Still deciding between the Nikon D600, D700, and D800 as first full frame.

Nikon sure isn’t making the decision to buy my first full frame camera easy. It seems that short of spending $6000 on a new D4, all the other choices have some sort of flaw or dealbreaker. Here is the way I look at it.

The Nikon D700

Pros:

  • The cheapest option
  • Manageable 12 megapixel pictures to work with
  • Very rugged and professional body
  • Auto focus system is professional grade with the autofocus points spread out at an acceptable amount
  • 1/250 of the second sync speed as well as 1/8000 of a second maximum shutter speed

Cons:

  • Over four year old technology
  • No video
  • Although 12 megapixels is manageable, a little bit more would be desirable
  • The worst sensor of all three choices which is still pretty good

The Nikon D800:

Pros:

  • New technology
  • Professional body
  • Best auto focus system
  • Fast maximum shutter speed and sync speed
  • 36 megapixels

Cons:

  • 36 megapixels
  • highest price

D600:

Pros:

  • New technology at a slightly lower price
  • Acceptable megapixel count at 24 megapixels

Cons:

  • 1/200 of a second sync speed and 1/4000 of a second maximum shutter speed
  • Autofocus points clustered mostly in the center and not enough to cover the rule of thirds
  • Many reported cases of oil splattering on the sensor on new cameras
  • No clean HDMI output on video as reported on various sites.
  • well priced lower, It still seems a bit high at $2100

So, there are my choices.  I really wanted that D800 to have the same sensor as the Nikon D4 the way the D700 had the same sensor as the D3, but it appears that Nikon has the policy that if you want the D4 sensor you have to get a D4 and it will not cannibalize their sales by offering that sensor in their lower end cameras.  Don’t get me wrong, the 36 megapixel sensor on the the D800 is a thing of beauty. Many professional photographers who needed an alternative to medium format cameras are loving it. It’s just that for my needs, 36 megapixels is more of a hindrance than a feature due to the massive file sizes.  My computer is almost brand-new with a ton of memory and speed; however, my hard drives will be filled up rather quickly when dealing with 70 MB raw files.  And then there is the backup and the backup for the backup.
D600 seems to be the best bet but the AF points’ location in the center is turning me off.  I love focusing near the edges of the viewfinder and while the other full frame cameras aren’t that great either compared to the DX cameras (Supposedly because the optics make it hard to have a true FX AF system), the D600’s are a little too close.
I’m also looking to buy the 24-70mm lens and I can get a bundle deal.  We shall see.

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