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]