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Nikon D600 v D800

Nick_w Plus
11 4.3k 99 England
4 Jan 2013 11:37PM
Ok I'm looking to upgrade from the D700.

Why, well I'm looking to do more panos, and I'm fed up stitching images, I also want to do more long exposures, so the possibility of ISO50 is appealing, as is increased dynamic range.

Those who have made the choice, what are the real benefits of either camera. Is there really focus problems with the D800, are there really dust/lubricant problems with the D600.

I like the bracketing on the D700 (9 images, 1 stop apart), the D800 I think is the same, but how long does it take Photomatix say to process such huge files. I'm unclear with D600 is it just 3 images, +/-2 stop ( or is it +/-3stop - different reviews say different things).

Will I find the reduced commands on the D600 annoying (I'm constantly changing ISO, aperture, shutter speed on the D700 - I work manual 90% of the time), oh do both suffer from the same light leaks as the D700, I use the inbuilt viewfinder cover on the D700 all the time, certainly on any exposure >0.5 sec.

Finally do guarantees apply worldwide if I were to buy oversees (from a reputable retailer, not grey import).

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EddieAC Plus
13 2.0k 2 United Kingdom
5 Jan 2013 12:17AM
I don't have either camera (unfortunately Tongue) but I downloaded the D600's manual online and from what I can see I believe it only will do 3 images max. Of course you can do more manually but then you have to risk jogging the camera when rotating the command dial.

I do have the D200 and a D7000. I would say the controls on these cameras can be compared to the D800 and D600 respectively in that the D200 and D800 both have ISO,WB & Quality controls on top of the camera (the D800 also having bracketing button in the same location). The D7000 and D600 have these controls on the back of the camera to the left of the screen. I have no real problem either way but the former seems more intuitive and easy to change while still looking through the viewfinder.

I am not to certain about worldwide guarantees but from what I remember reading in previous forum threads I believe that your guarantee would only be valid in the U.K. if you bought the camera in the U.K. and would have to send the camera back overseas for repair if you purchased it elsewhere (Hopefully some nice and more knowledgeable epz'er will come along and clear that up).
JohnParminter 11 1.3k 14 England
5 Jan 2013 1:08AM

Quote:Why, well I'm looking to do more panos, and I'm fed up stitching images,

I'm confused Nick, don't you need a panoramic format film camera and lenses if you don't want to stitch images? How will another full frame camera be any different to the one you have at the minute, may I ask?

Graysta 13 1.1k England
5 Jan 2013 7:39AM
In terms of build quality the D800 is the direct choice, however as stated above if you want pano shots them you need a tool to do that. The D700 is a mighty fine tool as is the D800 of which I have had both and still have D800. but stitching together the edges of a 36mp frame might raise it's own issues.
LenShepherd 10 3.6k United Kingdom
5 Jan 2013 8:52AM
My upgrade route was from the D3s to the D800, and a second upgrade was from the D300s to the D7000.
While the build quality of my new cameras is good it is not as good as my old cameras, and probably not as good as your D700.
It tends to get overlooked that when it comes high noise performance, high dynamic range and high resolution at an affordable price; when introduced the D7000 was market leader.
Within the D7000 limitations of a not so good autofocus system or build quality I find it easily beats the D300s for image quality.
The D800 has the optical performance to produce good A2 prints suitable for close inspection - which is why I bought one Smile
The central area autofocus is a useful improvement on the D3s, with the D600 somewhere in between.
The D600 has fewer autofocusing points and handles differently to the D800 or your D700. There is a good chance larger branches of Jessops will have either new model for you to try.
How long it takes to process files depends in part on your computer specification, in much the same way as how fast your camera can auto focus depends in part on the lens maximum attitude.
My D800 is faultless as is that of 8 other owners I know.
If you buy a UK imported a camera in the UK you are entitled to your money back if it has a fault or develops a fault within the first six months of use from the retailer. This takes out much of the risk out of buying anything new - provided the retailer does not go out of business.
Is there an autofocus fault?
10 months after launch Nikon has not said there is; although they have had a faulty battery batch recall.
I have looked at 95 posted images on another forum making a complaint. None of the images followed Nikons guidance on avoiding the few types of subject that can cause autofocus to fail, or contained the vertical direction detail which is all a Nikon outer autofocus point normally detect. Suggestions of re-testing with a more suitable autofocus target fall on deaf ears.
I believe there may be 1 or 2% of defective cameras, as with any manufacturer, and that there is a lot more talk about a possible autofocus problem then there are reasonable posted images showing that a possible autofocus problem exists.
Andy_Cundell 7 1.1k 5 England
5 Jan 2013 11:05AM
I have a mate with a D800 and yes, it's a bloody awesome camera but I don't think it's worth £500 + or - a little more than the D600.

