Nikon D600 review

The Good There's a lot to like in the Nikon D600, including a great set of shooting features, comfortable and intelligent design, and excellent photo quality and performance.

The Bad Photos display some unrecoverable clipping in the highlights that you don't expect in a camera of its caliber.

The Bottom Line The Nikon D600 is a really good camera for the money, as long as you're willing to shell out for the lenses that can do it justice.

Editors' Rating
  • Design 9.0
  • Features 9.0
  • Performance 8.0
  • Image quality 8.0
8.3 Overall

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Design
9
8
8
8
8
Features
9
8
8
8
9
Performance
8
7
8
9
8
Image quality
8
8
9
8
9

Review

Great full-frame camera on the (sorta) cheap

Inexpensive -- well, it's all relative -- smartly designed, fast, and with generally excellent photo quality, the Nikon D600 lives up to the buzz it generated from its first days as a baby rumor.

Image quality
With one disappointing exception, the D600 delivers terrific photo quality for the price. It produces relatively clean image data at low and midrange ISO sensitivities, and has very smart JPEG and noise-reduction algorithms. You get very clean JPEGs up through ISO 400. I start to see a little degradation in shadow areas at ISO 800, though there's no corresponding degradation in well-lit areas until about ISO 3200. JPEG images are generally quite usable through ISO 1600; depending upon the scene and lighting you can probably push it as high as ISO 6400, though I'd recommend working with raw to be on the safe side. I was a bit surprised that it wasn't significantly better than the Canon EOS 5D Mark II at ISO 12800, but the D600 does have less clipping in the shadows and I couldn't find any hot pixels.

Like most full-frame cameras, the D600 produces photos with a nice, natural sharpness and tonality. It renders a broad dynamic range, although disappointingly there's a lot less recoverable detail in clipped highlights,even in 14-bitraw files, than with more expensive models like the 5D Mark III and D800 (it will be interesting to see how the Canon EOS 6D fares under similar circumstances). The D600 does very well with shadow detail, however.

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Specs / Prices

  • Brand Nikon Inc.
  • Digital Camera Type Prosumer dSLR
  • Weight 1.68 lbs
  • Sensor Resolution 24.3 pixels
  • Optical Sensor Size (metric) 24 x 35.9 mm
  • Optical Sensor Type CMOS
See full specs
model with 24-85mm lens

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