canon rumors FORUM

Gear Talk => Third Party Manufacturers => Topic started by: friedmud on September 28, 2012, 11:45:21 AM

Title: Rented a D600
Post by: friedmud on September 28, 2012, 11:45:21 AM
For the past couple of weeks many people on this board have been telling those of us that are not overly enthused about the 6D but are still wanting to go full frame to "Jump Ship to Nikon".  Well... I decided to dip my pinky toe into that water and rented a D600 and the Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8G.

I received it late last night (wife missed the Fedex guy).  First impressions: body feels lighter than my 7D but still well made;  lens is damn heavy.  I put the lens on and proceeded to go through my normal rituals of learning a new camera.  This is where trouble started.

I was expecting the control layout to be different... but I wasn't expecting it to be retarded.  It's as if someone was throwing darts at a picture of the camera to decide where to put buttons / functions.  There is no central "theme" or purpose behind the design at all.  Let me go through a few functions to demonstrate:

1.  AF selection.  This is the worst offender.
  1a. Manual Focus.  There are two places to choose manual focus vs AF.  On the lens _and_ on the body.  They both have to be set to AF for AF to work.
  1b. AF mode selection.  There is a stupid button down by the barrel on the front left (if you are holding the camera to your face) _on_ one of the AF/MF switches that you have press and hold and twirl one of the two control wheels (but which one?) to select AI Focus, Single, Continuous and the other control wheel (but which one?) to select an AF point selection mode.

The first problem there is that you have to use your left hand to change AF modes!  How the hell do you do that with a big 400mm+ lens while you have the camera to your face?

The second problem is that it's not clear which wheel changes which thing.  On my 7D anything controlled by the wheels is on a button by the LCD (which, first of all I can press with my right hand while holding it to my face) and it is obvious (because of the label on the button) which wheel controls which option.  This is a small thing because you will ultimately remember which wheel is which... but it's this lack of thought that permeates the whole way this camera works.

Now... as for the AF modes themselves... they suck compared to my 7D.  I love being able to toggle through AF point selection modes _while my eye is to the camera_ and use the joystick to move it around on my 7D... it is EXTREMELY fast.  On the D600 that's not really possible (because of the button location) but even if it were there are really only _two_ AF point selection modes: Auto and Single Point.  Now, there are some "restrictions" you can put on Auto... but it's still basically Auto.  Compare to my 7D where I can cluster, I can do point expansion, single point, full Auto, etc.  Even worse: the D600 doesn't have Orientation Sensitive AF Point Selection!  I really don't understand that and it's one of those things I love about my 7D.  I could go on about how limited the AF system is for quite a while but I'll stop there.

2.  Everything looks cheap.  This is harder to put down in words.  The LCD on top looks like an old 80's LCD watch and the menus on the back screen look like they would be more at home on a $100 P&S.  For instance when you hold down (yes you have to hold it down) the exposure compensation button (which is in a random position next to the LCD) and twirl one of the wheels (which one? and why?) to set some exposure compensation it shows you a big 80's style watch number instead of the cool pointer that you move left and right on a 7D.  It's a small thing, but it just leaves me feeling that they were cutting corners...

3.  Finger gymnastics.  As I've already pointed out, to change any settings you have to _hold down_ buttons with one finger (or even another hand) and twirl a random wheel.  But it gets worse.  To change shooting modes you have to hold down the lock button (I know some people like that, and that there is even an free "upgrade" you can get for your 7D that does this, but to me it's just a pain) AND you have to hold a release button to change "Drive Modes" while twirling a tiny ring around the shooting mode selector.  All of this adds up to sore finger tips and sore fingers.  Seriously, I shot for hours last night with this thing around my house and as I'm typing this my fingers are sore!  I have rather big hands, but even for me it is uncomfortable to hold down some of the buttons and locks and twirl wheels.  This is not too mention the fact that the grip is uncomfortable (it has a pretty sharp edge just under the front twirly wheel that digs into your finger when you have a heavy lens on like the 24-70 and it's smallish... which means I am gripping pretty hard with my fingers instead of my hand unlike my 7D)

4.  ISO.  Why in the holy hell of the world is the ISO selection button (that you have to HOLD DOWN and twirl a random wheel to change the ISO) on the back bottom LEFT of the camera? Again... you cannot do this with one hand.  You canNOT do it while holding the camera to your face.  One other quick hit on ISO: Why does it BLINK at me in the viewfinder that it's on Auto ISO?  Why?  Why blinking?  Right in my eye!  I truly don't understand.

5. Drive mode selection "ring".  I mentioned it earlier... but it warrants it's own section.  Why is drive mode (Single shot, Continuous, 2 Second Delay, Remote, Mirror Lockup) selection a _physical_ ring that you have to press and hold a lock button and twirl?  This is dumb on a number of fronts... but I think the most egregious is that it mean that I can't set the drive mode to one of the user defined settings (U1, U2).  On my 7D I have a "Fast Action" user setting (which is the last one BTW... so I can just crank over the mode dial and I know I'm on it... the Nikon mode selector spins all the way around so you have to actually take the camera away from your face and LOOK at the dial to know where you are) that sets continuous focus and highspeed continuous drive (among other things).  You CANNOT do that on a D600.


