Ken Rockwell on “Nikon’s Big Deception” with the D600, D800 and D4

Proto-photo-blogger Ken Rockwell has interesting things to say about what he calls “Nikon’s big deception.” If you’re currently considering the new D600, his “What’s New in September 2012″ words will be music to your ears:

Holy cow, I just realized Nikon’s big deception: the D600, D800, D800E and D4 are all the same cameras designed and produced in parallel at the same time and all have the same insides, producing the same images with the same processing power, same LCDs, same green-shift problems and identical AF controls. They differ only in exterior packaging and when Nikon chose to announce them to make them appear different. It’s just like 1980 again!

Back when Nikon ruled the pro 35mm world, all their 35mm cameras took the same pictures. The only differences were how tough and how fast they were. Consumer cameras like the EM were plasticy and worked OK, while the F3 was tough and fast, with the FE in the middle. All took the same film and same lenses, had the same meters, the same automatic modes, all focused the same, and all took exactly the same pictures.

[…] Today, Nikon’s 2012 FX trio of D600, D800 and D4 obviously were all designed and manufactured at the same time with the same innards, and merely announced in descending cost order at different times to try to hide the simple fact that they’re the same camera inside.

So Rockwell’s claim is that Nikon is taking the same powerful guts of the D4 and hamstringing it in various ways (e.g. firmware, build, features) in order to target different segments of the camera market — the same thing Canon is doing with the 1D X and 1D C.

  • dp_blogger

    What is so wrong/right/revolutionary/controversial about what Rockwell said?

    It’s about time that Nikon, Canon et al produced products with same, or similar, image quality across differing price points, and only changed the body design and performance.

    Perhaps some of you are too young to remember the film days(or only started shooting after the birth of digital), but that’s the way it was; and it was easy. You didn’t have to sacrifice image quality by going “down” from a professional model to an entry level offering. Sure, top pro models always shot faster frame rates and could be thrown against a wall and would still work. But image quality was due, primarily, to the GLASS and the FILM; and more importantly, the skill of the photographer. Today, the same thing: the GLASS and the SENSOR….and much more importantly, the skill of the photographer!

    Personally, I couldn’t be happier if NIkon offered the same guts in every cameral. I’m tired of FX, DX, APS-C, blah, blah, blah….tired of it all! I want ONE FORMAT!

    Then, there’s mirrorless……but that’s for another conversation, on another day.

    Don’t get too bent out of shape about what Rockwell says. He’s mostly right and knows his stuff. Does he oversimplify? Sure. But someone’s gotta do it.

  • Bill

    I only read Rockwell’s site for it’s entertainment value.

  • Jon Ingram

    Oh Ken..Ken…, when will stop spouting easily misunderstood crazy nonsense to your predominantly amateur audience? Yes.., the cameras are similar in many ways (duh, they are made by the same company!), but no, they don’t have the same innards. In case you haven’t noticed, they have very different sensors, which happens to effect pictures quite a bit. *Sigh* … Don’t get me wrong. I learned a lot from Ken back in the day, but eventually we all have to graduate. He also had some crazy nonsense about how the D7000 and the D600 were practically the same. This is even worse, as they have vastly different noise profiles! (1200 vs 2900 noise ratings). Contrary to Ken’s opinions, low light capabilities really do help in actual paid photography (photojournalism, weddings, sports, etc)! Maybe if he got out there and started actually shooting cameras for a living, he would realize that the best feature of a camera is not it’s light weight! Turns out it’s pretty nice to shoot a black-tie event and get great pictures in low light without flashing the hell out of everyone (full-frame camera + f/2.8 lens – not the lightest setup but it’s the best tool for the job).

  • Gonzo

    And this ignorant comment was necessary why?

  • Moo

    And he goes on to completely contradict himself as usual “the D600 now fixes all my ergonomic complaints about the old D800 and D800E” … “I haven’t even turned on my D800E since my D600 arrived. I find the
    D800E’s idiotic user interface, completely lacking real AF system
    controls or any way to save and recall fixed camera-state settings, make my D800E just another dust-gatherer here”

    But that said, I love KR’s site, it’s so much fun. He’s just a camera nut, light-hearted and built a rep by being the ultimate troll, compared to say Steve Huff who is just an egoist who needs a slap

  • duck

    Then there must be a ton of “stupid pro’s” by the number of canon equipment at sports events, political rally’s, etc. Its like arguing Ford vs chevy…….LOL

  • Dimitris Servis

    Which is obvious, valid and desirable. And it so happens in all industries. “They differ only in exterior packaging” shows KR has no clue about product development.

