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
A detailed list of features will soon be available on Nikon.com. I will provide a comparison between the Nikon D600 and the Nikon D700/D800 in separate articles.
Nikon D600 Pre-order links:
Official Nikon Press Release:
PERFORMANCE THAT FUELS THE PASSION: THE NEW NIKON D600 PUTS FX-FORMAT IN FOCUS FOR PHOTO ENTHUSIASTS
MELVILLE, N.Y. (Feb 13, 2012) – As Nikon’s Smallest, Lightest and Most Affordable Full-Frame HD-SLR, the D600 Packs in Powerful, Pro-Grade Photo and Video Features with Wireless Sharing and Capture Capabilities
Today, Nikon Inc. announced the 24.3-megapixel (MP) D600, a camera that is designed to deliver the image quality and performance benefits of a full frame FX-format sensor to the enthusiast looking to take their dedication to the next level. The Nikon D600 offers a remarkable value, merging the perfect combination of a lightweight, compact form factor and superior image quality, making the leap into FX-format photography more attractive than ever.
Whether shooting stills or Full HD video, advanced features and Nikon technologies like the newly developed high resolution CMOS sensor and EXPEED 3 image processing engine are designed to meet the needs of the most demanding creative vision. Additionally, Nikon’s new optional WU-1b wireless adapter allows users to shoot high quality HD-SLR images and transfer them to their mobile device, making it easier to stay connected, without the need for wires.
“For many, image making is so much more than a hobby; it is a way of life that changes the way the world is perceived. The Nikon D600 represents a new category of camera for this user and demonstrates Nikon’s devotion to the passionate photographer who is always looking for new ways to express their creativity through their photos and HD videos,” said Bo Kajiwara, Vice President of Marketing, Planning and Customer Experience, Nikon Inc. “By offering users the advanced FX-format and key features inherited from our professional cameras, along with new functions like optional wireless capabilities, Nikon is inspiring photographers by providing an imaging experience that satisfies like never before.”
Superior Image Quality
Nikon’s FX-format offers photographers exciting image quality possibilities, from dazzling dynamic range and exacting detail to stellar low-light ability. The D600 employs Nikon’s newly developed, large 24.3 MP FX-format CMOS Sensor (35.9 x 24mm) to offer photographers a versatile camera that provides amazing image quality and sharpness, with ample resolution to tackle almost any project. Because the needs of the advanced amateur varies widely, the new CMOS sensor provides a wide ISO range from 100-6400 (expandable from 50-25,600) to give photographers maximum low-light flexibility yielding clean images with minimal noise and accurate color. The full ISO range can also be used while capturing HD video in challenging light. Nikon’s exclusive EXPEED 3 image processing engine interprets the massive amount of image data flowing from the sensor to quickly process images and HD video. The result is striking images and impressive HD video that exhibits faithful color reproduction and tonal range throughout the frame.
Precision Technology Engineered for the Enthusiast
Enthusiasts of all types demand the best from their gear, and the Nikon D600 is a camera engineered with intuitive features that give photographers an edge in the field. Whether shooting lush landscapes, action sports or the elusive animals of the Serengeti, Nikon’s Scene Recognition System and 2,016 pixel RGB sensor excels in any situation. By recognizing the scene prior to capture, the system meticulously analyzes factors such as color and brightness with extraordinary precision and compares all the data using Nikon’s exclusive 30,000 image database. The result is enhanced AF performance and flattering exposures.
For precise AF performance in a wide variety of shooting conditions, the D600 features a 39 point AF system with the new MultiCAM 4800FX AF module. This AF array is well suited to a wide variety of shooting styles and disciplines, offering AF modes to let users select a single point, continuous AF, Dynamic AF or use 3D tracking to keep pace with a moving subject throughout the frame. Additionally, the system features nine cross type sensors for maximum accuracy, while seven AF points are fully functional when using compatible NIKKOR lenses and teleconverters with an aperture value up to f/8 for extreme telephoto applications.
To keep up with action sports, active wildlife or the photo opportunity that unexpectedly arises, the D600 is ready to shoot in 0.13 seconds, with a 0.052 second shutter release. The camera emphasizes speed and performance, from overall operation and image processing, helped in part by the exceptional EXPEED 3 processing engine. The camera is also capable of bursts of images at 5.5 frames per second (fps) at full resolution with full AF, to capture decisive moments. To further enhance speed and workflow, images and video can also be rapidly transferred to dual SD card slots that are compatible with the latest SDXC and UHS-1 high speed standards.
