Hands-on with the Nikon D600, a More Affordable Full Frame DSLR

Immediately after handling the Canon 6D, we also got a chance to play around with the new Nikon D600. Unlike the 6D, Nikon’s cameras were locked down to the display booth, making it more difficult to get a feel for the weight. However, based on the announced specs alone, we know that the Nikon camera is even lighter than the already-light 6D (760g vs 770g), though it is a bit chunkier in its dimensions. Despite being so light, the D600 also feels quite sturdy. It’s cheap in its price but not in its build quality.

On the back of the camera is a gorgeous 3.2-inch LCD screen. Peer through the viewfinder, and you’ll find 39 autofocus points compared to the 6D’s 11 (with 15 of them cross-type, compared to the 1 center cross-type point in the 6D).

The D600 makes use of the autofocus points very well. It locked onto subjects cleanly and quickly, and snapped photos at a speedy 5.5 frames per second (compared to 4.5fps in the 6D).

The camera is slightly more geared towards entry-level photographers in some regards, while offering attractive features for pros in others (like the things we’ve mentioned above). For beginning photographers, there’s a built-in flash:

The buttons and dials on the back of the camera should be familiar to Nikon shooters. On the left side you’ll find a dedicated “retouch” button that lets you edit photos and movies on-the-go:

We’ve listed a number of advantages the D600 has over the 6D, but the fact is neither camera is clearly dominant over the other. The 6D also has some solid advantages over the D600. For example, the 6D has a much higher maximum ISO (25600 vs 6400), a smaller size, better battery life, and built-in GPS. Neither camera should make you want to jump ship and join the other brand.

The Nikon D600 is a very solidly built and attractive DSLR, and definitely worth looking at if you want to try out full frame photography for the first time. We’re very excited about the trend we’re seeing this year of camera companies taking pro-level features and lowering their price points.

Although neither entry-level FF offering hit the ridiculously low $1,500 price tag that was floating around in the rumor mills prior to their announcements, we may one day see such a camera if this trend continues. Now that’s an exciting thought!

  • sasasa

    well if your a sport shooter i guess the 6D will lack behind and make you think about jumping ship. 1 cross point sensor.. that is so 2006.

  • Renato Valenzuela

    wow, good to see the 24-85 still in service. felt a little nostalgic

  • sasasa

    if your a canon shooter with lots of glas you might think about buying the 6D… but if someone buys new into the DSLR world… why should he buy the 6D?
    because of wifi and GPS?
    gimmicks for the facebook crowd.
    i rather have a dedicated GPS tracker for 30 euro.
    and wifi for RAW?…. too slow.
    but 1 cross point af sensor … ROTFL…
    and a 97% viewfinder + 180/s sync speed…. vomit….
    NIKON here i come!

  • Tapo

    That is a new 24-85, not the old one.

  • Chris Warkocki

    Umm D600 max ISO is 25600 not 6400. SMH

  • Michael Zhang

    For both cameras we’re referring to the non-expanded ISO maximum.

  • Nikon>Canon

    Take notes, Canon.


  • Chris Warkocki

    The 6D is 26500 normally with boost to 51200. You should note that in the article BTW as you’re not telling the readers the whole picture ;)

  • Albert Zablit

    The built-in flash acts as a remote commander for its Creative Light System. It’s present all the way up to the D800…. Nothing to do with “beginning photographers”.

  • sasasa

    and above 12500 it´s pretty useless anyway….. so why bother if your interested in image quality?

  • Chris Warkocki

    Because I hate articles that are wrong in their specifications. Remember that most consumers purchase on numbers and when you say 51200 vs 6400 the people are in shock. When you state it correctly it’s not so bad.

  • Halfrack

    If you’re a sports shooter you’re already killing things with the 7d…

  • Michael Zhang

    Oh wow. You’re completely right. Somehow I stated the boosted ISO for one and the native max for the other. Just made the correction — very sorry about that! :(

  • Antonio Carrasco

    I’m excited to get this camera, but why did they need to add a “retouch” button? It just adds visual clutter, and its a feature that most don’t use and is easily accessed by menu.

