Question from a reader:
I want upgrade to a full-frame camera. Should I should get the Nikon D700 now or wait for the D600?
This question has been asked many ways and the same question was raised quite often around the time of the D800 announcement. The truth is, many people who were waiting for the D700 successor were disappointed with the D800. Nikon admitted it was not the D700 replacement. The upcoming D600 may not be that camera either.
The D700 is an excellent camera and represents a professional-level build and is a workhorse capable of capturing amazing images. It shares the image sensor with the D3 which was at its release a breakthrough camera for Nikon and still relevant today, five years later. You can buy a new D700 camera new for just over $2000, and used D700 on eBay are selling for around $1700. The D700 offers 12MP resolution. Time has proven this camera can deliver and is still the camera of choice for many professionals.
The D600 will be announced in just a few weeks and is expected to be priced very competitively around $1500-1800. It will be 24MP and both smaller and lighter than the D700. It will be similar to the D7000 in size, construction and features. The D600 will offer some degree of weather sealing, but it will not be the professional-level build of the D700. With the latest sensor technology, the D600 will certainly offer better dynamic range, better high ISO image quality and it will offer outstanding HD video. There is little doubt your money will buy the latest technology and somewhat better image quality with the D600, but the question is do you need it today?
If you are losing money because your camera does not serve you now and can’t wait to purchase, grab the D700 and don’t look back. If you need a battle-tested camera that can stand up to professional abuse, the D700 will still be that camera after the D600 is released. Even after its announcement, the D600 will not be readily available for several months. As we have seen with many new cameras, it will take time to satisfy initial demand and to correct potential flaws that might become an issue if you depend on your camera to make a living.
If you want the newest camera and the best image quality possible, and consider photography to be a hobby, hold off a few months to wait for the D600. Technology has come a long way since the D700 was introduced and the D600 will prove full-frame has reached mainstream. As soon as it is officially announced, many stores will begin their D600 pre-order. You can sign up to get yours first, without obligation, from many retailers who offer a generous cancellation and return policy.
Either one you choose, the best camera is the one you have in your hands. Enjoy!