D80 vs D300

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by conor_wooten, May 26, 2009.

  1. I am a primary film shooter still. I currently have a Nikon D80 and have been told to upgrade to the D300 or better for my professional career. I have been reading a lot into the D300, but still cannot see that the change is neccary. I don't need the faster FPS and larger LCD screen. The more megapixels would be nice, but for the short time that I was testing the D300 I didn't feel there was that great of a difference in the two. The main thing that keeps me wanting to keep the D80 is that I already have it, and I don't want to have to find someone to buy it and then spend another $1,000+ on the D300 not including the other accessories to get a complete kit like I have now. Please let me know why I should change to the upgrade or if I should keep my setup.
  2. A lot depends on what type of photography you are doing. If you truly are using your camera to make your living, the D200, D300 or D700 have the build and the options (like metering with manual focus lenses) that you are going to need. If you are just shooting for your own enjoyment the D80 is plenty of camera.
    The value of the D300 over the D80 isn't as much frames per second and more megapixels as it is the ability to produce low noise images and higher ISOs. The D700 allegedly produces even cleaner images (I've never used one). Another advantage is the durability and build of the D300 and D700.
  3. Well, the difference in MP is 10MP to 12MP. That doesn't amount to anything, really, when you look at the PPI of your printouts.
    The D300 has a newer generation sensor with improved high ISO performance, DR and generally a bit better image quality but the main advantage is in its being a more professional model: more controls, more robust build, weather sealing, better AF system, more FPS, manual focus lens metering.
    So there are really two issues: image quality and pro features. If you want a pro model, you want a D200 (very similar sensor to the D80 and now not expensive) or a D300. If you don't care about the pro features, the D80 is fine or you can get a D90 for D300 image quality with a D80 type body - but really, the image quality difference is there but it isn't huge, and if you're happy with the D80 just stick with it.
  4. Certainly the biggest difference is in handling, AF speed, and 100 percent viewfinder. Resolution is slightly better (we're talking processing not so much the extra 2 megapixels). I went from a D80 to a D300 and never looked back. Apart from getting used to the larger camera, it was a real joy to use. I currently have a D200 having upgraded to a D700 from the D300, and regretting it. The D300 is a real winner and soon to be replaced with the D400. I'd wait if I were you to see what is announced.
  5. Who told you this, and what was their reasoning?
  6. Oh no, is it D400 rumor time? I'm pretty sure there's no confirmed information out there so I wouldn't recommend making a decision based on it unless you feel like waiting an unspecified number of months.
  7. If you are considering a pro career, a backup camera, or two backup cameras are a must. I have both the D80 and the D300 and much prefer the D80 as a walk-around camera just for it's weight. That being said, the D300 is a superior camera in ever other way, everything is just a lot faster and the two extra MP are a big deal as they allow much more cropping. One more thing, perception is important for a pro and the D300 just looks more "professional".
  8. "I didn't feel there was that great of a difference in the two."
    hmm, let's see. d300 has mag alloy body. nikon's best AF. better ergonomics. metal grip. one full stop of ISO. live view. almost 3x faster fps w/grip. better LCD. dedicated focus mode switches. dedicated wb. AF fine tune. auto-Ca correct. if none of that means anything to you, expand your kit, by all means.
    granted IQ can be similar at base iso. and if all your doing is landscapes and the occasional portrait, d80 is fine. but the d300 pics have a smoother look, thanks to the CMOS sensor. there's just less noise with the d300 overall.
    it does make sense to at least have some pro lenses to go with a pro-spec body. but the d300 is a significant upgrade from the d80.
    at the end of the day, though, it's your money.
  9. you don't see the point yourself and thus you're question is already answered.
    IQ comes mainly from your lenses and not your body, basic stuff. Sure there is another sensor that contributes to that but the basic difference isn't all too great. Low noise capability is there for sure.
    Pro looks are wholly unimportant for two very good reasons. first of all you get paid for results and not looks. Secondly you'll regularly going to meet amateurs who are only to keen to tell you they've got a D700, D3 or even a D3X.
  10. Well, I upgraded from D80 to D300.
    I am not a pro but as soon as I got my hands on my D300 I felt the difference. Maybe the alloy body was very cold compare to the plastic body of my D80 :)
    What I really like about the D300 over the D80:
    -100% viefinder
    -Easy access to many functions directly on the camera body instead of going through the menu where you don't know where everything is.
    -Better high ISO noise control
    Those are the 3 main reasons I changed and it was the right decision.
  11. Just like Rene', I also upgraded from the D80 to the D300 a few months back. My reasons for upgrade, beyond the fact that it's just plain fun buying new camera gear, are exactly as Rene' pointed out above, especially the easy acess to camera functions.
  12. If your camera is giving you the exact results you want/need, there is really no need to change. Save your money and buy yourself a new lens!
  13. BY the way....... the price of the D300 just dropped in Japan. Close to 20%.
    Maybe rumors of a D400 are coming around! Sorry! But............. I can't see another reason why the price has been stable for almost 2 years and there was a big drop today.
  14. I own both cameras and they each have their own merits. After doing my best to conform to using the finger/thumb wheels on the D80 and it's sometimes quirky metering, I sprung for the 300 where I felt back at home using the aperture ring to control exposure. I also have lot of older non-AF glass that is a pleasure to use again.
    The higher frame rate, live view, dedicated control switches faster AF and overall better IQ are another plus. The down shot is that it a bigger and heavier camera body to carry. The D80 is still a quite capable camera. It focuses screw drive lenses and is a lot lighter and easier on my hands and wrist.
    If Nikon produced a lighter body with an aperture ring, I probably would have sprung for that. At the time when the D80/200 were the latest and greatest, I posted a question on features vs. cost on this forum, and bought the D80. I'm still happy that I did. The loss of value in resale of the D80 is much less than if I were trying to sell the D200
  15. Conner, if you shoot landscape, I wouldn't bother with an upgrade. The D80 does everything the D300 can do.
    That said, I have seen a dramatic difference between the two. For whatever reason, my shots are simply better with the D300. Maybe its the better AF, maybe the extra couple stops, but the difference is very noticable. Try it yourself with your own lenses and see if there is a difference to you.
  16. You shouldn't change .
    If film is your comfort zone and D80 does the job that you need it to do, then stick with it. Of course by the book and by independent reviews D300 is stronger then D80 and younger brother D90 but if you don't need to upgrade, then DON'T.
    My experience, at work I use Canon 5D Mark II and at home my personal D90. I even used my D90 at work and was impressed with results that I got so it all depends on your flavor that you're looking to get out of your pictures.
    Good Luck
  17. If the D80 is meeting your needs, then stick with it for a while. The D300 replacement will likely be out in the fall so even if you decide to get the D300 you could get it a lot cheaper. Or you may see the major improvements you want in the D300 replacement. I would say the main reasons to change are build quality and ISO performance. The later being the most important. There will be times shooting professionally that flash may not be allowed or wanted. I just got a D700 and with my 50mm 1.4, I don't even need to use a flash which allows more creative flexibility. I prefer natural light over flash anyday.
  18. Conor, the D300 is a great camera for all of the reasons that have been mentioned above. But, if you like your D80 and you've been advised to upgrade by a friend, I would ask myself some questions before springing for the extra bucks.
    1) Why do I need the upgrade?
    2) Would I be farther ahead spending the money on better glass?
    3) Do I see the need for a full frame camera in the future?
    4) What's the hurry?
    I love my D300, but, I really wanted a full frame camera at the time I bought my D300 because I was very used to the 35mm film format. However, the D700 didn't exist yet and the Canon 5D was technologically behind the D300. So, I bought the D300. Emotionally, I would like to have the D700. But, I don't need it. Someday, Nikon will release an even better full frame body. Until then, my D300 will do fine.
  19. If your body does what is required by your needs than there is little reason to buy another body. You may LOOK like a better photographer if you use the latest model but that would be from people who think the camera is the key to great images.
  20. lwg


