I will be posting additional information on the Nikon D600 that was announced earlier today in this post. There is a lot of information, with some sample videos coming from everywhere, so I recommend coming back to this page to get more updates.
NOTE: See our full, detailed review of the Nikon D600.
Nikon has just released the much anticipated Nikon D600 DSLR, a new breed of “economy” full-frame camera. Priced at $2099, it is currently the cheapest full-frame DSLR on the market. While it does not have the same ultra high-resolution 36.3 MP sensor as its older brother, the Nikon D800, it still sports an impressive 24.3 MP CMOS sensor, most likely a similar one as on the new Sony A99. With a native ISO range of 100-6400, it should provide pretty clean images throughout the ISO range for both daylight and low-light environments. The Nikon D600 is designed for any kind of amateur and professional photography – from landscape and studio, to event and wildlife photography.
Built to be affordable, the Nikon D600 does not have the same robust autofocus system used on the D800 and D4 cameras (same 39 point AF system used on the Nikon D7000). Its shutter speed is limited to 1/4000th of a second and its flash sync is also limited to 1/200th of a second, which might be a disappointment for some photographers out there. However, it has 100% viewfinder coverage, 5.5 fps speed, which is faster than the D800′s 4 fps and has the same 3.2″ LCD monitor with 921,000 pixels used on the latest Nikon DSLR models. And movie fans will be delighted to see impressive 1080p video with uncompressed HDMI output.
Nikon has clearly taken an aggressive pricing strategy with the D600, although some may have been expecting a price of $1,500, which was widely circulated on a number of photography forums. While outgunned by both Nikon D800 and Canon 5D Mark III relative to specifications, at only 60-70% of the price, the D600 represents a significant value. The D600 is sure to attract a large number of customers that have been holding off upgrading their D700s, but also those who have been on the fence between the DX and FX camps, and put off by the higher costs of FX DSLRs. With the recent announcement of the Nikon 24-85mm VR lens, Nikon has signaled that it intends to bring value-priced FX lenses to the market to compliment the D600.
It will be interesting to see how the D600 body is perceived by diehard D700 fans. The D600 has been portrayed by some as being a blend of a D7000 and a D700, since it borrows the D7000’s more compact body styling, its controls and autofocus, while incorporating a 24 MP FX sensor that represents a moderate gain over the D700’s 12MP sensor.
So, what does the Nikon D600 bring to the table? Here is a summary of its features:
- Sensor: 24.3 MP FX
- Sensor Size: 35.9 x 24mm
- Resolution: 6016 x 4016
- DX Resolution: 3936 x 2624
- Native ISO Sensitivity: 100-6,400
- Boost Low ISO Sensitivity: 50
- Boost High ISO Sensitivity: 12,800-25,600
- Processor: EXPEED 3
- Metering System: 3D Color Matrix Meter II with face recognition
- Dust Reduction: Yes
- Weather Sealing/Protection: Yes
- Body Build: Magnesium Alloy
- White Balance: New White Balance System
- Shutter: Up to 1/4000 and 30 sec exposure
- Shutter Durability: 150,000 cycles
- Storage: 2x SD slots
- Viewfinder Coverage: 100%
- Speed: 5.5 FPS
- Exposure Meter: 2016 pixel RGB sensor
- Built-in Flash: Yes, with Commander Mode, full CLS compatibility
- Autofocus System: MultiCAM 4800FX AF with 39 focus points and 9 cross-type sensors
- LCD Screen: 3.2 inch diagonal with 921,000 dots
- Movie Modes: Full 1080p HD @ 30 fps max
- Movie Exposure Control: Full
- Movie Recording Limit: 30 minutes @ 30p, 20 minutes @ 24p
- Movie Output: MOV, Compressed and Uncompressed
- In-Camera HDR Capability: Yes
- Two Live View Modes: One for photography and one for videography
- Camera Editing: Lots of in-camera editing options with HDR capabilities
- GPS: Not built-in, requires GP-1 GPS unit
- Battery Type: EN-EL15
- Battery Life: 900 shots
- USB Standard: 2.0
- Weight: 760g (body only), 850g (with battery and memory card)
- Price: $2,099 MSRP
Although I called this article Why DX has no future, I believe it applies to all cropped sensor DSLR cameras, not just Nikon. Earlier in 2012, I wrote an article called “The Future of Digital Cameras“, where I shared my thoughts on what I think will happen with DSLR, Mirrorless and other camera technologies within the next few years. One of the main points of the article, was my opinion on DSLRs and why I think they are here to stay for a long time. I did not clarify what I meant by DSLRs, because the DSLR technology defines how the camera works, not what type of sensor or features it has.
