My Upgrade to the Nikon D610

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Rather than diving straight into a review of the Nikon D610, I felt that you deserved a bit of background on what I went through before finally deciding to purchase one. I’m confident that a lot of Nikon shooters in particular will be in the same boat that I was, and that this little story will help them make an important purchasing decision.

This review could equally be called ‘a comparison between the Nikon D700 and thlene Nikon D610’, or ‘Nikon D610 vs D700’.

The Nikon D610 Review – Farewell D700

I, like so many others, have felt a little lost with Nikon of late. Having been a happy owner of a Nikon D700 for several years, (see my short review of the Nikon D700), I finally decided that it was on its last legs and was due for an upgrade. 7 years in technology is a very long time, and after having rented and tested all of the new breed of Nikons (D600, D800, D4), I realized my D700 was looking a little long in the tooth.

Ergonomically, I still think the Nikon D700 is the best full frame camera Nikon has ever produced. It was the original reason I chose Nikon over Canon, and I find its balance and shape perfect for my big hands. It’s relatively small for a full frame camera whilst still feeling rugged and solid – I find that the D600 and D800 seem to feel more rubbery or plasticky or something.

The image quality on the Nikon D700 is excellent, although when compared to the RAW files straight out of the newer breed of Nikons, it’s definitely lacking some punch. It was here that I started running into problems when shooting with another hire camera. When I shot a wedding, I’d go all out and hire a Nikon D4 (which I actually think is overkill for a wedding), and had problems colour matching the files to the D700’s during post. When I hired the Nikon D800, the same was true.

Nikon D800 colour vs Nikon D700 colour
Left: Camera: Nikon D800, Lens: 85mm f/1.4. Right: Camera: Nikon D700, Lens 35mm f/1.4. Ignoring the different exposures and focal lengths, this comparison shows the difference in colour between a D800 file and a D700 file – both straight out of camera RAWs converted to JPG.

In fact, even shooting with a combination of the Nikon D600 and Nikon D800, there are noticeable colour differences, so it became clear that if I wanted to save time in post, I’d have to invest in two of the same body.

Of course, this is the ideal scenario for simplicity of use as well, and is what many wedding photographers carry, but when you have one perfectly capable camera, it takes some guts to splash out and invest in two brand new ones.

The Nikon Conundrum

So, there I was with one perfectly capable Nikon D700, and I knew I wanted 2 matching bodies… what to do?

When researching new gear, it’s very easy to get caught up in the marketing hyperbole and lose yourself in amazing new features you probably don’t need. That’s why I prefer to assess a new gear purchase by listing the relevant cons, as a way to ascertain which cons are the ‘smallest’. Here’s what I came up with:

Mark’s Nikon Full Frame Camera CONS list!

Nikon D600/Nikon D610 – “The overachieving younger brother”

  • Smaller focus area
  • Slower maximum shutter speed (partly irrelevant since the ISO can be reduced to 100)
  • Less rugged
  • Smaller Multi Selector pad
  • No zoom to 100% centre button

Nikon D700 – “The O.G.”

  • High ISO is good but not as good as the ‘new breed’
  • Auto-focus is good but not as good as the ‘new breed’
  • Only one card slot

Nikon D800 – “The Show-off”

  • Files are way too big
  • Only 4fps

Nikon Df – “The Hipster”

  • Grip is too small
  • Poor auto-focus in low light
  • Only one card slot
  • Controls are too fiddly

Nikon D4 – “The Steroid Junkie”

  • Too expensive
  • Too heavy
  • Too loud!
  • Sony XQD cards are still expensive
  • Different format dual card slots  doesn’t make sense to me

Remember, these are the cons that are relevant to me as a wedding photographer. I know many Nikon D4 wedding shooters who are over the moon with their camera, as are the Nikon D800 shooters I know – it’s all just personal preference, and the above is my own. There’s no doubt that any of the cameras in the Nikon range can produce an amazing image – I’m mainly assessing physical drawbacks.

I got so lost in this irritating game of ‘where to go next’ for several weeks, reading up on every Internet review I could find on what seemed like every DSLR in existence. I even almost jumped ship to Canon! I have nothing against Canon, but changing camera systems when you already have amassed a lot of gear is a huge step. My Amazon shopping cart was at one stage full with the Canon Wedding Photographer’s Kit™, (Canon 5D mk iii, Canon 85mm f/1.2, Canon 50mm f/1.2, Canon 35mm f/1.4), but luckily I came to my senses and hit the cancel button before a huge hole was burned in my wallet!

Even though the upgrade path wasn’t as clear as it perhaps was with Canon, I decided to stick with Nikon…

Upgrade of Downgrade?

Nikon D700 vs Nikon D610
Left: Nikon D700 | Right: Nikon D610

So, let’s cut to the chase. I finally took the plunge and ordered two Nikon D610 ‘s. The price on Amazon (click any of the links to see it) including shipping to Sydney was still much lower than my local shops, so at least I felt like I’d got a bargain.

