Friday, December 6, 2013

Nikon D610 vs D600, 6D & 5D Mark III - Review Part II of II (Real World Shots)


f/9 @ 70 mm, 1/125, ISO 100
(Unedited in-camera JPEG)
Drivers license style mug shots of Adriana never looked so good ;-)

If you are just joining me, you can find the first part of my review in my article entitled REVIEW: Nikon D610 - Part I of II (Real World Shots). Very little has changed between the D600 and D610, so I didn’t go as deep in this review as I did its predecessor. As a result, I highly recommend you also check out my first D600 review to get the complete story about what I think about this camera body.

In this installment, I share some thoughts about the D610 compares to the competition and wrap things up with my final conclusion.

Compared to the D600, 6D & 5D Mark III


f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 1/60, ISO 1600, No Flash

Low noise in a similar shot to this blew me away when I first tested the D600

In my previous review entitled Nikon D600–A 5D Mark III Killer? (Part 2 of 2), I compared the D600 to the 5D Mark III. Given the fact that the D610 image quality performance is identical to the D600, I think the comparison shown in that article still applies.

Click here to see the comparison images between the D600 and 5D Mark III. All of the images are available for download so you can compare them using your favorite tools, and you can visit the D610 gallery to get the latest taken with the D610 I reviewed here. Please keep in mind that these images are copy protected and may not be re-used or published without written permission.

When viewing sample images, please pay careful attention to the file names / captions of the review images as they indicate the camera settings and the lens used. For this review I only had the Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens which is sharper than the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR Lens I used for much of my previous review, so that doesn’t mean the D610 takes sharper images.

When I did my D600 review I hadn’t used the Canon 6D yet, so I compared it to the 5D Mark III. That ended up being an unfair comparison because there’s just a lot more technology and features in the 5D Mark III that cause it to blow away the D600/610 (in my opinion). These days I compare the Canon 6D to the D600/610 as they are much closer in terms of features.

The 6D image quality is on par with a Canon 1D X and is better than the 5D Mark III, so I’ve been advising new Canon buyers that the 6D is a great buy for those on a budget. When you compare the D610 to the the 6D, you quickly find that both are excellent and similar in features overall. I prefer the 6D image quality, but the D610 has the better overall body design that makes it my preference when shooting.

Overall my comparison device is simple – if you are already committed to the Nikon platform by purchasing good lenses, then stick with Nikon. If you already own a D600, you don’t need to upgrade to a D610 but if you don’t own a D600 I’d say skip the D600 and go straight to the D610 (especially if you are a parent, wedding or event photographer). If you coming from the D700, it’s a worthwhile upgrade for image quality with a downgrade for the overall AF experience, so sport shooters might think twice while landscape shooters should upgrade. 

If you are comparing with Canon, I’d give the 6D the nod for the best image quality when using eyes instead of DxO scores, but I’d give put D610 body ahead of the 6D and below the 5D Mark III. Wedding & event shooters as well as parents of young children are going to still benefit from the 5D Mark III over the D610.

Bookshelf Test

The following sample images were all taken with the D610 and the Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens and no flash. The images are not processed in any way (no crop, rotate, sharpen, nothing). These are the in-camera jpeg’s that have simply been renamed and uploaded. You can click the photos to download the original files and you can visit the gallery to get more samples not featured in this article.

WARNING: I made a mistake and shot these all at –1 EV, so I need to reshoot my bookshelf test shots. Unfortunately I don’t have my loaner D610 anymore so this will need to happen at a future date. This IS NOT a problem with the camera.


f/2.8 @ 24 mm, 1.3s, ISO 100, No Flash
(-1 EV)


f/2.8 @ 24 mm, 1/200, ISO 12800 No Flash
(-1 EV)

You can visit the Nikon D610 Sample Gallery to see more images. 

For a more accurate comparison, click here to see the comparison images between the D600 and 5D Mark III. All of the images are available for download so you can compare them using your favorite tools, but they are copy protected and may not be reused in any way without written permission.

For a better view of bookshelf performance, please read my D600 article or visit the Nikon D600 Sample Gallery.

More Real World Sample Images

The following sample images were all taken with the D610 and the Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens and no flash. The images are not processed in any way (no crop, rotate, sharpen, nothing). These are the in-camera jpeg’s that have simply been renamed and uploaded. You can click the photos to download the original files and you can visit the gallery to get more samples not featured in this article.


f/2.8 @ 70 mm, 1/60, ISO 560, No Flash


The ultimate low noise challenge passes with flying colors
f/5.6 @ 26 mm, 1/125, ISO 25600, No Flash


This is a tough shot for most cameras due to the bright
foreground and dim background with stained glass
f/5.6 @ 24 mm, 1/60, ISO 5000, No Flash


f/9 @ 34 mm, 1/60, ISO 560, No Flash


f/16 @ 32 mm, 1/60, ISO 2200, No Flash


f/11 @ 24 mm, 1/30,ISO 12800 No Flash (-1 EV)

Visit the gallery to get better samples not featured in this article.

Conclusion

I once posed the question, “Nikon D600–My Favorite Nikon Ever?!!!”, and in the 2nd part of that review I said that the D3s still holds that title, but the D600 was a close runner up. While there’s little differences between the D610 and D600, it makes sense that the D610 now gets the nod as my favorite Nikon in the current line up. I’m also told that firmware updates have improved the D4 where it probably would fair much better in my testing than it had when it was first reviewed.

If you are just skipping to the conclusion and haven’t read both parts of this article, the only big updates here are quiet mode (great for wedding photographers and parents) and 0.5 frames per second burst mode. I’m sure there’s something I’m missing under the covers in D610 improvements that caused Nikon to release a whole new body as a minor update. Some say it’s better at handling sensor dust compared to the D600, but I haven’t been able to confirm or prove that.

My bottom line is that this is still a great camera that I think will please many Nikon users. I still think those coming from D700’s will be frustrated by the AF system’s limited range of AF points compared to what they were used to, but the great image quality is sure to please. The D7100 seemed to impress me more with its AF performance for unpredictable fast moving objects, but that comes at a cost of image quality that isn’t as good as the D610 (in my opinion).

In the end, even as a Canon shooter if I had to buy a Nikon this would be the one I’d get. It’s a good camera and I highly recommend it.

Where to order

Nikon D610 DSLR Camera (Body Only)
Nikon D610 DSLR Camera

Click here to learn more or order from B&H. Sign up for my deals newsletter to keep up on sales announcements for this camera and much more.

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Need a bag for this camera?

Here’s some of my favorite camera bags:

  1. Think Tank Photo Airport Security v2.0 – the ultimate roller / backpack combo
  2. Think Tank Photo StreetWalker Pro vs Glass TaxiStreetWalker Pro has been my go to bag since 2008 when I’m not travelling
  3. Think Tank Photo TurnStyle 20 – The Ultimate sling bag and super lightweight
  4. MindShift Gear Rotation 180° – THE Hiking Camera Backpack
  5. Think Tank Photo Modular Components V2.0 – Brilliant for sports or crowds. The ultimate photojournalist setup & great when you have to run!

Disclosure

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B&H provided me with a loaner camera and lens at my request so that I could bring this article to you.

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The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

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