Let me preface this by saying that it isn't a knock on the D600, but rather my own experience, shared in the hopes of perhaps finding some kindred spirits.
It wasn't the dust, as you might suspect. I actually had very few dust problems with the D600, and greatly enjoyed the images it produced. I had been using Nikon SLRs for about 15 years, and it was the best SLR I'd been fortunate to own.
I just found that the camera got in the way of too many pictures. I mostly shoot candid subjects, and it had always been a challenge to capture people "in the moment" with a DSLR and big lenses. People in public are also in the habit of steering clear of DSLRs when I whip them out, making street photography - another of my passions - even more challenging. Cameraphones and point-and-shoots are less intimidating, though they always felt lacking in speed and image quality, let alone the disappointing tactile experience of shooting.
About a month ago I picked up a near-mint Leica M4 for about half the price I paid for my D600. I have to say, the shooting experience has been night-and-day. Now I never feel like the camera is getting in my way and I get shots that simply weren't possible with the D600. This is mostly due to the M4's inconspicuous size, quiet shutter, and absence of mirror slap. Using lenses with focus tabs allows me to focus by feel before the camera reaches my eye, and it's only at my eye for a split second as I frame the shot.
Of course, since it's a fully-manual interchangeable-lens camera, I can shoot more deliberately with it as well. It's been wonderful to return to film, and I find it much less expensive than I'd thought - about $0.14 per shot with Tri-X and $0.25 per shot with Portra when developed at home, which is also far easier than I'd thought.
As someone with the luxury of shooting photos apart from the dictates of clients' timeframes, the M4 really hits a sweet spot for me. Probably the most noticeable difference now that I've sold the D600 is that photography is a joy again, and every time I touch my camera it nearly screams at me to shoot with it. Others have noticed as well, and more people have asked me to take their picture than ever did with the D600.
Has anyone else had a similar experience? Whether it's switching to rangefinders, or film, or even compact digitals like the Fuji X series, I'm noticing that I'm not alone in this trend nowadays.
#1. "RE: Why I sold my D600" | In response to Reply # 0spiritualized67 Nikonian since 28th Feb 2007Wed 10-Jul-13 03:23 PM
I echo your sentiments. I own a D4 w/L-bracket and basically split this between my landscape and street/environmental portraiture photography.
While I still very much enjoy the versatility that my D4 affords for my landscape work (especially for nightscapes, low light and bad weather scenarios), it is nowhere near ideal for street. Just carrying the D4 around is a major attention-grabbing magnet.
Aside from that, I'm getting tired of lugging all my heavy gear around - and am finally getting to the point where, "less is more."
I have pre-ordered the amazing Sony RX1R, which I plan on transitioning for my street/travel work. I like the Fuji X100s too, but there is a virtually non-existent supply, with no foreseeable in-stock date.
I have to admit that the Leica bug has bitten me to some extent (more for the optics than anything else), although I'm just not ready to jump into a $15,000-20K+ RF system just yet.
For now, I will try and work with two different camera systems, geared to two different shooting styles/genres. Eventually, I will probably migrate into one (maybe when a manufacturer like Nikon or Sony comes out with a high MP, high DR, FF small form-factor AF camera with interchangeable lenses and LV – and one that won’t require you to take out a second mortgage). Yes, abbreviations added for humor.
I think Sony and Fuji are the closest to this ideal; Canon and Nikon technology seems to be getting bigger IMHO (well maybe not, but the D4 is a fricken beast), and Leica is just playing catch up.
But I think the newfound freedom you are feeling with a smaller camera is something that many of us can relate to.
#2. "RE: Why I sold my D600" | In response to Reply # 1rogermorris Registered since 14th Apr 2013Wed 10-Jul-13 03:59 PM
When I want a smaller camera I take the battery pack off my D200! Seriously it is surprising what people don't see, many years ago I took some candids in an open plan office with an F3 (sans MD4) & a 300/4.5. Nobody knew until I took the prints in a couple of days later.
It's always worth a try!
