D600 Auto Focus Points - Who Thought That Would Be A Good Idea?

Started Mar 29, 2013 | Discussions thread
antoineb Veteran Member • Posts: 6,626
They crippled it to (1) save and (2) protect the D800...

Paul Schatzkin wrote:

(….which I thought would be a more suitable subject header than "WTF?" -- which is how I really feel about this topic. And I'm sorry if this is a topic that has already been beat to death elsewhere but I did search and did not find much to go on so....)

After waiting more than 10 years (since buying a D100 in the summer of 2003) for Nikon to introduce a full-frame DSLR in a price range that makes sense for me (like the price of the D300s I've been shooting for the past several years), about two weeks ago I picked up a Nikon D600.

I like most of the camera's features and functions just fine, and it's so nice to FINALLY see 24mm rendered as 24mm. Ten years I've been waiting for that!

But I am driven to distraction by the concentration of auto-focus points in the center of a small portion of the frame.  The auto-focus area falls well short of the thirds at either edge of the frame.
What genius designer/engineer/product manager thought that was gonna be a good idea?  I want their heads.

Now, I know, I'm supposed to be able to "focus and recompose."  But I shoot a lot of musicians on stage  They move constantly. I want their faces/eyes in the top third of the frame.    I need to keep the focus where I want it in the frame. Focus/recompose is really not practical in a situation like that.

I just looked through the viewfinder of my D300s and note that the auto-focus points on that camera extend to a point that is well within the "rule of thirds" grid on either side of the frame.  It is easy set the focus in the portion of the frame where I want it and leave it there; auto-focus does the rest.  I can concentrate on the subject and the moments.

Was I foolish to imagine that Nikon would include a similar functionality in a similarly priced camera?
I read somewhere that the AF points are arranged this way to make the AF area more compatible with DX lenses - which, it seems to me, completely defeats the point!  I did not after all these years get a full frame camera so that I could continue shooting with DX lenses!  I have several FX lenses already… I bought the camera because I want the full effect of those lenses (particularly the ultra wide angles).

From a marketing perspective, you'd think somebody would have suggested the exact opposite: instead of making the camera more compatible with lenses that don't take advantage of the full frame, drive customers toward the lenses that do!

In fact, I was getting ready to put several DX lenses on eBay… until I discovered this flaw in the D600 design.  Now I'm thinking instead that the D600 goes back to the store and I continue to wait for somebody at Nikon to get their bloody heads screwed on straight.  D600s, anybody?

I don't guess this can be fixed with firmware, huh?  The LEDs are hardwired into the hardware?

I guess I'm wondering if anybody else feels the way I do about this aspect of an otherwise worthy camera.  Have any readers had the same response… returned the cameras to the store?  Or has somebody come up with a reasonable work around?

I know the D600 is supposed to be an "entry level" full frame camera, but why cripple it with such an ill-defined feature?

I wanna storm the gates… where are the torches and pitchforks!  Off with their heads!


Thanks for listening...

Thanks for sharing!

I hear you - I own a modest D7000, with some nice lenses, including one made for FX namely the 85mm f1.4G.  But I am NEVER going to "upgrade" to a D600!

If I did this, I would get:
- a slightly bigger and heavier camera which I would take to even LESS places, when my D7k already stays home a lot because of its size and weight
- limited use of my more modest DX lenses, 35mm f1.8 and 18-200mm f3.5-5.6.  And so perhaps eventually the need to buy more Nikon lenses (which is probably exactly what Nikon wants form me..)
- also a 100% viewfinder albeit a larger one
- AF which is exactly the same as on my D7k but possibly will be more put to the test as FX has shallower DOF all else being equal
- AF in contrast-detect mode which will be just as sloooow as on my D7k, i.e. very inconvenient for any regular use where key focus is needed, such as landscapes
- a bit less battery life

and finally, I would also get an opportunity to be bothered by the dust/oil issue affecting the D600

So overall, I would pay for a new body, potentially have to pay for more glass, and not get much if anything more from it, and possibly suffer from various larger and smaller issues.

So sorry Nikon, I'm not even going to try this camera out.  Good luck with it!

 antoineb's gear list:antoineb's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 Olympus TG-610 Nikon D7000 +5 more
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