Nikon D600 DSLR.
Price: $2480 body only; $3150 with 24mm-85mm Nikkor lens
Tempting entry to full frame
The low-down: With this 24-megapixel DSLR, Nikon lowers the price of entry into the full-frame DSLR category. With the same processing engine as the D800/D4 cameras and the same ability to record uncompressed video, you get a lot of camera for the money. The rugged body is relatively light and the ergonomics are excellent, as we expect from Nikon. The 80mm LCD is high-resolution and auto-adjusts to ambient light. There are microphone and headphone sockets for video. With the optional wireless mobile adapter, there is integration with Android and iOS smartphones through an app. There are two SD card slots.
Like: Resolution, colour and exposure are outstanding. We tried the camera with different lenses and sharpness is exemplary. Camera responsiveness is excellent. The HDR function works well, even though it is only a two-shot sequence.
Dislike: The auto-bracketing is restricted to three exposures - ridiculous for a camera of this price. Our ancient D300 manages nine. Cheapskate firmware crippling is not appropriate at this level.
Verdict: For anyone with Nikon lenses and accessories, the D600 is the logical step into full-frame photography. FX lenses made for the smaller APS sensor are recognised by the D600, which crops the image automatically for the reduced image area. For serious video makers, there is a lot to like. Canon's venerable 5D MkII is currently priced at $2400 but it falls short of the Nikon's specifications. The real competition is Nikon's own D7000, which is $1300 cheaper and is in some respects a more fully developed camera. Still, full-frame has its magic and Nikon knows how to capture it.