Nikon D600 or Canon 6D That is the Question…Newly Updated…Finally Went with the Nikon D800

Canon EOS 6D and Nikon D600

Nikon D800

Nikon D800

Update: August 30, 2013:
Finally went with the Nikon D800
Well, after testing both the D600 and the D800. I decided to opt for the D800. I was able to return the D600 for my new D800 which I just got today. Because I am shooting primarily models in studio and interior location, I couldn’t ask for a better format than that offered by the D800. Although the D600 is amazing, the D800 allows me to crop after the fact with greater confidence as well as allowing me to choose several crop formats from the onset.
The output is absolutely astounding and the AF is ultra rapid to say the least. I have no problem either with the 4 fps High Speed shooting rate, which is more than enough for how I shoot. Will be using for my up and coming projects very shortly.
Oh and finally. The 5×4 crop format is amazing as it is so close to all of the magazine formats that I work with. I might need to shave off 1 to 2% but it is almost spot on for most of the magazines. Thus the camera become a very powerful 30+ megapixel powerhouse. It is like it is made for fashion magazines. Of course for horizontal landscape format, will change back to the Full Frame 24×36 mm format and get the full 36.3 megapixels.

UPDATE July 28, 2013 from an earlier post in September 2012. And the winner is…I finally decided to go with the Nikon D600 Full Frame camera System. I just purchased the Nikon D600 camera and three lenses the 24-120 f4.0, 50 f1.8 G and 85 f1.8 G.
I used it for the first time for a  professional shoot for ELLE Magazine, coming out this November.
The images on the D600 were absolutely mind boggling. The 85mm f1.8 lens has to be the sharpest lens I have ever used in my 25+ years as a Fashion Photographer.
I am in Love…Will discuss more in depth when time allows. I will no longer be using the Pentax system for my professional applications and only for travel and leisure purposes.
Below from the September 2012 original post:
I am seriously considering going to one of the above brands and as I consider digital a disposable medium, I will not spend a fortune on a camera that will become obsolete in a couple of years or so.

Nikon D600

I won’t go in to a major diatribe, as I haven’t tried them out as yet. I do want a Full Frame camera and as Pentax has yet to come out with one, I think it is time to look at another system.
Canon EOS 6D

So what are the differences?  Which camera do I think I will embrace in the Full Frame 24x36mm format? Well, both are economy versions of their upscale brands, the Nikon D800 and Canon 5D MkIII.
Canon EOS 6D

They are both Full Frame highly capable cameras that would work famously for my applications, i.e. slow shooting studio or location productions.
Nikon D600

Nikon does have more focussing points and does have 4 megapixels more than the Canon. Canon is better in low lighting conditions and has mega support in the video arena.
Canon ESO 6D

Nikon D600

You may see the other parts by clicking in the screen frame for Part 2, Part 3, etc.

Let’s have a closer look at the specifications and discuss them a bit later…

Nikon D600 vs Canon 6D Specification Comparison

Camera Feature Nikon D600 Canon 6D
Sensor Resolution 24.3 Million 20.2 Million
Sensor Type CMOS CMOS
Sensor Size 35.9×24.0mm 35.8×23.9mm
Sensor Pixel Size 5.96µ 6.55µm
Dust Reduction / Sensor Cleaning Yes Yes
Image Size 6,016 x 4,016 5,472 x 3,648
Image Processor EXPEED 3 DIGIC 5+
Viewfinder Type Pentaprism Pentaprism
Viewfinder Coverage 100% 97%
Built-in Flash Yes, with flash commander mode No
Storage Media 2x SD 1x SD
Continuous Shooting Speed 5.5 FPS 4.5 FPS
Max Shutter Speed 1/4000 to 30 sec 1/4000 to 30 sec
Shutter Durability 150,000 cycles 100,000 cycles
Exposure Metering Sensor 2,016-pixel RGB sensor 3D Color Matrix Metering II 63-zone dual-layer iFCL metering sensor
Base ISO ISO 100 ISO 100
Native ISO Sensitivity ISO 100-6,400 ISO 100-25,600
Boosted ISO Sensitivity ISO 50, ISO 12,800-25,600 ISO 50, ISO 51,200, ISO 102,400
Autofocus System Multi-CAM 4800FX 11-point AF with 1 cross-type sensor (center, sensitive down to -3EV)
AF Detection Up to f/8 (center 7 AF points only) Up to f/5.6
Video Capability Yes Yes
Video Output MOV, Compressed and Uncompressed AVI, H.264/MPEG-4 in MOV Format
Video Maximum Resolution 1920×1080 (1080p) @ 24p, 25p, 30p 1920×1080 (1080p) @ 29.97p, 25p, 23.976p
Audio Recording Built-in microphone
External stereo microphone (optional)
Built-in microphone
External stereo microphone (optional)
LCD Size 3.2″ diagonal TFT-LCD 3.2″ diagonal TFT-LCD
LCD Resolution 921,000 dots 1,040,000 dots
HDR Support Yes Yes
Built-in GPS No Yes
Wi-Fi Functionality Eye-Fi Compatible, WU-1B, UT-1 Built-in Wi-Fi
Battery EN-EL15 Lithium-ion Battery LP-E6 Lithium-ion Battery
Battery Life 900 shots (CIPA) 980 shots
Weather Sealed Body Yes Yes
USB Version 2.0 2.0
Weight (Body Only) 26.8 oz. (760g) 24 oz. (680g)
Dimensions 141 x 113 x 82mm 145 x 111 x 71mm
MSRP Price $2,099 (as introduced) $2,099 (as introduced)

