It's fitting that as I write this, I just read the news that Peter Higgs and Francois Englert have received the Nobel Prize in Physics. They won for predicting the Higgs Boson, a particle that for fifty years wasn't there. That is, it hadn't been detected in the real world. Confirmation came along in 2012; all those articles about "the god particle," remember? They got the prize for theorizing that it must be there.
"I hope this recognition of fundamental science will help raise awareness of the value of blue-sky research," said Higgs, who, nearly as elusive as the particle, did not come out of his habitual seclusion on the news of the award.
Meanwhile, over in our little corner of the known Universe, Nikon has released the D610. Might not sound too familiar, until you hear that it's a 24-MP full-frame DSLR. Which looks very familiar. Then you think, oh yeah, 610 is just an increment more than 600.
The D600, which is a wonderful camera, was plagued by reports of oil on the sensor, which some cameras suffered from and some didn't. (If you're a D600 owner, you probably know ten times as much as I do about this issue.) The rumors of the problem apparently (we don't really know) also smeared sales. The new D610 was apparently released to show the door to those negative associations and put paid to the rumors and their attendant FUD; the D610 is nearly identical to the D600 except that it has a reworked shutter mechanism.The supposition is that the older shutter mechanism was the culprit in schpritzing that wayward oil where it shouldn't oughta been.
So is the oil-on-the-sensor problem gone? Nikon can't say. Huh? Why? Well, because it wasn't there. You see, Nikon never really acknowledged the problem in the first place. So it can't very well trumpet the news that the problem has been fixed.
Lots and lots has changed in the camera world over the years. But it's funny how many things have stayed the same. Years ago, I bought a Nikon 35mm ƒ/2 lens that had oil on the aperture blades. Come to find out, it was a known problem that many other people experienced as well. Getting the lens cleaned didn't help, because the oil came back. Various folk remedies were proposed, such as only storing the lens in a particular position or setting it outside in the light of the full moon. Nikon eventually fixed the problem, and later AF-Nikkor 35mm ƒ/2's didn't have any trouble...but Nikon couldn't ever tell us which lenses didn't have the problem, because it didn't acknowledge that the problem was there in the first place.
So anyway, this is not official, but: the D610 is the one that doesn't have any problems with oil on the sensor.
And that's a very good thing to know. The D600, sans its nagging problem and resultant bad rap, is a really, really nice DSLR. Yeppers, the D800, a.k.a. Ye Big Dragoon (a dragoon was a pistol that weighed as much as a canned ham) is the über-Nikon, over the top in pixel count (36 million) and filled with full-framey goodness. And it's a handful, the camera version of a monster truck. And therein lies the good news: the D610 will be the D800's more sensible little brother—great size, great feel, great image quality (again, not proved by me, as of yet, but highly likely). I'd recommend it over the D800 for all but the most diehard Nikonians and monster truck fans. And I have a D800.
The D610 is actually cheaper, too.
You can get it in kits with various zooms, but of course I'd recommend a small prime...like, maybe, the old AF-Nikkor 35mm ƒ/2. That would go really good on a D610. Yeah, that's the ticket.
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Featured Comments from:
KeithB: "Camera manufacturers must hate the intertubz."
Stephen Scharf: "It's a complete lack of corporate maturity on Nikon's part in not owning up to a design-based failure mode: actuating the shutter spritzed oil around the inside of the mirror box. If they adhered to the principles of Shingo, and were humble enough to own up to the problem, then they and the photographic society at large would have benefitted. This lack of maturity is a reflection of not acknowleging that there are no defect-free processes, either in design or in manufacturing. Actually acknowledging there is a problem is a sign of maturity, because then the company can deal with the design or production defects in a transparent way that maintains the integrity of the relationship with their customers. Canon had the same exact problem when they redesigned the AF system in the 1D MkIII; created a big issue for themselves by not acknowledging the problem until Rob Galbraith forced them to, and subsequently lost a lot of pros migrating to the Nikon D3.
"Fuji, on the other hand, has continually been soliciting feedback from its customers on the quirks and performance of its X-cameras, and through a series of design and/or continual firmware updates, taken this system from one that was cool and interesting to a system capable of fully performing as the basis of a professional system.
"This all just goes to show that putting quality first and foremost, and really listening to and acknowledging your customers means everyone wins: the company wins, the customer wins, and the society-at-large wins."