The film and video production industry world wide has gone through many changes over the last fifty years, but the technological advancements within the last five years have forever democratized the industry of moving pictures.
With the advent of DSLR video capture, high quality, low cost productions are now more achievable than ever before, but this is not “news” anymore. The Canon 5D Mark II revolutionized the way many people recorded video four years ago and since then people have anxiously awaited it’s successor. Canon released their 5D Mark III earlier this year and many were disappointed either with the specs or picture quality and chose to switch to other comparable products like the Sony FS100, Nikon D800 or the much less expensive Panasonic GH2.
I started my video production career in Los Angeles, CA where there is abundance of camera shops and rental houses… definitely not the case here in Hawaii, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. We don’t have Samy’s Camera or B&H available to rent or test gear out, so like any other camera/tech junkie, I feast daily on reviews at blog and tech sites like DSLR News Shooter, Cheesycam, Wide Open Camera, Philip Bloom’s Blog, in hopes of gleaning from the experiences of those who do get hands on time with gear before I decide to make a purchase. It’s rare that we get high end video tech to our local shops and even more rare when we get new products the day they are available nationwide… so I was thrilled that our local Best Buy store had a few copies of the Nikon D600 available the day the rest of the country got their release.
Like everyone else, I too have been looking for a DSLR priced option to replace my aging 5D Mark II and I was hoping the D600 might be a solid, cost effective option. Nikon positioned their D600, a low cost ($2100-Body Only), FULL FRAME alternative to the much more expensive Canon 5D Mark III ($3500-Body Only) and also to their D800.
I’ve been asked by many, why I was considering a D600 since I have already have so much invested in so much Canon Glass? The answer for me was simple… I bought it to test it out. Best Buy has an extremely generous return policy that allows you to open, test and use a product for 29 days of evaluation. If you are not fully satisfied and as long as the product is in good working order you can return it for a full refund. But more importantly, I love my Zeiss ZF (Nikon) lenses that I have been adapting to fit my Canon or Sony FS100 since I first started shooting with DSLRs… and that means I already have glass that works natively with it! It is now much easier for me to switch Zeiss primes between my FS100 and D600 since I no longer need to add or remove the additional EOS adapter!
But as I mentioned, I bought the D600 with the intention of evaluating whether or not it was a good alternative to buying a $1500 more expensive 5D Mark III. Check out this promo I shot for ImprovHI.com with the Nikon D600, Zeiss 50/1.4 ZF, 25/2.8 ZF and a Manfrotto Monopod. I used no additional lighting setup and shot the majority of this at ISO 1250.
My humble opinion after using the camera for a few weeks is that it’s a great little camera. It is compact, yet feels very sturdy and substantial in hand. I would rather shoot with this than my 60D any day and possibly 5D Mark II. Sadly it still suffers from moire and rolling shutter, but I can honestly say I really enjoy using it which is a great reason to buy any camera.