Justifying a D300

23Jul08

I’m been wanting the Nikon D300 ever since it was announced. It’s been a little over a half year since it’s out, and I apparently have some money burning a hole in my pocket, so I’m thinking about an trade-up.

The upgrades provided by the new camera seem to address the various “inadequacies” I have with my D200:

  1. Viewfinder doesn’t provide 100% image view
  2. High ISO quality can be quite a bit better
  3. Autofocus can be faster and more accurate with moving subjects
  4. Single cross-type focus sensor in the middle of frame
  5. Images doesn’t have a high level of acuity out of camera (strong anti-aliasing filter?)
  6. No auto dust removal
  7. ISO change requires two hands

The D300 solves most of the above (the high ISO image quality is only one stop better, and the ISO change issue is still there), and then some:

  1. Extra 1-1/2 stop of dynamic range mostly in the highlights
  2. Higher resolution
  3. 14-bit lossless compression NEF
  4. Possibly double the battery life from the same battery
  5. 3″ LCD with 3x the resolution
  6. Faster card writing speed
  7. Live view

All marvelous stuff, but what’s not to like?

  1. Button rearrangement meant loss of the bracketing button, and the inclusion of an OK button, which really could’ve been folded into the control pad
  2. 14-bit NEFs slows down the camera to 2.5fps
  3. No built-in GPS

As you can see, I’m splitting hairs here. The D400 might have the GPS built in, but I’d have to wait a half minute each time I turn on the camera for location acquisition. I think I can live without it. The new camera might have even better high ISO performance, which would likely be a small improvement rather than a large jump given the laws of physics with signal-to-noise ratio and sensor size, and even faster AF, but to get all this nice-to-have I need to wait at least a 2 years.

What I seem to be concluding is that I SHOULD be happy with this upgrade for a long time to come, because it doesn’t seem to be missing anything significant.

Share your thoughts if you’ve made the jump from a D200 to a D300. Any regrets?

Cheers!

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