D9300 - For real or just another tease?

Started Apr 2, 2014 | Discussions thread
jfriend00 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,453
Re: D9300 - For real or just another tease?

seahawk wrote:

But if you look at the specs - a D7200 would need to be an up-grade from the D7100 and superior to the D5300 while being below the D9300. Unless there is a new AF module for the D9300 and it is aiming for a much higher performance than I am expecting, this will be not easy.

51p AF, D800 metering, 6FPS (8 with grip) - leaves not much room for a D7200 imho.

I don't think you're opening up your thoughts enough to the kind of advances that could be put into a D9300.  Here's an itemized list things a D9300 could have over the D7100 (or even over a D7200):

  • 8-10fps
  • Much, much larger buffer (ability to hold at least 25 14-bit RAW files)
  • New DX AF module
  • More AF CPU power - gives you better AF in low light or with many AF points in operation
  • Matrix metering III with the 91,000 pixel metering sensor (like the D4s has)
  • Shorter mirror blackout time (gives you better AF when shooting at max fps and better visual tracking at max fps)
  • Further improvement in high ISO performance
  • AF-ON button in the familiar location
  • Support for even faster card write speeds
  • 10-pin accessory compatibility (more interoperable with other pro accessories)
  • Larger viewfinder
  • Viewfinder shutter
  • More weather-proof body
  • More durable body
  • Enhanced video including on-sensor PDAF live focusing
  • Improved battery life
  • Built-in WiFi

If they just hit 8-10fps, large buffer and meaningfully improved AF and metering - that would probably be enough in my opinion to make this into the DX speed camera that the D7xxx series isn't hitting the mark.

And, here's some discussion of some of these things in light of the advances made in the D800, D4 and D4s.

  • Improved high ISO. Nikon claims to have improved the D4s high ISO support over the D4 (lower noise and better color rendition at very high ISO). If Nikon can eek more out of the fairly well optimized D4 sensor, then they certainly could eek more out of the sensor in the D7100 (or whatever APS-C sensor comes next). So, though high ISO improvements are no longer coming in big chunks, there may still be more room to go, even at the APS-C sensor size.
  • Large buffer. The EXPEED 4 has a much, much larger built-in buffer. While the D4 may be using some off-chip supplemental buffer memory, the EXPEED 4 has plenty of built-in buffer memory for a good sized RAW buffer on a D9300. Just giving the D9300 more fps and buffer alone would differentiate it from the D7xxx series line.
  • Fast fps. The data sheet for the Fujitsu core in the EXPEED 4 can do 12fps at 24M. So, whether a D9300 was 16MP or 24MP, it seems like the EXPEED 4 could certainly keep up with 8fps or even 9 or 10 if that's what Nikon wanted to endow a D9300 with.
  • s-RAW. With the D4s, Nikon dipped their toe in the water with a reduced size RAW. We could see faster shooting modes with an s-RAW reduced image recording.
  • Matrix metering III. The D7100 has Matrix Metering II with a 2016 pixel RGB sensor. The D4s has the next generation Matrix Metering III with a 91,000 pixel RGB sensor. You can certainly discern much finer level detail and patterns with the higher pixel metering sensor. This should lead to better detection of smaller highlight areas and better pattern recognition and just generally richer data that goes into the exposure processing and perhaps into AF tracking too since the advanced AF tracking modes also use subject color information from the matrix metering sensor.
  • Improved battery life. My understanding is that the EXPEED 4 consumes a ton less power than the EXPEED 3, particuarly when going fast. This is likely one of the contributors to the improved battery life in the D4s.
  • Many video improvements. The EXPEED 4 enables a number of video improvements. Since I'm not much of a video person, I won't comment on them here, but there's a significant list of new video features.
  • Improved Auto-Focus Tracking. Nikon claims new AF algorithms along with enhanced processing speed from the EXPEED 4. The benefits they claim are: The proven Multi-CAM 3500 FX AF sensor module’s thoroughly recalibrated AF algorithms quickly zero in on its intended target— no matter how near, far, or abruptly a subject appears in the frame.
  • Auto-Focus Group Mode. Uses 5 AF points to provide increased stability while tracking subjects and enhanced accuracy by reducing instances of background focus. In situations where the background is bright with strong contrasting colors, photographers can now feel more confident, knowing that small, distant and fast-moving objects can be rendered sharper, faster and more frequently.
  • Improved Auto-Focus Lock-On. Nikon’s AF Lock-on technology is also upgraded, shortening time in reverting from focus interruptions, such as a referee running into the frame.
  • Improved AF at max fps. Nikon claims the D4s has also improved tracking while shooting at max fps. The D4S has a newly designed mirror-moving mechanism, which uniformly and effectively absorbs mirror slap to minimize viewfinder blackout time. This would give the camera more time to collect AF data between frames and Nikon claims it makes it easier to track your subject through the viewfinder since the viewfinder image is stable for longer between frames. In addition, we know that the focus processing speed has been improved so that could also allow more focus data to be processed when the mirror is down.
  • AF during video. In some other Nikon cameras (such as Nikon One), Nikon has put PDAF on sensor which enables PDAF focusing during video. The D9300 could be the first DX camera to have a new sensor capable of that.
  • New DX AF module. The D7100 has basically the same AF that was shipped in the D300 6 years ago. There's certainly room for a significantly more advanced AF module in the D9300 and with EXPEED 4, the processing power behind that AF module could be significantly higher too.
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