Replacement for D300s

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Leroy_Photography, Nov 22, 2017.

  1. I shoot a lot of sports and a mish-mash of birds, landscapes, macros, some portraits, etc. I've always loved my D300 and D300s, but am ready to upgrade to something with the SAME BODY, but with more bells and whistles such as bluetooth and/or wifi accessibility (and a higher ISO). I only shoot on manual, so the D300 body has a great layout (no fumbling around in Menu to change the shutter, ISO, WB, or to to bracket). What would be a good replacement? (Note: I'm not a pro and a $4,000 camera is way out of my budget.) Any direction would be greatly appreciated.
  2. The D500 is the most natural candidate.
    Leroy_Photography likes this.
  3. Agreed on the D500 if you want to stay DX.

    If FX would be a consideration, a used D810 is now around the same price as a new D500.

    The only "control pad" cameras(I use that term to differentiate them from mode dial cameras) Nikon currently makes are the D500, D850, and D5. Going back a bit, the D800/810, D700, and the single digit D cameras are the only ones where you'll find that.
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    It looks like the OP was already considering replacing the D300S five years ago: D300/D300s Replacement

    By now, the D500 seems the obvious choice if the OP would like to stay with DX. In the US, currently there is Black Friday discount and free grip for the D500.
    Leroy_Photography likes this.
  5. I'm certainly not going to dispute the D500 as the most obvious option; I might say that the D7100, D7200 and D7500 are all extremely capable (the control system is a little different, but mostly as fast to use), so I'd check before ruling them out, though. I'm not sure I find Nikon's Wi-Fi options to be significantly more appealing than an Eye-Fi card, although those are certainly (last I checked) not speed demons.
  6. But she said "SAME BODY" as the D300 and D300s, so none of these qualify. And as a previous owner of a D7100 and a D7200 I can ascertain that the D7100 is not something I consider capable when it comes to action photography - the small memory buffer sees to that. Without having tried one, I disqualify the D7500 immediately since it doesn't allow for the attachment of an external battery grip (which I found essential when handling larger lenses (like the 80-400 or 200-500 on both the D7100 and D7200). So the only remaining option of the three mentioned would be the D7200 - half the price of the D500 and for that you also get about half the performance.
  7. Thanks, Ben. I've looked at the "mode dial" cameras, but they seem too clumsy to make changes while chasing the action (or even the light, for that matter).
  8. Thanks, Andrew. The eye-fi cards are great, but I've had some software difficulty with them in the past with my mirrorless camera (but that could happen with any software).
  9. Thank you for the input. The D500 looks great--including the price (less than $2,000).:
    • EXPEED 5 Image Processor
    • 3.2" 2,539k-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
    • 4K UHD Video Recording at 30 fps
    • Multi-CAM 20K 153-Point AF System (Wow)
    • Native ISO 51200, Extend to ISO 1640000 (Wow!)
    • 10 fps Shooting for Up to 200 Frames (Wow! Again)
    • Built-In Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC (very nice)
  10. One of the things worth mentioning that you MIGHT or MIGHT NOT care about is that the D500 doesn't have a built-in flash.

    On both my D300 and D800, I use the pop-up somewhat often as a CLS controller, and a lot less frequently for outdoor fill. Of course, it's also one other thing to break, and from what I've seen the lack of it allows the D500 to have a bigger/brighter prism than the D300.
    Andrew Garrard likes this.
  11. Absolutely, I was just challenging the assumption based on evolutionary improvements. The D7200 is a lot more capable than a D90, for example.

    I'd actually managed to ignore the "sports" statement, which does indeed make the D7100 questionable. The lack of a second card slot hurts the D7500 for me, but I don't want to project; the D7200's 6fps is indeed a little behind the D300s (though not the un-gripped D300). The D7500 is at least as fast (8fps) as a D300s (and the same sensor as the D500).

    No argument that the D500 has the edge, and it's certainly closer in handling to the D300s (though there are plenty of differences if you try them side by side - the +/- swapping annoyed me a lot with the D700/D800e pair). I just thought I'd check the more expensive model was necessary.

    I've got to say I've never actually used my Eye-Fi for transferring data. But the fact that it'll allegedly do raw transfers is quite tempting to me - though I gather the signal can get a bit muffled by the camera body. Snapbridge seems to get less than glowing reviews, though.