I could go on for longer about stuff I don't like... but what about things I like about the way the D600 works?

1.  The on/off/LCD light switch switch integrated into the shutter button is cool.
2.  Minimum shutter speed with Auto ISO is really nice.
3.  Max ISO selection is good.


All griping with no pictures on a photography forum?  Yes.  I haven't shot anything worth posting yet (just around the house last night and my office this morning).  I'm headed into the mountains this weekend to put it to the Landscape test... and I'll post back with my findings.  From what I can tell on the back screen the image quality looks really good (which is why I'm doing this in the first place).  But can the IQ overcome the inequities in the functioning of the camera?  We'll see....
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: friedmud on September 28, 2012, 11:59:03 AM
One more thing because it pertains to the discussion on the 6D.  39 AF points sounds great.  But if they only cover a postage stamp in the middle they are worthless.  I'm starting to think that 11 well spaced AF points with only one cross type MIGHT be better than 39 points jammed into the center and with no grouping or any other good way to control them....

Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: rumorzmonger on September 28, 2012, 12:15:32 PM
Sounds like you need to sit down and read the instruction manual - a lot of your complaints could be remedied by changing a few settings.

The ergonomics of the D600 aren't as good as my 5D Mark III, 7D, or D800e, but there are really only a few minor annoyances as far as I'm concerned (like not being able to review an image by pressing the "ok" button in the centre of the rear dial like on all of my other cameras...).  Once you set the controls the way you like and get used to the camera, it works pretty well, and the image quality is light years ahead of the 7D.   :)
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: friedmud on September 28, 2012, 12:22:39 PM
Sounds like you need to sit down and read the instruction manual - a lot of your complaints could be remedied by changing a few settings.

I suppose that is true.  I might be able to remap ISO and AF buttons the right hand side.  What about the drive mode selector?  It is also definitely the case that I would get used to a lot of these annoyances... but some of them (like lack of AF points outside of the center of the frame and lack of AF point selection modes) are definite steps back.

The ergonomics of the D600 aren't as good as my 5D Mark III, 7D, or D800e, but there are really only a few minor annoyances as far as I'm concerned (like not being able to review an image by pressing the "ok" button in the centre of the rear dial like on all of my other cameras...).  Once you set the controls the way you like and get used to the camera, it works pretty well, and the image quality is light years ahead of the 7D.   :)

Good to hear!  I'm hoping that's the case.  I was really excited to rent this... and have been planning to sell my Canon gear to get one.  I (obviously) was really disappointed with the ergonomics last night which has definitely brought down my "camera high".  I'm hoping to recapture it this evening with some landscape photography of some local waterfalls in the sunset... we'll see!
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: Tammy on September 28, 2012, 12:30:01 PM
But is the rear LCD screen green??

Also, what I find interesting that no review has specifically mentioned is that the D600 has 39 AF points, 9 of which are crosss type, but only sensitive to F/5.6. There is no center F/2.8 cross type for use with larger aperture lenses. Not even F/4. I just thought that was quite interesting, and could cause some people some frustration.
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: weekendshooter on September 28, 2012, 12:32:12 PM
Sounds like you need to sit down and read the instruction manual - a lot of your complaints could be remedied by changing a few settings.

The ergonomics of the D600 aren't as good as my 5D Mark III, 7D, or D800e, but there are really only a few minor annoyances as far as I'm concerned (like not being able to review an image by pressing the "ok" button in the centre of the rear dial like on all of my other cameras...).  Once you set the controls the way you like and get used to the camera, it works pretty well, and the image quality is light years ahead of the 7D.   :)

This is really all that needs to be said - Nikon's control layout is VERY different. I love it, others hate it. It is highly customizable though, so if you sit down and really pore through the options, you'll be able to get it to a place where you feel comfortable.

I'm pretty sure you're just flat out wrong about the AF mode selections; my D700 can do auto, single point,  single point + 9, 15, or 51 point tracking, or single point + 51 point 3D tracking (using data from the RGB metering to aid in AF). The menus and operation are very similar in the D600, so I'd be surprised if the D600 didn't have these options, but with 39 points instead of 51.

Holding down and twirling knobs is a hallmark of Nikon's control layout - i like it, but it's not for everyone. If you can't get used to it, there's an option in the custom menu under Controls that lets you press any button once and then be able to spin the appropriate wheel to change the settings, rather than have to hold the button down.

That said, almost all of your points are just harping on things that are different on Nikon and do take some getting used to; it took me a couple of weeks to get fully comfortable changing settings on the fly, but now I can do everything without taking my eye off the viewfinder just like I would on a 7D or any other camera of that level. The D600 is definitely a step down in construction from a 7D, but it's still a very usable and well-put-together camera, and the image quality is top-notch from what I have seen.
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: Tammy on September 28, 2012, 12:35:27 PM
Sounds like you need to sit down and read the instruction manual - a lot of your complaints could be remedied by changing a few settings.