Holding the Nikon D610 body, I must admit that I felt like I’d downgraded from the Nikon D700. There was no ‘confident’ weight/balance, the ergonomics were worse, the Multi Selector pad was smaller and there were less dedicated buttons.

Comparison of Nikon D700 vs D610 Multi Selector Size
Comparison of the Nikon D700 vs Nikon D610 Multi Selector Size. This was quite an annoyance for me.

I also dislike Nikon’s new Focus Mode Selector, where you have to press a button and swivel a dial to change modes rather than the Nikon D700’s simple 3 stage switch. Having said that, there’s admittedly much less danger of the mode accidentally changing when you pull the camera out of your bag, for example.

The Right Decision!

However, when I started shooting, I knew I’d made a big upgrade! The autofocus was snappier, and dealt with low contrast/low light scenes even better than the Nikon D700, and almost as good as the Nikon D4. The Auto-White Balance got it right 99% of the time and the colours seem to pop out the screen. Skin tones are also awesome, although the Nikon D700 was no slouch in that department either.

The reduced size and weight of the Nikon D610 actually became a huge plus for me, and my back thanked me at the end of the shoot. I also realised that the grip size is actually identical to the Nikon D700. As I mentioned before, I have fairly large hands, so comfort when holding is a huge factor for me, and the main reason I didn’t go with the Nikon Df with its ‘form over function’ design.

Grip size comparison Nikon D700 vs Nikon D610
Although the Nikon D700 on the left is taller than the Nikon D610, the grip sizes are the same.

I’ve been using Live View more and more at weddings, and sometimes use it to set Kelvin white balance. The Live View on the Nikon D610 is superb – very close in speed to the Nikon D4 in fact, which has the fastest Live View start up time of any Nikon.

The Nikon D700 used CF cards, and I’d amassed quite a collection of them over the years, so was initially disappointed that they were now made redundant with the Nikon D610, which holds 2 SD cards. SD cards seem like toys to me, and their size/weight make me nervous. However, after one day shooting a whole wedding with dual 32gb Sandisk Extreme Pro SD cards in each Nikon D610 and not needing to change a card once, I quickly grew to like them! So what if they seem small and flimsy compared to CF cards – they’d be in my camera all day!

A lot of photographers use their second memory card slot as a backup. I prefer to use mine as an overflow, doubling the capacity of whatever card I’m using, so I never have to even think about changing cards. I also love the fact that the Nikon D610 uses the same format in each of its memory card slots, something the Canon 5D Mark 3 got very wrong.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the image quality is absolutely amazing. I’ve used Nikon’s flagship camera, the Nikon D4 on several occasions to shoot weddings, and I can honestly say that I can’t notice any difference in image quality to the Nikon D610. If you read in depth reviews on each camera elsewhere, the high ISO on the Nikon D4 is definitely better on paper, and it no doubt has better dynamic range and whatever else too, but to my eye, in image stakes the files from each camera are absolutely on par.

Nikon D610 review
I had to really push this underexposed file in post to get the subjects exposed correctly and still maintain some highlight detail in the background. The files from the Nikon D610 have great dynamic range so this wasn’t a problem. Lens: Nikon 35mm f/1.4, 1/1000 f/2.8 ISO 100

I was always satisfied with the 12ish mega pixels of my Nikon D700, and the fact that the Nikon D4 ‘only’ had 16.4 mega pixels (and the Canon 1D mark III ‘only’ had 10.1) kind of supported the theory that loads of mega pixels aren’t really necessary. Having said this, I think the 24.3 mega pixels of the Nikon D610 is the perfect balance. It’s no memory card muncher like the Nikon D800, but there’s still more than enough room for some serious cropping. I very rarely crop at all, but for those times when I need to, it’s nice to know I can. Also, I don’t know the exact science behind it, but those extra mega pixels in the Nikon D610 really help to make the final image super sharp.

Nikon d610 review
Lens: Nikon 35mm f/1.4, 1/320 f/3.5 ISO 100

I also love the 6 frames per second shot rate of the Nikon D610. The Nikon D700 already had 5 fps, but it’s impressive that the Nikon D610 has a faster frame rate even though the body size is smaller than the D700. 10fps of the Nikon D4 is overkill for weddings in my opinion, but I think 6fps is perfect. A fast frame rate isn’t just to capture fast moving subjects of course – it’s also useful for firing off a burst of shots to ensure you capture a person not blinking, or laughing at exactly the right moment for instance. Also, I like inserting the odd animated gif into my wedding posts, and a faster frame rate means a nicer animation. I know these aren’t for everyone, but I think they’re fun:

