Nikon unveiled a small, full-frame digital SLR for photo enthusiasts and prosumers tonight: the 24.3-megapixel Nikon D600. At 26.8 ounces, the Nikon D600 is 16% lighter than the 36.3MP Nikon D800, which is Nikon’s professional studio, commercial, and landscape photography camera.
The D600 is also slightly smaller physically, than the D800. Dimensions (w x h x d) of the Nikon D600 are 5.6 x 4.4 x 3.2 inches, making it just a hair more svelte all around than its stablemate, and more in line with the size of the Nikon D7000, which uses a smaller, APS-C-size image sensor.
The D600 will also be nearly $1,000 cheaper than the D800, when it goes on sale on September 18th for $2,099.95, body only. The DSLR will also be sold as a kit with the AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 lens for $2,699. (It’s worth noting that tonight’s announcement and next week’s ship date mark one of the quickest product availability turnarounds for a DSLR we have seen in quite some time.)
The Full-Frame Flood
Until earlier this year, no new full-frame, aka 35mm-size image sensor-based digital SLR had been released since 2008. Since the beginning of this year, however, the floodgates have opened for full-frame DSLRs but the Nikon D600 is the first model to be unveiled that does not seem to be aimed directly at a professional photography audience.
Instead, the company is gearing the D600 towards emerging photographers and consumers who want to graduate up from their entry-level DSLRs with APS-C size chips.
The Nikon D600 also appears to use a 24.3MP full-frame (35.9 x 24mm), CMOS image sensor that’s very similar to Sony-manufactured chips in the recently announced Sony A99 DSLR and the Sony RX1 compact camera. Both those models also use 24.3MP full-frame sensors.
At a press preview of the camera earlier today, Nikon officials would not say that the Nikon D600 uses the same chips as the pair of Sonys.
“It’s an original design by Nikon,” Lindsay Silverman, Nikon’s Senior Product Manager for Pro DSLRs said of the full-frame sensor in the D600. “Even though the resolution of one (sensor) to another might be the same, the performance is very different.”
During our hands-on time with a prototype of the D600 today, we were struck by how closely it resembles other recent DSLRs in Nikon’s lineup. (Just.. ya know… slightly smaller and less expensive.) Some of our photos of the camera are included in this story.
The D600 offers an expanded ISO range of 50-25,600; 2,016 pixel, 3D Color Matrix Metering; full 1080p HD video recording at 30p with 20 level audio control and uncompressed output via HDMI; a 39-point AF system with the new MultiCAM 4800FX AF module; Nikon’s Scene Recognition System, and the EXPEED 3 image processor.
The camera offers cropping flexibility, letting photographers shoot in either full-frame FX mode or the smaller, cropped APS-C size DX mode, both for still images or movies. The D600 has a similar control layout to the D800 though a new dial on top of the D600 also features two programmable user settings.
Read the rest of this story here.