Hot Damn - Poke That Button
I use a D300, studio and field. I have learned the control layout and can alter it as needed when the jobs change. I still make mistakes but they are small ones and the use of the RAW file system and the good RAW processing engines available these days has recovered most of my dignity. I have learned never to admit anything while out on the job - just break into a cold sweat and surreptitiously change the settings.
One of the really useful buttons on my D300 is the function button down below the preview button- just next to the lens mount. Nikon have given you a number of options that you can ask of this Fn button - exposure and focus things mainly - and I opted to set it so that it switches the exposure meter from a matrix meter to a spot meter. Occasionally my subjects will move in front of a window or a bright stage light and if I were to depend on the matrix all I would get is a muddy silhouette. If I press the Fn button the pattern snaps into a center 8 mm spot and I can at least see some detail in the subject.
Tried to do that with the D600 - all okay. Tried the D800 and no go. I can get a fast RAW file with it ( no bad thing if the camera is set in jpeg mode...) or get a virtual horizon to help with landscape pictures, but no spot meter. As the camera can still do the 8 mm spot, how?
Poke, poke, poke.
Nothing. Pros need this, and it must be here somewhere, but no good using the old intuition.
Second thing I've needed for a long time on the D300 is some way to keep from altering the shutter speed with the heel of the hand or the thumb when in the studio - if you are using 1/250th second with studio flash synch and inadvertently turn the dial to 1/350th you lose a third of your frame. Up till now only the big D3 and D3s cameras have put a positive lock into the shutter command to prevent this. The worker's compromise is a big old bit of gaffer tape.
With these Fx cameras you can indeed mount DX lenses, but the construction of the latter and the restricted circle of coverage mean you get big vignetting. The solution for Nikon has been to incorporate an auto-crop function in the cameras that uses just the center of their respective sensors to deliver a DX result. The viewfinder of the D800 can be set to automatically grey-out the outer border and the D600 puts a rectangular line in the finder to do the same. I knew that but what I didn't know is that you can also ask the cameras to do an intermediate step - a 1.2x factor crop and indication.
This means more pixels used than in pure DX mode and a slightly better resolution. You can't tell exactly how a DX lens will perform with this option until you click it onto this mount. I spent an instructive afternoon running through my stable of lenses and was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Tokina 35mm f:2.8 macro will fill the 1.2x frame quite well with no vignetting. It makes it into the equivalent of a 42mm focal length. One more point of view for the studio.
One final point noted - look at the underside of the D600 and the D800. They are similar in that they have EN-EL15 batteries and dedicated data slots for the attachment of their respective battery grips. But they are different in that the D600 plate does not have the rubber pad surrounding the tripod screw. Good. This means that a D600 can be screwed onto a Cullmann ball or three-way tripod head and there will be no tendency for it to droop in the portrait position.
This is something that users of Nikon bodies have to watch for - the rubber of the Cullmann plates and the rubber of the Nikon cameras can slip on each other. Our technician Ernest cures this problem by replacing the Cullmann rubber with a cork pad and all is sweet - but with the D600 he won't have to worry.