Just a year after the arrival of Nikon’s full-frame D600 in the fall of 2012, its replacement arrived in 2013. The D610 is the exact same as the D600 but with a new shutter mechanism that boosts continuous shooting and adds a ‘Quiet Continuous’ mode.
This is an in-depth review of the Nikon D610, a very minor update that replaced the existing Nikon D600.
- Nikon FX-format (35.9 x 24.0mm) CMOS Sensor with 24.3 effective megapixels
- Full 1080p HD, broadcast quality video with stereo sound and headphone connector
- Standard ISO 100-6400: range expandable to ISO 50 to 25,600 equivalent
- Fast 6 fps continuous shooting at full resolution
- Battery Life: 900 shots
- Movie Modes: Full 1080p HD @ 30 fps max
- 39-point AF system with 9 cross-type AF points
- Refined auto white balance system
- Wireless flash control
- 3.2in 921k-dot LCD screen
- Dual SD memory card slots
- 1080p30 full HD video
- Uncompressed video recording via HDMI
The D600’s 24.3MP FX-format CMOS sensor produced excellent JPEG image quality, and performed very well at high sensitivities. Its Raw files had an impressive amount of dynamic range, as well. The D610 performs just as well since the sensor and processor are unchanged from the D600. Some other things we enjoyed about the D600 that carries over to the D610 are its solid, weather-sealed magnesium alloy body, large optical viewfinder, responsive (and customizable) interface and high-end video specs.
Key Specs Compared
Nikon’s Full-frame sensor raises the bar on image quality
The D610 is essentially the same as the D600 from a physical point of view and, for that matter, pretty consistent with Nikon’s other DSLRs. Both cameras have much in common with the D7100, and share most of its button layout. In common with the enthusiast-focused D7100, the D610 has a lockable exposure mode dial with a lockable drive mode dial underneath it. The only difference is the position of the magnification buttons, which are shifted downwards one position.
The D610 continues to offer the eight-way controller that positions the AF point in manual selection mode – it’s an important part of the Nikon control system and is necessary for making use of the camera’s 39-point AF system. This can be locked to prevent accidental use, if necessary.
Exceptional performance and quality
Like the D600, the D610’s optical viewfinder is very large, and the same size of the more-expensive D800. A large viewfinder is one of the big reasons for moving up to a full-frame DSLR. The magnification is 0.70x and the coverage is 100%. The similarly priced Canon EOS 6D’s viewfinder is a close competitor, but its coverage is a slightly less-impressive 97%.
The D610’s viewfinder offers 100% coverage and 0.7x magnification, offering the same viewing experience as the considerably more expensive D800 and D4. The small wheel at upper-right is a diopter adjustment for those of us who wear glasses.
|The D610’s mode dial has the usual selection of shooting options, including a pair of customizable ‘user’ spots. The button at the center locks the dial in its current position.|
|The two buttons on the front of the camera (lower one shown here) can be assigned a wide range of different duties, including depth-of-field preview and engaging an on-screen/in-viewfinder electronic horizon.|
|The D610 has two IR windows, on the front of the camera (shown here) and one the rear, which allow it to be triggered by Nikon’s inexpensive ML-L3 wireless trigger.|
|On the side of the camera you’ll find its various sockets. A USB 2.0 socket shares space with an HDMI-out socket, a microphone socket and a headphone jack for monitoring audio in movie mode.|
|The D610’s live view control is exactly the same as it is on the D600, and comprises of a live view activation button with a collar-type switch to move between still and movie live view modes. In movie mode the view on the LCD is cropped to preview the field of view captured during video shooting.|
|The D610 has a video capture mode, and just like the D800, it offers a direct movie shooting button for quick and easy movie capture once you’re in video live view mode.|
|The D610 has twin memory card bays accommodating two SD cards with provision for simultaneous recording, as well as options for overflow or separate JPEG/Raw or still/video storage.|
With a wealth of external controls that put nearly any shooting adjustments a button-press away, the D610 is a nimble camera to operate. The on/off switch is placed around the shutter button for easy one-handed operation and powers on nearly instantaneously (about 0.13 seconds) so you’re never waiting for the camera. Accessing menus systems is also quick using the eight-way controller. It has a vast array of custom settings and buttons, along with two custom setting banks that allow you to configure the camera any way you like.
Remarkable AF performance with compatibility up to f/8
In bright sun or high contrast situations the D610, like nearly all cameras, AF is excellent. Where the D610 AF system starts to be challenged is in low-light or low contrast scenes, but this is not uncommon for most AF systems. In my time shooting with the D610, I found the low-light AF performance working well enough that I didn’t have to change my shooting habits or compositions.
|Nikon D610||6 fps||39|
|Nikon D600||5.5 fps||39|
|Nikon D800||4 fps||51|
|Canon EOS 6D||4.5 fps||11|
|Nikon D7100||6 fps||51|
|Canon EOS 70D||7 fps||19|
The D610 uses the EN-EL15 rechargeable battery, the same one used on the D800 and D7100. CIPA estimates about 900 shots per charge. We found we could go through a full day of shooting with regular use of the LCD and still have more than enough charge remaining. In our interval timer test, with no LCD use, we got more than 3,300 shots before the battery ran out. We found this very impressive.
- Outstanding high ISO performance in both JPEG and Raw files
- High quality JPEG images at default settings
- Wide dynamic range in Raw files
- Consistently pleasing metering and white balance results
- Solid build quality and weather-sealing
- Responsive camera when adjusting settings and handling
- Dual SD card slots
- Built-in flash can act as Commander for wireless multi-flash setups
- Comprehensive camera customization options
- DX crop mode in both stills and video modes
- 100% viewfinder coverage with high magnification
- Auto ISO selection can be linked to lens focal length
- Easily accessible menu system
- Good video specification and output
- Ability to output uncompressed HD video to an external recorder
- Manual audio control for both recording and monitoring
- 3.5mm stereo mic and headphone inputs
- Dual axis virtual horizon
- Small coverage area of AF array compared to its peers
- Slow AF in live view and video modes
- Rear LCD prone to glare in bright sunlight
- No ‘live’ aperture control in live view or video mode
- No histogram in live view
- When shooting in live view, rear screen is blacked out until data is written to the card
- Lacks useful customization of ‘OK’ button in playback (featured in D300S and D800)
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