Nikon D610 Conclusion

Pro: Con:
  • Dust/oil on sensor problem from D600 fixed with integration of new shutter mechanism
  • New shutter also improves continuous shooting, to a tested 5.9 frames per second
  • New Quiet Continuous mode allows 3fps bursts with near-silent operation
  • Comfortable control layout
  • Great grip
  • Power switch perfectly positioned
  • Supports older, screw-drive lenses
  • Mode and Drive dials lock in place
  • Focuses well in low light
  • Very high resolution with superb detail
  • Excellent high ISO performance
  • Very good dynamic range
  • Quieter shutter (than other pro Nikons)
  • In-camera HDR mode
  • Auto ISO can take current focal length into account
  • Built-in lens corrections (CA, distortion, shading)
  • Built-in flash supports wireless commander mode
  • Good burst speeds for a high-res full-frame prosumer model
  • Dual card slots, with UHS-I support
  • Very fast prefocused shutter lag
  • Excellent battery life
  • Excellent video frame-rate flexibility
  • Very low rolling-shutter artifacts
  • Manual control in video mode
  • Automatic or manual audio level control for video recording
  • Optional live audio level display during video recording
  • External mic jack
  • Jack for external headphones for audio monitoring when recording movies
  • Single frames can be extracted from videos and saved as JPEG files
  • Index marking for up to 20 key moments during video recording
  • Uncompressed video output via HDMI
  • Main point of this upgrade is to fix problem on previous model; few added features are just minor tweaks
  • Second function button oddly placed
  • Phase-detect AF points are limited to the center of the frame
  • Moiré can be a problem in certain circumstances
  • Zooming in greater than 100% in Live view mode slows down refresh rate
  • Optical performance of the kit lens could be better
  • Warm Auto and Incandescent white balance indoors
  • AF speeds could be faster
  • X-sync limited to 1/200s
  • Very slow AF in Live View mode
  • Uneven flash coverage at wide angle
  • Significant aliasing of fine patterns and near-horizontal lines in video recording, at all settings
  • Abrupt changes in subject distance can require half-pressing shutter button to restore focus during movie recording
  • Lens focus motor noise very audible in sound track; use an external mic for AF during video
  • Mic sensitivity and headphone volume cannot be adjusted while recording

The Nikon D610 is a fantastic, budget-conscious, full-frame camera that's packed with features and produces outstanding image quality. Although it's not a dramatic upgrade over the D600 by a long shot, it does fix the oft-lamented sensor dust and oil spots issue that plagued that camera, thanks to the D610's new shutter mechanism. Other upgrades are quite minor, including a modest speed boost to burst shooting, from a tested 5.4fps on the D600 to 5.9fps on the D610. The all-new Quiet Continuous shutter release mode is a nice feature that's sure to please a variety of users from wedding and event shooters to nature photographers. Lastly, Nikon claims the improved Auto white balance algorithm helps keep colors looking natural under artificial light sources, though there wasn't much of an improvement over the D600's overly warm response under incandescent lighting in our tests.

In all other aspects, the D610 is a clone of the D600, with virtually identical image quality, comfortable controls and the same relatively lightweight, sturdy construction. While it might not be enough of an upgrade to sway current D600 users into running out and grabbing a D610, if you're a current Nikon shooter -- or just a brand-agnostic advanced enthusiast -- looking to make the leap to a full-frame camera, the Nikon D610 is definitely the way to go. And this time, we make this recommendation without any reservations. That, of course, means it scores a high Dave's Pick!

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