Jan 282015

Using the Sony A7

By Josh Seeto

Hi Steve and Brandon,

I am an Australian photographer based in Brisbane. Shooting for over 5 years, and spending thousands of dollars buying, selling and trading camera gear (working for 3 years in a camera shop did not help my GAS), I found myself in a creative rut.

Over the new year break I went on a two-week trip to Taiwan with my partner. Starting from Taipei, we worked our way around Taiwan starting from the East coast. Packing my suitcase was the easy bit – choosing ONE camera kit to bring proved to be incredibly time-consuming. Should I go for the mirrorless wonders of the full frame A7? What about the trusty D600? Would I find myself missing wide-angle with the x100s? Hm.. I was travelling – maybe I should drop both and bring along my RX100M2. What about film? I could have brought along 明瞭さ – my modified polaroid 420 or my Instax mini 90.

In the end, I decided to go with the A7 and SEL1635z. The A7 had proved itself as a beast in low light, had a viewfinder and tilt screen for sunny days, great AF, lazy man’s panorama and was easily stored. Restricting myself to one lens due to weight considerations I found forced me to explore and think about my creative options more. The lens itself was no let down, great construction, sharpness was on point and OSS definitely came in handy in low light conditions.

I wanted to share these photos with you and fellow blog readers as I feel they represent my lasting impressions of Taiwan. I’ve framed them to give a cinematic feel with processing in lightroom and photoshop.

If anyone is interested in seeing more, check out my flickr.






Aug 252014

My People Pics with a Nikon D600

By Yopin Welly

Hi Brandon,

I’m Yopin Welly and I currently reside in Jakarta, Indonesia. I love taking portraits of people and doing street photography. My current setup is Nikon D600 with 3 set of primes ( 28mm 1.8G , 50mm 1.4D, and 85mm 1.8G), all those lenses are beautiful, did use Canon 5D mark 2 and Nikon D7000 in the past too. I do shoot film occasionally with my Nikon F100.

One day  showed some pics i have taken to my friends and one of ’em told me “try post it to stevehuff !”, so i decided why not post it in SteveHuff too, after all i do have my online gallery which is www.flickr.com/photos/jonkopinx.

Photo details :

Oh What a Day: Nikon D600 + 28mm 1.8G / ISO 400; f 4; 1/125s

YOP_0621 2

People Around Us Portraits Series: Nikon D600 + 35mm f2 Ais / ISO 100; f5.6; 1/160s


People Around Us Portraits Series: Canon 5D mark 2 + 40mm 2.8 STM / ISO 200; f 4; 1/80s


cheers, YW

Sep 012013

David and Goliath – The Nikon V1 vs. the Nikon D600 – Wide Angle

by Steven Norquist

Hello Steve,

You always have such interesting comparisons of lenses on your forum that I thought I would do a little test for your readers. I have really enjoyed using my V1 with the 6.7-13mm lens. The pictures the V1 produces with this lens have perfect sharpness edge to edge and corner to corner, seemingly an infinite depth of field which is perfect for my style of photography which is architecture and landscape.

Also this lens/camera combo has excellent contrast balanced with nice dynamic range so highlights don’t blow out and shadows don’t lose detail.

But how good is this combo really?

I decided to find out.

I borrowed my friend’s Nikon D600 and rented the Nikon 16-35mm wide-angle lens. This lens is Nikon’s newest and best full frame wide-angle.

I decided to compare it directly to the V1 with 6.7-13mm lens.

The V1 with 6.7-13mm is a $800 setup.

The D600 with 16-35mm is a $3300 setup.

UPDATE: In every test, the top image is from the Nikon V1 and the bottom image is from the D600!

As you can see below the D600 is a beast with this lens on it.
The V1 looks like a little toy by comparison.


The D600 with this lens is very, very heavy and I cannot even consider roving the country or the city with this thing for hours and doing the kinda of photography I do.

Just having the D600 and the V1 around my neck for the length of time it took to do these samples made my neck really hurt!