Animated gif Nikon D610

The fact that there’s no ‘centre button zoom to 100%’ feature on the Nikon D610 was almost a deal breaker for me. It’s such a small feature (and something that Nikon could no doubt add in a firmware upgrade), but since I often shoot my Nikon FX lenses wide open at f/1.4, I use that ‘zoom to 100%’ button a lot to check focus. One press and I know if I’ve nailed it. Now, I’m forced to bash the + magnifier button on the Nikon D610 repeatedly to check the same thing :-(

This is, however, something I quickly got used to, plus I enjoy the new feature on the Nikon D610 whereby pressing the + magnifier button once, then rolling the Sub Command Dial would cycle through faces on the preview screen (thanks to facial recognition). This proves extremely useful when shooting group shots at weddings in particular, allowing me to spot the blinkers in the group very easily and retake the photo if necessary. This saves me taking several photos to make sure everyone has their eyes open, which is what I’d do with the Nikon D700. When you’re shooting large groups of impatient people, this little feature is awesome!

Shotkit_Nikon_D610_Review
This was a really difficult shot in harsh midday sun. I’ve uploaded it just to illustrate why the facial recognition ‘check’ on the Nikon D610 is so useful. I think the camera got confused in Auto ISO, but it didn’t really matter. Lens: Nikon 35mm f/1.4, 1/4000 at f/3.5 ISO 1400

The Nikon D610 Features List

  • Sensor: 24.3 MP FX
  • Sensor Size: 35.9 x 24mm
  • Resolution: 6016 x 4016
  • DX Resolution: 3936 x 2624
  • Native ISO Sensitivity: 100-6,400
  • Boost Low ISO Sensitivity: 50
  • Boost High ISO Sensitivity: 12,800-25,600
  • Processor: EXPEED 3
  • Metering System: 3D Color Matrix Meter II with face recognition
  • Dust Reduction: Yes
  • Weather Sealing/Protection: Yes
  • Body Build: Magnesium Alloy
  • White Balance: Updated White Balance System
  • Shutter: Up to 1/4000 and 30 sec exposure
  • Shutter Durability: 150,000 cycles
  • Storage: 2x SD slots
  • Viewfinder Coverage: 100%
  • Speed: 6 FPS
  • Exposure Meter: 2016 pixel RGB sensor
  • Built-in Flash: Yes, with Commander Mode, full CLS compatibility
  • Autofocus System: MultiCAM 4800FX AF with 39 focus points and 9 cross-type sensors
  • LCD Screen: 3.2 inch diagonal with 921,000 dots
  • Movie Modes: Full 1080p HD @ 30 fps max
  • Movie Exposure Control: Full
  • Movie Recording Limit: 20 minutes @ 30p, 30 minutes @ 24p
  • Movie Output: MOV, Compressed and Uncompressed
  • In-Camera HDR Capability: Yes
  • Two Live View Modes: One for photography and one for videography
  • Camera Editing: Lots of in-camera editing options with HDR capabilities
  • GPS: Not built-in, requires GP-1 GPS unit
  • Battery Type: EN-EL15
  • Battery Life: 900 shots
  • USB Standard: 2.0
  • Weight: 760g (body only), 850g (with battery and memory card)

The full Nikon D610 product brochure is here.

The Conclusion

So as you might have guessed, I’m very happy with my purchase of the Nikon D610. Even though when I hold the Nikon D700 camera body and compare it with the Nikon D610, I can’t help but feel a little like I’ve let a loyal friend down, when I put the Nikon D700 away and concentrate on my new buddy the Nikon D610, I feel confident that it’s a much better camera. Added to this, when I export those glorious RAW files into Lightroom, I know that Nikon’s sensors have come a long way since the release of the Nikon D700. Here’s one RAW file from the Nikon D610, straight out of camera, just reduced in size and converted to jpg. It was shot in shade.

Shotkit_Nikon_D610_Review-2
Lens: Nikon 35mm f/1.4, 1/200 at f/4.5 ISO 100

Nothing mind blowing, perhaps, but it does leave the washed out colours of the Nikon D700 RAW files behind in my opinion, and the increased sharpness is also apparent. “So what if the RAWs on the D700 are flat!”, you may say (and so did I initially), “when I edit the RAW file, I can make it look however I want!” Well, that might be true, but let’s just say that having a RAW file look so closely to how the original scene looked is a very comfortable place to start an edit ;-)

The Nikon D610 does have its small quirks, but the pros far outweigh the cons, and I haven’t even mentioned the price yet – the price of a Nikon D610 on Amazon is a good $1,500 cheaper than the Canon 5D Mark III, and you can buy TWO Nikon D610 ‘s plus a couple of decent f/1.4 prime lenses and still have change from the price of a Nikon D4!

I’m not saying that the Nikon D610 can be directly compared to either of these amazing cameras, but it’s just to illustrate how you can get almost identical image quality from a far cheaper body.  The Nikon D610, and its closest equivalent in the Canon range, the Canon 6D, are both amazing value full frame cameras. Don’t believe the reviewers who talk about them as ‘amateur full frame cameras’ – they’re just confused at why such a good value full frame camera can produce such amazing results!

