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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Comments

I like your "n.b., entire Internet" note, but it's amusing that you immediately follow it with an error of your own. It should be "your interest was piqued by", not "piqued in".

Mike, reading your short essay via Thom Hogan pretty much solidified my doubts about the D600. Having sold my D700 recently, and looking for a replacement, what I definitely do not want is a casual or "vacation-only shooter" camera. I like my cameras rugged even if I may never exploit that ruggedness; build quality is extremely important to me.

The numerous reviews I've read have played up the magnesium alloy top and bottom covers and weather sealing but they never put the camera's build quality in proper persepective, for me, since I've never handled a D7000 for comparison.

It's always great reading commentary from real photographers (like Thom and yourself) who understand the more subtle specifications that are important to other photographers but are overlooked by most reviews. The D800/ D800e is now a no-brainer for me. Thanks.

I for one would love to be a vacation only shooter. the natural implication is that anytime I'm shooting, I'm on vacation. Sounds great to me!

"it's amusing that you immediately follow it with an error of your own. It should be 'your interest was piqued by', not 'piqued in'."

It's funny how often that happens...whenever you criticize other peoples' mistakes you'll make one yourself. Justice, I guess.

Fixed now, and thanks.

Mike

If you're one of those whose interest was piqued (n.b., entire Internet: not "peeked" or "peaked"!)

Thank you, thank you, thank you, a thousand times THANK YOU!

Thom said (emphasis mine):
But here's the thing: the D600 is a D3x in a D7000 body for about 30% the price.

I keep reading something similar to this every time the D600 comes up. Well it ain't true:

http://camerasize.com/compare/#378,7

Just sayin'.

Ming Thein has his D600 review up.

http://blog.mingthein.com/2012/09/24/nikon-d600/

He's a good writer being another ex-photo mag editor! He always reviews from a photographer point of view ("This review will be written from the point of view of a long-term D700 (100,000+ frames on two bodies) and D800E (20,000 frames between the D800 and D800E) user").

Plus there is a good dose of his photos both studio product shots and the results of taking it out on the street in Kuala Lumpur (makes a nice change of review shots from London or Seattle).

He's a regular blog read for me.

It's not just 'piqued', there's also "lense" -- where'd the final "e" come from?

Maybe it's a sign of impending (or arrived) curmudgeonliness.
http://grumpy-people.com/Article/11/What%20is%20a%20Curmudgeon

Thanks for tackling "piqued" instead of "peeked/peaked." Now if only we could get people to realize that they meant to type "should have" or "should've" but they didn't want to write "should of" then maybe this whole Internet thing could pan out.

Hong Kong camera site commented that one can use D600 plus 28-300 and add a 35F2.0 (if not 16-35 F4) you have the Fx kit.

However what prevent me from jumping back from Sony is that the screen does not flip. Hence for macro and above crowd shot (and Hasseblad style shot), you cannot do that. Important even for vacation guy. Other than that, quite a perfect camera.

It is just about 1 year too late. Switch to A77/Nex5N and waiting for a full frame E mount. Might as kirk tuck said just get the V900 instead.

http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.hk/2012/09/my-next-camera-will-be-full-frame-sony.html

"Peaked" for "pique" puts me in a pique, too, but the article is worth a peek.

"Vacation-only shooter"? The Canon 5D got even more disdain when it was introduced. (Not even weather sealed.) But it became very popular, especially with wedding, art and travel photographers. Yes the price differential was much more. But when you think about lifting the camera to your eye all day, or backpacking with it for a month, the D600 starts to look more attractive.

The price differential is already worth a good lens, and will increase as the D600's price settles. And they say the D800 is more demanding on lenses, too, which could factor into cost as well (and sometimes size and weight, too).

For some, these differences make the D600 the far better choice. For others, the better build, resolution and pro-level support from Nikon make the D800 a no-brainer.

Anyway, we TOP readers know that the real "take it to the next level" camera is a Leica M and black and white film. ;)

I never understood why a "pro" DSLR has to be a D4 or 1DX type body. I'm a "pro" wedding photographer and I don't want to carry one of those. A 5D3 is just about perfect, however 2 D600's would probably do just as well. The D800 would be terrible at a wedding. And a D4 would only give me sore shoulders.

