D300 so far: great IQ, dumb user interface

Started Dec 17, 2007 | Discussions thread
ForumParentFirstPreviousNextNext unread
Flat view
antoineb
Veteran MemberPosts: 5,070Gear list
Like?
D300 so far: great IQ, dumb user interface
Dec 17, 2007

Hello everyone,

I spent a 2nd week-end testing the D300, w the 18-200 zoom lens. I come from the (shame!) world of the Panasonic FZ-18.

Bottom-line so far:

Positives

  • love the IQ. Can zoom in any shot and it remains superb

  • love the IQ at hi ISO, up to 800 is certainly no problem, and most 1600 shots come out very clean. And on a normal size print, ISO 3200 is about same quality as my FZ-18 at ISO 800

  • higher rate of "keepers" in difficult conditions. I shot kids around Santa at a Chrismas party, w modest ambient lighting. My FZ-18 had about 50pc of keepers, if that. The D300 got 80-90pc of keepers. I'm talking about technically ok keepers, i.e. before removing all the artistically uninterresting shots.

Negatives

  • user interface is clumsy. Examples

  • camera front of face, want to check settings, have to press the "info" button. Once done and I press the shutter, that info disappears. Apparently, "old world" photographers things it's more cool to only have the miniscule old-style LCD display at the top. Personally I quickly grew sick and tired having to look at a 70s style display when we're in 2007

  • focus is SLOW. Indoors, social event, my FZ-18 acquires focus maybe 2x as fast, it's scary. Also the 51-point thing seems bit dumb: either you have the 51-point and you get very precise AF but slow; or you go for less down to maybe single point, and then it catches up w the FZ-18 - but then why the 51 points?

  • often need two hands to do things the FZ-18 does in one (or w just one finger): change the mode (P, A, S, etc): "mode" plus wheel vs. selector; change the ISO: "iso" plus wheel vs. joystick

  • Live View is no less than pathetic, so using camera for original / weird angles remain a pain. The "hand held" style flips the mirror so much that one ends up losing track of whether or when a shot was taken. The "tripod" mode uses Contrast Detect but is slower than a compact camera of 5 years ago, needing 2-3 seconds (vs. 0.3sec for my FZ-18). Also Live View is not just for funny angles: it's for you're going to do a panning shot, and you can watch AROUND and see when the subject's going to arrive - rather than look into a dark tunnel and guess; or you can ski down a slope and take photos while still looking at the slope around you for your own safety. Not having access to this, is a huge loss.

  • camera is EXTREMELY NOISY! Sure there's more movement in there, than in my FZ-18 - but w my FZ-18 I can take photos and make NO NOISE AT ALL, which is great in social situations, for nature shots, etc. Whereas the D300, you might as well shout "hey i'm taking a shooot here!". Sure there's a special "silent" mode - but again, why do I have to go through this for a basic thing?

Bottom-line:

  • the D300 is a bit like sports cars from the UK in the 70s: excellent in ultimate performance, but weird and often clumsy in user interface. Maybe great drivers thought it had to be that way. And maybe semi-pro photographers think it would be "below them" if the user-interface was modern

  • at my humble level: I can use the great IQ, but I'll happily do away w the clumsiness. And really I think the LiveView is important. My hope is that in Jan / Feb '08 we'll have the "D90" which will use the same 12mp chip, possibly a simpler (and faster!) AF system, have a modern user interface, and a modern Live View

 antoineb's gear list:antoineb's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 Olympus TG-610 Nikon D7000 +4 more
ForumParentFirstPreviousNextNext unread
Flat view
Post (hide subjects)Posted by
ForumParentFirstPreviousNextNext unread
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark post MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow