Nikon D600 Review

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The Nikon D600 is one of the newest full-frame DSLRs to hit the Indian market. There’s a lot of hype surrounding it, considering the fact that it’s quite possibly the cheapest full-frame DSLR out there at the current market rate of around Rs. 1,32, 000. The body weighs just 760gm (850gms with battery and memory card).

Features – video shooting capabilities

While typically it’s the norm to speak about the image sensor and resolution in any camera review, it’s the video features that also make the Nikon D600 so interesting, especially for a professional. Here is the camera that finally challenges the Canon 5D Mark II in its video making ability. You can record on MPEG-4 and H.264 formats. Nikon D600 offers two resolutions to shoot video – 1920 x 1080 and 1280 x 720. The former’s frame rate is 30, 25, 24 fps while the latter’s is 60, 50, 30, 25 fps. It can stream uncompressed footage over its HDMI port. Another superb feature of the D600 is time lapse photography. 

The rear of the D600 with the large 3.2-inch display

The rear of the D600 with the large 3.2-inch display



Maximum recording time for time-lapse photography is 20 minutes. Through the menu, one can set the shooting interval and time. Movie files of time-lapse photography are saved in the 16:9 aspect ratio. It can even output an uncompressed live video stream to external recorders.


Design and build quality

The D600 has a rugged magnesium alloy body on the top and the rear of the camera, but the front plate is plastic. This is one of the main reasons why the D600 is so light. Nikon D600 has dual SD card slots with SDXC and UHS-I support on its right hand side. 

Connectors on the left side of the D600 body

Connectors on the left side of the D600 body



The D600 uses the EN-EL15 battery that’s also used in some of the other Nikon DSLRs such as the D7000 and D800. To the left of the body are three doors. The topmost one shelters the ports for external mic and audio-out. Sound levels can be manually adjusted in the camera, but a professional would definitely want to use an external one. Below this are the slots for the USB 2.0 port and a mini HDMI connector. The D600 also has an optional Wi-Fi unit, which allows the camera to be controlled remotely from an Android or iOS device. The shutter has been tested for 150,000 cycles.


Image quality

The colour reproduction is extremely good even at higher ISOs. The Nikon D600 has incorporated its newly developed 24.3 MP FX format CMOS sensor (35.9 x 24mm). This sensor provides us with the native wide ISO range from 100-6400. ISO can also go down to 50 and pushed up till 25,600 and still retain accurate colours with minimal noise. 

The top display on the D600

The top display on the D600


We shot images at ISO 2500, 6400 and then at 25,600. These were shot on the 50mm lens. There was some banding visible at the highest ISO, but otherwise the image quality was highly impressive. The full ISO range can also be used while capturing HD video under varied light conditions. The impressive HD video, which has good colour reproduction and tonal range throughout, helps to create a true cinematic experience with full HD video recording.

ISO test

ISO test



The centered locking pin for changing the shooting mode worked more as a hindrance for me. Imagine shooting and trying to switch from manual mode to shutter priority mode while shooting a busy traffic scene. I wished I had an extra hand! Beneath the Shooting mode is the Release mode. This also comes with a locking pin. The Release mode will help you switch to options like Single-frame, Continuous Low, Continuous High, Quiet, Self-timer, Remote control and Mirror lock-up. Continuous High provides us with a superb 5.5 frames per second, which makes it faster than the D800. It is great for sports photography. 


One can use both DX and FX lenses on this camera. With the DX lens, the image will get cropped and you will notice the amount of data that is lost when using the DX lens. And then one can understand the futility of using them on the D600. So go sell off your DX lenses and go buy the FX lens. I had used the AF-S Nikkor 18-70mm 1:3.5-4.5G ED lens to test the DX feature and the 24-120mm 1:3.5-5.6D lens to test the FX feature. Both were kept at 35mm, aperture at f/4.5 and shutter speed 1/8th sec, 640 ISO.

Performance and usability

The Nikon D600 is quieter than most other full frame DSLR cameras even without using Quiet release mode. I am sure this will be one feature that wildlife photographers are going to find very useful. The D600’s viewfinder gives us 100 percent frame coverage. I found this very helpful when I was shooting interiors for one of my magazines and because of this feature I was sure of my framing.

The mode selection dial

The mode selection dial



The D600 comes with a 921,000-dot 3.2-inch LCD screen. The gel resin, which is between the cover glass and the screen, helps to prevent the fogging that regularly occurs in hot and humid conditions in our subcontinent. This feature makes use of an ambient light sensor to allow for automatic adjustment of the screen's brightness, contrast, gamma and colour saturation. As is the general usage, the screen has excellent viewing angles but lacks good visibility in direct sunlight.