If I upgrade in the near future, I will be opting for the D600!
User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
5 Jan 2013 12:38PM
When the D600 was first announced, the price differential between it and the D800 meant that there was no question - the D800 won hands-down every time.

But now that the D600 can be bought for about £1200 and the D800 is still about £1900, the price differential is now probably large enough to make the D600 a reasonable buy for those who want a decent FX camera but can't afford (or justify) the cost of the better model.

For me, the mind-blowingly superlative image quality that I have been getting from the 36Mp of the D800 for the past 9 months would make me very reluctant to advise anyone to settle for the lower resolution of the D600 if they could afford to buy the D800. But that is not to suggest that the D600 is not a brilliant camera in its price range.
puertouk 6 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
5 Jan 2013 12:44PM
Its got to be the D800. Everywhere I´ve looked, it gets rave reviews and the images it produces are stunning. Why be worried how long it will take you in Photomatix, because of the size of the files? If your images are coming out and blowing you away, why the hell worry about time! Out of 100 shots, you may have 10 or 12 keepers! Are you in such a hurry? Chill out and enjoy the work you are producing and don´t worry about quantity, just make sure the quality is right.
Andy_Cundell 7 1.1k 5 England
5 Jan 2013 1:28PM
Nick_w Plus
11 4.3k 99 England
5 Jan 2013 3:46PM
Thanks everyone, I will be looking at both. Len, I Won't go for a crop sensor, I would need to get another lens for extreme wide angles (landscapes) so there would be no cost advantage. I haven't regretted for one millisecond moving from DX to FX, in fact the third press of the shutter on the D700 got me a HC. What I noticed going from the D300 to D700 was the increase in dynamic range, looking at the specs both have 2 stops more advantage (it's getting close to the time when filters won't be needed).

Quote:I'm confused Nick, don't you need a panoramic format film camera and lenses if you don't want to stitch images? How will another full frame camera be any different to the one you have at the minute, may I ask?


John with 36 mp camera you will get a 18mp image in 3:1 aspect ratio (12.5 for the D600). You crop top and bottom, so getting rid of the extreme corners (the worst part of wide angle lenses). With the D700 you only get 6mp for the same crop.
rogerbryan 13 397 United Kingdom
5 Jan 2013 3:57PM
Nick_w has hit he nail on the head.

I bought a D800E last year and have produce some good pano shots using either a 20mm or 50mm prime lens. The quality produced by the D800 and good lens combination allows cropping of top and bottom of the file to produce good 3:1 ratio panos. Alternatively I have stiched two or three images taken with the 50mm lens together and cropped to a decent size pano.

JohnParminter 11 1.3k 14 England
5 Jan 2013 5:01PM

Quote:John with 36 mp camera you will get a 18mp image in 3:1 aspect ratio (12.5 for the D600). You crop top and bottom, so getting rid of the extreme corners (the worst part of wide angle lenses). With the D700 you only get 6mp for the same crop.

I understand that Nick. I thought you were wanting to do panoramic images wider than the widest lens you had therefore stitching together images.

