We just got back from a trip to Nikon House and had the chance to spend some time hands on with the new D600. The camera has caused quite a lot of chatter on the web ranging from high praise to disappointment (not quite on the iPhone 5 level) that the D600 lacks a sync socket or a standard flash sync speed of 1/250th of a second, rather topping our at 1/200th. After some hands on time with it, I don’t see why people are causing such a fuss about those particular points. If this camera was meant to be a direct replacement for the D700 or D300s then maybe the complaints would be more valid, but that is not what the D600 is meant to be, at least in Nikon’s official stance. So what are my impressions?
The D600 has been described as a full frame version of the D7000. Personally I think it is a bit of an over simplification to say that. I will say that the body is smaller and lighter than the D800, but I personally enjoy the feel of the D600 in my hand more than the D800 and more than the D7000. It is well balanced and well made. The lock on the control dial is a nice touch and you get the feeling that someone moving up to full frame for the first time will find themselves more at home on the D600 than on it’s bigger siblings.
Handling & Performance
Following my remarks above, you may not be surprised to read that I think the D600 handles well. Controls are well placed and the Record button for video is located near the shutter button which you think would make it easier to bump, but the little bit I played with it that was not the case. Time will tell if it is a good place for it to be but my head says it is a smart move.
The autofocus system is quick as one expects from Nikon these days. Paired with the 24-70mm f/2.8 I could have spent ages jumping from objects both near and far.
Now you are likely to ask about image quality and whether the camera we played with was a sample or production unit we could put a card in and take the pictures away. The answer, it was a production unit and I did put a card in the camera and then… I left it in there and drove away.
I will try get it back on Monday and share with you the few pics I did take. I will say that on the back of the screen at least, the images look great. Detail is fantastic and noise is better than what my mind automatically turns to as a reference, the 24mp Sony Alpha A850 that I have used on and off for the past two years.
I cannot pass judgement from the little bit of time we had with the D600, but I will tell you that I am very eager to spend more time with it. I am not someone who has brand preference when it comes to cameras, rather technology preferences have for the past decade been the governing factor in my camera purchasing choices. If I had been forced to decide to buy the D600 today with the time I had spent with it, I think I might have. It is the attraction of a full frame sensor in a well proportioned body and at an estimated price of R24,999.00, there is a lot to like.