Back to Nikon again

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Sam Posten, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Well I left Nikon when the 20D came out. They had just dragged their feet for soooo long and were getting their asses kicked by both the Rebel and the XXd line, dollar for dollar and feature for feature. Finally with the D3 and D300 they came roaring back and I picked up a D300 and 18-200 Kit to go along with my aging but still working beautifully nikkors.

    First day's tryouts:
    08-D300-Day1 - a photoset on Flickr

    Crops, levels and white balance. No sharpening other than the Lr minimal input sharpening defaults.

    I knew the 18-200 would have a bit of Chromatic Aberration, Lr looks like it will clear that up if it really bothers me. What I really wasnt expecting was how much it vignettes at 200. Doesn't really bother me since its easily correctable but I was shocked nobody mentioned it in any of the reviews I've read.

    I had been led to believe that Lr and Nikon weren't really playing nice together but so far I have no complaints other than the monstrous NEFs take a lot longer to be processed by my aging rig than the svelte 8 megapixel 20D raws. =) I'm not giving up on Canon totally, I love the 20D and its now my backup cam and am keeping my best lenses and selling off some lesser pieces. Once a real successor to the 5D comes down the pike I might head that way again but I have a feeling the D300s gonna keep me happy for a long long time.

    Sam
     
  2. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Interesting observations, Sam. I am always curious as to why some photographers jump from one system to another and then back. It seems like an expensive endeavor, since the real expense is in the lenses and other accessories.

    Since I've sunk quite a bit of money into Canon lenses, it would take quite a lot to get me to change to another system. However, I'm just an amateur, so the limitations are usually more in my skill level than the camera body.
     
  3. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I'm just an amateur as well but the good news is I dont have a ton invested in Canon mount lenses, just 4 semi-decent good bang for the buch ones, and I was growing bored with my 20D and unhappy with the feature delta between the 40D and the D300 and impatient to wait for the 5d replacement. I look at it as having the best of both worlds now for well under the cost of a single D3 or 1DM3....
     
  4. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Scott,

    Just think of Sam having gone "purple". [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Sam,

    Congrats on your new rig. Have fun and enjoy it -- and make some great photos! [​IMG] The D300 sure does look like a great camera -- and seems to be a surprisingly good upgrade over my D200 though I will probably just wait until Nikon goes full frame for this line before I upgrade the body again...

    _Man_
     
  5. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    You're bored with your 20D? That just doesn't compute.

    I know you guys are probably sick of my comments, but I have never really understood this brand changing. OK, I kind of understand it from a gadget freak vantage point, but not from a photographer point. So, here I go again.

    I would have been in about 7th grade when I bought my first SLR, which would have been about 1975 or 6, so 32-33 years ago. Got a Canon TX, because my dad had Canon and I could use his lenses. Outgrew it rapidly and traded for an AE-1. Outgrew that pretty quickly (plus wanted motor drive capabilities) and went for the A1, which didn't exist when I got the AE-1. Used the A1 (plus an eventual second body) through HS and College, which I might point out was photography school at Rochester Institute of Technology. Yes, the same camera for 7 years, including formal education in photography.

    Junior year of college, started into a MF system based on Bronica SQ-A, which I still use, though the system has grown. Bought a basic LF camera system, which I sold after college, to eventually get and extensive Cambo system, which I also still use 15 years later.

    After college, sold all my Canon gear because I went to work at Minolta. After my time at Minolta, bought into Nikon, because by new business partner used Nikon. Still use all that stuff, plus a Fuji DSLR to go with it. That's 35 years of gear, and this is what I do for a living.

    OK, I'm done.
     
  6. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I tend to agree with John, but I do see in this digital imaging age (that has yet to reach full maturity) how the temptation to upgrade is greater. With film, if you had a good, expandable camera and lens system, there's not much reason to upgrade/change. The film stock was more or less the upgradeable component. With D-SLRs advances are continuing to achieve comparable results to film but it's all tied to the image sensor in the camera; you can't upgrade the image sensor without upgrading the camera body.

