Nikon D600 announced – Should I? Shouldn’t I?

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Nikon D600 digital camera

So, after a long anticipation, Nikon finally announced D600, their new entry level FX camera. I have been waiting for this camera as a potential replacement for my D700 as a second body.  Don’t get me wrong; D3/D700 combination on a job is a good one out in the field, as D700 behaves very similarly to D3 in many aspects. Lately, however, I have been finding myself wanting a second body that does things D3 can’t do: ability for big crop/DX mode with a decent pixel count, lower base ISO for the long shutter speed shots, video, and much lighter weight which helps on long shoots. Reading the headline, there are a lot going for D600; great IQ, dust removal, weather proof, 100% viewfinder coverage… I was starting to get excited. However, the deeper I look into the spec sheet, there were a few major drawbacks, especially for lighting photographers.

  1. lack of sync port – not the biggest issue, as I can still use hot shoe, but still. Its inclusion really wouldn’t cost all that much, and its usefulness is so vast, I cannot understand why Nikon would choose to omit this one.
  2. 1/200th second sync speed – this is not good, and a ground for a deal breaker for any lighting photographer.  Traditionally up to this point, this is where Nikon shone over Canons, where pretty much all DSLRs have supported 1/250th second (or higher, with the little gems like D70/D70s) sync speed.  Using a small speedlights on location mean that balancing daylight and flash is vital, and even 1/50th second which equates to 1/3 of stop can be a big deal. Not improving that sync speed, I can understand; but to make it less so? I have 7 Sb lights, and essentially, using them with D600 means I will make all of them less effective.  REALLY, NIKON? REALLY?

Other niggles such as no CF card (I have CF cards i abundance, but don’t own any SD cards!), 1/4000th max shutter speed (compensated by lower ISO anyway), amongst others, don’t bother me so much, but the slower sync speed is such a shame. I hope this is fixable with later firmware release, or someone develops a hack to speed up the sync speed.

I guess they had to distinguish between pro bodies and enthusiast grade bodies to cater for different markets, and you just have to compromise in certain areas. I just wish they did that by dropping a few other features instead of what I consider to be a foundation of a great all rounder. I may still consider D600 as a studio camera, leaving my D3 for the outdoor work. Or I may need to look at D800 once again, although 36MP really is a bit of an overkill, even for my studio requirements… They really don’t make it easy for you, do they?