For those with experience with these two cameras, which camera has less noise at ISO 3200 and higher? I do a lot of shooting in poorly lit high school gyms, so low noise at high ISO is important to me, but I am also worried about the larger file sizes associated with the D600. Or should I just buy the D600 because of newer technology and ISO capability?
#1. "RE: D700 vs D600 noise." In response to Reply # 0
Stan -- I can't answer the D700 vs. D600 issue, but speaking for the D800, which I just acquired after 3+ years with a pair of D700s, often shooting in low light situations such as high school gyms, I find the D800 results to be at least equal to and in many cases, quite a lot better than the D700 results. Technology marches on, and while it does not make older cameras suddenly take worse photos, there are often significant advantages to the newer technology. I do know that the frame rate on my D800 is not up the D700 standards, but I tend to shot a lot of sports with single exposures. My biggest issue to date is file size. I shoot RAW, and the NEFs run 75 vs 25 mb; thus slower download times, slower processing, etc. 8gb Flash cards hold 90 14-bit, uncompressed NEFS and medium JPEGS -- where the same set-up allowed 250 shots on the D700. But all in all, I am very happy to date with the D800 and will probably get another one soon, selling one D700 and relegating the other to a back-up role.
#4. "RE: D700 vs D600 noise." In response to Reply # 0 Mon 27-May-13 04:56 PM by JPJ
Let me start by saying I own the D700 (which I love and will never sell)and D800e, and I have owned a D600 and shot it at higher ISOs.
Dxomark only rates the d600 as having about 1/3rd of a stop better ISO performance than the D700 (I may add that the D800 rates 1 point behind the D600 which is completely negligible). That however does not tell the whole story in my opinion.
The D600 and D800 have very similar dynamic range charts which consistently rate it 2/3rds of a stop better than the D700 at the same ISO values. Better dynamic range is going to mean less luminance noise overall in your photos and that is where the real difference lies in my experience as a D800/D700 owner, and having shot the D600.
I wouldn't call the difference significant, but given the doubling and tripling of pixels in the D600 and D800 respectively it is quite an amazing accomplishment to have improve upon how noise is handled.
The issue of the megapixels raises a final issue, which is how noise will actually appear in photos. If you down sample a D600 or D800 file to the size of a D700 one, objectively the D600 and D800 photos look better, with any apparent noise looking smaller and with a much finer grain. Down sampling can significantly decrease the appearance of noise. In fact, on a D800 at ISO 3200, down sampling may all but eliminate the need for noise reduction in many photos. I admit the appearance of noise is somewhat subjective, but it would be hard to debate that D600 and D800 photos taken at the same ISO as a D700 one and down sampled to d700 size don't look better.
So to answer your original questions: The d600 has slightly less noise in photos taken at ISO 3200 and higher. Down sampled the noise is even less apparent than shots on the D700.
As to buying the D600 simply because it is newer technology, I would say no. Buy a new camera only if the one you have is not letting you taken the photos you want and the new one will. Upgrading just to upgrade is a waste of money in my opinion, that money can be better spent on new lenses or other things that will expand your photography.
As for file size, you will likely double your average RAW photo size going from a D700 to a D600 so newer computer equipment would be preferable for post processing. I built a computer over a year ago built on a i7-2600k processor, which I overclocked to 4.2 GHz, and 16 MB of RAM. I hum along on transferring and processing D800 files that are about 30% bigger than D600 ones and 70% bigger than D700 ones.
Edit to add: the body style of the D600 is noticeably different than the D700 - so before changing you may want to go to a store and try it out a bit - it is smaller with less external controls and more menu driven options. It does have user banks on the mode dial which are superior imho to the shooting banks on the D700 for quickly changing a large number of settings at once. The d800 is closer in controls and size to the D700 - but there are some changes there to. Just an FYI as we tend to get attached to how a camera feels as much as we do how it shoots.