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Archive 2013 · Advice Needed: D700 vs. D600 vs. D800
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Advice Needed: D700 vs. D600 vs. D800

I currently own a D300s. I have purchased an extra battery and the vertical grip. I have fairly large hands and I really find the camera is hard to use for very long without the grip.

In any case, I am seriously considering a move to FX, or at least the addition of FX to my stable. My current lenses will all work on an FX camera, except one (Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC).

I mostly shoot landscapes, flowers and the slowly growing brood of grandchildren (and their cousins). I could use the higher ISO for the grandchildren, but I am more interested in capabilities for landscape photography. My primary interest is noise (not fond of the noisiness of the D300s sensor even at ISO200), and DR.

What I want is the D800, but I do need to buy at least one lens in the upgrade process, and the D800 is really pushing the budget.

The D600 has the ... "consumer" body, I guess it could be called. I am not really sure if that would bother me or not. I was given a D2x by a family relative and then bought the D300s, so I have never shout with one. However, I really don't take full advantage of it. I only use the AF ON button that so many love on rare occasions while in Live View. :-/ That said, I really like having the bulk of the shooting features on buttons rather than hidden behind menus.

The D700 has several advantages for me. I can share the grip and the batteries between the two cameras. That saves me a bit more $300 that I would have to spend to get the grip and an extra battery for either the D800 or the D600.

In any case, even with the savings sharing HW with the D300s brings, the D700 is still priced in the range of $1400 to $1600, which brings it close enough to the price of a D600 that I have to wonder why I would buy a four (?) year old sensor rather than a brand new one.

Frames per second are not of concern. Higher ISO is a feature I am sure I would learn to love, but it is not critical to my current style. Dynamic range, color and tonal depth are important to me. Of those DR is the one I see the most need for.

Resolution is not a big deal. I have taken to doing my own printing since Canon was almost giving away the Pro9000 MkII's a few months ago. I can do > 200 DPI with 12MP, and that is good enough for my needs. Maybe that implies that I should just stick with the D300s? But having the luxury of several more stops of dynamic range is calling to me ...

Thoughts, wisdom and/or insight welcome.

Mar 12, 2013 at 05:09 AM
sb in ak
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Advice Needed: D700 vs. D600 vs. D800

I've shot on the D600 and D800. The D600 sensor is pretty darn impressive. Exceptional DR and shadow pushing ability is fantastic. To me, the body felt a little cheap though for the money spent. I opted to spend $350 more for a refurb D800. My bank account is still hurting, but I'm loving the image quality. Body is better but still surprisingly flimsy in a few areas (battery door, pop up flash).

On the DX side, the D7000 sensor is also quite good with DR. I shot with a Pentax K5 (same sensor) and was amazed at that sensor's ability there. I suspect the new D7100 is also quite good or better on that front. That option might be fine for you and you could continue to use the whole stable of lenses....and use the saved money for an extra photo trip

Thom Hogan just posted a review of the D600 on his website and it seemed pretty favorable.

Mar 12, 2013 at 05:54 AM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Advice Needed: D700 vs. D600 vs. D800

I think you'd find the D600 with the grip a little different and slightly less "meaty" than the D300s (which is what I shoot, too). Worth getting to a store to see if you can get your hands on one, especially with the grip. There is a size difference - it might make more difference to you than it did to me.

I guesss what I'd ask you is how much handling matters to you - if you use the controls for AF-zones, metering, etc. of the D300s a lot, you might not like how much more menu-driven and hold-this-down-while-spinning-that the D600 uses. If that isn't a big deal, I think you'd be hard-pressed not to like the D600 - colors and DR are within a hair of the D800.

I'd echo the comment above though - if high ISO isn't your gig, you're comfortable with DX and you're OK with the prosumer handling, a D7100 sounds like a good option as well. Far more DR than the D300s, and a lot less money than any of your FX options (other than D700).