As I am sure you already know, DSLRs today come in different sensor sizes. There are expensive, pro-level DSLRs with full-frame sensors equivalent to 35mm film in size, as well as cheaper DSLRs with much smaller sensors (about twice smaller in size than 35mm, generally referred to as “APS-C”). Historically, DSLR manufacturers have been producing APS-C cropped-sensor cameras for three main reasons: lower cost, smaller size and lower weight. The smaller size of the sensor meant that the camera’s internal components such as the reflex mirror could also be made smaller and the entire frame of the lens did not have to be used, making cropped-sensor DSLRs and lenses lighter, more affordable and a little more compact in comparison (see my DX vs FX article).
The End of the Small Compact and the Rise of the Mirrorless
With personal computing making its way to phones and tablets, instantly reaching millions of people, the message has been clear – people want smaller and more capable devices. This change in consumer behavior is very obvious. If just a couple of years ago the general population was carrying compact digital cameras to capture their everyday moments, now most people just resort to smartphones with built-in cameras. We live in a very connected world today and people are willing to give up a little on quality, as long as they are able to instantly share a picture or video with friends and relatives. They do not want to carry multiple devices – convenience has become hugely important. That’s what has been shattering the compact camera market for sometime now and as I have previously pointed out, I believe the small sensor compact market will pretty much disappear within the next few years.
Along with the Nikon 18-300mm VR, Nikon has also released a cheap full-frame lens – the Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.6G VR, also known as “AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR“. The lens replaces the older 24-85mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S lens, which went out of production in 2006. It is a good quality affordable full-frame lens, designed to be used with the upcoming Nikon D600 DSLR, probably even as a kit lens.
I have just received a link to a Chinese forum, where pictures of the upcoming Nikon D600 have been posted. These pictures look very real to me, so looks like the Nikon D600 will be released soon for sure. In addition, Nikon has just released two lenses, one of which (the Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR) is specifically designed to be a cheap full-frame lens. I don’t think it would really suit the Nikon D800′s demanding sensor in terms of performance. Here are the pics of the D600 from the forum:
So far this year has been pretty hectic for Nikon. With three excellent DSLR camera bodies (Nikon D4, Nikon D800 and Nikon D3200), two superb lenses (Nikon 85mm f/1.8G and Nikon 28mm f/1.8G) and some accessories announced, it is hard to imagine that Nikon might introduce more DSLR cameras in 2012. While Nikon D5100, D7000 and D300s are all due for an update, our friends at Nikon Rumors are already receiving some early rumors about the possibility of a new budget full-frame (FX) DSLR from Nikon that will be supposedly announced later this year with the new “Nikon D600″ name.
The key word here is budget – the Nikon D600 will apparently be marketed as a low-end FX camera at a very low price point. Currently, the cheapest DSLR from Nikon is the Nikon D700, which has a price tag of $2,199 USD (MSRP) and the new D800 sells for $2,999 USD (MSRP). The rumored Nikon D600 will have a very low price point, maybe as low as $1,500. Interestingly, this all goes back to some early rumors about the Nikon D400 (D300s replacement) being a full-frame camera. Could it be that Nikon will discontinue the professional DX line completely and replace it with FX? It is hard to tell at this time, but judging on Nikon’s history of replacing the D90 with a more advanced D7000, I would not exclude that possibility. So far I have been projecting that Nikon would continue the development of its pro DX line with a D400 DX, but if a budget FX camera comes out at the same or lower price point as the D300s, then forget about the D400 DX.