D300s or D7000 for low light weddings and outdoor portraits?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by jamie_smith|3, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. Currently I am working with a D700 with 50mm 1.4G lens. PERFECT for portraits. Unfortunately, it's not my camera. (My husband's father lets me use it frequently. He's quite wealthy and bought the camera for point and shoot purposes!! lol so he doesn't use it often.) I have the D60 (used it for learning purposes for about 2 years) and would like to upgrade now that I've been practicing with the D700 for quite some time now.
    The only restraint is that I don't have the budget for the body of a d700 (which is ultimately what I really want.) So I am thinking of "settling" for a less expensive model in the $1200-$1800 range (for just the body) until I work my way up in affording possibly the d700's updated model--whenever that may come out; probably around the time I will be able to afford one! I still plan to get the 50mm 1.4G lens.
    I am an avid Nikon user. I am considering either the D300s or the D7000. I was hoping someone could give me some insight to the pros/cons of each of these models for outdoor portraits and low light wedding photography. (using the 50mm 1.4g lens.)
    **Just some info: I AM working into becoming a professional photographer and will use this camera to start my professional portfolio and most likely for the first couple years of my business. I am knowledgeable enough about ISO/aperture/shutter speed to be able to work with a camera in manual mode. So please don't scold me for being a "newbie" and wanting to jump in the business of photography. I wish people on here were more encouraging. Also, once I get this camera I do plan on looking for second shooter gigs at weddings and hopefully interning at professional studios**
    Thanks so much for reading!!! :)
     
  2. the d7000 has better high-iso performance than d300s and is newer. but if you can wait a few months, d700 prices may fall if a replacement is announced. if they drop to $2000-$2200, it might make sense to get that,if that's what you really want. OTOH, getting a FF camera means you need FX-compatible lenses. for the price differential--about $1000-- you could get some nice glass if you stick w/d7000. i wouldn't get a d300s now unless you specifically need something it has which D7000 doesn't, like 8fps.
     
  3. If you want to earn money with a camera, spending for a Nikon D700 body will take care of your "low-light" needs. Going to a DX-sensor body and expecting it to act *just like* a FX-sensor body is - maybe - asking too much....
    Outdoor portraits: anything from a D90 to a D3100 will work.
     
  4. If you want to earn money with a camera, spending for a Nikon D700 body will take care of your "low-light" needs. Going to a DX-sensor body and expecting it to act *just like* a FX-sensor body is - maybe - asking too much....
    Outdoor portraits: anything from a D90 to a D3100 will work.
     
  5. bms

    bms

    I have worked with both D300s and D7000 at weddings but never side by side. I currently use a D700 and a D7000. The 300s feels definitely more solid and durable. I image quality wise the D7000 I think has a bit of an edge, but feels a bit "flimsier" - not that it bothers me much.
    The D7000 is a great camera and - one day - will make a good backup oneday.
     
  6. Before I recommend anything, please tell me what your D60 doesn't do for you that the D700 does.
    RS
     
  7. Jamie -
    I just shot a complete wedding using a D7000 - outdoor formals, indoor ceremony and then a reception.
    No problems or issues - the D7000 was a trooper and at the end of the night still showed a full battery (no bars gone).
    I had my D700 in the bag as a back-up if needed. It never came out.
    Dave
     
  8. David-WOW! That's pretty amazing. I'm assuming you used a battery pack?
    Richard-Are you serious? The D60 is totally incompetent when comparing it to the D700. Although the lens I have on the D60 is just a mediocre kit lens, where the prime lens on the 700 superb! But to answer your question, the ISO has much lower capabilities than the D700. I shoot a lot of indoor portraits because it rains a lot where I live. And I only use a reflector so lights is just natural windows and mounted flash. I like that there are more fps on the D700. It also has incredibly more focal points than the D60. All around the quality of the pictures is just exponentially better. More DOF, better bokeh, and sharper images. I can see a difference with the naked eye. Can't you?
     