Personally, I'm a handling and low-light guy and would likely opt for the D700, though I was surprised when I just looked it up that the D700 had the same DR as the D300s:

Net: If you want the ultimate and handling matters, lean a little and pick up a D800 - refurbs can save you some $$$. If handling doesn't matter, consider sticking with DX with a D7100 or go FX with a D600.

Mar 12, 2013 at 11:42 AM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Advice Needed: D700 vs. D600 vs. D800

Go with D700, you will be happy
Sharing the grip and batteries is important, controls will be familiar and results will be so much better

Mar 12, 2013 at 11:53 AM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Advice Needed: D700 vs. D600 vs. D800

If you want to punt on FF for a while, a used D7000 is the best value going right now. You can get a great condition, low shutter count D7000 for well under $700 over on B&S and I suspect the opportunities will only increase given the recent release of the D7100.

You can enjoy the extra DR at ISO 100 for landscapes and less noise at high ISO (though nowhere as good as FF of course) right now while saving for a future move to FF. And best of all, you don't need to purchase a single new lens and can bank that money for the future as well. Just a thought.

Mar 12, 2013 at 12:46 PM
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Advice Needed: D700 vs. D600 vs. D800

I had a d300 that I used primarily for landscapes. The noise bothered me so almost every time I ended up using a hasselblad 501 with an emulsion fitting my intentions rather than the d300

I never considered the d700 as it would have been a 12mp to 12 mp increase, just for FF, not enough for me.

I waited until the D800 came out and it is a beauty. It is more camera than I need for sure, but it feels properly, has heft, buttons everywhere (no menu digging) and I love the two way dipmeter (or however it is called). Resolution is fantastic, so is DR and tonal gradations. A superb upgrade from the D300. It's so good that sadly I feel that my hasselblad became redundant.

Now, my wife got herself a d600. The sensor is as amazing as the D800 (albeit with lesser resolution). It does however feel a bit more plasticky and smaller. The optical viewfinder is not as good as the D800 one. It is an amazing little camera.

Specwise, what I really wanted as an upgrade from the D300 was a D600. I would have been truly happy with it had it been released before the D800 as it fullfills all my needs. I even considered selling my D800 for a D600 and freeing up some money for other things..

But then, after having handled the D800, there is a definite feel factor. The d800 just feels right. It is a more capable machine. If you want the D600, do not get spoiled by a D800 before hand.

In all honesty, go and handle them both side by side and you will know..

With all that said, the D600 is super capable and is a tough bird.. look at this


hope that helps

Mar 12, 2013 at 01:00 PM
dale keith

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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Advice Needed: D700 vs. D600 vs. D800

I recently did the same thing. I had a D300 then bought a D700 and shared the grip. It was the simple choice for me. I also bought a 16-35 vr lens to use with landscapes. If costs are a factor this is the way to go. If not, go with the D800 and the extra grip, Good luck and keep shooting.

Mar 12, 2013 at 01:07 PM
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Advice Needed: D700 vs. D600 vs. D800

I've used the D800 and I don't ever want to use my D90 ever again, haha! The D800 feels really good in the hands. I'd say that it's worth the extra investment towards the D800. Yes, the files are big but resolution is definitely there. I haven't held/used the D700 but according to D700 owners, it seems like the D700 is still holding it's ground really well.

Mar 12, 2013 at 01:18 PM

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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Advice Needed: D700 vs. D600 vs. D800

I think that your budget will ultimately decide this. You should go into a store though and handle the D600 and D800 and see which one you prefer.

I picked up a D800 but decided that it was not $1000 better than a D600. So when the D600 sale hit late in December, I returned my D800 and picked up the D600 and 24-85 combo. Sold the 24-85 for $400 and essentially bought a D600 for $1600.

I also want to point out that I cannot think of one shooting feature that I use on a regular basis that is "hidden in the menus" on the D600. The things I miss from the D800 are the grip feel and the bigger D-pad, but those aren't worth $1000 to me.

