Upgrading from the Nikon D7000
Recently I decided to upgrade my Nikon D7000 to the Nikon D600, I have played around with it for a couple of weeks now and as of today the RAW files can be read in Lightroom, so i thought i would give my 2 cents on how i think the camera compares to the D7000.
I decided to sell the D7000, mainly because by the end of the year I believed the D7100/D400 will be released discontinuing the D7000, this will greatly reduce the resale price of the camera body, so saw it as an opportunity to get good value in selling it. Although i really liked the D7000 and thought it would be the perfect camera to hold onto for many years, there were a few things that bugged me about the camera, most notably:
- Its low light performance was pretty poor when trying to recover shadow detail, any image above 800 iso was next to useless in my opinion, the large amounts of colour noise eliminated the possibility of recovering any details.
- The dynamic range was not as good as I would liked it to have been – High contrast scenes would require bracketing to ensure the detail is captured.
So i decided to upgrade to full frame, giving me the extension of dynamic range I would like and a better low light performance and reduction in colour noise.
Why Nikon D600
Why did I go for the Nikon D600, good question….. After successfully selling my D7000, i had 100% made up my mind to get the D800 in the grey market. The Aussie Dollar was very strong so the price was too good. But then i got an email about the Nikon D600 opening at the local camera store and that they were giving away free goodies with the purchase on the opening. So I panicked, went down to the store and got the D600. The freebies included a voucher to see some seminar that i wont go to, a really ugly nikon bag, a lens cleaning kit and the wireless dongle that is compatible with the Nikon D600 (which i haven’t received yet). Obviously i regretted this decision and thought it was stupid that i put a huge dent in my credit card to purchase a camera that looked exactly like the D7000. But I’m so glad i did.
The D600 is the perfect size, the D800 larger and heavier reducing its portability, I would also have to upgrade my tripod and get more hard drive space. For some, the D800 is the perfect fit, but for me it is a bit of overkill and unnecessary for my needs.
Image quality, was it worth it
I can use the D600 up to ISO 3200 and still find the image quality at the level I want without noise reduction applied, a few tweaks in post and 6400 iso still looks great. The biggest difference between the d7000 and d600 is the ability to recover shadow detail with minimal colour noise.
The dynamic range is so so much better, you may take an image with the same exposure resulting in very similar RAW files between the D7000 and D600, but when you start recovering the highlights and shadows you will see the endless detail in the image. I would adjust the exposure to +0.5 in lightroom with the D7000 and the shadows would just reveal copious amount of colour noise rendering single RAWs in high contrast scenes pointless, I found myself bracketing almost every shot just so i wouldnt have this problem in post. The D600, i push the exposure sliders up to +2 and still i can see so much detail and almost no colour noise in the shadows.
These two features in Dynamic range and low light capability completely justifies the upgrade from the D7000 and I am so glad i opted for the smaller, lighter and cheaper option to the D800.
So if you are planning on upgrading from a cropped sensor to full frame, this is a perfect option, although not as cheap as everyone first thought the quality of the sensor results in high quality images, high dynamic range and superb low light performance, which i believe completely justifies the slightly increased price.
If people would like some comparisons between the two, i have some ready just make a comment below and ill get them up on this post.