Advice for a D300s user

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Alnitak Contributing Member • Posts: 659
Advice for a D300s user

I am cross-posting this from the DX forum and I'd like to get some input from FX shooters as well. Thanks.

I know I am not the first to post this question, but do appreciate any perspectives you can share.

I've had a D100, D200 and now a D300s, but am getting an itch to "upgrade" to a more modern camera. My initial thoughts are to just go to a D500...I know the DX format, I enjoy shooting wildlife and sports, and it seems to meet my high ISO needs. However, I am also torn about the FX or DX question, specifically, more flexibility with DoF control and high ISO performance.

If the D850 were in my budget, I'd probably go that route as a single, do it all camera. However, I am looking to upgrade to some new lenses as well, so don't want to spend all of my budget for a body only.

My choices seem to be...

1. Upgrade to the D500 -- better high ISO performance, AF for sports, FPS, buffer, etc. A great update to my D300s. However, since kids are grown I am not shooting sports as much as I used to, unless I want to start doing it again on the side. If I pick up one used at $1500 or so, I can add a couple of lenses (e.g., Sigma 18-35mm f1.8, 85mm f/1.8G, 16-80mm) in my budget. However, I still am not getting any improvement for narrow DoF shooting.

2. Keep the D300s -- It probably meets most of my current shooting needs, however, it is still disappointing in low light. I recently had an opportunity to shoot at my nephew's wedding (not the paid pro, but at request from my brother as a secondary shooter focusing on our family), and at ISO 1200-1600 the shutter speed wasn't high enough to get good shots, especially of dancing, etc. I need to be able to shoot at 3200-6400 for indoor family events.

So, if I keep the D300s, I am considering:

2a) Pick up a D750 -- good dynamic range, high ISO performance, narrow DoF as FX, etc. However, I don't really want a low-pass filter and buying a used one may be risky given the shutter issues. It is also an older model camera that may be showing it's age.

2b) Pick up a D810 -- By all accounts a worthy camera. Pros -- newer model than D750, higher MP for cropping (though that could be con as well in workflow), has decent DX mode, good high ISO (though perhaps a touch behind D750), and no AA filter. Cons -- slower frame rate, more costly, may need higher priced, newer lenses for 36MP vs. 24MP, the continuous AF is not as good as the D750. Would need to get at least the 24-120 f/4 lens for this, though would prefer a higher quality lens or two, including a prime.

Both FX cameras do have a pop-up flash which I find useful for fill or triggering off-camera flashes, which I won't get with the D500. However, I may be restricted in budget for my lenses, e.g., while the 70-200 AF-S VR may work with DX cameras, it is not good for FX. Getting the new 70-200E will break the bank. Also, probably wouldn't be able to afford, say, a 24-70 f/2.8 or 85mm f/1.4g, which might be needed for the D810.

So, what are your thoughts, perspectives, other things I should consider, etc.?

Nikon D100 Nikon D200 Nikon D300S Nikon D500 Nikon D850
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