Mar 12, 2013 at 02:06 PM
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Advice Needed: D700 vs. D600 vs. D800

I went from shooting with the D700 and D3 to the D7000 for a time and then to the D800... I couldnt use the D7000 with confidence. It's a great camera for what it is, but it just doesn't compare. When I went to the D800 I was home again. For landscapes I dont believe there is anything better, although 36mp makes me want 72mp, of course, the only downside I see is needing huge, relatively fast cards and the impact it makes on the computer! This this is dog slow all of a sudden and I am going to drop $400-500 on a new motherboard, processor and ram!

Mar 12, 2013 at 02:42 PM
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Advice Needed: D700 vs. D600 vs. D800

I went from a D300s to a D800. It took me a long time to decide in the store. I loved the way the D800 felt, but in Canada at Christmas time, it was $2,900 vs. the D600 which was $1995 w/ the kit lens. In the end, I viewed this as a camera body that is probably more than I need and it (hopefully) won't be replaced for a long time if ever. Plus there was this idea in my head where if I went with the D600 I'd be wondering if the D800 was really much better or have a sense of regret that I didn't just bite the bullet. So I took the plunge and am loving it.

Mar 12, 2013 at 03:04 PM
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Advice Needed: D700 vs. D600 vs. D800

I recently had the same problem and decided to go with a refurb d800. The deeper buffer and better control layout was the deciding factor for me.

I'd say you would be very happy with a d800 and the resolution is just astounding. Make sure your pc is up to the d800 files though as they are huge and intensive on processing.


Mar 12, 2013 at 03:35 PM
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Advice Needed: D700 vs. D600 vs. D800

I got my D700 in Feb '11. Shot it till December of last year. Worked great, loved it. I was all set to move to a D600 for the added resolution and video from time to time, better IQ too. I went and handled a D600 and while it did feel good/fine, something just didn't feel satisfying with the speed in which it acquired focus and especially the very compact array of AF points. I said, 'well, I'll just save for the D800e'. Well, then my buddy found a great deal on the D3 I ended up buying at our local shop. I went up to see it, and about 2 minutes of playing with it in the store was all I needed before trading the D700 in on it. IQ is obviously identical, and while the D700 was very very good and capable, the D3 just feels better in all areas. And I LOVE shooting it, it just gives you that confidence that only a pro body can. I still want a D800e (buy my buddy bought one so I can burrow it if I really need the rez, lol), but I am now more than happy with my purchase. The D600 puts out some really nice files for sure, but I just really love shooting the D3. If you have large hands, and have the ability to put them on a D3 locally just to try, give it a whirl. You may also find that what you had been wanting. Good luck!

Mar 12, 2013 at 09:01 PM
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Advice Needed: D700 vs. D600 vs. D800

I went the other way - had a D700 since 2009, and added a D300 recently for extra reach. Now I leave a 70-200 on the D300, and either a 16-35 or 24-120 on the D700. Sure, the D300 files are not as pretty, but being able to use two bodies that are nearly identical in handling is a big plus for me. Sharing batteries, L bracket, grip, CF cards etc. is nice too.

I have played with both D800 and D600. No doubt both have better IQ. I would recommend handling the D600 and D800 if you can. Most likely the D600 is a touch small for you, and the D800 is just perfect.

If you went the D700 route, you would get a proven body, familiar handling, and very little depreciation. Whatever you bought it for today, you could sell it next year for maybe $200 less. $200 is not a lot to pay to use a body for a year - especially since you don't have to buy a new grip or batteries.

Personally I could see a move to a D800 in a year or two. But it's hard when the D300 and D700 do just about everything I want. I'm also keeping my fingers crossed there will eventually be a D800s - 24MP with high FPS. That would be tits!

Mar 12, 2013 at 09:40 PM
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Advice Needed: D700 vs. D600 vs. D800

Thanks all for taking the time to respond.

As I expected the answers were all over the map, but at least I have data all over the map rather than questions without practical answers.

Mar 13, 2013 at 12:18 AM

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