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.

  • Jonno

    Apple’s been doing it for years…

  • Ben Evans

    Except the D4 focuses much faster and is better in low light, the D800E has noticeably better image quality and etc…

    But good SEO to get all four cameras in one controversial (because it’s false) post.

  • Shawn

    Ken Rockwell will say anything without proof and little real evidence just to get people to go to his site and click links to buy stuff so he can get the commission. Take what he says with the largest grain of salt you have ever taken anything with ever.

  • Jeff Revell

    I guess you could also say that the Merceded $95,000 S350 is really the same car as the $42,000 C350. It just has a few less whistles and bells. Sorry Ken, but really???

  • MikeT

    So what’s your point? I thought this was normal for most products that are made today. Does anyone think that each product is re-engineered from the ground up?

  • Byron Chin

    Hard to understand why this is earth-shattering in any way. So the D4, D800, and D600 have the same, or similar Expeed motherboards, and some common controls, but have different sensors and body construction. If Ken wants to get his D600 to shoot in JPEG, fine. You’re not paying for a faster ASIC with the D4; you’re paying for the build quality and the AF module. Whether it’s worth the extra cost depends on the market.

  • David Shepherd

    It really doesn’t matter what he thinks about Nikon’s manufacturing and R&D processes as Nikon understands how to make a great product and maintain it’s bottom line. I like K. Rockwell’s blog, but I take that with a grain a salt also. All for the above cameras may share tech, but I am certain that they are not identical. The D4 is the most complicated camera of the group and then D800/600. It just like cars, You have the luxury brands that eventually send luxury tech into the consumer brands 5-6 models later. Nikon and Canon has to make money and keep the innovation moving forward and this is a great way to do it.

  • NDT

    Rockwell is the Internet equivalent of the guy on the street that asks you for $2

  • E

    “hamstringing it in various ways (e.g. firmware, build, features” And what’s wrong with that?

    It’s not like they could have mass-produced just the D4 and sell it at the price of the D600 or offer the resolution of the D800. Different cameras, different purposes, different prices. Targeting isn’t just a nasty marketing tool, it actually makes sense for the consumer/pro user too. If it all was firmware I would understand his comment, but this is just whining for the attention imo.

  • E

    And by the way, I don’t agree with the term “hamstringing it” in this case.

  • Kieran Grasby

    EHRMERGERD! He’s worked out how electronics companies work! Of course bits of them were developed in parallel, that is how R&D happens.

  • joushikijin

    Ken Rockwell is un-educated, biased & doesn’t know a lot about anything in particular. My proof you ask… He shoots in .jpeg!

  • G

    Many pros (photojournalist) shoot jpeg, pictures sent off to editor who makes the selection (editing) and off to print with no or little post work. People need to get away from this “pros only shoot manual and raw” myth. It is all about what fits the job.

  • Simon Meisinger

    and you provide this this lying douchebag with publicity while he’s taking crappy oversaturated pictures of his children and getting truckloads of money of camera manufacturers to not write bad about them. seems like nikon forgot to pay this month.

  • Simon Meisinger

    no, those people usually don’t talk bad about other people’s employers.

  • michale p

    please don´t give that clown a platform or any credibility.
    he runs a site that is only there to lure noobs into buying from his links to amazon.
    it´s realyl a same that you take that guy serious enough to make a headline.
    he should be ignored!!

  • Antonio Carrasco

    All you have to do is look at the design and layout of ken rockwell’s site to know that he has little to no talent for visuals. Why anyone would take his advice on cameras is beyond me

  • Chris

    Almost all the great pro’s throughout history were skilled in the darkroom. All Raw is is a digital negative. It’s stupid to shoot JPEG if you are an artist (photojournalists I can see but not really anyone else pro). That’s like shooting a wedding film and then giving it to WalMart to process.

  • Chris

    *shooting a wedding WITH film

  • anthony

    This guy has zero credibility left. Once he made his bogus claims that china was trying to screw us over with the implementation of lead-free solder, he lost all credibility to me. leaded solder is very harmful to the motor coordination parts of your brain, which is why old techs have terrible hand stability. This guy has zero knowledge of electronics, and he is the last person I would believe on saying camera x is the same as camera y. he has probably never used a screw driver in his life.

  • G

    I totally agree. As I said, what fits the job. Pros shooting raw know how to get it right however.. and there is a lot of this “unless you shoot raw you don’t have a clue” nonsense online.

  • G

    *that should be “shooting jpeg” of course.

  • RCB

    Ken Rockwell?! Bahahahah!

  • Jonathan Nafarrete

    Why are we quoting Ken Rockwell in the first place?!

  • RCB

    Ken Rockwell is like the Obama of the photographer world, he talks a snappy game, but his photographs are mediocre

  • fuzzywuzzy

    Ummmm, no. One of the biggest selling points of the D600 is the form factor (the D4 weighs a ton), it’s only just slightly heavier than a D7000. People have been waiting a long time for Nikon to make a full-frame camera that isn’t such an anvil.

    Please don’t give this tool any more publicity.

  • Ano

    Really, Mr. Zhang? Ken Rockwell? Really?!

    I thought you were better than that!

