My Year With “The Camera Nobody Wants”

I wanted a full-frame DSLR for low-light capability, and the D610 has not disappointed.

I wanted a full-frame DSLR for low-light capability, and the D610 has not disappointed.

A reputable blogger has referred to Nikon’s D610 as “the camera nobody wants.” That description carries a bit of a sting for those of us that own the camera, but I understand. The D610 was hurriedly released as a PR fix after the D600 debacle (many D600s came with a defective shutter mechanism that threw oil onto the sensor, and Nikon was slow and clumsy in addressing this). A few months after I bought my D610, Nikon released the D750, which costs a bit more but includes a better focusing system and built-in wi-fi. These are things I want, but I am not earning enough money from photography to buy and sell cameras willy-nilly, so I am sticking (stuck?) with my D610 for at least another year or two. Besides, the resale value of the D610 has dropped like a rock.

Even so, with the D610, D7100, Fujifilm X100s, and iPhone 5, I feel that I have cameras adequate for the various needs they may be called upon to fulfill.

Here is a random selection of D610 images from December 2013 through December 2014. I wish it had a better focusing system, but I know dang well the camera is capable of image quality far beyond what I have yet achieved, and that is what I got it for. I’ll be using the D7100 for wildlife and dance, the D610 for portraits and events, the X100s for travel and walkabout, and the phone for grab shots. Well covered, I think. In fact, reviewing a year’s worth of images, I’m excited to realize I’ve barely scratched the surface of this camera’s abilities.

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Low light and shallow depth of field attracted me to full-frame.

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Photographing Gloria Steinem under high contrast, mixed source lighting made me grateful for the D610’s expanded dynamic range.

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Subject isolation, baby!

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I got some very nice dance images with the D610, but struggled with the focus system. At the next concert I’ll try the D7100, which may offer enough dynamic range and a slightly more responsive focus system. Should I get a chance to photograph dancers in the studio, I would absolutely choose the D610.

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