On paper the Nikon does seem to outshine the Canon on several fronts and I would be remiss if I didn’t give them both a serious workout before making my decision.

But for now it is looking that the Nikon may be the way to go.  However, I really like the Canon 24-105 lens that it comes with in their package.

But then again I have heard that the Nikkor 24-85mm lens is a real keeper as well as the 24-120 VR G lens. I used the older version of the 24-85 on my brother’s D70 and it is an amazing kit lens. But then again, I also heard great things about the 24-120 Nikkor lens as well.

I really love the ergonomics of the Canon and find the look of the Nikon a bit plastic.  I know it isn’t but it sure looks like it in my opinion. I do like the fact that the Canon sensor is only packing 20 megapixels thus more real estate per pixel which translates in to better noise performance, generally speaking.

The output samples I have seen from the Nikon look pretty amazing.  It looks like the score right now is Nikon 55 vs Canon 45…Once I decide what I will do, I will post an update.

      1. i wish Pentax could do a field retrofit of the AF module in the two K5 bodies I have.
        The AF is unpredictable way too often.
        I’m reluctant to buy yet another K5 (K5 II) just to fix what should have been functional already.

  1. What a refreshing article,
    not the Canon vs Nikon done to death debate, but a seasoned professional who
    will publicly take such a crisp efficient view about the tools required for
    the job now.
    Also refreshing is that the
    camera’s you mentioning are not too far out of reach for some advanced
    I guess its also a bit annoying
    that Ricoh have not yet pushed Pentax to deliver a FF solution so that you can
    reuse your lenses if the image circle is big enough; I guess another
    consideration is the question about whether the industry is moving towards more
    of a medium frame resolution expectation with the Nikon 46M offering and the
    Canon rumours of the same; Would that leave you at a disadvantage with your
    I’m not sure on the on shoot time
    scales in your image productions but am sure that the assurance that the Nikon
    shoots onto 2 Cards at once should help de-risk repeat shoots if a card ever
    The 24-105mm is almost never
    off my 60D but when I get a studio sorted the 24-70 on a 6D will be my
    aspiration for extra sharpness and F2.8
    Personally I hope Ricoh talk
    to you to demo a FF Pentax that no one else knows about.
    The trouble is you can wait
    for ever if you wait for perfect.

  2. Hallo Ben,
    i use both systems ,but now selling all my canon gear to keep the nikon and upgrade to the D600 or D800 , now i am almost sure it´ll be a d600 . as you mentioned the Noise at high iso made me hesitate a bit but after seeing this comparisson on Dpreview ( ) i think the 600 is atleast as clean or even cleaner than the costly 5D3 or the d800s, and knowing canon as it is , they are no way going to make the 6D high iso better than their high end cams.
    and much more than that i can get cleaner shadows even if i have to push the shadows 1 or 2 stops, with my old canons i use to to get a mesh like banding even pushing 1 stop, that´s one reason i want to stay with nikon.the sony sensor´s DR (as you might know it from the Pentax K5) will be easy on any retouching work than the canons.
    second reason is the built in flash with commander controll mode, once you use nikon CLS flash system on some small location jobs, you can keep the heavy studio lights back´s pretty much the best small flash system out there and the fact that with a d600 you can controll many flashes from your shooting position without even moving ,makes it fun to work with the 600.
    simply giving both systems a try is the best thing to do. the canon lens 24-105 is a very good general purpose lens,which i found was a tad better and quicker than nikon´s. but you can´t beat the nikon´s new 50mm 1.8 and 85 mm 1.8 for the price and sharpness.
    cheers and happy shooting,

  3. while I agree with your first statement not to spend a fortune on a camera that will become obsolete in a couple of years or so, shouldn’t your choice at least partly be based on the perception what your clients might think of your equipment? As you are an internationally published photographer, isn’t it expected of you to show up with the top of the line DSLR (or it sounds you’re still loyal to Pentax, show up with their digital medium format camera)?

  4. Pentax Forums tried out K5 IIs in Photokina and they were impressed with the autofocus performance of the new model. I know you are primarily looking for a FF system at this point, but also if you were not quite happy with the autofocus performance from your comment here, K5 IIs maybe worth to wait another 2 weeks.

    1. Perhaps Pentax can connect with me and take back my two K5’s and give me 2 K5 Mkll’s in exchange. If that were the case, it would certainly solve the endemic problem of AF issues I have had with Pentax.

      1. Autograph your K-5 bodies and sell them that way on eBay. Autographed (perhaps with a glossy used on a fashion cover, also autographed, they would probably bring far more than would be needed to purchase new K-5iis bodies.

  5. BK,
    take your time, heavily evaluate both systems before you make a final decision. For years, many have felt that “prosumer” 35mm digital cameras were good enough for magazine/print quality needs. The full-frame, less noise, high ISO features have made this an easy decision. Actually it started with the 35mm film cameras like the Nikon FM2.
    After so many shutter actuations, shooters found it was cheaper just to sell off the used bodies before they broke down and purchased new bodies that were still cheaper than their high-end big brothers. I think the same applies to 35mm digital bodies as well.
    Keep up the stellar work, BK!

  6. You overlooked a key advantage of the Canon body. Since it has a shorter registration distance than Nikon, you can adapt many more lenses while keeping infinity focus than you can with the Nikon body.

  7. As a long time Pentax user I know exactly what you going through. I gave up on them ever going full frame and even though I still have my Pentax gear, including the MZs, I’ve recently bought a 5d and a 600ex-rt, and hope to get a 70-200 soon :). I’ve been blown away by the cannon’s abilities. I dont think the 6D is the right camera for you though and would seriously rent a 5D and a 70-200 before making any decision. HTH

  8. I made the switch a few years back to Nikon and keep wishing Pentax would produce a full frame body to go back to. I had some time with both the D700 and 5D2 and the ergonomics of the 5D2 just felt odd coming from a Pentax. There are definitely things I miss about the Pentax ergonomics though like a dedicated bulb mode and the green button to get me to metered quickly in manual mode. Minor quibbles, but definitely details that I’ve come to appreciate in their absence.

  9. Why Full Frame? Over the years you’ve shoot MF, 35mm and both crop and FF Digital. You seemed to be happy with the image quality/resolution of earlier crop Pentax cameras. Why not test the Nikon D7000 and Sony A77?

  10. Hola Ben, Let me begin by saying that I am an admirer of your work. You have a very creative eye that shows in your beautiful fotos. By choosing Pentex, i.e.: prosumer, cameras you serve as an inspiration to us amateurs who might feel the need to purchase a more professional camera. With that said why do you need a professional camera? What will a full frame camera do for you that DX format camera cannot? This is megapixels that you need, then why don’t you purchase Pentax’s medium format camera? Thanks again. Peace

  11. You are confused regarding the low-light capabilities. The Canon 6D hasn’t been tested by DxOMark yet, but I’m betting my bottom dollar that it won’t beat the D600 in the low-light score; it won’t even come close. Sony sensors (as used by Nikon) clearly outclass what Canon can produce at the moment.
    Pixel size has no relevance for overall image noise. More pixels mean smaller pixels and each pixel will hence be noisier but collectively the many pixels average out to an image that is just as noisy (only more fine-grained).

  12. You are confused regarding the low-light capabilities. The Canon 6D hasn’t been tested by DxOMark yet, but I’m betting my bottom dollar that it won’t beat the D600 in the low-light score; it won’t even come close. Sony sensors (as used by Nikon) clearly outclass what Canon can produce at the moment.
    Pixel size has no relevance for overall image noise. More pixels mean smaller pixels and each pixel will hence be noisier but collectively the many pixels average out to an image that is just as noisy (only more fine-grained).

  13. I worked with Canon for 8 years and switched to Pentax a year ago. Do not miss my Canon stuff at all. Must say that the autofocus was faster on my Canons but i still had the same amout of images out of focus with my 5 d mark2 as with my k5.
    I have really enjoyed to use my 645d. It is soooo slow but at the same time my quality and keeper files has gone to a new level. I shoot less but the images are just so much more better overall so the slow flow is perfect for me. And I enjoy shooting alot again.
    For fashion and celebrity portrait work I have noticed that I do not miss my FF at all.
    Hopefully you find a right setup for you.

    1. Maybe you should have ask them if they had something coming in the near future that can match the D800…
      If you part with your Pentax lens…I’m here 🙂

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  15. I’m glad you finally did… I would too if i could afford it.. 🙂
    Biding my time and saving up for it.. 😀

  16. I Hope you do find time to update this article, always very interested to see how you do what you do.
    Best wishes

  17. Kind of sad to hear you will no longer be using Pentax but I clearly understand why. I think Pentax/Ricoh is content to being a niche player in the photographic world. Their equipment is fine, but somewhat limited to a good portion of professional photographers. I’m no pro so for me Pentax works ok. For you I recommend you just keep one camera and a Limited lens or two for personal use and enjoyment.

  18. Pingback: My New Nikon D800

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