D90 or D300

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by cardens, Sep 6, 2008.

  1. So my dad has offered to buy me a new camera body for christmas :) *YAY*

    Its between the d300 and d90. I do weddings and portraits for the most part. Right now I have a d40x and love
    it as my "starter" camera it will be used as a backup primarily when I get the new one.

    The d90 is new and the d300 is a year old. They are both 12 megpixels.

    Im just wondering what anyone could suggest or offer for advice. I always get great suggestions on this site
    and im sure someone will be able to help.

    Thank you!
  2. Do you want to replace your next camera as fast as you replaced your d40x? I would lean towards the d300, but WAIT for
    official reviews of the d90 first.
  3. If money is no object, and you don't lust for video capabilities of D90, go for D300. It is no "old" technology by any stretch of imagination.
  4. Hi Veronica, I expect to be replacing my aging D70 with the D90 but, as Ian said, will await the release and initial reviews-
    especially user reviews, before actually buying it. P.S. You seem to have a great dad! cb :)
  5. mjt


    I don't see much of a reason to wait for reviews - we know what the D90 is<br />
    inheriting from, and I doubt seriously that Nikon goofed on this camera.<br />
    There *are* reviews that exist already - although not "technical* reviews,<br />
    they are geared to *use* of the camera.<br /><br />

    I think what's important for you, Veronica, is to sit down and write out<br />
    what features are important to you - don't be thinking about the cameras<br />
    as you're making your list - simply list what you really NEED, then list<br />
    what would be "nice to have's". Then turn to the specs of the cameras<br />
    and check off your list. <br /><br />

    While you're mulling on about what to do, why not check out what comes<br />
    out of the Photokina show - after all, a lot can happen between now and<br />
    Christmas. And while we're waiting for Christmas, you might even consider<br />
    the D700 - it will probably come down in price and you can probably find<br />
    a store discounting it even further through MS Cashback.<br />
  6. Um....Dad is buying the camera. Not the original poster. Telling them to double the cost of the D300 for someone getting FOR them is rather ..... bold, to say the least !
  7. My main worry with the D90 is whether the matrix metering is as idiosyncratic as the D80's. That's a good reason to wait for the reviews. Personally I went for the D300 - partially with weddings in mind. I've found the metering to be very reliable so far.
  8. "I don't see much of a reason to wait for reviews" mj t-I referred specifically to user reviews of the camera; they will appear
    here on Photo.net and dpreview and I consider them invaluable. It's always instructional to learn about the experiences of
    others-at least it is to me. There is no such thing as the 'perfect' camera so it's interesting to hear about what others have
    seen as a cameras strong points and weak points (what Popular Photography calls What's Hot and What's Not) and then
    decide what if anything will affect me. cb (P.S. I refer to people who,like us, actually buy and use the camera, not those
    who are given the camera to try out and review)
  9. You might want to consider this as a way to evaluate the feature set of each camera:

    1: Does dad have 1600 dollars for a body only (yes/no)

    2: Do you own or plan to own ai/ais lenses (yes/no)

    3: Do you need weather sealing (yes/no)

    4: Do you need 6 fps/ 8 fps with mb-10 (yes/no)

    5: Have you ever dropped or plan to drop your camera (yes/no)

    6: Do you ever take time lapse photographs (yes/no)

    7: Do you take a lot of pictures (shutter life) (yes/no)

    8: Do you have a personal dislike for picture modes (yes/no)

    9: Do you require quick access to camera functions (yes/no)

    10: Do you like your camera to be built like a tank (yes/no)

    11: Do you NOT want to take movies with the camera (yes/no) (the wording is strange on this one just to make
    the counting process logical)

    Tally it up.

    If you have more then 5 yes' then it's a D300
    If you have more then 5 no's then it's a D90
    If you feel like it's still too close a call, get a D300 and you'll have no regrets apart from the movie mode
    that the D90 offers.

