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Nikon D600: Full-Frame DSLR with Uncompressed HDMI for $2100

09.13.12 @ 11:20AM Tags : , , , , ,

After the big announcements from Sony yesterday, we’ve got a significant one from Nikon, the full-frame Nikon D600. Another camera that had been rumored for months, this one was finally announced early this morning — and it’s really gunning for Canon and Sony. Though the D800 image quality arguably surpassed the Mark III at lower ISOs (at least in resolution and dynamic range), the price has been a little steep for a lot of users — not to mention that it has only recently began showing up in-stock online. Now the Nikon D600 can take top honors as the cheapest full-frame camera with a recordable HDMI. Check out all of the details below.

Taken with Nikon’s movie mode (not sure what the frame rate was here — seems like 30fps):

A making of for that film:

These are the specs:

  • 24.3MP FX-Format CMOS Sensor
  • 3.2″ LCD Monitor
  • 1920 x 1080: 30 fps, 25 fps, 24 fps
  • 1280 x 720: 60 fps, 50 fps, 30 fps
  • 100-6400 ISO – Expandable to 50-25600
  • Full-Frame Mode and APS-C Crop (Auto-Engage Option)
  • Continuous AF with face-priority in Video Mode
  • 5.5 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Stereo Mic & Headphone Inputs
  • Dual SD Card Slots
  • Wi-Fi Connectivity with Optional Adapter
  • Availability: September 2012
  • Price: $2,100 (body), $2,700 (with 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR Lens)

So what’s so special about this one compared to literally everything else out there? Well, for one, native compatibility with thousands and thousands of lenses. Since Nikon has kept the same mount for over 50 years, you can physically mount basically any lens from that time until now. Some may only work in manual modes, but if you’re shooting video, that’s not as big of an issue. Certainly you could say some of the same things about mount compatibility with Sony, but the difference is that there are an abundance of older lenses that have fantastic build quality and can be had for a decent price (not that there aren’t for Sony with their Minolta mount, but Nikon’s been doing it quite a bit longer).

The D600 takes everything the D800 did right about video and ports it over. We’ve got dual card slots, audio meters — everything you would except a modern DSLR to have that takes video seriously. While I don’t quite know the details of the A99, the Canon did have the advantage with audio because levels could be changed while recording. It would be disappointing if Nikon hadn’t figured out that little issue, but it may be another case where levels can only be changed before recording. As far as video performance, as long as it is sharper than the Nikon D4 it’s going to be successful. The Nikon D800 had one of the cleanest images while recording through the HDMI that I have ever seen on a DSLR, and I expect the D600 to be equally as clean with a lot of dynamic range. Nikon’s ability to record from the HDMI and keep the monitoring from the back LCD seems like a little thing, but Canon still hasn’t figured out how to do this on their lower-end cameras. The HDMI is likely 8-bit, 4:2:2, and most of the newer recorders issued updates to work with the output of the D800 — meaning if the Nikon D600 HDMI out doesn’t record properly immediately, I would expect it to very soon.

The ISO performance of the D800 lagged a bit compared to the Mark III (it had a lot more pixels to deal with), but the noise performance of this camera should be on-par with the newly announced Sony A99. This is because they actually use the same sensor. Nikon doesn’t make all of the sensors in their camera line, and many of the higher-megapixel models are actually Sony sensors inside (which again shows you how good the Sony fabs are right now). It will be interesting to see how this 24mp camera compares to Canon’s 22mp Mark III in terms of noise performance. It’s likely Canon will have an edge even with noise reduction turned off because of the hardware noise reduction happening in the image pipeline.

There are so many options right now for cameras it makes my head spin. We are no longer getting complete crippleware at the lower end, and there’s a good chance (if Nikon is smart), they will keep hammering away and offer these video features in even more models. Only time will tell for the image quality — again it would be nice for other companies to take the lead the way Blackmagic did and start offering full quality samples of video — but we’re just not there yet.

You can pre-order the camera from the links below (even though I would not expect severe shortages since they will probably be making this one in much greater quantities — not to mention manufacturing is back to 100%). There seems to be an instant price reduction of the model with the kit lens bringing the total down to $2,600, but that looks like it will only be in effect until the end of the month (though who knows).