    BTW I never thought anyone was reading KR for anything more than the laughs. :D

  • Charles

    My Ken Rockwell impersonation: “The (insert whatever camera here) is the BEST dslr on the market, ever, period! Unless you shoot this, or that, or this or that or do something other than what I’m doing with it. Of course, it’s the best if and only if…etc., etc. However…but, I mean…it’s the BEST! Not to be confusing but, I will write several reviews on cameras and lenses, all with such ambiguous talk here and there that it’ll be hard to tell what the hell I’m talking about AND…if you jump between my reviews, you’ll find BLARRING contradictions throughout! ” (But please support me to help support my family…blah, blah, blah, blah.)

  • G Lewis, UK

    At least Ken is getting off his butt and getting out there into the wild blue yonder and taking pictures, many of which I find very acceptable. There are too many ‘armchair’ photographers in this life who do nothing but pontificate over other people’s efforts. We meet these ‘judges’ time and again in camera clubs, exhibitions and seminars and we all feel we could do a better job than said personnel.
    Keep up the good work Ken, at least I enjoy visiting your site as much as you obviously enjoy creating it!

  • 166

    opinions are like assholes, everybody has one…………..

  • Rory Gilmore

    huh? Sony are possibly the most devious of all electronics companies, building obsolescence into everything they “innovate” from Betamax onwards. And when they decided the DSLR world was worth a foray…. what did they do…. they simply bought (and then terminated) Minolta. They didn’t innovate anything.

  • Trevor Allsopp

    Nikon never did pay thats why he’s moved to canon. He still raves about the d3 and d40 though. The guy knows how a camera should work but he is talking absolute rubbish. They all have different sensors for 1. When it was the d3 and the d700 he never said anything and the d700 had the same sensor.

  • Marcelito

    A person who says that jpeg basic is better than raw has no credibility for me. Perhaps it is overkill for his lousy work, but they are different, and using one is as valid as another as long you dont call moron to whom dont think as you

  • Jarl Of-Solitude

    who ?

  • Reinaldo Aguilera A

    At the past i read tyhe sama about Canon EOS, the T2i and the T4i are same with minor changes..That´s the technology..

  • Kenji Kataiiwa

    Are you anti-Japanese? Because Canon is from Japan company since 1936. Kodak company is dead. So I think you the stupid American people.

  • Jim

    I agree. Rockwell’s writings would never make it into any popular scientific journal. He fails to use control samples and conduct double-blind tests and only relies on his perception and preferences as evidence to support his biased opinions. He reminds me of my wife who always changes topics when I corner her on her faulty logic as she knows when I’m coming in for the kill. Of course, I always win these arguments on logical grounds, but she seems to get the upper hand as soon as she starts to cry. I hate when they cry. You can never convince them that they are wrong when they get so emotional. Women and Ken suck!

  • Jim

    If you discovered that your fiancé were cheating on you I bet your opinion of her would suddenly be the opposite of what you told everyone. It’s only human nature to hate what you once loved especially when you feel betrayed or very disappointed.

  • Jim

    Fro knows photos (dot) com.

  • chica

    36.2MP Nikon DSLR vs. 24MP Leica rangfinder. 5″x7″ glossy prints from Costco vs. contact prints from a few sheets of 8×10″ film. As Ken Rockwell says, “Your Camera Doesn’t Matter,” © 2011 Ken Rockwell.

  • chica

    However, not all photographers are of equal caliber in technical skill and artistic talent. Always remember and never forget “Your Camera Dosen’t Matter,” © 2011 Ken Rockwell.

  • Watchin

    Kodak? who said Kodak? I heard Nikon, Canon, Sony you a (must be lonely) stupid Japanese people. LOL…

  • Feroz Khan

    True, but it’s one thing to complain once, it’s another to go on ranting about it and praising your new gf to no end. Won’t be too long before he switches again.
    Plus if he said this was what Nikon did back in 1980 as well, who’s the idiot now for going back to them from 80 till just a while ago?

