D90 vs. D300

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by sweeterimage, Aug 29, 2011.

  1. I've been an Olympus shooter since I bought an OM-1 back in 1977. I currently shoot with an E510. For a couple of reasons, I have decided to venture into Nikon territory. I've always had a high opinion of Nikon cameras and Nikkor glass.
    I have an opportunity to pick up both a D90 and a D300 for reasonable prices. I can't afford both, so I have to decide on one. The D300 is more expensive, but not out of my budget. I'm looking for suggestions on which I should get. I know a lot of it is very subjective, so I'd appreciate hearing pros and cons of each. I mostly shoot models and portraits. I'm also planning to branch out into small weddings and events.
    Thanks in advance for your help.
     
  2. Can you check them out in person? I prefer the slightly larger D300 in my large hands. The D300 is easier to use with older manual focus lenses if that interests you.
     
  3. The 300 is heavier but It is a great body. I have one. It is sturdy, professional grade and could last a long time. but that depends on what you shoot.
    I started digital shooting with the D70 which is the equivalent of the D7000 in 2005. It is a great cameraand I know that the 7000 is too.
    I was at an event with my 70 (I do event photography mostly) and there was a pro with a D200. He stood up and shot 4 or 5 rapid shots. Just the difference in the sound, speed was impressive.
    That being said, I still use the 70 on a mall Santa Clause shoot so it keeps on ticking.
    Either would be great but the 300 is something else.
     
  4. Either will do what you want, and I think they have the same sensor in them. D300 has better AF for sports etc., uses CF cards instead of SD. Would you be better off buying the D90 and spending the difference on an f2.8 lens for wedding work?
    Kent in SD
     
  5. I've been looking, with lust in my heart, at the 135mm f/2 and 105mm f/2 lenses, but the best price I can find is close to what I would be paying for just the D300. I have run across a Sigma 20-70mm f/2.8 that seems nice. It's a little short for portrait work, so I might keep looking around. The difference between what I would pay for each body is not enough to get really killer glass. But saving a bit in order to get better glass is definitely part of my consideration.
     
  6. Get the D300.
     
  7. The D300's AF system is significantly better. Frame rates are higher, CF cards are better, and more externalized, dedicated controls are better. How much better really depends on your style. If you have any chance at handling them, you'll know immediately. The D300 is a tank, by comparison.
     
  8. I've used both quite a bit and own a D300, especially at the price points for used D90 vs used D300 I would be looking at a D300 for sure. I will echo John Crowe and say to go handle them both yourself if possible. When I bought my first DSLR (D80) I was convinced I wanted the D60 walking in the store... it only took a moment of holding it and looking through the viewfinder to decide it wasn't for me.
     
  9. If you're serious about events, the D300's better AF in lower light would likely be important - but you'd also need budget for good glass.
     
  10. "...to branch out into small weddings..." That means you should be looking at a pair of camera bodies that use the same memory card type (CF or SD) along with a least a pair of Nikon speedlights...the SB-900 units will make your wallet lighter.
    For portraits, you can get a new body with more image size (the D3100 or the D7000,) which comes with a warranty. The second-hand D90 or D300 go out the door without no warranty to the second owner on a Nikon USA product.
     
  11. I recently went from a D70s to a D300s (two actually). I shoot mostly concerts and events. I did look at the D7000 for a moment, but realized that since it has the same preset dial like the D70s, which I often moved at the wrong time inadvertently, I decided against it. After using the D300s for a few weeks, I'm so glad I chose it. The AF functions is great, the frame rate helps a lot, and the ISO makes a big difference over the D70s. I know have about 50% more keepers.
     
  12. currently have a d90 and d300s. all things considered, i would go for the d300. the 90 offers almost no practical advantages except for 1st-gen video, and has significantly worse AF and build.
     
  13. Steve, D300 will make you happy with the change. You'll never look back but I'm afraid your standard for gear acquisition will be significantly raised.
     
  14. Steve,
    I would go with the D300, especially if you're going to shot RAW, for the reasons that already have been mentioned before (Better and faster AF, better construction, better frame rates, e.t.c.).
    If "reasonable price" for the D300 means a sum near the price of D7000, I would get the D7000 though.
    Happy shooting! Cheers!
     
  15. Get the 90, it'll take better photos because you can spend more on glass - the most important bit. The body is only a short term purchase, and when you're ready for weddings, you'll be due for a new body.
     
  16. I agree with the above. If the money saved chips in for a 2.8 lens like the Tamron 17-50 or Sigma 50-150 it will be great. The D90 has great ergonomics and same IQ as the D300, so coupled with decent lenses you will do well. For the record, I have the D300 but I think I would have been happy with the D90.
     
  17. I have a D90. I really dislike the (matrix mode) light meter overexposure in contrasty scenes. Search the forum and you will find postings on it.
     
  18. I have a D300. For weddings, I find exposure to be reliable and focusing rapid. Key controls fall easily to hand. It also has better weather sealing than the D90 - not all weddings are in the dry. If you do plan to shoot weddings for money, you really need a second body - plus lens backup and two flashes etc.
     
  19. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    If you are going to shoot weddings, I would avoid DSLRs with only one cross-type AF point because that will make auto focus difficult under dim light, i.e. church interiors, banquet halls, etc.
    And if you can afford a used D300, I would look into the newer D7000 also. The D7000 has better low-light capabilities and has dual memory cards, which should be an important consideration for wedding photographers.
    And yes, for wedding photographers, at least one backup camera is critical. You will also need lenses, flash, etc. etc. A complete switch over to Nikon will certainly cost some money. However, 4/3 DSLRs has apparently reached a dead end as the emphasis for 4/3 is now on Micro 4/3. You might as well go with a major brand in the DSLR area.
     
  20. I would prefer to acquire Nikon D300 because of durability. I have been using mine since 2009 and still working good in any weather condition. My Nikon D7000 is very good with low light as Shun mentioned.
     
  21. Shun,
    The impending demise of the 4/3 system is one of the reasons I am considering a move to Nikon. The other is the inconsistent AF in the E-Volt line.
     
  22. Impending demise? What?
     
  23. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Folks, this thread is not about the future of 4/3 DSLRs, but for those who are not familiar with them, in the last 2.5 years, exactly one new 4/3 DSLR was introduced while Olympus' emphasis has switched to Micro 4/3 mirrorless cameras. It is understandable that 4/3 DSLR users are getting impatient: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Thirds_system
    I always recommend people who want DSLRs to use major market-leading brands such as Canon and Nikon to avoid getting into such situation.
    But regardless of whether you agree with Steve the OP's concerns and my comments on 4/3, if you would like to debate that topic, please start your own thread outside of this forum. My only purpose here is to clarify this issue for those who are not familiar with 4/3 DSLRs and the (lack of) availability of new models. I am not interested in debating about the future of 4/3 DSLRs.
    But back to the OP's question: The D90's Multi-CAM 1000 AF module has only 1 cross-type AF point. Both the D90 and D300 can use only 1 memory card. If you must get a D300, I would prefer a D300S for wedding photography as the D300S can take 1 CF and 1 SD card. But if a used D300 is within your budget, I would prefer the newer technology in the D7000, which accepts 2 SD cards.
     

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