Nikon D600 and Sony RX1 full frame digital cameras Nikon and Sony have unveiled new full-frame cameras – the Nikon D600 DSLR (above, left) and Sony Cyber-shot RX1 (right).

Both are noteworthy, but for different reasons.

The D600, featuring a 24.3MP CMOS sensor, can be described as an “enthusiast-level” full frame DSLR. Costing around $2100 (£1955), it’s the least expensive (and smallest) full frame available, offering all the benefits of full-frame photography at a price that’s not wildly out of reach for non-professionals.

But you have to ask, if you’ve got that sort of cash, would it not be worth scratching around for another $900 so you can splash out on the ultimate big daddy of full frames, the Nikon D800 with its whopping 36.3MP sensor?

The D600 is also available as a kit with the Nikon AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens for $2699.95. You can check out the full specs and sample images on the Nikon site.

So what makes the Sony RX1 noteworthy? It’s also full frame, but is in essence a “compact” full frame because of its small size and fixed lens.

Measuring approximately 4.5″ wide by 3″ tall and weighing just over a pound, it’s significantly smaller and lighter than any full-frame DSLR. The camera is fitted with a Carl Zeiss 35mm f/2.0 fixed lens.

The RX1 packs the same 24.3MP sensor as the Sony A99, allowing it to capture 14-bit RAW files, as well as 1080p video at 24p or 60p frame rates. EVF and optical viewfinders will be available as optional extras.

To add some flexibility to the fixed 35mm focal length, Sony has come up with a “smart teleconverter” function that crops a central portion of the image sensor, boosting effective magnification by 1.4x or 2x, realizing an effective 49mm or 70mm focal length. According to Sony, even zoomed and cropped images maintain generous amounts of fine detail because of the extremely high pixel count of the full frame sensor.

The RX1 will be available this November for about $2800. See the Sony blog for a full video preview

So where does this leave Canon, who seem to be lagging behind on the full frame front? There are plenty of rumors doing the rounds that a new Canon 6D will be announced any day. It will be Canon’s “entry level” full frame, costing less than the 5D Mk III. The rumored specs are: 22MP sensor (same as 5D Mark II), 4.5 fps, touchscreen, same AF system as 7D, but with lower build quality than the 5D Mark III.

To many, none of the above will matter a whit. What does matter is the new iPhone 5 with a camera featuring an updated 8MP backlit CMOS sensor, durable sapphire glass lens cover and larger, 4″, 16:9 screen. Nice to have them all!




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+Scotch Macaskill