Nikon D600 Review and User Experience - Part 2

There was a post about the D600 on a Nikon forum I was reading, where a new owner asked about using the 28-300mm VR lens on the camera. He was soundly rubbished by a "hobby snob" who declared that using such a lens was like trying to race Formula 1 in a Nissan Micra. (Don't you just love them !!)

So, if any of the Nikon braindead (a small but unfortunately vociferous section of Nikon DSLR owners) are reading this, look away now and ignore this post, as all of these pictures were taken with my Tamron 28-200mm, which is obviously only slightly preferable to sticking the bottom half of a coke bottle on my camera. 

Firstly, using this camera with my excellent new Blackrapid Sport Camera Strap / harness made it feel lighter than a NEX-C3. Well, actually it didn't, but it was painless none the less.

One thing became clear looking at the results on my screen, in that any plan I might carry out to replace my D800E with this D600, means that I wouldn't be loosing much. Not even 12MP, since it seems I can upsize the images with virtually no loss of quality. 

The pixel density obviously helps with this sensor, as 24MP on a 35mm sized sensor is less than 36MP on a 35mm sized sensor, so the pixels are bigger. (Its all good stuff today!)

So does this mean I'm saying the D600 sensor is "better" than the D800E sensor? Well, not really, just that in terms of sharpness, dynamic range etc. on first impressions, with a very limited number of pictures to look at, viewed in the right light, there may be some very marginal improvement in picture IQ, if viewed at 100% and seriously pixel-peeped, using the same lens, comparing the D600 sensor with the D800E sensor. (Or not)

If you detect a certain "tone" with this post then you would be right. I must admit I had to almost "force" myself to take out the D600 yesterday. I really wanted to use my Sigma DP2M. Plus I also wanted to take out my Olympus E-PL3 with 75mm f/1.8, and its very attractive new silver "lookaleica" lens hood, which arrived from Canada on Friday. (The only place I could find that had one) Since this combination is just about the sexiest thing you can press a shutter button on, I was dying to use it. However, having still not been able to shake this "sensible" streak, which dictates that I should always own at least one camera that doesn't look like a toy, I used the D600 instead. 

However my enthusiasm for spotting small differences betwen CMOS bayer sensors made by Sony and lenses that some argue are better than others by an intergalactic distance, whereas they are actually differentiated (if viewed in the right light, viewed at 100% and seriously pixel-peeped etc, etc) by nothing that a minimum amount of sharpening can't cure, is waning. 

The D600 has a decent sensor. (Totally blown away by the Sigma DP2 Merrill, but I digress) There's not much else to say. Pore over DxO results all you want, but its not that much different to the D800 / D800E. Which is to say that it does the job its supposed to. 

You may gather from all this that a point is about to surface sometime soon. You are right, And here it is.

I've come up with a new photographic equation. The amount of hot air emenating from discussions of new camera gear and the b******t associated with it is equal to the amount of time wasted obsessing about the mostly very small differences between "this years model" and last years and one brand and another.

So if you like Nikons, you'll like this. If you want to join the "full-frame club" because thats what proper photographers do, you'll like this. If you are one of those "photographic wimps" that don't shoot everything at ISO 100 you'll like this. And of course if you like cameras that get on with taking pictures with little fuss, don't think DSLR's are dinosaurs and feel like using what is probably the best value hobbyist / enthusiast / pro / semi-pro / weekend warrior camera currently available you'll like this. 

If not and you feel like spending a lot more money to get pretty much the same results from a camera you can't change lenses on then wait for the Sony RX1. Its better than a Leica. And I feel perfectly confident in saying that because I haven't tried one, which seems to be the required qualification for making such statements.

If you want some ISO tests etc. then I'll do that the next time it rains / is dull or both and I need some diversion from editing, captioning and keywording. Today I'm going out shooting with a small plastic brick that takes the best pictures I've ever seen.

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) below.
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