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Archive 2013 · D7100 versus D600 decision
  
 
cfmsp
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · D7100 versus D600 decision


Hello all, my first post here at Fred Miranda.

Here's my dilemma - choosing between the D600 and D7100. I just bought a D600, but still within B&H Trial period and am strongly considering swap for the D7100. The reason being, for wildlife photography, I'm very concerned about giving up the "reach" of my lenses when used with DX body. Note: my go-to lens will be the newest version of the 80-400mm, which I just bought and love (except for the weight and size).

Most comparisons / reviews I've read suggest that for wildlife the D7100 is a better choice. However, I moved up to full-frame to experience the difference in overall quality of images from the larger sensors. Note: I'm moving up from a D60 (which I carry mostly due to size/weight - you can take better pictures with the camera you always have with you, than with no camera). I sold my D300 due to lack of use. Also sold a fast Fuji X100 for lack of zoom. Also note: Wildlife to me means mostly mammals, not small birds.

Here's the dilemma ... my second highest priority (beyond reach) is low light photography, and here the D600 is the clear favorite. And being out in the woods with a camera, I also take landscapes. Basically I take pictures of almost anything in nature.

Any thoughts anyone wants to share that might help me? Even if I bought both camera bodies, I'd just have to make this decision every time I stepped outdoors.

Is the difference between full-frame sensor and DX something I'll look back on later and wonder why I returned a D600 for a D7100?

thanks in advance




Aug 14, 2013 at 04:52 AM
Kell
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · D7100 versus D600 decision


heck, you already have the 600 and the 80-400, how much more reach do you really need for shooting mammals I guess is the question...and since you value iso performance you already have among the best, and the viewfinder is better in the 600....I'd suggest just use, learn and enjoy what you got..hard to imagine regretting it imo...IQ wise I doubt is much of an issue, both very capable tools if you can extract what they can do...I've been using a D700 for a couple of years and still learning how to get better pictures with it, and just bought a D7000 which will serve me well for years too, and I started with a D90...I took the great advice here that camera bodies will always keep a coming...good glass kicks ......

good luck and oh yeah, Welcome!



Aug 14, 2013 at 05:11 AM
bridger1215
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · D7100 versus D600 decision


cfmsp wrote:
Is the difference between full-frame sensor and DX something I'll look back on later and wonder why I returned a D600 for a D7100?



Yes!



Aug 14, 2013 at 05:40 AM
cfmsp
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · D7100 versus D600 decision


Kell wrote:
how much more reach do you really need for shooting mammals I guess is the question...and since you value iso performance you already have among the best, and the viewfinder is better in the 600.... [some stuff snipped]
good luck and oh yeah, Welcome!


That's a good point. I just picked up the 80-400mm. My first experience with it was shooting a fisher that had climbed more than 50-60 feet up a tree to safety before pausing to satisfy his curiosity by looking back at me. Even using the D60 body and it's 1.5x crop factor (at 400mm), I had to crop the image significantly to "fill the frame" with the head and claws/feet of the fisher (which is all that was visible).

Thanks for your response, and also for the welcome.




Aug 14, 2013 at 05:42 AM
theater_dad
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · D7100 versus D600 decision


welcome to the forum!

i don't really shoot wildlife so i can't really say much about either of these cameras for that type of photography.....but i do have two questions for you......

how often are you shooting above iso 1600?

can you live with a "shallow" buffer?

other than those two items, i likely would have kept the d7100 over the d600 for my shooting.

-td



Aug 14, 2013 at 05:59 AM
Frogfish
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · D7100 versus D600 decision


cfmsp wrote:
Hello all, my first post here at Fred Miranda.

Here's my dilemma - choosing between the D600 and D7100. I just bought a D600, but still within B&H Trial period and am strongly considering swap for the D7100. The reason being, for wildlife photography, I'm very concerned about giving up the "reach" of my lenses when used with DX body. Note: my go-to lens will be the newest version of the 80-400mm, which I just bought and love (except for the weight and size).
Also note: Wildlife to me means mostly mammals, not small birds.

Here's the dilemma ... my second highest
...Show more

Reach is not everything in bird photography, the quality of the files is too (for cropping and noise) and that is where the 600 is better than the 7100 (noise at high ISOs which are necessary to keep the shutter speeds up and stopped down apertures for larger animals). This of course equally applies to mammal photography but with the added benefit that not as much reach is generally required for mammals compared to small birds.

If you were shooting birds then it now becomes a much more difficult decision, shooting in good light the 7100, shooting in poor light, dusk, dawn .. the 600.

Since you are also into Landscapes the D600 is a clear winner, FF sensor so added width (may save you $$ on expensive wide lenses), better ISO and noise handling and of course it's now famous DR range.

Keep the D600.



