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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Photography Note: Nikon N6006 Quick Review

By JC Leahy

You gotta love this camera!!  The N6006 is often described as good for beginners because it's so darned easy to use -- that's why Nikon sold a zillion of them!! But I maintain that it's got the features for professional use, too! This is particularly true for a pro on a tight budget, since used N6006's can be bought for a song.

Why do I say the N6006 is suitable for pro use?  You can use the N6006 with just about any Nikon lens manufactured since 1977. This gives you an enormous selection of the best lenses that money can buy. The N6006 looks impressive and feels solid in your hands. The N6006 can be a full manual camera or you can employ different modes of automation. The camera can track a moving subject, continuously refocusing on it and taking pictures at a rate of up to 2 per second. Light metering can be set for traditional spot metering, center weighted, or an intelligent evaluative matrix metering. For exposure control, you can choose from shutter priority, aperture priority, programmable automatic, or full manual. You can autobracket either 3 or 5 exposures.  There is a surprisingly good integrated pop-up flash that is very useful for fill flash duty. Of course, there is also a shoe mount for attaching a more powerful flash.

Those are the N6006's strengths.  There are weaknesses, too.   The N6006 has no mirror lock up.  It has no built-in autofocus assist lamp.   It has no depth-of-field preview button.  And it takes a lithium camera battery (CRP2) rather than cheap, easy-to-obtain AA's.  Also, the latch that holds the back cover closed is plastic and may break if you drop the camera.  Here's how I feel about these shortcomings:  I have never, ever used mirror lock up.  Depth of field preview is nice in theory, but seldom necessary in practice, especially if one understands the principles of depth of field.  The lack of an autofocus assist lamp is unfortunate, but what Nikon has one?  The autofocus assist lamp is built into most shoe-mounted flash units that you might use with a Nikon autofocus camera. The plastic door latch is pretty much like the latches found on other mid-range SLR's. For example, the Canon Elan II has a latch like that.   If you drop it it may break.  Try not to drop it.  If you do, it probably won't break anyway.   If it does, the replacement latch can be bought online for $10.   As for the CRP2 battery, AA's would be nice. Rechargeable would be better.  The answer is: Buy a CRP2 battery recharger and rechargable CRP2's on Amazon.   This will make the camera rechargable.   If you solve the battery expense-and-availabilty problem in this way, the other N6006 weaknesses are of minimal importance. 

On balance, its many great features make the N6006 a wonderful bargain in the used camera market and even suitable for some professional applications.

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