35mm f/1.4, 1/500 sec at f/5.0, ISO 100
Lens: Nikon 35mm f/1.4, 1/500 sec at f/5.0, ISO 100

The Nikon D610 may be the ‘entry level’ full frame camera, but this doesn’t mean it can’t trade punches with the top dogs. If you’re embarrassed to pull your ‘cheap’ Nikon D610 out at a wedding next to rich Uncle Bob’s Nikon D4, don’t worry – you’ll have the last laugh at the end of the day when your wrists and back aren’t aching and you haven’t deafened the whole church with your machine gun of a camera ;-)

Final Words

It’s easy to pick holes in any camera in the Nikon line up, or any camera in the world for that matter as no camera is perfect. It’s just what works for you, and I hope that if nothing else, this review has given those who were on the fence a gentle nudge in the right direction.  I genuinely think that the Nikon D610 is the best value full frame camera on the market, and its image quality alone has given me the confidence to never look back at my old faithful Nikon D700.

Here are some more photos from the most recent wedding I shot with the Nikon D610. I know that there are many variables other than just the camera that affect getting these final images, but hopefully they’ll give you some kind of idea what this camera is capable of.

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Lens: Nikon 35mm f/1.4, 1/50 f/11 ISO 140
Shotkit_Nikon_D610_Review-4
Lens: Nikon 35mm f/1.4, 1/80 f/1.8 ISO 100
Shotkit_Nikon_D610_Review-4
Lens: Nikon 35mm f/1.4, 1/1600 f/3.5 ISO 100
Shotkit_Nikon_D610_Review-4
Lens: Nikon 35mm f/1.4, 1/200 f/2.0 ISO 100
Shotkit_Nikon_D610_Review-8
Lens: Nikon 35mm f/1.4, 1/100 f/2.0 ISO 100
Shotkit_Nikon_D610_Review
Lens: Nikon 35mm f/1.4, 1/640 f/4.0 ISO 100
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Lens: Nikon 35mm f/1.4, 1/800 f2.2 ISO 100
Shotkit_Nikon_D610_Review35mm f/1.4, 1/500 f/5.0 ISO 100
Lens: Nikon 35mm f/1.4, 1/500 f/5.0 ISO 100
Shotkit_Nikon_D610_Review
Lens: Nikon 35mm f/1.4, 1/1600 f/2.2 ISO 100

 

Shotkit_Nikon_D610_Review-6
Lens: Nikon 35mm f/1.4, 1/500 f/5.0 ISO 100

If you enjoyed this review and would like to purchase the Nikon D610, please support Shotkit by buying using one of the links or the button below. Rest assured that you’ll be getting a great price and excellent sales service from Amazon. If you’re in the US, you may even qualify for free postage ;-)

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Best Price Nikon D610

8 Build Quality

7 Ergonomics & Handling

10 Viewfinder/Screen Quality

8 Features

9 Metering & Focus

9 High ISO Performance

9 Image Quality

10 Value

8.8

85 Comments

  • +1

    I share your view on the D610. I’m getting a second one in the near future for weddings and events. I like the lighter weight, it’s lighter than my old D300s but doesn’t feel like a toy though. The focus is more than adequate, yes the D4(s) and D800 do have more points but when shooting at wider apertures you (well I) rely on your crossed AF-points which in all (Nikon’s) cameras are centered.

    The only thing I could think of that I dislike is that the bottom plate isn’t made from metal as this will get the most bumps and abuse most of the time.

      • It’s not the perfect compromise but it’s close… The best thing would still be a D800 body with a D4(s) or D6x0 sensor with 5-7fps in CH.

      • We’ll it hasn’t been quiet the last couple of weeks here ;).

        I bought a second one today and sent my primary in for adjustments/callibration. Somehow the focus got off (not with one lens but with 3-4 different ones)… When things get used they need maintenance/fixing now and then, just like cars and everything else.

        Glad to walk out with a fresh D610 that focuses spot on with my main lenses though, can’t wait for sunday’s shoot!

  • Love the review – Mark! Well done! I have a D800E and was looking for a second body and will definitly get the Nikon D610. I’ve shot weddings ( a lot of work and most pay more for the wedding cake in the US then they want to pay the Wedding Photographer!!!) and want to do more Travel Photography and Landscapes and Events… You gave an awesome review! Thank You!

    • Hi Kevin, glad you liked it! The D610 really is a great camera and would complement your D800E well no doubt. Just watch out for a slight difference in colour, but once you’ve set up a profile in Lightroom, you can probably import your photos with them looking pretty close. I can’t believe what you said about the wedding cake!

  • Very useful review. I’ve been thinking about making the D700 to D610 change myself, and this is just what I needed to know. Also handy the 610 shares cards and batteries with my D7000.