Aug 14, 2013 at 06:15 AM
RRRoger
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · D7100 versus D600 decision


I had the D7100, D600, and D800 all at the same time.
I thought that I would use the D7100 more due to the reach but got rid of it first,
and then the D600 mostly due to pinching my fat fingers.
I used the money to buy a used D800e.



Aug 14, 2013 at 08:08 AM
Two23
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · D7100 versus D600 decision


Living in South Dakota, I shoot my share of wildlife. I am also a very hardcore night photographer. (In winter I mostly shoot at night.) I tried the D600 briefly, didn't like it. I see only see disadvantages for it with wildlife. First, you lose the reach. Second, the AF is noticeably slower than the D7100. Third, the D7100 can focus in lower light. Fourth, the D7100 has better sealing, more solid feel. Fifth, the pixel density is much higher for the D7100--a good thing. For wildlife, the D7100 is a no-brainer. I wouldn't even consider the D600 for that.

NIght shooting. The D7100 shines! You only get about one more stop of ISO with the D600, for which you pay a bunch more money. Add to that the D600 does not focus in low light as well as the D7100. Here's another angle on night shooting. People make a big deal out of ISO, and sometimes it does help depending on your subject (i.e. moving.) However, the most famous night shooter of ALL TIME was a guy named Brassai. He used a Voightlander Bergheil shooting glass plates that had an ISO somewhere around 10! This was in 1930, and his shots are stunning! I routinely shoot my 1940s vintage Leicas, Rolleiflex, and even old Kodak Brownies with ISO 400 film and get great results. Last weekend I was at the big rally in Sturgis, SD with the Leicas and the D7100 and got some great night shots with both. Again, the superior autofocus of the D7100 seemed more critical on fast grab shots than the ~1 stop ISO advantage of the slower D600.

Bottom line for me is that no one I show photos to will ever see the difference between shots made with either the D7100 or D600, and that includes my paying customers.


Kent in SD



Aug 14, 2013 at 01:04 PM
Two23
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · D7100 versus D600 decision


Frogfish wrote:
If you were shooting birds then it now becomes a much more difficult decision, shooting in good light the 7100, shooting in poor light, dusk, dawn .. the 600.





But.......in low light the AF on the D7100 is quite clearly better, more reliable, faster. The difference is enough that on fast shooting (i.e. BIF) the D7100 has a clear advantage. With the D600 you might not get the shot at all.



Kent in SD



Aug 14, 2013 at 01:10 PM
cfmsp
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · D7100 versus D600 decision


thanks all for the great responses. I'm at work and can't respond to each one, but every viewpoint, even additional ones, is helpful at this point.

I should admit I'm behind the learning curve in taking advantage of High ISO settings - I use auto settings for this now.

thanks again



Aug 14, 2013 at 05:32 PM
 

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Dustin Gent
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · D7100 versus D600 decision


doesnt the 7100 and 600 share the same AF module?


Aug 14, 2013 at 06:37 PM
RRRoger
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · D7100 versus D600 decision


Dustin Gent wrote:
doesnt the 7100 and 600 share the same AF module?


No

The D7100 shares a simular 51 point AF module to the D800 and D4:
Nikon Multi-CAM 3500DX autofocus sensor module with TTL phase detection

The D600 is has a new 39 point FX module with scene recognition:
Nikon Multi-CAM 4800 autofocus sensor module with TTL phase detection

They both focus fast and accurate.



Aug 14, 2013 at 07:01 PM
Frogfish
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · D7100 versus D600 decision


Two23 wrote:
But.......in low light the AF on the D7100 is quite clearly better, more reliable, faster. The difference is enough that on fast shooting (i.e. BIF) the D7100 has a clear advantage. With the D600 you might not get the shot at all.

Kent in SD


I am a birder, 85% of my shooting is birds, I travel around Asia on birding trips with both the D800E and D600 (as backup) ... and your comments in both posts above are clear hyperbole. We all know you are a DX apologist Kent so your comments come as no surprise.

I used DX exclusively for birding for 2 years and now I use FX exclusively and IMHO there is no comparison.

Although I use the D800E as my main camera the AF on the backup D600 is also excellent for BIF or birding in general (and so one would assume for other forms of wildlife), whether the 7100 is faster I don't know but it's irrelevant if the D600 gets the shot I need. In fact it may well be that the tightly packed 39 AF points (as against the 7100's 51 wide spread points that fill the frame) actually assist with BIF when you are almost always tracking the bird in the centre of the frame.

Again with low light, with the 300/2.8 VRII (and x1.4 and x2 TCs), Sigma 500/4.5 and Sigma 120-300 (with x2 TC) the AF isn't an issue (in as much as it is for any camera in failing light) that is almost no worse than the D800, and that camera focuses in near darkness. Of course a lot depends on which lens you happen to be using at the time !