    *Thanks to Dan Park for directing me in the right direction with his D200 vs. D80 questionnaire on which this
    questionnaire was based.*
  10. mjt


    @John Williamson - I know it might be a stretch to go much<br />
    further with respect to body (D90/300 vs D700), but like I said,<br />
    the price will most likely come down on the D700.<br /><br />

    Secondly, Veronica states that she is shooting weddings and portraits,<br />
    so my assumption is that she's making money off her work. If she isn't,<br />
    then what you're saying makes sense. However, it might be that the work<br />
    Veronica is doing might be better served by using a full-frame<br /><br />

    The question that is not answered is what lens investment does<br />
    Veronica have (?)<br /><br />

    Don't get me rwong, the D300 is an awesome camera - I'm<br />
    looking outside the box at other options.<br /><br />

    So, if we're going to answer the original question - if Veronica does<br />
    not need video, I'd say the D300 is the way to go.<br /><br />

    For whatever it's worth, Veronica, I shoot weddings with S5 Pro's, D3's,<br />
    and D700's (added recently). I've, in the past, shot weddings and portraits<br />
    with D200's - the D200's are spot in, so the D300 will work just fine.
  11. WOW thanks guys. Great advice.

    I dont have much invested in lenses. I have the kit lens 18-55 and a 55-200 VR. So I am pretty open as far as the body in regard to lenses. Yes I am doing weddings and portraits. My prices are low right now because I am building my portfolio. But in the long run I hope to be doing it full time and be able to support myself with just my photography.

    I have 8 weddings booked from now till next may hopefully more to come.

    I did notice the d90 has a built in movie camera feature which is pretty awesome and I would be able to use that with my 2 yo daughter. However I do have a sony handycam which does that job pretty well.
    I hope to be a photographer for a long time and would like to get a camera that I can get the most use and life out of for the long run. So no Ian, I would like to hang on to my new camera for a while. I have the d40x since March of this year.

    1: Does dad have 1600 dollars for a body only (yes - I found the body for http://www.digitalsaver.com/stores.asp?productid=25432&gclid=CPyildOIyJUCFQMtswodV21DiA

    2: Do you own or plan to own ai/ais lenses - I dont own any right now

    3: Do you need weather sealing - Would be nice because a lot of weddings are in the humid summer

    4: Do you need 6 fps/ 8 fps with mb-10 - to be honest im not sure

    5: Have you ever dropped or plan to drop your camera No, I hope I never do

    6: Do you ever take time lapse photographs not yet

    7: Do you take a lot of pictures (shutter life) yes

    8: Do you have a personal dislike for picture modes kind of

    9: Do you require quick access to camera functions sometimes

    10: Do you like your camera to be built like a tank lol it may be nice!

    11: Do you NOT want to take movies with the camera (yes/no) (the wording is strange on this one just to make the counting process logical) Nice feature but I dont need it

    I am really leaning toward the d300. I just need a good solid factual reason as to why to tell my dad lol.
  12. The d90 is new and the d300 is a year old. They are both 12 megpixels.

    Tough choice. I suppose it's about the optimum photo quality, and the latest technology. And of course there's
    always the opportunity of tommorows superior technology. Yes,it's hard on the credit cards but you just have to keep
    up....lets be honest who wants to look at your work thinking it was taken on yesterdays crap technology.

    Of course some,the sad,just take photos. Jeez,,they really need to get a life and understand that photography is
    about having the latest gear. They should have some repect for us folks who have to look at their inferior, outdated,
    months old ancient stuff....

  13. ".lets be honest who wants to look at your work thinking it was taken on yesterdays crap technology. "

    Most people dont even know what camera you used to take the pics when they look at them. Im not sure what your post is all about but I am just trying to get opinions. I dont care how old anything is if it is good.

  14. I dont care how old anything is if it is good

  15. Veronica, if you see a D300 advertised for under $1,500 or so, Google the sellers name and do your research.
    There are some very shady internet sellers out there.
  16. unless interested in the video BS:D , I'd go for the D300..

    and if you are interested in Video get a Video camera.. ;)
  17. Veronica, just to add to what Fred said, when you find any store online....go to resellerratings.com and type in their name to see what kind of feedback they've gotten. For example, on the link you gave the store Wild Digital had the lowest price of $999....