I suppose that is true.  I might be able to remap ISO and AF buttons the right hand side.  What about the drive mode selector?  It is also definitely the case that I would get used to a lot of these annoyances... but some of them (like lack of AF points outside of the center of the frame and lack of AF point selection modes) are definite steps back.


It is an entry level full frame. The 5D Mark II is/was no different with its 9 AF points. That was my biggest gripe when I started using one, coming from the well spaced out 9 AF points on a 60D. From what I read, the AF points in the 5D2 are like that because Canon actually used a APS-C AF sensor mapped to cover the full frame etc to save costs. Completely explains all the focus points in the middle, as if I really only had ONE! Nikon has opted to do the same thing, using the APS-C D7000 based AF.

The autofocus on the 5D3 can not be understated in how much better it is and how much easier it is to take the shots that you really want. People on this board that complain about the features for the increased price have never used one. Those who have don't need to complain.
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: friedmud on September 28, 2012, 12:35:35 PM
But is the rear LCD screen green??

Also, what I find interesting that no review has specifically mentioned is that the D600 has 39 AF points, 9 of which are crosss type, but only sensitive to F/5.6. There is no center F/2.8 cross type for use with larger aperture lenses. Not even F/4. I just thought that was quite interesting, and could cause some people some frustration.

I haven't noticed any greenness.

The other thing about the cross type AF points on the D600 is that they are all clustered in the middle (it's the very middle 9).  Those 9 middle points cover essentially the same area as the _one_ middle cross type on my 7D... so even though it says there are 9... it doesn't mean the same thing....
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: weekendshooter on September 28, 2012, 12:35:56 PM
Sounds like you need to sit down and read the instruction manual - a lot of your complaints could be remedied by changing a few settings.

I suppose that is true.  I might be able to remap ISO and AF buttons the right hand side.  What about the drive mode selector?  It is also definitely the case that I would get used to a lot of these annoyances... but some of them (like lack of AF points outside of the center of the frame and lack of AF point selection modes) are definite steps back.

The ergonomics of the D600 aren't as good as my 5D Mark III, 7D, or D800e, but there are really only a few minor annoyances as far as I'm concerned (like not being able to review an image by pressing the "ok" button in the centre of the rear dial like on all of my other cameras...).  Once you set the controls the way you like and get used to the camera, it works pretty well, and the image quality is light years ahead of the 7D.   :)

Good to hear!  I'm hoping that's the case.  I was really excited to rent this... and have been planning to sell my Canon gear to get one.  I (obviously) was really disappointed with the ergonomics last night which has definitely brought down my "camera high".  I'm hoping to recapture it this evening with some landscape photography of some local waterfalls in the sunset... we'll see!

You can remap any function to the DOF preview or Fn button near it, so if you don't like the ISO placement you can put it there. Another neat trick is mapping one of those buttons to "first option in my menu" - My Menu is a place where you can put any of the menu options in any order, and then you can map a button to open the first function you place there. I use it to quickly turn auto ISO on/off, though you can put anything else there as well, such as AF point expansion modes, etc.
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: weekendshooter on September 28, 2012, 12:40:26 PM
As I suspected, the D600 lets you choose from single point, 9, 21, or 39 point expansion, or 39 + 3D tracking.
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: friedmud on September 28, 2012, 12:41:53 PM
You can remap any function to the DOF preview or Fn button near it, so if you don't like the ISO placement you can put it there. Another neat trick is mapping one of those buttons to "first option in my menu" - My Menu is a place where you can put any of the menu options in any order, and then you can map a button to open the first function you place there. I use it to quickly turn auto ISO on/off, though you can put anything else there as well, such as AF point expansion modes, etc.

Great - thanks!  I'll give that a try.  But it does still boggle the mind why they would consciously put extremely important functionality on the left side of the body...

Any trick for mapping "Drive Mode" like (CH) to a userdefined mode like U1?  I really want to be able to turn to U1 and have it mean "3D AF" with "Continuous Shooting"....
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: friedmud on September 28, 2012, 12:47:44 PM
As I suspected, the D600 lets you choose from single point, 9, 21, or 39 point expansion, or 39 + 3D tracking.

What does 9/21 mean?  When I select that option it just looks like I'm in single point selection mode... I can select any one of the 39 points still.  Is it using the 9/21 points _around_ the point I'm selecting or what?
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: friedmud on September 28, 2012, 12:51:08 PM
Nevermind - I saw it in the manual.  It is akin to "point expansion" on my 7D.  That's good to know.

But - it still means it's missing the Zone modes from my 7D and the orientation sensitive AF selection.  But I suppose I can live without it...
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: weekendshooter on September 28, 2012, 12:51:34 PM
You can remap any function to the DOF preview or Fn button near it, so if you don't like the ISO placement you can put it there. Another neat trick is mapping one of those buttons to "first option in my menu" - My Menu is a place where you can put any of the menu options in any order, and then you can map a button to open the first function you place there. I use it to quickly turn auto ISO on/off, though you can put anything else there as well, such as AF point expansion modes, etc.