  9. Sorry, I don't mean to sound rude (and I apologize if I came off that way.) I was just surprised by the question. I can see how a D60 would be just fine for amateurs, but I wish to sell my portraits. And I want to give my clients the best quality I can afford. Artistic composition is another story and I'm not saying the by getting a better camera I will be giving better portraits--just better images (technically speaking.)
     
  10. Between the D300s and the D7000, get the D7000. The low-light and high-ISO image quality are better. The D300s has better auto-exposure bracketing and a higher frame rate, neither of which would affect your stated purpose.
    If you've been shooting a D700 with a 50mm lens, you might want to consider getting a 35mm f/1.8, which is a 'normal' lens on a DX camera (gives very nearly the same field of view as a 50mm lens on an FX body). Nikon's 35/1.8 is a nice lens, and inexpensive.
     
  11. D.B Cooper: thanks for the response! i will look in to the 35mm.
     
  12. I use D300s for events and portraits, I think it's great. I have not handled a D700, but from what I understand, the D700 and D300s are almost identical, the D7000 is different. Getting a D300s now and eventually use as a backup to a D700 might be a consideration. The one thing that stopped me from getting a D7000 is the preset dial on top that I so often nudged inadvertently just at the wrong time on my old D70s. I got the D300s factory refurb for $1250 at Adorama a few months ago.
     
  13. I have both cameras and love both of them. The d300s is built like a tank and takes a lot of rough handling. The
    d7000's image quality is better and the high ISO performance is excellent up to 6400. A great deal of my work is done
    indoors with available light so it is clearly my choice in that situation. The d300's hasna higher fps. capability and has
    faster auto focus. The d7000 benefits from newer technology including a newer sensor that has worked beautifully.
    Another option for you might be whatever replaces the d300's. It may well fill your needs as well as the d700. Hope
    this helps a bit.

    -Owen
     
  14. Thank you for your responses. I am leaning more towards the D7000 because of it's low light capabilities...and the price. I might just save a few hundred on the body and splurge a little to get the 24-70mm 2.8g lens. The zoom will come in handy during weddings and it covers the portrait range quite nicely. Also, this lens can be used on both FX and DX bodies, which is a plus since I plan to eventually upgrade to an FX in the future.
    Any thoughts about my lens choice? objections? agreements?
     
  15. Jamie, forgive me if I'm stating the obvious, but there is a considerable difference in the FX-size sensor in the D700 and the DX-size sensors in the D60, D7000, and D300s. A lens on the D300s/D7000 will have the same angle of view as it has on your D60. Have you put the 50mm lens on the D60? You'll have the same (narrower) view that you will have on either the D300s/D7000.
    [Edit] I entered this comment before you just entered your recent comment discussing FX/DX differences. So I guess my comment was superfluous.
     
  16. Jamie,I assume Richard is thinking about the canon 60D not the D60.Alot of people don't seem to remember any canon digital before the 10D.The D60 was ok for it's time but I wouldn't use it for anything of importance.
     
  17. Bodies are fleeting, glass is forever. Start with the D7000 and get some good lenses that will also work when you go FX. When your business justifies the investment, or when your hobby funds allow the expense invest in the current FX body and keep the D7000 as your backup.
     
  18. Jamie -
    No battery pack - just the factory battery (and a fully charged backup of course). 600 + photos -
    That's one thing that I've noticed - the D7000 is a power miser compared to its siblings.
    Dave
     
