on photography. Some changes have been dramatic, while others have been more subtle. In times of revolutionary technological changes, it is important to adjust your perspective to the new realities and contemplate just how far we have come. I will put the second part of this article online shortly.
1) Printing & Pioneers – A Little Perspective
If you asked to see someone’s family photos years ago, they would often reach for their wallet or purse, and proudly show you 2X3 photos stored in plastic coverings. Today when you ask the same question, people will almost always reach for their smartphones, and either pull up pictures stored on their mini SD cards or quickly navigate to a website such as flickr. Low cost digital picture frames have also become quite popular, enabling people with little in the way of technical know-how to store hundreds or thousands of photos on an LCD in an attractive picture frame, which cycle through every few seconds.
Below is the easiest and quickest way to test if your DSLR has an autofocus issue, along with a recommendation on what to do if there is a problem. This test can be used to detect front focus or back focus issues with a particular lens or a camera body. I will be using the Nikon D800E as a reference camera for this article, but any modern DSLR with Live View capability can be used for the same test (even entry-level DSLRs such as the Nikon D3200 have a Live View mode). Why would you want to test your camera for autofocus issues? Because if your camera or your lenses are defective or have a calibration problem, then you will not be able to obtain critically sharp images.
1) What You Will Need
For this test, you will need the following:
- Any DSLR with Live View mode capability such as the Nikon D7000.
- At least one lens, but preferably 2-3 lenses if you want to isolate the problem to the camera or your lenses.
- A good stable tripod.
- A flat vertical surface in a very brightly lit area. For example, your garage door or a wall inside your home that is adjacent to a very large window will do fine.
- Print out either this Siemens Star Focus Chart or this Focus Test Chart on regular letter size paper. You can print it on a laser printer or inkjet (doesn’t really matter). Make sure to print on regular paper, not anything glossy like photo paper.
- Scotch tape or some other adhesive material to keep the focus chart on the wall.