No work of art is ever finished, merely abandoned
#3. "RE: Why I sold my D600" | In response to Reply # 1SteveH Registered since 08th Jan 2004Wed 10-Jul-13 04:04 PM
I can't say I will ever be DSLR-less but I too have added a more compact camera to my kit. I have an RX 1 and may move to the RX 1R–still deciding.
I have also started using my Ricoh XRP film camera; vintage 1985.
There is a time and a place and a use for all of these cameras. You seem to have been able to narrow it down to one camera. The Leica M 240 looks awesome but it would be hard to justify at the moment.
Photography is supposed to be fun for those of us that are not pro's. glad you found something that re-energized you.
#4. "RE: Why I sold my D600" | In response to Reply # 1furbs Registered since 30th Jan 2013Wed 10-Jul-13 04:43 PM
Dan, that RX1R does indeed look amazing! I think much of its appeal is due to the Zeiss Sonnar lens in front, and I am actually thinking of getting a Zeiss 50mm Sonnar for my M4. The Sonnar lens design, whose unique character is beautiful in my eyes, isn't possible with DSLRs due to the flange distance necessary to house a reflex mirror. It's great to see Sony teaming up with Zeiss to produce such an impressive little camera.
I think you will notice a difference when you don't have to lug around such a heavy kit. I find that sticking to smaller cameras helps me focus on the nuts and bolts - composition, timing, and paying attention to light - rather than worrying which lens to use. Using what you've got instead of wishing for what you haven't!
#9. "RE: Why I sold my D600" | In response to Reply # 4GiantTristan Nikonian since 08th Jan 2006Wed 17-Jul-13 07:23 PM
>The Sonnar lens design, whose unique character is beautiful in
>my eyes, isn't possible with DSLRs due to the flange distance
>necessary to house a reflex mirror.
How about APO Sonnar T*2 135 ZF2. This lens is designed for Nikon DSLRs.
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#5. "RE: Why I sold my D600" | In response to Reply # 0
>>Has anyone else had a similar experience? Whether it's
>switching to rangefinders, or film, or even compact digitals
>like the Fuji X series, I'm noticing that I'm not alone in
>this trend nowadays.
The M4 was my first Leica. I never could afford any Leica lenses so I used a nice Nikon 50mm f2 in Leica thread mount. But as much as I loved it I eventually sold it and moved to SLRs. Now I am back for all of the reasons you listed. My choice for candids is the M9. When I shoot with it I am generally ignored and I can get the natural expressions I look for.
For client work it is generally the D4 and 70-200. No one ignores that.
#6. "RE: Why I sold my D600" | In response to Reply # 0
A few years ago I bought a Leica M6 at my local photo shop. It came with a Leica 35 Summicron. I really enjoyed the experience so much (lighter weight, the possibility of slower shutter speeds and not requiring an advanced college degree to use the camera) that I bought a Leica M3. It has really been a lot of fun and my back and shoulders appreciate the lighter loads.
But I think there is a time and a place for the bigger heavier DSLRs. I currently own a D300 and recently used it to take action shots at a rodeo. This is something I never could have done well with a Leica.
I just purchased a used D700 as I had wanted to own an FX camera. It will arrive next week. I'm sure I will appreciate the higher ISOs it will offer.
But I will say that I've been very happy with shooting my Leicas and getting back to the basics of photography.
#7. "RE: Why I sold my D600" | In response to Reply # 0
I have purchased two smaller cameras in the past year: a Fuji X10 and an Olympus E-M5. I'm using them in addition to my DSLRs, though, not in place of them. My D300 (and even my D50!) are still getting a fair amount of use.
#8. "RE: Why I sold my D600" | In response to Reply # 7Larry E30 Nikonian since 27th May 2009Wed 17-Jul-13 03:17 AM
I LOVE that you found your "slot".It inspires me,I have 20 classic digital cameras...
Leica M4 -smooth,fast...home-sweet-home."Just what I was needing...".