Here are the test parameters I used for this comparison:

  • Each photo was taken at the same time, hand held one right after the other.
  • Focus was automatic spot focus on the same exact target for each camera.
  • ISO used was the base of 100 for both cameras.
  • Exposure was Automatic Matrix metering.
  • No exposure compensation was used.
  • Focal length was 18mm and 35mm for the D600, and 6.7mm and 13mm for the V1.
  • This assured that the equivelnt focal lengths as far as composition area would be the same.
  • The D600 was shot at F11 and the V1 at F4. I tried to make the depth of field of both cameras as close as possible.
  • Everything was shot in raw and digital development and post processing (Adobe Raw and then Photoshop CS5) was the same process for both camera’s raw files.
  • Each image was then re-sized to 1200 pixels on the long side and layered into a single image for direct comparison on the web.

Here is the challenge for your readers: In each of the four tests, which camera is which???

Good luck!

For those readers that are interested, you can view my other V1 pics with the 6.7-13mm at this link.


Test 1


Test 2


Test 3


Test 4


Dec 142012

Ho! Ho! Ho! A $700 Savings for the DSLR Lover – The Full Frame Nikon D600 one day sale and RX1 in stock!

ONE DAY ONLY SALE! IN STOCK and FREE 2nd Day Shipping!

Wow, Nikon is on a price slashing roll. Last time it was the Nikon V1 with 10-30 Lens for $299 (still available HERE) and even the full Nikon V1 kit with 10-30, 10-100, Nikon Adapter, Flash, and bag for $799 (which is also available HERE). Now they just slashed the price of the full frame Nikon D600 with 24-85 Lens with bag and monopod AND extra battery AND Free 2nd day air shipping for the holidays! WOW. For $1996 you can have this whole set up shipped. No tax, no shipping and with free 2nd day air.

This is yet another Nikon deal and if you are into DSLR’s, the full frame D600 delivers with the same sensor found in the Sony RX1.



Get the Nikon D600 deal here because this offer ends in just ONE DAY, December 15th.

Also appears B&H Photo just lowered the price of the Nikon V1 with 10-30 and 30-110 lenses to $399 for the entire set! Wow. With Christmas almost here this is another superb buy!





BTW, the Sony RX1 is in stock. At the time of this writing there are 7 of them available from 17th Street Photo on Amazon HERE!




Nov 122012

The Nikon D600 with Tamron 24-70 2.8 – Fullframe for the rest of us

By Joerg LangeHis Site is HERE

Some short informations about me: I’m from Germany, a 35-years-old amateur photographer (or enthusiast :-)). Some years ago I started photographing and since that I’ve learned more every day. I follow a lot of blogs and sites to keep myself up to date or to simply dream a little bit and watch good pictures, like I do often with this site – dreaming about an M9 and enjoying the b/w pics.:-)

Once upon a time I was happy with my small Canon EOS550d (Rebel T2i). Then the day came when I visited your page and my first reaction to the whole Leica-stuff was: “Are you kidding? 5000 Euros for a camera which looks like from 1954?”. On the other hand I saw the beautiful pictures, this sharpness, this detail, the small size (form factor) and I could not get this out of my mind.

But I knew that a Leica would never be affordable to me, so I needed a plan B…

The first idea: buying one of the small power packages like OM-D, Fuji X100 or X-Pro1 (I even thought about a Leica Digilux 2). On the other hand… I was impressed by the IQ the M9 delivers with its big sensor and the possibilities to play with the shallow depth of field even with not so fast glasses. So finaly the decision was: one day I would buy some full-frame-camera, perhaps a used 5D MK2 (even if its heavier and bigger).

A little later the rumors about the Canon 6D and Nikon D600 came out and after a closer look onto the technical specs it became clear, that the D600 will be my next big love. It took me several days to convince my wife (luckily she is so satisfied with the first portraits I shoot that she loves the camera also – puh).

