Nikon D610 review: Can modest tweaks keep this full-frame DSLR on top?


posted Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 8:00 AM EST


Last year, Nikon announced its D600 digital SLR, a truly affordable full-frame beauty with an unanticipated Achilles heel: a shutter / mirror mechanism prone to splattering dust and oil on the sensor, early in the camera's operating life. A year later, it followed up with the Nikon D610, a surprisingly modest update whose primary goal seems -- whether Nikon can say so or not -- to be resolving that niggling problem once and for all.

In most respects, the Nikon D610 is identical to its forebear, sporting the same 24.3-megapixel, FX-format CMOS image sensor, EXPEED image processor, 100% pentaprism viewfinder, large 3.2-inch LCD monitor, and dual Secure Digital card slots. There are a few changes beyond the oil spot fix, though, and they mostly relate to the uprated shutter / mirror mechanism, as well. Perhaps most significantly, the Nikon D610 can shoot images a half-frame per second faster than could the D600, reaching a full six frames per second. It also sports a new Quiet Continuous drive mode, which allows 3fps burst shooting while reducing noise levels from cycling the mirror and shutter between shots. Nikon has also promised improved auto white balance under artificial light.

Last year's Nikon D600 was a great full-frame DSLR, but it suffered from oil spots on the sensor. The Nikon D610 aims to resolve this, and it also brings some other welcome tweaks.

But can these modest tweaks keep Nikon at the top of the affordable, full-frame DSLR pack? Sure, we loved the Nikon D600, despite the need to keep cleaning those annoying dust specks while the camera was still young. A year has gone by, though, and a lot has changed in the market over that time, even if the D610 hasn't changed so much. And can we be sure that the oil-on-the-sensor problem is really fixed?

Read our in-depth Nikon D610 review, and find out if this is still one of our favorite affordable, full-frame SLRs, or if it's simply the camera the D600 should have been.

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