I currently own two Nikon D7000 units with FX lenses and was considering an upgrade to the D600 mainly for increased low light performance on the full frame sensor. First off, the D600 does have a little more weight to it and a slightly thicker grip than the D7000. That initially felt good, but the bigger grip meant that the buttons weren't as easy for my fingers to reach without moving my hand off of the grip. Not good when you're on the fly. The feel of the body, in my opinion, wasn't as good as the D7000 either...that could be because of the thicker grip. One night thing about the D600 is that the mode selector on the upper left has a lock on it. You need to press a button down in the center of the dial before changing it. I have to admit that the mode selector dial on my D7000 has moved a few times after I've removed it from my camera bag. Not a huge deal, but now I'm trained to always check the dial before shooting...a good habit to have but the D600 helps eliminate that check. As far as low light performance, I didn't set up tripods to do "review" type of tests. My intent was to use this camera at weddings, indoor sporting events, etc. freehand where the low light cranks up the ISO. I visited a church, gym and other low light areas and snapped some shots. I used the Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 lens on the D7000 and the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens on the D600. The low light performance on the D600 was marginally better in all of the shots. When you look at areas with high noise, the D600 noise was more "fine" like fine grains of sand whereas the D7000 noise was a little chunkier. Once I loaded the photos into LR4, I was able to apply noise reduction to the point where you couldn't really tell the difference between the photos. After applying the noise reduction, both photos only had small bits of noise. So....was the D600 better in low light than the D7000? Technically, yes if you're looking at the photos right out of the camera. Was it enough for me to upgrade to the D600? Not from the D7000. It was just too small of a quality increase to warrant the cost of the upgrade. They call the D600 a D7000 with a full frame sensor. If you have a D90 or earlier Nikon model and want to go into a full frame camera, then the D600 would definitely make sense. I am considering the rental of the D800 to see if that higher quality FX camera would yield even better low light results, but the turn-off for me there is that the camera takes Compact Flash and SD Card as it's dual card option. I've got a good collection of SD cards now so I'd be talking about a larger investment there. Not sure what I'm going to do.
Nikon D600 Digital Camera
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The Nikon D600 Digital SLR Camera sports a 3.2” LCD screen, 170º viewing angle, 100% frame coverage, and an EXPEED3 image processor. The high pixel count, FX (full) format sensor produces exceptionally sharp, clean and well-saturated images. Full-time AF with face-priority, along with its compact size, makes this camera easy to use for event shooting. Take advantage of Nikon's native Creative Lighting System by firing off-camera flashes with your built-in flash and controlling external flash power directly from the menu. This camera is ideal for landscape, portraits, wildlife (not super fast-moving), events, casual shooting, travel, and videography.
I rented the D600 for a 10 day event shoot and coupled it to a 70-200 2.8 VRII. I also had my D7000 and 17-55 2.8 DX on the shoot so I could quickly change cameras for close-up/wide shots. I love my D7000, and it has been a great friend to me for the past 2 years and earned me some cash. However, I am purchasing a D600 this month because of my experience with it at my weeklong event. I shot both cameras in early morning light, bright midday sun, and at night under outdoor stadium lighting. I had sharper images out of the D600 and being able to crop and recompose is a dream with FX images. I had less noise, higher image quality, and overall more accurate exposure (while motor driving) in the D600 compared to my D7000. Both camera were set to the exact same settings throughout the menus, as I needed seamless transitions in my photosets. The D600 was a joy to shoot, and I hated sending it back. So, time to move into FX.
I rented this camera twice to shoot video for two different 8 hour events. I am going to compare this camera to the D7000, because that's my main point of reference. I was very worried that it would handle similarly to my D7000, which I hate. I am accustomed to a D700 + MBD10, so I hate the small D7000; its buttons are cramped and too easily pressed, and the mode wheel on the top left lacks a lock, so my settings constantly get changed. To begin with, the D600 has a lock for the mode wheel. I still felt like the body could be bigger, but I rarely accidentally pressed buttons. It is not possible to change the aperture via a command dial while in video live view mode or while recording video. That leaves Shutter Speed and ISO as the only two variables you can change on the fly. The ISO button's placement on the bottom left of the camera is not ideal; pressing it usually requires shifting your support hand. This means there is *no* viable way to manually adjust exposure while making a shot. As long as you know that going in, it's not a big deal, provided you aren't constantly filming interior to exterior transitions. Battery life is just okay. During the 8 hour event, I completely used 3 full EN-EL15 batteries and a portion of a fourth. I was shooting exclusively in 720p/60. One of my lenses had VR engaged some of the time. The D600's pixel density for stills is perfect. I did side-by-side tests with a 70-200 on f/8 between the D700 (at 105mm), D7000 (at 70mm), and D600 (at 105mm). The D600 definitely gets more detail than the D700, and its AWB is more accurate. The D7000, which has the pixel density of the D800, was actually the worst performer. Maybe the 70-200 is drastically different at 105mm than it is at 70mm. Stopped down to f8 I would think the difference would be negligible, but who knows. The D600's video is okay; it is limited by its maximum bit depth (8-bit). For those that don't know, 8-bit video is to 12-bit video as .JPG is to .NEF. The D600's Dynamic range and color depth are merely acceptable. The "full frame" effect is what really makes the footage look awesome. Overall, I am very pleased with the D600 both for stills and video, and it is only a matter of time before I purchase one, or maybe its successor.
I had owned a d80 ever since Nikon released it..but when I rented the d600 I was blown away with the image quality. im not a photographer, I just like taking and looking at photos and wanted to try something new..i would definetly recommend this camera to any one. since I couldn't afford it though I went with the cheaper yet good d7000. PROS: just a wonderful camera all in all...CONS: well I had to give it back..
If you are used to a D7000, you can use this camera without the manual. The image quality is outstanding. Although the camera is only slightly larger than the 7000, the FX format lenses are even larger, so that is where you will notice the size and weight difference. No spots.