Nikon D610 - A subtle update of the Nikon D600

Nikon’s latest consumer pitched full frame DSLR in the D610 updates 2012’s D600, and in doing so again offers the largest physical chip size to be found in a digital camera based on a 35mm film SLR, here boasting a top resolution of 24.3 megapixels. Thus this is a DSLR aimed at high end amateurs looking to step up to their first full frame model and perhaps pros looking for a back up body for their higher resolution D800 or D4. The D610 comes priced at a suggested £1799.99 for just the body, or £2299.99 with 24-85mm zoom lens, the combination we had in to take a look at.

The beauty of a full frame camera is that there is no magnification factor (the ‘35mm equivalent’ calculation) to take into account when using standard issue lenses, as there is with a smaller APS-C sensor model. Thus we really do get a like-for-like focal range starting at a wide angle 24mm and running up to 85mm. A larger sensor also means more detail and theoretically noticeably better image quality; so the potential for bigger enlargements. Images are composed via a large and bright optical viewfinder offering 100% frame coverage or fixed, non adjustable 3.2-inch, 921K dot resolution LCD screen below. Aside from the sensor, what you’re paying for here are the response times, which can be described as lightning fast. Flick the switch to on and you can be shooting as fast as you can squeeze the shutter release button the power switch encircles.

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What you see is what you get with Nikon’s full frame D610, and though we don’t get Wi-Fi built into the body we do get a weather sealed chassis

Solid yet relatively lightweight for its class at 760g without battery, the D610’s top dog credentials are further boosted by double SD card slots, 6fps continuous shooting speed (a minor improvement when compared to the D600’s 5.5fps rate), new 3fps ‘quiet release’ burst mode, top manually expandable ISO25600 light sensitivity setting, comprehensive movie modes at a Full HD 1920x1080 pixels with uncompressed output, plus a body that is weather sealed to the same destruction-proof degree as Nikon’s D800 flagship. Perhaps surprisingly for a near pro camera these days we don’t get built in Wi-Fi, though this facility can be added by buying an optional WU-1b ‘dongle’ from Nikon which plugs straight into the USB port. There is a further accessory option in an extended battery life pack-come-grip that screws onto the camera base. We also get a secondary LCD window atop the camera for more quickly accessing key settings, as on the Canon 70D.

Fast in use and capable of delivering bright, razor sharp results with detail maintained edge to edge, the D610 will be the Nikon of choice for those who can’t quite justify stretching their budget all the way to the likes of a D800 or D4, but want comparable results nonetheless. As well as a camera that feels in many ways more traditional, when compared with the likes of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and Sony A3000.

OUR VERDICT

In truth this camera comes across like a subtle update of the previous D600, at just over a year old, rather than major overhaul. But like that camera the newer D610 once more offers up the most affordable route into full frame photography for anyone wedded to the Nikon brand. You can’t fault the images and so this is a purchase where head wins out over heart. Incidentally those who are looking for a full frame Nikon, but find the D610 a big too chunky and its grip a stretch for the fingers should also check out the fancier, retro styled ‘Df’ model, its maker’s smallest and lightest full frame DSLR.

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