9. ISO range and photosite size
The ISO range of the D600 and D800 is identical, but the lower resolution of the D600 (24 megapixels versus 36 megapixels) suggests the individual photosites are larger and hence the performance at higher ISOs should be better. This remains to be seen – Nikon claims the D600 has a newly-developed sensor, but if it should prove to be based on the 24-megapixel full-frame sensor that’s been on the market since the launch of the Sony A900, it may be that any advantage is balanced by the D800’s brand new sensor.
10. AF points
The D600 uses a modified version of the 39-point AF system first seen on the D7000. It can now work with apertures down to f/8 – crucial with long lenses used with teleconverters – but the 51-point AF system in the D800 still has the edge.
11. Shutter cycles
Nikon says the D600’s shutter is tested to 150,000 cycles while the D800’s is tested to 200,000 cycles. This is not intended as a guarantee and is not a particularly good guide to how long the shutter will last. The 50,000-cycle difference between the two could be significant – or is it just another way of differentiating these two cameras?
12. Continuous shooting
The D800’s 36-megapixel sensor limits its continuous shooting speed to 4fps, with a buffer capacity of 56 JPEGs (Fine) and 16-21 RAW files, depending on the RAW settings. The D600 can shoot much faster at 5.5fps, with a buffer capacity of 57 JPEGs (Fine) and 16-22 RAW files. The D600 is certainly faster, then, but the lower resolution doesn’t improve the buffer capacity. And since 5.5fps still isn’t fast enough for serious sports/action photography, the D600’s advantage isn’t decisive.