[via Nikon Rumors]


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Description image 74 COMMENTS

  • ron johnson on 09.13.12 @ 11:45AM

    No 1080 fps, that was real important to me, looking for my next camera, still shooting on canon 7d

  • ron johnson on 09.13.12 @ 11:51AM

    These camera makers must have some secret agreement that none of them will make a camera that has all th bells and whistles indie filmmakers want and need. Like joe marine said there will never be a perfect camera, af least under $4,000

    • I bet with you there are secret agreements and contracts. Since there is capitalism there were. Just like it is and was with the lightbulb. Check out Bulb Fiction(documentary)

      • Lol? No secret agreements. At least here in Australia, we have government documents in place that stop companies from taking the monopoly and from being unsportsman-like so to say.

        Regardless of that. The thing is that Canon, Nikon, RED, JVC, Sony.. They are all companies. Not only do they have to compete with their rivals, but they also must resist the urge to kick their higher end, higher priced products in the teeth by producing a product that serves the purpose more efficiently and at a higher quality.

        Doing so would not only lead to unsatisfied customers who have purchased the higher priced products, but will also result in the company losing profit due to the item being underpriced. In the end of the day, these companies know that serious bidders, who are either business owners or extreme enthusiasts, will purchase their products regardless of the price, and will continue to sell somewhat lower quality revisions of these products to enthusiasts who don’t have a high budget, so as to give them a taste of what their higher end products are capable of.

        It’s not rocket science, nor is it at fault of the companies in question. It is merely consumer logic.

        • Haha! if you actually trust your government or the corporate entites that run the world you are very naive my friend!

        • Considering the manufacturers are all located in Japan I doubt they care what laws Australia has. Japan has a history of secret agreements in industries.

  • This may look somewhat out of topic, but involves one of the biggest problems with modern DSRLs manufactured by Canon and NIkon, which affect all of us (DSLR users): crippled cameras which don’t take advantage of the full potential they have inside.

    Competition is key. But Nikon and Canon seem to have some kind of agreement in some aspect, to prevent some features (like Peaking, 1080p60, etc) while Sony and Panasonic are beyond that.

    As mentioned several times, Canon should take more advantage of the power inside the 5D Mark 3 and deliver it to users and customers.

    There is still LOT of processing power available on the Digic 5+ which is not being used.

    Magic Lantern has already demonstrated the huge amount of features and improvements that these cameras could achieve.

    There are LOT of features and improvements that Canon CAN implement via Firmware Update to both 5D Mark 3 and 1D X, especially considering their high price tag.

    Let’s hope the competition and marketing push by Sony, Panasonic and Nikon “encourage” Canon to improve the firmware on these cameras, delivering features like Peaking, Clean Full HD HDMI output, buttons remapping (x5 / x10 to the “old” position), Crop Video mode, etc.

    Canon and Nikon are promoting these cameras as DSLR for indie filmmakers, yet preventing some basic features for filmmaking and limiting the resolution and frame rates…

    • I wouldn’t expect that Nikon is limiting anything on purpose. They’ve got no line to protect. They only just started taking video seriously so I wouldn’t expect to get all of these features until the next generation — maybe even a video camera down the line for Nikon?

      • Mark Morris on 09.14.12 @ 4:28AM

        Yes but Nikon are using the Sony sensor in the D600 so it’s easy to see how they can be persuaded to cripple cameras.
        Also were probably seeing some degree of un crippling as a response to Black Magic. This is most likely an attempt to quell the revolution so we can return back to the good old days of crippledness. A similar thing hapeened when Red arrived on the scene and Sony suddenly bought out the EX1 in response.

        I think Black Magic and all companies who want to take on the big boys, could learn a lesson here which is DONT say anything until you ready to release.

        • The D800 (which also features clean HDMI) was announced well before the Blackmagic announcement. I don’t believe this camera is in any way a response to Blackmagic, it’s simply the progression of Nikon’s line, wich included coming up with a replacement for the D700. They did a combination of making the D7000 full-frame and taking the video features from the D800.

          • Joe —

            Have you had a chance to personally handle the D600? I picked it up exclusively for use as a second shooter to the D800 for film work. After unboxing and setting up the D600 this afternoon, I plugged it into the Atomos Ninja 2 and realized there was a pretty notable flaw: the entire image on the Ninja has a black frame around it. It appears that the D600 spits out a 95% image size through the HDMI port. I cannot see the display output size settings (as found in the D4 and D800), and therefore can only assume this isn’t just an oversight? More details here:


            • I haven’t had the chance to handle it yet, but Nikon’s explanation is simply baffling to me. The aperture/live-view issue is one thing, but claiming that a camera offers a feature when that feature is basically crippled is just ridiculous.

