D300 vs D200 surprising results Locked

Started Jun 25, 2013 | Discussions thread
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D300 vs D200 surprising results
Jun 25, 2013

Hi, here is a comparison I made today between the D300, D200 and my old D40X. My first intention was to see the difference in terms of sharpness, using MLU on both pro cameras, and the 5 seconds delay option on the D40X.

I already know that my D200 and D40X offer different colors out of the box and also experienced in recent portrait and event shootings that my D300, despite the awesome technology behind the camera itself, offers less accurate skin-tones, white balance, as well as very dark shadows, that can become very muddy if pulled back, so I wanted to be certain of that and used the following settings :

NEF - auto WB - MLU - shutter, ISO and aperture the same on each camera, camera on sturdy tripod, lens, Tamron 17-50mm VC off set at 50mm.

Software used : Capture NX, neutral picture mode, contrast and tune set to 0, sharpening + 4, no shadow recovery or D-lighting.

The setup and settings were calibrated equally to see the differences out of the box and compare each result in Capture NX using the same settings too.

The first thing to notice is the sharpness, both D200 and D300 cameras produce amazing details and the D40X is a good contender, despite the lack of MLU. The shutter speed was set at 1/100, aperture F5, ISO400 (to be able to compare noise levels and avoid slow shutter speed)

I could confirm my first issue with the D300: the WB has to be re-calibrated and the colors are quite muddy out of the box, even when using the same picture controls (D300). I made actions that uses fine tuning WB and Tune settings to try to match the D200 tones. They work quite good but have to be re-adjusted sometimes.(D300 to D200).

The other issue, which is more problematic, are the darker areas: by default, with the same picture control settings, the D300 offers less dynamic range in darker areas than the D200. This is an observation I already made and this test confirms it. The shadows are very dark, offer less breathing and also show muddy grayish tones in comparison with the D200 files. Actually, D200 files barely need any shadow recovery if the picture is well exposed. Another observation is that the advanced D-lighting tool is a preferred option to pull the shadows on the D300 images: it will not create outlining shadows or highlight effect. On the D200, the shadow recovery works with no outlining issue.

Thanks for keeping this tread civil, my intention is not to start a "civil war" but those are my observations and I am shooting events every week with both cameras as well as the D600.

Uncivil replies will be ignored.

NEF files to download here : https://www.transferbigfiles.com/6f3cca57-611b-4508-a334-d04e936bf38f/cbrGryb5vh_9k7RHf6gzvw2

Nikon D200 Nikon D300 Nikon D40X Nikon D600 Panasonic Lumix DMC-F5
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