Of course, I just shot a wedding with a pair of Fuji XPro1's so maybe I'm a little atypical.

the endless analysis has become so absurd at this point it's laughable. constant fretting over which new, amazing camera is "good enough" to capture your photos. The 5D3 is overpriced, the D800 has too many megapixels, the 6D doesn't have enough focus points, the D600 doesn't have enough megapixels, and on and on and on....

and all this time nobody stops to consider that, realistically, five year old technology still exceeds the capabilities and needs of most of us.

i'm sitting next to a shelf full of books by photographers who i'll never be as good as. not one of them owned a 5D mk III. just buy something already.

I think Thom's description of the audience here is fairly apt. While I shot with a D300 and then D700 for the past 4+ years, most of that time I've yearned for that feature set (or most of it) and image quality in a package closer to the D90 in size and weight. The D600 essentially gives me that, plus breathtaking (to me) video. The size and weight advantage of the D600 over D800 is a major issue for me; in fact if the weights were reversed that would be enough to make me save up the extra cash for the D800. I've had the D600 for almost a week now and I'm seriously impressed. Now if only Nikon would make a mirrorless FX body...

"I keep reading something similar to this every time the D600 comes up. Well it ain't true: http://camerasize.com/compare/#378,7 Just sayin'."

Miserere,
Well, it isn't *exactly* a D3x, either.

Mike

Level, schmevel. These are all nice cameras, but as Thom suggests I feel like average enthusiasts (who often love shooting long) are being hooked into big buck spending on full frames, when what they could really use (and would make them happy) is a D400. No D400? I'd consider the K5II. Have a D300 but want a lot more megapixels? Buy the 3200 for big print landscapes, and wait for the D400.

I think you nailed it on the "next level" idiom - insidious marketing speak. Any contemporary camera is capable of great results, so the task is to pick one you enjoy using (or meets your budgetary requirements, preferably both) and learn how to use it well. Our worth as photographers/artists/human beings is not determined by the position in the marketing hierarchy of the cameras we carry.

"to maunder", shouldnt it be "to meander"? :)

burt,
You must be lost...you're on a photography and camera site here, my friend. Not where you intended to be?

Mike

Just to reply to your assumption .... I have not and I am not going to ...

I am perfectly fine with your summary!

:-)

"and all this time nobody stops to consider that, realistically, five year old technology still exceeds the capabilities and needs of most of us. "

Indeed, for decades, most "vacation only shooters" were satisfied with instamatics and point & shoot cameras. If they were really feeling it, they got a Nikkormat or similar consumer-grade 35mm slr. Rarely did anyone get anything other than slides or standard 3x5 or 4x6 lab prints. Digital cameras, even relatively cheap ones, have been able to manage this level of performance for more than a few years now. No one who is a "vacation only shooter" is in the market for a $2K (for body only!) camera unless they just enjoy foolishly spending money.

With regard to "ruggedness"...

It seems there are a lot more people vacationing at the North Pole than I thought.

Ming's reviews are great. His review on the new Olympus 60mm macro likely sold many copies...

http://blog.mingthein.com/2012/09/21/olympus-60-2-8-macro/

Re. your reply to Craig: A nice example of Muphry's Law (no, not a typo), also known by sundry other names including two of my favourites — Hartman's Law of Prescriptivist Retaliation and The Iron Law of Nitpicking.

"shouldnt it be 'to meander'?"

Alex,
No, "maunder" is a word--"To talk incoherently or aimlessly" (American Heritage English Dictionary, def. 1).

Mike

Agreed - Thom's coverage has been great. I'm considering a replacement for my Nikon D200. I'm not looking for gobs of pixels or compatibility with legacy FX lenses. It's just that I don't like the noise in my D200's low-light photos at ISO 800 and 1600. I want clean shots at 1600 or maybe a stop higher. My question is whether I need to go full frame (D600 or D800) to get my desired clean images or if there's a DX (D7000, rumored D400) that can do it. If the latter, I hesitate to go FX.

'move to the next level'

I couldn't agree more. It's the sales speak of the gurus who want to sell you their magic bullets.

Mike (currently a vacation shooter...)

All of the new full-frame Nikons sound wonderful but I don't need FX. I shoot a D300 and DX and FX lenses and want a D400 with better high-ISO performance and continued support for CF cards. I see the D600 has abandoned CF support.

