D300: Compromises vs. Improvements

Started Nov 22, 2007 | Discussions thread
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Clint Thayer
Clint Thayer Senior Member • Posts: 1,903
D300: Compromises vs. Improvements

I'll write a thorough review on my web site later, but here are my first quick impressions regarding the Nikon D300:

1. High ISO performance:

Very nice and crisp- fairly noise free at ISO 1600- usable at ISO 3200.

2. Normal ISO performance:

Grainy patterns in continuous tones (like blue skies). Takes on a blotchy sort of texture that indeed shows up in prints even at ISO 400. There is a softness to the image that requires a high amount of USM in post.

3. LIVE-VIEW Mode: Good promise but limited flexibility lets it down. No histogram during live view makes your exposure a hit or miss. And because LIVE-VIEW is a separate function, it cannot be tied into the built-in timer. (A serious oversight- particularly when the combination of SHUTTER UP and TIMER yields the most stable shooting platform. (I was forced to use a remote cable release).

The REFRESH RATE of LIVE-VIEW is annoyingly slow. You have to wait for the LCD display to "catch up" with your manual focus- and you may overshoot the adjustment while waiting.

4. Auto Focus: Accurate- yet slow. Multiple AF points certainly allows better opportunities but too much processing drain lets it down. I was stunned at how slow my fast lenses slewed to focus in daylight.

Of course any new product presents a bit of a let down when finally acquired. The Canon 40D that I also own (for a few months now) was more of a curiosity when purchased than anything else.

My opinions, of course, are subject to change when using the D300 for an extended period of time. But, at first blush, it only seems to improve on the D200 in very HIGH ISO performance- but compromises on the D200's legendary imagery.

As I write this (November 22nd), I'll conclude that the Canon 40D is much quicker to focus, has a more uniform noise-free imagery, more flexible and useful LIVE-VIEW (with live view & histogram AND timer flexibility built-in), a bit higher acuity BUT does not have that fabulous metering performance that the Nikon has.

 Clint Thayer's gear list:Clint Thayer's gear list
Nikon Z6 Nikon Z 24-70mm F4 Nikon Z 50mm F1.8 Nikon Z 35mm F1.8
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