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Thread: D600 or d800

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    D600 or d800

    Good evening all,

    i apologise in advance for what I feel shall be a rather lengthy post.
    i have been working full time over my uni holidays to save up for a new camera body, I wish to upgrade to full frame.
    i have narrowed it down to either the d600 (which I can purchase immediately) or the d800 which will require a few more weeks of saving.
    i really love the look of the d800 photos, (I have 20-15 vision last time I was tested, so when printed with an excellent printer I can really admire the details) I really like shooting landscapes, nightscapes, macro and animals (people on occasion) from what I can tell the d800 is just about the perfect camera for my needs.
    Whilst in comparison the d600 performs basically the same, however in a slightly lesser scale (only marginally, ISO performance similar, similar DR, etc)

    so my question is this, should I save for the d800 or just settle for the d600?

    Thank you all in advance for your replies

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    What lenses are you considering buying as well to go with either body that you settle on?

    In all seriousness, lenses will be your limiting factor with either camera when aiming for optimal results.
    Andrew
    Nikon, Fuji, Nikkor, Sigma, Tamron, Tokina and too many other bits and pieces to list.



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    I already have a couple of primes f1.4 and f1.8 50mm and 85mm respectively, I am intending to either get a 14-24mm or a 17-35 in the middle of the year. I also have some old manual focus lenses which I am not sure of the specs. My next purchase to save for after a body will be better lenses, probably a 24-70 f2.8, and then from there who knows.

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    Get what ever you can afford !
    D800 is very good, make sure your PC is up to it too, the files are huge.
    As mentioned the lenses are important but sounds like you have them covered, so what are you waiting for
    A Birth Certificate shows that we were born.
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    Pictures show that we lived!
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mortalitas View Post
    ..... I also have some old manual focus lenses which I am not sure of the specs. .....
    Be 100% sure of the specs of these older lenses before you mount them.

    Non Ai lenses can seriously damage most modern Nikon bodies, so check twice before mounting.

    As for the difference between the detail rendering of D800 vs a D600 .. are you really going to print so large in fine detail that you will actually see these differences?

    ie. if you are printing so large, why are you so close to the print in the first place?

    D800 is a great camera, but it seems that you will have to forgo a lens or two in the short term when compared to the price of a D600.
    D800 is better to use from a usage standpoint, having more controls at your fingertips(literally!) so that if you require hardware buttons to achieve a camera setting, the D800 is the better camera.
    I also found that with my medium/large hand size that the D600, like the D7000, while it was an ok fit in my hand it felt less comfortable than the larger heavier D800.
    I can hold my D800 for hours on end, without hand pains. (I don't use shoulder straps).

    I've only briefly played with the D600 in the shop taking only a few exposures, and it sounded a bit less noisy, if this is important to you. A much more muted mirror slap sound compared to the D800.

    And believe every word that is said of the higher level of skill required when using a D800 100% pixel perfectly compared to many other cameras too!

    Having gone from the D300's 12Mp to the D800, shots I used to get easily with a lens at a specific shutter speed(ie. kinda too slow) .. almost always come out a lot more blurry viewed at 100%.
    So your technique is going to have an impact on this expected level of higher detail. Steady hands and or high quality stable support may be a critical aspect to consider too.
    This can or will be an issue if you shoot at slower than usual shutter speeds.

    Then again, there are other less well written about features in the D600, that are either super expensive to achieve with the D800, or are simply not (yet) possible.

    ie. the wireless connectivity of the D600 is not only cheaper as an optional accessory, but can be more easily connected to 'smart devices'(iPhone/Android) for control over the operation of the camera.

    Looking only at the numbers(or even images) isn't the only way to assess which of the two may be more suited for your purpose. Yes the D800 will render more detail in any image under the right circumstances, but this is really the wrong reason to choose it in preference .. unless you really do print h-u-g-e images, or crop your images heavily.


