I played with D300 serial #2 today!!

Started Oct 4, 2007 | Discussions
jgarnold Regular Member • Posts: 353
I played with D300 serial #2 today!!

I live in Bangkok and the main Nikon distributor (Niks Thailand) has a demo D3 and D300 to play with in their showroom. The D300 is serial #2 (6000002). Since no other customers were in the showroom looking at the D300 today, I was able to play with it for over 3 hours and test many lenses with it as well.

Here are my observations...

1) High-ISO performance... I took identical shots with my D200 at ISO400 and the D300 at ISO800 and higher. I would estimate that the D300 is 1 to 1.33 stops better in the noise department. However, since the D300's base ISO is 200, this is to be expected. Don't expect a revolutionary change over the D200. However even one f-stop is nothing to complain about.

2) The high-resolution LCD is spectacular! It is extremely bright, high contrast, and rivals the picture quality of a desktop display. The new zooming and panning controls are faster and easier to use than the D200. I especially liked being able to instantly zoom to the focus point of the photo with the touch of a button. The histogram display has also been greatly improved.

3) The auto-focus system is extremely nice. I tested a number of pro-quality lenses and the focusing was quick and accurate. In the display, you only see the selected auto-focus point, so the view is very clean and uncluttered looking.

4) The auto-focus fine tuning works as advertised. You can adjust the focusing for each lens in a range of -20 to +20. I tested this feature using a tripod and you can easily change the backfocus/frontfocus characteristics of a lens.

5) Live View... I only played with this for a short time, but it seemed to work as advertised. However, the contrast based auto-focus seemed to be very slow and inconsistant. Please keep in mind that this is a pre-production camera and I might not have been using the live-view feature correctly.

6) In 14-bit RAW mode, the high speed frame rate does indeed drop from 6 to 2.5 frames/second.

7) The focus mode switch on the front of the camera has been redesigned. It takes a lot more force to change its position now, so changing modes by accident will probably be a thing of the past.

I also brought along my D200's Really Right Stuff "L" bracket to see if it was compatible with the D300. It fit perfectly, so I don't see a need to purchase a new one from RRS.

I also played with the D3 for about an hour. The high-ISO performance of this camera is absolutely INSANE!! Even at ISO 6400 (or higher), there is no multi-colored noise in the shots... everything is clean and smooth. This camera is large and built like a tank. After I finished using it and picked up the D300 again, it felt like I had just picked up a D40 in comparison. When shooting in continuous mode, the D3 rattles off shots like a machine gun.

-Jeff

rmellis
rmellis Regular Member • Posts: 288
Re: I played with D300 serial #2 today!!

You just answered my prayers on the L bracket

Bill Dewey Veteran Member • Posts: 7,911
Re: I played with D300 serial #2 today!!

Thanks, Jeff, the 1-1.3 stop "better" at High ISO is what I have been hearing, nice to see your impression as well. I'm looking for ISO-1600-2000, and this puts us "right there" :-).

You lucky dog you.

Did you ask the IMPORTANT question? When does that Dewey guy get his delivered?????????

-- hide signature --
Jeff Morris
Jeff Morris Veteran Member • Posts: 3,296
Thank You!

JGarnold I appreciate your post. I understand your comments were based on over all thoughts. I was hoping for a 2 stop improvement over the D200. So you are saying we may have a camera (D300) with noise similar to the D40? I could live with that.
--
Regards,

Jeff Morris / Homecinemaman

Adams, Gutmann, Steichen, Snoopy, Stigletz, Weston. they lead by example.

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David Chin Forum Pro • Posts: 11,670
Can you ...

... share the full-sized photo samples?

Anyway, thanks very much for the excellent report on your Nikon D300 impressions!
--
Regards, David Chin
http://nikond300.dpnotes.com/

Daniel Soh Regular Member • Posts: 223
Re: I played with D300 serial #2 today!!

Thanks for the on-site review. With news going around that the high ISO noise level nothing to shout about on the D300 as compared to the D200. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Cheers

davidxyz Regular Member • Posts: 397
Re: I played with D300 serial #2 today!!

Hi Jeff thanks for the detailed report! Were you able to develop any opinions as to the low ISO image quality compared to the D200. And also as I just asked another person that quickly reviewed the camera, is there a slight color shift that you noticed in the D300. From the images of the D3 I've noticed a really nice clean warmish tendency similar to the LBCAST from the D2Hs that I really like. Do you have any opinion on that? Thanks again
--
Cheers

jacqth Regular Member • Posts: 360
Re: I played with D300 serial #2 today!!

hmm.. i wonder if the D3 high ISO performance worth that extra $3k. Do you feel that the D300 focus system is on part with the D3?
thanks for your post.

jgarnold wrote:

I also played with the D3 for about an hour. The high-ISO performance
of this camera is absolutely INSANE!! Even at ISO 6400 (or higher),
there is no multi-colored noise in the shots... everything is clean
and smooth. This camera is large and built like a tank. After I
finished using it and picked up the D300 again, it felt like I had
just picked up a D40 in comparison. When shooting in continuous mode,
the D3 rattles off shots like a machine gun.

