D300 vs D700

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by katrina_sandstrom, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. I currently own a D100, and am ready to upgrade. Primary uses for my SLR are nature and sports (hockey,
    basketball, baseball, air shows, etc.), I use a compact digital camera for everyday stuff. Does anyone have any
    comments or concerns regarding either camera that I
    should consider before deciding which camera I want to purchase?

  2. I opted for the D700 because I shoot indoor sports and not every venue allows flash. Some gyms are so dim that I need ISO 3200, so the D700 was the right choice. YMMV.
  3. How do you use your photos? How big do you print? What software do you use to process images?
  4. Both are amazing cameras. It's tough to really compare the two fairly. The D700 cost a heck of a alot more money. It's full framed, it has better ISO performance.

    The D300 has a crop factor which helps you if you need reach with your telephoto's. But if you want wide angle then the D700 is your best bet.

    I would assume for just about everything the D700 is the better camera...hence the large cost difference. It's up to you if you want to spend the $ or not.

    YOu also need to consider the fact that some of your lenses possible will not work w/ your D700. If you have any DX only lenses then you'll need to sell those and buy glass that is intended for full frame sensors.
  5. I own the D200, D300 and the D700. For night time sports or low light basketball gyms, D700 hands down because of the High ISO with very very low nosie issues. I shot a game last night in a very low lighted gym. At H1 on the D700, 70-200 f/2.8, SS was around 800. Email me and I'll shoot you an image. Gary@GaryPuckettPhotography.com
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    How happy (or unhappy) are you with the D100 so far? The D300 will be a huge upgrade from the D100 in terms of everything from auto-focus capability, frame rate, to low-light performance ....

    The D700 will certainly be another step up in terms of low-light performance, but I wonder whether that is an overkill in this situation.
  7. When I upgraded from the D300 I had to fork over a lot of cash to get FX glass. That is the main obstacle to buying a D700.
    If you can afford FX glass with the D700 then go for it. I upgraded for the high ISO and the full frame landscape capabilities.
    It is a better camera than the D300. You will be amazed at the ability to shoot with candle light at ISO 6400. Don't get me
    wrong the D300 is a great camera but the D700 is in a different league. You will have to judge for your self if you can afford
    to get the FX glass. Do not fool your self with buying cheap lenses for the D700, you might as well stick to DX (D300) if you

    Advantage for sports with the D300: 1.5 x (DX) you will get more use out of your telephoto lenses. LAndscapes with the
    D300: cheap glass, more options.

    Cons: less ISO to work with. Not full frame. Basically a D200 with better auto focus and ISO.

    Landscape photos with the D700: Better dynamic range and more flexibility with low light shooting at high ISO. Sports: More
    room to work with, ISO 3200 is usable without noise reduction. ISO 4000-6400 starts to show noise but still acceptable.

    Cons: The glass for the D700 is not cheap and FX systems have less options for lenses than DX.

    Hope this helps.
  8. If you're shooting sports you'll love the D700. Overall you will also have a wider selection of lenses for the D700, and I have found that I can spend less for lenses vs. the DX format for the D300. An example is I spent $550 for the Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 lens, but only had to spend $152 for a Tamron 17-35mm f2.8-4 when I bought the D700. Also I spent $650 (new) for the Nikon 16-85mm VR, whereas I can get a used Nikon 24-120mm VR zoom for $300. So overall I would say your best bet is the D700. I find high ISO very usable all the way up to ISO 6400, whereas the D300 I would say is usable up to ISO 1600, with ISO 3200 a last resort.
  9. The money spent on a D700 will be wasted if you don't have the fast lenses to support it. For what you want to photo, you need a 70-200mm f2.8 type lens first and foremost. If you don't have something like that, buy that and spend what you have left over on a camera. Really, most photography comes down to lenses first, cameras last. If you already have a collection of f2.8 zooms then you might start thinking about a D700. From what I've read, you gain one or two ISO stop from the D300. I don't see the point in putting an f5.6 lens on the D700. That negates the two stop gain from ISO right there.

    Kent in SD
  10. Actually the D700 is so good at high ISOs, you really don't need an f2.8 lens as much as you might with a D300. Really, it's that good. You can shoot at ISO 1600 and get the same quality as you would at ISO 800 on the D300. That's two stops better. And for sports you're wasting your time with VR, better to get the straight Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 zoom for half the price.
  11. OP - come on, you're asking a question which can't be answered. You have opposing uses, so you'll just have to pony
    up for one of each.

    More seriously, what's your budget? Apparently, you must not have one if either camera affordable. In that case, what's
    holding you back from the D700?

