This review will be broken into two parts, this one on the camera and and the article following on image quality.

I bought myself a new Nikon D600 last Thursday, and this weekend is the first time I have been able to “play” with it. There is lots to learn with this camera, the owners manual is the size of a small novel (and yes that is only the English). For these reasons, this will be an evolving review as I learn more….

Of course the first thing I did after I bought my camera was to charge the battery. I wish the charger displayed the battery level, but that is not a big deal, as the camera seems to be accurate (no I have not killed a charge yet, but I am not one for taking thousands of images on a shoot). Once I got home from work, I started reading the manual. The manual will take a couple of reads before I learn everything, but a quick browse gave me an idea of some of the things I wanted to customize. Since I am coming from a much older and simpler camera, I probably have more to learn than someone upgrading from a more recent model. I am not one for gadgets on my cameras…

Out taking photos, the camera handles well. Honestly I don’t think it feels as good as my old Fuji S2-Pro, but that might just be a familiarity thing. I know build quality is better on the D600. The viewfinder is nice and bright, and seems to show everything you really need. One feature I did not think about was live view. When shooting at an unusual angle, I did not have to contort to see through the viewfinder to compose. Again, I prefer using the viewfinder, but the live view was a help for a couple of shots.

One thing I did not like was the remote release. The cord can be plugged in backwards. It takes a very little extra effort, and I am afraid it could break some contacts or something. I will have to mark the plug somehow (I am thinking of a dot of bright red nail polish). I will also need to figure out a way to mount the release to the tripod. I tend to leave the camera on the tripod and carry it over my shoulder. If I leave the remote plugged it, it swings. In other words, it is not a well designed remote. There is available a wireless remote, but having used those in the past, I’m not a big fan…

When I got home to download the images I was in for another surprise. My Linux computer recognized the raw files fine, however my windows machine did not. A download from Nikon enabled me to see thumbnails, but that was about it. Lightroom 4 recognized the files, but Photoshop CS5 did not. Contrary to what seems like most photographers, I don’t really like Lightroom, and I don’t see a real need to update to Photoshop CS6. Thank goodness Digikam understands the files. I do miss some of the controls and ease of ACR, but I can work around that. I will have to figure out a workflow…

Back to the camera though, Image quality is amazing. I could get very good images with my old Fuji, but I felt like I was pushing it right up to, and even past, what it could provide. I often had to work pretty hard to get what I wanted. With the D600, I get the feeling I have room to spare. The image files just keep going, amazing detail, tons of dynamic range, and very malleable.

Of course the camera is new, and I have to justify the cost, but I think as I learn the D600, it will prove to be a versatile tool.

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