D300 or D700

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by steve_may|1, May 31, 2009.

  1. I photograph wildlife (and a little bit of bird photography) with a D300, currently with a 300mm f4 lens. I am thinking of upgrading to the D700.
    My question revolves around quality of the final image (sharpness and detail). Will I get better quality from the D300, given it has a 1.5x crop factor so my 300mm lens is a 450mm lens essentially. Or would the quality from a D700 using the same lens be better despite having to crop a sizeable portion of the image away to get an image which matches in size that of the D300. (the 300mm stays a 300mm due to no crop factor).
    I have no desire to use a tele converter, or buy a more powerful lens.
    So, the same object, at the same distance with the same lens on both cameras. Would the D700 after cropping give a better final result than the D300.
    I would appreciate any opinions, especially those from anyone owning both of these cameras.
  2. It gives you half the megapixels. How big do you print?
    My gut is that people are going to tell you to stick with the D300 for anything telephoto.
  3. If your shooting mainly telephoto, you would probably be better to stick with the D300. Unless you shoot a variety of focal ranges including wide angle, I doubt it will be a benefit. You might be better off waiting for the D300 replacement which will probably be out at the end of the year. If the D700 was 24mp sensor that would be different story. The only real advantage you might gain from the switch would be high ISO performance which may or may not be important to you.
  4. My bet is that you are at your best now. Since the D300 has a smaller sensor you are only using the center part of your lens which is were the quality is best (ussually all lens have poorer corner performance than center). So this cropping thing is playing on your side actually.
  5. I shot a little of everything. I had a D200 with a 500mm f4 P for birding. I needed better high ISO and decided to go with a D700 for overall improvement. The lose of the crop factor meant I needed to add a TC to my 500mm. If my main endeavor was tele use I would have gone with a D300 in a heart beat. I suggest you stay with your D300. I have not compared files but I do lose a lot when cropping. I think the less crop the better as far as the final image is concerned.
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Steve, in your paritcular case, going to a D700 would be a downgrade. I have both cameras, but when I shoot wildlife, I rarely use the D700. I use the D700 for landscape and low-light conditions.
    Last month, I attended a workshop by well known wildlife photographer Frans Lanting, and he currently uses a D300: http://www.photo.net/nature-photography-forum/00TCtL (He also has a D3, but usually he uses the D300.)
  7. Steve, I agree with Shun. There is another very good bird photographer here on PN who has the D300 and the D3. He uses the 200-400mm VR zoom as well as the 500mm f4 VR. For most of his bird shots with the 500mm he pairs it with the D300. I would stick with the D300 and consider investing in a longer lens for birds. Since you have no desire to use a TC and say you are not interested in buying another lens, I think you are in good shape with the D300.
  8. Any body shooting primeary with telephotos, should give serious thought to staying in the DX format with its crop factor. I have both theD300 & D700 and grab the d300 when i know its going to be a telephoto day. exampe - Kids ball game.
    For wildlife you can drag smaller lens around with the d300.
  9. I have both. I bought the D700 for a specific reason - I wanted to see how I'd like to work & how it would work out in my work flow the D700.
    Do I use it for wildlife - sure, but for very specific situations. Take when I need to crank up the ISO - then the D700 is useful. Also - I have reach to 800mm so I'm in a far better position than you in that area.
    Now when we just went on our trip the D700 got far more of the work than the D300 - - reason was obvious, I got very few birds. I shot mostly landscapes.
    FOr now - stick with your D300 & wait & see what Nikon has to offer in the next 6 - 12 months. The D300 is really your best option for wildlife - especially birds - right now.
    Lil :)
  10. I would rather buy a longer lens than use a D300. I already have the longer lenses.
    For high ISO and wide angle, D700 tqkes the prize.
    What sold me was I tried a demo D3 in DX because the store did not know how to get FX and did not want me to use a new D700 as a demo. DX on the D700 was miles better than my newish D200, I bought it-. I am not a fan of pixel packing.
  11. To crop to the view of your D300, you would have a 5mp image. The image quality hasn't changed really, you just don't have as big an image. If you print 8*10 or smaller regularly (and i say 8*10 because the details in feathers in bird photography enitices people to get close to the print) then that's fine, but you will gain very little by using a D700 unless you find yourself shooting at 1600, 3200, and 6400 often (or would like to use these ISOs)
  12. Steve - if you have the money - - put the extra money into a longer lens. The D700 is not a good way to go if you're shooting (as in photographing) birds. With the D700 reach is going to be a major issue & you will have to corp a lot.
