Category Archives: Nikon

Nikon D600 Sale

This is a pretty amazing deal.



Right now, B&H Photo is selling the Nikon D600 full frame camera together with Nikon’s 24-85mm F/3.5-4.5 lens for just US$1,996.95.  That’s usually just the price of the camera body alone, so you’re saving $700.  And then they’re also including at no extra charge another $150 worth of freebies:  a LowePro bag, a SanDisk 32 gig Extreme SD card, an Oben monopod and a spare battery.  The sale ends pretty soon so if you’re interested, click here to check it out.


Nikon’s Dirty Secret

Nikon Rumors has a post about dust spots on the D600’s sensor, taken from a post by Lensrentals saying there appears to be a heavy concentration of dust on the upper left portion of the sensor, not just on one or two cameras, but on many.  Lensrentals says, “D600′s shutter curtain opening seems a bit larger than the other Nikon cameras with a bit of a gap around the shutter curtain. It may well be the shutter movement is pulling dust onto the sensor.”  Nikon Rumors adds:

Just a reminder that many of the first D800 cameras also had an unusually high amount of oil/dust spots on the sensor. It seems that this issue was resolved with later shipments.

They also point to Amazon’s D600 listing and the reviews there (49 5-star reviews out of 66) and how some of the reviewers are mentioning issues with dust and oil.

There are, as of this writing, 54 comments on this post, many from people (including myself) complaining about similar problems with the D800.  I can tell you that in the year that I owned a D300 and the 2-1/2 years I owned a D700, I never needed to bring either camera in to Nikon for cleaning.  I’ve never needed anything for those cameras other than using the “clean sensor” function from the menu.

However, I’ve had to bring my D800 into Nikon twice in the six months that I’ve owned it.  I’m pretty careful about holding the camera down when I change lenses, not changing lenses in a windy or dirty environment, all the stuff one is warned against.  I use the “clean sensor” function and a Rocket Blower and still see an incredible amount of schmutz on the lens when viewing it with the Sensor Scope (which is proving to be a very useful accessory).  I purchased the Visible Dust brush but I think I have the oil problem and it seems to just smear that around.   I have some of the swabs but they don’t seem to resolve that well.  Then again, having brought the camera into Nikon twice for cleaning, one would think that they’d spot this and mention it to me.  Well, I have to bring the camera back to Nikon for focus calibration (another frustration) and will print out the article and ask them about this issue and see how they respond.

It is incredibly frustrating to know that a $3,000 product can have such poor quality control.  It’s frustrating to read that the issue was resolved with “later shipments” which means what to me, exactly?  That people like myself who thought themselves lucky to get the camera early on are now screwed, since there’s no official word from Nikon about this?

I’m certainly not ready to sell off all of my Nikon gear (9 lenses, speedlight, battery pack, etc.).  And I’m certainly happy with the photos that I took over the weekend with the D800 at The Wanch’s anniversary shows (taken, incidentally, immediately after taking the camera to Nikon for a cleaning).  But given that these issues first arose with the D800 and have continued with the D600, I’d have to think long and hard about buying another Nikon DSLR in the future.


Camera Frustration & Upcoming Trip

I’m want to show you some pictures.  This goes back to an earlier post in which I mentioned the Fuji X-Pro1’s JPG vs. RAW output.  Here’s the first pair, taken a few days ago just steps from my home.

This is the JPG:

And this is the RAW:

All I’ve done with these two files is to import them into Lightroom and then export them, resized (and with my watermark added).  No other processing.

I personally like the JPG more, don’t you? Overall, the yellow leaf seams to have more definition and contrast than in the RAW file.  My assumption is that the problem here is not with the RAW output from the camera, it’s the way in which Adobe Lightroom interprets it.

Here’s the second pair, taken a few nights ago in Causeway Bay, believe it or not.

First the JPG:

And here’s the RAW:

Again, all I’ve done with these two photos is to load them into Lightroom and then export them out.  Based on my recollection, the colors in the JPG are accurate and the colors in the RAW are not.

I don’t want to stop shooting RAW because maybe someday Lightroom will do a better job with them, or maybe someday I’ll switch my photo processing software, and I’d like to have the RAW files to go back to.  But today, with Lightroom, they’re almost useless to me.