  • Neoracer Xox

    yea lets see yours then

  • Libby Stack

    Rockwell calls himself a “lens tester” which is a bunch of crap. He’s a hardware junkie plain and simple. Yeah he dissed Nikon in other posts, but amazingly bought the cameras anyway. When you link this guy, all you do is give him more credibility and publicity.

  • dumpty

    Com’on PetaPixel, please don’t stoop as low as to compare this to Canon 1D X/1D C. That situation IS just firmware (and differing EU taxes for video and still-picture cameras), this isn’t!

  • Angus

    putting aside what we all think of Ken Rockwell…. (i think he’s got a practical approach and voice about photography, while I also take his opinion as just that, opinion) i think he’s got a point.

    there is no doubt that all these camera (nikon, canon, fuji etc etc) all probably share a base set of parts and components, which are tweaked depending on the market segment they are targeting.. i think its nieve to think your D600 is anything more than a reworked D4 / D800 etc.. while it probably hurts people who spent up big on higher spec’ed camera, i think we should all rejoice that we are collectively sharing the “R&D Spend” that goes into building these cameras…. imagine they built these things from scratch every time.. a DSLR would cost a lot more..

    Lets also be realistic, the D4 costs to a consumer, what the consumer is prepared to pay and NOT what it costs to build. Same goes for every other camera…

    No doubt there is more R&D dollars spent refining the functionality of the D4 than a D600, but i bet its not that different.. Its just a clever game of Supply meets Demand at various price and functionality points.. People who are offended by Ken’s wacky comments, I fear are just trying to justify our investments (like i am with my 5D Mark iii, a 6D would have been plenty for me, but i optioned up).

  • Antonio Carrasco

    no, you are wrong. If you shoot raw + jpeg and are able to nail the exposure in camera, it can be a lot quicker to do a few quick edits to the jpeg and then send it out. editing and converting RAW files can sometimes add an unneccessary step to your workflow.

    yes, i understand that a jpeg file is compressed and yada yada, but sometimes the convenience far outweighs the microscopic image quality advantage that dealing with raw files gives you.

  • Antonio Carrasco

    this is not politics. do not turn this into something related to whatever your political views are. this has nothing to with obama. do not blame obama for ken rockwell’s failings

  • Dwtex

    Rockwell is to photography as comedians are to journalism. He is slightly entertaining, but no substance.

  • Mark

    Ken who?????

  • RCB

    I’m not blaming Obama for Ken Rockwell’s failings, but I am comparing their job performance. Obama’s is slacking off and going on The View instead of meeting with world leaders while they are in town at the United Nations. Rockwell’s failing is not writing up exposes, instead it is not being as good of a photographer as he is a writer. He admits this himself. Obama makes wonderful speeches, but his day-to-day job performance is detached and disinterested to say the very, very least.

  • Dwtex

    Following up on that; I really have to give the guy credit, he knows how to generate controversy and turn that into dollars! His website is not about photography it is about making outlandish statements which stoke the ire of photography buffs all across the internet and around the world. This insures that his website stays high on Googles ranking thus generating more “clicks” and in turn dollars.

  • Dwtex

    You are right, it’s Bush’s fault… everybody knows that ; )

  • JaneÅndDoug Howell

    When all the peeps dislike something or someone, well then there must be something to that someone or something. I like Ken Rockwell’s web site and he did help me when starting photography. His succinct and lucid articles helped me grasp picture taking much quicker. If you are new to photography, then his site is a must. Also his reviews seemed to be fair and objective. p.s. I’m glad I’m not a followerer like the sheeple commenting here.

  • bob cooley

    This is a photography forum, no one cares about your politics. Kindly don’t pollute the discussion with non-relevant b.s.

  • tigerpal

    Is this assertion (by Rockwell) even plausible when at least one of the three models (d800) has such higher resolution? He really is full of it sometimes!

  • NDT

    Did you stop to think people on here can see through his donut-glaze writing? Sure he writes in a very easy to digest fashion, but he has a penchant for VERY unbalanced articles and massive over-simplification of technical issues. Ken is a good populist writer. Thats it.

  • bob cooley

    Dear Mr. Zhang,

    Please don’t give Rockwell any unwarranted publicity. While I don’t think he means any malice, he’s certainly no authority and very little he publishes is based on anything but his poorly formed opinions.

  • School Ball Photographer

    This is Ken’s attempt at a new career in Comedy…

  • Albert Zablit

    To get more clicks and hits. It’s all the rage these days.

  • RCB

    It is relevant considering there are less than 45 days to the election.

  • Dave

    What everyone is trying so politely to tell you is:Shut up.

  • Dave

    If you can’t shoot with any of them then you can’t shoot. Who cares!

  • bob cooley

    no, you are using a litany of logical fallacies to try to inject your political opinion into a discussion that has nothing to do with politics. Kindly stick to the topic (photography) or troll elsewhere…

  • RCB

    I am injecting a political opinion I will grant you that. Analogies are not automatically fallacies sir. I am discussing the topic even if you don’t like how I chose to discuss it. Just because I made a comment about a politician does not mean I am the only one not allowed to express an opinion about Mr. Rockwell. I see plenty of others expressing the exact same opinion. For someone to pick on me because of my other opinion is rather over the top in my book. I’ll remember not to hint at interjecting even the slightest sense of humor on such forum venues in the future.