upgrading from D200: D300s or D7000?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by jen_miz, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. I've been looking to upgrade my camera for awhile and was planning on upgrading to a d300s until I read the dpreview review of the d7000 that just came out. It seems like the d7000 may be a good option, though the d300s is a more professional camera. I love my d200 and have used it for years but need a camera that operates better in low light situations. I shoot a lot of portraits and concert photography and am looking for something fast, dependable and sturdy.I don't work much with video now but it will be nice to have it in the camera.
    Any advice?
     
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I shoot a lot of portraits and concert photography and am looking for something fast, dependable and sturdy.I don't work much with video now but it will be nice to have it in the camera.
    Any advice?​
    Yes. In your case I would get a D7000. The D7000 has better low-light capability and is also very quiet. I am not sure what type of concerts you are referring to; if it is rock, it probably does not matter. Otherwise, the quietness from the D7000 is a major advantage.
    The D300S has slightly better AF, much deeper RAW buffer and better frame rate. If you need to shoot sports, I would still go with the D300S. For your applications, the D7000 should be better.
    Please keep in mind that the D7000 has a smaller body, similar in size as the D90. If you are familiar with the D200, the D7000 will feel small. Whether it is "too small" or not can only be decided by you. If there are any concerns, I would suggest finding a D7000 and hold that yourself to decide.
     
  3. I went from D200 to D300s and don't feel the upgrade means much in the low-light department. I love the camera, but it's no D3. At this point (believing that Nikon will make a move by summer '11) I would be tempted to wait for the D300 successor.
     
  4. It really depends on what's important to you. My main DX camera is a D200. In terms of IQ, I've never thought either the D300 or D300s was enough of a low light/high ISO upgrade to get one (I got a D700 instead, which was, but it's not DX). The D7000 seems to be good enough for that, with more image resolution to boot. SD memcards don't bother me, and the D7000 has mirror lockup. The stopper for me has been the limited AEB, which is no better than my trusty old D70s. If the D7000's AEB were better, I'd get one tomorrow. If you don't care about that or the slightly faster AF/faster frame rate/deeper RAW buffer in a D300s, get a D7000.
     
  5. I shoot 2 D300s. I think it is a fantastic upgrade over the D200 for several reasons, but at this point I'm not sure I'd choose the D300s over the D7000.
    What it boils down to for me is the extra buttons that I use every time I shoot that I'd really miss on the D7000...AF-ON in particular since for many situations I hate using the shutter release to focus.
    If not for some of the features I can't live without on the D300s I'd definitely go with the D7000 for better high ISO performance, newer sensor/processor, lighter body, etc, etc.
    Hope this helps
     
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I too think the D300 is a significant upgrade from the D200, which I also own. The D300 has:
    • At least 1 stop better high-ISO results, perhaps more
    • Much better AF
    • Faster frame rate in conjunction with an MB-D10 and the right batteries
    • UDMA compatibility so that memory write speed is much faster
    In fact, the D300 is a major upgrade not only from the D200 but also from the D2X. And since the D300S has video and dual memory cards + some other minor improvements such as quiet mode, the gap is even wider.
    I am surprised that Auto Bracketing is such a big deal for D.B. Cooper. For one thing I rarely shoot HDR and don't need that feature, but even though you use it a lot, bracking is something you can easily control manually.
    The D7000 has a few important advantages over the D300S as I mentioned above, plus better video. However, AF is half a step backward.
    I think one concern for the D7000 is size. The fact of the matter is that some people like large and heavy cameras and some like small and light cameras. Since the D7000 is smaller, there is less space on the body for buttons, which leads to some inconvenience. The D7000's controls are quite similar to those on the D90. Coming from the D300 and D700, it took me some time to get used to them. (Some people want the D7000 to have a swivel LCD screen. You need to be careful about what you wish for. With an articulated screen and its hinges, there would be even less room for buttons and you will need to go into the menu a lot.)
     
  7. Neither is an upgrade............
    If you get a D300s it's an update.
    If you get the D7000 it's a downgrade.
     
  8. I'd lean toward a D300s rather than the D7000. The D7000 may have "less noise" in high ISO shooting, but it is at the cost of less fine detail. If fine detail isn't your thing, the D7000 would be the way to go. The D300s will render fine details better according to tests I've seen. I also prefer the handling of the D300 series over the smaller D7000. D300 is more of a pro body than D7000 as well. So my vote is D300s.
     
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The D7000 may have "less noise" in high ISO shooting, but it is at the cost of less fine detail.... The D300s will render fine details better according to tests I've seen.​
    Dave, do you have any reference to this claim? Whose tests are those?
     
