The Nikon D600 dSLR is a premium pick with a budget price tag,
Full-frame SLRs are often viewed by photo enthusiasts as the holy grail of photography, thanks to large sensors that match the size of traditional 35mm film and make budget SLR sensors look practically tiny in comparison! Armed with pro=grade reliability and downright knock-your-socks-off-level image quality, most of us end up just dreaming about buying one of these, thanks to their prohibitive pricing. Well, dreams have just gotten a little more real with the arrival of the D600, Nikon's first stab at a "budget" full-frame digital SLR. The big question is- is there too much of compromise made?
In design, the D600 is a interesting mix of pro and enthusiast cameras-the use of magnesium alloy and polycarbonate panels and an overall small chasis makes it incrediblly light as a full-frame camera, yet it doesn't make you doubt the quality of construction. If you carry your camera around for hours shooting birds or wild life, your shoulders will thank you for the massive drop in weight!
Dive inside, and the D600 checks off some essentials - a 24 megapixel full-frame sensor, with 5.5 frames per second (fps) continuous shooting capabilities and a 39-point autofocus system - the latter being a step down from the 51-point AF system offered on the serious high-end Nikon pro cameras, one that trips up the D600 only when you are focusing in gruly poorling light conditions or in fast-paced sports shooting. Folks upgrading from current Nikon cameras will love the DX mode that lets you use non full-frame Nikon lenses with the D600 over a variety of shooting conditions, and no matter what you throw at it, the results are hight on details and noise levels are low all the way up to ISO sensitivity levels of ISO 6400. Choose to shoot in the uncompressed RAW mode, and you'll be rewarded with greater control and results worth taking to the bank.
Apart from the AF system and the minor button compromises that the streamlined design necessitates, there's little to fault with the D600. You have to be serious photographer to spend this much on any camera, but suddenly with the D600, there's a middle ground for people like you whose budgets can't stretch all the way into pro-level prices.