D300s vs D7100 - is it about spec or is it about handling?

Started Feb 23, 2013 | Discussions
soukous
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D300s vs D7100 - is it about spec or is it about handling?
Feb 23, 2013

I use a D300s. I love it. It handles like a dream.

I've tried the D7000 and I didn't like it at all. I only shot a couple of frames because it just didn't feel comfortable to use. The controls were - to me - poorly laid out.

I've been reading for months now that the D300s is old hat and a new model is due. Now we have the D7100 and speculation that there will not be a D400.

So how do I upgrade?

It seems as though, in the absence of a D400 my only route is a D600.

And why do Nikon (et al) feel the need to add a video mode to every damn new model they bring out.  In my view the shape and handling of a DSLR are poorly suited to video anyway. Why not be bold enough to give us a DSLR that is designed just to take great photos instead of getting into a spiralling war of features that most of us have no desire or need for.

Nikon D300S Nikon D40 Nikon D600 Nikon D7000 Nikon D7100
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Kerry Pierce
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Re: D300s vs D7100 - is it about spec or is it about handling?
In reply to soukous, Feb 23, 2013

Well, if you're not willing to wait for a d400, you don't have a lot of choice for an "upgrade", IMO.  If you don't like the handling of the d7k, it's not likely you'd like the d7100 or d600.  So, that only leaves the d800, d3, d3s, d700 or d4 as an upgrade path.  The d3s is a wonderful camera, but very expensive. The d3 or d700 are still great cameras, but getting old like the d300.  The d800 handles pretty much the same as the d300, great sensor, but not high speed/high performance like the d300. It's also rather expensive.

Kerry

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GPW
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Re: D300s vs D7100 - is it about spec or is it about handling?
In reply to soukous, Feb 23, 2013

I totally agree. Imagine a CAMERA company actually making a DSLR entirely for taking PHOTOS!!!, what a concept.

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GPW
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Re: D300s vs D7100 - is it about spec or is it about handling?
In reply to Kerry Pierce, Feb 23, 2013

And the files are huge

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DigitalPhilosopher
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Re: D300s vs D7100 - is it about spec or is it about handling?
In reply to GPW, Feb 23, 2013

GPW wrote:

I totally agree. Imagine a CAMERA company actually making a DSLR entirely for taking PHOTOS!!!, what a concept.


There's a lot of things I would want from a camera company, all related to photography, but sadly the concept of custom-made cameras is not here yet.

What happened to that module camera btw? I don't even remember which brand it was... But there was a camera where you could exchange lenses together with the whole sensor! No sense at all, but I could certainly imagine a future when I could tick/untick stuff on a webpage to make my own camera, which would then be delivered to me. Same thing like picking components for a computer...

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gl2k
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Re: D300s vs D7100 - is it about spec or is it about handling?
In reply to soukous, Feb 24, 2013

D600, the infamous dust sucker with tiny AF coverage and no 1-click 100% magnification. Probably the very last body I would ever consider to buy.

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Gary_Scotland
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Re: D300s vs D7100 - is it about spec or is it about handling?
In reply to soukous, Feb 24, 2013

soukous wrote:

I use a D300s. I love it. It handles like a dream.

I've tried the D7000 and I didn't like it at all. I only shot a couple of frames because it just didn't feel comfortable to use. The controls were - to me - poorly laid out.

I've been reading for months now that the D300s is old hat and a new model is due. Now we have the D7100 and speculation that there will not be a D400.

So how do I upgrade?

It seems as though, in the absence of a D400 my only route is a D600.

And why do Nikon (et al) feel the need to add a video mode to every damn new model they bring out. In my view the shape and handling of a DSLR are poorly suited to video anyway. Why not be bold enough to give us a DSLR that is designed just to take great photos instead of getting into a spiralling war of features that most of us have no desire or need for.

My first thought would be.........why even consider an 'upgrade' if a current camera handles like a dream

My second thought is - what does 'upgrade' really mean?

These questions are hypothetical and not aimed at you, as I agree with everything you write.

It just seems that there has been some very clever marketing over the years that has created a major shift away from photography and into the 'need' of the 'gadget' territory where many people are now in the belief that they 'need to have' the latest camera to take good photos.

It is amazing how this forum is now dominated by this need for a 'new model'. Despite the advances over the past 10 or so years in camera technology, I wonder how many photographers are really producing something now that they couldn't have done 5 years ago (not counting their own development of course )

Regards,

Gary

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Funduro
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Re: D300s vs D7100 - is it about spec or is it about handling?
In reply to Kerry Pierce, Feb 24, 2013

my D7100 Pre order will be cancelled Monday. My opinion is that Nikon will make a true D300/s replacement (D400). The buffer size screams it. The lack of AF On button shows it. I can't see Nikon making a battery grip for just one body. Sure the D7100 has improved greatly over the D7000 and D300/s but many birders and sports photographers are willing to pay more for higher FPS, bigger buffer, AF On, all Mag body. Nikon left those out of the D7100 just so the D400 can have them. So I'll wait for the true D300/s replacement.