    Out of interest, what gets in the way? You can often configure them usefully, although I'm not going to claim they're entirely equivalent. It's a factor in my choosing the D700/D800e/D810/D850 upgrade path rather than even looking at the D750, but familiarity can be expensive...

    For all my second-guessing you, having hired a D500, it's a lovely camera (and felt very similar to my D810). The speed is impressive, especially with XQD (meaning I'll probably want the grip for the D810), the touchscreen is nice, the AF fine tuning is nice, and the AF system, while not perfect (for me), is state of the art unless the person next to you has a D5. :)

    ISO performance of modern sensors has improved significantly since the D300 - it's not magic, but it's certainly improved. (Separate software can do nice things with noise reduction these days, too.)

    The one thing I'd say is read some reviews about the wifi in case you get too excited. If you want better wifi than basic transfers to your phone, you may end up looking at the WT-7 - and that's expensive and clumsy enough that it's not the most appealing things unless you're desperate.

    That said, B&H sell the WT-7 for $750, whereas in the UK, WEx have it listed for £1100 (£1000 at Park). So Brits like me have a little more reason to be wary of the official Nikon solution...
  12. Those numbers are precisely designed to make us say, "wow!" but you won't like the resulting photos. But it doesn't matter. The D500 was designed as the D300/D300s replacement, it fits the requirements you described, and its current sale price is lower than I would expect it to be for some time.
  13. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Again, as of this week, Nikon USA is discounting the D500 to $1800 with a MB-D17 grip included: Nikon D500 | Read Reviews, Tech Specs, Price & More

    You can get that deal from all authorized Nikon dealers in the US, including Adorama, Amazon, B&H, and many local stores. As far as I know that deal is available in the next few days but may be extended into December.
  14. With regard to noise:

    Maybe it's just me, but I've noticed that with the pixel densities we're seeing today, the noise itself becomes so small that even at high ISOs its not as obvious as with lower resolution cameras.

    I think the D500 is on the low end of pixel density in terms of DX cameras, but it's still higher than an FX camera(the D850 is 19.6mp in DX crop mode).

    I agree that the boosted ISO modes are mostly gimmicks, but even a relatively antiquated camera like my D800 still impresses me at 3200. I won't pretend it's noise free-it certainly is not-but I dare say that the 2012 D800 looks a lot better at 6400 than a c.2004 D2X at 800. Of course, I keep the ISO as low as I can, but I'll still go up to 3200 without too much thought and don't fret if i have to go to 6400.
  15. I do a bit of sports photog with a D7200, and I find it meets my need, while keeping the weight down (compared to a FX D750).
    The D7200 can go up to ISO 25600, but the max I've gone up to is 12800, when shooting indoor volleyball and night football. Given the lighting, the results were just fine.

    But if you have the budget for the D500, I would go that route, rather than the D7200.

    re D500
    • Depending on what sport you shoot, the multi-point AF may or may not make a difference.
      • When shooting team sports (football and volleyball) I found that any of the zone focus to be unreliable. It cannot tell YOUR subject apart from the other players when they get mixed up. I now use center point AF only for those types of sport, so I can track the subject. I expect basketball, soccer and similar team sports to be similarly a problem for zone AF.
      • For tennis, with just ONE player, I found that 3D AF would sometimes loose lock on the player and focus on the lines on the court or the background.
      • In football, when a line ref ran past me, the 9 point dynamic would loose focus lock on the player and track the ref instead, leaving the player out of focus.
    • For certain FAST sports, IMHO, even 10 fps is not fast enough.
      • The difference between shots at 6 fps with my D7200, tells me that I would need 20+ fps to shoot a tennis player, and reliably get the racket and ball close together. The racket moves VERY fast. I think one of the the mirrorless Sony will do 20 fps.
    • The tilting LCD is a GREAT feature for low angle shots. You don't need to lay on the ground to look through the viewfinder to aim the camera.
    • I have only used up to ISO 12800 (max 25600 on the D7200), but having a max ISO of 51200 is nice to have, for those really dim venues. I remember the days of pushing Tri-X up to 1200, and getting grainy negatives that one did not want to print large.
      • For those dim venues, you should be shooting with FAST glass.
    However, for the price of a D500, I would look at a FX D750.
    But CAREFULLY compare the relevant specs. For sports, the D500 may be the better choice.
  16. That's how I killed a D200. Since that happened, I have not used an on-board flash anymore even though, with the exception of the A7/A7II and D500, all my cameras had one.
    Indeed. At least for me, the limit of acceptability is around ISO 6400, certainly not beyond. And anything north of ISO 3200 will certainly have me at least try noise reduction in post.
  17. I hate to point this out, but I don't think frame rate is all that necessary in tennis. The racquet moves fast, but you do know when it's going to hit the ball (if you couldn't, the players wouldn't be able to play); I've had a pretty high hit rate of ball centred in racquet with single shots timed properly. Not that I claim you couldn't spray at 60fps and pick a frame (something I hope future 8k bodies will allow). But I'm an amateur, and I'm prepared to be shouted down on this.

