D300 battery life and impressions
Dec 19, 2007
I bought a D300 a few weeks ago to replace my D2x which replaced my D200. After shooting several assignments, including college basketball tonight (TX vs. ORU), I have made a few conclusions that might help those not ready to take the plunge. First off, the battery is still on its first charge, shooting over 700 shots with 19% remaining. This has been a mix with 28-70mm, 70-200mm VR, 85mm 1.4; about 100 shots with Live View to learn how it works, and a lot of chimping. So I'd say that's pretty outstanding when you consider the battery is brand new and hasn't been conditioned at all yet.
Next, the high ISO performance has been nothing short of extraordinary. Shooting basketball with the D200/D2x, I usually could get away with ISO 1250, 1/400th at f/2.8, then a heavy does of Noise Ninja to clean the files up. Tonight I shot at ISO 1600-2000, 1/400th-1/640th at f/3.2 with no worries at all. Downloaded the photos and didn't bother with Noise Ninja, because it wouldn't make enough of a difference to merit the time expenditure.
AutoFocus: I was eager to put the new Dynamic system through its paces, and wasn't too suprised that the basketball jumble of bodies was a little too much for the 9 and 21 point arrays. Because of the movement and constant crossing in the frame, even on lock-long, the dynamic just isn't made to do that. So, I shot on single point AF and will wait for field sports to use the 9,21,51 dynamic modes.
Despite complaints about the MB-D10, I've been thoroughly impressed with the feel and function of it. It's much sturdier in my hand than the MB-D200 was, and having that extra multiselector is a godsend. It gets a bit heavy with the AAs in there, but not bad enough to take them out. I have it set for 6 FPS on CH- I really don't see my shooting taking great advantage of 8 FPS- just more to sort through and chimp out the "not quite there" shots.
I may just stop shooting RAW altogether. I have CS2, so I've been shooting RAW+ JPG Fine and haven't bothered converting any of the RAWs in NX because the JPGs are that 'on.' The Auto WB is a huge blessing compared to the D2x (I hated it for that, compared to the D200, even), and the exposures are spot on, though they do seem to expose a little hotter, as people have complained. If it has a tendency to make a mistake, I end up with a little greenish cast on some photos, but shooting with the LED advertisement ring in the arena backlighting the players doesn't help the cause.
Overall I've been extremely impressed, and for $1800, I'm not wishing I had a D3 all that much (though I'm sure I'll have one in the next year or so).
Hope something in here was helpful for someone.