With he launch of the Nikon D600 – on September 13, last – the waiting has finally ended for whoever wanted to either “go” full-frame or was looking to upgrade from the, by now, legendary D700.
Legendary, because it was the first more or less affordable full-frame Nikon DSLR to break the Canon low-noise hegemony with stellar high ISO performance.
Legendary also, because Nikon never gave up that lead again. At the time of writing, there are six Nikon cameras in the DxO Mark top-10, while the D700 is still 16th, in spite of its respectable age of 50 months.
By now the D800E and D800 top the DxO charts (1 and 2, respectively), closely followed by the D4 (5th).
On September 18th, 2012, the D600 snatched up 3rd place, with an overall score of 94 and a Low Light ISO score only second to category leader D3S (10th overall).
With the D700 being fazed-out, semi-pros and advanced amateurs are left with two full-frame cameras to choose from in Nikon’s semi-pro price bracket, the D800E and D800 costing $ 3.300 and $ 3.000 respectively, while the D600 will set you back $ 2.100, a 25% premium of $ 400 over the aging D300S APS-C camera.
Yet in the absence of independent tests of the D600, it is interesting to compare it against the D800, to figure out how much more camera $ 900 buys us, and ask ourselves whether or not it is worth spending the roughly 50% extra.
If I could afford to spend the additional cash for the D800E without thinking, I probably would. However, I cannot.
Also, after the D1X, I swore to never ever again spend that kind of cash on a body ever again. And $3.000 plus is a tad too close for comfort to the amount I once swore to never ever spend again.
Since I also need to replace my stolen D200, MB-D200, SB-600, AI 50 mm f/1.4, AF 35-70 f/2.8D and 18-200 f/3.5-6.3, 900 bucks will go at least some way into the right direction...
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