    I'd be more worried about something like football (either kind) where the players are deliberately moving unpredictably and over smaller distances.
    heimbrandt likes this.
  18. Sorry for going off topic, but it is related to how many value the FPS specs of a camera.

    I could not agree more - timing is everything when shooting sports. Granted, there are some fast and unpredictable sports but most are not - when you know the sport. Show jumping and eventing interest me and I have been asked many times by other (mostly amateur) photographers why I do not shoot more frames per jump since it looks like I have a fast camera. One or two shots per jump get you the photo you want, not ten, not 30. The latter is called video, in my world and removes the challenge in photography. I am not saying every frame is perfect, but it makes photography more of an active hobby and you learn more when you work on your timing. Looking back on my gear, the camera that gave me the most keepers was the Pentax 67 as it really forced med to think before I fired the shutter - and I could shoot action with it. That said, I stil appreciate as high fps as possible but not for the number of shots I can get. I like it for the shorter time between two frames and the shorter blackout time for the AF system.

    Working on your timing rather than just spraying has another advantage; when you come home and sort your photos. At the enduro event a couple of weeks ago, I stood next to a very nice and friendly photographer who took some fifteen shots of every rider riding past. I wonder if she has had the time to go thru all her photos by now from that event. Moreover, I wonder whether she really got more really good shots than the rest of us that did not fill our memory cards.

    A running toddler is a different subject, though...
  19. Actually, that is my experience also.
    I get a better hit rate when I shoot a SINGLE shot, rather than burst.
    But then I grew up in the manual everything days of film, so I had to learn to time the shot. And that requires a lot of practice and thinking about the shot, to get the timing right. This is something that I fear many of the newer generation don't have. As the high school yearbook advisor warned me, "the kids today have an attention span measured in seconds."

    Few thoughts about burst shooting:
    • I can get the follow up shots that I could never get with a manual film camera.
      • duh, rather obvious. But having been a film shooter for so long, it took me a long time to even try burst/continuous shooting. I shot my first DSLR like it was an auto winder rather than a motor drive, single shot. I do not recall ever shooting continuous on that camera.
    • I have discovered other types of shots that I like, after reviewing the X number of shots in a burst. Examples:
      • The setup/approach for a hit is many times more interesting than the shot of the racket contacting the ball.
      • The face of the opposing water polo goalie after she misses the throw and goal by my player.
    • For new sport photographers, it helps them to get shots, without the learning curve of learning to time the shot.
      • This is for my yearbook students, and most casual photographers.
      • It takes a while to learn that there is a time lag between when they see the shot they want, their finger presses the shutter, and the the shutter firing. And some never learn to anticipate/time the shot.
    • The more shots you take, the longer and more difficult the editing session will be.
    Andrew Garrard likes this.
  20. mm on a D500 the Wi-Fi , Bluetooth and NFC cannot be operated separate from each other, You always need to connect thue the Bluetooth connection first with a Phone , running the "SnapBridge". App. ( ATM there are no other App's which communicate with a Nikon 500 without extra hardware).

    TheSnapbrige App. does not run or run properly on most available phoness, just on newer iPhones an on some Anroid phones.
    Once started it then can utilize Wi-Fi for large file transfers, which then is a terrible slow process.
    The NFC chip is only used to make it easier to set up the connection with your Phone the first time, that is all.

    With the possibility for Bluetooth / Wi-Fi enabled, the camera drains the battery very quickly, even when switched off, to prevent this you need to switch the camera in air-plane mode..

    If you want to use proper Wi-Fi with the D500 then you will need to buy a WT-7 unit which costs about half of the price of the camera, this can then be used running nikons Camera Control Pro on a PC.

    So if Wi-Fi connection is really important for you, then Nikon is not the best brand to look for it i think (personal opinion)
    steve_g|2 likes this.

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