    Without more info I have no idea if you should upgrade. I have the D300 and it is a nice camera for what it is. I still get better results from medium or large format film, if resolution is the requirement. If you are shooting action the D300 upgrade would make sense with better AF and frame rate. For landscape I wouldn't bother. For macro the new liveview is very nice. Based only on someone telling me I should upgrade I would save my money. I usually only upgrade if something breaks or I feel there is a real deficiency.
  21. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    have been told to upgrade to the D300 or better for my professional career.​
    May I ask exactly who told you to upgrade to a D300 or better? If it is your customer who tells you that you must upgrade or they would take their business elsewhere, you probably have a good reason to upgrade. Otherwise, if you youself don't find the D80 hindering your photography career, I see no point to upgrade. But as a working pro, having at least 2 bodies is pretty much a must.
  22. If you need a second body and don't need the D300 features, why not consider the D90? D80 accessories will fit and you get the newer sensor without having to pay for extra features.
  23. There is, unfortunately, a very good reason to have 12mp - which is that many buyers of photography for commercial publication won't take images with fewer mp these days. Their reasons are not always* very good (the linear resolution difference is very slight) but there you go. If your customers are like this, you may not have much choice in the matter. Of course, in a year's time they'll probably all decide they want 24mp...
    *(not always, only sometimes - if you understand why you need 12mp in your application, I don't mean you)
  24. Lester brings up a good point. It depends on who your customers are. If you're trying to shoot commercial images, the more MP the better. A lot of companies have a minimum size requirement. The D80 with quality glass will still take a great photo, but as shun said if your doing this professionally you really should have 2 bodies.
  25. "...perception is important for a pro..."
    When, oh when will we start buying photo equipment for the photos they produce???
  26. I think Dieter S. may have a good suggestion about the D90...
  27. By the sounds of it your really not ready to upgrade ,when the upgrade bug bites you will know it!!
  28. I still have my D70, from which I upgraded to the D300. As long as the light isn't poor, for reasonable print sizes, my D70 still produces wonderful images. I have shot lots of travel photos with a D80 borrowed from my brother, he shoots studio glamor with the same D80 and a D300 (not as a backup, but with different lenses). I would keep shooting the D80 until you yourself have criteria that the D80 cannot satisfy.
    It's not that the D300 is not a more capable camera. It is certainly more capable than the D80 in AF, high-ISO noise, resolution, build quality and weather sealing, etc. etc. But the D80 is nothing to sneeze at, and produces wonderful images. Use it till it drops!
  29. No one has asked you what lenses you have. If you have consumer lenses then the advantage of going to the D300 is less. If thats the case, then stay with the D80 or maybe go to the D90. But if you have some real quality glass and you want to do art quality portraits/landscapes up to A3 size, then the D300 is for you. Its about as good as it can get on DX.
    I have a D300 and Nikon manual cameras and lenses. I thought the advantage with the D300 of being able to use my manual lenses was valid, but I find that I don't do so, and invested in three really good DX lenses. If I go to the D700, I'll simply sell them on ebay and get some more FX lenses. I now keep my old lenses on my manual bodies and still shoot film.
  30. thanks!!!
  31. if you cannot tell the difference then don't switch.
  32. I know I won't win any points here for saying this, but I'd go with a D90 over a D300. It's 90% of what the 300 is and is $800 cheaper. Like Joseph said, if you can't tell the difference, then don't switch.
  33. Here's an interesting test, go tho the Nikon Photo of the Week thread and see if you can see any quality difference between photos taken with a D700 and a D40.

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