Nikon D700 or D3S for Wildlife (Choosing A' or B')

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dave_bishop, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. I shoot mostly wildlife. Do I buy a D700 or spend all out and get the D3s. I know the differences. Is the extra expense worth it.
  2. Hello Dave,
    Depends on wht kindda wildlife u wanna do. I do wildlife too, mostly African but hv been shooting tigers in India and been to Borneo. In some situations I really wanted to the have the high ISO quality of D3s. In Kenya such situations are fewer, whereas in Borneo its very handy as the light is on the lower side in the rain forest. What lenses do u use?

  3. BTW - most of my pics were shot with D700, and older ones on F100, and a very few D200.
  4. Do you need the larger buffer, a higher frame rate, and want two card slots? Then it is the D3. if you need better high ISO performance, D3s; otherwise D700.
  5. "Expensive" often means "better" in some general sense. However life is filled with existential decisions (shall I eat a peach or go to town?). People have done this sort of thing with considerably more primitive equipment than either of these cameras.
    You know your own circumstances better than we do. Commit yourself (make a decision, that is, many of us probably should be committed) and don't look back.
  6. Hi Sen C. I shoot all North American wildlife. Deer, elk, sheep, bears, coyotes. fox, etc... Flight shots of Birds of Prey would consume the greatest part of my time.
  7. D700 and extra $$$ for lens(es).

