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Gear Hands-On

Nikon B600 Hands-On And Opinion

The B600 is Nikon’s latest in their lineup of relatively compact and lower cost long telephoto all-in-one cameras. It comes with the usual specifications of this lineup, but loses the AA batteries for a lithium ion battery pack and also loses the back tilt screen compared to the B500.

My hands-on with the B600

Get the Nikon COOLPIX B600 Digital Camera here through my links: Amazon.com, BHPhotoVideo.com, Used on KEH.com, UsedPhotoPro.com, and eBay.com

What you gain by the removal of physical features is a slightly smaller camera, though it’s still not pocket-able. Autofocus felt decently chipper given it’s using contrast detect on it’s 1/2.3″ sensor. This camera is more of the same as previous bridge cameras, but if that’s your thing then this might be something to check out.

I have additional sample photos and video clips in this unlisted YouTube video.

Some of the important specifications:

  • 16 megapixel 1/2.3″ sensor with an ISO range of 125 to 6400. ISO 3200 and 6400 are only available in auto mode. Photos will be 4608 x 3456 in size.
  • 1080p 30 fps with an interlaced 60 fps mode maximum. There is a high speed 4x mode at 640×480 and 0.5x at 1080p. It does have 25 fps modes that mimic the 30 fps options. It does have electronic VR in video mode as well as lens-shift.
  • Burst speed of photos up to 7.7 shots at approximately 7 frames per second.
  • Mechanical and CMOS electronic shutter, 1/1600-1 sec. but it has a 1/4000th second maximum in high-speed continuous.
  • Rechargeable EN-EL12 Li-ion Battery, Approx. 280 shots* or Movies: Approx. 1 hour, 5 minutes.
  • 60x optical Zoom-NIKKOR ED glass lens, 4.3-258mm (angle of view equivalent to that of 24-1440mm lens in 35mm [135] format), f/3.3-6.5, it does have lens shift VR for photos. The aperture is a electromagnetic 6-blade iris diaphragm.
  • Contrast-detect AF, [W]: Approx. 1 ft. 8 in. (50 cm.) to infinity, [T]: Approx. 6 ft. 7 in. (2 m.) to infinity, Macro close-up mode: [W]: Approx. 0.4 in. (1 cm.) to infinity, Macro close-up mode: [T]: Approx. 6 ft. 7 in. (2.0 m) to infinity (All distances measured from center of front surface of lens)
  • 3.0 in. diagonal back screen that is fixed with no articulation. It also does not have a viewfinder, so screen only.
  • It takes SD cards and has 83MB of internal memory.
  • Built-in flash, [W]: 0.5 to 6.8m (1 ft. 8 in. to 22 ft.), [T]: 2.0 to 3.4m (6 ft. 7 in. to 11 ft.)
  • Micro USB port and micro HDMI port.
  • Snapbridge app through WIFI/Bluetooth 4.1.
  • 17.7 oz.(500 g) with battery and memory card.
  • Main Modes: Auto, Creative Mode, Scene, Scene Auto Selector, Smart Portrait
  • Scene modes: Backlighting, Beach, Bird Watching, Close-up, Dusk/Dawn, Easy Panorama, Fireworks Show, Food, Landscape, Moon, Multiple Exposure Lighten, Night Landscape, Night Portrait, Party/Indoor, Pet Portrait, Portrait, Scene Auto Selector, Smart Portrait, Snow, Sports, Sunset
  • 60x optical zoom lens with VR (optical stabilization)
The camera isn’t exactly small, but they did thin down the main body compared to the previous generation. There is not getting around the big lens.

Various aspects of the camera I find important to take note of:

  • The lens extends at full zoom to be about twice its original size.
  • Built-in flash. You need to manually pop it up. I actually prefer this to spring loaded designs.
  • It has a dedicated AF assist light.
  • The camera feels pretty compact for an ultra zoom, but there is no getting around the size of the lens. This would fit in very few pockets.
  • The on-off button is on the top of the camera that acts as a dual purpose indicator due to it having a light in the middle.
  • 3″ screen with 921,000 dots. The screen is fixed to the camera and does not have any touch capability. There is no viewfinder. 
  • It has a micro hdmi port and micro usb port and from what I can tell that supports charging, but I wasn’t able to test it out.
  • The 1/4th-20 tripod socket isn’t in-line with the lens. For various situations like panoramas or tripod video this is not ideal. The battery door is close enough that it will likely interfere with most quick release plates, so you will need to remove them to change the battery and memory card.
  • The SD memory card slot is next to the battery accessible from the bottom of the camera.
  • There is a rubber gasket near the battery door to indicate it can take a DC coupler for wired power by using the battery area.
  • There is a mode dial with a mix of various task specific modes. Switching will show the name on the back screen. 
Another view of the camera. You can see the two microphone holes near the camera’s “COOLPIX B600” text toward the back.

On the back of the camera there is a pretty standard layout of buttons along with a multi-function d-pad. The d-pad will allow you quick access to flash control, exposure compensation, close macro focus, and timer modes. It will act as a way to navigate menus and move the focus point around when you are in the AF mode that allows it.

The camera has two ways to control zoom. A knob surrounding the shutter button and one on the side of the lens.

The camera’s layout is similar to the previous version, but everything seems trimmed back and made sleeker.
  • There is a button on the side of the lens to help you re-find your intended subject while zoomed all the way in. Hold the button down and the lens steps back enough so you can figure out what you are pointing at. It is quicker than manually zooming back and forth.
  • There is a dedicated video record button and one for display settings. 
  • This camera obscures many of the actual properties of photography such as shutter speed, aperture, and ISO (sensor gain). 
  • Autofocus in video after zooming didn’t appear to work, but most likely it was a setting I needed to change… Is there a dedicated video mode???
  • Menus and camera options are limited. That’s both good and bad. Easy to navigate, but few ways to customize the camera.
  • Autofocus felt pretty decent in my limited testing, though given it’s a contract based system it will have the inherent limitations of that. For photos in good light I could see it working okay. I didn’t test tracking performance to any useful degree but I did notice it wasn’t great at keeping a lock on subjects I selected.
  • The Snapbridge app works, but it is very limited. You can zoom the camera. From what I could tell, it is impossible to adjust any settings wirelessly. You can push photos to your phone.
  • There are smart phones now with physically larger sensors than this camera. 
  • No RAW photo support is a drawback, but it does fit with the easy situation based modes of the camera.
  • The intent is to get you the best photos for a given set of scenes. At least as good as a camera like this can get.
  • The large optical zoom lens is the camera’s one big positive, though the aperture range of f/3.3-6.5 isn’t great. Nikon’s quick zoom back feature is convenient when trying to find a distant subject.
  • The camera is pretty small, but the lack of a viewfinder means you will be holding the camera out in front of your face to compose the photos.

I have a hard time recommending cameras like this these days. However, the general layout and nice large optical zoom lens are a decent reason to pick up something like this. But image quality is something you need to make sure you are okay with.

Get the Nikon COOLPIX B600 Digital Camera here through my links: Amazon.com, BHPhotoVideo.com, Used on KEH.com, UsedPhotoPro.com, and eBay.com

Or consider the older B500:

My B500 Video , Used on KEH (Black), Used on KEH (Red), Used on KEH (Plum), B&H, Amazon, UsedPhotoPro, eBay