I played with D300 serial #2 today!!

Started Oct 4, 2007 | Discussions thread
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jgarnold Regular Member • Posts: 353
I played with D300 serial #2 today!!

I live in Bangkok and the main Nikon distributor (Niks Thailand) has a demo D3 and D300 to play with in their showroom. The D300 is serial #2 (6000002). Since no other customers were in the showroom looking at the D300 today, I was able to play with it for over 3 hours and test many lenses with it as well.

Here are my observations...

1) High-ISO performance... I took identical shots with my D200 at ISO400 and the D300 at ISO800 and higher. I would estimate that the D300 is 1 to 1.33 stops better in the noise department. However, since the D300's base ISO is 200, this is to be expected. Don't expect a revolutionary change over the D200. However even one f-stop is nothing to complain about.

2) The high-resolution LCD is spectacular! It is extremely bright, high contrast, and rivals the picture quality of a desktop display. The new zooming and panning controls are faster and easier to use than the D200. I especially liked being able to instantly zoom to the focus point of the photo with the touch of a button. The histogram display has also been greatly improved.

3) The auto-focus system is extremely nice. I tested a number of pro-quality lenses and the focusing was quick and accurate. In the display, you only see the selected auto-focus point, so the view is very clean and uncluttered looking.

4) The auto-focus fine tuning works as advertised. You can adjust the focusing for each lens in a range of -20 to +20. I tested this feature using a tripod and you can easily change the backfocus/frontfocus characteristics of a lens.

5) Live View... I only played with this for a short time, but it seemed to work as advertised. However, the contrast based auto-focus seemed to be very slow and inconsistant. Please keep in mind that this is a pre-production camera and I might not have been using the live-view feature correctly.

6) In 14-bit RAW mode, the high speed frame rate does indeed drop from 6 to 2.5 frames/second.

7) The focus mode switch on the front of the camera has been redesigned. It takes a lot more force to change its position now, so changing modes by accident will probably be a thing of the past.

I also brought along my D200's Really Right Stuff "L" bracket to see if it was compatible with the D300. It fit perfectly, so I don't see a need to purchase a new one from RRS.

I also played with the D3 for about an hour. The high-ISO performance of this camera is absolutely INSANE!! Even at ISO 6400 (or higher), there is no multi-colored noise in the shots... everything is clean and smooth. This camera is large and built like a tank. After I finished using it and picked up the D300 again, it felt like I had just picked up a D40 in comparison. When shooting in continuous mode, the D3 rattles off shots like a machine gun.

-Jeff

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