Nikon Unveils the D600, a Portable and “Affordable” Full Frame DSLR

After months of rumors and speculation, Nikon has finally announced its new full frame camera, the D600. In terms of specs, the rumors were right on. However, we missed the mark by quite a bit regarding the price. We’ll come back to that later.

The D600 is in fact the company’s “entry level” full frame DSLR, designed to bring the benefits of an FX-format sensor to enthusiasts who were previously unwilling to take the plunge. The camera features a 24.3 megapixel CMOS sensor, an ISO range of 100-6400 (expandable to 50-25600), a 39-point autofocus system (9 cross-type points), a 0.13 second startup time and a 0.052 shutter lag, 5.5fps continuous shooting, dual SD card slots, a viewfinder with 100% coverage, built-in HDR, 1080p HD video recording with full-time AF, and a 3.2-inch LCD.

Although the camera is the smallest and lightest full frame camera by Nikon, weighing just 760g, the designers did their best to shed the size and weight without compromising durability. The top and rear of the camera are made with magnesium alloy, and the entire body is sealed against dust, dirt, and moisture. The shutter inside the camera is also rated to 150,000 actuations.

The camera features the same “Scene Recognition System” that has been appearing in recent Nikon DSLR cameras. Here’s how the company describes it:

Whether shooting lush landscapes, action sports or the elusive animals of the Serengeti, Nikon’s Scene Recognition System and 2,016 pixel RGB sensor excels in any situation. By recognizing the scene prior to capture, the system meticulously analyzes factors such as color and brightness with extraordinary precision and compares all the data using Nikon’s exclusive 30,000 image database. The result is enhanced AF performance and flattering exposures.

The D600 will also be launched with a new WU-1b Wireless Adapter. It’s a $60 dongle that allows photographers to connect wirelessly to the DSLR. Paired with a special app for smartphones, it allows users to remotely fire the shutter, transfer images to and from their phones, and quickly share them onto the web (through the phones). It has a range of about 50 feet.

Here’s a short product video introducing the camera:

Okay, now back to the issue of price. Photographers all across the Internet started drooling last month when it was rumored that the camera might arrive at a sub-$2000 price — perhaps even as low as $1,500. Turns out those rumors were completely off.

When the D600 does arrive on September 18th, 2012, it’ll have a price tag of $2,100. It’s certainly cheaper than the rival full frame cameras on the market, but definitely not in the APS-C DSLR range.

Still, it’s exciting that one of the trends we’re seeing this year is an emphasis on sensor sizes rather than megapixels. Hopefully one day in the near future we will be writing about a $1,500 entry-level full-frame DSLR. Too bad it wasn’t today.

  • Joey Duncan

    What does the FX stand for? F’n Expensive? lol, I’m kidding. Seems like a great camera.

  • Heize

    At a quick glance, it seems more or less like a competitor for 5D mark II. With the benefit of Nikons awesome low light capability. I just don’t understand why choose this over D700.

  • derp

    I won’t be purchasing this. Old autofocus and $2100?

    Nice try, Nikon. Let’s see how Canon responds.

  • Dave

    Unless you only own one Nikon lens, your threat will not strike fear into Nikon as a company.

  • Mike

    Looks like a nice blend of D7000 and D800 spec. Priced almost exactly between the two models as well, a perfect step in the lineup. Well done Nikon, these will sell very well.

  • pieri

    1000 better than crap rx1 and i dont understand why many will buy rx1 XD

  • Ivan

    OK, let’s see what Pentax will do now.

    To uninitiated: with only one exception as far as I know (Samsung 14MP sensor in K-20 and K-7), Nikon and Pentax have been using Sony APS-C sensors, following each other in terms of image quality. Starting from 6MP in D70/50/40 and *istD series/K100, then 10MP in D80 and K10D, 12MP in D5000 and K-x/r, to current 16MP in D7000/5100 and K-5/20/01. (I might have missed I few, but you get the picture – Nikon and Pentax are using the same “film”!)

    Now, the only question really is: will Pentax decide to go FF route, or protect 645D by sticking to APS-C and 645 formats? (Note that Canon and Nikon don’t have an MF body so FF makes perfect sense to them, not so to Petnax.) But if Pentax decides to develop FF, I’d expect it to be the same as 24.3MP sensor in a $1.999 body. We should not be surprised if a D600 equivalent named K-3(1?) gets announced in the next 6 months of so.

  • Lars

    will it have the nikon fancy WB look (greenish) too? :)

  • 243244

    now CANON… come on….. i want a cheaper FF backup body too my 5D MK3.