Enthusiasts will also appreciate other thoughtful features made to appeal to more advanced photographers, such as the 100% frame coverage seen through optical viewfinder. The wide and bright view makes it easy to compose in a variety of conditions, and affords the ability to enjoy shooting for hours on end with minimal eye fatigue. Additionally, the D600 features several scene modes and features to enhance creativity, including one-touch access to Picture Control functions through a new dedicated button. Photographers can also shoot images in High Dynamic (HDR) mode for amazing highlights, and create awe-inspiring time lapses with ease.
Experience Full HD
The Nikon D600 has advanced video features that are ideal for those ready to embrace the world of HD-SLR video, as well as those already enjoying its benefits such as manual control, depth of field, low-light ability and lensing options. This camera gives users the ability to record Full HD at varying frame rates and resolutions including 1080p video at 30, 25 or 24p, and 720p video at 60, 50 and 30p. When shooting HD video at the highest quality setting, up to 20 minutes can be recorded, or up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds in normal quality for added convenience when shooting static shots such as interviews and events. The large 3.2-inch 921K dot LCD screen makes it easy to preview images or video captured, navigate the menu system or confirm critical HD focus, while automatic brightness control adapts seamlessly to changing lighting conditions.
Sophisticated video features help to increase the production value on any project, including full manual control of exposure, and the ability to switch between FX and DX-format (1.5X) at Full HD for a telephoto boost and alter depth of field. Users can opt to focus manually or can take advantage of the full-time AF while recording to help ensure faces are in focus or track a moving subject. Additionally, videographers have the ability to capture audio with the onboard microphone or record stereo audio externally using the mic input. Audio can be monitored through the headphone jack and levels can be displayed on the LCD with peaking.
In addition to the ability to play back HD video and images through the HDMI terminal, users are also able to experience pro-grade video features in the Nikon D600. For monitoring and streaming applications, the image can be displayed on the LCD screen while simultaneously shown on another monitor through the HDMI, with or without shooting data. What’s more, the D600 adds the ability to transfer uncompressed video via the HDMI connection, which can then be routed to a digital recorder or similar device.
Remote Sharing and Capture
Photography is a form of expression, which can now be shared more ways than ever before through social networks and online communities. To accompany the D600, Nikon has also announced the optional WU-1b Wireless Adapter that allows users to connect wirelessly to the camera. A companion Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility application for Android™ based mobile devices is also available at no additional cost. 1 Furthermore, an application for the iPhone® and iPad® mobile digital devices will be available on September 15, 2012.2
When connected, users are able to share their images taken with the D600 through their mobile device to their social circles, as well as send and download images from their camera to a compatible device.3 The adapter also allows users to remotely fire the D600’s shutter from up to 50 feet from the camera, which is ideal for capturing photos from unique vantage points.
NIKKOR, Speedlight and System Compatibility
Supporting the D600 is Nikon’s heritage in optical excellence, more than 70 NIKKOR AF and AF-S compatible lenses for maximum versatility. Those with DX-format lenses will also be happy to know that these lenses can also be used on the camera as well as the ability to set DX crop for stills or video to extend the reach of telephoto or telephoto zoom lenses.
The new Nikon HD-SLR is also a gateway to Nikon’s renowned Creative Lighting System (CLS) which illuminates a whole new world of creative image making using multiple Speedlights. A built-in Speedlight commander can control multiple Speedlights such as Nikon’s SB-700, SB-910 or Wireless Close Up Speedlight System, and the camera can also control up to two individual speedlight groups for further creative control.
Constructed to Inspire
Built to withstand the wide variety of shooting conditions enthusiasts face, the body of the D600 is sealed and gasketed against dirt and moisture. The camera uses magnesium alloy top and rear construction to provide a lightweight camera with maximum durability. The shutter has been tested for 150,000 cycles, and sensor cleaning is also employed. The battery is rated for approximately 900 shots, affording photographers the ability to shoot all day. Additionally, the optional MB-D14 Multi Power
Battery Pack extends the grip for comfort and can effectively double the battery capacity when using two batteries.
The D600 is also built with an emphasis on handling with thoughtful ergonomics and button placement, in a body that is compact enough to carry comfortably on any excursion. The hand grip has been improved for comfort, while the overall impression from using the camera is reassuringly solid. To avoid accidental engagement, the shutter button has been recessed, while the Mode Dial can be locked.
Price and Availability
The Nikon D600 will be available on September 18, 2012 for the suggested retail price (SRP) of $2,099.95*, for body only, or with the AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR for the SRP of $2,699.95*. The WU-1b will be also available on September 18, 2012 for an SRP of $59.95*. The MB-D14 Multi Power Battery Pack will be available in late September for an SRP of $322.00*. For more information on the new Nikon D600 and other Nikon products, please visit www.nikonusa.com