Presumably you're referring to David Hobby's dissatisfaction with the slower top synch speed on the D600. If you are already using this feature than it might be an issue, especially if you have gone Strobist and are not using Nikon CLS flash. However, if you intend to use Nikon flash the simplest workaround is just to allow the flash system to take care of it. Yes, the reduction from 1/250 to 1/200 does impose stricter limits (1/3 stop) than some previous bodies and photogs that want to make flash really sing can have issues with that. Still, with Nikon flash you can use 1/200 FV and 1/250 FV. I can't remember David Hobby's specific frustrations but they would boil down to lessening the possible differential between ambient and flash exposure and removing some small modicum of control over these two exposures that he finds valuable. Greater differential will result in erasing more of the background. The D600 workaround would be to depress ISO to LO .3, which would restore the exposure differential at the same aperture one would have used for 1/250. Only the shutter speed would change but the number of instances where you would be using fill flash and need the stopping potential of 1/250 seem to me to be few. The flash will be working harder at the greater differential and the image will likely be governed by the stopping power of the flash which is far greater than that of the shutter. I think it's fair to say that this presents a non-issue for the vast majority of shooters. I have never felt hobbled by it and, come to think of it, I have gone Strobist mostly, working primarily with remote flash. (Why, just yesterday I was taking photos of stained glass windows at dusk and the ambient exposure was 10-15 seconds @ f/8, 100 iso. The (interior fill) flash exposure was a single SB-600 @ 1/4 power bounced off a wall ten feet away.) Heavens to Murgatroyd, in film days synch speed was 1/60, presumably to allow the flash bulb to ignite and the chemical reaction to peak, nor could you dial down the power on the flash. Which goes simply to say that, 1/250 or not, we are blessed with great gear.
Thanks for finding the Strobist post. Diametrically opposed to my musings, ain't it? Still, given the tenor of the original question, the only change I would make to my answer would be to qualify it with some reference to action shooting. As we seem to agree, the issue is largely a non-issue in the vast majority of situations. If I shot more action with flash, perhaps I would have worried, too. I would certainly have remembered the gist of the post. Like you, I have other arrows in my quiver. If I ever need to shoot at 1/250 with flash I have a D300 and D90 to call upon. If I needed to shoot at 1/500 with flash, there's also a D70 in back of the camera closet. But I haven't felt either need and I would be genuinely curious to know of specific situations in which you have. For my purposes, the beauty of the D600 is that I have even less recourse to flash than with the other, slower bodies.
My most common situation where I want to shoot at the highest sync speed I can is when I am shooting with a bright afternoon sun. I shoot all of these at 1/250 in an attempt to keep the ambient light from overpowering the shot. In this case 1/3rd if a stop is still useful - but admittedly it means making an already difficult shot very minimally easier.
If I shot swimsuit models (and I ask every day why I don't) or weddings this might be a big deal - although there are work arounds (scrims, strobe, etc).
Still better than many Canons and not a reason for 99% of people to just reject a d600 out of hand.
It is weird that Nikon and Canon just artificially decided to not let people sync at 1/500. I suspect they could with a firmware update were they to choose to. This is just one of artificial ways they try and keep their camera markets distinct.
Sorry about the swimsuit models. Life surely isn't fair & I feel your pain.
Thanks for the example. In fact, in a recent post, David Hobby sheds further light on this issue (excuse the inadvertent pun). Eye opening, in a way, but not necessarily the direction most camera owners might want to go on any regular basis. Or at least it seems that way to me.
In normal focal plane shutters, as I understand it, the exposure speed is governed by the start timing of the front and rear curtains. The curtains always move at the same speed across the sensor; faster exposures are achieved by keeping the front and rear curtains closer together. Consequently, at high speeds some portion of the sensor is always behind one curtain or the other. The Auto FP speeds are achieved by the (compatible external) flash popping a series of low-power flashes in synch with the gap between the curtains crossing the sensor - in essence becoming a constant light source rather than a single intense flash. In the case of the D70 and 1/500 flash synch, I believe I recall reading that this ability was hardware related and had to do with the hybrid design of the shutter, which, IIRC, necessitates ending the exposure by electrically shutting off the sensor rather than obscuring it with the rear curtain. In this way the whole sensor can be illuminated by the flash at 1/500. For the D600, 1/200 is the last speed at which the whole sensor is revealed at one time. It's tempting to think this feature may have something to do with the camera's cobbled-together-from-a-D7xxx-body nature rather than being wholly a product of the marketing department's evil conspiracies.
>It is weird that Nikon and Canon just artificially decided to >not let people sync at 1/500. I suspect they could with a >firmware update were they to choose to. This is just one of >artificial ways they try and keep their camera markets >distinct.
It wasn't an arbitrary decision. The older DSLRs (D1, D70, D50) could sync at a faster speed because they had electronic shutters. This is a hardware feature of the sensor, not a firmware feature. There were some minor IQ issues that arose from that technology, and in the race to produce maximum IQ, the electronic shutter got left behind in DSLRs. (Whether the addition of video affected that as well, I'm not sure.)
I always read certain people get hung up over this as well...but i think back to myself, what did people do when it was only 1/125? They manufactured ND Filters and various others to help compensate. Would you be willing to ignore the rest of what this camera body can actually do just because it can't go 1/250? not even sure if thats even a full stop over 1/200...for me, it has yet to become an issue, owned it now for close to a year...no regrets.
Hmmm, the Canon flagship 5Dmk2 also had a 1/200 sync speed. Maybe ask the tens of thousands of those owners how they managed. The Canon competitor to the D600, the 6D, has a 1/180 sync. Haven't seen too much fuss about that.
I never could figure out why a device that excels at essentially 100% of the user's actual shots be rejected totally over an inagined missing feature. Maybe there looking for problems and have to invent some as deal-breakers. Predictible that occurs most as soon as a new camera is announced but not available yet. The D800,D7000 and D600 before anyone actual saw one. It is probably a defensive mechanism in an attempt to justify whatever they have. The fact is, the D600/D610 gives better images than anything they ever used before. Basically, there is little that, when using a little creativity, any of these great cameras are more than good enough. Stan St Petersburg Russia