  • Canonikon Fan

    If you don’t want yourself to be upset, DON’T READ ANYTHING FROM KEN ROCKWELL! Smart people don’t argue with thier own opinion. Just take your camera and enjoy taking good pictures with it. I think thats the best way you can do. Who the hell is Ken anyway? Is he a God? He is like you also starting from scratch.

  • Canonikon Fan

    I cannot compare the two big camera makers for they have their way of impressing people like us. and who the hell are we in putiing one down and make one top. they investing huge amount of money to make their camera more user-friendly and more affordable? I own both canon and nikon cameras. i used them in my business, i love both because they help me support my growing family. Peace man!

  • Canonikon Fan

    Maybe one day i will agree on ken rockwell’s (INSPIRING?) opinions, if he’s the one who will buy best camera and lens for me with his own money. So ken buy me those best camera and stuffs but one day you will hate it.

  • Thomas Purbeck

    And what’s wrong with women who suck?

  • # azumaguy

    Idiot (and I use both brands)

  • # azumaguy

    Thank you, Mike.

  • Robert Goosen

    Hahaha There seem to be many KR bashers active here. Funny thing tho, you all seem very up to date with his latest articles…

    None of you have the dedication to develop a site, nor the courage to voice your straight shooting opinions in a field that is complex and technically demanding.

    KR’s is the first site I go to for a trusted opinion on any Nikon gear. I use it to form my own opinion. So far I have found very little evidence that proves him wrong, so that makes him in my opinion a worthy contributor to our photographic world. Despite his more colourful attributes.

  • Robert Goosen

    PS I think it is generally proven by multiple reviews that the 5DIII kixass

    Will I change to Canon? Unlikely as I believe that my skill as a photographer is still lagging what most cameras offer me – so that will be just stupid.

  • rahul sharma


  • La Morocha Db


  • bedoya


  • MMGMalok2001

    I have been kissing for the whole week

  • Nataly gutierrez


  • gikaru


  • Theth

    yes it is so impossible game

  • Yonathan

    You sound like an abusive douche-bag.

  • BullIsland

    “Nikon’s best flash, the SB-400, has become more difficult to find.”

    The best?

  • BullIsland

    “Nikon’s best flash, the SB-400, has become more difficult to find.”

    Have you sold all you SB-800s or 900s, and bought the SB400 as a replacement?

  • David Leung

    It seems like he knows what he is doing to generate an audience, including you.

  • Gyro

    OMG what total douche bag you are!! I’m sorry but I can’t help myself for writing this!! I can’t believe you actually are proud of having arguments with your wife to the point of making her cry. AND Posting about it. Purely to just “be right”. I’m surprised she stays with you.
    Nothing is that important to become a bully over and “Win” an argument!! “As she knows when I’m coming in for the Kill” your words written… Yikes! Good for you- you can make your wife cry over winning an argument & having to be right. Big man you are. I think your issues are far bigger then you even know…. peace out!

  • Gyro

    After reading many of the post replies here on this subject post I can see this is definitely a place i would be wasting my time with any intelligent thoughts- what a bunch of angry bashing rude people here- Peta Pixel…nix! as well as DPR. Ken Rockwell may not be the most technical about his reviews but he actually seems to use the gear and give an assessment that help most people to go over options for choosing to buy equipment.
    Most people here don’t need to have any more specs thrown at them because it’s not going to make their images any better. Most Techies that need all that BS don’t even shoot they pixel peep and talk about gear and specs. Get out and shoot & STFU! Maybe those that are upset about what he posted paid 5+K for a camera they look at not through??!! Take what is useful & leave the rest, if nothing is useful then go elsewhere. NO need to talk trash about someone that is just saying what he feels as user of various products. And don’t get me going on some of you that still play this silly debate as to whether Canon vs Nikon… OMG so sophomoric!! ~ peace out!

  • Chuckl8

    Shawn: Exactly.

  • Chuckl8

    Bill: You mean when all the peeps disliked Pol Pot, there must have been “something to” him? Try again.

    Ken Rockwell is an egotistical, misinformed and super-opinionated blogger who may possibly be color-blind.

  • Bill

    Hey, I appreciate that you didn’t go with hitler.

  • Chuckl8

    Hitler’s over-done. I thought a Pol Pot reference would be more appropriate for an audience that’s a few notches higher on the intellectual scale than most.

  • Ronen Z.

    Yeah…but Rockwell does it to millions of people..asks for donations..buys top gear and does not blink an eye…