  • DafOwen

    Video, 24Mpx

  • Rene Hache

    FX = full frame sensor. DX = cropped sensor, usually 1.5 or a 1.6 ratio

  • 323232

    you donĀ“t grasp sarcasm do you?

  • paluo

    will buy one!!!!!!

  • Rene Hache

    LOL Just realizing now. I guess it would help to read the entire comment!

  • nikonian

    Sony had a $2000 Fullframe at 24mpx 2 years ago… This doesent impress me as it is just a crippled D700 OR D7000 with a better sensor!

  • nikonian

    The D3 fits like a glove… Even the D700 feels small to me…

  • Joenoname

    Street photography, i myself will buy one for when im skating and need a quick high quality shot.

  • G

    If you own a D700 and don’t care about video, probably no reason at all to buy this. If you’re buying a new ff now the D600 is in production (that helps) and with a newer sensor it should outperform or at least equal the D700 in this respect plus offer more resolution. Looks like a great prosumer camera, but if you have some specific pro user needs you probably shouldn’t go for it.

  • CanikonCrap

    Waits for first glaring issue to be posted on someone’s Blog Somehow not picked up with unlimited budget and 5 years of R&D and testing…yet released to a public willing to pay at least three times what it’s actually worth for the “latest and greatest” Jap PoS.

  • Philip Han

    Hahaha, you mentioned Sony on a Photography blog.

  • Daniel Austin Hoherd

    Sony makes the D800 sensor.

  • 323232

    portable really?
    what are you guys smoking?

  • Cochese

    Only at a glance. Until you spot that iso range. We’ll see how it performs, but considering the Mark II and III get great performance at higher sensitivities, I don’t think this will be much of a competitor, price aside.

  • MD

    Uh…as opposed to? If Japanese cameras are overpriced, how do you feel about the German ones? Or are you using one of those American cameras we hear so much about?

  • Jason

    This is 10000 times for exciting than the iphone5…

  • Cochese25

    It’s called the 5DMII. It’s far better to this camera, still in production and is going for less than $2000.

  • Matt

    You can be damn sure this teenage photographer is getting this.

  • CanikonCrap

    I’d rather pay for an M9, no dodgy auto focus, publicised fault tolerances, superior optics of Leica and Zeiss lenses. Leica recently dropped the price of their M9 and M9-P cameras to roughly that of a D4 or 1D-X. It’s either that or gaff tape the top LCD of my 5D3 or only use the right side AF points of my D800 while not using the LCD for white balance.
    I wouldn’t give Canikon $4.00 for their cameras & lenses let alone $4k.

  • E

    This is a so called entry level full frame camera. For many looking to buy this camera the lenses they own will not make a difference as I suspect most of their lenses will be designed for crop sensor. Still.. I like your point ;)

  • Jo Rodrigues

    I’ve been waiting for this camera! Now I shall continue waiting for what it is missing to be added. Wonderful camera but why leave the vari-tilt LCD screen that is available on the D5100 off? Seems like a trivial thing but when you often photograph from ground and high arms above my head levels… it’s an absolute joy to have.

    Seriously Nikon?! Full HD video with “Monaural”? How bloody cheap can you be not to include two basic microphones in the body and allow better audio through an external microphone? Even on the D5100 I thought this was a cheap and nasty move but on the D600 it is NOT acceptable! Rather then concentrate on photography and make space for things one WILL use!
    I am a Nikon fan and buyer but this is a let down and the price it will arrive on my doorstep will make sure I DO NOT buy it and I really was wanting to till now.

    So disappointed and let down… it is like a Ferrari without any wheels!

  • nordicyeti

    not sure about the mic, but the vari-tilt screen would probably make weather sealing harder and more expensive. remember this is a stripped down pro camera, not a feature packed beginner.

  • Beginner photographer

    Does the D7000 have the wireless adapter to connect the camera to your smartphone?

  • Jo Rodrigues

    Fact remains that this is still an expensive camera and not exactly weather robust. I have had the D5100 for a year now and love it. I use it (carefully) at the ocean and at close proximity to the water with no problem this far. All I need is the damn sensor upgrade.

    I am out walking taking photos. I need the smallness with the crisper quality of a full-frame. Fortunately for me, unlike other photographers, I have learnt to use the vari-angle LCD when needed and now refuse to be without it. So I will not buy this camera and if I cannot afford the D800, then I won’t buy one at all.

    I love Nikon but I won’t be told to take it or leave it.