  19. Jamie, I think you know this, but in your posting you appear to be confused between the lens and the body. They are different and do different things. The lens is not fixed to the body, you can put almost any DX or FX lens on any DX body.
    " Although the lens I have on the D60 is just a mediocre kit lens, where the prime lens on the 700 superb! "
    > You are mixing up lens and bodies. You can put the same prime lens on your D60.
    " I like that there are more fps on the D700."
    > Does the frame per second shooting rate really make a difference for what you will shoot? Maybe if you were shooting fast sports I can see it making a difference, but not for a wedding. At least not for any of the weddings that I've been to.
    " More DOF, better bokeh, and sharper images."
    > Again you are confusing the lens with the body. These are characteristics of the lens, not a body. And for a given focal length and aperture, the DoF should be the same for any lens; kit zoom, pro zoom or prime.
    The 24-70 on the wide side is not very wide on a DX body. On a DX body, the image you get is the equivalent of a 35mm lens on a FX body. You might think about getting a wider lens, maybe the 10-24 DX for the D7000. There WILL be times when you want a WIDE shot for indoors where you cannot back up any more because your back is literally against the wall of the room. I have the 18-70 on my D70 and I have used it in full wide MANY times, and I have been in situations where I wanted it even wider. Can you get by with the 24-70 on a DX body, probably, you just have to plan the shots differently.
     
  20. I have a Nikon D300 for almost 3 years now and it is tested on all kinds of weather,durable like a warrior.
    I use my D7000 as a backup and not exposed to real action yet..I'm satisfied with these two cameras. As far as low light weddings and outdoor portraits I guess good lenses can do the work. I have a Nikon 50mm 1.8 D ( old version) affordable but very good for wedding. I also use 70-200mm 2.8 lens. Good luck...
     
  21. One comment - So, if I understand your problem your setup involves one flash and natural light and because of this you would prefer a ISO performance. I would think that the proper solution would be to control light enviroment and try to work at base ISO so you IQ is max. Wouldn't it be better to buy a propper lightning system instead of putting everything in the body?
    One can build a cheaper system nowadays based on DX, but you have to know its shortcomings.
     
  22. Upps, the previous was posted before review.
    One comment - So, if I understand your problem your setup involves one flash and natural light and because of this you would prefer a better ISO performance. I would think that the proper solution would be to control light enviroment and try to work at base ISO so you IQ is max. Wouldn't it be better to buy a propper lightning system instead of putting everything into the body?
    Second comment - One can build a cheaper lens system nowadays based on DX, but you have to know its shortcomings. On the other hand D300 still has some advantages over the D700 like 100% viewfinder versus the 90% viewfinder the D700 has. For studio work I would think is much better to have 100% than better high ISO performance.
    Just my 2 cents.
     
  23. I considered the D300/D7000 choice and opted for the D7000. Here is my reasoning:
    Newer technology and I'll probably be happier with it longer before I feel the need to replace it - the D7000 was a generational jump.
    Both are very sturdy and if the D7000 did not have the metal frame I probably would have gone with the D300, but since it did, the D7000 got the nod. The high cycle estimate for the shutter life was equivalent.
    From all the reviews the image quality was equal or slightly better with the D7000 -- particularly at high ISO -- I can confirm the high ISO performance of the D7000 is amazing.
    I use a battery grip and the D7000 seems very substantial in my hand. I'm in the minority that likes my camera body to be heavier. I think the heavy body is easier to hold steady on slower shutter speeds and balances out heavy lenses better.
    A word of caution -- the D7000 has a wide range of technical capabilities and variabilities. It is a very sophisticated device. I have pushed nearly 10,000 exposures through it and still feel very much on the beginning of the learning curve. Don't expect to pick it up and shoot immediately and get all of the benefits of the platform. This is a jump in technology and requires substantial learning.
     
