Nikon D600 High ISO Performance Comparison

Here is a quick comparison of ISO performance (low ISO and high ISO) between the Nikon D600, Nikon D700, Nikon D800E and Nikon D3s. Please note that all of the images below were shot in JPEG, since Nikon D600 RAW support is not available yet. All images were also down-sampled to the Nikon D700/D3s resolution (cameras with the lowest resolution). Everything was shot in ambient light (lab results are posted in the Nikon D600 review here) with all camera corrections turned off and camera profile set to standard (default, no changes). Cropping and export was performed in Lightroom 4 and I used Photoshop to add the text on the bottom of each image.

1) Nikon D600 ISO Performance

Nikon D600 ISO 100 Nikon D600 ISO 200

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Nikon D600 is here!

Received the Nikon D600 today. The battery is charging now, but I could not wait and started using my D800E battery. I am pretty excited about the D600, especially after DxOMark ranked its sensor the second best in the world. Now I need to verify that claim with real image sample comparisons, especially at high ISOs. Cameras to be tested today: Nikon D700, Nikon D800E, Nikon D3s. I have access to the D4 and D7000, but most likely won’t be able to do those today, before my trip to San Juan Mountains (the Landscape Photography Workshop will take place this weekend).

Nikon D600 Box

A couple of quick notes before the upcoming Nikon D600 review:

  1. The viewfinder is huge! It is as big as the one on the Nikon D800. If you are upgrading from a Nikon D7000 or any other DX camera, this alone is worth the upgrade in my opinion.
  2. The 39 focus points are not as concentrated in the center as I thought they would be. Yes, the D800 has a bigger spread, but it is not a big difference between the two. Just like I have pointed out in my Nikon D600 limitations article, the Multi-CAM 4800FX is indeed designed differently than the DX version.
  3. Although the analysis is preliminary, autofocus seems to be fast and accurate – I would say on par with the Nikon D800 (yes, that extra light in FX does make a difference).
  4. The – and + indicators are still reversed. I think we will see this behavior as default on all future Nikon DSLRs.
  5. The multi-function button is smaller on the D600 compared to the one on the D800 (not a big deal, but I like it bigger).
  6. Image quality is phenomenal (samples to follow in the upcoming review).

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Nikon D600 has the second best sensor in the world

When Nikon announced the Nikon D600, I knew the new sensor would not disappoint. Since the D3, Nikon has put a lot of focus on sensor technology and A/D conversion. As a result, almost every single sensor that has been released during the last few years has been ranked very highly by many reviewers and image labs. As you may already know, DxOMark has been testing most new digital cameras on the market today (including medium format) and they crowned the Nikon D800E sensor as the best in the world earlier this year. Today, DxOMark released its rating for the Nikon D600:

Nikon D600 DxOMark

In the new article that DxOMark published today, it says “the D600 is an affordable camera that places a high premium on image quality, as it ranks just behind the top performing Nikon D800 and Nikon D800E. It is also a significant improvement over the high-end professional flagship DSLRs, the Nikon D3X and the Nikon D4″. And here is an excerpt from their conclusion: “As an added bonus, the camera provides users extreme value, as noted through its DxOMark sensor score of 94, which puts it in an elite category currently occupied by two additional Nikon cameras”.

Looks like the sensor on the Nikon D600 is almost as remarkable as the one on the Nikon D800. The overall score of the sensor was just one point below the Nikon D800 and two points below the Nikon D800E (which has the same sensor as the D800, but a different anti-aliasing filter).

Here is a comparison of the D600 with the D800 and D4:

Nikon D600 vs D800 vs D4

Very impressive! Take a look at the Low-Light ISO figures – the D600 has the highest score there. Detailed image analysis and comparisons will be provided this week.

Nikon D600 vs Canon 6D

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.

D600 vs 6D

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Nikon D600 Limitations

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.

Nikon D600

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.

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Nikon D600 Pre-Order Links

Looks like our friends at B&H are already accepting pre-orders for the Nikon D600. Here are the links for the body-only and body+kit options, along with links to the new UT-1 unit:

Nikon D600 Pre-Order Information

  1. Nikon D600 Body Only for $2099 at B&H
  2. Nikon D600 kit with Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR for $2699 at B&H
  3. Nikon UT-1 (pricing not yet available)

Nikon D600 vs D800

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.

Nikon D600 vs D800

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Nikon D600 vs D700

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.

Nikon D600 vs D700

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Nikon D600 Image Samples

These are the same Nikon D600 image samples as the ones presented on Nikon.com. I am providing these images here, because most Nikon websites have been either down or too busy serving millions of requests. All EXIF data is attached to the original images.

Please keep in mind that the below images are taken in RAW and simply converted to JPEG via Capture NX 2. No other editing has been done, including sharpening.

These high resolution image samples look very impressive – looks like the sensor on the D600 is excellent. It will be interesting to see how it performs against both the Nikon D800 and the older D700.

Nikon D600 Image Sample (1)

Link to download the image | Shutter Speed: 1/1250, Aperture: f/5.6, ISO: 100, Lens: Nikon 24-85mm VR
Photographer: Florian Schulz

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Nikon D600 Information

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.

Nikon D600

The Nikon D600 Brochure is available on NikonUSA. If the site gets too slow and you cannot download it, you can also get it right here on our site.

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