Way closer to being a D3x in a D300 body, I think.

Thanks for your impressions, Harry Lime. I read Thom Hogan all the time, but I don't think he meant for all the non-sports/wildlife/wedding-pros (ie, prosumers) to ignore the D600 and go straight to the D800. The D600 looks like a more-than-capable piece of hardware for a lot of (non-vacation-shooter) photographers.

"burt,
You must be lost...you're on a photography and camera site here, my friend. Not where you intended to be?

Mike"

i know, i know. it's just with the flood of new cameras in the last 6 months my brain is burning out and entering analysis paralysis phase.

Whenever people talk about how they think they need a "rugged" camera for all of their shooting under horrendous conditions I think of this story.

http://photo.net/canon-eos-digital-camera-forum/00LE7S

The money quote starts with

"Some where around 15-20 times per weekend, I strap my xti to a helmet, walk it across the tarmac and through the prop wash of a turbine aircraft, haul it to 14,000' above ground level, open the aircraft door, which hopefully does not hit my camera but sometimes does, in anywhere from -15F degrees and up, hurl myself, and camera, towards the earth at around 120 mph"

I'm betting that for 9.999/10 people, the D600 is plenty rugged enough.

Perhaps we need a softer phrase for "move to the next level". How about using the mystical soul transition word of "enlightenment" when describing the discrimination by a user when choosing a lesser featured model versus the more advanced model. Some might argue that real enlightenment is the difference between an F-8 lens versus an F-2.8 lens. See my point. :-) Will cameras become enlightened when the Mayan calendar restarts on December 22?

Remember this comment from Thom's review of the D800 in the recommendations section:

Architectural. Stop. Do not pass go quite so fast, buddy. The D800 models have one trait that's going to stop you in your tracks: moire production. It's true of both versions. So unless you're okay with moire or have a way to deal with it, you're going to be constantly seeing it. ( http://www.bythom.com/nikond800review.htm )

As someone who shoots architecture with 4x5, and wants to move some of this to digital, the D600 may be the best choice.

The bottom line on the D600 from Ken Rockwells blog...

"Unless I discover something seriously missing when my own D600 arrives, I will no longer be recommending the D800 and D800E for anything other than testing lenses. The D800 and D800E are a pain to use in the field for their lack of programmable presets, and cost too much"

If it only had a swivel LCD for my macro shooting (sigh).

I find the notion, that the D600 is a D3x in a D7000 skin and yet it is best suited to weekend-only/vacation-only shooters, faintly ridiculous. They are two concepts that cannot coexist in my brain.

I love bythom and his blog has been very helpful to me for years, but that is possibly the silliest thing I have seen flow from his pen. I will put it down to a momentary lapse of reason fuelled by going too deep down the rabbit hole called product differentiation, with a desperate need to come up with a conclusion. In fact maybe it is as simple as they need a product at a price point, beyond which buyers can make their own decision.

BTW I cannot recommend bythom highly enough to anyone looking for some help to getting started with dSLR-dom. Try his 'Essays' and his 'Travel Photography' and his 'Technique Articles' sections, you won't be sorry.

T N,
It's also faintly unfair to criticize Thom on the basis of one or two pull quotes in my article. Really, my thing was just meant to be a pointer to his page; his thoughts are offered at far greater length and you should really judge them in toto.

Mike

Totally agree with Thom's D3x at 30% of the price comment - at least image quality wise. In fact, it's probably more D3xs in that regard.

But I like to think of this camera as Goldilocks - just right for the vast majority of users. There will be edge cases, of course...

"...and you should really judge them in toto."

Your reference to a small dog from Kansas has pekingesed my interest...

James, you "don't need FX" and want "better high-ISO performance"? Don't you see anything a bit, you know, contradictory there?

I do not know why people object to his saying that D600 is for vacation and weekend users. "The D800 is someone shooting all the time and trying to move to the next level." I guess many of us are not shooting all the time. Most people (and may I even include Mike include) does not shoot all the times. Just not professional photographer. (Play piano recently and even if I could, I would not like to be a concert pianist. It is very lonely as one interview in BBC World of a music conductor has said.)

