The Nikon D600 crosses the two segments of Nikon's line of DSLR cameras: it's a pro spec full-frame camera, with some distinctly consumer features.

Launching at £1,955 - and without doubt some good deals will bring that price down after launch - it's priced within reach of the Nikon D800. But where that model still sits in the £2k+ bracket, we can't help feeling that this full-frame little brother will attract a lot of attention.

In the hands the Nikon D600 is reassuringly weighty. It's 760g without the battery, the lens you choose will quickly push this weight skywards, but it’s more compact than both its bigger brothers. But it is Nikon's smallest and lightest full frame camera, ever.

That doesn't mean this is an entirely new, or compromised, model. Much of what we find in the Nikon D600 is an evolution of the components found in the D800 and D4 paired with those from the D7000.

Nikon D600

However, the sensor is newly developed. The 24.3-megapixel CMOS sensor is full-frame, FX format, as Nikon calls it. This is backed by the EXPEED 3 image processor.

Nikon is assuring great performance under all lighting conditions and if it performs like the D4 and D800, then there's plenty to be excited about.

The Multi-CAM4800 autofocus system offers up to 39-points, like the D7000. In our test shots before the UK unveiling, we found the D600 to be fast and responsive. Focusing was impressively fast, although we had only a limited range of scenarios to test. 

Equally, we weren't able to view any of our shots on the big screen, but previewing them on the 3.2-inch 921k-dot display on the rear, they looked impressive, as did the quality of that screen. The viewfinder is bright and detailed, with plenty of information on display to aid shooting without the need constantly to move your eye from the action.

Nikon D600

There is a shoulder display that carries most shooting information, which offers rear illumination, but there is no illumination on the rear buttons as you'll find on higher pro Nikon models.

The biggest change from the pro models is the presence of a top mode dial that's very much consumer fare. It offers typical shooting modes, such as aperture and shutter priority, as well as things like Auto and Scene modes, and this, along with the general arrangement of controls, leaves the D600 feeling much closer to the D7000.

In our brief time with the camera we weren't able to test the shooting performance, or many of the features that this camera offers, so a definitive evaluation will have to wait for our Nikon D600 review, which will be along soon after launch.

However, it's clear that the Nikon D600 offers huge potential and we can't wait to put it through its paces.

Why not check out our first impressions of the full frame Sony A99?