    • I’m glad you found it useful Andrew – a few months on with the D610 and I have no complaints. The difference in image quality from the D700 is quite noticeable, especially the colours and sharpness straight out of camera. Thanks for the comment :-)

      • Your review actually saved me from making the big Nikon to Canon change, as I had sort of forgotten the D610 (and it’s price), and felt that the D800 was megapixel overkill. So I was looking at the 5D Mk2, and the costs. Then hey, there’s the similar but newer D610, and your user review. Just sold my D700 for a D610, and not a whole system changeover. Thanks!

  • Thank you for this fantastic and thorough analysis of the D610 vs the D700! My fiancée and I have been debating for a long time what FFs we want to buy soon and this has been a really useful hands-on review; not something done without any actual experience ;)

  • Mark, thank you for taking the time to write this review and comparison of the D700.
    It looks like there are so many of us out there all thinking the same things.
    I cant help but feel its a downgrade from the D700 but I trust your opinion that its a step up !
    Im now in the market for a D610. Cheers…..

    • Thanks for the comment Gary! You don’t hear much about the D610 but you won’t be disappointed by it. My D700 is just sitting on the shelf gathering dust now – I should sell it, but I just can’t let it go…

  • Hi Mark,

    I’m in between a primary body right now and as I’m moving more towards Weddings, I’m debating the D610, Df, or Olympus EM1. It’s a tough choice to say the least, though at the moment I’m leaning towards the D610. Any words of wisdom for me?
    Thanks for the review!

    • Hi Sam. For weddings, I’d say the D610 or the Df. The Olympus is a great camera but I’m not convinced that MFT cameras are best suited for this kind of work. They’re light and great fun to use, but full frame is still way ahead in low light performance. Out of the D610 and the Df it’s a difficult choice. They’re both amazing cameras. I think the D610 is much better value, and probably more suited to weddings, but having said the Df does have that certain something that just makes you want to pick it up. I don’t think you’d regret buying either ;-)

  • I respectfully disagree. The sensor in D700 is actually much better for someone looking for a unique, warm, almost film-like look in their images. The Sony sensors are not very good for photographing people. Some pictures from them can be saved in post, some can’t. It’s always a gamble. The shadows (e.g. facial wrinkles) are always harsh, so you almost always have to paint over them. The colors are unnatural and plasticky (another uneasy post processing job). The eye colors are always a huge problem, specifically with green and blue eyes. Landscapes are fine of course, especially the so popular today night shots (any camera can do that). I don’t know. I can clearly see the difference, and D700 still wins hands down in my view. I think the Canon sensors are much better for people shooting than Sony sensors, including the Sony’s used in Nikon cameras. The older Nikon sensors are still the best though. And the really old DX CCD sensors (D80, D200) are even better if you want “that look” and not simply a technology. At least that’s how I see it.

    • Interesting point of view Victor – I value your opinion on this and I’m sure it’s something to keep in mind for people thinking about upgrading their D700. I haven’t seen any of the issues you talk about, but different sensors would no doubt bring about variations.

    • Hi Victor, I have to RESPECTFULLY agree with you! And, I do so not because I disagree with Mark about almost everything, but because his images posted above do so.

    • Very useful and interesting review.

      I did try a D600 last year but was really put off by focus hunting indoors whereas my D700 nailed the focus in same scene without any issue. Coupling that with the small AF frame sort of killed my interest in D600/610 series – if it had the multi cam 51pt AF system it’d be a different story.

      Something I personally dislike with most current gen Nikon’s (particularly DX) is the overly warm WB. I find there’s too much orange/browns that make skin tones appear very unnatural, something which was never an issue on the previous generation Nikons. I agree with Victor that Canon sensors are better for people/portrait shooting but I guess it’s just down to personal taste.

      Like you I have no need or interest for the 36mp of D800/D810 series, but I’m still soldiering on with my D700 & D7100 and clinging to the hope one day we get a 20 odd mp body with the 51pt AF system. I do love my D700 and IQ wise it’s still great, but I do wish it had a few more pixels and wider DR.

      • Hi Stuart, thanks for the interesting insight on your experiences with the Nikons. I also wish the AF points were wider spread like the D700!

  • Thank you for your review! I too am looking to upgrade from the D700, but did not want to feel as though I was “downgrading.” After reading your review, I am very excited to try this camera out! I think I will actually rent it for a wedding this coming weekend.

  • Hi Mark,

    Do you feel that 12 MPs of D700 were limiting? I use a D300s and I am quite satisfied with it, though I upgraded to a D800 and a D7100 but fun of shooting with D300s is something else with its solid body and faster frame rate. I also love the focus mode selector on my D300s which is akin to D700. I am now in market for a D700, do you think it makes sense?

