D300/D300s Replacement

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by leroy_photography, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. 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/co...on_d700&products=nikon_d600&sortDir=ascending
     
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    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.
     
  3. 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.
     
  4. 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.
     
  5. 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.
     
  6. 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.
     
  7. 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.
     
  8. 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.
     
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    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.
     
  10. 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
     
  11. Laura, I am on the same horse that you are. I do have a D300 and I do not want to go FX for now, so the only option is the D7000 which is not a complete replacement of my D300. I am waiting for another DX camera better than the D7000, expecting that Nikon give us the D400 so I can upgrade.
     
  12. A more direct update to the APS-C format D300/D300s is the D7000. But without knowing what type of photos you make
    it is difficult at a distance to make a firm recommendation as to what you should consider.

    I do strongly suggest that if at all possible you get to a store that stocks the D7000, the D600, the D800 and possibly the
    D4 and try them. See how they work in your hands and at your eye. How you interact with a camera is more meaningful
    and concrete than comparing specs on a website.
     
  13. I think there will almost certainly be some kind of "D400" or "D9000" replacement for the D300s. It wouldn't be smart for Nikon to max out the frame rate at 6fps (current D7000 rate) unless one spends $6000 on a D4. A D300s replacement with a 16MP sensor really soon (like early next year) and a D7000 replacement later next year (like next September) falls in line with these expensive-to-low price point announcements.
    I have a D300s and also wanted a low-light FX option with a high frame rate (ideally a true D700 replacement), and once the D600 was actually announced, I went out and got a used D700, which I use with the MB-D10 grip that the D300s uses. The sensor is older technology, but the ISO performance is much better than a D300s, you get 8fps with the grip, you share the same batteries, and I believe you don't give up anything with the autofocus system. This could be a very good option if you want something now and cannot wait for the a D300s follow-on (which is something we are all speculating about and may not happen).
     
  14. Shun and I have disagreed in another thread about the 24MP D400 prospects. For what it's worth, I still suspect there are people who want a pro specification body and want DX pixel density for reach, which makes me think that 24MP may have benefits over a D7000 sensor variant - if the frame rate doesn't suffer (and the performance of the NEX-7 suggests that a DX sensor with this performance is possible, if the rest of the system keeps up). On the other hand, I've always thought of the D300 as more of a (good light) sports body, or at least a journalist work-horse camera, so I think it's imperative that the frame rate doesn't suffer.

    I don't have a good feeling for how the low light performance of a D3200 compares with the D5100/D7000, and - while FX cameras are the real low-light solution - I'd suggest that this isn't a compromise that people will be willing to make. DXO suggests that the D3200 falls behind the D7000 sensor in dynamic range and (slightly) in noise, but it's hard to tell how much of that is the 12-bit encoder on the D3200 - and I don't know whether that was a budget feature or an inherent limitation of the sensor.

    Anyway, idle speculation. Nikon are in an awkward situation. If the D400 (when/if it appears) is the flagship DX camera, if it doesn't match the D3200 resolution then people will wonder why not, and if it can't match the D7000 for dynamic range and noise, people will wonder about that too. I'll be interested to see what trade-off they can produce.

    Also, while I agree there's a big gap between the market rate of the D7000 and D600, I'm not sure that Nikon should feel obliged to aim the D400 for the gap. I'm not sure that all DX customers go DX to save money - a pro-spec D400 that's really a match for the D4 except for low light performance would probably sell even in the D800 price bracket. I'm speculating again; it does seem like the gap is ripe for filling, but it feels wrong to me that a high-end DX camera should be priced - and consequently compromised - for the prosumer market.
     
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I still suspect there are people who want a pro specification body and want DX pixel density for reach​
    Andrew, I am sure there are lots of people who want a D4 at $100 too. Just because they want it does not at all mean they'll get it, in 2012. Perhaps in year 2022, a used D4 may indeed become $100.
    Moving and storing 24MP at 10 frames/sec is costly, and since sports/action photographers tends to capture a lot of frames, storing all of those images at 24MP is also costly. That is why with the D800, I tend to delete whatever that is not useable very quickly to free up disk space.
    Most likely, Nikon will do for DX just like what they do for FX: have one sports/action DSLR that can capture 8 to 10 frames/sec with a more modest pixel count, as the DX version of the D4 but without the crazy build quality, size/weight and of course price tag. The successor to the D7000 can have 24MP but without the top-of-the-line AF module and frame rate.
    In other words, we'll have the "DX version of the D4" and the "DX version of the D600."
     