              Really hoping this is something Nikon will address (or maybe it’s possible it could be on the recorder side?), but I hadn’t heard anything about that until you brought it up.

  • they r limiting video functions to prevent cannibalization of other product range they have, Company can’t make money just by selling one camera with all video functions for 2k, how are they going to make a profit???

    Anybody being a head of the company I would follow exact the same strategy, to maximize their profit.

    • Right but Nikon has the exact same video features in the $2,100 camera as the $3,000 and $6,000 cameras – with the exception being the 1:1 crop mode on the D4 – which honestly is more useful on that camera because the video is so soft.

  • I’d never expect these to be as feature-packed as proper video cameras…because they just are NOT video cameras. They’re still cameras with an amazing video feature. I’m always surprised to see how many people expect otherwise. That being said…I got the D3100 2 years ago as a starter so I could spend on amazing Nikon glass until something like THIS came out in order to take amazing photos and make great films for my personal works. Professional jobs deserve professional cameras. Unfortunately, I am not one who can spend to afford the cameras/storage/computers to process the great footage from the BMCC, Scarlet, Alexa, etc. to have for myself. Thanks for the post. This blog is great.

  • anybody know if the HDMI feed has audio? i seem to remember the d800 having a video-only feed.

  • This is a serious blow to Canon, because it will be hard to justify prices they charge for 5DII and especially for 5DIII now. Sony is also screwed.

  • can someone explain why its referred to as “uncompressed hdmi” even though it is 8 bit 4:2:2?

    isn’t color sampling and bit depth a form of compression?

    • Sure, but then real uncompressed would be the 14-bit signal that the camera is producing. It’s really not worth getting worked up over, all it means is that the signal coming from the HDMI has no codec – there is no compression other than the chroma subsampling.

  • Is anyone else tired of the new cameras being announced everyday? Some have features that others don’t. I love fun camera news but I also want to hear other film school related subjects.

    • I agree. All the new camera tech in the world doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to use it.

    • I know I am, but would you rather we not cover camera announcements at all? Picking and choosing is a bit tricky, but I’m with you – this just happens to be a perfect storm of trade shows with IBC and Photokina, so that’s why you’re getting so many all at once.

      • Totally agree. Being informed about new cameras is important, and you should keep doing this. If someones do not find interesting this articles… do not read them! . I have to buy a new camera in the coming weeks and I am so freaking stressed about it… there are so many, and making comparisons is not always easy. You guys makes it easier. Keep posting about new cameras!

    • john jeffreys on 09.13.12 @ 2:10PM

      Camera/Joe articles get all the comments = more hits, so its in their best interest to post these. I have noticed that the articles about the “film school” and theory topics all get 0-5 comments on average.

      • We’re looking to bolster our coverage in every direction but… Rome wasn’t built in a day!

      • Camera’s are a tangible subject. Theory not.

        • And that makes people far more comfortable discussing cameras. It’s also fun to go shopping, you have enormous corporations spending millions making it fun for you to go shopping.

          It’s far easier to spend money than make real progress, and the two should not be confused.

      • John Jeffreys instigative comments get all the replies :)

        Our current design doesn’t make it easy for those types of articles to be digestible. They aren’t simple videos (for the most part). We’ll get there.

      • john jeffreys on 09.13.12 @ 4:54PM

        I’m totally ok with the current form, gear articles are fun to read and comment on.
        Maybe you guys should review shorts/features by other independents, focus on industry news a bit more, or maybe even have some kind of review submission system (a la where people can pay a small fee and submit their film for you guys to review and write about. Thats indie as fuck.

        • With the demise of the 5d and 7d and the industry fragmented with no standard in both apparatus and NLE, and with shooters using every short-lived camera on the market, perhaps producers should quit requesting specific equipment and emphasize reel and skill. Instead of “Need generic DP or wannabeeDP with 5d, H4, Zap slider, and other buzz gear to shoot vital elements of indie film,” producers should say “Need experienced DP with reel and creative eye to shoot stellar footage in 24p.”