  24. Michael Harstad has hit the proverbial nail on the head - Buy FX glass and use it on a DX body until the step up to FX Body becomes both necessary & within your budget. If you need to buy something in the next few days/weeks then the D7000 is the way to go for it's low light supremacy over the D300s.
    If you can hang on a month or two as advocated by Eric Arnold then the choice will just get bigger and better with the D7000, the D300s replacement (D400?), the D700 replacement (D800) or a cheaper 2nd hand D700 all being excellent low light condidates.
    A solution perhaps worth trying is to offer to buy the D700 from your father-in-law for a heavily discounted second hand family only price (i.e less than the price of a new D7000) and tell him to try the new P7100 for his point and shoot moments.
    I need to replace my trusty D70 which I have used for a good 7 years and managed to have had a couple of amateur solo exhibitions using it. Most likely I will opt for the D300s replacement in the next few months and concentrate on increasing my small collection of FX glass and replacing my slightly larger collection of DX glass as funds come available.
    FX for me will have to wait another number of years (if ever) - although I would be tempted by an FX mirrorless body (which used Nikon FX lenses) if one appeared as I think it would be significantly lighter & more compact than the current FX or even some DX Nikons. Weight and size are increasingly issues for me as years of lugging around photography equipment has become a bug bear. For everyday use I now use the beautifully compact P100 and the D70 only appears when I am shooting specifically for artistic merit.
    Good luck and all the best whatever your final decision......
     
  25. I guess I have a different response here. If I were shooting weddings regularly (which I seem to be stumbling into :p), I would buy the D7000 over the D300s in a heartbeat. The dual card slots are a blessing, especially if you shoot video. Granted the video is much worse than Canon or Sony's, but it's good for a clip here and there. I also don't personally find the worse AF system or lower framerate to be a problem at all. However, I generally take extremely good care of my gear, and I tend to be prepared for a shot before it happens.
    If I were making a recommendation though, I'd say go for the D300s. The lower megapixels and worse ISO is almost immaterial (the ISO is less than a full stop worse), but you get a lot in return. The body is more durably built and will handle more wear and abuse, and the better AF means it tracks focus and gets the 'grab shots' better.
    If you do get the D7000, you should definitely buy the battery grip for it. I find that without the grip, it doesn't balance with my 70-200 very well, and it's uncomfortable to use. The D300s is bigger and heavier, and doesn't have this problem. You should still buy the grip, but it isn't necessary like on the D7000.
     
  26. Jamie --
    I'm a little late in posting a response, (and I wasn't confused about which body she was using...I was referring to the Nikon D60, not the 60D), but here's why I asked: I actually wanted to know why you liked the D700 better and why you thought you needed an upgrade to get started as a professional.
    Your response spoke loud and clear to me.
    Although the lens I have on the D60 is just a mediocre kit lens, where the prime lens on the 700 superb!​
    Have you tried the 50mm f/1.4 on the D60? The results will be different, but you might be surprised.
    But to answer your question, the ISO has much lower capabilities than the D700. I shoot a lot of indoor portraits because it rains a lot where I live. And I only use a reflector so lights is just natural windows and mounted flash.​
    Learn lighting. Unless you're Jeff Ascough you'll need to learn it anyway. Learning lighting is the single easiest way to make your portraits look more professional. Control the light and you control the image.
    I like that there are more fps on the D700. It also has incredibly more focal points than the D60.​
    Are you shooting sports? I've helped many people that are having trouble with portraiture and I tell every single one of them to SLOW DOWN and think about what you're shooting before clicking the shutter. High FPS is for sports and bracketing...and you should only need to bracket if the lighting is really difficult and you need an insurance policy to make sure the result is perfect. BTW, 3 FPS is more than enough for bracketing. As for Focal Points: focus and re-compose is much more accurate than the outer focal points of the D300/D700.
    All around the quality of the pictures is just exponentially better. More DOF, better bokeh, and sharper images. I can see a difference with the naked eye. Can't you?​
    Again...try the 50mm f/1.4 on the D60. You're confusing qualities of a lens with qualities of a camera. Can I see the difference between a shot with a D60 and a D700 with the naked eye? That depends...
    • Was the shot taken with the same lens and cropped so that the framing is the same, at base ISO, and post processed and printed to 8x10 or smaller? If they were, then anyone would have a hard time telling the difference.
    • Was the shot taken with different lenses at high ISO? Yes I can see the difference
    • Am I viewing at 100% on a computer monitor? Yes I can see the difference.
    Artistic composition is another story and I'm not saying the by getting a better camera I will be giving better portraits--just better images (technically speaking.)​
    Technically speaking, your images aren't about what camera made them...you make better images by controlling light, pre-visualizing the shot, and making your camera create your vision through control of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. The brain behind the camera and the glass in front of the sensor is much more important to the creation of a quality image than the camera itself.
    Based on your response, and the posts between your response and this, I would recommend keeping your D60; buying a 50mm f/1.4, an SB-700, a light stand with cold shoe, and an umbrella; read Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson; check out Strobist.com for tips using your flash; practice off-camera lighting; and start taking portraits for friends and family.
    If you want to stick to your thought that buying a new camera will vastly improve your photography then look into a D7000... it's a newer camera with higher resolution and better low light capability. But don't be surprised when your DOF and Bokeh aren't what you're getting from the D700. Different sized sensor = different qualities of background blur and bokeh. I'm not going to get into that since it will start a debate that very few people actually care about.
    Hope this helps

