Nikon D610 Review
|Full model name:||Nikon D610|
(35.9mm x 24.0mm)
|Viewfinder:||Optical / LCD|
|Native ISO:||100 - 6400|
|Extended ISO:||50 - 25,600|
|Shutter:||1/4000 - 30 seconds|
|Max Aperture:||3.5 (kit lens)|
5.6 x 4.4 x 3.2 in.
(141 x 113 x 82 mm)
includes batteries, kit lens
|Full specs:||Nikon D610 specifications|
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The Nikon D610 is the camera last year's D600 was supposed to be, with a redesigned shutter mechanism that eliminates the dust-and-oil spot issue that plagued its predecessor. The new D610 keeps the affordable full-frame DSLR price point, as well as the excellent image quality, great ergonomics and controls, and robust feature set. With just a few other minor upgrades, such as nearly six frames per second continuous burst shooting, a new Quiet Continuous mode and tweaked Auto White Balance, the D610 may not seem like a major step up from the D600. But in fixing its predecessor's glaring flaw, the Nikon D610 is now a camera that earns a whole-hearted recommendation for photographers looking to make the jump to a relatively inexpensive, full-frame camera.Pros
Eliminated sensor dust-and-oil spot issue from D600; Great controls for amateur or pro; Comfortable ergonomics and weight; Excellent image quality and low-light performance; Very good dynamic range; Excellent battery life; Built-in lens correction.Cons
Not drastically different from D600; Moire with certain subjects; Auto WB still too warm in incandescent light; Slow AF in live view mode; Aliasing in videos.Price and availability
The Nikon D610 DSLR started shipping in late October 2013. It's available in a variety of kit configurations. Body-only, it lists for about US$2,000. Kitted with the AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens, it's US$2,500. Substitute the AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens, and add a 32GB Class 10 memory card plus a large laptop bag, it's priced at US$2,900. Finally, kitted with both the AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens and AF-S VR NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED lens, plus the WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter, DSLR tablet bag and 32GB Class 10 memory card, it carries list pricing of US$2,950.Imaging Resource rating
4.5 out of 5.0
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Nikon D610 Review
Overview by Roger Slavens and Mike Tomkins
Last fall, Nikon made full-frame photography more affordable than ever with the introduction of the D600 prosumer DSLR. Now, the company is back one year later with a slightly upgraded model -- the Nikon D610 -- featuring a new shutter mechanism that not only boosts the camera's continuous shooting speed, but also eliminates the persistent oil-on-sensor problem that marred the D600's otherwise high quality images.
Boasting the same 24.3-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor, optical viewfinder with 100% coverage, and 3.2-inch, 921K-dot LCD monitor as its predecessor, the D610 also features a new quiet continuous shutter mode and improved auto white balance. But arguably the best feature is that the Nikon D610 is $100 cheaper at launch than the D600, listing at US$2,000 body only or US$2,500 paired with the AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens.
What's new. While the upgrades to the Nikon D610 may seem like relatively minor tweaks, at least one of them puts to rest a serious issue that many owners reported with the D600, which we investigated in our review of the camera last year. We found the same dust and oil spots in our D600 images that others found, most likely from the shutter mechanism splattering the sensor with oil, and perhaps even flaking paint.
The dust and oil were not noticeable in most images -- at least, not unless you really looked for them -- but Nikon acknowledged that there was indeed an issue with the D600. The company, however, did not issue a recall or a fix, instead urging owners who discovered the problem with their units to contact Nikon to have camera serviced. According to anecdotal evidence from owners, the problem seemed to go away after a few thousand shutter activations.
Despite this oil-on-sensor issue, we still highly recommended the D600 for its considerable imaging prowess and great overall performance, so we're very excited that Nikon has designed a new shutter mechanism for the D610. Although Nikon would not go on record to say that the new shutter was employed to fix the problem, we're confident that this is the case.
In addition, this new shutter is a shade faster, allowing the D610 to achieve a claimed 6 frames-per-second continuous shooting burst rate at full resolution, where the D600 maxed out at 5.5fps. The D610 also features a new Quiet Continuous Shutter mode -- found on the Mode dial as position "Qc", between the pre-existing "Q" single-shot Quiet Shutter mode and the self-timer -- that allows for more discreet burst shooting at 3fps.
The third and final upgrade to the D610, according to Nikon, is improved Auto White Balance. The company says that this uses an advanced algorithm designed to reproduce more natural-looking color, even from artificial light sources.
What's the same. All the advanced photographic features and functions that we loved about the Nikon D600 return for the D610. First and foremost is the 24.3-megapixel full-frame, FX-format CMOS image sensor, which delivers very high resolution with superb detail, a wide dynamic range and excellent low-light, high ISO performance. Normal sensitivity ranges from a base of ISO 100 up to a healthy ISO 6,400, with extended 12,800 and 25,600 equivalents at the Hi-1 and Hi-2 settings.
The D610 incorporates the same 39-point autofocus system as its predecessor, which in our review of that earlier model we found to focus very well in low light. The AF system also employs nine cross-type sensors, including seven which keep AF ability up to f/8.
