The Nikon D600 And The Non-recall

Just a quick note regarding the Nikon D600 and all of it's alleged issues. I've tangentially discussed the D600 and all of the heat and smoke generated regarding the widely publicized dust issue. Just in case you happen to have one and haven't heard, Nikon will clean and replace the shutter on all of um if you would like. Even if the camera is out of warranty.

Personally, mine is not going anywhere. I don't want it messed with. Why? Ever hear the mantra If it ain't broke don't fix it? Not a bad cliche to live by in my opinion. For those that actually have some sort of issue that hasn't worked itself out on it's own, sure get it done, what the hell. Just be sure that you actually have a broken camera and are not suffering from gear hypochondria – which is probably the case for way more than half of the folks most vocal about this issue.

Here's some practical advice along with an opportunity for a couple of you that don't suffer from the dreaded gear hypochondria or the closely related hallucination that your digital camera will actually have some sort of residual value after you are done using it down the road. One other class of folks this is not for is those that switch cameras out every 6 months insisting that some nuance is helping them make pictures better than before. Let's just pretend you are a normal person that buys a camera to actually make pictures and gets a new one when it stops working.

I've had my D600 since the beginning. Not quite the beginning but really close. You know like two months after release so I can actually pay less than MSRP rather than more. I can tell you without reservation this is the best digital camera I have ever owned in a number of ways and I have owned quite a few, an embarrassing amount of them to be candid. The price of used D600's at this point puts it on my deal of the century list. If you are at all in the market for a full-frame picture making machine – grab one for a little north of $1000 and do it now. We'll at least think about it for a moment. You say – but… what about the issue?.

Here's my take on it for the last time:

  • I've never seen the issue on my particular camera nor have I seen or heard it from any of the people I have run across that actually own one. I have had people that don't have one, never shot one, and know nobody (aside from the internet) that actually has a D600 with the dreaded issue.
  • This leads me to believe what we really have is some small portion that actually has the issue. Probably early ones. What this issue actually is can be debated but one would tend to think it's probably self-resolving after some thousands of shots and a few cleanings. Sort of like my D3 cameras had right out of the box. If you shoot a lot NBD.
  • This smallish population of cameras then gets magnified via the internet echo chamber and glommed onto by camera hypochondriacs that have any dust ever after they go looking for it with stupid f/22 white wall shooting stupidity. As if no interchangeable lens cameras ever ever ever ever get dust spots. I can tell you that no matter what they do. Without fail they do and they get them often. I shoot lots of cameras and process lots of photographer's RAW files – everything from H4D's to Canon's to Nikon's. They all get dust spots and it doesn't take much. Let's say at least half of people "with the issue" actually just have normal accumulation of dust okay. I am probably being generous here.
  • Anecdotal incident. I have never cleaned my D600 and I have about 12K shots on it. I'm not that picky with this stuff and I don't actually go looking for issues by shooting white walls. I happened to shoot someone's Canon 5D two weeks ago in the same circumstances I shoot my D600. Without even trying to look for dust the 5D which was supposedly cleaned a month or so ago. The files from the 5D looked like a cat coughed up a hair ball on the sensor. I couldn't avoid seen the crap everywhere. My D600… ummm fine.

Here's my point. You can find D600's for about $1200 right now. I've even seen a few in perfect condition go for less. If you can return it grab one. Be happy. Hell send it into Nikon if you are a camera hypochondriac. The "dust issue" and people having that experience is about as anecdotal as my "no issue" experience. Both valid. Do I think Nikon has some vast denial conspiracy – absolutely not. Do I think Nikon secretly "fixed" some "design issue" with the D610 – absolutely not. I think they got internet echo chambered to death and were faced with a "what the fuck…" kind of issue and made a decision to put the same camera out with a new number. Even they can't tell you what's different about the two… some bullshit spec somewhere but trust me this is not a re-engineered camera in any way.

Any of you guys in the service business? Ever have customers with an "issue" that's not an issue so there's nothing to "fix". What a nightmare for Nikon. A couple of early cameras actually did have some sort of gestation issue with dust and maybe some lubricant (like my D3) and that got magnified into a shit storm where every hint of dust is getting sent into the service center with nothing to be done… More likely than some conspiracy for sure.

Just a point of view. Not denying that some people did/do have D600's that have an annoying amount of crap flying around I am sure there are/were. If they don't shoot 1,000's of pictures that could qualify as intolerable for those few folks.


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