D610 and D800 Build Quality vs D300

Started Mar 7, 2014 | Discussions thread
bobn2 Forum Pro • Posts: 58,563
Re: D610 and D800 Build Quality vs D300

1RichieB wrote:

I went to a local camera store today and shot a D610 and a D800 for the first time. I had convinced myself that I was going to buy one of these cameras to use with my D300.

The out of camera photos from the D610 matched very closely what I saw with my eyes in the store, similar to my D300, and the ISO performance was definitely cleaner above 1600. The out of camera photos from the D800 were much lighter than either of the other two, ie the color rendition did not seem as accurate. This does not concern me as I am not familiar at all with this camera and I know adjustments can be made to correct this.

However, what did concern me is the "feeling" of the two newer cameras compared to the D300. Maybe it's just me, and maybe it's due to my familiarity with the D300, but the D300 feels very solid compared to the other two. In fact, it feels so much more solid I walked out of the store more confused than ever. I know those are "better" cameras in terms of image quality at higher ISO's, and I guess at lower ISO's also, but I'm not convinced they are better in terms of build quality.

I am am now thinking I am going to have to shell out more bucks for a D3s or a D4. My main concern with the D3s is the reach I will lose combined with it being 12MP like the D300. At 16MP the D4 would offset the quality loss somewhat when cropping...

I think for now I'm prepared to sit tight and see what comes along. After all, look at all the "Challenges" on this site - there are plenty of great "photos" being taken with lesser cameras than the D300. The main reason I want another camera is better ISO for shooting night football and baseball. Hopefully there will be a true replacement for the D300, but my gut feeling is there will not. I think Nikon looks at the D610, with its DX mode, as the replacement for the D300. They are not too worried about the fps - I don't think they are too concerned with the differences between 5-6 fps vs 6-8 fps. If you want more than that they are going to make you buy a D4, etc.

Anyway, back to the build quality, do any of you perceive this the way I do? Is it a concern? My D300 is a tank, it's been put through the paces and still going strong after almost seven years. I don't know that the other two could go through what my D300 has been through.

My thanks to anyone who has transitioned from the D300 to a D610 / D800 that can provide some insight on how they feel about the build quality.

'Build quality' is very, very subjective, and perceptions such as this have very little to do with the actual ruggedness of the camera. The D610 is very rugged, due in part to its resilient plastic chassis, the D800 less so, because its metal chassis is a bit brittle and can crack if the camera is dropped. That might also be true of the other Nikon metal chassis cameras (Dx series, D700, Dx00 series). The crack causes misalignment, and the D800 returns enough detail to show it.

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