Upgrading from Fuji S3 Pro to D300

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by andrew_west|5, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. I have done a lot of research over the past week. Probably the past couple weeks, actually. If Amazon and KEH are any indication, I should be able to get $600-$700 for my S3, but I'll still be paying at least $400-$500 out of pocket for the D300. I apologize for adding another "What Should I Buy?" thread to the pile, but before I shell out that kind of cash, I figured it would be wise to get the input of some knowledgeable people.
    Right now, my subjects are pretty variable. I do tend to prefer portraits/people pictures, but I've been experimenting more with landscapes and environmental photography lately. I'm working on building a portfolio, and I'd like to show some versatility. I'm a photography major with plans to pursue photojournalism/editorial photography, but right now, I just want a camera that isn't going to limit me.
    I know the Fuji pro cameras are unique in their wide dynamic range and are supposed to be especially well suited to rendering skin tones. Maybe it's bad lighting, but I've noticed noise in shadows even at lower ISO values (400-800). I do plan on investing in lighting soon, but I'd rather not have to worry about noise when I have to bump up the ISO.
    From what I've read, the D300 has excellent images straight from the camera and good dynamic range. I'd still be losing a couple stops of dynamic range in the upgrade, but would I see a significant improvement in noise reduction?
    I guess I'm asking if I'm going to a significant improvement in the quality of my images or if it's just going to be an improvement in speed (the S3 is great, but the damn thing is frustratingly slow) and resolution. A higher resolution would be great too, believe me, but that's $500 I could spend on faster lenses or lighting.
    Any advice would be much appreciated.
    Thanks all.
  2. I have both the D300 and the Fuji S5. I really like both cameras ... but the D300 is superior. Both take excellant photos and the tonal range is really good with both cameras. But, the D300 shines in megapixels. Nothing like being able to crop and not loose detail. Get the D300!
    Good luck.
  3. I had (past tense) the S5 Pro (which was supposedly an upgrade over the S3) and bailed on it for the D300.
    1. Speed - for the price - the D300 kicks...I can get 8 or 9 frames per second with the D300 compared to 3 fps for the S5
    2. ISO - D300 will go to 6400 - 1600 is really usable with no noise at decent exposure settings... S5 - I was noticing noise artifacts at 400 ISO (with proper exposure)
    3. Dynamic range - I actually get better real world results with the D300 then I did with the S5. I used the S5 as my wedding formals / posed shots / portrait body and D300 as my candid / action body.
    600 -700 seems more like retail for an S3 - make sure that's what they're paying and not what they are selling for. Typically you get 50% of retail on a trade.
  4. Just a small heads up: I just bought used Fuji S3 Pro from eBay, and I paid £240 (about $370) for it, so while there is a demand for those S3 bodies, you might not get the full amount you calculated there.
    Without ever shooting with D300, but based on the speed of Nikon D90, D80 & even D50, I can safely say that the speed of D300 will be from a different universe compared to the Fuji S3, man that S3 is slow, even my S5 now feels like a speed demon! D300 will be more versatile tool for variable subjects and situations than S3, based only on my limited experience with D90, and there will be less noise in D300 files than in S3 files on higher ISOs. (But is the difference significant at ISO 400, I really don't know, and based on D90, I would say that there is a little improvement, but not significant.)
    I must admit I like straight-out-of-camera-JPEGs better on my Fuji S3 & S5 than the JPEGs from any Nikon I've ever used (read: all the Dxx-bodies). As I said, I have not shot with D300, and while JPEGs from Nikon bodies are good too, be prepared to shoot RAW and spend a bit more time doing post processing. But I bet that the D300 will feel like a real upgrade to you, so if you got the money, just go for it if you feel that the speed of S3 is holding you back!
  5. I just got a D300. I bought it used for $1100. It is an upgrade from my D200 that I love very much. But the D300 is just awesome. I have been quite surprised with what I am getting at this point. I kept the D200 for a backup but have not used it since I got the D300.
  6. pge



    Don't expect a night and day difference. I have a D700 and I can tell you that there is noise in the shadows, maybe not at 400-800, but the D700 is not without noise and neither is the D300. What's wrong with a bit of noise, remember when it was called film grain. First try increasing your exposure a bit in those situation where you don't like the noise. Also try dealing with it in post production.
    You will see a difference and the D300 is better than your camera, just don't expect too much, every time you double the price of a camera it gets a bit better.
  7. Thanks for all the responses so far. All have been extremely helpful and informative.
    I know the price I quoted for the S3 seems high, that's really a best case scenario. It's just based on my eBay/Amazon/KEH searching. I consider KEH to be the best judge of used camera prices myself, and considering the condition of the camera (I take care of my stuff), I'd say it's EX+ condition (using KEH's rating scale). That said, you all are probably right. $400 is probably closer to what I'll end up getting.

    The more research I've done, the more I've wanted to get a new camera. But to be honest, the reason I started looking at upgrading in the first place is because I was afraid the quality of my images was suffering because of my choice of camera body. Night photography, unless using 20< second exposures and relatively low ISOs were full of noise and in general use, I've felt limited to 400 ISO as an absolute maximum. I've been viewing my images full size, wondering if upgrading wouldn't just save me a headache, but allow me to create higher quality pictures (insofar that a camera controls picture quality).

    I'm feeling very tempted to buy the D300, even more so after reading the responses so far. Just to pose another question to everyone in the know here: would you describe the D300 as a practical choice for professional use? Not just moreso than the S3, but in general.
    Thanks again everyone, and thanks for bearing with me.

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