Photokina 2012: Nikon Debuts Smaller, 24.3MP Full-Frame D600 DSLR for Photo Enthusiasts


SEPTEMBER 13, 2012

By Dan Havlik

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.

More details on the new full-frame Nikon D600 in the press release below.

PRESS RELEASE

PERFORMANCE THAT FUELS THE PASSION: THE NEW NIKON D600 PUTS FX-FORMAT IN FOCUS FOR PHOTO ENTHUSIASTS

As Nikon’s Smallest, Lightest and Most Affordable Full-Frame HD-SLR, the D600 Packs in Powerful, Pro-Grade Photo and Video Features with Wireless Sharing and Capture Capabilities

MELVILLE, N.Y. (September 13, 2012) – Today, Nikon Inc. announced the 24.3-megapixel (MP) D600, a camera that is designed to deliver the image quality and performance benefits of a full frame FX-format sensor to the enthusiast looking to take their dedication to the next level. The Nikon D600 offers a remarkable value, merging the perfect combination of a lightweight, compact form factor and superior image quality, making the leap into FX-format photography more attractive than ever.

Whether shooting stills or Full HD video, advanced features and Nikon technologies like the newly developed high resolution CMOS sensor and EXPEED 3 image processing engine are designed to meet the needs of the most demanding creative vision. Additionally, Nikon’s new optional WU-1b wireless adapter allows users to shoot high quality HD-SLR images and transfer them to their mobile device, making it easier to stay connected, without the need for wires.

“For many, image making is so much more than a hobby; it is a way of life that changes the way the world is perceived. The Nikon D600 represents a new category of camera for this user and demonstrates Nikon’s devotion to the passionate photographer who is always looking for new ways to express their creativity through their photos and HD videos,” said Bo Kajiwara, Vice President of Marketing, Planning and Customer Experience, Nikon Inc. “By offering users the advanced FX-format and key features inherited from our professional cameras, along with new functions like optional wireless capabilities, Nikon is inspiring photographers by providing an imaging experience that satisfies like never before."

Superior Image Quality
Nikon’s FX-format offers photographers exciting image quality possibilities, from dazzling dynamic range and exacting detail to stellar low-light ability. The D600 employs Nikon’s newly developed, large 24.3 MP FX-format CMOS Sensor (35.9 x 24mm) to offer photographers a versatile camera that provides amazing image quality and sharpness, with ample resolution to tackle almost any project. Because the needs of the advanced amateur varies widely, the new CMOS sensor provides a wide ISO range from 100-6400 (expandable from 50-25,600) to give photographers maximum low-light flexibility yielding clean images inchallenging light. Nikon’s exclusive EXPEED 3 image processing engine interprets the massive amount of image data flowing from the sensor to quickly process images and HD video. The result is striking images and impressive HD video that exhibits faithful color reproduction and tonal range throughout the frame.

Precision Technology Engineered for the Enthusiast
Enthusiasts of all types demand the best from their gear, and the Nikon D600 is a camera engineered with intuitive features that give photographers an edge in the field. Whether shooting lush landscapes, action sports or the elusive animals of the Serengeti, Nikon’s Scene Recognition System and 2,016 pixel RGB sensor excels in any situation. By recognizing the scene prior to capture, the system meticulously analyzes factors such as color and brightness with extraordinary precision and compares all the data using Nikon’s exclusive 30,000 image database. The result is enhanced AF performance and flattering exposures.

For precise AF performance in a wide variety of shooting conditions, the D600 features a 39 point AF system with the new MultiCAM 4800FX AF module. This AF array is well suited to a wide variety of shooting styles and disciplines, offering AF modes to let users select a single point, continuous AF, Dynamic AF or use 3D tracking to keep pace with a moving subject throughout the frame. Additionally, the system features nine cross type sensors for maximum accuracy, while seven AF points are fully functional when using compatible NIKKOR lenses and teleconverters with an aperture value up to f/8 for extreme telephoto applications.

To keep up with action sports, active wildlife or the photo opportunity that unexpectedly arises, the D600 is ready to shoot in 0.13 seconds, with a 0.052 second shutter release. The camera emphasizes speed and performance, from overall operation and image processing, helped in part by the exceptional EXPEED 3 processing engine. The camera is also capable of bursts of images at 5.5 frames per second (fps) at full resolution with full AF, to capture decisive moments. To further enhance speed and workflow, images and video can also be rapidly transferred to dual SD card slots that are compatible with the latest SDXC and UHS-1 high speed standards.