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Peter Brogden
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Re: D300s vs D7100 - is it about spec or is it about handling?
In reply to Gary_Scotland, Feb 24, 2013

You're right - most don't 'need' a new camera. I would 'like' a new camera that offers higher resolution and improved noise performance - without downgrading the other aspects of my D300.

Nikon seems unwilling to produce such a camera and I'm getting somewhat frustrated at the 2 steps forward, 1 step back approach being used by Nikon with their recent model releases. Of course this means that I havent spent any money with Nikon for some time. Maybe this situation is being reflected in their recent financials?

I would think there is zero R&D spend required to put the D600 sensor in the D800 body and produce a camera with D300 handling & performance with improved resolution and noise. That might attract quite a few 5D3 customers too - isn't that what Nikon's goal is these days?

Peter

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Mike H
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Upgrading for the sake of upgrading is a waste
In reply to soukous, Feb 24, 2013

of time (you have to learn the new camera) money (you could buy a heckofa lens with it)  more money (can your present computer handle those bigger files) My D300 cost me an additional 800 $ for the comp to run it and $120 for NX2
If your camera serves you well for the photography you do, What the hell do you need a new one for? To impress people? Thats a worthy way to do it lol.
In any case Nikon has not yet upgraded the D300.

I posted my sig line not long after joining this group with my D100 and everyone was all agog over the soon to be "new" D 200. Well I didnt move up until the 300 because that was a worthy up grade. Will my sig line ever say D400 that remains to be seen if it shows up.

Meanwhile Im going shooting

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Im having too much fun with my D 300 to worry about what camera comes next

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Mr Gadget
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Re: D300s vs D7100 - is it about spec or is it about handling?
In reply to Gary_Scotland, Feb 24, 2013

For me an upgrade would be improved low light performance (i.e. usable ISO above 400) and better autofocus for my D2x body. I would be happy with a D7000 sensor (16mpx) in a D4 body... however I know that will never happen. sigh...

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yray
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Re: D300s vs D7100 - is it about spec or is it about handling?
In reply to Gary_Scotland, Feb 24, 2013

Gary_Scotland wrote:

soukous wrote:

I use a D300s. I love it. It handles like a dream.

I've tried the D7000 and I didn't like it at all. I only shot a couple of frames because it just didn't feel comfortable to use. The controls were - to me - poorly laid out.

I've been reading for months now that the D300s is old hat and a new model is due. Now we have the D7100 and speculation that there will not be a D400.

So how do I upgrade?

It seems as though, in the absence of a D400 my only route is a D600.

And why do Nikon (et al) feel the need to add a video mode to every damn new model they bring out. In my view the shape and handling of a DSLR are poorly suited to video anyway. Why not be bold enough to give us a DSLR that is designed just to take great photos instead of getting into a spiralling war of features that most of us have no desire or need for.

My first thought would be.........why even consider an 'upgrade' if a current camera handles like a dream

My second thought is - what does 'upgrade' really mean?

These questions are hypothetical and not aimed at you, as I agree with everything you write.

It just seems that there has been some very clever marketing over the years that has created a major shift away from photography and into the 'need' of the 'gadget' territory where many people are now in the belief that they 'need to have' the latest camera to take good photos.

It is amazing how this forum is now dominated by this need for a 'new model'. Despite the advances over the past 10 or so years in camera technology, I wonder how many photographers are really producing something now that they couldn't have done 5 years ago (not counting their own development of course )

Regards,

Gary

I have to say that I very much agree with Gary.

I think, before considering an "upgrade" it helps to ask yourself what exactly you're missing in the equipment you already have. In my particular case, I knew that I wanted to get good or at least usable images at ISO 6400 and even 12800. And this was far and away the main reason to enter the world of full frame sensors. Well, there are other benefits of course, like more wide angle lens options, or having each lens offer a different field of view depending on whether it is used on DX or FX. But these are secondary IMO.

In general though, it is rather striking to me that after D300, most technological advances seem to cover what I would consider "corner cases". For me, the wake up call was an "upgrade" to D7000, as I never really found any particularly useful niche for it. In this sense the upgrade was money well spent, in that it taught me how pointless such upgrades could be, and immunized me against wanting to upgrade my D700 to D800 or D600. For the same reason I'm not looking at D7100, because I fail to see what it may bring to the table which will make a real world difference for me. But -- you may see it differently, -- otherwise Nikon, Canon, and all the rest of dSLR makers are going to be in real trouble very soon.

