D700 or D600......Please help / advise

Started Sep 23, 2012 | Discussions thread
El Duende
Contributing MemberPosts: 534Gear list
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Re: D700 or D600......Please help / advise
In reply to kalpeshmodi, Sep 25, 2012

I went through this same conundrum recently and ended opting for a used D700 with very low actuations. I was coming from a D7000 and wanted to go full frame. The D700 is a beautiful camera, big and solid and with excellent controls. I loved that about it. However I noticed that the dynamic range was noticeably less than my D7000. I do a lot of photography in demanding lighting situations: interior real estate - ie. dark rooms with very bright sunlight coming through windows on one side of the room and deep shadows in the other. Even with flash the lighting situation is really tough. With the D700 there was noticeably less latitude for pulling up shadows and pulling in highlights in Adobe Camera Raw. I shot several hundred photos with it, and concluded that the body is wonderful but the sensor is definitely less capable then the more recent stuff from Nikon - they are making HUGE strides in sensor technology with each new model. On top of that the D700 is big and heavy. Are you shooting in the jungle and need a camera that will last for 20 years with abuse? If pro level construction is NOT that important to you, and weight is NOT an asset, size and weight are mark against the D700. Metal feels great but at the end of the day tough plastic is more practical. To make a long story short, I ended up selling the D700 and today bought a D600 because I decided the D700's sensor was lacking and the body was too big and heavy for my needs.

Compared to the D700, the D600 feels less expensive and plasticy, but I don't see any reason why it won't give plenty of years of reliable performance. Do you need a big, metal camera that will last 20 years, or is durable plastic one that lasts only 10 years suitable? Who even keeps their DSLRs more than 5 years in this day and age? My D7000 is still going strong after 2 years of heavy use and tens of thousands of photos. It's never failed me.

Another big issue for me I didn't anticipate: I have a laptop with an SD card slot and with the D700 I needed to carry a USB cable with me whenever I wanted to transfer the photos. SD cards are much easier to deal with than CF (and faster to transfer).

A potential negative point of the D600 is those huge files from the 24MP sensor. That's the main reason I wanted to go with the D700 over the D600 in the first place. I don't need those huge files and don't want them clogging up my hard drive and slowing down my work flow. Time will tell how much of an issue this will be for me with the D600 but these are the main pluses/minus I see between the 2:

D700

+Metal/Pro, great controls
+12MP (if you don't need the extra MP)
-12MP (if you do need the extra MP)
--lower dynamic range
-big and heavy
-need USB chord for transferring files

D600

++Fantastic dynamic range
+light
+virtual horizon includes pitch display (in LiveView)
+SD cards are more practical and dual cards are great
-plasticy and cheap compared to D700 (but still well made)

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paul v

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