Now, a slightly different frustration, concerning my Nikon D800.  Here’s a photo I took in Central tonight.

It looks pretty nice – until you view it full size.  Then you’ll see that absolutely nothing is in focus.  This was shot with my “new” used Nikon 35mm F2.0 D lens.  I don’t recall for certain but I believe I was in manual mode, F4,0, 1/50th of a second (which should be fast enough with a 35mm lens) and the ISO was on auto and went for 1100.  In this case, is it the fault of the lens?  Very possibly I think.

I was at a party tonight, actually, shooting a lot in a restaurant, both with and without flash.  I note that on many of the photos that I took without flash, there’s visible purple vignetting.  Of course that’s fixable in Lightroom but that’s not really the point, is it?  The point is that the D800 demands good glass and it may well be that the current generation of G lenses are going to perform better on this camera than the older D ones.  I’ve seen nothing anywhere regarding this so it’s just conjecture on my point.

I’m off on a trip to New York City tomorrow.  I’m mostly packed but I can’t decide if I’m going to bring the Fuji or the Nikon with me.  Originally it was going to be the Fuji, because of size and weight.  But now I have something of a remotely serious and hopefully fun nature to shoot while there.  (A cousin of mine is executive chef at a restaurant that was a finalist for a James Beard award this year and he’s agreed to let me into the kitchen with my camera.).  For that, I’d normally bring the Nikon.

So do I only pack the Nikon for this trip?  And with just the 24-70mm lens, or with my 35mm, 50mm and 105mm primes?  Do I pack both the Nikon and the Fuji on the grounds that the Fuji will be a better daily walking-around camera.  Or do I stay Fuji only?  (And why do I agonize over small shit like this?)  I’ll decide in the morning before I head to the airport.  And whichever one (or ones) I choose, I hope to have some fun pictures to share with you a few days from now.



Nikon D600 Sensor 3rd Best DSLR Sensor Ever?

Well, at least according to the folks at DxOMark, the people who test these things.

The D600 received an overall score of 94, putting it just behind the Nikon D800’s score of 95 and the D800E’s score of 96.  The Nikon D4 only scored 89!

Click over to Nikon Rumors to see a chart of the current top 10 in DxOMark’s rankings.  Nikon dominates the list with 6 out of 10 cameras.  Note that there are no Canon cameras in the top ten (the Canon EOS 5D MarkIII scores an 81) and oddly there’s no Sony camera on the list either.

Of course sensor performance isn’t the only way to rate a camera’s performance, just a part of it.  And at the end of the day, the person taking the pictures counts for more than the gear he or she is using.  I expect that with the technology rapidly advancing, we’ll see lots of changes in this top ten list soon.

The Nikon D600 has started shipping!  You can order it from Amazon body only or a kit with a 24-85mm lens.  Or order it from B&H Photo body only or with the kit lens.


A Little Bit More on the Nikon D600

Check out the Mansurovs for an excellent comparison chart between the Nikon D600 and D800.   I’ll just highlight one bit from that chart:

D600 D800
Sensor Pixel Size 5.9µ 4.8µ

So the individual pixels on the D600 are significantly larger than the D800.  This could translate to outstanding high ISO performance.

On the other hand, the Strobist has looked at the specs and decided that this camera is not for him. His reason? Limitations on flash sync.

When you are balancing flash in bright ambient, you start at your max sync for your shutter speed. That will give you the most flash-friendly corresponding aperture, whether you are normally exposing or underexposing the ambient.

Think about it: 1/250th at f/16 equals 1/500th at f/11. Since the flash only cares about the aperture, you could balance in the same light with half of the flash power.

True, it is only a third of a stop as compared to 1/250th. But with speedlights and daylight, that is a critical third of a stop. To be clear,this camera makes every single flash you own less effective.

Also, the difference between 1/250th and 1/200th sync is deadly when it comes to stopping action when balancing flash and ambient. 1/250th is dicey enough. 1/200th just doesn’t work.

This doesn’t impact my style of shooting but perhaps it would impact yours?