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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!