Monday, 3 December 2012

Nikon D800 vs D600: What to buy?

After the introduction of the Nikon D600 many are wondering if they should get the Nikon D600 or the Nikon D800. As you might have read in some of my previous blog entries. I have been in the same situation. In the end choosing the Nikon D800. Both models have reports of having a bit of early manufacturing problems with autofocus issues in D800 and oil/dust issue in the D600.

So why should you go for the more expensive D800:
  • Larger sensor. The D800 has a larger sensor and this can be both an advantage and disadvantage. You will get a lot of details in your pictures and if you crop in/zoom in it will easier show bad photography shooting style. But you also get a camera with a DX crop mode that is about the same as the D7000. There are some that thinks the big files are a big issue and if you do a lot of post processing it can be an issue, but remember you don't have to use the max setting. If you use the M (5520 x 3680) setting in image size you get something that is pretty close to the size that D600 produce at L setting (6016 x 4016). All in all you get a sensor with more options than in D600. It is up to you if you want to use these options.
  • More advance autofocus. The autofocus model in the D800 is professional and from the D4. I like it more than what I have seen on the D600 as it covers a larger part of the picture.
  • More advance metering. The metering in the D800 is a step above the D600. This means that you should have a greater part of your pictures that are correctly exposed. Especially if you shoot most in hard lightning situations
  • 2 extra format settings (1.2x and 5:4 format). Again this gives you options that you don't have in the D600, but for most people this doesn't really make a difference.
  • Faster max shooting speed. You get the 1/8000 with the D800 compared to the D600. Again more options, but for most it isn't a deciding factor. 
  • Faster flash sync speed. This can be important if you do a lot of indoor shooting, but again for most people it doesn't really make a difference
  • Some of the more minor difference is more frames with different bracketing and you get USB 3 compared to USB2 in the D600. All minor difference that doesn't make a difference for most users.

So why should you go for the less expensive D600:
  • You get two SD card slots compared to the D800 with one SD and one compact flash. 
  • You get U1 and U2 and a lot of predefined settings like landscape, beach/snow. This means it is easier to configure you camera for different camera taking situations, but you have to remember to use them otherwise they don't make a difference
  • You got better remove release options. It is weird that Nikon makes a standard that fits all cameras instead of many different solutions.
  • You get a lighter camera.
All in all I think of the D800 as a camera that is more prepared for the future. It gives you more options and it is more likely to live with you longer than the D600. It does require higher photographer skills. Another big advantage is the autofocus and metering, which are on a higher level than the D600. So what you need to decide if you want to pay the extra money for the more options you get with the D800. My decision was that I was prepared to pay the extra money for those (for me) nice to have features. If you like predefined settings with options to create your own, then the D600 is your choice.


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