Sep
13

Nikon D600 – First Impressions

by
Digital Photographer

DP’s Matt Bennett takes a first look at the new Nikon D600

DP's Matt Bennett with the new Nikon D600
DP's Matt Bennett with the new Nikon D600
Nikon D600
Nikon D600
Nikon D600 (back)
Nikon D600 (back)
Nikon D600 (top)
Nikon D600 (top)

DP’s Matt Bennett went along to the Press and Retailer Launch of the new Nikon D600 and has given us his first impressions of the new 24.3-megapixel DSLR.

“Nikon are billing their new D600 as a ‘game-changing’ DSLR, offering enthusiast photographers the chance to ‘shoot big, travel light’. It’s not hard to agree with Nikon that this is going to be a very popular and fast-selling camera, and one can only hope that Nikon will be able to keep up with demand.

The camera is intended to sit just beneath the Nikon D800/D800E in the line-up and, in the hand, the camera feels like a D800/D7000 hybrid. As has long been rumoured online, the layout of the D600 is very much along the same lines as the D7000, with a mode dial at the top left of the camera rather than the ‘three kings’ (ISO, WB, QUALITY) buttons found on the D800. However, this dial has been adorned with a central locking button, which is great news as the mode dial on the D7000 is fairly easily knocked, so you can suddenly find yourself in Manual mode when you thought you were in Aperture Priority.

At 760g without battery, the D600 is slightly closer to the weight of the D7000 but the body feels a touch more rugged than its DX-format sibling. If the D7000 feels a touch too small to you, or the D800 seems like a stretch too far in terms of price and bulk, the D600 offers the best of both worlds, which is exactly what Nikon intended. It’s a compromise between the D7000 and the D800 without comprising on actual quality, and Nikon deserves plaudits for producing a camera that blends two quite different cameras in such an impressive way.

Nikon have achieved a lightweight, full-frame body without scrimping on build quality. The D600′s body features top and rear magnesium alloy covers and the same weather and dust sealing as found on the D800/D800E is present and correct. In terms of the camera’s inner-workings, the EXPEED 3 processor is the same as that of the D4 and the 24.3-megapixel sensor is ideal for those who want to images with superb detail but who are concerned about the storage demands of the D800/D800E. The ISO range is 100-6400, expandable to 50-25600.

I’d be very surprised if the Nikon D600 doesn’t prove to be one of Nikon’s most popular and successful cameras ever, with an attractive RRP of £1955.99/€2385.99, though this is slightly more expensive than many had been hoping for across the various rumour sites and photography forums over the last few weeks and months. We haven’t been able do extensive tests as yet but we’re certainly looking forward to doing so soon, as the Nikon D600 promises much.”

For more information on the Nikon D600, visit www.nikon.co.uk or view the full press release below.

London, UK, 13 September 2012: Nikon today announces a new 24.3-megapixel FX-format D-SLR, the Nikon D600.

The smallest and lightest full-frame D-SLR Nikon has ever crafted, the compact Nikon D600 is set to change the game for enthusiast photographers.

Equipped with an FX-format image sensor as used in Nikon’s professional cameras, the surprisingly lightweight Nikon D600 will give many more photographers the chance to explore the advantages of full-frame photography. Suitable for a wide range of subjects and shooting situations, the D600 will allow photographers to experience a new level of depth and detail.

Hiro Sebata, Product Manager for Professional Products, Nikon UK says: ““We are delighted to introduce the Nikon D600, a small, lightweight full-frame camera that offers the exceptional performance capabilities found in Nikon’s D4 and D800 cameras.

He adds: “The D600 will open up new realms of photography for passionate photographers, particularly those looking to take the next step and enjoy the creative edge that comes with a full-frame sensor.”

Exceptional depth and detail

Nikon’s newly developed 24.3-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor delivers outstanding levels of detail and tonal range, even in low light situations.

From true wide-angle to super telephoto, the 14-bit A/D conversion and excellent signal-to-noise ratio enable images of remarkable quality with low noise and wide dynamic range even at high ISO sensitivities.

Offering an ISO range of 100–6400, extendable up to 25,600 (equivalent) and down to 50 (equivalent), low light capability is superb. The camera’s intelligent noise reduction systems manage noise without sacrificing fine details, allowing superb flexibility under all lighting conditions: images are crisp and clean, even at higher ISO settings.

