D400 discussion continuation

Started May 26, 2009 | Discussions thread
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Thom Hogan
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D400 discussion continuation
May 26, 2009

jfriend wrote

Woahhh here. Have you actually shot basketball or volleyball in a poorly lit high school gym with a D90.

Apparently you don't read my reviews ; ). EVERY Nikon DSLR I've reviewed has been tested in the same gym and most of my reviews have samples showing.

The D3 runs circles around the D90 or D5000, even the D300.

No doubt. But the context of the comment was "consumers want to shoot indoor basketball." They can. They just have to stop using f/5.6 lenses. Will their results be as good as a pro's shooting on the sideline with roof lighting, an f/1.8 lens, and a D3? Not a chance. But I was responding to the point.

It sounds like you think the differences between a D300 and D3 other than the different sensor are miniscule.

There are a lot of small differences, yes.

Your theme here is that, other than the sensor, there is little meaningful difference between a D300 and a D3 that could justify a spot in the product line.

That's correct. Tony tried to point out the 11 fps for DX on a D3. The problem with that is focus is only achieved for the first frame, focus doesn't track after that (nor does exposure in many cases). Thus, you're comparing 8 fps 12-bit D300 with a 9 fps 14-bit D3 at best. That and the other small differences don't make for a differentiated product, AFAIK.

Are you telling me that there is no discernible difference in D3 performance vs D300 in these areas:

Not exactly. To wit...

o Focus tracking ability

This is a tough one. There was an obvious difference with the original firmware. Things have evened out much more since then. The D3 has a modest advantage due to a slightly lower blackout time.

o Ability to process data from 21 or 51 focus sensors quickly

The D3 does seem to have some modest ability beyond the D300. However, it's not clear to me whether this has to do with the FX frame or not. The integration of the viewfinder meter with the AF system isn't quite as simple as it may at first seem. I've seen the D3/D3x do things within the focus sensors that I'm absolutely sure was influenced by something it saw OUTSIDE the sensor area. Since we're talking about a DX D3, it wouldn't have that same outside area to look at, the area would be smaller, like the D300. I don't think you generalize performance the way some people have. That AF/Meter integration is pretty nifty when it works.

o Focus sensitivity in low light

Should be no difference, and I've detected none to date.

Then, we have all the other features of the D3 that I'd like in a body with DX reach > o Weather sealing

The D300 is weather sealed. Not to the same degree as the D3, but neither are what I'd call completely sealed. In practice, I've seen no difference.

o Ruggedness

If we're talking about D300+MB-D10, I'll grant you that. But body-to-body, not so sure I'd agree. They both have alloy frames inside, they both use similar materials. The primary differences come in controls only.

o Built-in grip (which is better in many ways than the add-on grip)

Granted.

o Larger and brighter viewfinder

That's an FX thing. Pick up a D2x and a D300 and compare them. The D300 actually has more magnification.

Wouldn't the mirror black-out difference alone make a significant difference to auto-focus performance at max fps.

It might. Again, is the difference big enough to be worth paying substantially more for?

I shoot action sports. The D3x doesn't help with that at all as I don't need more pixels and I don't need slower fps.

The D3x is 7 fps in DX format. Versus 8 fps for the D300 with grip, 9 fps for the D3.

I've never found crop mode a useful option for sports.

Most people say the opposite. With most sports, especially any where players somewhat randomly, it's useful to know what's just outside the frame.

It makes a smaller viewfinder and pushes the subject further away which makes for worse AF performance.

DX crop should have no impact on AF performance.

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Thom Hogan
author, Complete Guides to Nikon bodies (19 and counting)
http://www.bythom.com

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