  10. the dpreview, er, review of the d7000 clearly shows about a 1/2 stop improvement over d300s at iso 1600-3200. there's also a bit of the NR smearing evident--they comment on this, actually--which one would expect from a higher-MP DX body.
    nevertheless, if you need better high-ISO, and rate that as a top priority, i would go with the d7000.
    however, the d300 and d200 are very similar in terms of ergonomics, so there may be some discomfort as you get used to the more-cramped buttons of the d7000. the d300s clearly has better ergonomics than the d7000 in terms of dedicated buttons. But the d7000 throws in a few new bells and whistles the d300s didnt have, like User-definable settings. the d300s' AF is slightly better. But the d7000 has a new metering system--which may need a firmware update.
    for concerts, 6fps is more than likely fast enough, so its debatable whether the d300s' pluses will be advantageous in this situation. another factor might be the lenses you shoot with. if you shoot with long lenses like the 70-200 and 300/2.8, the extra heft will balance better on a bigger body.
    when faced with a similar choice, i got the d300s since i was familiar with the d300. but that was before the d7000 (body only) was available, and certainly before the DPReview comparison. i don't feel bad about that at all, though the d7000 looks pretty sweet. the compact, d90-like size will be a plus in transporting the camera, but not so much for actual shooting. if you have smallish hands, this may not matter as much. i'd say it comes down to how comfortable/familiar you are with a d200-size body and that button layout. IIWY, i would definitely take a hands-on test drive of the d7000 before buying, to make sure you are ok with the ergonomic feel.
     
  11. Shun, take a look at the dpreview.com review and the interactive JPG and RAW tests. The D7000 does not render the hour hand of the watch correctly, the other three cameras do however. The hour hand has a peak in the middle, the D7000 just paints it as a plain piece of metal, whereas the other three cameras including the D300s correctly detect and render the peak in the middle of the piece of metal. That's a pretty severe omission if you ask me. Clearly they increased the megapixels, but the processing is not the best. Not as good as the D300s anyway. Fine details are important to me as you can tell!
    Also, if the OP is shooting people at concerts, you'd appreciate the D300s superior AF over the D7000.
     
  12. Thanks - a lot of helpful points here. I'm surprised that the d7000 has performed well enough in reviews to be a contender for me and it's driving me nuts that they 're sold out everywhere around me right now so I can't get my hands on one to see how small it is.
    I do sometimes have difficulty with auto-focusing in low light situations now (could also be a lens)and I'm often shooting people dancing in low light too, so really, looking for the camera to be as smart and fast as possible.
     
  13. low light focusing, the D300s wins. but it would be a good idea to wait until you can hold the D7000 in your hands and compare it to how the D300s feels. you may decide you like the D7000 better overall, although I prefer the design of the D300 series bodies. The D7000 seems to have just too many controls on the top of the camera, spinning things, etc.
     
  14. it amazes me that people can make recommendations to you Jen, without knowing what lenses you shoot. Lenses will always be a better investment than digital cameras, and it you have a f3.5-5.6 zoom lens at the moment, the best value step for you, to get low light performance, is to buy some fast glass......not a moderate speed f2.8 zoom, but a couple of f1.4 lenses. this may negate the need for you to upgrade your camera body at all. the d200 is a great camera up to ISO400, and with new software, even ISO800 is great. but if you buy a slow zoom and shoot at ISO1600, then you would get better results shooting at f1.4 and ISO800 in most instances. at base ISO, the D200 is no worse than a D3 at base ISO, and I've owned both.
     
  15. ty, i agree that fast lenses are what you need for concert photography. however, "a couple of 1.4 lenses" may cost more than a d7000!
    also, speaking from personal experience here, a 1.4 aperture is extremely narrow, and it will be extremely difficult to capture a fast-moving musician with accurate focus shooting wide open; in many cases, stopping down produces better results. also, 'sneaker zoom' may not be possible, and there are variables like musicians who move a lot, audience people blocking you, and--this is the worst--a mic stand or piece of equipment which ruins an otherwise great shot. so you might not be able to frame and compose your shot with a prime the way you would with a zoom, resulting in missed opportunities.
    if it comes down to money, the 1.8 lenses--35,50,85--are a good value and will be better than kit lenses for concert shots, but having shot a lot with both zooms and primes in concert/club situations, i prefer to use 2.8 zooms except in extreme low light. my basic concert kit for DX was tamron 17-50, sigma 30/1.4, and sigma 50-150/2.8, but i just upgraded to an FX setup with D3s, 24-70 and 70-200 II, which i'll probably augment with an 85/1.4 at some point.
    in any event, a d200 is ISO-challenged past 800, and may make it difficult, even with fast primes shooting wide open, to get a fast enough shutter to freeze motion. so a body upgrade is definitely in order. it almost doesnt matter whether you choose d300s or d7000, since both will be miles better than the d200. flip a coin-- 1/2 stop more of high ISO performance vs. better AF and deeper buffer. but even a used d300 will be a big improvement on a d200 at higher ISO values.
    00Xmfm-307761784.jpg
     