The Starting point

This is a short review of the first weeks with the camera and the Tamron 24-70 2.8. I will not cover the technical aspects as this was done by many sites on endless articles. I’m interested mainly in look, feel, usability and image quality. I’m not a pixel peeper – I look at the image as a whole. And I prefer making pictures rather of talking about the camera. So there are many pics in this review and not so many words. :-)

As I said earlier I owned a Canon 550D before (which is the similar sensor to 600D, 60D and 7D) and everything I say is compared to those Canon-sensor (a very common one). From this point of view – and as a conclusion before the end (spoiler), the D600 has the far better IQ with a much greater dynamic range and better colors – it is simply a class of its own. But first things first…

The Lens

At the moment I use the stabilized Tamron 24-70 2.8 as my “daily glass”. It is fast, steady, splash proof and a little bit cheaper than the Nikon 24-70 (which is not stabilized!). It is a good lens but it is rather heavy and together with the camera I carry around aprox 1,7 kg. Since I use a blackrapid strap this is … lets say tolerable. 

The Nikon with Tamron 24-70 2.8 – my standard glass


A few days ago I also bought the beautiful Nikon 50mm 1.8g – and this combination rocks! It’s around 0.9kg (camera + glass) and this package fits perfectly in my hand. This is the combination I will use in the future mostly for travel / streetshots. Unfortunately the weather in germany was ugly the last days so there are no pics with the 50mm in this review.

This is the D600 with Nikon 50mm 1.8 – a small handy power package.


The Camera

The Nikon feels… professional to me (Nikon says its a consumer model). It fits in my hand nicely and the look and feel is very solid. To be honest – it is no 5D Mk3 or so (yes, there are plastic parts – who cares? We can’t make anything of Krupp-steel unless you have a trolley to carry the stuff around) but it feels massive and it is sealed against dust and water like the bigger D800. So there should be no problem taking it to alaska, into the desert or to russia :-)

AND it is not as heavy as it’s bigger brothers – which is a huge benefit in my eyes.

Some said, the plastic around the mount is not able to support a heavy professional lens – such a lens would cause a bending of the body. This is nonsense. The Tamron I use is really heavy and I never felt or saw anything that could confirm those speculations.

The Nikon has dedicated knobs for every function, and for me – who comes from a small consumer DSLR – this is very comfortable. No fiddling around with two fingers on three keys to adjust something. After a few hours the handling will become second nature and after a few days its like an extension of your mind. You no longer think, you just shoot. Sure it is not as comfortable as the great M9 with its Apple-like-usability, but the important functions are all at your fingertips and the other buttons you can ignore… :-)

And it is fast – not only 5.5 pics per second (full frame) but all the other stuff too… startup-time, reaction, shutter lag and so on.



The optical VF on my old 550D was great – so I thought. Until I used the D600. The D600-VF is bright – very bright. It covers 100% (unlike the Canon 6D!) and it feels as you would look onto a big canvas in front – gorgeous. Compared to that, the 550D-VF is a peephole.

Beyond the picture all necessary informations are visible, it is even possible to show some kind of water-level, so no more crooked photos.



The D600 use Nikon’s 3D color matrix metering II exposure metering system, operating on data from a dedicated 2,016 pixel RGB sensor (should be the same as the D7000, as far as I know). The system has a working range of 0 to 20 EV. It works – in my opinion – very good (I mostly use the matrix-mode). But it seems there is a tendency for a slight overexposure. On daylight I shoot with a exposure correction of -0.3 / -0.7 EV, on dusk, dawn or in the evening the exposure is perfectly good.

Shooting a dark scene with my Canon – I always had to fiddle around to get the right exposure. No problem for the D600, even in P-mode. The scene looks exactly like reality. I often noticed, that especially in dark scenes, the camera brings out a picture which corresponds almost perfectly with the real scene – so what you get is what you see – AND THIS IS GREAT!!


46mm, A6.3, ISO 100, 1/160

70mm, A2.8, ISO 500, 1/80


24mm, A4.5, ISO 100, 1/80

This picture was taken in matrix-mode. The lighting condition is exactly like reality without post processing.


The focus unit contains of 39 focus points (9 cross type). It works fast and save. The focus sensors are all grouped together in the very middle of the viewfinder, which could be a disadvantage when focusing on moving objects or composing a scene. I’m used to take the middle focus point only, so this is no problem to me, (perhaps for other people).

Even the contrast autofocus in lifeview is comparatively fast (but not really usable for video).

For me it was a little bit hard as I started – this big sensor has a very shallow DOF and I had to focus more carefully.

