Sun 27-Jan-13 08:23 PM | edited Mon 28-Jan-13 12:01 AM by Ray B
A brief setting of the scene.... Well I went full frame back in 2008 with a D700 and what an awesome camera! Since then I've also always had a second DX body, firstly a D300 and then a D7000. I have mostly FX glass but don't tend to use it on the DX bodies, using a DX lens for compactness instead.
I don't shoot "long" or "fast action" such as wildlife or sports, for me the D7000 has been a day to day body for compactness and lighter weight, with the D700 coming out to play when I "set out to make photos" (if that makes sense?)
Bottom line.... I'm an FX man cos I come from film days when all SLR's were full frame.
I like proper big viewfinders, I like that a 24mm lens is ... well a 24mm lens (etc). I also LOVE the files that my D700 produces...but never much liked the bulk and weight for day to day carrying. (Hence the D7000, but oops never liked the files or sharpness from my DX kit and DX lenses in comparison).
Anyway, sorry for rambling. I took the plunge and bought a D600 yesterday.
I wrestled with the options which for me were:
1. Do nothing and keep the D700 and D7000 2. Keep the D700, sell the D7000 and add a D800 (but which would be my every day light kit? Neither! What would I gain, aside from massive files to deal with?) 3. Keep the D700, add a D600 and sell the D7000 and the last of my DX glass.
I chose option 3 in the end, lightweight everyday kit but FX heaven (for me) - wow!
For day to day I used to carry the D7000 with a 20mm 2.8D, the D600 with my 28mm 1.8G does the same job, for approx the same weight and bulk but a massive amount better in IQ to my eyes...WOW !!
Anyway, I collected the D600 yesterday and last night was my step daughters 16th birthday fancy dress party. For such an event I'd previously have been debating shall I bring the D700 for the image quality and high ISO performance, or the D7000 simply cos it's smaller?
This time the answer was easy, I'd get the best of all worlds with the D600. It's stupid to shoot an important event with new kit but I felt happy that the 2 hours I had to set the camera up would be enough and I went for it. A few intricacies regarding the new features of auto ISO functions and how it interacts when using strobe (SB900) were on the night (and now) a mystery that I need to decipher and fully master, but gimme a day or three and all will be well!
Anyway, I shot just over 300 frames at the party, starting with the 24-120mm 4.0 and then the 50mm 1.4g for the remainder of the evening. Every shot I took used the SB900 in cramped indoor conditions allowing auto ISO to wander up to ISO3200 as it saw fit (auto shutter set to -2 as I was using aperture priority and wanted enough latitude to stop down when needed without under exposing). I let white balance do it's thing on "auto" and matrix metered with no compensation - hey it was a party!
1. I was astonished with how good the metering and auto WB was with no input from me, I was even more astonished with the IQ and skin tones rendered.
2. I'm blown away with the high ISO performance (see accompanying pic)
3. All this with similar weight and bulk to my D7000 with 16-85mm combo - but that kit would have struggled in this light, especially with skin tones at ISO 1600 plus.
4. I shot (as always) in RAW. But slot 2 was set to record small JPEG's which I uploaded to my Ipad during the evening, so guests could look at them, with me having the Raws for later editing of the best keepers. I'm used to this option with the D7000 but clearly not an easy option with the D700.
THE NOT GOOD
I shot just over 300 frames last night, and yep got dust/debris on sensor. I'm not gonna get excited about that just yet, I can exchange the body or "run it in" till the issues are gone. I'll take a closer look tomorrow. Might be nothing really wrong with my sample, but hey, we shouldn't have to put up with it really ?
SOME NUMBER CRUNCHING DATA
Ok I'm not a pro, but if you're a wedding photog or similar considering a D600/D800 and pondering workflow impacts this data might help:
1. I shot just over 300 images last night, 14 bit RAW lossless compressed.
2. I have a decent Mac Pro 2.8GHz quad core with 12mb Ram. I've added a USB 3.0 card and using a Lexar USB3.0 card reader and Lexar professional 32gb 400x SD card those images took 33 minutes to import into Lightroom 4.3 (excluding preview rendering)
3. I spent far less time post processing though, as far as I can tell! In fact, aside from some cropping on some files the most I adjusted was minus 1/3rd stop exposure on maybe a max of 5 frames out of 300 plus! Some of the best keepers would benefit from a further tweak here and there, as you'd expect, but far less than I'm used to having to do.
My D7000 is history, along with the last of my DX lenses! I'll take a practical view on initial dust type problems but for now I'll shoot with only the D600. If I find something only the d700 can cope with I'll keep those two bodies but for now I can almost see 2 D600's becoming my future!!
Oh, and here's my favourite picture from last night. 50mm 1.4G @ f9.0 1/60th at ISO 3200...... NO POST PROCESSING AT ALL.... just exported from Lightroom with default export "medium sharpening for screen" .... I'm blown away at this ISO for skin tones. What do you think?