Other key features that return in the Nikon D610:
- Pentaprism optical viewfinder with 100% coverage
- 3.2-inch LCD monitor with 921,000 dots of resolution
- High dynamic range mode
- Time-lapse mode
- Interval timer
- Built-in lens corrections
- Built-in flash with wireless commander mode
- Dual Secure Digital memory card slots
- Full HD (1080p) video at 24p/30p frame rates, with manual control in video mode
- Built-in monaural microphone and external stereo mic input jack
- Stereo headphone jack
- Optional Wi-Fi wireless networking with WU-1b Wireless Mobile Adapter
- Sealed and gasketed construction for dust and moisture resistance
Nikon D610 Field Test
Improved in more ways than one
The Nikon D610 is an interesting addition to the company's DSLR lineup, in that it's not really a new camera per se, but rather just an incremental update to the D600. The primary difference between the new and old models is the D610's new shutter mechanism, plus a couple minor tweaks.
Dust-and-oil problem cleared up. The unofficial reason for the updated model is to fix a particularly troublesome problem that plagued many D600 owners since the introduction of that camera back in 2012 -- dust and oil spots on the sensor, caused by the shutter mechanism. Nikon won't say specifically that the D610 fixes this issue, or that the D600 problem was the impetus for the update, but thankfully the issue does appear to be resolved with the D610's redesigned shutter.
Nikon D610 Walkaround
Any changes on the outside?
The Nikon D610 is the same size and weight as the D600, measuring 5.6 x 4.4 x 3.2 inches, and weighing 26.8 ounces (760g) without lens or battery. Comparing it to a D800, it's a bit smaller and about five ounces lighter. We like this more compact, ergonomic build, especially for an enthusiast DSLR.
The Nikon D610 may seem tall to some, probably due to its big, bright pentaprism behind the Nikon logo. The control layout is very similar to that of the D7100, particularly the position of the two function buttons, one just left of the grip (as viewed from the back), and the other to the lower-right of the lens mount. (On Nikon's professional cameras, these two buttons are inline with one another between the grip and lens mount). The latter button, by default a Depth-of-field preview button, can also be programmed to serve other functions.
Nikon D610 Technical Info
See what's new under the hood
The D610 digital SLR is based around a 35mm full-frame CMOS image sensor (FX-format in Nikon parlance) that was originally designed for the D600. Effective resolution is 24.3 megapixels.
It can also operate at 10.5 megapixels in an APS-C crop mode for use with DX lenses.
Nikon says that the chip has a similar pixel pitch to that used in the professional D3X SLR, along with a broad dynamic range and high signal-to-noise ratio.
Nikon notes that it has chosen an optical low-pass filter that optimizes sharpness for HD video. (More on that later.)
Nikon D610 Image Quality Comparison
Is image quality still as good as its predecessor?
As the Nikon D610 is nearly identical to the D600 with the same sensor and processor, we thought it unnecessary to do an extensive image quality comparison with the D610 versus a range of competing cameras. Instead, we've made a one-to-one comparison between the D610 and D600 to show that the image quality is extremely similar between these two cameras. For a comparison against other competing cameras, head over to our Nikon D600 review.
Note that between the time we shot the D600 sample images to when we shot the D610, our test target was adjusted ever-so-slightly, and as such you may notice a very slight difference in focus and shadows between these two cameras' Still Life sample images in the comparisons below. Please check out the Comparometer with these two cameras to compare other areas of the images.
Nikon D610 Print Quality
But how does it look on paper?
Print quality and image quality are similar but not identical, because what you see on a print isn't always the same as what you see on the screen. Our print quality analysis answers the important question: "Just how big can I print my photos at higher ISOs?"
The Nikon D610, like the D600 before it, is able to produce spectacular printed images. Lower sensitivities are able to make some very large prints, up to wall-mountable 40 x 60 inch prints! Even at higher ISOs, the D610 is able to handle them with ease and relatively low noise, lots of fine detail and vibrant colors all the way up to ISO 25,600.
Nikon D610 Conclusion
Our final verdict
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 the Box
The Nikon D610 retail package contains the following items:
- Nikon D610 body
- BF-1B body cap
- AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR and/or AF-S NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens (if bought as a kit)
- Front and rear lens caps (if bought as a kit)
- EN-EL15 lithium-ion battery 7v 1900mAh
- MH-25 quick charger
- UC-E15 USB cable
- BM-14 LCD monitor cover
- DK-21 rubber eyecup
- AN-DC10 strap
- DK-5 eyepiece cap
- BS-1 accessory shoe cap
- Nikon ViewNX 2 CD-ROM
- HB-63 lens hood (for 24-85mm or twin-lens kit)
- CL-1118 soft lens case (for 24-85mm or twin-lens kit)
- HB-36 lens hood (for 28-300mm or twin-lens kit)
- CL-1022 soft lens case (for 28-300mm or twin-lens kit)
- Large laptop bag (for 28-300mm lens kit)
- WU-1b wireless mobile adapter (for twin-lens kit)
- Advanced amateur bag (for twin-lens kit)
- 32GB Class 10 Secure Digital card (for 28-300mm or twin-lens kits)
- Nikon Guide to SLR Photography book (for 28-300mm or twin-lens kits)
- Large capacity SDHC/SDXC memory card. These days, 16GB is a good tradeoff between cost and capacity for a consumer DSLR, but if you plan to capture HD movie clips or shoot in RAW format, look for larger cards, and Class 6 ratings should be a minimum. We recommend a UHS-I compliant card for best burst-mode performance.
- Camera case
- A selection of sharp lenses
- Accessory flash
- Extra EN-EL15 battery
- MB-D14 Battery grip