newly nikonian?

My new Nikon D600 arrived today. Coincidentally, it was actually sunny today. So I took it for a hike. I figured the best way to see how much better it is than my old camera is to go somewhere that I’ve photographed often. So I went to Cold Canyon, a place I’ve hiked to probably a dozen times by now.

DSC_0011I was surprised that there were other people on the trail today, this being Christmas Eve and all…

DSC_0016I’m happy enough with the kit lens. It covers more or less the same focal lengths as my favorite Pentax lens. It’s wide enough to take pictures of the switchbacks on the trail. For some reason I’ve always like taking pictures of hiking buddies on switchbacks, as you can see here, here, and here

DSC_0078The dynamic range is pretty awesome on this camera, as expected. I metered this shot at a spot in the sky, so parts of it are pretty badly underexposed…

Lightroom 4 Catalog - Adobe Photoshop Lightroom - Develop 12252012 95439 PMI imported the shot in Lightroom and pulled the highlights all the way down and the shadow all the way up to get this crazy sunset shot. It’s pretty amazing how much shadow detail is retained, and it’s even crazier how much it can be boosted without any apparent noise. On my old camera, even at low ISOs, boosting the shadows would introduce a ton of noise.

DSC_0127I stayed a bit after sunset until a few stars came out. When I took this picture, I could only see maybe a dozen or so of the brightest stars in the sky. The camera, however, captured way more than I could see. What’s even more amazing is that I took this at ISO 6400, and there’s not too much noise. It looks cleaner to me than my old camera at ISO 1600. So I’m looking forward to taking some crazy night shots in the future.

Fullscreen capture 12252012 100646 PM-001


So yea, the D600 is definitely a nice camera. Its sensor is one of the highest rated by DxoMark, and it’s among the best for ISO and dynamic range. But part of me thinks I should return it, and just get the Pentax K-5, which would still be a pretty significant upgrade in DR and ISO to my current K20D. The advantage of the K-5 is that it costs less than half as much as the D600, and I would be able to use all the lenses that I currently have. The D600 would require me to sell all my Pentax lenses, and Nikon’s pro glass is pretty expensive. I’m looking at more than $4,000 to buy the f/2.8 zooms that cover the same focal lengths as my Pentax zooms…

The other thing is that Pentax doesn’t currently have a full frame camera, but they are rumored to be working on one. It would most likely be on par with the D600 for image quality, since both Pentax and Nikon buy their sensors from Sony. But If I bought a hypothetical future Pentax full frame camera, I’d need to sell my lenses anyways, since most of my lenses don’t cover a full frame circle. So maybe it does make sense to switch to Nikon, at least with Nikon I can borrow lenses because I have a good number of friends with very nice Nikon lenses…

I still have a couple of weeks before I have to decide whether to return the D600. It’s funny, when I got into photography, I thought it would be a cheap hobby. Now I’m trying to decide whether to return $2,400 worth of photography gear. It’s definitely NOT a cheap hobby, but it has brought me a lot of joy over the years. So whether or not I become a full fledged Nikonian, or stay as a Pentaxian, I still will enjoy this hobby even if it costs me a lot more in the future.

One thought on “newly nikonian?

  • December 27, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    It CAN be relatively cheap if you “surf” used gear đŸ™‚ Just always use things you purchased used at ridiculous prices, and then sell them off for more than you paid once you’re done. Then rinse, and repeat, hahaha


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