Nikon D600 Digital Camera Review
Nikon's D600 is just a strong as the D800, minus the extra resolution.
Shooting a standard 24-patch Xrite ColorChecker chart, the D600 returned an uncorrected color error value of only 2.32, with a corresponding oversaturation of only 2.1%, which is within our tolerance. Looking over the gamut, we see that light blue/greens are are responsible for the most severe inaccuracies, while remaining shades share the blame equally. More on how we test color.
NOTE: Because of the way computer monitors reproduce colors, the images above do not exactly match the originals found on the chart or in the captured images. The chart should be used to judge the relative color shift, not the absolute captured colors.
This results outscores some of the finest cameras of 2012, including Nikon's own D800, as well as Sony's new A77. For fun we also included the Nikon D4 in this comparison group, as well as the Canon 5D Mark III, and both of these models have superior color accuracy.
As is often the case for Nikon SLRs, the most accurate color mode (or "Picture Control" in Nikon parlance) is Neutral, by far. The Portrait and Standard modes also have color accuracy we'd consider acceptable, while Landscape, Vivid, and of course Monochrome should be used for artistic purposes only.
The D600's white balance performance is below average for a camera of this price. The automatic algorithm is particularly poor, and really only does an acceptable job in daylight. Under fluorescent light, the D600 produces an average color temperature error in excess of 1800 Kelvin, which is unacceptable. Things are even worse under incandescent light, which results in average color temperature errors of around 3400 K.
If you can't shoot in RAW, it's always worth your time to perform a custom white balance when shooting with the D600. This extra step will reduce color temperature inaccuracies down to below 200 K, a totally acceptable level. Daylight is once again the most accurate lighting condition, averaging errors of only 120 K.
While the field is relatively close in terms of custom white balance, the D600's automatic white balance scored similarly to the D800, which in turn lagged behind other cameras in this category.
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