Incense

by Bart Arondson

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My wife has been dabbling in semi-pro photography for the last year or so. She has come a long way and feels like she is ready to upgrade to a more serious camera. She mostly does newborns/seniors/family pictures but has dipped her toes into wedding photography with good results.

As we started looking at her upgrade options, it became clear the D600/D700 are the two cameras at our price point that she can move on to. The D700 is unanimously raved about by virtually everyone she knows, but cannot be bought new anymore and most of the used ones with ~10k actuations are selling for roughly $1800 on eBay. We could pay an extra $200 and have a brand new D600 with warranty and all that good stuff, which makes me feel a lot less nervous for the money spent.

So, long story short, for someone doing portrait photography with 2k to spend, would you recommend buying a slightly used D700 or a brand new D600?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The D600 without hesitation. It is a much newer and more capable model. It is even faster and the higher resolution will let you make much larger prints.

The only studio related thing that the D600 is missing is a Sync-Port to connect sudio flashes. You can get an adapter from hot-shoe to sync-port is you like or go with wireless trigger which is very convenient.

For completeness - but it may not have much an impact on studio photography since most such images are edited anyway - the D600 has a 100% coverage viewfinder while the D700 does not, which frankly is an embarrassment for a full-frame camera but it is not the only offender.

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Have you heard anything about the oil spots on the D600s? –  Paolo Bergantino Dec 5 '12 at 22:46
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Yup, there seems to be a consensus among people who own D600's that there is some debris or oil specks that end up on the sensor when the camera is new. One individual took a clean sensor and ran the camera through a few hundred releases and made a short movie out of it: kyleclements.com/blog/2012/…. The issue seemed to go away after 1000 or so shots. Even so I'd go for the D600 over the D700. –  BobT Dec 5 '12 at 23:08
    
Mine had more dust than usual but nothing that did not clear up easily with a Visible Dust brush and fluid. If you are mostly shooting in a studio and store your camera with lens attached as I always do, this should be a minor issue. –  Itai Dec 5 '12 at 23:39
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The D600 oil/dust issue is readily addressed, I don't think that's a purchasing factor now. –  John Cavan Dec 6 '12 at 2:46
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So, just a word of warning...Nikon can be extremely stubborn about issues, even when the internet community has definitively proven they exist with gobs of visual and analytical evidence. –  jrista Dec 6 '12 at 4:18

I'm not going to entirely agree with Itai, there are some additional things to consider:

  1. The D600 isn't really much faster. 5.5 frames per second burst versus 5 for the D700.

  2. The D600 flash sync speed is 1/200 versus 1/250 for the D700. Might not seem like much, but when trying to overpower ambient light (especially sunlight), it starts to matter.

The second point is relevant in wedding situations, especially outdoors. If you want to control the light there, then the sync speed gets quite critical. If most of your work is in a controlled studio, then it's less of an issue, but still an issue. See the Strobist view on the D600 for some detail. Either way, you indicate some studio needs and the D600 is actually a little weaker there.

The big upside to the D600 is that it does have improved resolution, about twice, but that has an interesting cost to portrait work... Greater detail may actually mean more retouching. People aren't really fond of that zit being there in all its glory or deep pores looking deep. At any rate, I wouldn't turn the D600 down on that basis, but be aware of that potential.

One final consideration... No video on the D700. If that matters to you (never has for me), then the D700 may be a non-starter.

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Extra resolution is never a disadvantage (except w.r.t. data storage/processing), if you're worried about having to do more retouching, simply sun a small radius Gaussian blur over your image and you'll be right back to D700 levels of detail. –  Matt Grum Dec 6 '12 at 14:18
    
@MattGrum I didn't say it was, I just noted that it may mean more retouching. :) I use the D800, it's scary the amount of detail that comes in and a few D800 portrait photographers have commented on this, not as a negative, but something to be aware of. –  John Cavan Dec 6 '12 at 15:15
    
I have heard many people call the D800's resolution a disadvantage, and they own it. File sizes are the main complaint they have. –  dpollitt Dec 6 '12 at 18:04
    
@dpollitt - I wouldn't call it a disadvantage, but it's definitely a consideration when using it in a situation where certain levels of detail are actually less desired. As for file size, not really that bad (50mb an image usually), but it depends on your capacity for dealing with them I suppose. –  John Cavan Dec 6 '12 at 19:05
    
@MattGrum " .. never a disadvantage ..." - all else being equal. Noise levels will be increased for a given technology and implementation. This will be offset by improvements in technology. How much so is the issue. The eg DxO optics ISO benchmarks are normalised to a 12 mp image. They scale their nouse results by the square root of the megapixels (which I consider 'suspect' for at least some noise). But, using this factor a 24 mp ISO result will be 'improved' by a factor of sqrt(24/120 OR 1.414 X or noise figures will be multiplied by 0.7071 (ie 1/1.414). ... –  Russell McMahon Dec 8 '12 at 6:47

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