Nikon D600 full-frame digital SLR camera

On September 13, 2012, Nikon announced its new D600 DLSR camera with a 24.3 megapixel full-frame FX sensor with compact DX-sized body while delivering many new-to-Nikon features aimed to please higher-end video users. The camera comes with a body price tag of $2,100. The kit including AF-S Nikko 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G lens costs $2,700.

Notable new video features are headphone jack for audio monitoring, mini-HDMI port with real-time uncompressed “clean” UI-free output designed for external storage, uncompressed stereo PCM audio recording, 30 minute limit for video recordings at normal quality, 1080p/30fps and 720p/60fps modes with 24Mbps H.264 are encoding.

Following the rest of Nikon’s line-up, an HDR shooting mode and intervalometer for time-lapses are built in. Another familiar feature to newer Nikon is the twin SDHC/SDXC UHS-I compliant memory slots capable of addressing SDXC cards up to 2TB in size. Nikon users looking for a striped mode, writing images alternating between the cards for faster speed will be disappointed.

The 24.3 megapixel CMOS sensor has a 14bit per channel color bit depth with uncompress or losslessly compressed Nikon RAW file encoding. The ISO sensitivity range of 100-6400 with 1/3EV steps and expandable settings to 50-25,600 ISO should suit most users that shoot prime lenses in low light, but zoom lens shooters might want to look for a camera with cleaner gain.

The D600 would be a rather nice upgrade for growing D7000 prosumers, fixing many grips and adding many new desired features, but after viewing sample D600 videos, it is apparent this Nikon still suffers from the same digital shortcut taking internally during downsampling during video sampling on the companies EXPEED 3 Video DSP chip. Slight moiré patterns, jagged aliasing, and an overall loss of sharpness will be apparent to those that have used hardware that properly samples and internally downsamples a 1080p signal from a much larger native resolution sensor.

If you’re looking for an entry level full-frame body for primarily photography or time-lapse use while only having the occasional video project, the D600 can be a good choice if you can live with 1/4000th a second being the faster exposure setting. However, if you mainly shoot video while rarely taking still images, keep looking as the D600’s poor “EXPEED 3” video processor and the lack of 60fps mode in 1080p will let you down.