50mm, A5.6, ISO 100, 1/125


Sensor and IQ

Simply awesome. Some say, it is a Sony-Sensor, some say it isn’t. Nobody knows. But who cares… it captures a great dynamic range. It got 3rd place in DxOMark (after D800 and D800E). There are rich details in every area, from the brightest to the darkest. The lowlight quality is outstanding. Up to ISO 6400 you will hardly see any noise/grain.

24mm, A2.8, ISO 1600, 1/25

The room was very dark and the light from the window very bright. The resulting picture is well balanced.


36mm, A2.8, ISO 250, 1/40

Ready for christmas time? :-)


48mm, A2.8, ISO 6400, 1/125

At ISO6400 subtle noise starts. I dialed max ISO 3200 into the camera (when I shoot in P/A-Mode) which is enough for most situations.

Never before I have seen such a seamless transition between bright and deep black, no noise, no banding. A good example is brown hair. My old 550D mainly showed brown mud – the D600 shows incredible detail.


70mm, A2.8, ISO 100, 1/800

70mm, A2.8, ISO 100, 1/250

68mm, A2.8, ISO 450, 1/80

I like the details in my wifes hair and the seamless blending into deep black at the background. There is no noise, no banding.


58mm, A2.8, ISO 100, 1/320

Here are some other interesting examples. The following pictures where captured in our home cockpit and those lighting conditions are a camera-hell. The Nikon performed great, as you can see. I could show you a LOT of ugly photos done with several cameras (for example Canon 7D) in this situation, only a few managed to capture details through the entire range (from the bright screen down to the dark pedestal).

24mm, A2.8, ISO 360, 1/25

There are much more informations in the dark parts, but I lowered it a little bit to get a more natural look.

 24mm, A2.8, ISO 200, 1/25

Look onto his face and the landscape. In my opinion the Nikon nails the white balance perfectly to the point. With the canons the landscapes/faces were blue/magenta anf the lights red.

24mm, A2.8, ISO 720, 1/25

24mm, A2.8, ISO 450, 1/25

This picture is a hell for every camera due to the lights and shadows. The Nikon performed very well and there are many more details hidden in the blacks.

Another example for dynamic range: People often want to know, if the next picture is an HDR. No, it isnt. One RAW delivered it all. Often it is simply no longer necessary to shot an HDR, one good exposed RAW is enough.

26mm, A2.8, ISO 100, 1/40

This is no HDR. Some short processing with NikSoftware Color Efex (sunlight, vignette, contrast) and that’s it.

I love the Nikon colors. In difference to the the 550D, the colors are clear, strong, more naturally and – its difficult for me to say in your language – kind of separated to each other. Even in lowlight, at night, you are able to see nearly all the colors. One may wonder why I state that, but just try a long time exposure with the 550D at night or late evening: you’ll see not much more colors than white, yellow and blue!! Also a big opportunity here for the D600!


70mm, A2.8, ISO 100, 1/400 – full size image

24mm, A2.8, ISO 100, 1/200

24mm, A2.8, ISO 100, 1/160


Those colors in combination with the high dynamic range and sharpness is a win-win-situation. The IQ is just great, miles away from anything I have seen before, similar to machines like 5D Mk3 or the D800. This is also great for b/w-pictures – you get very sharp and detailed b/w out of photoshop or filters like Silver Efex. I’m really looking forward to do some serious street shots with my 50mm prime!


46mm, A4.5, ISO 100, 1/80

26mm, A2.8, ISO 200, 1/30


I must confess, I was a little bit disappointed as I first saw the JPGs right out of cam. They don’t look as good as it could be, kind of flat, little bit on the soft side, not so punchy one could expect. So I decided quickly to use RAW and everything went for the better.

Processing the RAW, I often lower the exposure a tiny little bit and increase the contrast another tiny little bit. The great dynamic range of the sensor sometimes produces some kind of “flat look” and with those corrections I’m back on track. After that, I’m increase the sharpness about 10% and the colors about 10-15% and then the pictures begin to shine. Fat, natural colors, good contrast, sharpness, details details details. It often makes sense to push the blacks a little bit in.