I'm not gonna argue against progress in sensor quality. However, while image quality may be slowly improving, I have to honestly admit that I fail to see any real improvement in the quality of images. This applies to my images, but it also applies to images I see published online. I'm yet to see a great 36MP image that would look poor in mere 12MP, or a lousy 12MP image which would become amazing if it was only taken in 36MP.

What I do want is a camera that handles great and delivers consistently within known constraints. I feel that Nikon had already made such cameras, at least for my needs.

If you feel that you "need" an upgrade, you should probably be specific about the area where you expect a measurable improvement, and whether the benefit is worth the cost involved. Otherwise, you are just buying a new toy. I can't say that anything is wrong with it, this economy needs your spending if nothing else, but I would not expect your photography to make a giant leap forward, -- it seems to me that period is well behind us now.

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soukous
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Re: D300s vs D7100 - is it about spec or is it about handling?
In reply to Gary_Scotland, Feb 24, 2013

I agree Gary.

When I was using 35mm film cameras the only time I upgraded my body (camera) was when one got damaged or ceased working. All the money went into improved lenses.

With the advent of digital cameras the whole emphasis has changed.

Every year sees better sensors and more megapixels, which gives better ISO range and the ability to pull up more detail. (I shoot birds and animals so I like detail.)

In terms of why I would like to upgrade, I feel that my D300s does not handle awkward lighting particularly well and i get too many blown highlights when shooting against the light. My D80 is a bit long in the tooth and batteries run down very quickly when using big AF lenses. I don't know why that is as the D300s uses the same battery and lasts much much longer.

I like to carry 2 bodies with me. It's a habit I got into years ago and even though I can get memory cards that will hold more pictures than I can shoot in a day It is convenient to have 2 bodies with different lenses mounted.

So my thinking was to phase out the D80, move the D300s to bench warmer and start using an upgraded model.

- or maybe it's just me looking for an excuse to buy a new toy.

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MMuddler
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Re: D300s vs D7100 - is it about spec or is it about handling?
In reply to soukous, Feb 25, 2013

soukous, this isn't directed at you but meant broadly for lots of participants on recent D400 threads

People who upgrade for the sake of enjoying the best  and latest gear are okay with me. I hope they can expand their photo experience, but I can accept the joy of sexy equipment ownership as good enough reason to indulge.

People who upgrade to be associated with the best and latest and to impress friends with carrying an advanced piece of gear....  are okay with me. Just let me play with your toys too.

People who know what is holding them back in their current camera system and want to solve the problem by searching for better technique are pretty determined folk. Just share those ideas and help me understand how you make it work.

And there are people who know what performance features are holding them back in their current camera system and they want to solve the problem by buying an upgrade. These are really good folks too and the type I like to chat with on dpreview.

But I'm getting very tired of people who ridicule others for their desires for new gear, or dismiss what others express as their need for performance. If you have a solution to offer, give it, but don't tell someone that what is good enough for you should be good enough for them.

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jonrobertp
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D300s vs D7100 -vs 70D.
In reply to MMuddler, Feb 25, 2013

D300 is as old as the hills.  And glad someone still likes that it fits his hand.  sheesh.  That's NOT what I buy cameras for...lol..

And the D7100 ??  the jury is out...court hasn't officially started...the 70D is coming in weeks...that's when we can start to see who's best for the summer in crop slrs.   Sep....the game resumes.  Until then....these 2 will be king.  Of crop cams.  No doubt.

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Kris in CT
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Re: D300s vs D7100 - is it about spec or is it about handling?
In reply to MMuddler, Feb 25, 2013

I agree with you Mmulder.  I'm a mix of types 2 and 3 from your post.  I am the lowest budget bird photographer you can meet.  I haven't been doing this as long as many of you have.  I have a crazy passion and a small budget.  I got a used D300 last summer and it was a major leap in my photography.  I also got a used and very cheap Tamron 200-500 last year.  Through technique and practice I have achieved results that many don't think are possible with that lens.  I have done this through technique, practice and perseverance.  For me the D300 is an amazing camera and the only reason I would like to upgrade is high iso performance.  I'm always shooting in crappy weather.  If I could shoot at 1600-3200 with much lower noise levels I could consistently have higher shutter speeds,  imperative for BIF with a slow consumer lens.

I currently have no upgrade path either. FX does not interest me for the crop factor and I know the D800 can put 16 MP on the sensor at 500mm but I can not afford it.  The D600 offers little for me as well for lack of speed and build quality.  Maybe I am the only one in the world, but I do not want FF!!

