17. AF-On button
Nikon’s pro SLRs, including the D800, have an AF-On button on the back which separates the focus action from the shutter release – most sports/action photographers swear by it. The D600 does not have an AF-On button, and while it is possible to reconfigure the AE-L/AF-L button to act as an AF-On button, it’s not quite the same.
18. Mode dial and scene modes
The D800 is a thoroughly professional camera offering Program AE, Aperture priority, Shutter priority and Manual (PASM) modes accessed by a Mode button and the rear command dial. The D600 follows Nikon’s ‘consumer’ layout with a mode dial, which also includes a Scene setting. This more than anything else indicated Nikon’s keen-ness to attract well-heeled amateurs to the D600 rather than budget-conscious pros. It doesn’t affect the D600’s performance, but it will impact its usability for those used to the layout of the pro models.
19. Metering modes
Like the D800, the D600 offers Matrix, Centre-weighted and Spot metering modes, but where the D800 has a physical switch for swapping between them (and displaying the current setting), the D600 relies on a button and the rear command dial.
20. Metering sensor
The D600 uses a 2,016-pixel RGB sensor for its metering system, while the D800 has Nikon’s brand new 91,000-pixel sensor. It remains to be seen what impact, if any, this will have on the metering performance, but it’s another difference between these two cameras that might easily be missed.
Nikon D600 vs D800 | Our conclusion…
The D600 is not simply a cut-price D800. It has a number of useful advantages over the D800 including its size, weight and shooting speed. But there are disadvantages too. The D600 is not a professional camera (though it is certainly capable of professional results), and the D800 is clearly the more sophisticated camera.