I haven't regretted for one millisecond moving from DX to FX

I'm going the other way Nick, from my D300 to a £250 compact camera. I've decided on a completely different approach focusing more on being in place and offering far more opportunities for images rather than on technical quality. I believe my photography, for what I have in mind, will improve with this approach rather than upgrading camera quality.

phil99 11 45 6 United Kingdom
5 Jan 2013 5:30PM
Just bought a D800 and one lens Nikon 24- 70 2.8 and blown away with them . Some of my lenses work fine Sigma 105 macro .Sigma 150-500 . Will have to replace my Sigma 10-20 so will be selling that one. Build quality is better than my D300 . Price difference between D 600 and D800 is only about £500 but the build quality of the D600 is not as good as my old D300 . If Nikon had brought out a replacement for the D 300 in DX format may have stuck with that . Go for the D800 you will not regret it . A fast computer is required though so budget that in ....Phil
keithh Plus
14 25.4k 33 Wallis And Futuna
5 Jan 2013 5:42PM
I reckon a dozen stitched from the D300 will beat a wide cropped D 800 shot every time.
5 Jan 2013 5:43PM
The sensor differences are very slight. DxOMark gives the D600 a minuscule advantage in mid-tone signal-to-noise ratio and high-ISO dynamic range, while the D800 has an even slighter lead at base-ISO dynamic range.

The sensors are practically identical except for pixel count, and raw pixel counts greatly exaggerate the real-world differences in detail for two reasons: first, linear pixel counts rather than total counts align better with our perception of detail and print size; and second, lens quality is typically far more important than pixel count at these levels. (I hope DxOMark’s ‘ Perceptual Megapixel ’ clarifies this to a broad audience in the near future.)

For a vivid demonstration of how lens and technique can matter much more than pixel count, have a look at this thread on another forum, wherein a 5D Mark III trounces a D800 for detail simply because the Canon has a better lens (at least at the 24 mm focal length).

Unless you’re already using top-of-the-range lenses, you might be better off spending the price difference between the D600 and D800 on a better lens, if high detail is your goal. And even then, you might find there are no suitable lenses good enough to crisply resolve 24 megapixels across the frame (the AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED in the thread above is the best lens of its type Nikon offers).

None of the above implies that more detail always makes better photos. Obviously it doesn’t in 99 % of cases. I’m just saying pixel count considered in isolation of lens quality and technique isn’t a useful indicator of technical quality anymore. The pixel counts already exceed the capabilities of most lenses at most apertures, and the technical capabilities of most photographers. And if you like shooting at 1/60th second handheld at full aperture on a £500 zoom, you can ignore all these nuances. Twenty-four megapixels would already be far in excess of what’s needed.

All that said, I opted for a D800 over a D600 for these reasons:
• better build quality (though still not quite up to D700 levels by my reckoning). Whether I need the build quality or not (I probably don’t), I like my camera to feel like a camera
• compatibility with 10-pin accessories (I already had a remote release and Dawntech GPS receiver)
• compatibility with CompactFlash cards (I only owned two, but one was big and fast, i.e. expensive to replace in SDXC format)
• the very high initial price of the D600 (mentioned above, now fixed). The D800 also started way overpriced, but by the time I was shopping it had fallen 600 quid
• the sensor dust rumours about the D600, which may or may not be serious, and may or may not be fixed, but did give me pause (I hate dust problems)

My first D800 had significant focusing problems, no ifs or buts. Its replacement was better, but frankly, the focusing system is the weakest point of this camera, particularly compared to Canon’s latest. Both phase-detect (asymmetry problems, inherent imprecision, miscalibration between lens and camera being the rule rather than the exception) and contrast-detect (line skipping problems) autofocus are troublesome when working at large apertures, and Nikon doesn’t offer replacement focus screens to improve manual focus.

The D600’s much lower size and weight are huge advantages over the D800, but I reluctantly turned them down in favour of the above points.

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