Nikon D600 vs Olympus E-300
The Nikon D600 and the Olympus Evolt E-300 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2012 and September 2004. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (D600) and a Four Thirds (E-300) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 24.2 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 8 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D600 and the Olympus Evolt E-300? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D600 and the Olympus E-300. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-300 is notably smaller (22 percent) than the Nikon D600. Moreover, the E-300 is markedly lighter (27 percent) than the D600. It is worth mentioning in this context that the D600 is splash and dust resistant, while the E-300 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D600) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-300).
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Nikon D600||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|2.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 350D||127 mm||94 mm||64 mm||540 g||400||n||Feb 2005||899||ebay.com|
|5.||Leica Digilux 3||146 mm||87 mm||77 mm||606 g||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499||ebay.com|
|6.||Nikon D780||144 mm||116 mm||76 mm||840 g||2260||Y||Jan 2020||2,299||amazon.com|
|7.||Nikon D7500||136 mm||104 mm||73 mm||720 g||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299||amazon.com|
|8.||Nikon D500||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999||amazon.com|
|9.||Nikon D750||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D7100||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon Df||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D610||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999||amazon.com|
|13.||Nikon D800||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||1000 g||900||Y||Feb 2012||2,999||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D800E||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||1000 g||900||Y||Feb 2012||3,299||ebay.com|
|15.||Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999||ebay.com|
|16.||Olympus E-500||130 mm||95 mm||66 mm||479 g||750||n||Sep 2005||599||ebay.com|
|17.||Panasonic L1||146 mm||87 mm||64 mm||606 g||750||n||Feb 2006||999||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The E-300 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 62 percent) than the D600, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D600 features a full frame sensor and the Olympus E-300 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-300 is 74 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 2.0. The sensor in the D600 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-300 offers a 4:3 aspect.
With 24.2MP, the D600 offers a higher resolution than the E-300 (8MP), but the D600 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.97μm versus 5.30μm for the E-300) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D600 is a much more recent model (by 7 years and 11 months) than the E-300, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D600 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D600 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30.1 x 20.1 inches or 76.4 x 51 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24.1 x 16.1 inches or 61.1 x 40.8 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20.1 x 13.4 inches or 50.9 x 34 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-300 are 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 cm for good quality, 13.1 x 9.8 inches or 33.2 x 24.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.9 x 8.2 inches or 27.6 x 20.7 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D600 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 50-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus Evolt E-300 are ISO 100 to ISO 400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-1600.
In terms of underlying technology, the D600 is build around a CMOS sensor, while the E-300 uses a CCD imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|1.||Nikon D600||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||94|
|2.||Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||20.4||10.1||-40||48|
|3.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
|5.||Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||21.0||10.6||127||53|
|6.||Nikon D780||Full Frame||24.3||6048||4024||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||2877||95|
|9.||Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|11.||Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|12.||Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|13.||Nikon D800||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.3||14.4||2853||95|
|14.||Nikon D800E||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.6||14.3||2979||96|
|15.||Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||20.8||10.4||73||52|
|16.||Olympus E-500||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||20.7||10.3||45||51|
|17.||Panasonic L1||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||20.8||10.4||80||52|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The D600 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the E-300 does not. The highest resolution format that the D600 can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D600 and the E-300 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the D600 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the E-300 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the D600 has a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.5x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D600, the Olympus E-300, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Nikon D600||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||Y||n|
|2.||Olympus E-300||optical||n||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|3.||Canon 6D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5/s||n||n|
|4.||Canon 350D||optical||n||1.8 / 115||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Leica Digilux 3||optical||n||2.5 / 207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Nikon D780||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||tilting||Y||1/8000s||12.0/s||n||n|
|7.||Nikon D7500||optical||Y||3.2 / 922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon D500||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|9.||Nikon D750||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon D7100||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon Df||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||n||n|
|12.||Nikon D610||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D800||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|14.||Nikon D800E||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Olympus E-330||optical||n||2.5 / 215||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|16.||Olympus E-500||optical||n||2.5 / 215||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|17.||Panasonic L1||optical||n||2.5 / 207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One feature that is present on the D600, but is missing on the E-300 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The Nikon D600 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The D600 writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the E-300 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. Both cameras feature dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D600 and Olympus Evolt E-300 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon D600||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Olympus E-300||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 6D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|4.||Canon 350D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|5.||Leica Digilux 3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Nikon D780||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Nikon D7500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|8.||Nikon D500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y|
|9.||Nikon D750||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D7100||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon Df||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D610||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D800||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon D800E||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Olympus E-330||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Olympus E-500||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic L1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
Both the D600 and the E-300 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The E-300 was replaced by the Olympus E-330, while the D600 was followed by the Nikon D610. Further information on the features and operation of the D600 and E-300 can be found, respectively, in the Nikon D600 Manual (free pdf) or the online Olympus E-300 Manual.