EXPEED 3 image processing

Equipped with the same state-of-the-art EXPEED 3 image-processing engine as Nikon’s flagship D4, the Nikon D600 makes light work of data-rich tasks without sacrificing speed and quality.

16-bit image processing offers richer colours and tones than ever before, delivering smooth gradations with abundant detail and tone all the way up the scale to pure white, even when shooting in JPEG.

Highly sensitive autofocus system

The Nikon D600 enables superior subject acquisition in most lighting conditions thanks to Nikon’s newly developed Multi-CAM4800 39-point AF system that boasts AF sensitivity inherited from the flagship D4.

Compatible with lenses up to f/8 combined open aperture and sensitive down to -1 EV (ISO 100, 20°C/68°F), sharp shots are possible even in challenging light conditions. A variety of AF-modes such as Dynamic-area AF and 3D-tracking maintain focus on even the smallest subjects, however unpredictable their movements may be.

Broadcast quality video

Based on the same technology as Nikon’s acclaimed D800, the Nikon D600’s Multi-area D-Movie offers all the flexibility required for photographers who want to shoot video. A wide variety of movie applications, a comprehensive variety of frame rates and convenient custom controls, which enable full control over live view operation when filming, combine to ensure large format movie shooting at its best.

Frame rates: Full HD (1080p) movies can be recorded in 30p, 25p and 24p, with 60p, 50p and 25p options at 720p. Full HD movie clips can be up to 29 minutes 59 seconds long.

Multi-area mode: Full HD (1080p) recording is possible in both FX- and DX-based formats, enabling exceptional freedom of expression.

High-fidelity audio control: with the Nikon D600 movies sound as good as they look. A microphone jack allows use of an external stereo microphone for crisp sound recording and there is an audio out for external headphones.

Uncompressed HDMI output: the Nikon D600 offers the possibility to output an uncompressed live video stream at 1080p to external recorders, and output will automatically drop to 1080i if use of an external monitor is detected. The uncompressed data is output at the designated image size and frame rate, and is clean of the information overlay that can be simultaneously displayed on the camera’s TFT monitor.

Advanced scene recognition with 2,016-pixel RGB sensor

The Nikon D600’s Advanced Scene Recognition System incorporates Nikon’s renowned 2,016-pixel RGB metering sensor that meticulously analyses each scene for outstanding accuracy. It can detect human faces with startling accuracy through the optical viewfinder, and recognise a scene’s colours and brightness with unprecedented precision.

This level of detailed scene analysis is also utilised to support more accurate autofocus, auto exposure and i-TTL flash exposure results in a diverse range of compositional and lighting situations. For example, 3D-subject tracking is particularly improved when shooting smaller subjects.

Implementing Nikon’s highly-acclaimed Multi-CAM4800 AF system —with individually selectable or configurable 9-, 21- and 39-point coverage settings — the autofocus sensor module and algorithms have been re-engineered to significantly improve low light acquisition sensitivity capabilities to be compatible with a combined aperture up to f/8 with detection down to -1 EV (ISO, 20°C/68°F).

Simplified selection of AF modes such as AF-A, AF-S and AF-C is now possible without taking your eye away from the viewfinder.

Full-frame mobility

The surprisingly lightweight Nikon D600 is Nikon’s first FX-format camera to boast such a compact build. Combined with advanced options for image transfer, it offers the freedom to capture, and share, the full perspective from anywhere.

Compact, light and durable: built to withstand severe conditions, the Nikon D600 boasts magnesium alloy top and rear covers and weighs only 760 g (without battery). Weather-sealed to the same degree as Nikon’s professional D800 SLR, it offers enhanced resistance to moisture and dust.

Efficient power management: a re-working of the D800’s circuits now enables approx. 900 shots[1] of still image shooting or approx. 60 min. of movie live view[2]. All on one charge of a Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL15.

Storage media: high-speed dual SD-card slots support SDXC and UHS-I memory cards.

Data transfer: the Nikon D600 allows high-speed data transfer with Hi-Speed USB and wireless image transfer with the optional WU-1b Mobile Adapter.

Responsive and intuitive

Made to fuel passion for photography in any situation, the Nikon D600’s fast response, reliable operation and conveniently placed buttons and controls enable smooth, comfortable handling and the flexibility to respond quickly to even unexpected shooting opportunities.

Fast response: start-up is approx. 0.13 seconds[3], shutter release time lag is minimised to approx. 0.052 seconds[4], with continuous approx. 5.5 fps capability in FX- and DX-format.

