A small camera with a BIG sensor
When the first rumors about the D600 started to circulate on the Internet, I wondered about what kind of sensor technology Nikon would put into it. This question became even more intriguing when I found out that the D600 would have similar build and features as the D7000. At two thirds of the cost of the highly-regarded Nikon D800, I was afraid that Nikon would use an older inferior sensor with unimpressive noise characteristics on the D600. Deep inside, I kept on thinking that Nikon would not risk to have something that would compete head to head with the D800. After testing the D600 extensively, I was surprised to see that Nikon did exactly that – it performs about the same as the D800, only with less pixels. As you can see from the Camera Comparisons page of this review, the Nikon D600 shows very impressive performance at all ISO levels that match those of the D800/D800E! The only camera that retains a little better shadow detail and more dynamic range at very high ISOs is the Nikon D3s. However, keep in mind that the latter has much less resolution in comparison and hence serves different needs (such as sports and wildlife photography). Hence, the biggest strength of the Nikon D600 is its phenomenal sensor.
What about other features, is sensor the only good thing about the D600? While it has similar features as the D7000, it has a far better and larger viewfinder, faster processor, better AF system (see the first page), better movie recording features and some new firmware features such as in-camera HDR, better Auto ISO and Exposure Delay mode implementations. These key differences make the D600 a worthy upgrade from not only the D7000, D300s and other older Nikon DX DSLRs, but also from the discontinued D700 (the sensor alone is worth the upgrade in my opinion). The Nikon D600 would also serve as a great backup for the D800/D800E, because you can share the batteries and only carry one charger when traveling. As an owner of the superb Nikon D800E, I already purchased the D600 for myself, which I am planning to use as a backup camera for my everyday and commercial photography needs. As for its limitations such as 1/4000 max shutter speed, 1/200 flash sync speed, see my Nikon D600 Limitations article, where I covered the topic in a lot of detail.
Without a doubt, the Nikon D600 will be a very popular camera. I suspect it will be far more popular than the D800/D800E, especially after people realize that it is not some crippled camera, but a very functional DSLR with impressive performance characteristics. Overall, I am extremely impressed with the D600. It is one hell of a camera!
I hope you enjoyed this Nikon D600 Review. Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below.
32) Where to Buy and Availability
- Build Quality
- Focus Speed and Accuracy
- Image Quality
- High ISO Performance
- Size and Weight
- Metering and Exposure
- Movie Recording Features
- Dynamic Range
Photography Life Overall Rating