    • No I didn’t think that the 12mps of the D700 were limiting at all but having more with the D610 is great – they just seem to create a cleaner, sharper file. If you had a D800 it probably doesn’t make sense moving backwards to a D700 to be honest. Unless you can get a great used price on one, you may as well invest in new technology IMO.

  • I’m having this dilemma at the moment! Im shooting with two D700’s and like the idea of a matching pair. As much as i still like the image quality, id like to upgrade and get some more bells and whistles that my D7000 had. Ive had a play with a D800 and love the way the grip fits my hand, time to play with a D610 next and see how i cope. Thanks for the useful review. :-D

    • The D800 and D810 are fantastic cameras, but I’m just not convinced they’re right for weddings. Glad you enjoyed the review – thanks for the comment!

  • Fantastic review, and just what I was looking for – been scratching my head about which camera to upgrade to from my two D700’s, and this has really broken it down for me. Well played Sir!

  • hi mark!
    thank you for sharing this info with us.
    don’t you miss the feel of the d700’s body in your hand’s and the controls spots while you working with the d610?
    i have pair of the d700 and feel like i need to replace at least on of them, trying to decide between the d610/df.
    did you ever tried the df and did any kind of comparison with the d610?.
    the two card slots it’s the biggest advantage of the d610 in my opinion.

    • Hi Ori! I do love the solid feel of the D700 body in my hands, and in particular I miss being able to zoom to 100% with one click of the centre button, and also the extra focus points… but I don’t think about this too much when I’m shooting with the D610. I prefer the light weight, and in my opinion the image quality of the D610 is superior to the D700, which is why I believe I made the right choice ;-)

  • Can you please address the difference in focal points between the d700 and d610? I was planning on buying the D700 soley based on the fact that it has SO many more focal points and cross points….No use having a great image if the focus is soft…..

    • Hi Joy! If you use single point AF like me, I don’t think it’s much of an issue – you just have to move the camera so that your point of focus falls on one of the AF points. If you’re shooting a fast moving subject and use full auto AF with 3D tracking, you may notice a slight difference with less focal points. I really don’t think it’s much of an issue though. After so many years since the D700’s release, I’m sure Nikon has improved the AF a great deal in the D610, so having less focus points shouldn’t be a deal breaker for you IMO. Hope that helps?

  • Hi! I was looking at d800 as my full frame upgrade and now d810 is out they dropped the price down significantly but after your review… ummm i think d610 is better choice.. as much as i understood, d800 and d610 are pretty much similar except for 36mpix, very heave RAWs from d800 and bigger sensor? I think i will go for this one definitely once i get rid of my d90 (anybody interested? very light and careful use :-))

    • Hi Olena, wait another week or so and I’ll be posting a Nikon D810 review by a photographer who actually upgraded from his D800. I don’t want to ruin it, but what I will say is he thinks he definitely made the right decision ;-)

  • I’m curious what other lenses you use with your D610? I’m about to purchase it and the bundle comes with 24-85mm nikkor vr lens and 70-300mm nikkor vr lens. Would you recommend not purchasing the 70-300mm lens? I’ve heard questionable reviews at higher zoom…but I feel like I should have a telephoto lens in my bag. I’m thinking of getting an additional lens and was considering Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM…do you think this would be a good option for a portrait photographer and beginner wedding photographer? I’m on a budget so the lens you use is a little out of my price range currently. Let me know what your thoughts are!

    Thanks,
    Erin

    • Hi Erin. I own a 20 2.8, 35 1.4, 50 1.8 and a 85 1.4. I only regularly use the 35 and the 85 though. I don’t know what your shooting style is, but personally I’d always advise to buy prime lenses. You don’t need the expensive 1.4s if they’re not in your budget – the 35 f/2, 50 1.8 and 85 1.8 are all awesome lenses and affordable too. I also don’t think you need any particularly long lenses for weddings either. A 70-300 would be overkill unless you’re planning to shoot from the car park :p Hope that helps!

      • Thanks so much for your feedback Mark! This is a huge help… yeah a lot of stuff I’m reading advises going with prime lenses, I guess my concern is that I’m going to have to switch out the lenses frequently? What are your thoughts there? With a prime lens you get a crisper image so once you go “prime” you never go back? This is my first dslr camera and I couldn’t be more excited…just don’t want to get something I’m not prepared to use and worried prime lenses might complicate things more?

        • Using primes UNcomplicates things! Put it this way – you can shoot a whole wedding with a cheap 50mm and get excellent results, but I’d be inclined to say if you shoot a wedding with a cheap zoom you’ll get crappy results. If using primes scare you for the moment, use your money to rent a pro zoom like the 24-70 which is perfect for weddings (just go easy at 24mm as it distorts!) My advice would be to buy a 50 1.8 for your portraits and low light, and hire the 24-70 until you’ve done enough paid gigs and can afford to make a decision of what lens to invest in. If you’re in the US, these guys are good to hire from: http://www.lumoid.com/shotkit Good luck!

