The thread you've all been waiting for...hiking comparison D600 vs D800

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toomanycanons Forum Pro • Posts: 12,194
The thread you've all been waiting for...hiking comparison D600 vs D800

I'll usually take out my D600/24-85 or, heck, my D3300/18-55 AF-P on the trails.  After all, these ultimately are just snapshots, why take my 36mp cameras?

But I do occasionally take out my D800/same lens as with the D600.  I just did the same hike shooting with either and this time I thought I'd check out the same/same pics comparing the two camera bodies.  Is there a quantifiable difference in output?  I shot in raw and tweaked them in LR6 then compared the resulting jpegs.

Answer:  yes, in favor of the D600.  A much higher keeper rate, focus more reliable, if there is any difference in resolution between 24 mp and 36 mp I couldn't see any and, besides, the relatively poor (at times) AF of the D800 sort of negated any mind-numbing pixel peeping comparison.  And this is a D800 that had come back from Nikon a few months before I bought it to have the AF tweaked.

I set both cameras up exactly the same.  But even then pointing straight forward to try to get foreground and distant objects (mountains) in equal focus, the D600 won every time.  I was going to try to isolate "shutter shock" from the D800 from the equation but shooting at 1/500 there was still a certain fuzziness in the D800's pics.  Not always, just enough to be frustrating.  Without pixel peeping, the D800 images looked great.  But comparing pic after pic with the D600 I just kept shaking my head.  I used to shoot with two D600 for this client but that was then, 36 mp is now.

I shoot the D800 for work (because of the client now insisting on 36mp) along with my D810 and in those images, having the foreground in sharp focus trumps having the background in the same degree of sharpness.  So, yeah, the D800 works fine there although it usually acts as a backup to my D810.

You never know until you do some kind of comparison like this.  Others on the forum have expressed exasperation with their D850 comparing to say, their D800E or D750.  I guess the difference could be due to one or more of many many factors but, real world testing?  The D800 stays at home while I'm hiking.

Nikon D600 Nikon D750 Nikon D800 Nikon D800E Nikon D810 Nikon D850
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