Is my Nikon D600 defective?

Started Apr 12, 2013 | Questions thread
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wesaturn
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Is my Nikon D600 defective?
Apr 12, 2013

Hi ... I just purchased a new Nikon D600 camera, and I'm getting shots out of it with very underwhelming, non-lifelike color and with the highlights often blown out.  This is true in both Automatic mode and in the Aperture Priority mode in which I normally shoot.  Below are a few examples of jpegs straight out of the camera. (I can get slightly better results when shooting RAW and using Photoshop Camera RAW to adjust the photos, but the problems remain.)  
The first photo (the house) was shot at f4, 1/25s, ISO 360, 24mm; the second at f4, 1/200s, ISO 100, 70 mm.

Photo shot at: f4, 1/25s, ISO 360, 24mm.  Notice the blown-out sky.

Photo shot at:  f4, 1/200s, ISO 100, 70 mm.  Notice the blown-out sky and dome on the building.

I am not using any special settings on the camera, and in fact, for fear it was one of the settings that was  messing things up, I reset the camera to its factory state -- still the same results. 
My normal lens is a Tamron 24-70 f2.8 Tamron SP VC USD Di, but I've tried taking pictures with a Nikon ED AF-S 28-70 f2.8 D with similar results.  So the problem can't be the lens.

I have updated to the latest firmware.
My hypotheses so far are:
(1) Something is wrong with the camera, and I should return it.
(2) Something is wrong with how I'm taking photos with the camera.
(3) I'm being too critical and the photos are really just fine.
Which do you think is most likely, or do you think something else is wrong?
Thanks.

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