My thoughts on my status as an independent digital journalist. My thoughts, my assignments, my life, the tools of the trade, and where it's all going...
Friday, September 21, 2012
The Nikon D600: A Short Review...
Here are my thoughts about Nikon's newest camera, the D600. I'm not trying to pick a fight with anyone, just simply offer my opinion about how I will use this new box. This is meant to help those considering this body and I welcome anyone WHO HAS ACTUALLY SHOT WITH ONE to contribute to this thread in the spirit of providing real, hands-on information and perspectives on the body which might help others decide to pass on or acquire one.
Quiet. Really quiet, not as quiet as the D7000 but considerably better than the D800. Do PJ? This one's for you! Cheap. Really cheap! 24MP FF body for $2100? Get out! Fastish. At 5.5 FPS, and again at the $2100 price point, this is a fast camera. You can turn your nose down at this comment but I can remember cooking up the MD4 nicads right before games and getting all the way up to 6 fps on the F3HP's. We made some nice frames back then and you still can at 5.5 FPS. Files. Files are really nice and open up at 69 megs each at large jpeg. They are easy to tone, have huge dynamic range allowing for your sliders in LR to go really far in either direction before things begin to fall apart. As the dynamic range of the chips continues to improve, I keep heading in the other direction, slamming genuine contrast into my files and the extra wiggle room I get from the D600 files is great. Size Matters. This feels smaller than the D800 but feels so much better in my hands than the D7000 which needs a grip on it so you can find the thing in the bottom of your Domke. It feels the same as the 5DM2 for you Canon users. Available NOW. You can actually buy one of these today rather than waiting till maybe December to buy less of a camera for the same price (sorry Canon). AF: The good news is that it drives the big boys without problem. I have a 400VR and a 200 f/2VR and it sings with both of them. The acquire speed is great once you turn off that "lock on" CF on menu 456.876b (humor). Video. It's awesome!!!! I can't tell any appreciable difference between these clips and my D800. Since it weighs less, it does better as a steadycam body. I can give up 25P (which I have never used) and still get my headphone outlet to actually hear the audio the camera is capturing while I shoot. I love this camera for video!!!
1/200th sync sucks but I keep telling myself it's only 1/50th off of 1/250th... Denial is bliss. 1/4000th max shutter speed. This one hurts because I love to shoot fast glass outside wide open but in truth, the new variable ND filters are cheap enough and this isn't that big of a deal for me. Still wish it was 1/8000th though. NO PC OUTLET: This is a big fat bummer for me because in my work, I still plug my "flash units" into wall sockets. But I still have the AS-15's laying around from the old days. I will just have to put extra PC hot-shoe thingamabobs into the ash trays of my vehicles or just use radios all the time. Again, I can deal with this without problem. NO REMOTE SOCKET: This is a bummer because this camera screams "remote" because it's full frame and is cheap. I'm counting on the clever Chinese or maybe the Koreans to make an aftermarket grip (for under $75 please) that will have a remote outlet in it. Even if they don't, I think I can just sacrifice one by taking it apart and wiring in my own. Still, this is a drag so I do wish they had left this feature--it's in the D7000!!!! LOW LIGHT AF: It's just not as good as the D3s. If you can dink around with manual or play with it a bit, it will make you a gorgeous low noise file but in extreme low light, it hunts a bit. It's 100% better than the D7000 so they are tweaking all the time.
VERDICT: Anyone want to buy a used D800?
Because my work is shifting more and more towards video each day, I see this camera differently than I might have a few years ago. It is a video bonanza and is going to be great to have in my arsenal. I'm looking forward to having two identical bodies from now on which are both FF and make big files if I want them.
All in all, the D600 is likely the best value of any digital camera ever made, IMHO. It has a killer combination of the right price, FF chip, size, and FPS to keep me satisfied for at least 9 months or a year ;)
Hope this helps those of you who are considering purchasing one.
Last, if you have a D3X for sale, I pray for you all every night before I hit the sack... It was a great machine in it's day but wow, $2100 as a near replacement for an $8000 body? Glad I'm wearing black and yellow again...