70mm, A4.5, ISO 100, 1/320

You can add a lot of depth to the pictures because of the big sensor


52mm, A4.0, ISO 100, 1/60

I bought the D600 some days after release and so I had to use the Nikon-tools for developing RAW (the update for Adobe / Aperture came later). First time I didn’t like the Nikon stuff – CaptureNX2 / ViewNX – and I was happy when the Aperture-update arrived. But then as I used Aperture I noticed soon, it failed to deliver the same great quality from the RAWs as the Nikon software. With CaptureNX2 / ViewNX I got better sharpness, subtle details and colors. I then did a little bit research at the internet and found, that Nikon keeps a secret around it’s RAW format (NEF) and Adobe / Apple have to do some kind of reverse engineering to process it. So the only one who is able to squeeze out the last bit of quality is the Nikon software.

There are other advantages too. The nikon software uses the same picture styles and features as the camera itself and for example the D-Lighting (lighten up the dark parts) delivers better results as the shadow control slider on aperture.

44mm, A7.1, ISO 100, 1/200

So everything could be cool and everyone could use the Nikon software – but as everytime in life, things are more complicated. Aperture and Lightroom are great in terms of storing / organizing / sorting (the whole workflow) and that is the point where the Nikon stuff is an epic fail. It is made for RAW-editing only and that’s it. So one has to decide which is more important – the whole workflow thing (go with Aperture/Lightroom) or the last bit of quality (go with Capture NX2).

What else?

But lets get back to the camera. There are many smaller goodies, for example the two card slots or the onboard flash – very useful and maybe saves your life from time to time…

There is a nice time-lapse mode. You are able to program the camera for shooting a photo every n seconds and then you can immediately playback in different speeds. The system records the pictures as a 1080p H264 video – a great timesaver since you no longer have to do it manually later. A good example for this function is here,  an absolutely gorgeous video made entirely with the D600.

48mm, A8, ISO 100, 1/125


It has the whole video-stuff, 1080p / 720p with 25 / 30 / 50 / 60fps H264 with all those bells and whistles. You are able to record a clean signal via HDMI (but lets talk about that a little later, since there is a major problem at the moment).

The video quality is better in terms of resolution, detail, color, again dynamic range as the Canon 550d/600d/60d/7d BUT yes, there are aliasing and moire (similar to D800). This is the price for the higher details. If you cannot live with that you have to take the 5D MK3 – no aliasing and moire, BUT a very soft picture. So you have the choice: soft image (5D MK3) vs sharper image but aliasing and moire (D600, D800). I tend to the second option because I like details… :-)

70mm, A8, ISO 100, 1/250

Colors of autumn

What is not so cool?

You have a great HDR-function but it is only usable in JPG-mode and it combines only 2 (not 3) pictures. I for myself would prefer to do different exposed pictures manually to get real good HDR-quality. For most cases HDR is almost not needed because of the great performance of the sensor. Shoot in RAW instead, there are plenty of informations!

Next, there are issues with the HDMI-out at the moment. The clean HDMI-out is cropped a little bit, there is a black border around – and this is not as advertised. The community is waiting for a statement from Nikon regarding this issue. Maybe we’re lucky and it will be fixed with an firmware-update

Then there is the aperture-problem. When you shoot in liveview (both in video/photo-mode) you are not able to adjust the aperture. For adjusting it, you have to leave the liveview, change aperture and go back. This is a little bit ridiculous, since the D800 doesn’t have this issue, but it seems it’s marketing – a segmentation between the D600 and D800.

I use the liveview mode for video only and I think about this issue as a kind of aperture priority mode. I look at the scene before and decide which aperture to take, then I switch the liveview on.

Last: since WLAN is not right built in (like in the Canon EOS6D!) you can buy an extra little black box for plugin into the USB-connection (WU-1b). Using this you are able to connect your smartphone (iPhone, Android) to the camera and see the viewfinder picture mirrored onto your phone/tablet. You can even touch onto the picture and the camera is focussing onto the touched position, you can then shoot the picture from your device and you are able to send pictures from the camera to the device. While this is really cool, you are not able to do some adjustments like aperture, ISO or whatever remotely nor can you send the pictures to an PC/MAC. Seems, for doing this you need the more expensive stuff.


38mm, A8, ISO 100, 1/250

70mm, A2.8, ISO 200, 1/80

Where is the child??