    you can see the people who've shopped with them are quite unhappy. I didn't check all of the stores but IIRC TVDepot was another rip off and lenses and more sounded familiar too. The only store that looks reputable on that list is TigerDirect. The D300 is currently $1600 at bhphotovideo, and maybe close to Xmas it will drop a little more.
  18. expect the d300 to be about $1500 new by xmas.
    that's $500 difference vs. d90.
    if you are doing any paid work, the d300 is a better option and will pay for itself in a short while. it's a pro camera while the d90 is an amateur camera (albeit a good one).
    the differences may seem incremental at first, but they add up in the long run.
    the more durable body is worth the cost differential alone, but the additional dedicated buttons make shooting more ergonomic and intuitive. the d90 has some attractive features that you dont really need for professional work, while the d300 has everything you need and nothing you don't.
    i would only get a d90 over a d300 if b) weight is a concern, b) budget wont allow another $500, c) if you really really want video, or d) if you plan to get 2 d90s and use a 2-body set up at gigs.
  19. These are both very fine cameras. Since you already have a compact model with fine IQ, even though with lens limitations and a reduced feature set, I think the obvious choice would now be for the D300, with its excellent build quality and advanced features. The D90's movie clip may be of some occasional benefit, perhaps more if shooting for sports leagues, in combo with still shots. But that is something quite new and of unproven reliability. Otherwise, the durable, versatile and well-designed D300 is built more for professional use. Since you are so fortunate in that your father is willing to buy it for you, this is your opportunity to go for the premium model!!

    The D40x will still serve well as an alternative when compact carrying is needed for your purposes, and as a backup.
  20. Would be getting the MB-D10 or the MB-D80? If you are intending to get the battery grip, I think the D300 would be a better choice. What I understand from users of the D80 is that the MB-D80 has a bit of a problem in terms of contact, so not sure if this will be manifested in the D90 too.

    Since you got a handicam and shoot a lot of weddings, I do not think that you really need the video function. While either cameras are going to be a big step up from you D40x, I think that you are less likely to "outgrow" the D300 any time soon.

    Do not worry about the one year old technology, the technology did not get worse during that time frame. Rather than seeing the D300 as a one year older technology to the D90, see the D300 technology as one year younger than theD40x =)
  21. BTW, have you factored in new lenses as well? To do weddings I'd imagine even with the D300's excellent high ISO performance you'd still want some faster glass. It'd be a shame to spend $1500 on a body but only use decent lenses for professional work like weddings and such. Whichever one you get you should look into the 50mm 1.8 as well. Almost everybody loves it, and it's pretty cheap too compared to other fast lenses.
  22. My friend is exactly in the same situation (I am 17); I myself already have a d300, but have personally recommended him to get a D90. The main reason for this is that the while the D300 has some nice features, such as 51 point af, faster frame rates, a better viewfinder and better ergonomics, it is a heavy camera, and has, otherwise, virtually the same features as the D90 (e.g. sensor, therefore noise levels, and same lcd). However, the price difference is quite large still - $500. This would be enough to get a decent lens, such as a Tamron 18-50mm f/2.8, which you would like for weddings and portraits. If you do go for the D90, also wait for a tiny bit, as prices will come down fairly rapidly.
  23. just telly daddy you need good glass to go with your new toy (on dec. 26, of course).
  24. Veronica, the D300 is a pro/ semi-pro body perfect for wedding photography.

    Buy it at B&H or Adorama, there is no free lunch. Good luck!
  25. I have a Canon, so somebody tell me if I'm wrong here... Isn't the auto focus the top feature on the D300 that justify the upgrade over the D90?
  26. I totaly agree with Brandon with AF point. D300 uses the latest Cam 3500 AF engine. Plus, it has AF Fine-Tune, plus it has Flash commander mode, plus 51 focus points. I would recommend D300 over D90 for wedding and any other professional work.

    Njoy whatever you buy. :)
  27. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Veronica, I also saw your thread in the Wedding Forum about your lenses:

    If you are going to photograph someone's big day for money, it comes with responsibilities. A more reliable body that
    has 51 AF points and 15 cross type AF points among them such as the D300 will worth every penny, and of course
    you'll need your backup body also. The D90 uses the same Multi-CAM 1000 AF module as the D80 and D200. That
    one has only 1 cross type AF point, and I have had difficulty with AF on the D200 indoors.

    Additionally, your slow f5.6 18-55 and 55-200 kits lenses are far from adequate for weddings. So you'll definitely need
    faster lenses as well as flashes.

