Nikon D600 Digital Camera Review
Nikon's D600 is just a strong as the D800, minus the extra resolution.
High ISO performance of the D600 is exceptionally strong, returning usable shots up to ISO 3200 or 6400 depending on print size, and all this before the use of any noise reduction software.
Once you do start using noise reduction, the effects can be dramatic. Each noise reduction level behaves similarly at low ISOs, but once you cross 3200, the software has the ability to lessen image noise by one "ISO's worth" per noise reduction level. For example, image noise is 1.76% at ISO 6400 and low noise reduction, yet holds steady at 1.71% at ISO 12800 with normal noise reduction. Basically, this is really good noise reduction software.
Each step incurs a penalty to detail level of course, but the shots that can be pulled off low light situations are worth it. More on how we test noise.
The D600's sensitivity range extends from 100 - 6400 natively, however this can be extended considerably without any resolution penalty. After unlocking them with a menu option, sensitivities down to Low 1.0 (ISO 50 equivalent) are available at the bottom end, and sensitivities up to Hi 2.0 (ISO 25,600 equivalent) appear at the top.
We detected no differences in the focus speed of the D600 versus the D800 in a side-by-side comparison. Both cameras lock on quietly, precisely, and almost instantaneously. This alleviates one of our chief fears concerning the D600: that the camera's different autofocus system, which features only 39 AF points to the D800's 51, would be inferior. Thankfully, it's not.
Video: Low Light Sensitivity
Just like the D800, the D600 was able to produce a 50 IRE video image using only 4 lux of ambient illumination, making both of these models some of the most sensitive we've tested. Note the D600's auto-gain will not meter past ISO 6400, so for the sake of consistency, that's the maximum we tested. If you choose to manually increase sensitivity beyond the sensor's native range, to ISO 25600 equivalent, the D600 requires only 1 lux of illumination to gather 50 IRE.
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