Canon User with a Nikon D600 (Part 2)

Started Oct 17, 2012 | Discussions thread
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MajStriker
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Canon User with a Nikon D600 (Part 2)
Oct 17, 2012

Hello all. Several of you read and commented on my previous thread regarding my initial impressions with the Nikon D600. As you know I mentioned in that original post some issues I was experiencing with what I believed was the AF, I have some updates on that and further impressions. I recently took a trip to Colombia and since it was more of a relaxation trip for me, I decided to leave my Canon gear and take only the D600 and a Nikon 28-300 VR lens. Before anyone tries to denigrate me for my lens choice, YES, I am aware that this is a superzoom and no, I did not expect L series or Prime type quality. I like to travel lightly and in the past have used the Tamron 28-300 on my 5D II before I moved to the 24-105 F/4 L as my main travel lens. The Nikon is in a completely different class than the Tamron. It actually turned out some beautifully sharp images. I now wish that Canon would consider updating their own 28-300 offering into a more compact option like the Nikon.

Now, on to my further impressions...

1. My previous post I had outlined some issues that I experienced and my initial suspect was the AF of the D600, I have since determined that the AF was NOT the culprit. The issue was (and is) with the included in camera HDR function. This is a feature that I enjoy and utilize often in my 5DIII and was interested in using in the D600. The problem is that the D600 takes an inordinately long amount of time to process an HDR shot. This time frame can vary depending on the scene but I experienced delays of up to 20-30 seconds after a shot (not all were this long but some were). I was using a class 10 SDHC card so it was not related to the write speeds. Although the 5DIII is not super fast at processing in camera HDRs, its considerably faster than this. This lag/delay on the D600 became extremely aggravating the more I used it, especially when you would snap one shot and then see something interesting and couldn't even switch to a different mode to quickly shoot it.  If you accidentally left the camera in User1 (my HDR settings), it locked up the camera and resulted in some missed candid opportunities. This also made shooting landscape HDR stitched panoramas a long slow aggravating process. If you don't use in camera HDR or prefer to blend your own you likely will not notice this issue.

2. When I did take normal non-HDR shots, the AF worked perfectly. I had some shots of several subjects in motion, sometimes coming directly at the camera and it handled them beautifully.

3. The HD Movie mode mostly worked very well, including the AF during recording (by that I mean, pressing the shutter button halfway to focus). An odd issue kept occurring however with the movie mode, when I would switch to movie mode it would record for about 4 seconds and then say: "Recording interrupted, please wait" This would display for about 15-25 seconds and then go away and then I could record as long as I pleased without any further interruptions. Again, I was using a class 10 SDHC card so I'm not sure why this kept occurring. It was annoying and repeated itself everytime I switched back and forth between movie and normal operation.

4. Battery life was very good, I used the D600 for 9 days recording images and video and it was on its last gasp of battery life at the end of my trip. I snapped about 500 shots and probably 40-50 short videos. (I chose not to charge it to test out its longevity). If you happened to forget your charger on a short trip you'd probably be ok.

5. Ergonomics - Overall it was good but not great, this could just be a personal preference. I really really missed the fat giant wheel on back of my 5DIII, never realized how comfortable/useful that was until it was gone. Nikon does have a front and rear wheel but to me they felt awkward to use as I had to bring my thumb up and roll it horizontally instead of a much more natural vertical motion with my thumb on my Canon. Also when in playback/review, using the directional joystick was not nearly as fluid as Canon's thumbwheel.

6. Image Quality - No complaints, I'll be adding some photos soon that I took but honestly I was generally pleased with the results. I'm not a pro, I don't claim to be, I take mostly average pictures and I know this but I felt like I could accomplish with the D600 the same level of quality I could accomplish with the 5DIII. I sorely missed the more robust features of Canon's in camera HDR however.

7. Dynamic Range - I'm sorry, I really am not seeing anything different here than in my 5DIII. Maybe its because I don't try to underexpose by 3 or 4 stops and push all my shadows 100%. In fact, I try to spend as little time in post processing as possible, I go on vacations to enjoy them, not spend them hunched over my laptop in the hotel room. I understand that the D600 has a measurable advantage according to DXO's testing, but in my style of shooting I'm just not seeing a difference....certainly not the kind of difference that is noticeable when you aren't comparing side by side. Its kinda like a TV, sure when you are at Best Buy looking at them all side by side you might see some subtle differences between models  but when you buy yours and take it home you don't notice those things anymore.

Ultimately, its a very capable camera, we all pretty much knew that. The things that aggravated me were pretty minor and probably most users wouldn't even use/notice them, however they do make a significant impact in my particular style of shooting so, for me, I will probably still use my 5D III exclusively. For someone who is not committed to a particular system I would have a hard time convincing them that the 5DIII is worth the extra $1200-1400.

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