    I cannot tell how much experience you have shooting weddings. Assuming that you are starting, it is best to first
    work as a 2nd or even 3rd shooter along side some experienced pros. There is a lot more to wedding photography
    than just taking pictures.
  28. Thanks again everyone. Yes I agree looking further into the sellers online is something I would have to do before recomending my dad but it from one of those places. I will probably have another needed new lens before christmas for the new camera! I love adorma and get prints from there often.

    I just purchased the 50mm 1.8 and it is on the way in the mail I am looking to get probably a 24-70 2.8 or a 17-50mm 2.8. Shun, funny you saw my other post, I actually posted that a day or 2 before my dad told me about my xmas present.

    I have shot quite a few weddings as a second shooter. I have one coming up on the 13th as well. Then a very small wedding (paid but dirt cheap) on the 21st of sept. I will have my 50mm 1.8 by then which will be a good thing. Because the wedding and reception is outdoors. I am not worried that my lenses will not suffice. However if I went for the d90 I could as Anatole said, I could spend the money saved from getting the d300 get the good lens I will need shortly.
    But then I am worried about outgrowing the d90 and I DO NOT want to do that especially since my dad is getting it. I dont want him to find out I got a new body in less than a year or something!

    I will probably be getting a battery grip.

    I did find one potential deal breaker with the d90. It only produces compressed RAW files. Since I shoot in RAW a lot of the time this seems like a pretty important thing to me. Even my d40x has full RAW capability. Has anyone else read about this with the d90?
  29. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    All Nikon DSLRs with 2-digital model numbers only provide lossy compressed RAW, including your current D40x
    and the D90. See this recent discussion about RAW compression:

    And the study by Jeffrey Friedl I referenced there. At least I have a hard time telling the difference between compressed and
    uncompressed RAW. If I were you, I wouldn't worry about it.

    I doubt that you can find any new D300 with Nikon USA warranty for less than US$1500 at this time, certainly not a
    few hundred dollars less. All of those cheap ones are scams.

    P.S. Interestingly, all models with single-digit and 3-digit model numbers support uncompressed RAW.
  30. This issue would be enough to push me towards the d300 but I own one and have a strong bias towards it.

  31. Hi, Veronica. One thing most men won't think of, but women will, is the weight of the D300. If you were to buy, for example, the Nikon 17-55 f2.8 lens, the combination of the D300 and this lens would be quite heavy. I don't do weddings, but I did shoot an affair with a D80 and the 17-55 lens (with a SB800), and after a few hours, my wrists were getting mighty tired. That said, I think I could learn to live with the weight of the D300 if someone was going to buy one for me. :) I'm just saying don't forget to check out the weight of the camera before you decide.

    Regarding the D90 and video...since you won't have to decide on the camera until Christmas, that will give you plenty of time to read reviews on the video mode.

    Good luck to you in your future business.
  32. Veronica,

    Going against the flow, I'd actually recommend a D90. Ritz got a shipment in yesterday, so i was able to play around
    with the camera. I know that alot of people are saying buy the D300. The D300 is a great camera, however, in this
    field, camera body technology depriciates faster than ever before. I don't think that anyone on this site disagree with
    me that lenses are the greatest investment. The Nikon 80-400 is an old lens, but it still sells for $1700+. My D200 on
    the otherhand cost me $2000 three years ago, and today it sells for under $1000. (ouch).

    One of the biggest reasons that the D300 is an ideal wedding photographers camera is the sensor technology. I've
    shot a wedding at ISO 1600 and been very pleased with the results. I shot the D90 yesterday at ISO 1600/3200 and
    noticed no difference in the amount of noise vs. the D300. The metering in the D90 is amazing as well. Even if the
    D90 didn't have vdeo mode (which is a cool feature), I'd still suggest the D90 and tell you to save up for professional

    In Conclusion: I really think that you should give it some more thought. I know that I'm the minority here, but having
    the biggest most expensive camera isn't going to give you better pictures, especially in this case.
  33. Hi Veronica,
    Thank's for the question, I had the same in mind. I am working with the D70S for 2 years now and I was waiting the price of
    the D300 goes down before buying it when the D90 came in the market. After reading all the comments, I still wait to by the
    D300 before Christmas. it is time for me to move toward a professional camera and I get 7 yes at the test!
    Good luck in your choice.
  34. Hello, Veronica. Like Jeff, I am going to join the opposition and recommend the D90 over the D300. The D300 has the
    follow major benefits over the D90:

    1. More dedicated buttons
    2. More user customizations
    3. Stronger Build, better weather sealing
    4. More autofocus points
    5. Faster burst rate

    For shooting weddings, I wouldn't worry about any of those. The D90 has the new two function info button which, though
    not as convenient as the dedicated buttons on the D300 is much better than the D80/70/50 ever was. Also, in regards to
    the customizations, 99% of the time the additional options in the menus only get in the way.

    When people reference the better build of the D300, they also imply that the other models are cheaply built. I have
    dropped my D50 and my D80 both from shoulder or table height onto concrete at least once each, and both still work
    perfectly. Unless you are going to be taking the camera into some serious remote locations or working in the rain or
    dusty areas, I wouldn't worry about it too much. As for hot and humid conditions, the D90 will work just fine.

    Everyone also keeps referencing the 51 point autofocus system on the D300. There is no doubt that is a sweet system,
    currently unmatched by anything else in the DSLR market. But it is not necessary for weddings. The extra focus points
    are great for tracking high speed objects (think sports, airshows, autoracing). You won't notice much difference at a
    wedding. Remember the D200 was touted as the best only a short time ago, and the autofocus system in the D90 is an
    improved version of what it has.

    Finally, burst rate. Again, that is something that is most beneficial for sports or other high speed action. When you
    shoot weddings, as you know, you end up with hundreds if not thousands of photos to review as it is. Using the higher
    burst rate will simply result in more photos requiring larger memory cards, larger hard drives, and more time to review.

    The D90 is smaller and lighter. It is easier to carry and easier to use. It combines the sensor of the D300, which means
    the image quality between the two will be identical, with the autofocus system of the D200, which is still available as a
    semi-pro camera.

    Finally, in regard to compressed vs uncompressed NEF files, you will not notice a difference at all. Not all compression
    is lossy, think FLAC and Apple Lossless with music. Most reviews I read on the subject recommended shooting
    compressed NEF whenever possible as it lossless and results in smaller files.

    Best of luck to you!
  35. Thanks Diane, that is something I thought about. If I am shooting a wedding for 8 hours with the flash and heavy lens it could be an issue.
    Thanks Jeff for going against the grain lol. You brought some great points about the d90. ISO is important for me being indoors and at churches. Since they are equal in that aspect it really gives a boost to the d90

    I have been shopping around at lenses lately and the 400 or 500+ I can save on the d90 could really get me a decent lens to invest in. It is a tough choice still! Im glad I have some time to decide but you guys have really helped with some of the questions I had been having.

    Interesting point Robert, on the burst rate and taking up more space which could mean more time to review the images. Again something else I need to keep in mind.
  36. WOW! I think you have enough advice for now! Good luck!
  37. Well, my Dad ain't buy any camera now so I got to pay by myself, well, customers help always...

    Video capabilities are a good reason to choose D90 instead of the D300. BUT if you are commited with photography then the decision should flow naturrally: D300.

    I bought a D200 last year (March). I replace it for a D300 two months ago. I'm still happy and satisfied.
    ISO capabilities for the D300 really gives me a step beyond the circumstances of dim light. Not to mention the other advanced options that I have from the D300.

    I like video, when I saw the D90 site, I was soprised about the results from video, but I will await more until video considers sound also.
  38. I would like to chime in on the weight issue. I understand that the weight of an entire kit can be an issue (camera + lens + flash + bracket). However keep two things in mind.

    A difference of 200 grams may not mean that much, if it is only 10% of the total weight.
    The strain on muscles comes more from holding and keeping the camera up to the eye level for a long time. It is not the weight but the position of arms which causes more strain on muscles (our arms are used to hanging by the side).

    So do not make your decision by weight alone, like Diane said, you will get t used to it (once your muscles are trained staying in the camera-to-eye position)
  39. Without doubt the D300 is the better camera. It has Nikon's state-of-the-art autofocus, which is from another world compared to their consumer AF systems. It supports metering with manual focus lenses, and has a host of other features the D90 lacks.