    Having said all that, the D800 is most likely the camera to go for, more because it will last you longer in terms of you outgrowing it's features and controls.
    What that means is that the D800 has a better AF system and control layout compared to the D600. Whether they're relevant to you now is irrelevant(right now) .. it's just that the D800 can do in some situations where the D600 may not be able too.
    Then again, the D800 actually feels slower by comparison to a D600(and even my D300) when it comes to shooting frames rapidly. ie. sports or other machine gun fire situations.
    And of course memory .. lots of it, if you shoot lots .. even if you shoot only a little. 8 Gig card on a D800 only holds 99 raw files. Card speed is essential for a smooth workflow with a D800.
    Learned that the hard way with mine. My fastest card would not work at all on the D800, where it works perfectly on the D300. The slower 8 Gig cards basically took all day writing a single raw file out of the buffer and onto the card(OK, it felt like an eternity I was unwilling to participate in any longer). Got a super fast Lexar card to alleviate this issue, but of course they cost too!
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
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    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    Way Down Yonder in the Paw Paw Patch jim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    Having gone from the D300's 12Mp to the D800, shots I used to get easily with a lens at a specific shutter speed(ie. kinda too slow) .. almost always come out a lot more blurry viewed at 100%.
    The solution to that would be not to spend too much time viewing your pictures at 100%. After all, it's not as if the D800 shots are actually likely to be lower quality than the D300 ones.

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    Now where to start...
    The lenses are ai and ais, so that should be fine
    my computer will have no trouble handling the files (hex corei7, 32gb ram, 2x 3gb graphics card and 3 screens)
    I have 3 class 10 64gb sd cards (if one 8gb is 99 raws then 3 64 gb is 2376. And 3 screens 2 full hd and one 2560x1440) With a cf card purchased with the camera.
    missing out on lenses in the short run doesn't really bother me, as I intend to stick with photography for most of, of not the rest of my life.
    Wireless transfers not really an issue because I won't use them.
    I rarely, if ever shoot fast paced sporting scenes.
    I have very steady hands and usually carry tripod close by anyway (just in case)


    Seeing as I don't really intend to upgrade the body quite some time, would it be better to opt for the more expensive d800 over the d600?

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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    The beauty of the D800 is that it gives you options. If you need to crop heavily, then you can. If you need to print big, then you can. It is an FX camera and a DX camera all rolled into one. It has pro spec build quality and pro spec AF speed and accuracy and a few more features than the D600.

    Contrary to the myth about using higher shutter speeds, you do not need to use higher shutter speeds on the D800 compared to other cameras if you are displaying/ printing at the same or similar size and viewing at the same distance. You may only need higher shutter speeds and a more disciplined approach if you want to take complete full advantage of the extra resolution offered. The point is, you have to use disciplined shooting for utmost IQ with any camera, regardless of Mp or format, so singling out the D800 as some sort of monster in this regard is just not correct. You will not get worse images with the D800 than you would have over a less Mp'ed camera like say the D700, but you always have the potential for better resolution images, especially if you decide to employ a more disciplined approach. So, you are never at a disadvantage with the D800, but always have the option for an advantage.

    Having said that, I mostly do use 1 stop higher shutter speeds as I may want to crop and I may want the utmost IQ and I just use 1 stop more ISO as the high ISO is that good. I generally use "Auto ISO" and "Auto minimum shutter speed", a brilliant feature that let's you select the minimum shutter speed you want to use and it automatically detects the lens' focal length on the camera, even a zooms focal length!

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mortalitas View Post
    .......

    i really love the look of the d800 photos, (I have 20-15 vision last time I was tested, so when printed with an excellent printer I can really admire the details) .....


    Quote Originally Posted by jim View Post
    The solution to that would be not to spend too much time viewing your pictures at 100%. ....
    exactly my point!

    Unless the OP has a professional need, the number of times that the advantage of the D800's resolution will be used as intended may be limited .. and hence the advantage of getting it then becomes questionable.

    I've printed a couple of 30" prints with the D300(being 12Mp), so the detail that the OP expects to see may not actually transpire as they expected it too.
    D600 offers enough resolution to allow quite large print sizes.

    Of course I'm assuming that the OP is a non professional, and has never printed a larger than A2 image.
    As already explained if cropping features heavily in your workflow, then the resolution advantage of the D800 does become a regular reality.

    A good photographer should never crop heavily .. it should really only be a last resort.
    Best practice is to choose the correct lens, and or the appropriate positioning.