Enter the D7100.  Looks great on paper, I think it will be an awesome camera for so many people and I could probably afford it if I sold some things, but buffer and frame rate are my 2 biggest hurdles that I can't go backwards in.   Not to mention the D300 is a tank and doesn't even hiccup when I trip or I crawl on rocks.

If I could afford a 300 F2.8 or a 500 F4 that would solve all my problems and I would happily shoot with the D300 for a long time

All these little boys on here that get so worked up with the "this camera is better than your camera" or "My new shiny camera is better than your old dirty camera" just gets ridiculous after awhile because we all shoot different things.  I know cameras are just tools and they are all designed for different tasks.

I think my images will show that I have pushed the D300 (with it's ancient sensor) and the Tamron 200-500 to the max...  40K shots in a year tends to make you learn your equipment...  I certainly know why I want a D400 to be introduced...  It certainly isn't to brag about having the newest camera it is to make up for the shots I wish I had do-overs on...

I have pushed the D300 to 1600 with a little ETTR on stationary birds with some success..

I have shot at 500mm and 1/30th sec handheld with no VR..





I've crawled on the ground to get 10 feet away from a wild hawk and shot wide open



I've stalked Ospreys for weeks to get this shot..



Sorry for the long rant I got a little fired up...

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moony16
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Re: D300s vs D7100 - is it about spec or is it about handling?
In reply to soukous, Feb 25, 2013

soukous wrote:

I use a D300s. I love it. It handles like a dream.

I've tried the D7000 and I didn't like it at all. I only shot a couple of frames because it just didn't feel comfortable to use. The controls were - to me - poorly laid out.

I've been reading for months now that the D300s is old hat and a new model is due. Now we have the D7100 and speculation that there will not be a D400.

So how do I upgrade?

It seems as though, in the absence of a D400 my only route is a D600.

And why do Nikon (et al) feel the need to add a video mode to every damn new model they bring out. In my view the shape and handling of a DSLR are poorly suited to video anyway. Why not be bold enough to give us a DSLR that is designed just to take great photos instead of getting into a spiralling war of features that most of us have no desire or need for.

I agree with you, particularly your feelings on video: when I want video, I'll grab an M 4/3rds body. Also, I believe Nikon will release a D300(s) upgrade. Hang in there, & while you do, remember the D300s is still an awesome body.

JT

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altair8800
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Re: D300s vs D7100 - is it about spec or is it about handling?
In reply to DigitalPhilosopher, Feb 25, 2013

DigitalPhilosopher wrote:

GPW wrote:

I totally agree. Imagine a CAMERA company actually making a DSLR entirely for taking PHOTOS!!!, what a concept.


There's a lot of things I would want from a camera company, all related to photography, but sadly the concept of custom-made cameras is not here yet.

What happened to that module camera btw? I don't even remember which brand it was... But there was a camera where you could exchange lenses together with the whole sensor! No sense at all, but I could certainly imagine a future when I could tick/untick stuff on a webpage to make my own camera, which would then be delivered to me. Same thing like picking components for a computer...

I saw on Nikon rumors a while back someone is combining a Nikkormat EL and Nex-5n sensor and electronics. You could try it with one of the CX cameras or Oly OM-D.

Dan

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altair8800
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Re: D300s vs D7100 - is it about spec or is it about handling?
In reply to Kris in CT, Feb 25, 2013

Yes, you pushed the D300 and the Tamron 200-500 to the max with good results. That osprey shot is my favorite. I have similar osprey shots, but no fish.

Dan

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Kerry Pierce
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Re: D300s vs D7100 - is it about spec or is it about handling?
In reply to Kris in CT, Feb 25, 2013

Kris in CT wrote:

For me the D300 is an amazing camera and the only reason I would like to upgrade is high iso performance. I'm always shooting in crappy weather. If I could shoot at 1600-3200 with much lower noise levels I could consistently have higher shutter speeds, imperative for BIF with a slow consumer lens.

That's the bottom line for most of us that want a d400.  We need better high ISO and DR. That's about it.  I'd have been ecstatic if they'd have put the d5100 sensor into a d300 body.

There are people that don't understand that and then there are the folks that understand it but don't want to see us get what we want, for whatever reason folks do those kinds of things.

I have pushed the D300 to 1600 with a little ETTR on stationary birds with some success..

You've done very well with that combo.

This shot of the hawk, which looks like it might be a Red Tailed Hawk to me, is excellent, as is the shot of the Osprey with the fish.



I've crawled on the ground to get 10 feet away from a wild hawk and shot wide open



I've stalked Ospreys for weeks to get this shot..

Kerry

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