    >uses for my SLR are nature and sports (hockey, basketball, baseball, air shows, etc.)<

    Here's my take -


    1) Hockey and basketball, are indoor sports. One point for the D700 for it's awesome ability to better use high ISOs.

    2) Air shows, baseball? These are outdoor activities, and those are going to require long lenses because you might not
    be up close and personal to the action. One point for the D300 for the longer reach of its optics. But it's not as if the
    D700 is inappropriate for these sorts of photos.


    3) Animals? Point for the D300, again for the ability to move closer with the crop factor.

    4) Macro: doesn't matter, unless you're making very large prints.

    4) Landscapes? It won't matter if you unless making very large prints, or unless you want something wider than 10mm
    on DX - that's akin to 15mm on a full-frame. Landscapes, after all, can involve any sort of lens, from super-wide to

    5) Cost: no contest, the D300 - but that isn't an issue for you, apparently. If it is, overall I'd say go for the D300. It'll be
    fine everywhere you want to use it with the possible exception of indoor sporting events. If cost isn't a factor, then it
    should be obvious - there's a reason the D700 costs more - if offers more. But as mentioned above, the D700, whether
    you can afford it or not, might be overkill for what you like to do.
  12. I have used my D300 since April, and I had D200 for 1.5 years prior to that. Soon after I got my D300 I wanted to
    get D700, but it was too soon (since I just got D300).
    I would like to get D700 for the better results at higher ISO. I have noticed noise at anything over ISO-200 in
    black night sky with buildings filling just 10% of the picture or so...... in my 1s, 2s, 4s, 8s exposures.... i
    wasn't impressed with ISO-800 or ISO-1600 at all. Early morning shots at 1/90s with ISO-1600 i didn't like
    either. The colors tend to wash out at ISO-1600. I use ISO-200 whenever i can, ISO-400 if i have to, and ISO-800
    hesitantly if there is danger of subject blurring.
    <img src="http://www.robertbody.com/cities08/images/2008-11-16-tempe-lake-48760.jpg">
    In this case i used ISO-200, or else I notice quality loss.
    However, in today's pictures ISO-800 seemed fine for this:
    <img src="http://www.robertbody.com/cities08/images/2008-12-03-tempe-mark-water-59303.jpg">

    I wouldn't like D700 because it would mess up the lens collection i have, I use my 17-35mm as my primary, 50mm
    f/1.8 if i need something longer, and 105mm f/2.8 macro for my telephoto. I take them all with me at all times,
    not too much to carry, maximum performance. With D700 I would gain the ultrawide 17-35mm as it should be, but
    then i would be missing the 35mm-70mm range (my 17-35mm on D300 is about 25mm-52mm) and my 105mm would feel
    shorter too. I would probably want to get 24-70mm f/2.8 to use as primary but i sure would not want to give up my
    so the $1000 difference to get D700 would not be the end, i would need another $1600 for 24-70mm,
    so for now I just wait for D700 to keep dropping in price, and hoping to keep my D300 until i notice signs of
    wear, both
    the rubber separating from the body and the dead pixels, as happened with my D200 at 90,000 clicks. I am at
    60,000 clicks with my D300.
  13. Also to support D700 idea, there was a post how D700 image cropped still looked better than the D300 image not cropped ------ in support of how a smaller sensor is still not helping with its 1.5X multiplier........ the larger sensor of D700 still wins.
    And then the idea of using a wideangle as it should be..... and 50mm being a real 50mm as it should be.... in addition to the LARGER SENSOR of 35mm size.
  14. One other difference between the D300 and D700 is the VF size (or %age of the image shown). The D300 has 100% VF
    coverage of the image, the D700 doesn't - I've seen it generally described as 95% coverage, although Thom Hogan
    describes it as 90% ("95% view on both the X and Y axis adds up to 90% overall area").

    What comments do D700 users make about this?
  15. My F100 had 95% view I believe.... there would be that little bit of a surprise at the edges sometimes... Not a deciding factor though, one would be more inclined to pick D3 for like $1500 over D700 price, rather than pay $1000 less and get D300.
  16. When I had the same choice I made my decision based on my use of wide vs tele. What I needed for ISO preformance. How long the body may last before upgraditis hits and price. I have a lot of older primes and a had few DX zooms. I shoot pretty much everything from street to landscape to small birds and action shots. Outside and in musuems, day and night. One body will not cover all these in the best manner. I choose the D700 and will suffer a bit with the tele shots but hopefully I will not be upgrading again for many years, at least that is what I tell myself every day. It is pretty easy to manual focus (500mm f4 P) with the D700 and now my 180mm f2.8 has a good auto focus response.
  17. It's up to you... If you have DX lenses, choose the D300.
    If you will be able tu buy FX lenses, such as 14-24 mm F/2.8 or 24-70 mm F/2.8 etc..., then choose the D700.
  18. What must be determined is long-term use.

