I will try to explain in a few words my experience after using my new Nikon D610. Note: this is not a formal and detailed review of the camera, if you are looking for something like that, just type the magic words on Google and you will find it.
I have shoot for 5 years with the Nikon D700 and I love it, actually I still own two D700 bodies that I don’t want to sell, don’t take me wrong I still love them. When I get older, I would love to show to my grandchildren, how was this camera and how it worked, just like my grandfather showed my father the old Nikon FMs.
The D700 will forever be an amazing camera, the colors (it doesn’t matter if you shoot RAW or JPEG’s), are simply wonderful and have never seen such an amazing results with other cameras, even between the more expensive ones.
But let’s get back to the point of this little review, the D610. After many years using only the D700 I was tempted to get a new D600 so I bough it.
After a few weddings I realized that to emulate the same color results from the D700 with the D600 was impossible. I tried many different combinations of presets to make the two colors match, still today I can’t do it. Maybe something similar but never the same.
So when I heard about the new D610, I decided it was the moment to “upgrade” all the equipment. I was still using two different batteries and chargers (Compact Flash vs SD)… No way! So many things to carry on when traveling. So I decided to buy the D610 and give the D700 a rest.
It was a risky move, because I had to buy many new SanDisk SD Extreme Pro (which was a big amount of money), new batteries etc. What about if the camera wasn’t good enough as the D600? I should then have to sell not just the camera but everything else as well. But is also true that if you don’t try new things, if you don’t risk, you’ll never know. I mean, is not just a pair of pants. But it was the right choice and now I shoot only with one camera: the D610. I’m still carry on the D700 as back up camera, but only three 16GB cards for it, two fully charged batteries and that’s it.
If you are looking to “upgrade” all your equipment, I guess the change from D700 to D610 is really worth it. Ok, so which are the advantages?
PRO’s of the D610
– Twice the resolution: 24.3MP vs 12.2MP. The RAW files are around 6000 x 4000 px, about 30Mb each. This means having more resolution, you can crop a lot more and still have a big file to work with.
– Dual SD cards slots: This is a big advantage. I shoot using the second slot as back up, it means you record the same file on both cards. So there isn’t excuses to have some file damaged or unreadable.
– It’s a little bit lighter.
– The Live View mode is so muuuuch better. I started using it for some specific shots and landscapes and it works perfectly.
– The new Quiet Release Burst mode: it reduces the sound of the camera’s mirror return mechanism whilst shooting at 3fps. The result? My guess is that there is about 50% less noise when you shoot in this mode. This is nothing compared to the silent sound of the mirrorless cameras like the Fuji x100s, but it’s enough to take advantage of it.
– Seven years of technological improvements must mean they got something right, correct? Better and bigger display, a little bit faster camera (it is very reactive).
– Very small form factor. Using this camera for example, with the 35mm F/2, you can almost go unnoticed on a wedding. Everyone has a digital camera and most “Uncle Bob’s” like to show off their big cameras and lenses. But to pass unnoticed, it really helps if you are a wedding photojournalist or documentary photographer.
– Colour: The final colors of the images are very nice, but after seeing the D700 results for years, they are not good enough. After post-processing the photos with LR of course you can have any result you want. But they are not perfect right out of the camera like the D700.
– Very small camera. I know already told you that it’s a big advantage. But if you have big hands like me, it’s not so comfortable. I mean you get used to it but after a few weddings your hands are gonna hurt.
– The memory cards. I hate the SD cards. After shooting many years with the compact flash on the D700, you will probably need not only months, but years to forget about them and to start loving the SD. They are so tiny, I always have the sensation that I’m going to brake them.
– The 39 AF point: They are grouped very tightly in the center of the frame. It’s perfect for those who prefer to focus and recompose, but if you like to compose first and then focus at the edge of the frame, you don’t have so much space like you’d expect.
I haven’t found any complaints so far about this camera, only few CONS of course, but like everything else, it can’t be perfect. I know the D4 has some incredible features, you can shoot with this camera at the North Pole or inside a Volcano, you can take up to 12 FPS, you have a large battery with a long life etc, etc… But really, if you don’t have a big amount of money to spend, you should ask yourself if you really need a $6,000 USD camera for a wedding? Do I shoot on volcano’s? Do I have to be proud I can shoot two weddings with the same battery? Do I really need to shoot 12 frames per second? I don’t want to be rude or sarcastic, I have colleagues who are happy with the D4 and they have their reasons as I have mine, but I think: Instead of buying one D4 that costs me $6,000, I rather buy:
– x2 Nikon D600: $2,000 each
– x1 Nikon 28mm F/1.8: $700
– x1 Nikon 35mm F/2 : $350
– x1 Nikon 50mm F/1.4: $450
– x1 Nikon 85mm F/1.8: $500
Total amount: $ 6,000
A reflection on the D700: For those who still own a Nikon D700 and love it 100%, and, compared to the D600 and D610, there is nothing you can not do with this camera. There are many differences between them and 5-7 years of technological improvements, but I will always say: For weddings the D700 is more than fine. I know many good friends and international well known colleagues who are still using the D700 and they are super happy with it, maybe they are thinking what to do when they get to 250,000-300,000 actuations and they have to change the shutter or get a new camera. But to be honest with you, if the D600 had not came out and the choice was only between D4 and D800, I would proudly say: I would stay with my D700.
But if you want to become a new Full Frame camera user and you are a Nikon person, don’t hesitate, the D610 is the right camera for you. Also if you are an unhappy Canon user (because of the autofocus) and you want to switch, it could be a great first step.
Hope this helps to you guys to make the right choice. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions, I would love to answer them.