Great - thanks!  I'll give that a try.  But it does still boggle the mind why they would consciously put extremely important functionality on the left side of the body...

Any trick for mapping "Drive Mode" like (CH) to a userdefined mode like U1?  I really want to be able to turn to U1 and have it mean "3D AF" with "Continuous Shooting"....

As far as I know, the drive mode wheel is an absolute and can't be overridden by a menu option or a U# setting. You can definitely set the U modes to cover the AF options, but I think you have to switch the drive mode manually. You should check on this in the manual though, as I'm not familiar with the U settings (my 700 doesn't have them at all).

I can say that the drive mode wheel becomes second nature very quickly if you give it a chance. Being able to set a custom speed for Continuous Low mode is really nice, and the lock is easier to operate than the top locking dial IMO.
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: weekendshooter on September 28, 2012, 12:53:44 PM
Nevermind - I saw it in the manual.  It is akin to "point expansion" on my 7D.  That's good to know.

But - it still means it's missing the Zone modes from my 7D and the orientation sensitive AF selection.  But I suppose I can live without it...

Yeah, the systems are just different. I find that leaving the tracking mode in 3D works well when I need to hit a moving target, and I switch back and forth from single point only to 51 + 3D with a flick of a lever. On the 600 I believe the analog would be hold down the left AF button near the lens and twirl the front dial.
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: weekendshooter on September 28, 2012, 12:54:47 PM
Nevermind - I saw it in the manual.  It is akin to "point expansion" on my 7D.  That's good to know.

But - it still means it's missing the Zone modes from my 7D and the orientation sensitive AF selection.  But I suppose I can live without it...

Oh another trick is that you can use whatever point expansion you want while limiting the number of selectable points to 11 - this effectively gives you a sort of zone AF system, as you select from one of 11 points and let the camera do expansion to aid in tracking. This makes it easier to move between points if you don't want to scroll between all 39.
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: neuroanatomist on September 28, 2012, 01:03:28 PM
Also, what I find interesting that no review has specifically mentioned is that the D600 has 39 AF points, 9 of which are crosss type, but only sensitive to F/5.6. There is no center F/2.8 cross type for use with larger aperture lenses. Not even F/4. I just thought that was quite interesting, and could cause some people some frustration.

This is true on the surface, but might actually be false in reality.  Nikon bodies all have f/5.6-sensitive AF points (or f/8 now, in some cases).  They've never had the f/2.8-sensitive points of Canon's AF system.  But...let's look at Canon's 1D III, 1DsIII, and 1D IV.  All of the AF points except the center are f/2.8 in one orientation and f/5.6 in the other.  The center point is f/4 and f/8, respectively.  Conventional wisdom is that the f/2.8 (and f/4) points have higher accuracy because of the wider baseline for the AF system - and that's true, all else being equal.  So, does that mean that the center point on those 1-series bodies is actually less accurate than the surrounding points, beacuse of the narrower aperture baseline?  No.  Canon has stated they achieve the required accuracy (equivalent to f/2.8 and f/5.6, respectively) at the center point because the AF sensor lines that make up that point have double the pixel density of the standard AF lines.

So...what if some or even all of Nikon's f/5.6 AF sensor lines have a higher density of pixels?  That could make all of those f/5.6 points as accurate as Canon's very limited number of f/2.8 points.  I have absolutely no information on the pixel density of Nikon vs. Canon AF sensor lines, I'm just suggesting it as a possibility.
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: weekendshooter on September 28, 2012, 01:17:41 PM
Also, what I find interesting that no review has specifically mentioned is that the D600 has 39 AF points, 9 of which are crosss type, but only sensitive to F/5.6. There is no center F/2.8 cross type for use with larger aperture lenses. Not even F/4. I just thought that was quite interesting, and could cause some people some frustration.

This is true on the surface, but might actually be false in reality.  Nikon bodies all have f/5.6-sensitive AF points (or f/8 now, in some cases).  They've never had the f/2.8-sensitive points of Canon's AF system.  But...let's look at Canon's 1D III, 1DsIII, and 1D IV.  All of the AF points except the center are f/2.8 in one orientation and f/5.6 in the other.  The center point is f/4 and f/8, respectively.  Conventional wisdom is that the f/2.8 (and f/4) points have higher accuracy because of the wider baseline for the AF system - and that's true, all else being equal.  So, does that mean that the center point on those 1-series bodies is actually less accurate than the surrounding points, beacuse of the narrower aperture baseline?  No.  Canon has stated they achieve the required accuracy (equivalent to f/2.8 and f/5.6, respectively) at the center point because the AF sensor lines that make up that point have double the pixel density of the standard AF lines.

