Was about to buy a new 70-200 vr2... but now... Used 70-200 + D300?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by chris_carter|7, May 26, 2010.

  1. So i have saved up enough for a 70-200 VR2 + accidental damage protection from B&H ($2500).... however, i am thinking the smarter thing would be to get a D300 (used) and a 70-200 VR1 (used).
    I shoot mainly concerts, and plan to shot portraits very soon as well. but for now lets just say i only shoot concerts.
    Currently have a D90, Tamron 28-75 (with motor) , 35mm 1.8 af-s, and some other stuff..
    my questions are two parts..
    1) i have heard many many many times that the D300 AF system is a lot better then the D90... can somebody explain this? is it FASTER? is it MORE ACCURATE? is there proof of this? other then more focus points what TECHNICALLy is different?
    2) I plan to buy - for peace of mind - online through adorama or KEH instead of on cra(igs)list for cheaper... are both places used departments reliable?
    3) if i notice anything funny with my equipment - typically how much would a local repair shop charge me to clean/calibrate both the camera and lens ?
    Thanks guys!
  2. Ray House

    Ray House Ray House

    Yes, the D300 focuses faster. You can check the Nikon website and get all the specifics. KEH and Adorrama have excellent reputations for used gear.
  3. I usually find Thom Hogan very reliable in his tests, though I do sometimes notice that he looks at a lot of things from the perspective of a landscape/nature photographer. In this case though that should not make a difference; on this page he reviews the D90, and about halfway down the article is a short table where he lists his 'pro D300' vs 'pro D90' findings.
    For you I would think the better AF sensor (it covers a larger area), larger buffer, faster framerate and better weathersealing (don't know if you shoot in- or outdoor concerts?) might be important factors in choosing the D300 over the D90.
    And while you're at it, be sure to also check out his 70-200/2.8 vII and 70-200/2.8 vI reviews, since that's what you're deciding between.
    My guess is both lenses will be good buys. I myself shoot mostly straat- and locationtheatre, so I imagine some of our requirements overlap (sometimes bad to no lighting, moving subjects, having to shoot out of hand, etc.) and I'm a very happy user of a D300 and 80-200 push/pull lens. I'd expect to be both 70-200's to be even better.
  4. If you have no intention of moving to FX, a D300 + 70-200/2.8VR1 could be the better combo. The VR1 is reputed to be excellent on DX, but does not have enough covering power for FX. Vignetting and unsharp corners, even when stopped down heavily, does not mitigate this weakness. VR2 is more suitable for FX in that regard.
  5. I will tell you one thing.
    70-200mm VRII is the best ever Nikon lens i have ever used.
    I use it with D700, and it is better than VRI, about 1000 times...
  6. On DX, if you see a difference between the VR1 and VR2 iterations of this lens I'll be surprised. I think getting the D300/VR1 combo is way smarter than buying the VR2. One of the most notable improvements (improved sharpmess in the corners) probably makes no difference with DX.
    I think Boris may be using hyperbole when he says 1,000 times better. ;-)
  7. Yes :) lol
    Buying the VRII was my best move ever :)
    I am still under very high impressions :)
  8. If price pressure is even a small part of your thought process, stick with the VR1. It's a superb lens on the D300. And yes, the D300's AF system (which is the same system found on Nikon's far more expensive D3 bodies) is terrific. Far more effective (compared to the D90's system) in lower-light situations, and in tracking moving subjects.
  9. I am very happy with my D300s and 70-200 VR1 combo. I bought my VR1 lens just 3-4 weeks after VR2 was launched, after understanding that VR2 may not cause a world of difference on DX format. Saved USD 600 or so in the process.
  10. Hi Chris,
    Both options are valid... VRII has significant improvements and is a good investment thinking that one day you probably will migrate to FX... in the same time a combo D300 plus a VRI is a killer for the money but honestly for concerts D300 will not bring too much in comparison with D90.
    I'd like to give you one more ball to play with... :) I know that glass goes first almost always but for some applications (i.e. concerts) bodies are very important too. If I were you I'd probably skip the 70-200 and I'd go for a D700. I'm shooting mostly events in low light and I'd prefer at any time a D700 with Tammy 28-75 instead a DX body with 70-200 and 28-75. Later on you can add a telephoto (zoom) but the low ISO performance of D700 is something I will look for when shooting concerts. I have both D300 and D700 and I know very well the difference.
  11. I had to make the exact same choice...was saving for a 70-200 VRII and came across a gently used D300 and 70-200VRI. Bought the latter (also upgraded my D200) and have had no regrets what so ever. For DX the VR1 is the way to go in terms of value for money. Also it does not have the focus breathing issue that the VR2 version has which may be a factor for the kind of photography you do.
    Finally, my D300 was a massive upgrade from the D200 in terms of AF speed, acquisition and noise. I also find that the exposure meter is more accurate.
    The biggest advantage that you will find over the D90 (other than the build) will be the ease with which you can make changes to key settings...these are covered by dedicated buttons or switches.
  12. from the savings that you will get from the D300s/VI, you can get maybe something on the wide end. it's always nice to be covered there. if you don't need it, that's a few hundreds in your pocket.
    having two very good camera bodies complementing each other is always a great feeling........................................now you can have the 28-75mm on the D90 and the 70-200mm on the D300s (or vice versa, whichever suits your technique).
  13. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The new version of the 70-200 is considerably better for both DX and FX. The difference is bigger on FX since the new version gives you much better corner results at 200mm.
    In the OP's case, there is little doubt that the D300 has much better AF than the D90. However, is the D90's AF insufficient for the OP's needs? For concerts, the D300 has 15 cross-type AF points and 51 overall. That should give you much better AF accuracy under dim conditions (D90: 1 cross type and 11 overall).
  14. Yes, I agree fully with Boris.
    I own the VRII myself, and I am so pleased with the quality compared to my friend's VRI. If you are thinking of going full frame in the future, don't get the VRI (vignetting issues). In the VRII, these issues are immensely fixed for full frame.
    Moreover, the VRII has 4 stops of light correction, compared to 3 in VRI. The VRII size is also a bit shorter, and a smaller lens hood, but a bit heavier in weight.
    GET IT! I mean, the VRII. Camera bodies are not that important compared to lenses. As long as you go Nikon, you have made a smart move, OK?
  15. I think i am going to go the used D300 + used 70-200 VR1 route for now. I think the lens/body combo will suite me better for now then a D700's FF (but excelent low light preformance) for the same price.
    now just gota find people on craigs list or keh =)

    Thanks guys!
  16. I have the D300 + 70-200 VR1 and love this combination. Why not consider JUST the 70-200 VR1, and wait to upgrade the body. Properly used, your D90 will give you great results. Camera bodies come and go, and while I think the D300 is one of the best ever made based on its target market, it is getting very long in the tooth and will likely be outdated relatively soon. Then put the money towards a new body in the next couple of years.

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