New school vs. old cool – D600 vs. F4 shootout


A few weeks ago Paolo bought a beautiful Nikon F4 on ebay. We took a few test shots to compare the results with my Nikon D600.

The light setup was exactly the same, a speedlight in a soft box as key-light and another speedlight blasting the white wall behind the subject. The lens was also the very same: a brand new Nikkor AF 50mm 1:1.8 D that we mounted on the D600 and then on the F4. The F4 was loaded with a roll of Kodak TMax 400 and the D600 was set on 400 ISO. The aperture and the shutter speed were the very same on both cameras: F11 at 1/200sec.

We had the fils developed in a lab and scanned at 6Mpx. We then applied the same sort of adjustments to the final images in terms of levels and sharpening.

Nikon D600 + AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8 D – 400ISO f11 1/200sec

Paolo Belcasto

Nikon F4 + Kodak TMax 400 + AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8 D – f11 1/200sec


Side by side comparison – Full Picture

Nikon D600 vs F4 - side by side

Side by side – eye detail

Nikon D600 vs F4 - details

Conclusions and considerations

It’s very interesting to see how the grain introduced by the film is so present in the final picture. It’s also very interesting to compare the sharpness of the two different medium. The digital sensor is very sharp but the film adds a feeling to the picture that is very difficult to explain.

We also have to say that the scan from the film was not that superb: only 6Mpx scan compared to the 24Mpx of the D600. But even when downscaled the digital image is sharper, cleaner and more suitable to be seen on monitor.

We are going to print the two different pictures and compare the final prints. The D600 one will be digitally printed while the F4 will be printed from the negative. I look forward to have the printed versions on my table, can’t wait for it!

Check out all the test pictures we took and stay tined for more test comparisons!