  • sasasa

    well let me inform you the 7D is no fullframe camera.

  • Mansgame

    Canon people are proud that their 6D doesn’t have a pop up flash but they have never had CLS so they don’t know what they’re missing.

  • Mansgame

    This is VR….I still have the non-VR version too so maybe I can sell it at a decent price this time.

  • Mansgame

    It’s 6400. Anything above that is software based the same way if you under-expose a picture at 6400 and pull out the shadows in post.

  • Mansgame

    You’re embarrassing yourself. You are wrong. it’s 6400. Hi1 and Hi2 are not native ISOs

  • Felipe Yang

    That is not as much of a downside as you’d think because the 1.6x crop factor eliminates the need for a tele converter in some cases..

  • John R

    No AF-ON button on the 600? What are they thinking of. One of Nikon’s killer features and it isn’t there. Strange about the low ISO figures too, must be protecting the £5000.00 D4.

  • Halfrack

    And? The sports shooter line from Canon has always been a crop – 1.3x – up until the 1Dx. Most sports shooters toss on a 70-200 2.8 lens and get that free range. Have you seen the cost of a 300 2.8 or a 400 2.8 lately? Shooting FF is a portrait, landscape, product, weddings, High ISO in low light, etc…

  • sasasa

    external flash…… and we have a RADIO flash. :)

  • sasasa

    well you don´t know shi* what other people will use a FF camera for.
    it´s just egocentric blah blah….

  • IrisChrome

    No but AE-L/AF-L button can be reprogrammed to AF-ON

  • Mary Q. Nelson

    That is a new 24-85, not the old

  • ninpou_kobanashi

    DxO Scores are out. D600 appears to be what it should be (^_^). D800 minus $1000 worth of features, with on par image q. I’m almost jealous as a D800 owner, but I’ll never go back to prosumer camera controls!

  • Chris Warkocki

    Or I figured he was using boosted for both because he said Maximum. Making a distinction between what maximum is can be very important in this and all industries. When someone uses the word Maximum vs. Highest non-boosted ISO I as a consumer get a clearer and more honest picture. When the numbers are off it also throws in a whole other curveball.

  • Chris Warkocki

    $630 flash that I need two of to fire wirelessly. So after my $1300 plunge to gain almost 100 feet of radio ability. I could purchase just the transmitter and a flash and that only kills my pocket book at a whooping $1000. I’d rather by 1 flash for $500 from Nikon, Pentax or Sony who all over wireless triggering from their popup flashes within 50 feet and save myself a ton of money. Heck It would be much better to pick up a Phottix Odin system and get 200 meters of wireless radio functionality and it works with older flash models that don’t cost over $600. SMH. All the camera brands are amazing but sometimes people need to realize limitations they are presented when manufacturers neglect real world needs.

  • Pavel Suprun

    Nikon weight is 850gr.

  • Spirulina

    Looks fantastic but I’d prefer the price of the Nikon D3200

  • Renato Valenzuela

    but optically, isn’t it still the same? just with VR added?

  • Mansgame

    Nikon has those too but we get a 3rd option. Someone could get a $180 used SB-600 and no other parts and get instant off camera flash with ITTL

  • kimberly

    I’ve said it before, and ill say it again. I just don’t understand why everybody ends up fighting over who’s better Nikon or Canon who cares, get out there and shoot. I know it will never go away as long as theres oxygen left to breathe… But, those of u who argue, just end up making yourselves look like friggin idiots. Then, when you’re done responding to people who are expressing nothing but opinion, while obviously pushing your buttons ON PURPOSE, you need to realize u don’t have any valid points either because your opinions dont mean shi7 to them.. WHO CARES. Its not a pissing contest. Just SHOOT and back up your opinions with some validity if u feel u MUST. You know, with images? *gasp*

  • bdelsol

    hell, in the hands of an artist, a holga can produce amazing shots.

  • luka3rd

    Oooh, those 6D advantages makes me die for it! All essential photo options…
    Canon = misery