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Author Topic: D700 or D300s?  (Read 23281 times)

mminegis

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D700 or D300s?
« on: August 29, 2009, 04:22:33 am »

OK, there are two cameras: D700 and D300s (you get video capabilities for that s).
I have decided to upgrade my D200 next month (no question).
My photographic style/interest: nature - I started with landscapes, moved towards close-up shots of nature, prevalently using 50 mm (35-70 is my range). No prospect of changing it.

Now, what is pixel density again? Should I stick with DX and learn to use video (I'm not that keen), or can I move to FX without much concern re pixel density?
I just want a good solid camera to use for the next 3 years, so to speak! that's what I did with my D200 when I picked it in 2006.

The price difference is about 500 dollars - which is probably not much in 36 months' time!!!

Mari
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frugal

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D700 or D300s?
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2009, 08:18:38 am »

Quote from: mminegis
OK, there are two cameras: D700 and D300s (you get video capabilities for that s).
I have decided to upgrade my D200 next month (no question).
My photographic style/interest: nature - I started with landscapes, moved towards close-up shots of nature, prevalently using 50 mm (35-70 is my range). No prospect of changing it.

Now, what is pixel density again? Should I stick with DX and learn to use video (I'm not that keen), or can I move to FX without much concern re pixel density?
I just want a good solid camera to use for the next 3 years, so to speak! that's what I did with my D200 when I picked it in 2006.

The price difference is about 500 dollars - which is probably not much in 36 months' time!!!

Mari

Pixel density is a measure of how tightly packed the pixels are on a sensor. For a given resolution, the larger sensor has a lower pixel density (you have the same number of pixels so the larger sensor spreads them out more). Increasing the pixel density increases noise so for a given resolution, the larger sensor will typically have less noise.

I'd say the question really boils down to the other differences between FX and DX. FX is full-frame 35mm so you won't have any "multiplication factor" to your lens focal lengths, this is great for wides but if you liked the extra reach you got on the long end with DX then you might miss that. Also realise that you'll get shallower depth of field on an FX body due to the larger sensor, this could be beneficial if you like really throwing the background out of focus. And of course the big question is what's your lens collection and is it mostly DX lenses or are they full-frame? If they're mostly DX then factor the cost of moving to full-frame lenses in the difference. In other words, there's pros and cons with either depending on how you shoot and what you're looking for.
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GregW

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D700 or D300s?
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2009, 01:39:57 pm »

The pixel quality and ISO range make it a no brainer for me. I went from a D200 to a D3, it's transformed the way I think and go about my photography.
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JeffKohn

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D700 or D300s?
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2009, 01:50:15 pm »

IMHO the only reason to choose the D700 would be if you want/need to shoot at high ISO a lot. Although the D300/s is pretty good up to ISO 1600 it can't compete with the D700/D3. But at base ISO there's no real difference except a very slight edge in dynamic range for the D700. On the other hand if you're used to working with a cropped sensor and have lenses that you like, moving to FX could be a negative. The wide angle advantage of FX is vastly overstated IMHO. It used to be true, but there are a wide variety of wide zooms for DX nowadays.
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Gemmtech

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D700 or D300s?
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2009, 05:12:09 pm »

I purchased the D300 first and I liked it a lot, incredible photographs, but shooting in the dark or wide wasn't that impressive, so I added a D700 for the 14-24 F2.8 & 24-70 F2.8 lenses and keep a 70-200F2.8 attached to the D300, very happy with this combo.

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mminegis

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D700 or D300s?
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2009, 10:03:54 pm »

Thank you all for the comments! much appreciated. For the lens, I need to get 24-70 mm as well since I only have 50 right now.

I expect a transformative effect from my next camera, as mentioned by Greg. OK, mainly it should come from myself, but a new factor that may change the way I see the subject of my photography can be exciting. I am conflicted whether I should see FX (D700) or Video (D300s) as such a factor. Or I use Michael's paradigm and get what I WANT=D700 + 24-70mm, hoping that it turns out to be what I NEED.

I do shoot a lot in a dark/semi-dark setting, like in the forests, etc., so high ISO would be useful. I can't even imagine what it's like to shoot at 1600, let alone 3200 or higher! I also need to consider the grip/weight/ergonomics, as D700 is 150g heavier than D200/300.
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GregW

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D700 or D300s?
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2009, 06:46:14 am »

Quote from: mminegis
I am conflicted whether I should see FX (D700) or Video (D300s) as such a factor. Or I use Michael's paradigm and get what I WANT=D700 + 24-70mm, hoping that it turns out to be what I NEED.

I would say that is pretty easy for the simple reason that Panasonic and Canon offer better options if you are interested in video.

I should have mentioned it before, but either way; D700 or D300s, if you ever do any wildlife or sports photography, you will seriously appreciate the improved AF system over the D200's. Combined with the ability to go hi on the ISO; particularly the D700, both of these cameras take some of the pain out of early morning or evening wildlife shooting.
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GregW

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D700 or D300s?
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2009, 06:53:35 am »

Quote from: mminegis
I also need to consider the grip/weight/ergonomics, as D700 is 150g heavier than D200/300.

