Review My first impression of the D600 and comparison against D800, D7000 and D700

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I went to my local store last night and had a chance to play with the D600. Here are my first impressions:

- The build quality is up to par with D7000. It's a notch below the D800 and not even close to the tank that is the D700. The body shape reminds me more of a D5100, but bigger. The D7000 is square-ish while the D600 is chubby/rounded.

- I was kinda shocked to see that there is NO exposure bar +<<===||===>>- on the top LCD :eek: I depend on this a LOT when I shoot on a tripod, so that was a bummer. Although it does appear on the rear LCD when you're on LV or Info mode. The D600 will be tricky to use for daytime long exposures, because once you cover the viewfinder, you'll only have the rear LCD to meter with.

- The front and rear buttons are "rubberized" and not bare plastic, which is good. However, the red Nikon trademark thingy below the front dial sticks out farther than the dial itself so I always end up rubbing it, instead of the dial. A minor annoyance. I should also add that this red thing is now a hard plastic and feels cheap, unlike the one on the D700 - which is soft nice rubber.

- The rubber grip on the D600 feels harder than that of the D800 and D700 and is less comfortable.

- I compared the D600 and D800 side by side, and was surprised because there's barely any weight difference in my opinion. The D600 might be lighter spec-wise, but the better handling and ergonomics of the D800 makes the D800 more pleasurable to hold, even though it's technically heavier.

- I also compared both D800 and D600's viewfinders. I peeked at their VF's at the same time (one on each eye) and their VF's are 100% identical on size. I also compared the D600's VF against the D7000 - the D7000 is definitely smaller, but not by much.

- The DK-22 rectangular eyepiece on the D600 fits the D7000 - which means you can most likely use the DK-22m magnifier for the D600.

- The D600 shutter sound is softer than the D800, but both are baby whispers compared to the thunderclap sound of the D700. It may be soft, but snappier than the lower end D3100 and D5100.

- The D600 and D7000's zoom in (+) and zoom out (+) buttons have opposite placements. You might get annoyed if you're shooting both bodies at the same time.

- The D600 has a surprisingly fast focus acquisition. I am shocked. The D600 with the kit 24-85 VR can acquire focus much faster than my D700.

- The D600's LCD looks nicer and brighter than my D700's.

- The D600's power on lever rotates smoother than the D700's, especially the "snap-back" action to turn on the LCD illuminator.

- The shutter button feels good and squishy, almost identical to my D700.

- The D-PAD on the back of the D600 feels better than my D700's D-PAD. It has a defined click, unlike the D700's bouncy D-PAD.

- The D600 doesn't have the "Focus+Release" option while on AF-C; You can only select either Focus Priority or Release Priority. Both the D800 and D700 has the Focus + Release priority option.

- Surprisingly, I really liked how the D600's focus points are arranged on the VF. In fact, I think I like it better than my D700's 51-pts. It is not cluttered and it feels more organized.

- The D600 focuses way faster than my D700 on Live View. A great improvement for landscapers.

- Overall, I am impressed with the D600 - the only thing I'm not sure about is the ergonomics. The D800 trumps it when it comes to "feeling nicer" in the hand. The D800 feels even better than my D700! If I have to rate their ergonomics, I would rate it like this, with 1 being the best: (of course this is just ME and my hand, lol)

1. D800
2. D700
3. D7000
4. D600

So sorry that I spoke too soon, but I think I'm leaning towards saving some more and getting the D800. These are important to me and the D800 has them:

1. VF shutter
2. meter bar on top LCD
3. feels better in my hand
4. superior solid build


So there it is.. I hope this helps someone. It's a long post, but thanks for reading :smile:
 
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Thorsten

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Thanks for sharing! I just posted my impression in the other thread but came pretty much to the same conclusion with the ergonomics.
 
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Honestly, I really dislike the ergonomics of all the new Nikon bodies. They've compromised stills usability for the sake of video. Also the small adjustments to make things function more like Canon is aimed at tailoring to brand switchers while disregarding the longtime Nikon faithful.
 
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...
So sorry that I spoke too soon, but I think I'm leaning towards saving some more and getting the D800. These are important to me and the D800 has them:

1. VF shutter
2. meter bar on top LCD
3. feels better in my hand
4. superior solid build

...
Based on what you expressed so far, I really think that in your case, even though you don't think you want the 36mp and are understandably reluctant to pay more, that the D800/E is the way to go. You like the aspects of the D700 that are improved in both the D600 and D800, and the aspects of the D700 that are only in the D800.