So...what if some or even all of Nikon's f/5.6 AF sensor lines have a higher density of pixels?  That could make all of those f/5.6 points as accurate as Canon's very limited number of f/2.8 points.  I have absolutely no information on the pixel density of Nikon vs. Canon AF sensor lines, I'm just suggesting it as a possibility.

Roger at LensRentals has a recent blog post about Nikon AF; he basically concludes that the single-point AF is solid and reliable, but does not have the extra precision that he found with the 1Dx/5D3 AF combined with the newest Canon lenses. This would indicate that the AF on the Nikons is about on par with the older many-point Canon systems, but lacks the magic combo of the double-precision point combined with whatever new feedback they put into the 70-300L, 24/2.8 IS, and 40 pancake.
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: friedmud on September 28, 2012, 02:42:57 PM
Oh another trick is that you can use whatever point expansion you want while limiting the number of selectable points to 11 - this effectively gives you a sort of zone AF system, as you select from one of 11 points and let the camera do expansion to aid in tracking. This makes it easier to move between points if you don't want to scroll between all 39.

I will try that as I have found all the little points to be cumbersome.  Thanks for the tip!

So I just went downtown and did some shooting on my lunchbreak:

1.  IQ is amazing.  Flat out amazing.  Still can't process the files yet to post some here... 'cause I'm back at work but just using the back screen I can tell that ISO 100 IQ is awesome (which is what I'm after)... and higher ISO is _very_ good.  I'll post some pics tonight.

2.  Getting somewhat used to the control layout.  Still not super happy with the way AF mode selection and ISO selection works... but I haven't remapped them yet either (not sure it's really easier to hit the Fn button... but I'll try it).

Thanks for the tips!
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: weekendshooter on September 28, 2012, 03:13:03 PM
Glad to hear it! I definitely know the feeling of coming home with a new rental and being frustrated that it's not behaving the way I want out of the box. Nikon bodies give you lots of knobs, buttons, and wheels to fiddle with, so don't worry if you're not totally comfortable with it just yet. A good amount of the controls do rely on being able to use your left hand, but it's not too bad once you get used to it.

Another point to note about the ISO selection is that I use Auto ISO in either Av or M mode almost exclusively. You can set a minimum shutter speed based on the focal length of the lens and a maximum ISO value. Exposure compensation also works in any mode with auto iso enabled - you can even set it to be changed with the secondary dial in Av or Tv mode (whichever dial is not currently being used) without needing to press the +/- button. I usually don't worry at all about ISO as long as it's at 1600 or below, and I can see the current value of the auto ISO through the viewfinder, so I know where it is at all times and whether or not I need to adjust aperture/shutter speed.

That's just my perspective on the ISO controls, since I like to be able to control my DOF and shutter speed without bothering with setting an ISO for every shot. If i'm outside shooting landscapes and have time to set up in between shots then I can easily turn off auto ISO with the front Fn button that I mentioned earlier.

Edit: I think the AF controls should be quite straightforward. I stay in continuous mode all the time, as I haven't noticed any significant differences in accuracy between single-shot and continuous, even in very shallow DoF situations. This allows me to switch between single point only and full 3D tracking with the press of a button. I don't think there's any reason to use any of the intermediate settings, as 3D is the only setting that allows the camera to use information from the RGB metering to aid in AF tracking. In the case of the D600 i believe you would set this up by going to AF-C by holding the AF button and dialing it in with the rear wheel and then choosing between single and multi-point with the AF button and front wheel. You shouldn't ever need to change the point expansion setting away from 3D tracking.
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: friedmud on October 07, 2012, 12:34:09 PM
Just an update... I just sold my Canon 70-200 f/4L IS to a friend.

This camera was _phenomenal_ to shoot with.  The picture quality is unbelievably good in every way (noise, color, DR, metering, AF).

It is good enough to switch... and that's what I'm now in the process of doing.

I haven't posted any full-res picture anywhere yet... but here is one I put on 500px:

http://500px.com/photo/14938023 (http://500px.com/photo/14938023)
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: friedmud on October 07, 2012, 12:44:02 PM
(I made this post to another thread around here... but thought I should archive it here for anyone reading along)

For anyone that is thinking about switching I highly recommend renting a D600 like I did.  At LensRentals it was ~$200 to rent it with a 24-70 f/2.8G for 5 days.  During that time I was able to find out if I could live with the ergonomics issues (I definitely can... it won't ever be as good as my 7D in ergonomics.... but the tradeoff is worth it) and put it through its paces in a variety of environments.

What did I find out?  That the D600 is a _tool_.  What I mean by that is that by the end of my rental period I trusted the D600 as much as I do a hammer or a saw.  _It_ takes care of capture the photo... _I_ take care of choosing the photo I want to capture.  Yes, even in that short amount of time I came to just trust the D600.  The metering is so spot on I didn't have to worry about it.  The Auto-ISO is unbelievably good (since you can actually set limits on things like shutter speeds and min/max ISO!).  The AF is spot on (although I do lament having to focus and recompose a bit... I got used to not needing to do that on my 7D).