  16. sure, i would think that the lenses would cost more than the D700, but they will last for decades, unlike the camera. 1.4's at distance have acceptable DOF. The answer really for that type of photography would be an Olympus EP-2 with a Voigtlander 0.95/25mm lens. You get a FOV of a 50mm, with the extra DOF, and a super fast lens with IQ that would outstrip a D700 in certain areas.......an cheap!
     
  17. ok sure... "at distance" being the operative phrase... remember we're talking about concert photography. so you have to be far enough away and have an unblocked line of sight to get acceptable DoF shooting wide open, and even then shooting wide open @1.4 might be a lil' soft, depending on the lens...
    i agree lenses are the lasting investment, but a Gen1 body like a d200 may be a limiting factor.
    also, from what i've heard, the EP series has slowwwwwwwww AF. that's not the business for live shots. what about a GF1 w/leica M-mount adapter?
     
  18. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I wouldn't exactly describe a 25mm, f0.95 lens has "extra" depth of field. When we venture into f1.4 or even f2 area, the depth of field is razor thin. I have used Nikon's own latest 50mm/f1.4 AF-S and I don't particularly care for results from f1.4. Depth of field is one issue such that any subject can easily get out of focus due to a tiny bit of motion or the entire subject cannot be in focus. Also f1.4 lenses do not perform at their best wide open.
    I haven't noticed that the D7000's high ISO capability costs any detail issues. Obvioiusly at ISO 3200 and 6400, you will lose a lot of sharpnessamd details anyway. But I have yet to carefully compare the D300, D7000, and D700 at various high ISOs.
    IMO, in Jen's situation, the D7000 is a no brainer. If you are willing to check around a few local stores, it is not that hard to find. You may have to get onto a waiting list and wait a week or so. It'll be difficult to buy them from the big mail order places such as Adorama, B&H, and Amazon since their waiting lists are long. A friend of mine just walked into our local store and bought one off the shelf last month, but he was stuck with the kit and had to sell the 18-105 afterwards.
    P.S. Ty, a rangefinder with a non-retrofocus lens may be your favorite, but that is not the answer to every question. The OP here is asking about the D300S vs. D7000. And Eric, AF speed on the EP is not really a concern since the Voigtlander does not even have AF to begin with. :)
     
  19. What it boils down to for me is the extra buttons that I use every time I shoot that I'd really miss on the D7000...AF-ON in particular since for many situations I hate using the shutter release to focus.​
    Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I also use AF-ON on my D200.
     
  20. D300s or D7000? you asked the question, that means you can afford the D300s. So I strongly recommend taking the D300s. You will not regret it like you may do if you choose the D7000
     
  21. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    On the D7000, the AF-ON capability can be programmed to the AE-L/AF-L button and/or the depth of field preview button (whose location is weird and I have accidentally touch it a number of times). Therefore, there is some customization you can do to meet your preferences. However, due to its smaller size, there is definitely less space on the D7000 for buttons and you'll eventually run into some limitations. E.g., on the D300 there are separate AE-L/AF-L button and AF-ON button.
     
  22. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    So I strongly recommend taking the D300s. You will not regret it like you may do if you choose the D7000​
    John, could you explain the reasoning behind that strong suggestion? What exactly are the advantages for the D300S and what the OP may regret about the D7000? High-ISO result is a clearly stated objective from the OP and there should be no doubt that the D7000 is superior.
     
  23. Not many people really have the D7000 yet, so there will be a lot of speculation. The numbers in specifications you already read carefully including the OP, there is no mystery there. And yet the OP is still not sure which one to choose because in fact the real quality is not so clearly shown by specification numbers. Like the ISO settings, if you have one more ISO setting doesn't mean your IQ will be better in low light
    The reason I don't give the D7000 a position as high as the D300s because I believe it's a cheap design, a design to show off with numbers, not for real. For example, as you know, it has 39 points AF (wih 9 crossed points). I don't care about the AF points because I don't care about AF anyway, but why not the 51 points (with 15 crossd points) like the D300s. I mean why you spend time and money to design a new and inferior AF system, ohh because you want to save money with a cheap design. You squeeze more tricks and buttons in a smaller body, there must be a compromise in quality. (Exactly the same question people asked Canon why Canon built more features in the small plastic body A1 and can not do that with the New F1, the answer was Build Quality). The D7000 weighted 690g while the D300s weighted 825g, why?
    Don't look at me (or anyone here) for a proof, I don't even have the camera, time will answer (Only time!)
     
