Nikon D600 review
Nikon D600 review - Image Quality
Tone and Exposure
We tested the D600 under a range of lighting conditions to put the D600's 2016-pixel RGB sensor to the test. Shooting in 3D Matrix Metering, the D600 performed well, though in some instances could overexpose a touch, requiring a touch of exposure compensation to rectify this, though this was only between -0.3 and -0.7 of a stop.
Also, while the system is not quite as advanced as the D800's, which will detect a face in a backlight scene and expose accordingly, the D600 did an admirable job under these conditions.
White Balance and Colour
Using our Datacolor Spyder Checkr and continuous daylight balanced lights, the D600's Auto White Balance was very good, delivering pleasing natural results. This is maintained through the ISO range, with only a very minor loss of saturation at the D600's highest ISO sensitivity.
As you'd expect, there are a host of Picture Controls to vary the intensity of the colour should you wish, while Raw files can be adjusted to taste.
Sharpness and Detail
The new 24.3MP sensor inside the D600 delivers an impressive amount of detail. In our lab tests with our resolution test chart, the D600's sensor was still capable of rendering finely spaced horizontal lines right down to 34, with it only dropping down to 28 at the D600's extended ISO equivalent of 25.600.
This level of detail offered by the D600 transfers across into real world shooting, with images displaying excellent levels of detail through the camera's ISO range.
As you'd expect at ISO 100, results are incredibly smooth and free of image noise. What really impressed us though was the image noise characteristics at higher sensitivities. While image noise had encroached onto the image at higher ISOs, it was still very well controlled. Even at ISO 3200, images looked pretty clean with good levels of detail. Shots at ISO 6400 did see the image degrade at touch more, but results were more than acceptable, and you'd have no problem producing a decent print from it. It's only in the extended range where detail suffers noticeably and chroma noise becomes more prominent.
Raw vs JPEG
Colours are a touch warmer on the JPEG files compared to the unprocessed Raw files, while at higher ISOs, image noise control has also been applied, producing less noise in the JPEG file. The payback is sharpness, with the Raw file displaying slightly higher levels of detail.
The video output from the D600 is bound to appeal to videographers
as well. Capable of shooting at either 30, 25 or 24p at 1920 x 1080, the D600
can also shoot at 60, 50, 30, 25 and 24p at 1280 x 720. Footage is recorded as
MOV files with H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding compression, while there's
also an option to have uncompressed HDMI output to external devices should you
wish. There's also a headphone socket (3.5mm jack) on the side that allows you
to monitor audio.