Enthusiasts will also appreciate other thoughtful features made to appeal to more advanced photographers, such as the 100% frame coverage seen through optical viewfinder. The wide and bright view makes it easy to compose in a variety of conditions, and affords the ability to enjoy shooting for hours on end with minimal eye fatigue. Additionally, the D600 features several scene modes and features to enhance creativity, including one-touch access to Picture Control functions through a new dedicated button. Photographers can also shoot images in High Dynamic (HDR) mode for amazing highlights, and create awe-inspiring time lapses with ease.

Experience Full HD
The Nikon D600 has advanced video features that are ideal for those ready to embrace the world of HD-SLR video, as well as those already enjoying its benefits such as manual control, depth of field, low-light ability and lensing options. This camera gives users the ability to record Full HD at varying frame rates and resolutions including 1080p video at 30, 25 or 24p, and 720p video at 60, 50 and 30p. When shooting HD video at the highest quality setting, up to 20 minutes can be recorded, or up to 29 minutes and 59 seconds in normal quality for added convenience when shooting static shots such as interviews and events. The large 3.2-inch 921K dot LCD screen makes it easy to preview images or video captured, navigate the menu system or confirm critical HD focus, while automatic brightness control adapts seamlessly to changing lighting conditions.

Sophisticated video features help to increase the production value on any project, including full manual control of exposure, and the ability to switch between FX and DX-format (1.5X) at Full HD for a telephoto boost and alter depth of field. Users can opt to focus manually or can take advantage of the full-time AF while recording to help ensure faces are in focus or track a moving subject. Additionally, videographers have the ability to capture audio with the onboard microphone or record stereo audio externally using the mic input. Audio can be monitored through the headphone jack and levels can be displayed on the LCD with peaking.

In addition to the ability to play back HD video and images through the HDMI terminal, users are also able to experience pro-grade video features in the Nikon D600. For monitoring and streaming applications, the image can be displayed on the LCD screen while simultaneously shown on another monitor through the HDMI, with or without shooting data. What’s more, the D600 adds the ability to transfer uncompressed video via the HDMI connection, which can then be routed to a digital recorder or similar device.

Remote Sharing and Capture
Photography is a form of expression, which can now be shared more ways than ever before through social networks and online communities. To accompany the D600, Nikon has also announced the optional WU-1b Wireless Adapter that allows users to connect wirelessly to the camera. A companion Wireless Mobile Adapter Utility application for Android™ based mobile devices is also available at no additional cost. 1 Furthermore, an application for the iPhone® and iPad® mobile digital devices will be available on September 15, 2012.2

When connected, users are able to share their images taken with the D600 through their mobile device to their social circles, as well as send and download images from their camera to a compatible device.3 The adapter also allows users to remotely fire the D600’s shutter from up to 50 feet from the camera, which is ideal for capturing photos from unique vantage points.

NIKKOR, Speedlight and System Compatibility
Supporting the D600 is Nikon’s heritage in optical excellence, more than 70 NIKKOR AF and AF-S compatible lenses for maximum versatility. Those with DX-format lenses will also be happy to know that these lenses can also be used on the camera as well as the ability to set DX crop for stills or video to extend the reach of telephoto or telephoto zoom lenses.

The new Nikon HD-SLR is also a gateway to Nikon’s renowned Creative Lighting System (CLS) which illuminates a whole new world of creative image making using multiple Speedlights. A built-in Speedlight commander can control multiple Speedlights such as Nikon’s SB-700, SB-910 or Wireless Close Up Speedlight System, and the camera can also control up to two individual speedlight groups for further creative control.

Constructed to Inspire
Built to withstand the wide variety of shooting conditions enthusiasts face, the body of the D600 is sealed and gasketed against dirt and moisture. The camera uses magnesium alloy top and rear construction to provide a lightweight camera with maximum durability. The shutter has been tested for 150,000 cycles, and sensor cleaning is also employed. The battery is rated for approximately 900 shots, affording photographers the ability to shoot all day. Additionally, the optional MB-D14 Multi Power Battery Pack extends the grip for comfort and can effectively double the battery capacity when using two batteries.

The D600 is also built with an emphasis on handling with thoughtful ergonomics and button placement, in a body that is compact enough to carry comfortably on any excursion. The hand grip has been improved for comfort, while the overall impression from using the camera is reassuringly solid. To avoid accidental engagement, the shutter button has been recessed, while the Mode Dial can be locked.

Price and Availability
The Nikon D600 will be available on September 18, 2012 for the suggested retail price (SRP) of $2,099.95, for body only, or with the AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR for the SRP of $2,699.95. The WU-1b will be also available on September 18, 2012 for an SRP of $59.95. The MB-D14 Multi Power Battery Pack will be available in late September for an SRP of $322.00. For more information on the new Nikon D600 and other Nikon products, please visit www.nikonusa.com.

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