I'm kind of the opposite...having all these cameras,but I try to find each one's joy.
wow - to find what best works for you,nice.Good for you,something for us to think about.
#10. "RE: Why I sold my D600" | In response to Reply # 0
I recently sold my D300 and bought a Fuji X-E1. Using a quality camera that is so small and lightweight is a pleasure, particularly after using DSLRs for so many years. It does take some getting used to, though.
For the foreseeable future my D700 will continue to be my go to camera. Where the Fuji (or any mirrorless) will fit in long term, I don't know yet. Most likely I'll continue to use both systems depending on subject matter and shooting requirements.
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#11. "RE: Why I sold my D600" | In response to Reply # 0
I am noticing a trend this way, too. I have an Fuji X100 and love it. But, you know, my old D90 including a small lens is quite nice too if I take off the batter grip because then it is very light. My D700 and D800 have their place, too. What I do like is to have many options. So having the smaller camera has its place and can be a real delight just as the larger camera.
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#12. "RE: Why I sold my D600" | In response to Reply # 0
>I just found that the camera got in the way of too many pictures. I mostly shoot candid subjects, and it had always been a challenge to capture people "in the moment" with a DSLR
Around 4 years ago, I restarted shooting film with my old Canon AE-1P cameras and manual focus lenses and took some great street photography shots, (at least for me). I have shot this basic sort of SLR since 1977 when the police department I worked for bought AE-1s and I was trained in basic photography. It's like an old shoe.
I find, however, that there is no substitute for my D600. I can shoot anything with it, nobody is intimidated and I do a pretty fair amount of street photography along with anything else I want, from landscape, to architecture, to wildlife.
I think it is a state of mind, not the camera, that makes people feel comfortable with a photographer.
Just a perspective,
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#13. "RE: Why I sold my D600" | In response to Reply # 0
As others have said, I don't think I'll ever be DSLR-less, it just a wonderful, versatile system.
I started my photography "career" with folding/bellows roll-film cameras with unpronounceable shutters and my pharmacist grandfather taught me to mix the chemicals from scratch and our darkroom was the dirt floored basement of his "drug-store" in rural Nebraska. That was 60 years ago. As soon as I could afford it I migrated to 35mm and as soon as possible after that to a M3 and 50mm Lux (that was 20 years later). The rangefinder experience is deep in my roots.
However, I've moved on to my D700 system and simultaneously reverted to my X100 and X10.
My desire to tote my full DSLR kit is beginning to wane. I'll be using the full-everything to shoot a wedding reception this week, but last week at scout camp, I had a great time with the X10. As far as the iPhone toting leaders/parents were concerned, I had a pro-camera with me in the X10. They were certain when the saw the results.
The two Fuji cameras fill my portability needs. They both lack the image quality of the D700. There are definitely trade-offs. I don't do film anymore, but I'm thinking about it again as someone just pointed me to a processor that may give me the quality that's hardly available any more from a commercial establishment. Years of "expedient" darkroom use have left me with a very irritating allergy to several of the everyday darkroom chemicals and I regret very much not adhering to the "gloves" advise of a colleague from years ago.
When I used to scan my negatives, I ended up with unwieldy 150MB files that contained perfectly well defined ISO400 grain. Much more than was required. I've gotten used to the plasticky look of some digital images, but there's nothing like a good negative. That's a treasure in itself. What you do with it after that is another journey.
I remember very much, the process of changing exposure from the sunny side to the shady side of the street (dialing either the shutter speed or aperture at my waist) then tab focusing as I raised the camera. That's and art/science all in itself, part of the traditional rangefinder mystique. Not everyone enjoys that challenge.
Enjoy your foray into the Leica system. There are many times where the challenge of getting an image with that setup resulted in a prized slightly out-of-focus image needing a bit of push/pull in the darkroom. A stand-out image maybe for all the wrong reasons, but it represented my conquering (or almost conquering) the camera, lens, exposure, developing, printing and displaying.
It's still, ISO, aperture and shutter-speed, right?
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