  8. Hi Dave,
    D700 is a very good camera and is wonderful for most of the needs. Having said that, it really comes down to what lighting conditions u'd be shooting in, esp that in most cases u'd need as high shutter speeds as possible, well except for intentional blur or panning. That's prolly wht's gonna be the deciding factor. Frame rate is important, but D700 + grip + right battery gives 8fps, which is very adequate for most.
    I personally would wanna get D3s bcos I've come across a fair # of situations where the light was low. Sorry, I hvn't shot wildlife in NA, so not sure of specific conditions here. But in Borneo I really wish I'd D3s.
  9. "D700 + grip + right battery gives 8fps, which is very adequate for most" True. Keep in mind you can get a D3 (which includes the battery and charger and does not need an additional grip) for about the same price as a D700 combo. The D3 also give up to 11fps which can be useful. I like Marc's suggestion. Most of the difference in high ISO performance between the D700/D3 and the D3S comes at ISO 6400 and above. Unless you will often be shooting above ISO 6400, I would stick with the D700 or D3 and save your money.
  10. Thanks everyone for your input. Last question. Will the D3s give me a higher number of keepers (sharp) when shooting faster moving subjects?
  11. Flight shots of Birds of Prey would consume the greatest part of my time.​
    I'd get a D700 and a D300 or 7000 and great long lenses. For long tele shots of birds of prey, the DX crop factor is an advantage. Your 500 or 600mm lenses become equivalent to 750 or 900mm with the same f-stop.
    Honestly, for wildlife, DX still has a lot of pluses.
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    For wildlife, IMO you are better off with a DX-format DSLR. At this point the sensor on the D7000 is wonderful, but its AF and buffer-write speed are both a step backward from those on the D300/D300S. Once Nikon puts the D7000 type sensor technology onto a D300S type body that uses CF instead of the slow SD memory cards, it'll be very good for wildlife photography. Having the video option is another major plus for wildlife.
    In other words, if you can wait a bit, look for the successor to the D300S, hopefully some time in 2011. The D700 and D3S are both fine cameras, but at this point they are both late in their production cycles.
    P.S. For whatever it is worth, last year I attended a 4-day seminar with Frans Lanting, one of the world's best known wildlife photographers. At the seminar I was testing the then new Nikon D3X. Lanting was using a D300 himself; the D300S had not been announced yet at that time.
  13. Agree with the last two posts on the DX format. I'm a wildlife guy and I shoot with both a D700 and a D300. I used to shoot with a D200 and I got the D700 to replace that but then added the D300 because I missed the crop factor. Now I do all my long lens shooting with the D300 and the wider and mid range stuff with the D700. Funny how all of a sudden we're talking about the high ISO of the D700 as a liability. Just a year or so ago, it was being hailed for its remarkable high ISO performance. As for me, I'll be waiting for that successor to the D300s.
  14. If you know the differences, why are you still asking us?
  15. While the D3, D3S, and D700 (and D300/D300s) all share the MultiCAM 3500 AF module, there are apparently other small differences that affect AF speed and accuracey. These differences may be subtle but they are there nonetheless. The D3/D3S to have superior AF ability over the D700 and D300/D300s.
    I find the D3 to offer noticeably faster and more accurate AF than the D300. In fact, 51pt 3D matrix metering is very usable with the D3 and find I can use it when shooting 9fps with exceptionally good results while it too slow to be useful for fast moving subjects with the D300. The D700 has the same AF module as the D3/D3s but there are apparently differences that give the D3/D3s a bit of an advantage.
    "For long tele shots of birds of prey, the DX crop factor is an advantage." While this may be true under some shooting circumstances (mainly as at low and very low ISO), the D700/D3/D3S offer superior IQ at higher ISOs and superior AF and frame rate over the DX equivalent. So while shooting with a D3/D3S will give you a slightly lower megapixel image when cropped, it will have higher quality pixels with more detail and less noise. A lot depends on print size and ISO but even at print sizes of 12 x 18, it would be difficult to see any differences from a D300 image to a DX cropped D3 image.
    The bottom line is the D3S would probably give you the best results under most common shooting conditions of any Nikon camera available at this time.
  16. To Scott, I realize the technical differences between the two cameras. I was looking for input from readers who might have real world experiences with both cameras. Example: Frans Lanting as stated above using a D300. Most of us would have guessed without knowing that he would be shooting with a Professional body. You can never have to much input before trying to make the right choice. Lighten up. Go kick a rock around and burn off some steam.
  17. The D300 IS a professional body. I know because I am a professional and I use one.:) I know plenty of pros who use D700's and D70's as well. I also still use my old-favorite D2H every once in a while. It is still a newspaper photographer's best friend. Of these most would only refer to the D2H as a "professional" body. (I also have a D3X and D2X for when I am showing off. Know what I mean?)
    Sorry. Pet peave. When I am working people endlessly bombard me with 'what should I buy' questions. Here is the answer. If money is no object whatsoever buy a D3x. It will cost about $7600.00. It is very slow when you are shooting the 30 MB Raw 14 bit and jpeg small combination but who cares. You can always switch to the DX mode and shoot about 10.5 MP IIR at 7 FPS. This should be great for your wildlife photography.
    Of course if style points are of no concern to you, you could always buy the D300s with grip, AND the AF-S VR NIKKOR 200-400 F/4 IF ED Lens which should fill the bill for wildlife admirably. It will also leave about $400.00 in your pocket which you can use to put up a "professional" web site, buy a vest get some business cards printed. Then your D300s will BE a professional body.
    Nothin' but love for you though. Just having a bit of fun.
  18. Thanks Lee, I needed that. I am shooting now with a D300 and the 300mm f4, 200-400, and the 500 f4. I thought I might get better quality printed 12 x 18 images for framing with a full frame sensor. I realize I lose magnification, but I thought I could crop and zoom the full frame images and achieve better results than I am getting now.
  19. I miss DX when photographing small birds in the woods. I added a 1.4TC to get back what I lost. Seems to me to be about equal, gained a stop ISO-lost a stop with the TC. If I was only doing wildlife I would have a D300(s) + excellent glass + excellent tripod setup and spend all my time looking for the image to capture.
  20. I am shooting now with a D300 and the 300mm f4, 200-400, and the 500 f4. I thought I might get better quality printed 12 x 18 images for framing with a full frame sensor.I realize I lose magnification, but I thought I could crop and zoom the full frame images and achieve better results than I am getting now.
    this kind of cuts to the chase, doesn't it? what's wrong with the results you're getting now? i think you would get better bokeh (due to pixel density), better high-ISO (due to FF sensor) and... that's about it. you do lose about one stop of DoF with DX--2.8 on DX will perform like f/4 on FX--but you gain the 1.5x crop, which you will certainly notice doing wildlife. if you're only printing at 12x18, the differences might be small to the eye. doesn't look like you need more lenses, so maybe wait for the d400?
  21. Dave, the D700 doesn't offer any better quality than the D300 for 12x18 prints unless you're shooting at ISO 800 or above. Anything lower than ISO 800 will be indistinguishable between the D300 and D700. In fact the D700 has stronger anti-alias filtering vs. the D300, so images out of the D700 are in fact softer by default than they are out of the D300. I overall prefer the D300 image quality over the D700, but the D700 is also superb.
  22. As you have a great body right now, unless you are getting more out of focus images images than you are happy with or often shooting at higher ISOs, you probably don't need to upgrade. But if you do, the D3S is worth the money over the D700.
  23. Well I decided and went for the D3s. There is no question this is a great camera. Noise levels are incredibly low. Thanks everyone for the help. Attached is a pic taken at 10,000 ISO in low light handheld without flash.

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