It all adds up to a package where even though the ergonomics are a bit off... it simply doesn't matter because you don't interact with this camera as much as with a Canon... you simply set a bunch of sensible limits and then let the camera do its thing and you come out on the other side with incredible photos.

Don't take my word for it - go rent it yourself and find out!
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: weekendshooter on October 07, 2012, 08:30:57 PM

What did I find out?  That the D600 is a _tool_.  What I mean by that is that by the end of my rental period I trusted the D600 as much as I do a hammer or a saw.  _It_ takes care of capture the photo... _I_ take care of choosing the photo I want to capture.  Yes, even in that short amount of time I came to just trust the D600.  The metering is so spot on I didn't have to worry about it.  The Auto-ISO is unbelievably good (since you can actually set limits on things like shutter speeds and min/max ISO!).  The AF is spot on (although I do lament having to focus and recompose a bit... I got used to not needing to do that on my 7D).

It all adds up to a package where even though the ergonomics are a bit off... it simply doesn't matter because you don't interact with this camera as much as with a Canon... you simply set a bunch of sensible limits and then let the camera do its thing and you come out on the other side with incredible photos.


I fully agree with this assessment - this is exactly how I use my D700. I have 100% confidence in the camera being able to meter and AF in no time at all; this combined with the tremendous ISO performance means I can concentrate on getting the shot without worrying too much about what the camera is doing.

You should definitely think about renting a 14-24 next; I had one for a week and it's absolutely mindblowing. Glad to hear you had a positive Nikon experience!
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: friedmud on October 07, 2012, 09:02:27 PM
I fully agree with this assessment - this is exactly how I use my D700. I have 100% confidence in the camera being able to meter and AF in no time at all; this combined with the tremendous ISO performance means I can concentrate on getting the shot without worrying too much about what the camera is doing.

You should definitely think about renting a 14-24 next; I had one for a week and it's absolutely mindblowing. Glad to hear you had a positive Nikon experience!

I will get a 14-24 eventually (it's one of the reasons to switch!) and I definitely will rent it for my next photography trip.  It is _damn_ expensive though... so it's going to be a bit before I can think about buying one...

Thanks again for weeding through my rant to give me some real and good advice on using this camera!  I can honestly say that had I seen a rant like that I wouldn't have responded with insightful advice ;-)
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: friedmud on October 07, 2012, 09:03:35 PM
Hey - let me ask another question:  What is your favorite Nikon forum?

I tried Nikonrumors.com.... but I don't really like it (doesn't have the same community feel as canonrumors and the site is not as well put together).  Is there a good Nikon community somewhere?

Thanks!
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: tron on October 07, 2012, 09:09:00 PM
http://500px.com/photo/14938023 (http://500px.com/photo/14938023)

This is cheating! Did you get this nice place as a kit with your camera ?  :o
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: friedmud on October 07, 2012, 09:19:32 PM
http://500px.com/photo/14938023 (http://500px.com/photo/14938023)

This is cheating! Did you get this nice place as a kit with your camera ?  :o

lol!  It didn't come with my camera... but it _DID_ come with a job upgrade I took a few years ago ;-)

Southeast Idaho is a great place to live as a hobbyist landscaper ;-)
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: tron on October 07, 2012, 09:25:14 PM
Hmm, I read the info. You used a graduate ND filter which in my opinion is THE DR tool (in cases where it can be applied of course). Before reading the details I thought that you had gotten this image straight from the camera! But still this does not change anything. Good practice (grad ND in your case) must always accompany good gear.
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: friedmud on October 07, 2012, 09:46:17 PM
Well... it is "straight" from the camera (with just a light bit of PP in Lightroom 3 like I mentioned)... but yes, with an ND Grad.

What's funny is that when that guy asked if I had used a filter I started typing "no"... but then I remember that I really had.  It's such a part of my landscape workflow that I don't even think about it ;-)

But yeah... I'm not one of those guys that is expecting miracles from my gear!  Beyond a 2 stop (0.6) Lee soft ND grad it was also shot on a sturdy tripod, ISO 100, Av mode, 3 second shutter delay (mirror lockup), manual focusing using zoomed Live View at feature that approximated the hyperfocal distance (I estimate the distance, pick a feature at about that distance then manually focus on that feature).

One of the things that's been hard for me with my 7D is that I feel like sometimes I do everything right technique-wise and the camera just gets it wrong (too much noise, over/under exposed, flat color).  Of course, exposure is partly my fault... but I've never been able to fully trust the exposure on the 7D.

