Review: Nikon D610 and D600

Full-frame DSLRs

Frame grab from our sample video from the Nikon D600
Video workhorse? A frame grab from our sample video from the Nikon D600

When it was launched last year, Nikon’s D600 was the first “low cost”, full-frame DSLR, undercutting the price of cameras such as Canon’s 5D MkIII or Nikon’s own D800, by almost £1000. And, although a price tag of around £1400, or $2000, body only, is hardly cheap, it has opened up the full-frame, 35mm sensor camera to a much larger potential market.

The benefits of a full-frame camera for stills photography are well documented: no cropping, and so true focal lengths, when using full-frame lenses, access to wider angle lenses, and generally better low-light performance.

But it is in video where the full-frame sensor comes into its own. There is the low-light sensitivity again, but also a greater dynamic range than smaller sensors, and a shallower depth of field. This alone is one reason DSLRs have appealed to film makers; the full-frame DSLR has a more pleasing image, to some eyes more so than that of Super35mm cameras.

Nikon has lagged behind Canon in the DSLR for video race, although the D800 has gained some ground, especially through its use on some well-known TV shows in the US.

But, although Nikon beat Canon to market with the lower-cost full-frame DSLR (Canon’s offering is the 6D) problems with the Nikon D600, especially oil on the sensor, hampered its take up. That, in turn, prompted Nikon to bring out the D610 – in effect, a mid-life upgrade to the D600. This review looks at both cameras.

Next: the D600

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