Should I buy Nikon D300s?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by gregory_scarcell, Feb 14, 2010.

  1. I am THINKING of moving up from the Nikon D40x to the Nikon D300s. I own two Nikon lenses (18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 and 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6) but will be purchasing more.
    I shoot mainly wildlife/landscape/nature in low light near sunrise and sunset times and will be doing HDR. I would GREATLY appreciate any comments/feedback from D300s users OR people knowledgeable about this camera.
  2. ..perhaps investing in a 'really good' lens might be money better spent ?
  3. If you can wait, why don't you wait for a DX version of the D3S sensor (12800 ISO should be good for you, specially since your lenses are not very fast).
  4. Better ISO performance and dynamic range do help. Why not just go for a D700. Should be no problem selling your 18-135.
  5. David-
    I have outgrown D40x. There are features I need that it does not have.
    I seriously thought of the D700; however after researching the lenses I realized that there are more choices and price points offered in the DX format. Also, my current DX lens will maintain high resolution on the DX format cameras, whereas on the FX format (D700) the DX lens would provide about 5 or 6mp.
    I do not want to wait for a possible DX version of D3S because I have no idea when that will come out IF it does come out. Do you know something that I don't?
  6. The D300 or D 300s is an excellent choice for wildlife/nature/landscape work. I have no problem recommending it over a body with a full frame sensor. I shoot with a D 300 and a D 300s. If you need an upgrade now, by the model that best meets your needs and budget now. Joe smith
  7. For wildlife, stick with DX. You are far better off. Wildlife shots really come down to the lens, and a solid tripod/head to support it. You don't seem to have either. Buy a used or refurb D90, put the big money on a lens. And a tripod/head. You will make better wildlife photos with your D40 + Nikon 300mm f4 & TC-14E than you will with D700 + 70-300mm f5.6. The importance of cameras is typically way over rated by beginners.

    Kent in SD
  8. What Kent said. You don't need the D300 for low light. You need a better lens and tripod. I like his recommendation.
  9. I third what Kent said. What the D300S has over a D90 is irrelevant for landscape photography. I would take every penny saved and invest in tripod and a good ballhead. I use Manfrotto/Bogen as it is what I consider to be the best $/quality available. I can also recommend the Nikon 300mm f/4 lens, which I don't own but have used along with a TCE14 v2. That is a remarkably sharp 630mm FX equivalent for the money. You could never hand hold that in most situations, but on a tripod (especially using the shutter delay feature and the 2 sec self timer to allow any vibrations to dissipate prior to the shutter opening) it can be very good.
  10. Hi Gregory,
    I wouldn't advise getting a D90 for landscape/wildlife since the camera is not weather sealed. One of my friends D90s has become an expensive paperweight because of water intrusion while on a shoot near some waterfalls. Buy a D300!
  11. With digital, using a good body is equivalent to using good film in the old days. Get a 14 bit camera with weather sealing =D300s. Look for a used bargain tele. My wildlife lens is a 600mm manual focus from the 1980's.
  12. I 100% agree with RL Potts. A good camera is important and is equivalent to good film. It isn't all 100% about just great lenses anymore. I'm about to purhcase a D300s because of that same realization. The better your camera processes a RAW image the better your final product may be. It is not just the lens, although I wouldn't buy a poorly rated one.
  13. You can't go wrong with the Nikon D300s. If you are serious and committed to your hobby or avocation then you should at least get the Nikon 200-400mm f4 (other options). I'd rather not hear any whining about the price. Where there is a genuine will, there is a way. Save up or get a part-time job. If you want the best, you can get it. The optics you are now using represent a major compromise for real wildlife photography and replacing them is more important than replacing your camera. I would also look into one of Nikon's high end wide angle zooms for your landscape work.
  14. mizore

