D50 to D300

Started Sep 19, 2009 | Discussions thread
Jeffery1987 Regular Member • Posts: 246
Re: setting for setting no

Hi just want to contribute my findings since I myself went from a D50 to D300. Most of these guys said is true, D300 really is easily the better camera. I mastered the D50 quite well before moving onto D300 and I only just feel comfortable with the D300 after one year shooting. It is a serious step up in terms of functionality & operation so the learning curve is quite steep. I feel people never report the weakness of their camera, which i think is useful to prospective buyers, so here are my findings.


This is one difficult camera to master. I quickly found to get the best results out of the D300 you can't be lazy and use it as a P&S. So i had to modify my shooting style. For one thing, all my lenses are consumer grade therefore I now shoot mainly in A mode (having to constantly stopping down). Since there are so many buttons on the D300, you might as well take advantage of them (eg. WB, ISO, metering, AF) and believe me you'll love the direct access to alot of controls. For example, using the AF-ON button to control AF. That alone took several month to get use to but it's well worth it. Another important thing is remembering to reset current settings after shooting. This is stuff like resetting shoot mode back to Single frame instead of leaving it on Mirror-lockup, spot metering back to matrix metering, etc. In the first few month, i often left the camera on previous setting and ruined good shots. So having to keep thinking about the settings all the time is exhausting and it kind of takes the fun out of photography, but at the end of the day it's good for you as a photographer.

Image Quality (RAW comparison, I only shoot RAW)

In terms of image quality, it really isn't as simple as 'D300 is much better than D50'. First, while the jump to 12MP is nice it doesn't feel that much different to me. Second, the characteristics of the 12MP CMOS sensor is quite different. At ISO 200 D300 is actually quite noisy whereas the D50 is spotless even in deep shadows. However, the noise level of D300 doesn't increase much at all between ISO 400-1600. What you will notice is detail retention & colour fidelity isn't as good as the D50 going up the ISO scale. With D300 ISO 1600-3200 you also get these white speckle dots sprinkled in the shadow area if the sharpening level is too high and they are difficult to clean up. You'll also find D300's colour reproduction is much more neutral and accurate, whereas D50's is more aesthetically pleasing but less faithful (ie. warmer colours). D300's dynamic range is also much much better especially with highlights & RAW recovery.

When it comes to lenses, from my own experiences, they become less sharp. So for example, on D50 f2.8+ can yield optimal results from a 50mm, whereas i need at least f4 on D300 for good sharpness throughout the whole frame. Same with the tokina 12-24mm f4. Optimal image quality can be obtained at f8 on D50, i need to stop down to f13 for good corner sharpness on D300. In another word, D300 is more demanding on your lenses.

I still use the D50 quite regularly because at lower ISO it isn't as noisy and it is lighter & smaller which makes it more suitable for everyday shooting. However most of the time D300 is better, it really will increase your keeper rate.

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