Customer Review

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars D300 Upgrade - First Time Using Full Frame DSLR, 17 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Nikon D600 Digital SLR Camera Body Only (24.3MP) 3.2 inch LCD (Electronics)
I made the decision to upgrade to a Full frame (FX) camera over several months after the D600 was released. I loved my twin D300 cameras but the only things holding me back with them was the high ISO performance (low light shooting) and the reduced control over depth of field because of the smaller sensor. I decided that I could upgrade to FX and sell one of my D300's and f2.8 DX lens collection to pay for it, and use a f4 zoom and some prime lenses on the D600.

First impressions were good, this camera is not as sturdy or solid in the hand when compared to the D300, but for my use it feels robust enough. The handgrips are slightly thinner and less grippy than those on the D300 and it certainly feels more like the amateur camera Nikon say it is than the professional level D300, D300s or the D700. My fourth finger on my right hand only half fits onto the grip, so I can see I will want the optional MB-D14 battery grip to make the camera more comfortable to hold if I use it for an all day shoot.

I've spent 5 years learning about depth of field, shutter speed and ISO on the DX line of cameras, and the FX camera doesn't feel as different as I thought it might. The main differences I have noticed so far compared to the D300 are the lack of grainy noise at ISOs above 800 and the exposure and white balance are more accurate. The pictures just look better straight from the camera than the exact same images shot on DX. I have only tried RAW files so far, but the output at ISO 6400 on the D600 is around the same as ISO 1600 on the D300 as far as noise goes.

Many of the controls are slightly different on the D600 as there are less buttons than on the D300 style bodies. The main controls I've noticed/missed are the button for selecting focus points (multi or single point focus) and the quality/iso/white balance buttons. The lack of dedicated button means you have to press another button and then turn one of the control dials by the shutter release. Once you've done this a few times it becomes intuitive and no slower to use than on the older camera. Many people have criticized the smaller spread of the focus points, but I haven't found this to be a big problem.

The other differences between these two cameras are more subtle. There is a brighter, more colourful look to the images shot on the D600, no doubt in part due to the increased tonal range from the sensor and in the Expeed 3 processing engine. The subject 'pops out' far more in the images on full frame, both because of the colours and also the reduced depth of field. Although the background blur and bokeh are not as dramatically different as I thought they may be, the effect does enhance the photos noticeably.

So, was it worth the investment? The D600 at the time of writing is almost £1000 more than a used D300 in excellent condition. I could only afford it because I had spent some time building up a collection of DX lenses which I have now sold. It feels like I am starting again now, as there will no doubt be some FX glass that I end up wanting (eg a super wide angle lens) - but the main reason for going to FX has been to reduce the weight of my camera kit. The difference in low light performance of the FX cameras means that f2.8 lenses can be substituted with f4 lenses and the weight of kit overall will be reduced. A couple of primes can be bought cheaply to take care of portrait work and very low light situations, and a 24-120 f4 for everything else.

I am pleased that I finally took the plunge and bought into full frame photography. The D800 is another step up and would mean an upgrade to my computer to handle the file size so that was out of the question. The D600 is perfectly placed for the very top of the range in amateur photography and I am delighted with my purchase.
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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 Jan 2013 18:55:15 GMT
Jimbolarue says:
Hi, have you had any problems with oil and dust yet?

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jan 2013 20:10:04 GMT
Chris R says:
Hi, yes a couple of dots starting to appear in the top left corner. I knew this would probably happen but i don't mind giving the sensor a clean. Most people say the spots stop after about 3000 clicks, which is a price worth paying imho as the camera is excellent in most other ways. The spots are only visible above around f8 so aren't showing in my photos as i take mostly portraits at large apertures.
Chris

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Feb 2013 12:58:31 GMT
Jimbolarue says:
Thanks Chris, this camera I would really like to own but I think I'll wait a bit more to see if Nikon finally agree there is a problem with this camera and fix it.
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