More than a year after presenting the D600, Nikon has decided to update this model and release the Nikon D610. The camera we once called the “Full Frame for everyone” has been given a few new tools and tricks and, more importantly, the spots in the sensor have been taken care of. Aside from this detail, the D600 is a fan-favorite thanks to its excellent performance, something we’re also expecting from the Nikon D610.
We could test it for a few days to analyze every detail about this SLR camera that can easily be considered a professional camera, but it’s actually designed for beginners who want to get into Nikon’s Full Frame cameras.
Before reviewing the most important features, let’s briefly take a look at its main specs. Let’s start with the 24.3-megapixel FX sensor with a native ISO range of 100-6400. It also features a new shutter system capable of increasing the burst mode to 6 FPS and a silent burst mode of 3 FPS. Of course, you can replace the shutter to take care of the spots the D600 suffered from. So Nikon not only solved every issue, but also worked to offer something even better.
It features the 39-point Multi-CAM 4800 auto-focal system, very similar to the one found in the Nikon D4 (Multi-CAM 3500FX), capable of offering a very high focal speeds eve in low light scenarios.
It can record Full HD video at 30 and 25 FPS and 720p video at 24, 60, 50, 30 and 25 FPS. You can also connect an external microphone to it to ensure the best possible sound quality in every recording.
As you can see, it’s been totally revamped in regards to specs. The same cannot be said about the design, however.
There are very few differences between the D610 and its predecessor. It features the same design, sealed in magnesium alloy (also similar to the D800) which feels robust and solid without being excessively heavy (850 grams, battery included). It’s a very good camera, easy and comfortable to handle. In regards to size, it’s between the D7100 and the D800 and it comes with a Nikkor 24-85 mm lens.
Nikon users will feel it very familiar, since it’s very similar to the D5200 and the D7100, though now you can block the exposure mode dial so you don’t activate it accidentally. Naturally, there are many shortcuts to every personalized mode.
It features a 3.2-inch 921000-pixel LCD screen, very comfortable to use thanks to its size, as expected. Although it’s not articulated, it offers some helpful new features like a digital level to avoid hard-to-notice tilting.
The viewfinder of the Nikon D610 has a 100 % coverage and a magnification of 0.7x, which sets it closer to superior (and more expensive) models like the D800 and the D4. There’s also the regular integrated flash with a guide number of 12 meters at ISO 100. Also, you can assign customized functions to the two frontal buttons, like a depth preview o or controlling the electronic level, both very useful features.
On the sides we can find a USB 2.0 port, HDMI port, and the microphone and earphone jacks. It also has two SD card slots. You can use the simultaneously or use one as a backup device, and you can also configure the camera to save JPEG files in one and RAW in the other, or pictures in one and video in the other. A very useful feature that will avoid you lots of hassle.
Working with the Nikon D610
A very noteworthy feature is the silent shooting mode, which can be activated with the dial in” mode. This mode allows for a more silent operation by slowing down the mirror. It’s excellent when you can’t be too noisy; a 3-fps burst mode is also available in this mode, though the sound, though quieter, is still noticeable in this mode.
If offers 39 focal points, more than enough for any situation, especially considering how fast the camera is. Here you can notice a difference between it and its older sister, the D800 (with 51 focal points), understandable because of the price. However, the autofocus works impeccably, even in low light scenarios, though sometimes it was necessary to ensure it works well after the process (not that big of a deal).
The viewfinder is impeccable and its 100% coverage is a godsend. It’s important to note that the coverage is smaller when using the camera in DX mode –although it’s not terribly noticeable-.
The screen gets its job done and the Live View system has also been improved, especially in regards to its speed.
Performance of the Nikon D610’s sensor
The sensor, as expected, offers a magnificent performance. Even with the lens that comes with the camera by default, the AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR, the results are great, so you can imagine the results you can get with better-quality lenses. Not that the default lens is bad; it gets the job done, though it’s not too luminous. Along with the DF sensor, the D610 offers a very high performance, thanks in no small part to the improved autofocus and stabilized lens. The lens that comes with it is much better than many default lenses we’ve tested.
Nikon D610 at 1000 ISO and autofocus
As for the white color balance -one of the official improvements of the D610-, its performance is great, though you can also shoot in RAW and then post-process. In regards to dynamic range, the performance is excellent, making it capable of handling complicated scenarios with high contrast, as it is able to capture even details in the shadows. This is when you notice this is truly a high-end camera.
As for the sensitivity, like we said, it offers a native range of 100 and 6400 ISO, which you can extend to 25600 ISO (and 50 ISO as the minimum). It’s a nice option, though not one you’ll use much. Shooting at 6400 ISO offers very good results, as you see in the following pictures.
Nikon D610 at ISO 6400
The level of detail and general performance of the sensor, set this camera above the rest. This excellent device is perfect for those who want to get into the world of Full Frame cameras.
Conclusions and verdict
The Nikon D610 is very similar to its predecessor design-wise, but that’s where the similarities end. A fast and efficient focus system, abundant and very complete controls and a high-end processor is what this camera has to offer. Like we said when we reviewed the D600, this camera can easily be considered a professional camera, though Nikon insists it was created with the intermediate user in mind.
Robust and solid design, very long battery life and the very high ISO values and excellent image quality, make this camera an excellent choice. It’s not inexpensive, though (around 2000 Euros), and it may even be near the price range of the D800. In any case, it only missed Wi-Fi connectivity, a detail that would’ve made the Nikon D610 an even better device. This camera is perfect for those who want to experience what a Full Frame sensor can do.