    For wide angle stuff I agree that the D700 rocks - - but wildlife & birds are shot with telephoto lenses - end of story. You need reach - - only a wildlife photographer can relate on this. And unless you can get close to the wildlife & birds already - - the D700 is just going to create more issues for you.
    Simplest way to put it is this - -
    Do you crop or not your existing shots - -
    if you do - - then the D700 will have to be cropped even more.
    Something to remember.
    Lil :)
  13. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    While the D700 (and D3) has excellent high-ISO capability, the D300 is not bad either. In terms of high ISO results, the D300 is far superior to anything from Nikon prior to August 2007 (when the D3 and D300 were announced). The D700 maybe 1 to 1.5 stops better, the D300 is not bad at all.
    Attached is an image I captured with the D300 at ISO 1600. While there is visible noise at the pixel level, I find the overall image quite acceptable. The light was poor that day and there isn't much you can go about that. For wildlife photography, you really don't need ISO 3200 and up; when the light is that poor, you might as well not shoot.
    This image was captured with a 500mm/f4 Af-S, though. If you are into wildlife photography, 300mm is going to be very limiting.
  14. Steve,
    I considered buying a D700 a few months ago. After much thought I stayed with my trusty D300, as the image quality is very, very good, and as many has told you already, it makes only sense upgrading if you are dependant on high ISO-shots.
  15. Hiking around the outdoors one soon learns the importance of controlling the weight you are having to carry. The D300 and D700 bodies are pretty similar, but comparable lenses for the FX D700 weigh a enough more to be significant.
  16. shun, that picture is freaking me out. it looks like that otter is eating a human toe
  17. If somebody like Lantig is using a D300, that makes it an easy decision for me.
    Kent in SD
  18. This little bird... no expensive equipment needed.
  19. Frank - I know you're trying to be amusing, but it's a bit of an insult to someone who works as hard as I, and many of my friends, do to get a bird in it's natural habitat.
    I'm going to take your comment as a joke. But it's hardly helpful to Steve.
  20. My apology to anyone offended by prior picture.
    Just recently I witnessed park ranger escorting so called "bird photographer" out to his car, for stepping out too far from the allowed trail in Grand Canyon and scaring off the endangered Condor.
    When the Condor landed closer to me I took opportunity to take a snap of the bird, as attached below. I would certainly not spy on them, scare them or invade their natural habital for my own benefit.
  21. On my own behalf - apology accepted. :)
    You were blessed with a rare sight with the Condor. You mention
    "I would certainly not spy on them, scare them or invade their natural habital for my own benefit."
    This is simply put why wildlife photographers need the focal length - most of the time we're not blessed with these special "encounters"
    Again - congratulations on your very special encounter.
    Lil :)
  22. Wow, thanks for all the responses, very helpful indeed. Suffice it to say, I shall not be upgrading. So, it's down to lenses, wish I could afford the 500mm f4, and I'm not thrilled with the slow focussing reports of the 80-400 zoom - I need a lens that focusses quickly and accurately for some of the wildlife I do. I have a 1.4x and 1.7x converter but have been reluctant to use them (stopped down 2/3 of a stop they are both very very good), but it is almost a 2 stop loss in light to achieve this.
  23. It is possible to use an older 500mm f4 P manual focus lens for birding. It is still expensive but no where near the cost of the new version. And if you are considering a D700 it is with in that price range. I am not sure I would get better focus with AF as my subjects often have branches around them that may fool the AF. The 500mm also requires a good tripod system. IMHO DX and tele just go together. With my D700 its a compromise favoring the wide end.
  24. I'm a big D700 fan, but the D300 would be my choice for shooting birds and distant wildlife. The crop factor will really shine here.
  25. Steve,
    I sometimes use D700 + 300 f/4 + 1.4X TC for birding, (I have found the IQ is excellent even with the teleconverter and wide open aperture). Without the TC 300mm is not going be to long enough for most situations but with TC it is good for medium to large birds (Egrets, Herons, Hawks etc.) for smaller birds like Kestrels, Avocets, Woodpeckers etc. you need to get closer but the D700 high ISO and wide dynamic range in less than ideal light makes up for it. Here are two examples with D700+ 300 f/4 + 1.4X TC
    Turkey Vulture

    American Avocet (small bird)
    Plus if you want solid advice on birding and wildlife photography photo.net is not the best place, check out BPN forums BPN
    Here is one example from D700+300f/4+1.4XTC @ f/6.3 (almost wide open). Also AF is still very fast despite using the TC. Unless you are willing to buy and use the 1.4X TC, naked 300 on D700 is not going to be long enough.
  26. That crop looks sharp! Have you applied any sharpening, and if so, what kind?
  27. Glenn, it is just default Light Room sharpening (25, 0.5, 50) for NEF files.

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