NikonD610 Nikon’s digital SLR designers have been busy bunnies lately. This month saw the retro-styled DF arrive, last month heralded the launch of the D5300 and this, the full-frame D610. We test it on test
price £1599 body only Contact www.nikon.co.uk Sensor 24.3-megapixel CMOS with EXPEED 3 processor Image dimensions 6016x4016 pixels ISOrange 100-6400 (50-25,600 extended) Autofocusmodes Single-servo (AF-S), continuous-servo (AF-C), auto AF-S/AF-C selection, manual Exposure compensation +/-5EV in 1/3 or 1/2EV steps, autoexposure bracketing 2 or 3 frames at +/-3EV in 1/3 or 1/2EV steps Shutter 30secs-1/4000sec Metering patterns Matrix, center-weighted spot Shooting speeds Single, continuous L 3fps, continuous H 6fps, self-timer 2-20secs, silent single shooting, silent continuous shooting LCD screen 3.2in fixed LCD with 921k dots Storagemedia SD, SDHC, SDXC, UHS-I compatible Dimensions (WXHxD) 141x113x82mm Weight 850g (including battery and memory card)
Dusting off the D610 While a new digital SLR is typically ushered in on a velvet cushion and accompanied by a press release explaining its multitude of technological breakthroughs, the D610 has had a slightly less vaunted arrival. No velvet cushions, just a press release. That’s because its predecessor – the D600 – had been something of a problem. Within a few weeks of the D600’s arrival last September, rumours started to circulate on the Internet that there were issues with the sensor. This wasn’t due to the picture quality, which was excellent, but instead pointed to the fact that sensor dust was a major problem. Naturally, we all know that sensors get dusty, but the D600 seemed to attract more than its fair share, resulting in spotty shots and disgruntled users. While Nikon never directly admitted that the D600 had sensor issues, the company did release an advisory notice in February this year on its website. It acknowledged that some users had reported a prevalence of internal dust that was ‘generated with camera operation’ and that, in some rare cases, these particles ‘may be reflected noticeably in images’. The company’s solution at the time referred owners to the sensor cleaning section of the instruction manual, or to visit a Nikon service centre. The D610 represents another way of solving the issue; change the way the camera is designed. Getting to grips So is the D610 a dust devil? Simple answer: no. Throughout the period of this test during which I’ve used the camera for a wide range of shots there hasn’t been so much as a single dust speck appear on the sensor. Admittedly, I haven’t been cavalier with my lens changing, or left the camera switched on with the mirror box exposed near a dangerously full vacuum dust bag, but I haven’t exactly been careful either. I’ve just used it in the same way as I would have with any other DSLR. So the good news is the D610 doesn’t suffer from any dust-related issues as far as I can see.
ABOVE Cosmetically, there’s little difference between the D610 and the D600 it supersedes, the major changes have been made internally with the introduction of a new shutter unit. below Like all digital SLRs, the D610 offers a selection of image styles that can be applied in- camera. Shoot in Raw and styles can be changed during processing with the bundled software. This was taken with the Monochrome style.
Words by Roger Payne
While I’d fall short of suggesting that full-frame digital SLRs are cheap, one thing is certain: the cost of entry into the full-frame digital SLR party is certainly dropping. Just a few years ago, when I bought a full-frame digital SLR, lengthy negotiations were required with both bank manager and wife. I’m still on washing-up duty now as my penance for making a £3000 size hole in the bank balance. And that’s just for the bank manager. Against that backdrop, the £1599 D610 seems to be something of a bargain, although still may result in substantial domestic favours being necessary to secure one in your gadget bag. But once a full-frame model is there, it’s unlikely that you’ll make the move back to APS-C sized sensors. The bigger sensor features larger pixels for better light gathering and improved low-light performance, means you don’t have to faff about wondering what the actual focal length of the lens in use is, and gives you the tightest control over depth-of-field. Videographers in particular swarm to full-frame models for the wonderful bokeh effects on offer from a large-sensored camera being used in conjunction with a wide-aperture lens. But the full-frame garden isn’t full of roses, and there are a few brambles to consider as well. First off, lenses. If you’re moving from an APS-C model to full-frame, you’ll need to check compatibility. Lenses designed specifically for the smaller sensor won’t work effectively on a full-frame model. Similarly, if they do fit and work, the larger sensor tends to be somewhat unforgiving when it comes to picture quality. You may need to buy superior quality glass to go in front of your superior sensor. Which means more washing up. File sizes also tend to be on the large side. A Raw file from the D610 we have here is a hefty 31MB – shoot a reasonably average 100 frames a week and that equates to over 160GB of disk space in a year. You’re gonna need some bigger cards. And, possibly, a hard drive.
The goodnews is theD610 doesn’t suffer fromanydust- related issues as far as I can see
Photography News | Issue 2
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