Nikon D600: Hands-on Preview

I had the camera for initial evaluation at Samys Camera, Pasadena this morning and was able to work with its AV and photo settings, with these impressions:

1-Audio capability seems very similar to that of the D800/D4 including-important to me- the ability to closely monitor sound levels with headphones directly from the camera. It appeared that the 20 level graph had a somewhat steep volume ‘cliff’ between the 2 highest and all other levels, at least with the on-camera microphone; I was not able to test with an off-camera mic yet. To access this function it seems necessary to get into menus, as with the other cameras. Playback volume was adequate through headphones relative to ‘optimized’ level settings for capture.

2- Aperture cannot be changed in Live View, unlike the D800/D4. Otherwise, similar capability including uncompressed HDMI (!!). I prefer the LV button setup to that of the D7000, it’s the same as on the D800/D4.

3-Build quality seemed very good by comparison, at least on a par with the D800.

4-Similar layout of left dial atop camera to D7000 but upgraded in appearance. Includes 2 user-defined banks (!) which I typically set to video and sports/PJ on the D7000. Frame rate similar to D7000, faster than D800- I consider it borderline adequate for typical sports at 5.5 FPS.

5-Overall ergonomics: Very easy to learn this camera from a D7000; controls generally intuitive. I would have added the battery pack if it were available- probably within a few weeks.

In summary: I believe that if you shoot Nikon for video and want to keep your camera budget under $2500 (body and battery grip), the D600 is a revolutionary camera- because of its combination of price and overall feature set. A bonus is its 24 mp
still resolution- which would allow me to do a great deal of cropping for sports and pj images.

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