Further, I guess I understood that what he meant. I move from D70 to D300 (and was patiently waiting for a cheaper full frame from Nikon). I guess what he meant is that there is some difference between D600 and D800 which may hinder your skill e.g. the body layout have more dedicated buttons and also some extra button (e.g. separating AF-on from AEL). Some of these as he said can be rectified but I guess not all.

May be Thom can politely refine a bit saying something we all want to move one level up it is fine not to harm feeling. But the basic logic is there and I do not agree to one poster that there is a lapse of his reasoning department.

Truth sometimes hurt (that you cannot afford that $900, carry the heavier D800 and you are not doing this hobby all the time etc.). But I trust Thom in the last decade and would continue to do so. He is fine to say those statement. Hurt the pride a bit though, I admit.

OK - how about instead of saying aiming to get "good image" saying "better and better image" etc.

If you take a peek at this camera, it might pique your interest, and it wouldn't be the peak of absurdity if you were to pick the D600 over the competition.

Just bought one with 35 F2.0 ... with my 28-300 and 28 2.0 ais my trip to Japan, Dubai and SF/Florida/Elivs Home town would be interesting; would use F75 (film) as backup and Nex5N fisheye for those wide moment.

In 1970s, no one say 28 is not wide but that is 40 years ago. Time change.

not "peeked" or "peaked"

Here here.

[sic].

Carl Blesch, i went from a D200, out of which i wrung 140K frames over 4 years, to a D7000 last year -and added another this year- solely on the basis of superior high ISO performance. In that regard, the D7000 is leaps better than the D200, and it holds details well upto ISO 2000 in my estimate. Exposure range, colours etc are all quite nice. What do you give up? Primarily the grip, a few controls jiggled around, the buffer. You inherit a pesky exposure mode dial that has a mind of its own. I felt it was a trade worth having for the substantially improved picture quality. Obviously full frame would be nice but at this date, I can get pretty close to 2 D7000s for the price of one D600(it's how i justified abstaining from the also-excellent D700)

David Dyer-Bennet To be fair, most current APS-C sensors offer far better high ISO performance than the D200 which, at more than 6 years old, is practically ancient history.

"Really, my thing was just meant to be a pointer to his page; his thoughts are offered at far greater length and you should really judge them in toto."

Thom is in Toto? Cool! Say, did he play on "Rosanna"?

OK, OK, serious for a second: I'd just like to point out that the D700 is still a heck of a camera that hasn't exactly been rendered obsolete by these latest offerings. Anyone who's looking for a good deal might do well to start looking at used D700s right about now.

I'll be hanging onto mine for a bit longer.

T N:
"I find the notion, that the D600 is a D3x in a D7000 skin and yet it is best suited to weekend-only/vacation-only shooters, faintly ridiculous."
Let me tell you, Thom is absolutely accurate with this quote! I bet 99% of DSLR owners belong to this category! Ask your colleagues at work ( I mean, a normal kind of work, like in an office) who own a DSLR, whether they are bringing their cameras to work? If they aren't, they belong to this group, and I bet, other then true "pros" who earn their living by carrying a camera with them, majority of camera owners shoot only during weekends -- even serious enthusiasts are weekend shooters! Without these weekend shooter (serious or casual), the DSLR market would collapse. Go to any tourist attractions and count the number of D800s... you'll be amazed..... If you read Thom detailed enough, he was quoting "people bought the D800 as a point and shoot"... so true...

I "could care less" whether people use "peaked" or "piqued".

Looks like a fine bit of gear, but it says something about the market and all when a "casual enthusiast's" camera is $2000, body only.

Featured Comment by fjf: "Does the D600 offer focus piquing?"

[Mike slaps forehead]

Mike,

I think the internet meme you're looking for is the "facepalm"

"Take it to the next level" is just a vacuous piece of pseudo-advice offered by someone who wants to sound wise but who is incapable of being specific abut what they being wise about. Such people can be ignored out of hand, as can anyone who says "just saying", meaning "I am unable to backup or justify what I just said, ignore it as content-free verbosity".

@mike: thanks. I'm well aware when I'm pushing the boundaries of language and categorizations. My ex-wife was my copy editor through most of my career (still does some from time to time), and this was always the number one issue we had to resolve: how far to let me push language in order to explain something. On my own, I push further ;~).