And just to complete the picture, I've never filled a buffer shooting BIF with any of the D800, D800E or D600 .... something the 7100 is infamous for with 1 second and 6 frames in 14 bit RAW or 1.5 secs and 9 frames in 12 bit. So how you can conclude the 7100 is better for BIF is beyond the realms of reason considering after 1 second of a BIF (shooting in 14 bit RAW) you are stymied and locked out. Seems most reviews agree too.

On the D7100 6 frame 14 bit RAW Buffer :-

Nasim Mansurov : "So this is going to be a bummer for sports and wildlife photographers that like continuously shooting fast action"

The Wirecutter : "Thatís tricky if youíre a sports or wildlife photographer who wants to shoot Raw, as it severely hampers your options".

Imaging Resource : "Shallow buffer that hampers continuous burst shooting; AF slightly slower than average for its class"

DxO Labs : The main point of criticism by reviewers are the small buffer which limits the amount of shots in burst mode specially when shooting RAW.

Photography Life : "Why would Nikon intentionally cripple the D7100′s buffer capacity? Another ingenious game by Nikonís marketing Ė get plenty of attention to the D7100 so that a lot of people buy it, but cripple it enough for sports and wildlife photographers to either have them switch to the expensive D4, or wait until a D400 comes out"

DPReview : "and a very small image buffer limits sports shooters to JPEG-only mode"

.. and so on. Pretty much every review has the same comments on the buffer.

Let me state that I have absolutely nothing against the 7100, to the contrary it is a great camera and I strongly considered it as the back-up to my D800E but the short-comings for bird photography were severe enough that the D600 was a better choice. That said when the D400 comes out I'm on that in a flash !




Aug 14, 2013 at 07:36 PM
ffstory
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · D7100 versus D600 decision


D7100 is a great camera, but it doesn't play the same league as full-frame cameras in many aspects. Crop won't get you closer to your subjects, you'll just get more pixels.

Myths about superiority of small sensor cameras are not true any more. We are no longer in days of 12mpx fullframe cameras. The fact is, that the D600 is far from being low-res camera. It has a plenty of pixels. You'll be able to crop very tightly. Unless you really need so many pixels, don't take the higher density as advantage.

If you shoot wildlife, high iso performance will be much more useful. Especially, if you plan to use slow lens like 80-400. The d600 has 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 stops of advantage over D7100 and about halt to one stop better DR at any sensitivity. Therefore, you can use faster shutter time to get same or better image quality. This will likely save you more pictures than arguably better AF of D7100.

Being able to shoot at 1/1000 instead of 1/250 is a big deal for wildlife photography.

I would take a modern fullframe camera over any crop sensor camera any day. Since you already have one, going back to smaller sensor would be a step back.



Aug 14, 2013 at 07:47 PM
Ghostinz
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · D7100 versus D600 decision


okay..so you already have $2k into a body, and another $3k on the your 80-400 and who knows what else. So have you considered having both? I used to have a D7000 but sold it for a D600. Two months later I ended up buying a D7100 on sale on Amazon for $995. I wanted longer reach for wildlife and sports shooting and using the D600 for portraits and such. I am glad I have two bodies. First, I had to send the D600 back in for repair, so I still have the D7100 to fall back on. And I will carry them both with me when possible, especially when traveling or away from home. This way I have some piece of mind that my equipment is ready. I have also taken a day trip or two with my kids, and my daughter uses one and I use one. Now that I have two bodies, I can't ever see myself with less. In fact, I can see myself with 3 before I go back to one!


Aug 14, 2013 at 08:05 PM
ffstory
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · D7100 versus D600 decision


Two23 wrote:
Living in South Dakota, I shoot my share of wildlife. I am also a very hardcore night photographer. (In winter I mostly shoot at night.) I tried the D600 briefly, didn't like it. I see only see disadvantages for it with wildlife. First, you lose the reach. Second, the AF is noticeably slower than the D7100. Third, the D7100 can focus in lower light. Fourth, the D7100 has better sealing, more solid feel. Fifth, the pixel density is much higher for the D7100--a good thing. For wildlife, the D7100 is a no-brainer. I wouldn't even consider the D600 for that.


I also shoot at night (astrophoto), landscapes and wildlife and had a chance to use D600 and D7100 (as well as higher cameras).

How big do you print when you see the advantage of higher pixel density. When I crop the D600 I see no difference between 10mpx and 22mpx images. There is no advantage of higher pixel density for me for wildlife. 5mpx on DX crop D700/D3 was sometimes tight when recomposing, but D600 is a luxury in this respect.

I am unable to confirm the differences in weather sealing of D600 and D7100. Their construction and used materials are exactly the same. Both are adequate (read: OK, but significantly worse than professional models). Not sure what you mean by more solid feel of D7100. It must be very subjective. D600 is slightly bigger and heavier, which makes it slightly more solid if I had to choose.

