Nikon launch the D600 (and we get a hands-on preview!)

Nikon D600

A sneak peak of the new Nikon D600


Hot on the heels of yesterday's announcement, Nikon introduces the D600 to their FX line-up this morning, offering full-frame shooting for serious enthusiasts at a more affordable price and I was lucky enough to get some hands-on time yesterday before its launch. Will it be a game changer? Let's take a quick look at the headline specs:

Key Specs

  • 24.3 megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor
  • A standard ISO range of 100-6400, extendable up to 25600 and to as low as ISO 50
  • Next-generation EXPEED3 image processing engine (same as the D4)
  • Full HD 1080p movie capability (at 30p/25p/24p) with uncompressed video output via HDMI
  • 3.2? 921k dot resolution LCD screen (also the same as on the D4)
  • Dual card slots for two SD cards
  • Dimensions: 141 x 113 x 82mm
  • Weight: 760g (excl. battery & memory card)

The new Nikon D600 Digital SLR


The D600 may come in a small and light package (weighing in at 760g), but after having some quick hands-on time with this camera yesterday, the magnesium alloy top & rear covers make this camera feel really solid in the hand. If you have particularly large hands you may find it a little too compact, but for me it was spot on.

Nikon's newest full-frame is packed with 24.3 megapixels, and has an impressive standard ISO range of 100-6400, expandable out to 50-25,600. I had a play with a pre-production D600 model so I couldn't take any photos away with me (although I did manage to grab a few snaps of the camera with my phone, you can find them here), but I was using it in a dim basement room with no natural light - and the images were still looking sharp and bright on the back of the camera (and that was at ISO 800).

Some of the most exciting features of Nikon’s flagship digital SLR have been brought into the D600, providing an excellent opportunity for 'entry-level' full-frame shooters. The D600's 7 central AF sensors are compatible with lenses up to f/8 and it's equipped with the same processing power as Nikon’s flagship D4: the EXPEED 3 image processing engine, which is able to process information nearly instantly. It also boasts the same moisture and dust resistant build as the D800, perfect for travel and thorough use outdoors.

Top view of the new D600


This is also the case with the D600’s video shooting capabilities. Full HD 1080p movie recording now seems to come as standard in new camera releases these days but the D600  incorporates many of the pro-spec video features that got lots of photographers excited about the D4 and D800, including 30/25/24 frame rate options at full HD, the inclusion of a movie-record button next to the shutter release, sound level monitoring, a built-in easy time-lapse photography function and the ability to export a clean video feed via HDMI.

So, who is the Nikon D600 aimed at? Keen enthusiasts and anyone serious about their photographic passion looking to make the DX to FX jump now have the D600 to look forward to - especially if the D800's whopping 36.3 megapixels is overkill for your shooting needs and the £4,799* price tag on the D4 is hard to justify to non-pro shooters.

In Comparison: D7000 vs D600 vs D800

  D7000 D600 D800
Sensor DX Format Full-frame (FX) Full-frame (FX)
Megapixels 16.2 24.3 36.3
ISO range 100-6400 100-6400 100-6400
Max extendable ISO 100-25600 50-25600 50-25600
Image Processor EXPEED2 EXPEED3 EXPEED 3
HD Video 1080p 1080p 1080p
Autofocus 39-point 39-point 51-point
FPS 6 5.5 4
Screen (dot resolution) 3.0" LCD (920k) 3.2" LCD (921k) 3.2" LCD(921K)
Weight** 690g 760g 900g

**Weight excluding battery & memory card

Sample Images

We’ve sourced these sample images from Nikon (original source here) for a first look at what the D600 is capable of...

D600 - 1/1250 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100. Taken with an AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR Lens. Florian Schulz courtesy of Nikon

D600 - 1/1250 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100. Taken with an AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR Lens. © Florian Schulz, courtesy of Nikon


D600 - 1/800 sec at f/8, ISO 800. Taken with an AF-S AF-S NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II Lens + AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III. © Florian Schulz, courtesy of Nikon


D600 - 25 seconds at f/2.8, ISO 3200. Taken with an AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Lens. © Florian Schulz, courtesy of Nikon


D600 - 1/1000 sec at f/4.5, ISO 100. Taken with an AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Lens. © Steve Simon, courtesy of Nikon


D600 - 1/4 sec at f/11, ISO 100. Taken with an AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Lens. © Florian Schulz, courtesy of Nikon


D600 - 1/1000 sec at f/10, ISO 100. Taken with an AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Lens. © Steve Simon, courtesy of Nikon


Product Tour Video

Is it a game-changer?

The D600 is, for sure, an impressively spec'd camera in a great package. If you need 36+ megapixels, 11 fps or to shoot at ISO 204800 - then it's most likely not for you. I think the demand for a full-frame model between the D7000 and D800 definitely exists and the D600 certainly looks like it will fit the bill. Taking some of the excellent pro-level features of its older siblings, Nikon has created a pared down version that allows it to be a lot smaller, lighter and more affordable.

So will it be a game-changer? I hope so. We've seen pro-end technology trickle down to consumer/prosumer models before, but it's great to finally see full-frame shooting be opened up to those who are ready for it at a more affordable price.

The rear view of the Nikon D600


Coming (very) Soon

The Nikon D600 is expected to be in stock next week, and can be pre-ordered at Wex for £1,955*, along with a chance to Win Your Dream Nikon Lens up to £2,000.

The D600 will be available to purchase as a body only and in a kit with the 24-85mm Lens.

*Current price as at 13th September 2012, subject to change