The body will be the least of your worries. I used to think the 17-55 f/2.8 DX was big, but the 24-70mm is something of a monster coming in at almost 1kg! A 50mm prime likely weighs a quarter of this. Quality has always demanded a high price, but it seems these days a fair amount of weight as well.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2009, 06:54:41 am by GregW »
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grepmat

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D700 or D300s?
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2009, 06:42:47 pm »

Here are a few comments concerning the difference between a D700 and a D300 (and a D200), based on some extensive tests I did. The 300s should perform the same.

1) The resolutions are essentially the same. Any differences are so tiny that it depends on the picture as to which is "better." Even then, it's a strain to decide, and ultimately it's a fools errand.

2) The D700 is the clear noise winner (duh!), even at base ISO. Its high-ISO capabilities are a revelation.

3) The D300 has too much noise in the skies to my liking, even at base ISO (200), and even when you nail the exposure. This is a serious impediment to landscape photography, in my opinion. Manipulate the skies, and the D300 may quickly be hurting. The D200 is much better, but it's base ISO is 100. At 200, it's worse. If you use the D300 at ISO 100, it's better (as good or better than the D200), but some say it clips highlights too easily if you do this.

4) The lower noise of the D700 really does translate to better shadows, and a wonderful ability to pull information out of them.

5) The D700, at ISO 800 and above, is about 1.5 to 1.75 stops better in noise (i.e., you have to be 1.5 stops slower on the D300 to equal it). However, the photos turn out even better than that, since its color fidelity and resolution remains remarkably high up to ISO 3200, while the others start to lose definition and become duller before then.

6) The D700 is far less sensitive to chromatic aberrations, but more lenses will show vignetting. This is a preferable trade-off, in my opinion

Now, an important practical matter:

7) The D700 is significantly larger and heavier (plus more expensive, too). Mate it to the 24-70 f/2.8 and you have a magnificent picture-taking machine with creamy bokeh, etc., but we're talking serious bulk and weight, plus it's got that "he's pointing that huge camera at me" intimidation. A D90 or D300 plus say the 16-85 is smaller and lighter, and a little more discreet. This difference is to be taken quite seriously.

For me, the D700 was well worth it.

I hope this helps.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2009, 06:47:40 pm by grepmat »
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duraace

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D700 or D300s?
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2009, 01:42:34 pm »

I went from a D300 to a D700, and there's no looking back.  The D700 is a clear winner for me in terms of ease of use and more importantly, low noise at high ISO.  I'm only interested in "captured moments" and think the video is more about marketing between camera vendors.
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mminegis

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D700 or D300s?
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2009, 09:29:35 pm »

Thank you all for the comments - D700 looks like the one... To get used to the 150 grams difference in my tiny hand, I can stick my 50 mm for now. I used to use 17-35 mm and also rented 24-70 mm once so I know how heavy they are - though their brilliance well compensated the bulkiness IMHO! On the body, the only size difference to note is 114 mm (D200/300) vs 123 mm (D700) in height: do you feel it in the grip? or is that nothing?
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vandevanterSH

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D700 or D300s?
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2009, 10:30:52 pm »

Stick with the D-200 and upgrade your glass.  Start with he 24-70, close ups? 105 2.8 vr...IMHO

Steve
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Morris Taub

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D700 or D300s?
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2009, 03:22:01 am »

Quote from: mminegis
OK, there are two cameras: D700 and D300s (you get video capabilities for that s).
I have decided to upgrade my D200 next month (no question).
My photographic style/interest: nature - I started with landscapes, moved towards close-up shots of nature, prevalently using 50 mm (35-70 is my range). No prospect of changing it.

Now, what is pixel density again? Should I stick with DX and learn to use video (I'm not that keen), or can I move to FX without much concern re pixel density?
I just want a good solid camera to use for the next 3 years, so to speak! that's what I did with my D200 when I picked it in 2006.

The price difference is about 500 dollars - which is probably not much in 36 months' time!!!

Mari

Maybe you've already seen this, but just in case here's the link: Thom Hogan is one smart guy and he knows a lot about Nikons...he also has reviews on the D300 not s, and the D700 which may answer some of your questions...

http://www.bythom.com/upgradepath.htm
« Last Edit: September 06, 2009, 03:25:29 am by momo2 »
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neil74

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D700 or D300s?
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2009, 06:32:57 am »

I shoot weddings with 2 D700s and amongst my backup cameras also have a D300.  I made the decision to use the D300 for landscape work as I did not want my 24-70 and D700s getting used and abused especially near the sea as they are my workhorses.