    RS
     
  27. You've gotten a lot of opinions, so I'll add one more. the only real advantages of the D300s over the D7000 are build quality and shooting speed (for sports and action).
    imho, the D7000 being three YEARS newer is the obvious choice, to me. But in addition to that 50, I think you need a "normal" event zoom in the 17/18-50/55 range and probably eventually a longer fast zoom.
     
  28. Wow! Thank you all for your responses. I have much to think about. I think I shall do some more research on lenses and bodies. I really don't want to keep my D60 so I most definitely am going to buy a new body. I am actually leaning away from the 50mm and more towards a low light zoom. I didn't realize that I'll probably need a zoom for weddings, unless the b/g don't mind me being up in peoples faces. haha...awkward! I am also leaning more towards just waiting for an fx body since that's what I originally wanted. Then the choice would be to either save some money for lenses and buy the d700 or buy the new replacement. Any thoughts? Also, how vital is VR on a zoom lens? Which one would best serve wedding photography, 24-70 or 70-200? (on a full framed body.)
    I appreciate all of your input and opinions. And thank you for the best wishes and luck!
     
  29. VR really has nothing to do with a zoom lens, but only the focal length you are shooting at. Depending on your skill at holding the camera still, VR can give you one or even two steps slower shutter speeds.
     
  30. Jamie, I can second David's comments about battery life. I've only managed to drain the battery in my grip and roll over to the in camera battery once, and it took about 1,800 shots to do it plus a fair amount of chimping. For the D7000 you buy the grip for balance and vertical shooting, not because you need more battery.
     
  31. I second Paul's comments about the grip. It is nice to have the confidence of that second battery and I suppose if I shot continuously for a couple of days I might roll over to the other battery. It is the heft that grip gives the camera and the second release for vertical shots that makes it worthwhile. I like the balance with longer lenses and the increased inertia which makes slower shutter speeds possible.
     
  32. Jamie, looking at your last comment I'd suggest you do some searching on this board and elsewhere about wedding photography. I've never done it (and don't ever plan to), but I've read enough comments from people who do it professionally to know that you should probably expect to need two cameras, two zooms (one longer, one wider), and at least one good flash preferably with an external battery pack. So maybe you should consider getting a D7000 now along with one of the lenses you'll need plus a flash with the thought that you'll need a second body (D800?) to do this professionally. Hopefully some of the wedding pros can weigh in with first-hand experience.
     