High-precision, high-durability shutter: the shutter unit has been tested to 150,000 cycles of release to prove durability and precision. Boasts a speed range of 1/4000 to 30s; features an intelligent self-diagnostic shutter monitor and a drive unit designed to reduce the demand on power when the shutter is raised for extended periods during movie shooting.

Precision 8-cm (3.2-in.), approx. 921k-dot, wide-viewing-angle LCD monitor with automatic monitor brightness control: delivers bright, crisp image playback with wide colour reproduction capacity. LCD brightness is automatically adjusted according to the viewing environment.

Glass prism optical viewfinder: with approximately 100% frame coverage and 0.7x magnification (50mm f/1.4 lens at infinity, -1.0m-1).

Dual-axis electronic virtual horizon: offers accurate confirmation of level shooting by letting you check the LCD monitor, or the viewfinder, for both the camera’s position in relation to the horizontal plane and its pitch (forward or rear rotation).

Enhanced ergonomics: buttons and dials have been strategically laid out for fluid operation. Improvements around the shutter-release button mean your index finger can rest comfortably for longer periods of time, while the designated movie record button means you’re ready to trigger movie shooting in an instant. The camera also features dedicated buttons for ISO, White Balance, Image Quality, and bracketing.

In-camera creative tools

A variety of creative and practical in-camera tools such as HDR and filter effects help to make the most of every shooting opportunity and enable images to be perfected with ease.

Time-lapse shooting: Interval Timer Shooting enables the shutter to be triggered at preset intervals. Time-Lapse Photography saves images as movie files that allow slow action to be viewed in fast playback, with playback rates from 24 to 36,000 times faster than normal.

HDR (High Dynamic Range) shoots one overexposed and one underexposed frame in a single shutter release. The range can be widened by up to 3 EV for different looks, full of saturation and tonal gradation, while the smoothness of the edge where the two exposures meet can be adjusted for a more natural appearance.

Active D-Lighting: Nikon’s Active D-Lighting automatically retains the details in both dark and bright areas for stunning images with natural contrast when shooting in high-contrast situations.

Picture Controls: customise the look of your stills and videos by fine-tuning parameters such as sharpness, saturation, and hue. Directly accessed via a dedicated button.

Scene modes: 19 scene modes optimise settings such as shutter speed, ISO and aperture for superior results every time – an ideal way to quickly capture perfect shots.

In-camera editing menus: include an array of useful features including options to correct red-eye and colour balance, as well as D-lighting, RAW processing and resize options. Filter effects include Skylight, Cross screen, Miniature, Colour outline, Colour sketch and Selective colour. Quick retouch options include distortion control, perspective control, straighten and Fisheye. There is also an edit movie feature that enables the start and end point of movie clips to be designated in order to save them more efficiently.

Accessories

Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D14 (optional): accommodates a variety of batteries including AA-sized batteries of various types and Nikon’s Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL15 (see specifications). The MB-D14 has its own dedicated shutter-release button and command dials for more comfortable composition when shooting with the camera in vertical orientation.

Creative Lighting System: compatible with Nikon’s creative lighting system, the Nikon D600 supports use of powerful and versatile iTTL Speedlight flash units such as the professional SB-910 or the easy-to-use SB-700.

WU-1b Mobile Adapter (optional): Nikon’s wireless mobile adapter allows images to be transferred directly to any smartphone or tablet, and enables the camera to be controlled remotely via the smart device. A great way to easily share high-quality images, preview shots on a larger screen or experiment with full-frame self-portraits.

Capture NX 2 (optional). Fast, powerful and creative image processing: to accommodate the imaging power of the Nikon D600’s 24.3 effective megapixels, the latest Capture NX 2 is faster than before and boasts full 64-bit compatibility.

Camera Control Pro 2 (optional). Versatile remote camera controls: the software offers numerous improvements to make the Nikon D600’s live view operation exceptionally smooth. Aside from controlling exposure mode, shutter speed and aperture, creative controls include remote start and stop for movie shooting and switching between live view for stills and movies.

ViewNX 2 (supplied). Browse, edit, share and more: this bundled, all-in-one software implements an easy-to-use interface and an array of editing functions, including basic editing of RAW files and D-Movies. Seamlessly integrates with my Picturetown, Nikon’s photo sharing and storage service.

 

ENDS


[1] Based on CIPA Standards

[2] Live view shooting may end automatically before 60 min. to prevent overheating

[3] Based on CIPA Standards

[4] When used together with batteries EN-EL15

 

 

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