@miserere: just because the body dimensions aren't the same doesn't mean it isn't the same body design underneath. Obviously, the FX mirror box means that you make adjustments. But if you were to disassemble the D600 and D7000 side by side, you'd see that other than the adjustments for FX, it's a D7000 body and parts. This is actually the same thing that was true of the D300 to D700, too. Nikon has basically four body designs that all of their DSLRs are based upon. D3200/D5100, D7000/D600, D300s/D800, D4 in the current lineup, but all of those have historical lineage backing them up. For example: D40->D40x->D60->D3000->D5000->D3000->D3100->D5100->D3200. Or D100->D200->D300->D700->D800.

David Dyer-Bennet Sorry, I must have misread James' comment, and thought his camera a D200 as well. However, the D300 is well past its prime as a high-iso performer, and from what i read, it seems that even the wee D3200 outperforms it pretty handily at double the resolution.

"'Take it to the next level' is just a vacuous piece of pseudo-advice offered by someone who wants to sound wise but who is incapable of being specific abut what they being wise about. Such people can be ignored out of hand, as can anyone who says 'just saying,' meaning 'I am unable to backup or justify what I just said, ignore it as content-free verbosity.'"

Ed,
I was going to disallow this comment because it insults Thom needlessly, but since it insults me too I decided to let it through. You're an equal-opportunity insulter!

I'm just sayin'.

Mike

"even serious enthusiasts are weekend shooters! Without these weekend shooter (serious or casual), the DSLR market would collapse."

Edwin,
All I can say is, I don't even shoot every weekend.

Mike

Mike, No offence intended, and true to form, I had a couple of typos in there. Both pale into insignificance compared to the irritating witlessness of "could care less".

Strobist has an interesting article about D600. He points out some shortcomings.
http://strobist.blogspot.com/2012/09/nikon-d600-think-twice-before-you-jump.html

"Strobist has an interesting article about D600. He points out some shortcomings."

Branimir,
Given Strobist readers' big concern--shooting with speedlights--no doubt he's right. David has forgotten more about small flashes than I ever knew.

But for me, I seldom use flash, and anyway I'm from the days when a 1/125th sync speed was standard and 1/250th was bleeding edge, so 1/200th hardly seems like a hardship.

As far as the sync jack goes, I'd just use an AS-15 sync terminal adaptor anyway. I liked these when I was doing a lot of work with monolights, because the built-in jacks on the camera bodies could get loose with extended hard use (although we used camera bodies for much longer then), and if that happened with an AS-15 you just bought another one for $16 ($20 now). It was actually a better solution IMO.

Mike

Dear Miserere,

That doesn't seem to me to be a bad description, unless the D7000 happens to be right at the upper limit of size for you (which it might be). Comparing all three bodies, the D60 is only slightly larger than the 7000, but it's MUCH smaller than the D3x. Strikes me as an apt summary of what one is getting.

pax / Ctein
==========================================
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com
==========================================

David Dyer-Bennet: you "don't need FX" and want "better high-ISO performance"? Don't you see anything a bit, you know, contradictory there?

Nope. It all depends what level of high ISO performance Bennet needs.

As I keep banging on ... this "bigger is better (all things being equal)" comparison only works for the same generation of sensor. When quantum efficiency and read noise improve in the sensor a straight size comparison isn't useful.

The D300 had Sony's "first generation" CMOS sensor with higher read noise (5 e) and a low QE (27%). The new Sony/Nikon D800 sensor (and so the D600 and the "D400") has lower read noise (3 e) with QE 56%.

The better QE means almost twice as many photons turn into photoelectrons in the D600 than the D300. That's a stop better photo count noise than the D300 in shadows and midtones. The better read noise improves the black level SNR by half a stop (3/5ish).

If that isn't enough at APS-C there's the sensor size change that adds 2 stops (a bit more than twice a many photons captured) if he were to move from APS-C to FF. But he gets half of the benefit just going for the more modern smaller sensor.

That said a hypothetical D400 will probably drop CF cards. It's the trend.

Jus' sayin' (added for Ed)

"That said a hypothetical D400 will probably drop CF cards. It's the trend. Jus' sayin' (added for Ed)"

Kevin,
I like it. It's catchy.

Mike the Ed.

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