    mizore A Gringa in Nicaragua

    You can also buy an older manual focus lens like the 400mm f/5.6 (see deer shot with this lens propped up on the car window in my portfolio). The camera is a D300, which will meter with manual AI and AIS lenses, which gives you a wider selection of used options than lenses that don't meter with manual Nikkors of old. The D300 used is quite reasonable these days what with people switching to D700 cameras.
  15. I'd rather not hear any whining about the price. Where there is a genuine will, there is a way. Save up or get a part-time job. If you want the best, you can get it.
    So Robert you are saying if you can't afford thousands for lenses don't even bother, what sort of BS is that "save up or get a part time job" that's the most insulting advice I've seen on this forum for some time, for your information there are many dedicated photographers who do quite well without a huge arsenal of expensive lenses. My advice to the original poster would be hone your skills take lot's of pictures gain experience and find out for yourself what's preventing you from getting the images you want, throwing money at the problem is not the way
  16. Steve,
    So Robert you are saying if you can't afford thousands for lenses don't even bother...​
    Don't put words in my post. I never said that. Quite the opposite.
    I knew one or more people would not agree with my opinion, but I certainly did not foresee insulting anyone. I stand by my advice. It reflects my late father's wisdom who started out life without anything, including both parents. I've done well for myself and owe much of that success to my father's guidance. I believe you can accomplish anything you put your mind to.
  17. I'm with Robert.
  18. Robert's post isn't insulting; it's reasonable advice. (And Steve, even if it is, if it's the most insulting thing you've read on, then I'll bet my salary this is the only thread you've ever read on If you can't afford a lens you want, do you a) whine about it, or b) set a goal and devise means of achieving that goal? I don't see the insult, here.
    Gregory, the issue of weather-sealing is an interesting question the relevance of which only you can determine. How have you done with your D40x? Any problems with water or dirt getting places it shouldn't? If so, then the extra ruggedness of the D300s could be valuable to you.
    By contrast, if you've never had a problem and don't anticipate going swimming with your camera, then a D90 has substantially similar image quality and features, and leaves several hundred dollars available for glass. And glass is just never, ever a bad investment.
  19. I agree with Kent, with two reservations: If being out in the rain is a priority, you want the D300S weather sealing, and if you want to track fast moving animals the AF system and faster burst fire of the D300S will help. There are other features that are probably not important to you, so aside from those factors the D300S and D90 are essentially the same camera. Both are excellent.
  20. Ewa-Marine for that added protection in inclement weather.
  21. How about a D300? Unless you need that extra frame-per-second and the SD card capability, the D300 is exactly the same camera, and substantially cheaper ($1319 US at KEH for a 'like new' used D300, v. $1939 for a new D300s at Adorama). At $1319 it's also only about a hundred bucks more than a new D90.
  22. The only similarity between the D90 and the D300s is the image quality produced by the sensor....since they share the same sensor. Aside from that they are VERY different cameras. The D300s offers plenty of upgrades that make it a worthy purchase over a D90.
    Unless the extra $ spent on the D300s prevents you from investing into a good tripod and quality glass....buying the D300s is a very good decision. It's a great camera and I cannot say anything bad about it at all. As others have mentioned the weather seals should be a very big consideration if you are shooting a lot out doors. I recently shot for the first time in the rain and it scared the h*** out of me.....but I had no issues at all.
    Dual Card slots, weather seals, better AF system(by a long shot), ability to use Ai and AIS lenses, virtual horizon, 100% viewfinder, more shots per battery charge, better metering system, higher frame rate, and a VERY big improvement in the body and interface.
    Heavier, lacks auto settings vs the D90, higher price
  23. I don't think you can under state the pro's I listed above. Those improvements IMO are huge when comparing the two cameras. Yes side by side in the exact same situation the D90 will produce equally good image quality. But that really doesn't matter if miss a shot you would have other wise nailed using a D300s.
    For the $ the D90 is a great camera so don't misunderstand what I am saying. Also it is true...your glass is more important then the body. Given the two lenses the original poster is using , I'd say upgrading your lens options should be a priority for the type of shooting he is doing.
  24. Glass is important for wildlife shots, but your 70-300 will do the job for now. No snob factor but it delivers, as you probably know already.
    Get a D300 or D300s. It will meet your needs in quite a foreseeable time, in which you can save up for more expensive lenses.
    In the bush, a monopod may have advantages to a tripod. And, if a monopod fails to stabilise the camera enough, the shutter time is too long to catch live animals anyway.
    The difference between 300 and 300s mainly boils down to video and dual card slots.
  25. At $1319 it's also only about a hundred bucks more than a new D90​
    Wow! Riley, you shop in some expensive places for a D90. More like a Five Hundred Dollar difference.
  26. Just a few thoughts.
    I use a D90 and a variety of lenses for landscape and more recently some wildlife photography. I looked at the D300 when I purchased my D90 - and spent a long while before coming down in favour of the D90. My main reason, was the cost difference - which more or less covered the price of a 12-24DX. Since that time I haven't had cause to wish that I had gone for the D300. I'm not saying that there are no differences between the cameras, just that for me - I haven't encountered anything that I couldn't work around.
    Weather sealing - some precautions will go a long way to ensuring the camera is not exposed to damaging conditions.
    The AutoFocusing - the D90 has been adequate for me. I have found that the longer(affordable) lenses have more impact on the focusing than the camera (limitations at f5.6 for eg leading to focus-hunting) - but then I tend to use centre focusing. I don't shoot sports, so the quicker focusing hasn't been a real requirement. Tracking birds in flight with the D90 has also been fine.
  27. Greg,
    I think Nikon D 300 or Nikon D300s will be a good choice. It has a capability of doing 1000 different good things. Right now, I am taking photgraphy class to learn more on apertures, speed and others. I am still in the process of learning the different dials and buttons of this camera and so far I love the end product from it.
  28. More like a Five Hundred Dollar difference.​
    Oops, clearly I'm blind. That price was for the D90 with a 70-300. Thanks for pointing that out.
  29. Gregory, I don't know why people are telling you the D300s is a good buy at $1,400, or even for $1,900, when its an even better buy new for $1,500 at B & H Photo ?
  30. Currently on which I find the majority of the time has the lowest prices and shipping these are the prices: D90 $779.95, D300 $1912.95 (why!), D300s $1499
  31. To quote DPReview:
    (Sample images show that the D300 produces sharper jpeg and raw images at 100% pixel view than the D90) "Unfortunately, for those people hoping that the D90 would effectively be a half-price D300, the RAW results appear consistent with those from the JPEGs. Although the underlying silicon is likely to be closely related, it's not necessarily safe to assume that it shares the D300's multi-channel read-out, or downstream processing componentry (Nikon's Expeed branding doesn't refer to a specific processor). Most importantly, there is nothing to suggest that the D90 shares the same low-pass filter assembly (which can be more expensive than the sensor itself and would be an obvious place to reduce costs for a camera in this price-bracket), which would explain the difference in per-pixel-sharpness we see here."
  32. I'm a wildlife guy and have a D700, D300 and D40x. Of these three, I use the D300 the most. Actually, I don't use the D40x at all anymore. I used to carry it as a backup because of its small size but the sensor is clearly not as good as the D300. The reason I reach for the D300 more than the D700 is the crop factor which gets me closer to far off wildlife (which is what I shoot most often). I love the D700, as well, and use it mostly for landscapes and when I'm very close to wildlife or shooting people and require the widest focal lengths. It's also a bit better than the D300 in low light, although the D300 is still excellent. As for the D90, does it have a pin for a remote release? I could be wrong, but I don't think so, which if you want to shoot HDR can be an issue. Also, as for the sensor, I've been reading that the D300s has improved image quality over the D300, which obviously also puts it ahead of the D90. Good luck, I'd go for the D300s if you can swing it.
  33. Mark - the D300 is obviously a better camera than the D90 - that's reflected in the price. It's a question really of horses for courses, and spreading that dosh across whatever camera ticks the boxes. In my personal experience the difference in sharpness of the sensor is probably a bit further down the list of causes to lack of crispness after technique and lens. So for me the D90 was the best fit.
    Not saying the D300s isn't the camera to go for in this case - just that the D90 is worth looking at if the price differential is significant given any budget constraints.
  34. Investing in additional lense would serve you better. I purchased a D300 and feel like I really did not need the D300.
  35. Ann - you are having an interesting point here, you feel like you really did not need D300. Curious, what camera you have been using before that ?
  36. In the words of the commercial, "Just do it! " It's what you want, and don't let anyone here stop you.
    You'll get lenses as you need them.
    The D300's versatility in set up ability to be four different camera's at button click, virtually no lens limitations, old or new, its toughness, focusing accuracy and speed, and its handling make it a natural.
    If you go for the D90, don't worry. It's a little more immediately available lens money. Besides, all of these digital bodies become obsolete in a few years. Which one do you want to live with for a few years. I got the D300 as an upgrade from the D70s, and I have not looked back.
  37. I shoot mainly wildlife/landscape/nature in low light near sunrise and sunset times and will be doing HDR.​
    Beside camera, you really need to think about lenses first. You don't have a wide angle zoom, such as the 10-20 or 12-24, and these are another $600 or $400. On the long end, you may want to consider the 80-400 VR zoom, which is about $1200.
    D300/s and D90 essentially have the same sensor, so its ISO performance and DR should be nearly identical. I am thus not sure why you want to consider a D300s but not a D90. The D300s has better AF, which is critical if you shoot/AF track moving objects a lot, but the AF in the D90 is very good. The D300s is weather-sealed but then none of your lens is weather sealed so what is the point? There are gears that one can buy to protect your camera/lens in bad weather. Mind you that D300s is not weather "proof" so you do need to shoot in downpour, you need to protect the D300 as well.
  38. I have a $600 Gitzo tripod and the $455 Really Right Stuff head. I love this set up!
  39. THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR THE INSIGHTFUL COMMENTS! I read all responses and each of you are knowledgeable. What I have learned here has nicely supplemented my own research.
    I am going with the D300s.
  40. I've seen this late. I shoot sport so I would recommend the D300s (I own a D200 and D300). When I upgraded from the D200 I did look at the D90 as a possible alternative, thereby directing more money toward lenses. But the deciding factor for me at the time was the faster AF and burst rate on the D300 (plus a range of other "nice-to-have but not essntial" improvements), a decision I have not regretted.
    The only thing that would lure me into buying a third upgrade into the DX format would be to have the D3s high ISO performance in DX format (at current or better pixel resolution) - now that would make me very happy!

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