While we're on the subject... I LOVE the fact that on the D600 I can do "Full scene average" metering.  When I'm shooting landscapes I rarely have the subject in the middle... why do I want "center weighted average" metering?  I really want the whole scene to be exposed as well as possible with possible over/under exposure dialed in by me for desired effect.  I can do that on the D600.... but not on a 5DMk3...
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: Positron on October 07, 2012, 11:24:14 PM
Great to know. I've been thinking of getting a D600 once I have a paycheck, and expected the difference in control, but good to know that unfamiliarity with the interface isn't incompatible with getting the shot.
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: Cali_PH on October 07, 2012, 11:54:54 PM
But yeah... I'm not one of those guys that is expecting miracles from my gear!  Beyond a 2 stop (0.6) Lee soft ND grad it was also shot on a sturdy tripod, ISO 100, Av mode, 3 second shutter delay (mirror lockup), manual focusing using zoomed Live View at feature that approximated the hyperfocal distance (I estimate the distance, pick a feature at about that distance then manually focus on that feature).

How did you find the Live View for manual focusing?  I rented a D800 for some landscape, and found the Live View as bad as the reports have said, which I had read was due to it being an interpolated display.  Definitely not as nice as the 5DmkIII or my 60D, but I think it does zoom in more.  I've been wondering if the D600 Live View was the same or not.

And I sympathize with your problems with the ergonomics, I found myself constantly stumbling through the buttons and menus too.  Oh, and don't get me started on changing lenses!  ;D
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: sweetcancer on October 08, 2012, 12:12:16 AM
I bought a nikon D600 last week and so far i just love it! I mean, sure the control layout is way different from my old 5D mark II that i sold, and it's definitely not how I would have designed it. I really miss the big control wheel on the back. BUT, once you get a little familiar with it, it really isn't a dealbreaker at all. I shot my friends kids birthday party the day before yesterday (with the nikkor 28mm 1.8G lens), and I already felt comfortable with the D600. I am loving everything that comes out of that camera! (although auto white balance gets it wrong sometimes in tricky lighting, but so did my 5dII. And I haven't tried all the AWB functions yet.)

Anyway, I still am coming back to canon once I have enough money (and when canon starts making good sensors) for a good canon camera and all the L lenses I desire. I then plan on shooting both.
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: friedmud on October 08, 2012, 12:23:59 AM
Great to know. I've been thinking of getting a D600 once I have a paycheck, and expected the difference in control, but good to know that unfamiliarity with the interface isn't incompatible with getting the shot.

It definitely isn't.  Mostly a small annoyance.  One thing to keep in mind is that MANY pros "prefer" Nikon ergonomics (probably because they don't know any better! ;-).  Either way it shows that it's not "unusable" in any way shape or form... just "different" (where "different" stands for "somewhat worse" ;-)

Like I mentioned though, once you get the camera set up, especially setting up U1 and U2 to be common use cases for you... which for me were Landscape and Fast Action, and getting sensible limits set on the auto ISO system (which is not possible with Canon cameras in this same price range) you don't have to interact with the camera all that much.

I gotta say... the biggest thing I miss is the Orientation Sensitive AF.  It just works so damn well on my 7D.  Even by the end of the weekend though... when I was getting ready to take a portrait shot my thumb would go to the direction pad and start moving the AF point toward what would be the upper part of the scene (If I was in a single AF point mode... which I learned isn't as necessary).  Basically, I just fell back to old habits before I had a camera that did this kind of stuff for me...

BUT... all of that is secondary to how well this camera takes photos.  The shutter button is the best button on the camera!  Both, the way it works and what it accomplishes ;-)
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: friedmud on October 08, 2012, 12:33:07 AM
How did you find the Live View for manual focusing?  I rented a D800 for some landscape, and found the Live View as bad as the reports have said, which I had read was due to it being an interpolated display.  Definitely not as nice as the 5DmkIII or my 60D, but I think it does zoom in more.  I've been wondering if the D600 Live View was the same or not.

And I sympathize with your problems with the ergonomics, I found myself constantly stumbling through the buttons and menus too.  Oh, and don't get me started on changing lenses!  ;D

Hmmm... can't say that I noticed anything really wrong with Live View for manual focusing.  After zooming in past a certain point the framerate drops, which is odd... but doesn't really affect the slow precise focusing I'm doing on a tripod.

I really like that I _can_ zoom in further than on my 7D.

I suspect that it is a personal thing though... I bet the Live View isn't much different on the D600 than it is on the D800 (but I don't personally know).

Can you explain more about what was off for you?  Maybe I just wasn't paying attention...
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: friedmud on October 08, 2012, 12:34:44 AM
I bought a nikon D600 last week and so far i just love it! I mean, sure the control layout is way different from my old 5D mark II that i sold, and it's definitely not how I would have designed it. I really miss the big control wheel on the back. BUT, once you get a little familiar with it, it really isn't a dealbreaker at all. I shot my friends kids birthday party the day before yesterday (with the nikkor 28mm 1.8G lens), and I already felt comfortable with the D600. I am loving everything that comes out of that camera! (although auto white balance gets it wrong sometimes in tricky lighting, but so did my 5dII. And I haven't tried all the AWB functions yet.)

Anyway, I still am coming back to canon once I have enough money (and when canon starts making good sensors) for a good canon camera and all the L lenses I desire. I then plan on shooting both.