I picked up the 16-85 and have used this combo for a while now, in no particular order here are my comments:

- Both the D300 and D700 are heavy but the APS lenses lighten the load slightly.
- The 16-85 lens is very nice, a review I read classed it as neither kit nor pro which I think is a fair description, a little distortion at 16mm but pretty sharp overall.
- At base ISO I cannot see a difference in real world viewing between my D300 and D700, at 400 (very very slightly) and 800 I can if I zoom into 100%. Someone mentioned noisy sky.  Any sky looks grainy if you zoom in enough but I think the D300 images are very clean.
- The D700 is an incredible camera and the first digital body I have bought that I am happy to use for a few years without any pressure to upgrade.  In the context of having the choice of the D30 though most of it's benefits are (imo) wasted on landscaping.
- The Nikon 24-70 is the best zoom lens I have ever owned, it really is that good.  It is though really heavy and I often get comments from weddings guests that they think it is a big telephoto.  If you go the D700 24-70 route a top class tripod and head is an absolute must.

Personally I am in the process of rethinking my landscape kit as SLR's are heavy and I often have a quite a trek to my spots, sometimes the best camera in the world is the one you have with you.  To that end I am looking at moving to smaller cameras, I already have a DP1 (lovely files but a flawed camera) and am close to either picking up an ep1 or ordering a Gr1, I am happy to sacrifice a little IQ for a weight saving and increased portability, because imo the advent of m4/3 has seen for the first time image quality that is good enough in a small package.

YMMV
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mminegis

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D700 or D300s?
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2009, 06:40:19 am »

Thank you for the additional comments guys. I've decided not to settle for anything just yet. I am with you, neil74, I am looking at the Panasonic GF1 specs now, which is available in a week's time here in Tokyo. With a 14-45 mm Vario kit lens, it sells for 89800 yen = less than 1000 dollars!!! I have to look into the specs and decide carefully, aside from the obvious advantages re size, portability and such, I want to know if it produces files good enough for making large prints (13 x 19 or bigger). And of course, there's Leica X1 coming.... OK that was totally unexpected, and it's not here till Jan 2010, but it's Leica... wow.
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jasonrandolph

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D700 or D300s?
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2009, 12:54:04 pm »

My primary shooter is a D300 with a D200 backup.  The only reason I got the D300 was because of damage done to my D200 (my fault).  But Nikon fixed it and put it back in service.  Both cameras perform extraordinarily, and there's nothing wrong with sticking with the D200.  Getting better lenses goes a long way to improving your images.  I shot an image with the 50mm f/1.8 on my D200 and printed it at 16x20".  It was selected for a juried exhibition.  So unless you absolutely need to upgrade, you may want to hold off for now.

mephisto2061

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D700 or D300s?
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2009, 10:32:25 am »

Quote from: mminegis
Thank you all for the comments - D700 looks like the one... To get used to the 150 grams difference in my tiny hand, I can stick my 50 mm for now. I used to use 17-35 mm and also rented 24-70 mm once so I know how heavy they are - though their brilliance well compensated the bulkiness IMHO! On the body, the only size difference to note is 114 mm (D200/300) vs 123 mm (D700) in height: do you feel it in the grip? or is that nothing?

you will love the d700 at ISO 3200+ with a bright 50mm lens.  Astonishing results.

frugal

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D700 or D300s?
« Reply #17 on: September 13, 2009, 10:57:30 am »

Quote from: mephisto2061
you will love the d700 at ISO 3200+ with a bright 50mm lens.  Astonishing results.

I'll second that. I've had my D700 for about a week now, had a 50/1.8 for a few days while I was waiting for my 24-70 to get transferred from another store location. On the first night I went out and shot some stuff at 3200 to test it out and couldn't believe the results.
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Ti29er

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D700 or D300s?
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2009, 08:41:48 am »

2 things to consider:

1) What lenses do you own? If you have your old wet film lenses, then the D700.
If you have the cropped-for-sensor lenses optimised for the D200 etc, then the D300.

2) Do you have the funds to buy the older or even the brand-new lenses? If so, then you know already that the answer is the D700.

As an aside: it's also about what you do with the cameras. I know plenty earning good livings from the D200 / D300. Don't be sold on something simply because it does something you don't really value - do you ever shoot at ISO 2000+ (thought not!).

Do you need or just want the better image? Think about costs and the end result. Maybe the D300 would suit your own needs perfectly well.

Tim

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flbrit

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D700 or D300s?
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2009, 01:03:16 am »

My 2 cents as a Nikon D300 shooter is stick with the D200 and go with 24 mpx full frame when cheap enough.

I 'upgraded' from a D200 to a D300 thinking I was going to do more wildlife shots and wanted the faster focus. Turns out, I still mainly do landscape. The dynamic range is better but not by much.

I will go FX but it will be in 2 years when the FX 24 mpx is cheaper than now. And who knows what better developements for CMOS are in the chain.

So, as some one else suggested, get better lenses in anticipation of the move and work on improving your skills in the mean time.

My only planned new investment for the near  future is training and perhaps a good Grad ND set but then I already own a great tripod, ball head, a good collection of lenses, most of which will transfer to FX.

If your wallet is big enough then go for what you want.

Brian
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