-Jeff

-- hide signature --
Devendra
Devendra Veteran Member • Posts: 3,584
just the zippy af response is tempting enough..

adding the rest of the advantages.. makes me want to buy one!
even tho i still havent run out of all D200's capabilities;)

thanks for a more hands on balanced and a bottom line report..

jgarnold wrote:

I live in Bangkok and the main Nikon distributor (Niks Thailand) has
a demo D3 and D300 to play with in their showroom. The D300 is serial

  1. 2 (6000002). Since no other customers were in the showroom looking

at the D300 today, I was able to play with it for over 3 hours and
test many lenses with it as well.

Here are my observations...

1) High-ISO performance... I took identical shots with my D200 at
ISO400 and the D300 at ISO800 and higher. I would estimate that the
D300 is 1 to 1.33 stops better in the noise department. However,
since the D300's base ISO is 200, this is to be expected. Don't
expect a revolutionary change over the D200. However even one f-stop
is nothing to complain about.

2) The high-resolution LCD is spectacular! It is extremely bright,
high contrast, and rivals the picture quality of a desktop display.
The new zooming and panning controls are faster and easier to use
than the D200. I especially liked being able to instantly zoom to the
focus point of the photo with the touch of a button. The histogram
display has also been greatly improved.

3) The auto-focus system is extremely nice. I tested a number of
pro-quality lenses and the focusing was quick and accurate. In the
display, you only see the selected auto-focus point, so the view is
very clean and uncluttered looking.

4) The auto-focus fine tuning works as advertised. You can adjust the
focusing for each lens in a range of -20 to +20. I tested this
feature using a tripod and you can easily change the
backfocus/frontfocus characteristics of a lens.

5) Live View... I only played with this for a short time, but it
seemed to work as advertised. However, the contrast based auto-focus
seemed to be very slow and inconsistant. Please keep in mind that
this is a pre-production camera and I might not have been using the
live-view feature correctly.

6) In 14-bit RAW mode, the high speed frame rate does indeed drop
from 6 to 2.5 frames/second.

7) The focus mode switch on the front of the camera has been
redesigned. It takes a lot more force to change its position now, so
changing modes by accident will probably be a thing of the past.

I also brought along my D200's Really Right Stuff "L" bracket to see
if it was compatible with the D300. It fit perfectly, so I don't see
a need to purchase a new one from RRS.

I also played with the D3 for about an hour. The high-ISO performance
of this camera is absolutely INSANE!! Even at ISO 6400 (or higher),
there is no multi-colored noise in the shots... everything is clean
and smooth. This camera is large and built like a tank. After I
finished using it and picked up the D300 again, it felt like I had
just picked up a D40 in comparison. When shooting in continuous mode,
the D3 rattles off shots like a machine gun.

-Jeff

 Devendra's gear list:Devendra's gear list
Sony Alpha NEX-3N Nikon D800E Nikon D200 Nikon 1 J1
nilux Regular Member • Posts: 429
Re: I played with D300 serial #2 today!!

Sound great, thanks for your comments.

Did you get a chance to test the AF speed of an older screwdriver AF lens?

That's great that I don't have to buy a new L bracket. Those RRS brackets are great but pretty expensive.

jaduffy007 Regular Member • Posts: 153
Re: Curious...

I'm still in limbo as to which system (N vs C) to buy into. If the D300 has 1 stop better performance in terms of noise over the D200....how will it compare to the Canon 40D?

My current thinking is...if the D300 is very close or equal to 40D...buy the D300 for the Pro AF, etc, etc.

I plan to do a lot of night photography.....

thoughts?

Thank you!

OP jgarnold Regular Member • Posts: 353
Re: I played with D300 serial #2 today!!

It's very difficult to definitively answer any questions about the difference in image quality between the D200 and D300 because I was only viewing the pics on the camera's LCD. If I go to the distributor again, I'll ask them if I can view some pics on their PC.

The D300 has so many new menus items and custom functions that you'll be learning about them for days (or weeks).

-Jeff

davidxyz Regular Member • Posts: 397
Re: I played with D300 serial #2 today!!

Well sounds like it will be a great cam anyway. Thanks again Jeff.
--
Cheers

OleThorsen Veteran Member • Posts: 3,111
Re: I played with D300 serial #2 today!!

Thanks a lot for your report Jeff.

jgarnold wrote:

Here are my observations...

1) High-ISO performance... I took identical shots with my D200 at
ISO400 and the D300 at ISO800 and higher. I would estimate that the
D300 is 1 to 1.33 stops better in the noise department. However,
since the D300's base ISO is 200, this is to be expected. Don't
expect a revolutionary change over the D200. However even one f-stop
is nothing to complain about.

This is really terrific. Together with more pixels and 1.3 stop less noise is actually a significant improvement.

2) The high-resolution LCD is spectacular! It is extremely bright,
high contrast, and rivals the picture quality of a desktop display.
The new zooming and panning controls are faster and easier to use
than the D200. I especially liked being able to instantly zoom to the
focus point of the photo with the touch of a button. The histogram
display has also been greatly improved.

Pressing the centre part of the multiselector button on the D200 also allowed instant zoom to a predefined customizable zoom level. But now there are dedicated zoom in and out buttons on the D300 and that is an improvement.

Are you sure about the histogram improvement? They look pretty similar to me, besides the larger LCD on the D300.

D300 histogram

D200 histogram

3) The auto-focus system is extremely nice. I tested a number of
pro-quality lenses and the focusing was quick and accurate. In the
display, you only see the selected auto-focus point, so the view is
very clean and uncluttered looking.

This is very important improvement for me. How was the D300 AF speed compared to D200 and D3?

4) The auto-focus fine tuning works as advertised. You can adjust the
focusing for each lens in a range of -20 to +20. I tested this
feature using a tripod and you can easily change the
backfocus/frontfocus characteristics of a lens.

5) Live View... I only played with this for a short time, but it
seemed to work as advertised. However, the contrast based auto-focus
seemed to be very slow and inconsistant. Please keep in mind that
this is a pre-production camera and I might not have been using the
live-view feature correctly.

6) In 14-bit RAW mode, the high speed frame rate does indeed drop
from 6 to 2.5 frames/second.

7) The focus mode switch on the front of the camera has been
redesigned. It takes a lot more force to change its position now, so
changing modes by accident will probably be a thing of the past.

I also brought along my D200's Really Right Stuff "L" bracket to see
if it was compatible with the D300. It fit perfectly, so I don't see
a need to purchase a new one from RRS.

I also played with the D3 for about an hour. The high-ISO performance
of this camera is absolutely INSANE!! Even at ISO 6400 (or higher),
there is no multi-colored noise in the shots... everything is clean
and smooth. This camera is large and built like a tank. After I
finished using it and picked up the D300 again, it felt like I had
just picked up a D40 in comparison. When shooting in continuous mode,
the D3 rattles off shots like a machine gun.

-Jeff

Regards
Ole Thorsen
http://www.pbase.com/ole_thorsen

  • OMNISCIENCE

Knowing what
thou knowest not
is in a sense
omniscience.
(Grook by Piet Hein)

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ZX7R Contributing Member • Posts: 917
D300 and D3 AF MODULE = The same

You folks keep asking the same questions over and over.....

Both D3 and D300 share the same AF module, dispite the 3.000 USD difference in price......

Already stated everywhere by everyone, including by Nikon.

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OleThorsen Veteran Member • Posts: 3,111
And so what....

ZX7R wrote:

You folks keep asking the same questions over and over.....

Both D3 and D300 share the same AF module, dispite the 3.000 USD
difference in price......

Already stated everywhere by everyone, including by Nikon.

Do you really believe I would ask if I was certain that the D3 and D300 AF speed was the same? Do you believe all others than yourself are fools?

Even though D3 and D300 share the same multicam 3500 AF sensor, there could be differences in the supporting processors, AF motors or mirrors reflecting the light to the AF sensors. I have seen another user report (see link below) stating that the D3 was a little faster than the D300 with the new AFS24-70 lens.

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1021&message=24898378

Regards
Ole Thorsen
http://www.pbase.com/ole_thorsen

  • OMNISCIENCE

Knowing what
thou knowest not
is in a sense
omniscience.
(Grook by Piet Hein)

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Nes Regular Member • Posts: 188
Noise and LCD effect

Jeff,

Do you think that comparing the noise in the camera's LCD screen can be affected by the fact that the D300 has a higher resolution LCD?

forre Forum Member • Posts: 89
Thank you for the report

Yes, thank you very much! I see you liked the machine too. Yes, I agree, D3 was a superior tool (I've tried it too) but then, it's extremely expensive. Well, generally, it's a very nice treat for photographers.
--
Regards,
Olga

Radu Tenenbaum
Radu Tenenbaum Senior Member • Posts: 2,905
Re: And so what....

Well, one would understand if the D300 focusing was slower than the D3's due to the smaller battery. But, does focus speed increase with the grip which has higher voltage battery that also supports faster FPS?
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Radu
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kocho Senior Member • Posts: 2,690
Shutter sound?

Thanks for the report. How did you feel about the shutter noise compared to the D200? My D200 is louder than I would like it to be... Was there a "quiet" mode of some sort (I don't think there is, but hoping for it)?

Thanks!
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Regards,
Mihail
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