So how do things add up? Is the Nikon D600 better than the Olympus E-300 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D600:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (24.2 vs 8MP) with a 77% higher linear resolution.
- Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
- Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.70x vs 0.5x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 134k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.5 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (900 versus 750) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 11 months of technical progress since the E-300 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Olympus Evolt E-300:
- More compact: Is smaller (147x85mm vs 141x113mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 226g or 27 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (62 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2004).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D600 is the clear winner of the match-up (16 : 4 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D600 and the Olympus E-300 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D600 or the E-300 perform in practice. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Nikon D600||4/5||+ +||..||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|2.||Olympus E-300||..||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|4.||Canon 350D||..||80/100||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2005||899||ebay.com|
|5.||Leica Digilux 3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||1,499||ebay.com|
|6.||Nikon D780||5/5||..||5/5||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2020||2,299||amazon.com|
|7.||Nikon D7500||4.5/5||+ +||4.5/5||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2017||1,299||amazon.com|
|8.||Nikon D500||5/5||+ +||4.7/5||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999||amazon.com|
|9.||Nikon D750||5/5||+ +||4/5||90/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D7100||5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon Df||4/5||..||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D610||4/5||+ +||..||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999||amazon.com|
|13.||Nikon D800||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||2,999||ebay.com|
|14.||Nikon D800E||..||..||..||84/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||3,299||ebay.com|
|15.||Olympus E-330||..||..||..||+||o||..||Jan 2006||999||ebay.com|
|16.||Olympus E-500||..||76/100||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2005||599||ebay.com|
|17.||Panasonic L1||..||85/100||..||+||..||3.5/5||Feb 2006||999||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon G1 X Mark II vs Nikon D600
- Canon SX740 vs Nikon D600
- Fujifilm GFX 50S vs Olympus E-300
- Leica S2 vs Nikon D600
- Leica TL2 vs Olympus E-300
- Nikon A1000 vs Olympus E-300
- Nikon D3X vs Nikon D600
- Nikon D600 vs Olympus E-510
- Nikon D600 vs Olympus TG-4
- Olympus E-300 vs Panasonic ZS80
- Olympus E-300 vs Sony A900
- Olympus E-300 vs Sony HX350
Specifications: Nikon D600 vs Olympus E-300
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Nikon D600||Olympus E-300|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2012||September 2004|
|Launch Price||USD 2,099||USD 799|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D600||Olympus E-300|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.9 x 24.0 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||861.6 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.2 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||24.2 Megapixels||8 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||6016 x 4016 pixels||3264 x 2448 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.97 μm||5.30 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.80 MP/cm2||3.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 3||TruePic|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||94||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||25.1||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.2||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2980||..|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D600||Olympus E-300|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||1.8inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||134k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D600||Olympus E-300|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||5.5 shutter flaps/s||2.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||no Intervalometer|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||CF or XD cards|
|Single or Dual Card Slots||Dual card slots||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D600||Olympus E-300|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D600||Olympus E-300|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||900 shots per charge||750 shots per charge|
141 x 113 x 82 mm
(5.6 x 4.4 x 3.2 in)
147 x 85 x 64 mm
(5.8 x 3.3 x 2.5 in)
|Camera Weight||850 g (30.0 oz)||624 g (22.0 oz)|
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