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Nikon D600

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Nikon D600 Performance


Timing and Performance

Mixed performance for a prosumer SLR.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~0.3 second

Time it takes for camera to turn on and take a shot.

Shutdown

~0.2 second

How long it takes to turn off.

Buffer clearing time

8 seconds*
after 28 L/F JPEGs

Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't shut down until the buffer is cleared.

See Cycle-Time table below for more buffer clearing times.

9 seconds*
after 14 14-bit RAW frames
13 seconds*
after 12 14-bit RAW + L/F JPEGs

* Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-1 SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Startup and shutdown times are good for a prosumer SLR. Buffer clearing times depend on the image size and quality, burst length and how fast the card is, but are generally pretty quick with a fast card. Note that the Nikon D600 supports the newer Ultra High Speed (UHS-I) bus interface standard for SDHC/SDXC cards.


Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.3 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~0.7 second

Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

~0.3 second

Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.

Mode switching is quite fast, difficult to measure accurately.

 

Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus
Single Area
(center) AF

0.260 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. (All AF timing measurements taken with Sigma 70mm f/2.8 prime, unless otherwise noted.)

Full Autofocus
Single Area AF, Flash enabled

0.295 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. Auto Flash enabled.

Full Autofocus
Auto Area
(39-point) AF

0.335 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture.

Continuous AF
0.054 second

This mode is release priority so subject may be out of focus; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.

Manual focus
0.054 second

For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "pre-focused."

Pre-focused

0.054 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Live View
Full Autofocus
(Contrast-Detect AF)
Live View mode
1.78 seconds

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture with Sigma 70mm f/2.8 prime.

Full Autofocus
(Contrast-Detect AF)
Live View mode
1.54 seconds

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture with Nikkor AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR kit lens.

Pre-focused
Live View mode

0.218 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

The first set of numbers above using the optical viewfinder measure shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance. This largely removes the issue of differences in lens focusing speed, and measures how fast the camera can measure and act on focus information. In this metric, the Nikon D600 is slightly slower than average for a prosumer SLR. The D600 required 0.260 second for full AF when using Single-point (center) AF mode (our default full AF lag test). Enabling the flash increased lag a bit to 0.295 second. The D600 required 0.335 second when using the 39-point Auto-area AF mode, also slower than average. Continuous AF, manual focus, and prefocused shutter lag times were all 0.054 second, though, quite fast for a prosumer SLR.

As expected, the Nikon D600's Live View mode adds considerable shutter lag. The D600's Live View mode uses contrast detection autofocus, from data streaming off the image sensor. Using the gear-driven Sigma 70mm f/2.8 prime, full autofocus lag was a rather lengthy 1.78 seconds. That's slower than average these days, but faster than some earlier Nikons we've tested. With the AF-S 24-85mm kit lens, full AF lag was a bit faster at 1.54 seconds, but that's still pretty sluggish. Prefocused, the D600's Live View shutter lag was reasonably quick at 0.218 second, but that's still much slower than using the optical viewfinder.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance. We also use the same Sigma 70mm f/2.8 macro with every camera (on all platforms except Four Thirds/Micro Four Thirds and Nikon consumer models lacking an in-body focus motor), to further reduce variation, and because our tests showed that focus-determination time with this lens was close to the fastest, across multiple camera bodies from different manufacturers. Being an older design with a non-ultrasonic motor, it wouldn't be the fastest at slewing from one focus setting to another, but that's exactly the reason we measure focus determination speed, which is primarily a function of the camera body, vs focus adjustment speed, which is primarily a function of the lens.

Cycle Time (shot-to-shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
Optimal Quality
0.50 second
1 second to clear

Time per shot, averaged over >20 shots, with no signs of slowing down.

Single Shot mode
14-bit RAW
Lossless Compressed

0.51 second
9 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over 36 shots. (Buffer depth.)

Single Shot mode
14-bit RAW + LF JPEG
0.58 second
13 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over 18 shots. (Buffer depth.)

Early shutter
penalty?

No
(YES with flash)

Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG
Optimal Quality
0.18 second
(5.41 fps);
28 frames total;
8 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over the buffer length of 28 shots, then slows to an average of 0.42 second (2.37 fps) for subsequent shots, with about 31% variation in cycle times when buffer is full.

Continuous mode
14-bit RAW
Lossless Compressed

0.19 second
(5.39 fps);
14 frames total;
9 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over the buffer length of 14 frames, then slows to an average of 0.71 second (1.40 fps) for subsequent shots, with about 34% variation in cycle times when buffer is full.

Continuous mode
14-bit RAW + LF JPEG

0.19 second
(5.39 fps);
12 frames total;
13 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over the buffer length of 12 frames, then slows to an average of 1.09 seconds (0.92 fps) for subsequent shots, with about 4% variation in cycle times when buffer is full.

Flash recycling

4.0 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

* Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-1 SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times are about average for an SLR, at 0.50 second for Large/Fine JPEGs, 0.51 second for 14-bit RAW, and 0.58 second for RAW+JPEG.

Continuous mode is a little slow compared to most prosumer SLRs, at about 5.4 frames per second no matter the file type, though not bad for a full-frame model and pretty close to Nikon's 5.5 fps spec.

The Nikon D600's buffer depths are good for a prosumer SLR, considering the file sizes. The D600 managed to capture 28 L/F JPEGs, 14 RAW frames, or 12 RAW+JPEG frames before slowing down. (You'll likely do better with real-world subjects, as the target image we use for our tests is designed to be difficult to compress.)  Buffer clearing is relatively quick with a fast card.

The D600's flash takes 4.0 seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, a bit slower than average for an SLR.


Download speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

11,068 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, downloads are very fast.

Bottom line, the Nikon D600's performance varies from very good to a little slow. Startup and mode switching are quite fast. Autofocus speeds are slightly slower than average for a prosumer SLR, but still reasonably fast except in Live View mode. Continuous mode speeds aren't as good as most prosumer APS-C SLRs, but the Nikon D600 is the first in a new category of more affordable full-frame SLRs, and taken in that context, burst speeds are pretty good, faster than what Canon claims for the 6D (4.5 fps).

Battery

Battery Life
Excellent battery life for a lithium-ion design.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Optical Viewfinder,
(CIPA standard)
900
Live View LCD,
(CIPA standard)
Unknown

The Nikon D600 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Battery life is excellent with the optical viewfinder, but if you plan to use Live View or shoot movies much, you'll want to have a spare to bring along as those modes are a much larger drain on the battery.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on either a fresh set of disposable batteries or a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))