  16. I am sure there are lots of people who want a D4 at $100 too. Just because they want it does not at all mean they'll get it, in 2012​
    :) My sympathy with them is based on the fact that, if you can focus it, the D3200 is currently the best camera in Nikon's range for a specific set of applications. Sticking a D3200 sensor in a D300 body doesn't seem like rocket science to me as a solution to these people, irrespective of frame rate.
    Moving and storing 24MP at 10 frames/sec is costly, and since sports/action photographers tends to capture a lot of frames, storing all of those images at 24MP is also costly. That is why with the D800, I tend to delete whatever that is not useable very quickly to free up disk space.​
    True, although I'm not sure that it's worse than processing 12MP images was when the D300 was launched. I maintain that Nikon should introduce a low-resolution high bit-depth "SRAW" output option. Sure, smaller sizes always give more frames in a given memory, but there's a trade-off, and I'm still dubious that a true D400 should be designed to such a budget that this matters.
    Most likely, Nikon will do for DX just like what they do for FX: have one sports/action DSLR that can capture 8 to 10 frames/sec with a more modest pixel count, as the DX version of the D4 but without the crazy build quality, size/weight and of course price tag. The successor to the D7000 can have 24MP but without the top-of-the-line AF module and frame rate.​
    I'm sure plenty wouldn't object to that (D4-derivative) "D400". I'm a little worried that, if the sensor processing doesn't match the dynamic range of the D7000, some "D7100" customers might object. I'm certainly concerned that those wanting D3200 reach for (good light) wildlife and press use might really want to pay for D300 class autofocus.

    But in all these cases I'm guessing what others may want - my D800 is unlikely to get company in the immediate future. I'd love something like a D3200 for reach, but I'd prefer it to have D300 handling - however, I'm only, at this stage, prepared to pay D3200 money to get it. I'm realistic that this isn't going to happen, but I'd like to think that, for people willing to throw money at the problem, it might.

    Laura: which would you prefer?
     
  17. There are wild / nature professional photographers expecting a pro DX camera as we speak. The D7000 does not behave that good with long telephoto lenses above 200 mm according to Brad Hill's review on this camera. So I wonder if Nikon produce the rumored D400, would that camera be better than the D7000 so professional sports / wild / nature photographers will benefit from ?
    Now if you want to upgrade just because you want a better low light performance, then by all means get the D7000, but if you want a camera that completely overpower the D300/D300s on all their features, still we do not have it. The only option is to go FX and if you want to dedicate to sport / wild / nature photography, you would need a lot of money to buy the telephoto lenses that would cost even more than the camera.
     
  18. The frustration with no D400 release seems to be shared by many. Yes, the D300/D300s are great. But that doesn't solve a lot of people's issues.
    I, for one, needed a backup for my D300. It is several years old and when travelling in remote areas, I couldn't risk it failing. My photography has progressed beyond my old D80 that used to be my backup--it's lack of external controls and out-dated ISO performance left me wanting in upgrade. So what to do? Ideally the D300 would become the backup (since it would be older than any new camera) and the new one would be my primary camera. D400 would have been the perfect solution.
    But no D400 forever. And no way was I buying another D300/s camera released years ago without updated ISO performance. I shoot a lot of wildlife and the ISO performance matters a lot to me. By ISO 800 on the D300/s, I am already pushing beyond where I'd like in terms of acceptable noise. D7000 and all other DX models lack the external controls I highly value. I also want real weather sealing and a strong body.
    I waited and waited and ultimately realized I was willing to pay $2000 for a D400 so the cost of a D800 was effectively just an extra $1000. I bit the bullet and got the D800. I already planned to move toward FX glass like the 70-200mm and eventually the 200-400, so it isn't like the D800 is forcing me to buy glass I wasn't going to. As I said, I shoot a lot of wildlife and the Nikkor 80-400mm isn't cutting it anymore--it is just too frustrating in terms of softness at the longest end and too slow at f/5.6 when every f/stop counts.
    I couldn't care less about MPs since I got great quality enlargements from even my 10MP D80. I just wanted a sealed, rugged DX with external functions and better high ISO performance than the D300. I waited a few years and gave up. I'm very happy with the D800, but it is frankly overkill for what I need in terms of file size. Wish I could have just got a D400. But it is what it is. Maybe when my now backup D300 needs replacing (hopefully well into the future), the question will be answered as to whether Nikon will continue to back and produce a high end DX body.
     
  19. Kyle: So it sounds as though Nikon's "top down" release strategy is working, then, if you bought a more expensive camera than you really wanted? (Actually, it seems to be a "both ways" strategy, since the D3200 and D5100 are newer, and the D300 is caught in the middle.)
     
  20. Perhaps. I think it is also sort of a business plan built of necessity. I don't fault the company or mean to imply criticism. The profoundly awful flooding in Thailand last year where the DX factories are surely delayed development and planned releases, too. Now I just have to figure out which kidney to sell for that 200-400mm lens.
     