    Quote Originally Posted by mortalitas View Post
    .... Seeing as I don't really intend to upgrade the body quite some time ....
    A better reason to go with the D800! (IMO) The body form factor of the D800 will last longer than most folks will require for most of their uses.

    My reasons for going with the D800 over the D600 was simply the body form factor, nothing else.
    I wanted a video capable photographic camera with the D800 form factor, and had the choice been available back then, I'd have chosen a 24Mp D800 over a 36Mp D800.
    I can't remember exactly, as I didn't play with it long enough, but I think the viewfinder of the D600 wasn't as good as the D800 either.
    Then again, common opinion is that the D600 has a better liveview image than the D800 ... and I use Lv mode quite often on the D800.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lance B View Post
    ..... you have to use disciplined shooting for utmost IQ with any camera .....
    I can't agree with this opinion(actually never have).
    Photography is such a diverse genre, that almost anyone can happen along with lowly regarded gear, and very little ability and can still capture some interesting and unique imagery.
    Photography is not just about high level pixel peeping and stunning detail rendering. It is to some, and this is fine, but this is just an opinion for those that tend to dwell on this aspect of photography.

    FWIW: one of my favourite images in my considerable catalog of images has been captured by my (then) 9yo son, on my old D70, with a kit lens, which barely has any perceptible image detail .. but the image is quite unique not only in it's looks, but what the reality of the actual subject matter is.
    It was misfocused(in a sense), yet I have it rated as one of the top images on my PC .. all 1.3Tb of them!

    In a sense many years ago I also used to chase for this 'empirical value' of an image that is I wanted more detail and better resolution .. etc, etc, ad nauseum.

    But after a while you just get over it.
    The overall look of the image is what counts, not the individual specifics.
    I think it was Ansell Adams that said something like "There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept".

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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    exactly my point!

    Unless the OP has a professional need, the number of times that the advantage of the D800's resolution will be used as intended may be limited .. and hence the advantage of getting it then becomes questionable.

    I've printed a couple of 30" prints with the D300(being 12Mp), so the detail that the OP expects to see may not actually transpire as they expected it too.
    D600 offers enough resolution to allow quite large print sizes.

    Of course I'm assuming that the OP is a non professional, and has never printed a larger than A2 image.
    As already explained if cropping features heavily in your workflow, then the resolution advantage of the D800 does become a regular reality.

    A good photographer should never crop heavily .. it should really only be a last resort.
    Best practice is to choose the correct lens, and or the appropriate positioning.



    A better reason to go with the D800! (IMO) The body form factor of the D800 will last longer than most folks will require for most of their uses.

    My reasons for going with the D800 over the D600 was simply the body form factor, nothing else.
    I wanted a video capable photographic camera with the D800 form factor, and had the choice been available back then, I'd have chosen a 24Mp D800 over a 36Mp D800.
    I can't remember exactly, as I didn't play with it long enough, but I think the viewfinder of the D600 wasn't as good as the D800 either.
    Then again, common opinion is that the D600 has a better liveview image than the D800 ... and I use Lv mode quite often on the D800.



    I can't agree with this opinion(actually never have).
    Photography is such a diverse genre, that almost anyone can happen along with lowly regarded gear, and very little ability and can still capture some interesting and unique imagery.
    Photography is not just about high level pixel peeping and stunning detail rendering. It is to some, and this is fine, but this is just an opinion for those that tend to dwell on this aspect of photography.

    FWIW: one of my favourite images in my considerable catalog of images has been captured by my (then) 9yo son, on my old D70, with a kit lens, which barely has any perceptible image detail .. but the image is quite unique not only in it's looks, but what the reality of the actual subject matter is.
    It was misfocused(in a sense), yet I have it rated as one of the top images on my PC .. all 1.3Tb of them!

    In a sense many years ago I also used to chase for this 'empirical value' of an image that is I wanted more detail and better resolution .. etc, etc, ad nauseum.

    But after a while you just get over it.
    The overall look of the image is what counts, not the individual specifics.
    I think it was Ansell Adams that said something like "There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept".
    you're missing my point completely. I never said anything about the photographic appeal, but was merely pointing out ultimate image quality, specifically with regards to blur caused by camera movement. People have been stating that you need to use higher shutter speeds on the D800 due to it's higher resolution. I am stating that this is a myth and the images will look no worse than shot on any other camera when viewed at the same size. How you extrapolated what I said to read that IQ was the only important factor I will never know. It has absolutely nothing to do with the discussion.
    Last edited by Lance B; 13-02-2013 at 11:25pm.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Apologies in that I think I have misread your comments.

