The D600 is a new DSLR camera from Nikon that is designed to deliver the performance of a full-frame professional model but at a lower price point.
The full-frame capability comes courtesy of a 35.9 x 24-millimetre (1.4 x 0.9-inch) complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) sensor capable of generating images up to 24.3 megapixels. This contrasts to other models in its price range that tend to feature cropped, half or quarter-frame sensors. This is due to the traditionally high cost of full-frame sensors, which generally has resulted in fewer being manufactured per silicon wafer.
Images captured by the full-frame sensor are processed by an EXPEED 3 image engine. This is a multi-CPU media processor that can handle a range of tasks such as colour reproduction, gradation processing, image sharpening, gamma correction and compression. Thanks to the multiple processing units, the EXPEED 3 image engine is capable of performing several tasks in parallel, enabling the camera to shoot at up to 5.5 frames per second (fps).
Arguably the D600’s most important feature though – compared with other high-end full-frame cameras – is its compact design (14.2 x 11.2 x 8.1 centimetres/5.6 x 4.4 x 3.2 inches) and low weight; eg the D600 weighs in close to 200 grams (seven ounces) lighter than the Canon 5D Mark III. This has been achieved in a number of ways including integrating dual SD card slots instead of a CompactFlash (CF) port, as well as smaller internal chipsets and boards.
What does ‘full frame’ mean?
A ‘full-frame’ DSLR is a camera that is installed with an image sensor that is the same size as a 35-millimetre (1.4-inch) film frame. The key benefit of this is that images shot onto full-frame sensors are not cropped as they are on smaller sensors, granting a larger angle of view. For example, a 24-millimetre (0.9-inch) lens on a full-frame sensor DSLR delivers an 84-degree viewing angle, while on a sensor with a 1.5 crop factor, that angle drops to only 62 degrees. In addition, full-frame sensors allow for larger photosites (that is, individual light-sensitive spots), which makes for a wider dynamic range (spectrum of light/ shadow) and lower noise, so images stay crisp even when blown up.