  33. Speaking just from a financial standpoint - I'd consider waiting a month or so to see if a D700 replacement is on its way. The rumor sites seem to suggest that there's a strong chance that it might be. At that point you should be able to get either a used D700 cheap, or, if you decide to spring for it, whatever the replacement is. That will probably be a lower investment over time than buying a D7000 now (the clear winner over the D300s unless you prefer the pro controls on the 300s) then buying a D800 etc later. The other option is to instead invest in glass now, which will retain its value over time unlike the body and stick with the D60 just a little longer until you can afford an FX body.
    As for lenses, the typical pro zoom combo for a wedding would be a 70-200 2.8 VRII with a 14-24 or 16-35mm wide for those "creative" and environmental shots as well as getting in the whole room when you don't have a lot of space to back up. If you're close up, keep the bride's head and shoulders close to the center on the wide angle lenses though or it will look really stretched out and funky (on the other hand, the trail of the dress etc actually look good when exaggerated). If you're further away and doing one of the "couple on a cliff" or "bride going down the spiral stairs, shot from above" shots this is less of a worry. Each of those lenses is going to run you just under 2g's, apart from the 16-35mm F4 which comes in at about $1200. Another option is to shoot primes - on a budget, spring for the 85mm 1.4D (which you can get used for ~$850 off online forums [grr, not letting me post names] now that the 85mm 1.4G is out) for portraits and some reach, and either a 35mm F2 or 24mm F2.8 (both of which are more consumer oriented and should be in the $300-500 range) for closer/wider action like dancing at the reception. In general 50mm and under is going to be less flattering for portraits unless you want to exaggerate facial features.
    The last piece of advice I'll offer is to rent! Depending on how many shoots you're doing, glass is really cheap to rent. Here in Seattle you can rent a 70-200mm for like $45 per weekend at Glazer's. That's a lot of weekends before you hit the $2200 mark which is what one of those goes for new. In most reasonable sized cities there should be similar options at the local pro photo store. In smaller cities and towns you can rent online from places like borrowlenses. This will give you a chance to get used to the various options before dropping some serious cash on them. Body rentals are a bit more expensive since the refresh cycle is more brutal on bodies, but if you really want to get a feel for the difference, you could rent all three (D7000, D300s and D700) for a weekend to do a comparison.
     
  34. Ben, excellent response! Very informative. I will look into rental places in my area. Hey you're not too far from me (portland). :)
     
  35. Oh cool - Portland actually has a good store for rentals - Pro Photo: http://www.prophotosupply.com/p-rental.htm Looks like it's even cheaper than Glazer's - a 70-200mm is only $30, and they have the same weekend policy - rent on Friday and the weekend long price is the same as the daily. Worth checking out!
     
  36. Sweet. thanks, i'll take a look right now :)
     
  37. Ben: It is nice to know Glazers is still around. I dealt with them in the '60s and '70s when I was a working photographer in Seattle (had my studio in the Pioneer Square area when it was just transitioning to trendy). Glazers was always the place to go for great service and rentals for the commercial photo crowd.
     
  38. If you want the D700, why not try to go for a second hand copy? I think buying a DX body and glass that is optimal on DX would just lead to more money spent to achieve less in the long term.
    D700's will be available in numbers second hand when new FX bodies are released. In fact there are some even now. You will still need a backup and that would be preferable to be as similar as possible to the main camera. Yes, all of this costs money. So does starting up any kind of business.
     
  39. Ilkka, tha'ts precisely what I was thinking, too. Except I was really hoping to get a new body, not a used one. But I doubt that will ever happen now :( Unless they just continue to make new D700s for awhile before they release the new one. Wouldn't that be lovely for me!!! :)
     
  40. Since the prime wedding season of this year starts to be over, would it be possible for you to save a little longer for a D700? It doesn't cost that much more when you actually start making money with it. I've shot with a D700 and D300, to me the D700 (or better) is the best choice for the weddings, since higher pixel counts are not usually needed but the low light and dynamic range capabilities come in handy. It's hard to pick one between D300 and D7000 for this application without using them for a few shoots, the image quality difference won't matter in practice, it's too small, the D300 has an edge in AF, which might matter.
     
  41. http://3foto.ro all photos are made with D7000, tamron 17-50 f2.8 non VC and nikon 55-300mm (portraits).
    00bJLL-517679684.jpg
     

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