    IQ doesn't just imply high detail rendering or edge acutance, but now I understand what you meant with your comment.

    If impeccable detail replication is your stated aim for an image, then yes, solid discipline is required to achieve this, alternatively good reliable support gear is also handy to have to achieve this aim.

    My comment about high level pixel peeping was not directed directly to your comment about high IQ.
    I should have began a new paragraph there and spaced it from my opinion.

    My comments about the importance factor of impeccable detail in an image was a general comment made back to the OP, who seems to have the same obsession most of us begin with in photography.

    For sure, in some aspects of photography the level of detail captured is probably the most important factor in the image .. for example bird photography and macro photography.

    In fact I have found too that for good detail rendering, a higher shutter speed should be used or that exposure delay/MLU must be set to a longer period to avoid camera shake .. compared to even the D300 which isn't too dissimilar to the D800 in terms of pixel density.

    And FWIW(to other commentators): there's actually nothing wrong with pixel peeping at 100%. I do it all the time with every image .. well of course not the abstract stuff with no image detail to look at tho!
    But in my culling process, I view each image for rating and deletion purposes and briefly view each image at 100% view to determine which gets rated higher than the less detailed image.
    The point is tho, not to dwell on this aspect. You view the image once at 100% rate it, or delete it and be done with that aspect .. never to be viewed like that ever again.
    But in saying that, because of the fact that I still view my D800 images mostly at the same final size as I do all other images, I have relaxed my image rating system with the D800 files compared to how I used to rate D70 and D300 images.

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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    Apologies in that I think I have misread your comments.

    IQ doesn't just imply high detail rendering or edge acutance, but now I understand what you meant with your comment.

    If impeccable detail replication is your stated aim for an image, then yes, solid discipline is required to achieve this, alternatively good reliable support gear is also handy to have to achieve this aim.

    My comment about high level pixel peeping was not directed directly to your comment about high IQ.
    I should have began a new paragraph there and spaced it from my opinion.

    My comments about the importance factor of impeccable detail in an image was a general comment made back to the OP, who seems to have the same obsession most of us begin with in photography.

    For sure, in some aspects of photography the level of detail captured is probably the most important factor in the image .. for example bird photography and macro photography.

    In fact I have found too that for good detail rendering, a higher shutter speed should be used or that exposure delay/MLU must be set to a longer period to avoid camera shake .. compared to even the D300 which isn't too dissimilar to the D800 in terms of pixel density.

    And FWIW(to other commentators): there's actually nothing wrong with pixel peeping at 100%. I do it all the time with every image .. well of course not the abstract stuff with no image detail to look at tho!
    But in my culling process, I view each image for rating and deletion purposes and briefly view each image at 100% view to determine which gets rated higher than the less detailed image.
    The point is tho, not to dwell on this aspect. You view the image once at 100% rate it, or delete it and be done with that aspect .. never to be viewed like that ever again.
    But in saying that, because of the fact that I still view my D800 images mostly at the same final size as I do all other images, I have relaxed my image rating system with the D800 files compared to how I used to rate D70 and D300 images.
    No problems, Arthur.

    Actual IQ and photographic appeal are not always linked as you rightly are intimating. However, there are times when IQ is important and having extra pixels is usually an advantage not usually a disadvantage and this aspect may be of importance to the OP.

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    If you like landscape you're going to really appreciate the D800 although it may not matter unless you do massive prints. The D600 is surprisingly good and I find the smaller size very appealing. Another thing worth mentioning is that the D800 has a large round viewfinder while the D600 has a smaller rectangular one and if you're using MF lenses it should be more pleasing to use the D800.
    Last edited by I @ M; 14-02-2013 at 9:29am. Reason: Please refer to the site rules.

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    I'd go for a D800 or D800E even if you have to work for another two months to gather up the cash. The pixel count is huge on a D800 ... you'll love it! It's a fine camera.

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