  • I have been considering purchasing the D610 for my first full frame but I have read some reviews that people are still having issues with oil and dust spots that plagued the D600. Just wondering if anyone else has had that issue?

  • Thanks for your review I was driving myself mad with wat to upgrade to and I am in love with my day old d610! Next I want 35 1.4 and I’ll be very Happy

  • Hi Mark,
    As all the positive comments that you have had on this review I just want to applaud you with the others. I was really busting the net now looking for a great review on the “old faithful” D700 vs the D610. To finally find a review like yours was so refreshing. Wow. I had the same ideas and feelings about the D700 vs D610 and Its reassuring to read this post as a wedding photographer.
    Now to save for that 35mm 1.4 that I want so bad and I see you use so much. :-)
    Greeting from South Africa!
    Cheers
    Hendrik

    • Hi Hendrik. I’m so glad you found the review useful. I’m pretty sure there are many people in exactly the same situation, confused as to where to move after the Nikon D700. Nikon definitely left a gap there, but rumour has it they might be filling it more appropriately in a few weeks. Be that as it may, I still whole heartedly recommend the D610 – you won’t be disappointed! Thanks again for your message and good luck with the 35mm funding ;-)

  • I have been researching information about this camera all day and this was SO HELPFUL and helped me to confirm my decision! Thank you for all of this information!

  • I work in the photo department and I have access to pretty much every pro body Nikon has made. D4s, D4, D3s, D3, D2x, D800, D700, D300s, and I feel like I’m missing one. I personally own a D90 and thought it was time to upgrade.

    I felt like with the D600 fiasco the D610 kind of got ignored. Your review was a great help in making my decision to jump up to the D610. And so far I love it.

    Today, I left the office to do a shoot for the University on my way home with my D610 and 24 2.8, as well as the school’s 24-70, 3 SB910’s, and the D4. Well genius me forgot to bring a CF or XQD card. But since I’ve upgraded I have no concerns with pulling out my D610 and getting the shoot done.

    Thanks for giving an honest review and looking beyond the specs!

    • Wow, you have an envious job there David! Having said that I’ve shot with almost every Nikon pro body too, plus the D40 and D90 :-) I’m glad you like the D610, and I agree what you said about it being forgotten a little after the D600 problems, I’m looking forward to seeing what Nikon comes up with next…

      • Hello Mark, after shooting with the d600 for a year I am now a proud d610 owner (thanks to Nikon for finally swapping it out!)

        I noticed you mentioned on one of the shots above it was a raw file straight from the camera converted to JPG, may I ask how you personally convert raw to JPG? When I do this in Lightroom I ALWAYS have to adjust levels/exposure to get something not flat and just overall un attractive. This could be user error of course :) thanks for the post!

        • Hi Joe. That’s great that Nikon swapped your D600 for a D610! I use Lightroom to convert RAWs to JPEG on export. As for the levels/exposure, I guess I just got lucky and nailed it in-camera on that one! I remember the light being very even (cloudy day), and light reflecting from a side wall. I shoot in Aperture priority, so in favourable conditions such as these, the D610 tends to get exposure/levels spot on. As the colours are so good with the D610, I hardly do anything in post – usually a slight contrast boost, then sharpen upon export. You can see some more of my photos with this camera on http://www.goldhatphotography.com if you’re interested. Hope that helps!

  • Ths is what I am looking for. Review of the D610 based on actual use by a paid photographer. Since I lost my D7100 (submerged in saltwater), I kept looking for a review that could help me nail my decision on getting the D610.

    Thank you Mark for the positive experience that you have had with the D610. You help me sealed my decision on getting this as my next camera.

    • I’m glad I could help Agustin. This camera doesn’t get the attention that it deserves, and this will be even more the case after the release of the Nikon D750. I think you’ll be very happy with your purchase!

  • Thank you so much for your review. I just came home with my new Nikon 610, and I was having the same thoughts you were having. I just tried out all of my lenses and the camera did seem a little cheap. I am so glad that you were able to put my thoughts at ease. I am so excited about my new camera. I cannot wait to shoot with it this Sunday =)

  • Thanks for the thorough review! I’m just making the jump from crop sensor to full frame and struggling with the decision. The D750 is getting lots of play in the market now, but you seem to have confirmed to me that the D610 is just as capable and a great step up for me! Being frugal-minded, I was looking into used D700s and glad I came across your post. Thanks again for the detailed look!

    • No Problem Cara, I’m glad you find it useful. Yes, it’s sometimes good when there’s a new release shortly after another one, especially when the predecessor is an excellent camera. You can pick up D610’s for a bargain price now – you won’t regret it! Cheers, Mark

  • Hi, Mark.

    I have a D90 and was thinking to make the jump to Full Frame, and thought that the D610 is perfect for that, but I’m still unsure if going FF or buying the Nikon D7200, which is like 300 dollars cheaper. I know, is not much of a difference, but the D7200 seems to have so many great features for less money and I already have two DX lenses.