          • john jeffreys on 09.13.12 @ 6:12PM

            isnt that the way it should be? i never take producers seriously when they post craigslist ads saying “NEED DP AND HIS OWN 5D/7D FOR SHORT FILM THIS WEEKEND, NO PAY”

            my DP certainly agrees. ;)

  • Who would of thought I would be seriously considering buying another Nikon since my D40.

  • ok , now all my hopes are in the GH3

  • vinceGortho on 09.13.12 @ 3:35PM

    So is this camera a line skipper like the others?

  • Stu Mannion on 09.13.12 @ 6:53PM

    What I’d like to see from Nofilmschool is a sift through all these new affordable cameras to work out which ones are best for filmmaking and which ones have gotchas. I mean once some decent hands-on reports and reviews are available.

  • There is a link here of the Nikon d600 film on vimeo. It is only 720p for now but it is much better than the youtube version for details and sharpness. This is the only part that gets me worried from the bunch of full frame that just came out. At least the vimeo samples gets me a little bit more positive about the d600 image.

  • Dpreview said that you cannot change the Aperture unless you exit Live View then come back in. And this is the only difference in Video Mode against the D800. That sucks in my opinion, just like the D7000, in other for you to see the exposure changes on the screen you must exit and reenter, otherwise F1.8 and F8 will all look the same on the screen… with Canon you can see it right away and just spinning the dial so you can stopped down very quickly if needed going from scene to scene.

    The D800 has this feature, unfortunately it does not carry down to the D600.

    • That only applies if you use new G lenses, but I think you should be able to use old Nikon AF and D glass to do it manually.

  • Billy_Dee_Williams on 09.13.12 @ 9:09PM

    So this has all the same specs as the Canon 5D Mark III and Nikon D800, only it’s not $3000+?

    • For stills this is nowhere near the specs of the 5D3. It leads a notch in MP but trails in AF performance, FPS, ergonomics, LCD color, etc.

      For video, what they are using as a downsampling approach isn’t clear, but most likely it’s just line skipping like the D800, and that puts it way behind the 5D3 (+ sharpening in post, they intentionally left the footage a bit soft to let you sharpen to taste). The 5D3′s pixel binning is much better in low light as it uses the entire sensor area, but the 1DX is the best DSLR of all as it uses a proper downsampling algorithm instead of binning or skipping. The Nikons offer you clean HDMI to record in excruciatingly precise detail just how awful and unfixable line skipping is.

      • Billy_Dee_Williams on 09.14.12 @ 2:40AM

        Gotcha, thanks for the in-depth response, I appreciate it

        • Believe the Canonites, the 5d3 needs load of sharpening so that you get halos and artifacts galore. Do the level of sharpening they tell you on a human face and see how horrid it would be. Now for less than the price of the 5d3 you can have the d600 paired with an atomos ninja, giving you Prores 422 output at 220 mbits intra, color peaking for focus, zoom in, false color for exposure etc. For video, the only thing we will have to see what about the moire and aliasing. With mosaic engineering filter just relaesed for the Nikon d800 if ever it is a problem, you bet that they will do one for the d600 if there is a need. Now you could get all these for about the same price than a 5d3.

          For photo that is another thing until we get some good samples from the d600. One could be better than the other in one way or the other but they will both be very good photo camera. The problem is nowadays Canon just want you to buy there higher price cinema camera line. because of that they have decided to cripple or at least not innovate at all the video in there dslr. From here to zero, this is the case now in 2012 the worst dslr for video from the main brand is Canon.

          • Ah sorry to add, Canon 5d3 does a ton of noise reduction in the camera which make the image even less sharp at higher ISO. So that more or less you are filming in SD. Another thing is that the 5d3 is about 2/3 to 1 stop less sensitive than the other camera. So at the same exposure filming on the D800 at 1600 would require at least ISO 2500 on the 5d3. You don’t believe me Joe Marine of Nofilmschool here did some test and see by yourself. At least some integrity on this site.

  • Ryan Farner on 09.14.12 @ 1:06AM

    The simple fact that I can loose my Nikon Lens adapter mount and work with an actual Nikon might be enough to pull me towards this camera. I have loved my super affordable 550D but unless Canon can meet or beat the specs and Price tag, I may see myself going to Nikon. Any idea when a new and improved for video 7D price range Canon might be releasing? Also when is the right time in your opinion to buy a new Camera? Seems like these new better cams in this price range are coming out of Jesus’s butt-hole everyday. Pretty noobie question but I work full time and keeping Nofilmschool open at work all day is getting tough. Thanks.