Manual and automatic focus switch

Manual and automatic focus switch



Like the higher-end DSLRs, the inbuilt flash can remotely control other Nikon Flashes. But the one disappointing feature for photographers is the flash sync, which has been reduced to 1/200th of a second compared to 1/250th of a second in Nikon D7000 or D800. Both FX and DX lenses work fine with the D600, but I wouldn't recommend a DX lens with this full-frame camera because of the amount of data one would lose. 


Comparisons and verdict

Till the Nikon D800 entered the market, if a Nikon user needed a full-frame camera with more than twelve megapixels without having to switch over to Canon, he or she would have to invest in the much more expensive Nikon D3X. At over Rs. 5 lakhs, the D3X has been so prohibitively expensive for photographers that there are very few who could even give these cameras on hire. We now have so much more choice. Nikon D800, which cost Rs. 1,65,000; the slightly more expensive D800E costing around Rs. 1,80,000; and the Nikon D600 at Rs. 1,32,000.  And while it's obviously not in the same league in terms of overall build quality, ruggedness and durability, the Nikon D600 can certainly hold its own when it comes to cutting-edge features and technologies, some of which were practically unheard of when the D3X was released back in 2008.

Made for budding professionals

Made for budding professionals



The Nikon D600 is a unique blend of the D7000 and the D800. It has the same levels of weather sealing and protection present in the D800. I feel that many prospective owners will use it either as a step-up or a back-up body. The right-hand grip is smaller but still quite comfortable, especially when we use the camera for a longer period of time. Nikon D600 has imported a lot of features from the costlier Nikon D800 into a body that highly resembles the D7000. Nikon D600 has 39 Auto Focus points and nine of them are cross-type points. The arrangement is very similar to that of the D7000, but they are all grouped tightly in the centre of the frame, giving very less coverage for off-centre areas.


But I feel that the difference in the interface is such that it would make D800 users stick to buying another D800 rather than the cheaper D600.


Finally, the power of a 24.3 MP Nikon FX-format CMOS sensor in a compact, streamlined HD-SLR body. Create brilliant full-frame images and 1080p videos. Capture every detail in stunning clarity with Nikon\'s superior 39-point AF system with Scene Recognition. Empower your inner filmmaker with cinema-quality HD video recording features. Nikon FX-format quality has never been more attainable. If you\'ve been looking to take your passion to the next level with full-frame HD-SLR performance, your wait is over. Now the power of a pro-level Nikon FX-format camera—stunning full-frame images, cinema-quality 1080p videos, superior low-light performance, blazing fast framing and burst rates, built-in HDR, wireless photo sharing and much more—is attainable in a compact, lightweight HD-SLR. Optimized for full-frame shooting and versatility, streamlined for compactness and value, the D600 will fuel your passion like never before. The D600 delivers consistently beautiful images and HD videos, thanks to Nikon’s intelligent Scene Recognition System with 3D Color Matrix Metering II. Its 2,016 pixel RGB sensor evaluates every scene, taking into account brightness, contrast, subject distance and the scene colors, all within the time it takes to press the shutter release button. That data is then referenced against an onboard image database for consistently accurate exposures, auto white balance, i-TTL flash and subject-tracking autofocus performance.


Type of Camera SLR
Effective Resolution 24.3MP
Sensor Type FX-format CMOS


LCD Size 3.2
Resolution 921K

Shooting Specs

Imaging Processor EXPEED 3
ISO Sensitivity Range ISO 100 - 6400
White Balance Auto / Choose Color Temperature (2500K�10000K) / Cloudy / Direct Sunlight / Flash / Fluorescent (7 types) / Incandescent / Preset Manual / Shade
Shutter Speed 30-1/4000
Burst Mode 5.5fps


Maximum Resolution 1920 x 1080
Maximum Frame rate 30fps


Storage SD, SDHC, SDXC
File formats supported JPEG


USB Cable Yes
Microphone Yes
PictBridge Yes
WiFi Yes


Type of Battery Li-Ion
Numbers of Shots 900


Dimensions (W x D x H) 141 x 82 x 113 mm
Weight 760 grams

More Features

Other Features Dust-Off Reference Photo|#|Depth-of-field Control|#|Bulb Shutter Setting|#|Exposure Lock|#|Mirror Lock Up|#|Long Exposure Noise Reduction|#|Single-point AF Mode|#|Auto-area AF Mode|#|Autofocus Fine Tune|#|Built-in Flash|#|Accessory Shoe|#|Virtual Horizon Camera Indicator|#|Image Comment|#|Save/Load Camera settings|#|Recent Settings|#|World Time Setting

After Sales Service

Warranty Period 1 Year


Warranty Period 1 Year

Published Date: Nov 16, 2012 05:32 pm | Updated Date: Nov 16, 2012 05:32 pm