    Anyway, most of all, I want the best image quality (within my budget, of course) and the highest dynamic range. Low noise and good performance in low light is very important to me also. I also have read that with full frame you can have more blurred background than a DX at the same aperture, which is good for portraiture. I do not shoot wildlife, sports or fast moving things in general. I mostly use it for real estate photography and now I’d like to try portraits.

    So, considering my needs and use for the camera, would you recommend the D610 over the D7200? Have you had any experience using the D7200 or D7100?

    Thank you!

    • Hi Ariel! Whilst I have no experience with the D7200 or D7100, I can tell you judging by what you have said you would like in your next camera purchase, full frame is definitely the way to go and the D610 would be a great choice. The $300 difference is a big difference in sensor quality between the cameras, or rather, what the sensor is capable of. Good luck and thanks for the comment!

  • Great article. Like the person above I also started with the Nikon d90 and have to say for a crop camera, for its time, it was maybe the best camera on the market. I switched up to the D700 after 3 years because I wanted that detail that you get with full frame cameras. The D700 has served me well and like you I thought about changing it but I can not make my mind up on which camera to get. Its almost as if the more I understand about photography the harder the decision is. That why I love articles like this as its listening to other people that helping me make my mind up. Many thanks

    • Hi Mark! Thanks for the kind words. I’m happy it helps you make the decision a bit easier. Since the D750 has been released, the next step ‘up’ from the D700 is a bit more logical, but the D610 at its reduced price is still a great option. The D700 is really a superb camera too. Unless you are starting to find some shortcomings, I’d stick with it. The D700 is still one of the all time Nikon greats! Good luck

  • hi mark thanks for the review! I’m planning to buy my first full frame next year or so, would it be better to go straight to d750 or get this d610?

    • Hey John! If price isn’t an issue, I’d go for the D750. The flip out screen and slightly better high ISO performance alone do it for me. If you don’t need those features (the D610 already has great high ISO), I’d save some money and get the D610. Thanks for the comment!

  • Hi there Mark, I wanted to thank you for putting this out! I am a current Canon 6D user who is looking to make the upgrade to either a Nikon D610 or D7200. My main issue is the exorbitant amount of money you need to spend with Canon in order to gain the two memory card slots, to me the 5D III is really overpriced, and the new 7D II I am afraid will not perform to my expectations at high ISO. As someone who has had a card fail mid wedding (I was able to recover the images, thank goodness), I really feel this is a huge omission on the Canon end of things.

    Your confidence in the D610 is certainly helpful in my process (since I regrettably cannot afford the D750). It’s always good to gain input from other people who are using their equipment in the same field as I am. So, again, thank you very much for taking the time to write this up!

    • Hi Jeff! I’m so glad you found this review useful. I agree about the memory slot issue, and this is compounded by the fact that the Canon 5D Mark III uses one CF and one SD… and cripples the speed of the SD slot! Thanks so much for leaving a long and informative comment – I’m sure it will help others in the Shotkit Community make a decision too.

  • In this new digital age of color the D700 may not have that punch but I use it for all my B&W. You can get 8FPS with the D700 using AA batteries in the grip. Dont count the D700 as dead trust me it’s not…

  • I use the D750, and in the custom setting menu > controls you can assign 100% zoom to the OK button in liveview. I’m not sure if this is also possible on the D610, but this would solve the “No zoom to 100% centre button” dislike I’d think. I use this feature all the time!

    • Unfortunataely it’s not possible on the D610 Bas which was rather annoying for me as it easily could have been added in a firmware update.

      • Hi, Mark. I presently own the d610 with a 50mm 1.8, and a d7000. What would you say is the most realistic way to get going in wedding photography?

        Thanks.

        • That’s a nice set up, John. I’d start by second shooting some weddings – my tip would be to reach out to friends getting married rather than other wedding photographers. Ask them if you can come along to their wedding to take photos from the side line which you’ll give them for free. Put them in an album for them as a gift – I did this once – it’ll ensure they talk about your work to their friends. Just make sure you don’t get in the main photographer’s way. Good luck!

  • These shots would be even better if 50mm was used instead of 35mm lens. There is a bit too much distortion and too many distracting background elements.

  • I recently purchased the Nikon D610 and I am looking for some lenses. I am currently considering either the Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G and the Nikon 85mm f/1.8G or the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G. I typically shoot landscapes and nature, but I also would prefer a lens that I could use for general photography. I also plan to shoot portraits in the future. I would appreciate any advice. Thank you in advance!

  • Interesting read. I want a relatively inexpensive way into full frame and considered the d700 as a nice second hand cheap way in. I will now however go for a new d610. My main concern was autofocus ability, but it seems to be moot. I have a d7200 and d3100 but will sell the 3100. It seems that the control setup on the 7200 and 610 is very similar

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