  21. We can look for hints at Nikon's marketing plans if we examine the price points.
    The D7000 is now $900
    The D600 is $1900
    The D800 is $3000
    There is a possible gap there at $1400 for something DX better than a D7000 or its replacement. But if the D7000 is still meeting sales targets (especially with the price drop which is another hint), it can't be any dearer than $1400 as it will get too close to the price of the D600.
    On cost alone, a DX body with the expensive chassis of the D300/300s is expensive to produce, and it looks doubtful to get under that $1400 price point. It may mean that the D7000 gets an upgrade rather than a whole new Pro DX body replacement for the D300s being released. To me, with the decades behind me, Nikon may bring out a revved up D8000, with everything more expensive being FX.
    Canon is in this predicament also. The $2000 price point is becoming really cluttered and that means some pricing adjustments in the next three months. If it were me and if I had a bunch of DX lenses, I'd either buy a $900 D7000 now and keep it for 2-3 years or old off a bit. The next round of product releases will be in early December in time for Christmas.
    I can also see Nikons DX line come under pricing pressure from the high end 4/3 and mirrorless markets. This scenario could see DX being squeezed from above and below.
     
  22. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The D7000 does not behave that good with long telephoto lenses above 200 mm according to Brad Hill's review on this camera.​
    I have never seen that review, but my D7000 has been working great with my 500mm/f4 AF-S and 200-400mm/f4 AF-S VR in the last two years; however, the D7000 is demanding enough that I have started using the 500mm/f4 at f5.6 instead of f4 on the D7000 and also D800. I have had that lens since 1998 and used to use it wide open perhaps 90+% of the time. Those newer, dense-pixel cameras start to reveal that lens' limitations.
    The D7000 is a fine camera but its AF is not quite as good as that on the D300, D700, and D800, but its main issue for action photography is the limited buffer size.
    Photokina has come and gone. Think of it this way, had Nikon introduced this "D400" instead of the D600, all of a sudden Canon has the $2100 6D while Nikon has no FX body below the $3000 D800, the uproar against Nikon would have been crazy. There is no magic wand that can add factory capacity and skilled workers out of nowhere. While they are busy making D600 in Thailand (do you notice that it is already in stock all over the place, no shortage?), this D400 just has to wait.
    Have all of your D300, D300S, and D7000 stop functioning all of a sudden? I don't see why people can't wait another few more months.
     
  23. I would expect an upgrade (of whatever form) for the D7000 to cost more than the current, discounted, market rate for a D7000. That may fill the gap in the pricing. Maybe a D400 would fit there as well, but I still think Nikon might benefit in making it an alternative to, not a little brother of, the D600. I don't criticise the D600 release - people have been crying out for a cheaper FX camera for ages (even after the 5D series and D700 picked up a lot of custom) - but I do think the D300s is very overdue for replacement, and I sympathise with people waiting for an improvement in that class. The D600 didn't surprise me; the appearance of the D7000 and especially D3200 without seeing a D300 update did. I'll be interested in whether there's a 24MP D7100 "mini D800" and a 16MP D400 "mini D4" with a faster frame rate, as Shun suggests, but I think there may be some disappointed people if there's no 24MP DX body paired with a 51-point autofocus sensor - and I'd have thought that unlikely for a D7000 successor (now the D600 has a cut-down sensor).
     
  24. I've been following the post all week and truly thank you for all your responses and the great discussion. Your technical knowlege and terrific reasoning is why I come to Photo.net for answers regarding equipment. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one caught in a quandry with regard to upgrading my D300. I don't want to move up to FX due to many reasons. I don't want to waste money on something I really don't want, whether it be a D7000 or D700/D600. I sure hope Nikon comes out with an upgrade to the D300 that meets my needs as a sports photographer shooting in low light. I don't mind spending bigger bucks (but not too much, please) if I can get what I want and need. In the meantime, I'll just sit on my bank account and hope that Nikon will come up with something in the next 12 months.
     
  25. Have all of your D300, D300S, and D7000 stop functioning all of a sudden? I don't see why people can't wait another few more months.​
    Actually I have both my D300's in for repair right now, so, yes, they did quit functioning. My D7000 still works, but with its focusing, buffer size, and lack of a lock on the exposure mode dial, its not a viable replacement for me. We can and will wait for the D400, do we have a choice? I wanted it yesterday, about a year ago.
     
  26. Now that Nikon have dropped the D7000 price to $900, maybe something is in the breeze. Maybe the upgrade is a D7100 with the D3200 sensor as has been suggested.
     
  27. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

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