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D600 makes no design compromises (pictures)

Though it's smaller and less expensive than the D800, the Nikon D600 mimics the excellent design of the D7000.

Lori Grunin
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Lori Grunin
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Similar to D7000

The D600's body bears most similarity to the D7000, though the video record controls are slightly different.
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Top controls

A top status LCD is one of the features that separates entry-level dSLRs from more advanced ones.
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Mode dial

While I'm not crazy about the center-button-lock dial design -- Canon does this too -- I generally prefer this kind of mode dial to the electronically set modes on the higher-end cameras. The D600's is basically the same as the D7000's, with the exception of that button.
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Back controls

No design surprises here: the D600 control layout will look familiar to anyone used to shooting Nikon, down to the multicontroller rocker switch I'm not fond of. I do like the location and operation of the Live View/Movie switch, though.
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Dual card slots

Two SDXC slots, always nice to have.
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Connectors

The out-of-focus port (sorry!) is a connector for a wired remote, a micro version of Nikon's standard 10-pin port. There are headphone and mic jacks for audio recording during video shoots, and the HDMI can output an uncompressed signal for hard-disk recording as well as a clean signal without information overlays to a second monitor.
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Video interface

The mic has up to 20 adjustable levels.
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Autofocus mode switch

Just like on other recent Nikons, the button in the middle of the focus mode switch pulls up the focus area options.
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Programmable functions

You operate this function button with the fourth finger of your right hand. It's comfortably placed to accommodate your forefinger on the shutter button.
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Wireless dongle

Wi-Fi isn't built in; this $60 dongle fits into the USB port.
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Big sensor

The D600's naked sensor.

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