You are right about better AF on D7100 at low light. I've noticed that as well for initial focus in the dark. At good light the difference is negligible. Even in dark conditions, you'll likely get more shoots saved thanks to higher sensitivity and non-crippled buffer and slightly faster framerate than AF.

At night or for manual focusing, uncropped full-frame viewer, superior high iso performance with much better shadow area RAW recovery makes a day and night difference (in favour of D600).



Aug 14, 2013 at 08:41 PM
Kerry Pierce
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · D7100 versus D600 decision


Frogfish wrote:
Although I use the D800E as my main camera the AF on the backup D600 is also excellent for BIF or birding in general (and so one would assume for other forms of wildlife), whether the 7100 is faster I don't know but it's irrelevant if the D600 gets the shot I need. In fact it may well be that the tightly packed 39 AF points (as against the 7100's 51 wide spread points that fill the frame) actually assist with BIF when you are almost always tracking the bird in the centre of the frame.


I would suggest that there isn't any way that the consumer AF module, multi-cam 4800 of the d600 is better, in any way, than the best AF module that Nikon offers, ie multi-cam 3500. The primary reason for having more AF points is for tracking. The more points you have, covering a larger area, is superior for tracking. See
this link.

IMO, if you're not reach limited, FX is okay, although personally, I don't like any of the FX options for sports/action/BIF other than the d3/d4 series or the d700. Compared to the d600 or d800, it seems to me that the 5dIII is probably a better specified camera for action shooters.

I agree that the limited buffer of the d7100 is a significant limitation.

I am not thrilled with any of Nikon's latest offerings WRT sports/action. I'd rather use my d3s and d300, than try to use my d800 for most sports/action shooting. I don't have a d600 so can't comment on that, other than to say that the DX crop on it is less than the d300 for MPs. I think that it is a travesty that Nikon doesn't have a good, current action camera below the d4.

Kerry





Aug 14, 2013 at 09:16 PM
ffstory
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · D7100 versus D600 decision


Kerry, I think you are slightly oversimplifying the problem. It is not true that there just two AF module parts one superior to the other. In fact, the are quite a few of them - such as multi-cam 4800DX, multi-cam 4800FX, multi-cam 3500DX, advanced multi-cam 3500DX, multi-cam 3500FX, advanced multi-cam 3500FX. Each of these is used in a different camera and coupled with different CPU, AF algorithms, scene recognition system parts, etc. The performance of AF system needs to be taken into the context.

In fact there is at least one aspect where the 4800FX (D600) is clearly better than the 3500DX used in the D7100. According to Nikon specs, only one (central) focusing point is active on the D7100 when a lens with aperture f/5.6 - f/8 is used. On the D600 inner 33 points (incl. all 9 cross) and 7 points at f/8 are active. As result of that the D600 can reliably do AF-C with these lenses. This could be a deal breaker when using f/4 lenses with teleconverters that most wildlife photographers use (like wildlife champions 200-400, 80-400, 500,600 or 800mm). That advices that it is not just about number of points and there are additional differences in these parts.

See:
http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/dslr/d7100/features01.htm
http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/dslr/d600/features02.htm

Also don't be fooled by "larger area covered by points". It is just apparent area in the viewfinder. In fact if you take crop factor in to the account the actual angle of view covered by AF is the same (or bigger) on FX if you use the same lens. Therefore it is as easy to keep your subject in the area on FX as it is on DX. The better distribution of AF points on DX could be advantage for static shoots, but not so much for panning.

There is nothing magic about crop. The sensor is just smaller and it is almost always a disadvantage.

I agree with your statement about 5dMkIII and D4. They are clearly better choices for action photography than either D600 and D7100 or even D800.



Aug 14, 2013 at 10:14 PM
Slug69
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · D7100 versus D600 decision


Geez, you get what you pay for. Who would have thought that?

I disagree with your line saying the better distribution of AF points on DX wouldn't be so good for panning. You are able to hold a better composition with a more wider spread of focus points. ie more space in front of the birds direction of flight.

If you change to Cs mode and limit your FPS to four or 5 (it is customizable) on the D7100 you can eek out a couple more frames before buffer is hit so it almost feels like you are using a D800.




Aug 15, 2013 at 01:36 AM
frankpetronio
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · D7100 versus D600 decision


Are your shots really any better than back when you had a D300? In terms of value I'd look back a generation of professional cameras and get something more responsive with a larger buffer and better AF... prices on D700s and D3s are way down and they are better built, more nimble bodies than either the amateur-orientated high mp/lower usability and quality 7100 or 600. I know I'd grab the D700 over the D600 any day for anything....

It's just a shame Nikon markets cameras based on mega-pixels rather than real quality.



Aug 15, 2013 at 02:36 AM
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