Congrats on the camera!  I'm still in the process of selling my gear... hopefully mine isn't far off!
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: Aglet on October 08, 2012, 12:35:48 AM
@Friedmud
Glad another person with an open mind tried the competition and discovered it's worthwhile.

I too am still caught in the Canon user interface paradigm and sometimes wish my D800's controls were easier to locate at times.  More time spent with it and it's becoming familiar.

And I can trust the camera to be an excellent imaging tool that provides me with raw files that have far more adjustment latitude in post than anything I've ever shot with a Canon label on it.

Yup, more of my Canon gear is on Kijiji this weekend. :)

Once I sell some if it I'll be off to my local shop to see if I like the lighter weight and simpler control layout of the D600 better than the full-buffet of mechanical controls on the D800.  I don't normally need much for customizable options, just the basics and killer raw IQ.  And I won't always need the higher resolution and would occasionally prefer the slightly better SNR of the D600 over the D800 for low light work.

I DO miss the incredibly good live-view performance of my 5D2 for manual focusing in low light.
The D800 is disappointingly noisy in this aspect altho I found I can trust the focus rangefinder function to be very precise in most lighting conditions with any focus point i select so I can still MF with confidence.

Next I need to get used to Nikon flashes...  They seem simpler.
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: Cali_PH on October 08, 2012, 01:01:41 AM
Hmmm... can't say that I noticed anything really wrong with Live View for manual focusing.  After zooming in past a certain point the framerate drops, which is odd... but doesn't really affect the slow precise focusing I'm doing on a tripod.

I really like that I _can_ zoom in further than on my 7D.

I suspect that it is a personal thing though... I bet the Live View isn't much different on the D600 than it is on the D800 (but I don't personally know).

Can you explain more about what was off for you?  Maybe I just wasn't paying attention...

I would describe the issue as having more 'noise' or the image being 'muddy/blotchy.'   Here's a video on youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaI__yZad4w#ws) that compares the D800 vs. the 5DmkIII, which is exactly what I experienced.  I'm guessing part of the issue is that it zooms in more than the Canon.  I was still able to manually focus with it, but I didn't trust it at the maximum zoom setting.

I'm now regretting not renting a D600 for my trip starting this Saturday...I need to try that camera out sometime.
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: friedmud on October 08, 2012, 01:15:47 AM
@Friedmud
Glad another person with an open mind tried the competition and discovered it's worthwhile.

Thanks - it's amazing how many people will bash the brand they don't use on a forum and never try it.  With all of the vitriole surrounding the D600 and with the 6D not looking stellar I thought it was time to try it out.

I too am still caught in the Canon user interface paradigm and sometimes wish my D800's controls were easier to locate at times.  More time spent with it and it's becoming familiar.

Before I rented the D600 I used it and a D800 in a local shop... I definitely liked the D600 controls more.  D800 were even further from what I'm used to.

I DO miss the incredibly good live-view performance of my 5D2 for manual focusing in low light.
The D800 is disappointingly noisy in this aspect altho I found I can trust the focus rangefinder function to be very precise in most lighting conditions with any focus point i select so I can still MF with confidence.

Hmmm - you're the second one to mention that - seems like I overlooked something....
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: weekendshooter on October 08, 2012, 02:33:57 AM
friedmud, if you can get that out of the 24-70 at 24, then I can't wait to see what you can do with a 14-24!

In some ways I'm sad that I didn't wait for the D600 for the 24mp sensor, but I think I would have lost interest in photography if I didn't have my D700 with me on the myriad of trips that I took this summer, and now I have a tank of a camera that will last ages.

And funny that you said that you wouldn't have waded through such a rant to give advice; I was the same way when I first got my D700 - I almost wanted to return it and keep shooting with my rebel :( but I stuck with it and got used to the weight and controls and now I'm 100% in love.

I think the 14-24 is essential for your style, but you should also check out the f/1.8G primes - Nikon has really outdone themselves with how good these are for the price. The 85 in particular is tremendous - my favorite portrait lens for sure, and only $500!
Title: Re: Rented a D600
Post by: weekendshooter on October 08, 2012, 02:50:28 AM
Hey - let me ask another question:  What is your favorite Nikon forum?

I tried Nikonrumors.com.... but I don't really like it (doesn't have the same community feel as canonrumors and the site is not as well put together).  Is there a good Nikon community somewhere?

Thanks!

I mainly read CR and FredMiranda; I hear NikonCafe is good but I haven't gotten around to reading it myself.

NikonRumors is terrible; definitely stay away from those forums. They have maybe 2-3 active members and none of them know what they're doing. I still read and post around here because of how much better the forums are here, so that gives you an idea of how bad the NR forums are.

Edit: just checked out NikonCafe, and it doesn't look like there are as many people posting there as there are on FredMiranda, so I would just stick to that. Check out the Nikon Manual Focus thread on FM; it has enough content to be its own forum! All of their genre forums are fantastic (landscape, sports, etc); many well-known pros post there, and it's great to be able to talk to them. A few of them even shoot Nikon! :) check out Trenchmonkey's posts for maximum envy  ;D