Dirty little machine…

The biggest problem occured some days ago: massive amounts of dirt on the sensor (a 4 weeks old camera!). I was a little bit shocked in the first moment and googled around. This seems to be a common problem and that is not good. Nikon said, there is no problem. But if a massive amount of expensive cameras are delivered with a dirty sensor there IS a problem – at least at Nikons quality management. Hot discussions going on at DPreview (and other pages). It is known that the dirt comes from somewhere inside the camera and the mirror or shutter finally throws it onto the sensor. So after a first sensor cleaning everyone has a sharp eye on the camera if the dirt comes back and/or if the amount of dirt decreases over time (hopefully it is only a small amount of dirt arose from the production process). So if you are about buying the camera, wait a little bit longer and watch this issue. I’m not happy to say this (because I love the machine) but thats the truth.



Okay, I love the camera, I love the IQ and I love how it fits into my hand. It is a small (not much bigger than the Fuji X-Pro1) power-package, a photo-machine. It has not the sex appeal or the soul of a Leica but it is a reliable partner – it delivers very good quality in any situation – no more no less.

If you want a full frame camera and you are on budget, take this camera and you will be happy. Besides all the technical aspects, some goodies, some flaws, the IQ is just great. It has not the huge file size of the D800 – which for me is simply to much – but you get out the same great pictures. But beware: don’t shoot JPG – you will give away much potential. Shoot RAW and tweak the files a little bit – and you will be satisfied 200%.

If you don’t want a full frame sensor, forget this type of camera and go with a Olympus OM-D / NEX / Fuji whatever. For anything smaller than full frame you don’t need a DSLR any longer. Period.

So who should / could buy it?

Everyone who wants to shoot fullframe on budget. Everyone who wants the best possible fullframe IQ on budget. The camera is for every level of experience: it has many simple modes / situation presets for the beginner and it is able to satisfy even the professional user. It has a flash onboard (unlike the Canon 6D!). As a beginner, you are able to grow with the camera – you will never need another one and you will hardly reach it’s limits. It is a good investment. It is fullframe for the rest of us.


56mm, A8, ISO 100, 1/100

24mm, A8, ISO 100, 1/100

66mm, A2.8, ISO 125, 1/80


Best regards


See his website HERE


PS: From time to time there are discussions regarding the price gap of around 500 Euro between the D600 and the D800. Very often I read things like “forget the D600, add the 500 bucks and take the D800” or “the D600 is a disappointment because its only 500 bucks cheaper than the D800”. Sometimes there are recommendations for people who want to upgrade from their small consumer DSLR to leave the D600 out and buy the D800 instead (because of the small price gap). In my opinion such advises are careless. The D800 is a big, chunky and heavy DSLR for professional use. It makes no sense, to spend your last buck on buying a 3000$-body with a standard kit zoom (because no money left for a good glass) and then haul it around in your holidays shooting 36-megapixel monsterpictures (filling up your harddisks) and then watching it with grandma and grandpa on a 1920×1080 FullHD Screen. Last night I read the comments on such a blog (buy the D800 instead the D600, no matter who you are) and one wrote: “Thanks for your great advice. I bought the D800 although I will never need it and it feels so professional to me…” Epic fail.

Where To Buy

You can order the D600 BODY ONLY from B&H Photo HERE. It also comes in a kit with the 24-85 Lens HERE.

Jun 142012

Nikon D600 images leak? Nikons lower cost full frame FX sensor camera…

I have been watching the Nikon D600 rumors over the past couple of weeks but usually do not talk much about rumors. Well, here we are today with some cool photos that have “leaked” of this supposed Nikon D600. How cheap will it be? Will you want one if it comes in at $1500? Also, where is Canon? Hmmmm. This looks to be smaller than the D800, more like a full frame D7000. I think that if this camera is indeed real it will be a huge hit as there are many out there wanting that full frame sensor in a less expensive body. How about you?

Reported specs:

24 Megapixels

HD Video

ISO Up to 6400

100% VF coverage

39 AF points

Throw a nice small prime on this and you will have full frame performance, dynamic range (D800 DR is incredible) and high ISO in a not so large package. Nice.


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