    The D3/D3x/D700 is what Nikon has produced to look after the full-frame
    (135mm sized digital advocates),
    the D300 is for those who prefer the smaller digital sized format.

    With the small size digital lenses are a farther reach
    marked on the lense.
    If the longer reach is what is required, go for the D300.

    If however the 135mm format in digital is what is required
    (and with it a higher ISO capability)
    the D700 (or the D3/D3x) is the camera.

    However as has been suggested the lenses are the bugaboo.
    You've probably already invested in DX lenses with the D100.

    Hence the D300 would be the route.

    However the rules are changing. Suspect the D700 being the
    second horse (and now third)
    in the FX race for Nikon will have some glitches; best wait.

    The D300 is built upon a proven formula of a number of digital
    cameras, each an improvement upon the former.

    So "in your case" the D300 is the route to go.

    And, I suspect may well be the last of the smaller digital
    sensored Nikon camera. Look for lesser priced FX
    cameras next time around.
  19. Tom,

    Regarding the viewfinder on the D700, I'm getting used to it and it's not an issue for me. I did really appreciate the D300 having nearly 100% coverage but to be honest, I've messed up photos in the past by cropping out something more than I've messed up photos by leaving too much in the frame, so actually I like the fact that the D700 shows you only 90-95%. I do wish it were centered though. It leaves more on the left side of the frame vs. the right side. Shun posted an excellent example of this in another thread which I can't find at the moment.
  20. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I reposted the D700's viewfinder coverage check in the D700 review (as a follow up post):

    Scroll to near the bottom.
  21. I been shooting hockey for the past 5 years at about 8000 frames per year. Started out with a D70 and moved to a D300
    last year. I shoot with an AF 80-200 f2.8 ED on a mono pod over and tight to the glass at the hash marks to the right of the goalie
    (watch out for the pucks coming from the defense-man), the 1.5 crop is a great advantage as it allows you to shoot to
    the other end of the ice and then zoom into the goalie at the near end. I keep the ISO as low as possible, 400-600
    depending on the rink and set the speed to 1/320 and let the aperture float. Without the crop I would need a longer lens
    and Nikon doesn't build a longer zoom with an f2.8, well not that I know of and probably not within my budget and the risk
    of one of those defense-men slamming a puck into your lens is very very real. I also prefer the AF 80-200 f2.8 ED
    without the VR as the players are always in constant and erratic motion and the VR has trouble, tested an AF 70-
    200 f2.8 VR for a game and sent it back to B&H.

    So for hockey and probably basketball, although the court is not as long as a 250' rink but the lighting is typically poor if
    it's High School, better if its College and great if it's the pros, I would go with the D300 and buy some good glass with the
    difference in cost. Daylight sports are a no brainer as there is lots of light and plenty of glass to choose from therefor
    the D700 would work fine, it all depends on your shooting priorities.
  22. It really boilds down to a few specific things:

    1) The D700 has better high ISO performance. If that's very desirable, then one point for the D700.

    2) What lenses do you already have? Are the focal lengths you want better handled by the DX format? Does FX mean several new lenses, long lens limitations or new opportunities? Pick carefully, lenses are going to cost and they tend to change your working methods.

    3) Price. Clearly, the D700 is much more expensive. And it's no point buying a D700 and put just mediocre glass on it, especially since the life of lenses is longer than that of camera bodies. If you have the money, then the D700 is an excellent choice, but if it's stretching your budget, then better go with the D300. Keep in mind that you may need computer upgrades, accessories, new lenses etc. after getting the new camera.

    One thing to keep in mind is that both cameras are simply huge upgrades to the D100, so neither one is a bad choice, quite the contrary.
  23. Good time!

    ACTUALLY, for the money Nikon wants for all D200, D300, D700, etc... first what should be absolutely provided is
    rugged body and absence of design "mistakes" (such as non-centered view in the D700's viewfinder reported by Shun

    Few issues related to the body rigidity are: rubber cover sometimes take away on D200, and a liiiiitle it does so
    on my
    D300, also the reports about the CF card door on D700, which has no lock! (which is also a design mistake)

    While I can understand 95% coverage on viewfinder on D700 (to avoid direct competition with D3) i absolutely dont
    understand the shift of the view in
    it. It seems that my D300 has also a little shift, but i didn't do any exact measurements like Shun..

