The new Nikon D600 with 24-85mm VR kit lens

Rumours (and even leaked photographs) are all saying that Nikon will soon be introducing the D600, a more affordable FX (full frame) camera.

Leaked photograph of the new Nikon D600. Note the “FX” emblem.

Allthough not 100% confirmed, I certainly see this as a sensible and welcome newcomer to their line-up. Yesterday Nikon paved the way to the D600′s release with brand new Nikkor 24-85mm F2.5-4.5 VR lens.

On FX, this new lens will perform similarly to a 16-57mm F2.8 VR on DX (APS-C). The closest one gets to those specifications on DX, however, is with the expensive but built-like-a-tank Nikon 17-55mm F2.8, or Sigma/Tamron 17-50mm F2.8. The former lacks optical stabilization, while the latter two lack the Nikon badge, and risk more focussing and quality control issues.

The new Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR Lens

This is where the D600 + 24-85 VR comes in – this combo should outperform any existing DX format camera, and simultaneously be a much cheaper alternative to the current (semi) professional D800. This can be a great game-changer, since Nikon’s major competitor, Canon, currently has nothing comparable in this price range.

Here is a comparison of where the D600 slots into the existing Nikon range.

Premium “DX”
New
Entry-level “FX”
Former
Entry-level “FX”
(still sold) 
Premium
“FX” 
Body  Nikon D7000
$1,100
Nikon D600
~ $2,000 ?
Nikon D700
$2,200
Nikon D800
$3,000
Lens Sigma OS
17-50mm F2.8
$670
Nikkor VR
24-85mm F3.5-4.5 
$ 600
Nikkor VR
24-120mm F4.0
$1,300
Nikkor
24-70mm F2.8
$1,890
Total $1,770 $2,600 $3,500 $4,890

See how this new camera will open up a niche for itself?

With mirrorless cameras like Sony’s NEX series threatening the lower end of the DSLR market, full-frame is the only area where the DSLR still rules supreme. And as digital technology continues maturing, the prices are coming down. Kudos to Nikon for lowering the entry barrier into the land of full-frame goodness!