    • New 7D will probably be next year, but if the Mark III is any indication, the video quality will only see a slight improvement – but for the price, that may be worth it for some people who have lots of Canon lenses. Well now that large sensor cameras have become all the rage you’re going to see plenty of new ones every year. By the one that fits your budget (with the specs you’re looking for) and don’t look back, you can always sell it later.

  • GH3 promo just released….

  • Ryan Farner on 09.14.12 @ 12:24PM

    Thanks Joe, guess the only thing I really want that this camera didn’t cover is 1080p @60fps. When Nikon or Canon builds that Camera in this price range. Then I’m sold.

  • Very very happy. Already have the D800, so this is the perfect B cam, and I can finally ditch my remaining Canon DSLR.

    I have put footage shot with my D800 up against footage shot with every other major camera out there, and happily cut it in with Alexa and EPIC footage. Sure, it has moire issues, and all the usual DSLR problems, but the ‘look’ is gorgeous. And that’s BEFORE you get to the stills side, which is mindblowing.
    If you want incredible pictures, and above average video, I can’t recommend the new Nikons enough.

    And just on the camera news side, having followed all the major and minor blogs since 2008, this has become my first port of call, due to the balance of coverage, your general brand independence, and decent level of expertise. Its not ‘build a film studio for $20′, its not ‘here’s what I shot a 3 minute news item with’ and its not old gaffers bitching about losing gigs on CML. As a working indie drama/doc professional, I find myself agreeing with your approach most of the time. Keep up the great work. I know how much effort it takes to do this.

    • Yes, Nikon d800 and gh2 user here. Even got a 7d that I bought for video. I am a very happy Nikon d800 user as my main photographer job. For the moire mosaic has just released a filter for the d800. I will have to look into it. For now I don’t know too much what to use next. I want to see about the gh3, if it has better dr it will be a buy, if not perhaps for the slow motion I might get it afterward.

      Along the line I will get that d600 as my second body. What is interesting is that you can buy a d600 + Atoms Ninja 2 + Perhaps mosaic filter if need be for about the same price than a Canon low rez crippled 5dmark3. You get 422 Prores HQ, peaking, false colour for exposure, etc etc. Perhaps the best deal in term of full frame camera look.

      • Yep. I wasn’t that impressed by the look of the GH3 video, but that 60P would be nice! My money is on the BMDCC doing it soon though…
        Also looking forward to that Mosaic filter. I actually want to put it into the D600 and leave it in for A cam video only, then shoot stills + B Cam vid with the D800.

    • amen brother

  • Downlaodable version of the promo video very very nice

  • Why nikon why ???
    I got this of
    The only real difference between the implementation of the D600′s video mode compared to the D800 is that you can’t adjust aperture during movie recording on the new model (unless you use an older manual focus lens with a mechanical aperture ring).

  • Wow, I would buy this camera. The only thing I would miss is Technicolor’s Cinestyle which is only for Canon and I wouldnt shoot without it.

    • The Nikon have at least 1 stop better DR than the Canon with Cinestyle or not. Google flaat canon profile he has some nikon ones also. The super flat profile from cinestyle introduce a lot of banding because the 8 bitdepth cannot have enough values to separate the tones.

  • Very very impressive camera. I think is my favorite future camera with a ninja.
    But what do you think about skin tone on Chasing the light and the making of? I don’t like it. There’re some magenta or pink tone. No?
    And do you know if the Picture control is apply on HDMI out or if HDMI out is free Picture control? And last, do you know Picture control can be modified with a soft something like Canon’s Picture Style Editor?

  • Hi all.
    In all the hoopla about clean HDMI out and other stuff I see no one has mentioned that on the D600 you have to exit live view to change the aperture while in video mode, just like on the D7000. That is inexcusable, The D800 is not crippled by this. In my opinion, that makes the D600 nearly unusable as a video camera. Yes, you can work around it, but there’s no way you should have to.
    And just to be fair, the exclusion of a headphone jack on the Canon 6D is equally as inexcusable. But you can still shoot properly with it.

  • So does this mean with the D600, every time I shoot a video it will have a black border around it? Or is it only if it is uncompressed HDMI to an external source?

    • It’s only the uncompressed HDMI, which hopefully they will fix in a firmware update.