It also goes to show that there is a long laundry list of features that are important to some but important to others, that may make their personal decision. In your case, the VF shutter and meter bar in the top LCD is something that is irrelevant to a number of other buyers. For others, the 1/200 flash sync or the 1/4000 shutter may be it. For others still, the lack of two side-by-side AF-ON and AE-L/AF-L buttons hit it.
 
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Another thing - I think that the D600 ergonomics can be improved by adding the MB-D14 grip..... but for additional $250 or so (for a total of 2350 now) I might as well just get a D800.
 
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Joseph,

Thanks for taking the time to write about your impressions.

I, too, am leaning towards the D800E over the D600.

My reasons for choosing the D800E over D600 are:

The dedicated AF-On button
The focus points are more spread out
1/8000 ss
The body feels better in my hands
Newer metering system
No AA Filter

I feel that the features that I get above for the price difference are worth it to me.
 
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The D600 is a step sideways and disappointing. Too many better choices.
Surprised to hear this. After a few days with mine, it is winning me over very nicely. It's exactly what I wanted - a lighter smaller FX for travel / studio / landscape / 2nd body work, and MAN is it making me smile with the IQ it's delivering. Detail is stunning and even low light and AF performance are outstanding.

As a second option to my D3S now, I'm beginning to think the D700 might be on its way to the "for sale" listings. It just does a lot of things better than the D700 does after spending some time with it. Not sure I want to lose my D700, as its been such a fantastic friend for a few years now, but the D600 is sure making me think it might be getting bumped down to 3rd body duties...
 
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I'm content, maybe because I'm a newer shooter. I think that if I had owned as many cameras as some of you have, I'd have more to compare my D600 to and complain about. I've only had a D5000 and my current D7000, up until now. I think Nikon has hit a homer with the D600. But, I'm easy to please. I'm not a pro photog. I'm a hobbyist, which is probably who Nikon is tailoring the D600 to. Perhaps, the D600 isn't designed for pro photogs
 
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The D600 is a step sideways and disappointing. Too many better choices.
I agree it is too expensive for what it is (in Europe, at least), but it's a step in the right direction, in every way. The only better step that this one is Sony's RX1, actually. Full-frame needs to become standard.
 
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I also had a chance to play with the D600 at the local shop. Picture quality is outstanding I must say. Ergonomics-wise, I wasn't too impressed. I think it's a really great beginners FX camera and would be excellent for travel, but not really set up for studio use. I see it more of a high-end walk-around camera.
 
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For photography, in general. Just like 35mm film was standard.
You might as well propose that all manufacturers use a standard lens mount for all cameras. It's just never going to happen.

35mm was standard because having a film that everyone had access to was important to sell cameras. Now cameras come with their own "film" so there really is no reason to standardize sensor size...

Besides, I would venture to guess that most pictures today are taken on cell phones, for which it would be impossible to have full sized sensors.

So you would create a market where there is nothing between a mobile phone camera and a full sized sensor camera... I really can't see point and shoot cameras, micro 4/3s, Nikon's CX and DX or other crop sensor cameras giving up that share of the market just to create an arbitrary standard of photography.
 

Thorsten

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The D700 and D800 are of the same build, aren't they?
I own both and it does not look like that to me. I don't have any data or proof to back it up, but purely from handling those cameras the D700 still feels a bit more solid to me. Perhaps Nikon saved some cost here or there with the D800 or replaced some metal parts with plastic. Nothing wrong with the D800 mind you, and the difference is not big and perhaps purely in my mind.
 
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I own both and it does not look like that to me. I don't have any data or proof to back it up, but purely from handling those cameras the D700 still feels a bit more solid to me. Perhaps Nikon saved some cost here or there with the D800 or replaced some metal parts with plastic. Nothing wrong with the D800 mind you, and the difference is not big and perhaps purely in my mind.
I would have to agree with you. As good as the D800's build "should" be, the D700 does seem to feel a little more solid. You can definitely tell there's more metal in the body.
 

Thorsten

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I heard the D600 does not have the one-click 100% zoom button. This to me is a deal breaker. Yes, I like to chimp
It would not be a deal breaker to me but it certainly is a very useful feature that I would miss. It seems odd that Nikon would put industry-leading technology into the camera, like the sensor that everybody raves about, the fast AF, 100% viewfinder, video etc, probably all at significant cost, and then they omit a key feature that would cost them nothing.
 

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