    Why did i say this?

    Because I'm waiting for the FX format which is free from mentioned issues within the price tag of D300 (<2000) :)

  24. I own both cameras and use both regularly. I used to use a D200 (I shoot mostly wildlife/nature). I upgraded to the D700
    and loved it's high ISO capabilities and the fact that my 17-35mm was back to being a great wide angle zoom. But all of
    a sudden my 600mm lens, which I had gotten used to as a 900 on the D200 was back to a 600. At the same time I
    traded in my old manual 600mm f5.6 for a 200-400 zoom, losing even more focal length. I ended up picking up a D300 to
    use as a backup to the D700 and to use for smaller birds and other situation where I need more reach. What I found,
    however, is that I shoot much more often with the D300 because I'm always seeming to need more reach. The D300 is
    acceptable to me up to 800 ISO (if the lighting conditions are right). If I need to go up to 1600, I switch to the D700 even
    if I need the extra reach. With plenty of good light, I almost always use the D300 when I'm shooting with telephoto lenses
    at 200 ISO. If the situation calls for wide angle, it's the D700 regardless of light. I know you don't want to get both
    cameras, so I guess my bottom line advice would be to get the D300 if you need the reach.
  25. "Do not fool your self with buying cheap lenses for the D700, you might as well stick to DX (D300) if you can't."

    There are plenty of excellent Nikkor lenses that don't cost a lot. Buy a few primes, mix in some MF, and skip
    the VR. You don't need expensive zooms that cover every possible focal length.
  26. Just go out there and get the D700... you will definitely love it.
  27. Why choose? Get 'em both. I did. :)
  28. Ok, I really dont get the problem about the d700 and the loss of telephoto, For all of you thinking use lose 1.5 factor you dont! you just have more in your frame, There is absolutly
    no magnification loss, remember the 1.5 factor is crop value only! a 200mm non dx is a 200mm non dx, so in other words the image that you get with a d200, 300, or whatever nikon dslr other than a d700 or d3 the dx image is just a smaller cropped image of what would of been in a full frame fx image. Where you really lose out with a dx image with a non-dx lens is wide angle now there is truth to that!
  29. >a 200mm non dx is a 200mm non dx, so in other words the image that you get with a d200, 300, or whatever nikon dslr other than a d700 or d3 the dx image is just a smaller cropped image<
    True, Mike. However, imagine two photographers are standing some distance away from, say, a water buffalo, one with a DX camera, one with a FF camera, each with the same 12 magapixel count.
    The buffalo is the same size in each sensor, except, of course, there's a lot more space around the buffalo in the FF sensor, while the buffalo essentially fills the frame of the DX camera.
    If the FF photographer crops away some of the extraneous scenery, the photo now has several less megapixels spread out over the image of the buffalo. The DX photographer is happy with his shot, and he retains the full 12 megapixels.
    So the choice isn't always so easy to come as to what makes a better camera, at least in certain situations.
  30. bigger sensor = better sharpness, and low-light performance.
    the "1.5 magnification" is a result of projecting an image onto smaller sensor, using only part of the available image.
    I took a picture with 300mm lens and cropped to 10% on the bird because that's how small he was [with my D300]. So with D3 tlhe crop would have been even more ridiculous, but that's because the lens is just not enough. The right way would be with 500mm f/4 + 1.4X, a 700mm lens and then crop. or the $11,000 800mm f/5.6 [oh wait Nikon doesn't make that one in VR, but Canon does] Otherwise it's just 'wanting more than paying for'.
    There was some feedback on here how a cropped FX image was still better than not-so-cropped DX image...... DX wasn't better, it was slightly worse. If you want max quality, then DX is not the smart solution, it's a smaller sensor that's more affordable, the "magnification" is an illusion.... you are using a smaller sensor, that's the bottom line
  31. Been thinking about upgrading to the D700 from my D300 as well, so this thread is very useful. With me it would come down to higher quality images and ability to use lenses from my F100 as well. Looking to do more landscape pictures really.
    Also, where is the total frame counter on the d300, as i'm wanting to know if its due a service!
  32. "Also, where is the total frame counter on the d300, as i'm wanting to know if its due a service!"​
    Check the EXIF data in any meta data reader. Even the freebie/donorware program Irfanview can do this. Be sure to check the total shot counter for the camera, not the media card.
  33. If you're shooting sports you'll love the D700.​
    In most cases, only if shooting indoor sports. Outside, the crop factor of the D300 might be a big advantage.

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