    The D90 has the new D-movie feature, allowing you to capture movies with your Nikon mount lenses. This is interesting in itself, but it doesn't overcome the shortcomings of the D90 as a still camera.
  40. I support those statements for buying from a reputable source. B&H, Adorama, 17th Street, Beach camera, are among those reported as reliable. I have had good luck with them.

    The weight and size is a personal matter, and can be quite important. The 1/2 pound additional weight here can make a considerable difference in carrying, or in lengthy shooting.

    Another related consideration, in case no one mentioned it- you might be interested in a battery grip, as in wedding or portrait work you'd be doing quite a bit of shooting in vertical orientation. It has the vertical position controls and also provides greater capacity without having to change batteries. This, of course, adds yet more weight. Probably another 1/4 pound or so. The one for the D300 costs about $240, close to twice as much as that for the D80.
  41. That is, the D80/D90 battery grip are the same.
  42. As an owner of (2) D300's from release day I'd have to say it is THE best camera bodies I have ever shot in it's price range. I shoot professionally 365 days a year and they have yet to let me down! I think everyone has already pointed out the D90 is a Consumer targeted body vs. a Professional body. There is no comparison in my eyes and would never shoot a D90 as my primary body for business in a million years! Don't be fooled by mega pixels, there's much more to a PROFESSIONAL camera then that ! Do some research !
  43. I would say D300

    D90 for my is not such a good deal and i also think they shouldn't put video on a SLR camera

    i mean it's a camera photo o a Video Camera but no both
  44. lets be honest who wants to look at your work thinking it was taken on yesterdays crap technology.

    That has to be one of the most ludicrous comments I've seen lately. Upon my arrival to shoot a subject, no client has ever said, "Oh my, I see you are using last year's camera with a positively ancient lens; I've obviously hired the wrong photographer."
  45. "lets be honest who wants to look at your work thinking it was taken on yesterdays crap technology. "

    I'm thinking the author of that statement was being sarcastic. At least I hope that's that case.
  46. Wow loads of great advice here!

    Just to share one more consideration - might you consider carrying 2 bodies (so you don't have to swap lenses) for wedding jobs? If yes, what combinations of bodies will you be comfortable with?
  47. You'll get the exact same image quality from both cameras. And you don't really need the AF system of the D300 to shoot weddings (the D90 AF system is better than my old D200's AF, and that was very good). And the build quality of the D90 should be very good. And it's lighter. So get the D90 and use your D40x as a backup and as a second body with different focal length while shooting.

    It's so easy to spend other people's money - and to blow their budget!
  48. "I have 8 weddings booked from now till next may hopefully more to come. "

    So rather than ask on a forum what to buy, what does your experience tell you you need? You say you have been shooting weddings for a while so what have you found that is missing from what you are trying to produce?

    I would rent a couple of different cameras and play with them to see if you can get what you need from them. At some point if you plan on building a good business you will need to make a substantial investment in equipment so picking the right tools is going to be very important.

    I have both Nikon and Canon systems and I find I use my D300 the most.

  49. KC - I would keep my d40x as a backup for a while. Use the d300 or d90 as the main. I have a 2yo daughter so would be using the 40x for family functions and on my daughter.

    Ill keep that in mind Robert. I am going to go to a camera store and look at both bodies in my hand next to eachother before choosing.

    Thanks lou, my gut is the d300 but I needed to present this to my dad with some backup and you guys really helped point out the pluses in both cameras and it was something my dad could read and understand and take into consideration.
  50. If you want it to be a happy birthday, buy at B&H, Adorama or KEH.
  51. I would go with the D90 and use the difference for better glass. The D90 has the same sensor, most of the functions, and some quick dial in picture settings. The old saying is that it's always better to have a better lens and less expensive camera vs the opposite. Although I think the picture quality is the same for the D90 and D300.

  52. I would say go with the D300. It looks more professional and appearances are everything. That being said, it is MUCH heavier than the D90 and
    you will notice the difference after a few hours. I think you need a least two backups. In my experience I haven't found Nikon to be terribly reliable,
    in fact I can't ever remember owning a Nikon that didn't have to go in for repair at some point. My D300 is back for it's second trip to Nikon right

Share This Page