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D300/D300s Replacement

Laura Delegal , Sep 24, 2012; 02:59 p.m.

I have the Nikon D300 and D300s. Love them both and use them daily. I consider myself more of a semi-pro than an enthusiast, shooting for local newspapers and selling online in a variety of markets. I'm beginning to look for another camera with higher ISO capabilities, mainly for sports. I've tried to compare the D300s with the D600, but I'm not satisfied because in order to gain the higher ISO I have to give up other features. Is it worth it?

ISO - D300s 200-3200 / D600 100-6400
Effective Pixels – D300s 12.3 mpx / D600 24.3 mpx
FPS – D300s 7 fps / D600 5.5 fps
Focus Points – D300s 51 / D600 39
Max Shutter – D300s 1/8000 sec / D600 1/4000 sec

Is there another alternative that might be a tiny step up from the D300s to something with higher ISO? If I move up to a FX camera, it would need to be compatible with my DX format lenses since I don’t want to replace them.

Here's a link to a side-by-side comparison on DP Review: http://www.dpreview.com/products/compare/side-by-side?products=nikon_d300&products=nikon_d300s&products=nikon_d700&products=nikon_d600&sortDir=ascending

Responses


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Shun Cheung , Sep 24, 2012; 03:20 p.m.

The D600 is essentially the FX version of the D7000, which is 16MP. If you move to FX, you will likely need some new lenses. If you are staying in DX, you might as well wait a few more months to see what Nikon has to upgrade from the D300S. The D7000 is an option, but as you outline above yourself, in some areas, the D600 and D7000 will be somewhat a downgrade from the D300S.

Andrew Garrard , Sep 24, 2012; 03:31 p.m.

If you want the FX version of a D300s (meaning the same autofocus and frame rate but with better low light), you might find a cheap - possibly used - D700 with grip (otherwise you won't get 7fps) or a D3. A D3s would give you significantly better low-light still, but I believe they're still quite expensive. The D4 gives you the same but with more resolution and a bigger hit to your bank balance.

I'd have a look at D7000 reviews and see whether you're happy with its low light performance (which is very close to the D700 despite the smaller sensor). Like Shun, I would strongly expect the D300s to get an update (D400) in the reasonably near future, because a lot of people are waiting for something more modern, even if it's just a D300s autofocus module and frame rate combined with a D7000 sensor. If you can live with the D7000 as is, it's a cheaper option that'll give you better low light than the D300s; assuming you want a definitive upgrade in all areas then I'm afraid you're waiting for Nikon to get around to releasing something for your needs. Good luck, and I feel your pain.

Dieter Schaefer , Sep 24, 2012; 04:15 p.m.

even if it's just a D300s autofocus module and frame rate combined with a D7000 sensor.

I would be happy with that "D400" already. If it indeed would be just that, than the reason we haven't seen one yet is the Nikon release policy: one-by-one with highest priced one first. Could also be that Nikon is working on a high-end DX camera that will push the envelop: 24MP and 8fps and that we haven't seen it because Nikon doesn't quite know yet how to accomplish this yet. Personally, I'd be happy if the D400 wouldn't top 18MP, do at least 8fps and provide AF at f/8.

Eric Arnold , Sep 24, 2012; 04:30 p.m.

your post points to a hole in nikon's product line. in all probability, the d300s replacement will be out next year and will have the same 24mp sensor as the d3200. in the meantime, a d700 makes sense as it takes the same battery and grip as the d300s. d600 has much lower FPS and much larger files, which is an issue for PJs who shoot high frame rates. forget using DX lenses on FX other than in a pinch. if you can't swing FX lenses, you're looking at the d7000 as next closest thing.

i'm wondering what lenses you have now? perhaps investing in a 70-200 would be the way to go as it will be useful now and also later, if you go FX. if you're currently using a variable aperture DX tele, you can mitigate the high ISO performance with wider apertures. sadly, sigma discontinued the 50-150/2.8, but that's still an excellent DX 2.8 lens for your intended use. an 85/1.4 or 135/2 would also give you faster apertures, but AF performance will not be as fast and they're less versatile than a zoom for sports and action.

Michael Bradtke , Sep 24, 2012; 04:39 p.m.

I was in the same boat as you shooting D300 and D300s and I ended up going to the D4. I need the high frame rate at times as well as the robust build.
I was really hoping that Nikon would announce a D300 replacement at Photokina but that did not happen.

Mike R , Sep 24, 2012; 06:54 p.m.

I agree that 18mp would be great for a D400 if there is one. As I posted in my other thread about the rationale of moving up to FX, I've been struggling here lately, mainly due to not knowing if there ever will be an upgrade. It's not that my D300s isn't still a great camera. It's almost like Let's Make a Deal. You know what's behind door one and door two (the D600 and D800), but you don't know what's behind door three. Is it a D400 or something much, much less, if anything at all.

Dieter Schaefer , Sep 24, 2012; 08:05 p.m.

Thom Hogan wrote this in his D600 comments ( http://www.bythom.com/d600.htm ): If Nikon isn't aware of the dissatisfaction of the D300 users right now, they're not paying attention. If they are, then they're showing disrespect to their customers. Neither of those are good.
Can't say I blame him for writing it - or those who agree with that statement as I can't help but feeling I am one of them. Could still come worse though: there might be nothing behind door #3. Enough said.

@Laura - if you want/need to stay with DX, then you can either wait and hope or check out the D7000. It will give you a bit better high ISO performance and only you can decide if the features you give up are expendable.

Shun Cheung , Sep 24, 2012; 08:06 p.m.

Please keep in mind that even the D4 still uses the Multi-CAM 3500 AF module, although it has been improved a bit. So other than high-ISO results and if you captured video, video quality, there is nothing that wrong with the D300 and D300S. If Nikon is going to update it, it had better be a significant improvement.

I really doubt that you'll see any 24MP DSLR, DX or FX, that can capture 8+ frames/sec any time soon. If Nikon is going to keep this "D400" as a sports/action DSLRs to compete against Canon's 7D and its successor, epxect it to have 16 or 18MP. If it matches the D3200's 24MP, expect a slower frame rate.

Kent Staubus , Sep 24, 2012; 08:23 p.m.

If you shoot DX lenses on a D600, that camera defaults to DX crop. Why on earth would you pay $2,000 for a camera and then shoot it in crop mode? Doing that, a D7000 just might outperform it. Also, don't forget that on a D7000 your 70-200mm f2.8 will perform like a 300mm f2.8. On a D600 you lose that and it will cost you major money to get it back. Not sure you're gaining anything at all with a D600 considering you don't make large prints. I'm sitting tight for a few more months, waiting for a D400.

Kent in SD


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