D300s initial testings = positive

Started Aug 12, 2009 | Discussions thread
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AmatureMike
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D300s initial testings = positive
Aug 12, 2009

For those looking to upgrade to the new D300s, I have positive news. I have absolutely no affiliation with Nikon or Canon, or any company. Just plain ol' hands on.

First off, no images to post. Our west coast Nikon representative allowed us to sample the camera for a mere 1.5 hours (and there a few of us!), so with the limited time I had, I put the camera to its paces to see if SOME of the things advertised by Nikon were true. Some may say its in its BETA firmware, but I did not have time to check any of that.

Just so you know, I've been shooting and sold my D300 (D700 on the way) with over 60K clicks on it with the MB-D10. My lens collection consists of the 35mm 1.8G, 50mm 1.8, 85 1.8, 18-200mm VR, 70-200mm Sigma HSM 2.8, Tamron 17-50 (screw-drive), and the Tamron 28-75 (screw-drive). However, I have access to almost all Nikkor lenses here where I work and so I have a FEEL for how most lenses focus (in terms of speed). I also conduct some camera tests here in the store.

Before shooting with the D300 body, I've owned and shot with exclusively Canon: 20D, 30D, 1D, 1D mark 2n, and finally shot a few games with the 1D mark 3 (owned by the local newspaper agency). So I kinda have a feel for what good autofocus should be (maybe).

Anyways: I remember being extremely dissapointed with the D300's initial aquisition speeds (especially using the 18-200 VR) both in the single point AF selection and especially in the ALL POINTS SELECTED--auto point selection (white box), even with the latest firmware. So that was the first thing I tested using the same 18-200mm VR lens at work.

Conclusion;

1) using ALL POINTS SELECTED--auto point selection (white box) the D300s is extremely FAST. There is no more of the hesitation it used to have when you depressed the focus and waited for the AF points to light up and BEEP. The D300s focuses right up: "beep!". Much much improved initial aquisition speed in BOTH the AF-S and AF-C mode. This was one of the things that bugged me much when moving over to Nikon from Canon. The delay is no resolved: AF is IMPROVED.

2) using the 70-300mm VR lens at its 300mm range in AF-C, (LOCK-ON: off, center Single AF point selection only, and release priority), the D300s is FASTER than the D300! Remember how the D300 would "slide" into focus from subject to subject (with different distances)? The D300s SNAPS into focus. As a matter of fact, I pulled out the D700 to test this side by side, and I have to say its almost the same. The focusing "torque" of the AF-S moving from area to area when tracking is the same speed and snappiness. Very very nicely done here in the AF department: Nikon did not dissapoint.

3) using VIDEO: for those who THINK the video is the same as the D90: think again! Testing the 720p video on an SD card, I panned the D300s and there is very very little "jello effect". Although I'm not a big fan of video, I took it out to film outside (filming traffic) and panned smoothly from left to right: no jello effect. I was shocked! I couldn't believe how good the video is. I liked the fact you could manually select your apreture for shallow depth of field when shooting (quite intimate).

4) 7 fps without AA!!!! This was way too cool because using the cameras drive mode without the mb-d10 made the d300 feel so light and easy to walk around!

My overall impression is DANG! I had a blast using the D300s (and the D3000 also!!!). I've got to say, for those who say its the same thing: think twice--as I was also disspointed during the annoucement of the D300s. However now with first hand experience with the D300s, I'm simply gonna say what Phil said about the D300: "its simply the best APS-C camera out on the market."

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