  24. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    John, if you are neither familiar with the D7000 nor the OP, who just joined photo.net yesterday, I don't think it is a good idea to make such definitive and strong suggestions. I have been testing the D7000 for almost a month now, and as far as I am concernd, most of what you wrote above is simply wrong speculation. The D7000 is just as well built as the D300/D300S and D700, but it is a smaller body for those who prefer it that way. When you see Nikon putting the aperture follower tab on the D7000 so that it can meter with AI/AI-S lenses, you know that they are not cutting any corners. That is a feature that was never available on the D70, D80, D90, and D100 type cameras.
     
  25. I too have been through this same dilemma. I have a D300 and a D200 which is my backup. It bit the dust over the weekend and I have decided to replace it. After holding the D7000 and playing around with it for a little bit I chose a D300s. I just did not like smallness of it and it was uncomfortable to me. The D300s will become my primary and my D300 will be my second/backup.
    On my D200 800 ISO was the best I could get out of it. My D300 is very good at higher ISO's so I am not sure where the others are getting that the D300 is only marginally better than the D200. I also like the fact that the D300s shares the same batteries and flash cards as my D300 and D200 so the spare batteries, flash cards and my dual charger will work with my D300s.
     
  26. Jen, I also had a d200 and was trying to decide between the d300s and d7000. I had really reached the point where I felt like I needed to upgrade and didn't want to wait months. I eventually decided on the d300s a few weeks ago. I did that based on my criteria of best AF and ergonomics and a good price on the d300s. At the time there were no d7000's to buy or even look at and no substantial reviews. I am not sure if I made the right decision and I might have gone the other way now with the information that is available now. I am pretty sure I would have got used to how it felt being a smaller camera and it's size might even be a benefit. It might sound dumb but the scene mode dial on d7000 and SD cards puts me right off. I would love to be able to have them both like Shun so I could give them both a prolonged workout. That would be the only way I would really know which was better for me. In the end it was a headache I wanted resolved. Next stop d400...maybe.
     
  27. On the D7000, the AF-ON capability can be programmed to the AE-L/AF-L button and/or the depth of field preview button (whose location is weird and I have accidentally touch it a number of times).​
    On my D200, I'm used to pressing the AF-ON button with my thumb while keeping my index finger on the shutter release. Will have to try the D7000 to see if I can do the same with the AE-L/AF-L button.
     
  28. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Here is a side by side view of the D7000 and D300, which is almost identical to the D300S. The D300S has a dedicated live view button as all Nikon DSLRs that have video feature do. The D200 is also similar to the D300. (I actually have a D200 also, but I don't bother to take another picture of the cameras.)
    It should be obvious that the D300 is much wider; notice that the top LCD is a lot bigger. The D300 is also a bit taller. On the D300, the AE-L/AF-L button and the AF-ON button are next to each other. On the D7000, there is only room for one, so Nikon labels it AF-L/AF-L but it can be programmed to AF-ON; however, obviously you cannot have both capabilities simultaneously.
    On the D7000, the ISO button is to the left of the back LCD in the middle of the column, while on the D300 it is on top, to the left of the hot shoe. The D7000 has a dial on the top, left area and you control the M, A, S, P exposure modes from there. Those controls on the D7000 are very different from the D200, D300/D300S, and D700 cameras.
    One thing I cannot tell you is that whether you prefer a larger camera or a smaller one. In case you have a strong preference on that (either way, large or small), it could be decisive.
    00Xn7x-308145584.jpg
     
  29. I was in the same situation with a D200 I've had for a while and wanted to get a better high ISO performing camera. Just bought a D7000- seems fine but haven't had the chance to put it through it's paces. I have configured the camera however, and wanted to go through some of the functional issues:
    1. AF-On can be moved to the AE-L/AF-L button to the right of the viewfinder which operates identically to how I use my D200. I don't have any more problems hitting this button on the D7000 than I did on the D200
    2. There is a function button next to the lens on the right- I have this configured for AE-L.
    3. The DOF Preview button is about where my pinky is on the right below the lens. I left this as DOF preview
    All of these buttons seem to be able to be reconfigured quite extensively. I like how it handles so far. The camera seems quite solid and remarkably light.
     
  30. I agree with John Tran, not in term of regrets, but in term that the D300s is a better camera. If it's aint better how come it cost more? Nikon is not stupid and they know about their cameras well.
    But if I were the OP I simply keep the D200, I see nothing to gain there. I know I would be hearing about a lot of numbers but then I wouldn't care less.
     

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