Today we bring you the Nikon D610 review, as the company seems to have cleaned up its full-frame act with this upgrade. If you don’t understand the reference, it’s alright, because this camera was first revealed 8 years ago, back in 2013, so it’s absolutely normal to shoot a complete blank; the point being, the D610 is basically an upgrade over the Nikon D600, which was plagued by a shutter mechanism problem, that basically shredded little particles from the shutter itself, which fell onto the sensor causing a phenomenon called “dust bunnies” to appear.
Hence, the D610 is basically the D600 as it should have been in the beginning. Mind you, the D600 had a life span of just 13 months before the D610 appeared and stole its glory, and this usually happens with consumer-level (entry-level) DLSRs. In this particular case though, it was the negative reviews and negative press that did it.
So, the D610 was revealed to the general public on October 8, 2013, and yes, it was a real upgrade worth the money back in the day, which means today it makes for the deal of the century with inflation, depreciation and all that.
What it Is
Nikon did a couple of upgrades to the original D600, but take a load of this: back in the day, in 2013 that is, the D610’s MSRP price was $1999. That’s 100 bucks less than what was asked for the D610, as Nikon tried to stay competitive (cough, Canon EOS 6D), but what’s even more important, that’s almost 3x the price (sans inflation) of what a D610 retails for nowadays (new).
So, basically, the D610 is a huge bargain if you can find one in stock, and here are the differences between D600 and this baby: first, you get a new shutter mechanism, which was the main issue on the D600.
Nikon replaced it with a completely different shutter, which is also better in terms of frame rate (faster). This brings us to upgrade number two: the D610 has a faster frame rate of 6 FPS. Then, there’s a new and improved automatic white balance via firmware most probably, and finally, you get a new feature: quiet continuous shooting mode that works at 3 frames per second.
Other than that, the D610 shares basically the same exact components as the D600 (reviewed previously if memory serves), and that includes the 24.3 megapixels sensor, with a native ISO range of 100-6400. This brings us to the next cool thing: tech specs!
- 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
- Battery Life: 900 shots
- USB Standard: 2.0
- Weight: 760g (body only), 850g (with battery and memory card)
As we already told you, the D610 harbors the exact same 24.3 million pixel FX format CMOS sensor you will find in the D600, paired with the EXPEED 3 processing engine, which is the main “culprit” behind the continuous shooting speed of 6fps ( drops to 3 FPS when Continuous Quiet mode is ON).
We know, this is not impressive tech in 2021, but back in 2013, it made all photo-shoot chicks wet as Niagara. On top of that, you can set the sensitivity in the native range with expansion settings taking this to ISO 50-25600 (from ISO 100-6400).
You’ll also get the same 2,016 RGB sensor, working delivers intel to the Automatic Scene Recognition system, which is further used by the Metering and White balance systems to help get correct color and exposure, plus the exact same Multi-CAM 4800 autofocus module with 39-points (9 cross-type) as is in the D600.
The autofocus system has 39 AF points (pretty advanced back then) and can operate at effective maximum apertures slower than f/5.6 and faster than f/8; moreover, the center 7 are capable of operating at f/8, which means using telephoto and teleconverter combos will produce an effective maximum aperture of f/8.
You also get 4 live view AF area modes: Wide-area AF, Face-priority AF, Subject-Tracking AF and Normal-area AF. As expected, you have in-camera HDR (high dynamic range) mode (JPEG-only option), and full HD video capability, at 25 or 24p and at 1280×720 at 60, 50, 30 or 25p.
Build and Handling
The Nikon D610 doesn’t feature the high-end monocoque construction of the D5300, but it still has a part-magnesium alloy body (on the top and the rear of the camera), which makes it feel and look great (and solid). Besides being tough as nails, the D610 is weather-sealed, i.e. it can survive humid and dusty environments without sustaining damage. In a $2000 piece of equipment back then, this was maybe the coolest feature to have.
The camera also comes with a rubber-coated chunky finger-grip on the front, and the familiar thumb-ridge on the back, for a secure and comfortable hold. The camera body is relatively small in size and compact, hence you’ll definitely have a good time together, regardless of the size of your hands. I mean grip, don’t think dirty!
Handling-wise, the Nikon D610 is excellent, and the control layout on the back is pretty similar to the D7100, as in you’ll find 5 buttons on the left of the LCD, the same Live View and Info buttons, plus a smaller multi-selector button with a lock. There are also 2 memory card slots configurable in Overflow, Backup and RAW/JPEG.
Just like its D600 sibling, the D610 works great (even if it’s not the best Nikon camera), with well-controlled noise, well-exposed images and good colors. At ISO 3200, there’s almost zero speckling visible if you look at the pics on a computer screen, and even at ISO 25600 sensitivity setting, the chroma noise is not excessive, nor the luminance noise intrusive. Detail is maintained pretty well across the specter, and there’s no smearing to hide noise.
Nikon also says that the D610 performs better in artificial light due to its revamped automatic white balance system, while the AF system works quietly and accurately in a wide range of conditions, even in low light conditions, which may trouble lesser cameras.
Tracking moving objects and the 3D-tracking mode are also well implemented and work great in real life scenarios, and the Matrix metering system is very good.
The highlights of the D610 include dual slots for 2 memory cards, 24mp full-frame FX sensor ( you could blow these pics up to billboard size ), 100% viewfinder coverage optical viewfinder, lightweight for a well-built/weather-sealed semi-pro camera, a nice 3.2″LCD, great video capability1080/30p or 24p as well as 720/60,50&30p for slow-motion or HD mpeg 4 av ch, 6 frames per second continuous, and Nikon’s great high ISO performance ISO 100 to 25,600.
Basically, the D610 is an old high-end DSLR that now retails at peanut prices, so it would make for an awesome addition to your photo paraphernalia as the first step into full-frame photography for Nikon lovers.
- Stellar quality images
- Solid build quality
- Clean sensor
- Reliable Autofocus System
- Weather sealed
- Amazing value for many
- No wi-fi (module sold separately)
- No Bluetooth
- JPEG-only HDR mode