    That said, I've been shooting with the original Canon Digital Rebel for the last five years and only recently saw a reason to upgrade to the 40d. Even then I feel like it's a bit of a luxury purchase since I've been able to get around the absence of features like spot metering and even learned to tolerate the stupid Ai focus mode.

    While a part of me definitely loves the gadgetry and cool factor of the gear, the gear doesn't make the photograph. How many of us have been offended when someone sees our photographs and says, "Wow, you must have a good camera!" In some ways when we go gear-crazy we are enabling or supporting these kinds of comments. I don't say this to lecture or be snobbish toward anyone - it's something I struggle with personally and must constantly remind myself of. And actually when I joined Flickr and started perusing that network, I came across a photographer who was a perfect example of the gear being unimportant. I found her because I was surfing through other users of an old Canon 1.3 MP point-and-shoot I used to own - that's what she was using for her earliest stuff and her photographic eye was just amazing. Check her out - she's an inspiration.

    EDIT: Actually, she's still using that Powershot A10!
     
  7. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    All good points guys, been down that argument before and I am not a fanboy of any product, camera related or otherwise.

    Here's what pushed me over the edge from the 20d:

    -Spot metering. Big for me, as is the very reliable 3d matrix metering. I never liked the 20d's meter and often found myself using exposure compensation on every shoot. Flash Exposure Compensation is even more off. VERY happy with the D300 metering so far, tho I do not have a SB-800 yet. White Balance is also more flexible and accurate tho indoors its still dicey.
    -Live View. Will be cool for precise focus checking especially on tripod mounted macro shoots. Maybe for over the head two arms extended shots too.
    -A true pro AF system. It's the same AF as in the amazing D3. I have been consistantly frustrated with the 20D AF. There is so much to learn in this new system and choices for different situations that it's still too early to make a call, but I was moderately happy with the speed it kept up with buzzards in flight yesterday.
    -The 3" LCD is a game changer.
    -2.5x the FPS isn't huge for me but could open new doors for my soccer pics.
    -More megapixels is not a big deal, certainly wasn't something I would have paid more for. Requires more space to burn the files but also allows more detailed crops when needed.
    -The 18-200 VR is a FUN lens. It's not a professional lens by any stretch but it's got a lot of uses for walkabouts and family events. Convenience and light weight with no equal on the canon side.
    -Fun stuff: Built in intervalometer and multiple exposure mode. First I will use a LOT, second not so much but still fun to play with.
    -ISO 6400. Huge for me if it matches the hype. Not expecting D3 like results but still nice to have and also never get antsy about using ISO 1600 and beyond.
    -All my old Nikkors now fit =) 50 1.8 is fun and light and bright and easy to hand to a family member.

    Plus as noted I'm KEEPING the 20D and my best lenses =) I still admire what Canon puts out, but at this time they are a big step behind in the market that I fit into and the new features I value most. If they had put an AF system like the D300s and an LCD to match in the 40D it might have been a lot harder to make this jump, and I'm going to have my eye out for what comes next for the 5D class bodies. It's going to need to be huuuuge to convince me that I need that more than I need better glass.


    I usually burp and say "Great meal! You must have some awesome sauce pans!" Or say "Nice pen, you mustve written some awesome novels!" =)
     
  8. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Your list is quite interesting, Sam. I am planning on upgrading to a Canon 40D from my current 350D, and my list of reasons for upgrading almost identically match the reasons you chose the Nikon D300 (except for being able to use Nikkor lenses, of course [​IMG] ).

    Specifically, my reasons are:
    1. Much better autofocus system.
    2. Higher available ISO (3200 instead of 1600, in my case).
    3. Larger LCD screen.
    4. ISO setting in viewfinder. I sometimes forget to set it back.
    5. True spot metering. My Rebel XT doesn't have this.
    6. Better controls, especially when shooting in manual mode.

    Some of the other improvements are not a big deal to me, such as the increased resolution (10mp vs. 8mp), 6.5fps and Live View. The latter feature may be of interest if I did macro shooting, but I hated trying to compose shots on a LCD screen when I used a point & shoot digital camera after spending many years with film SLRs. So, I doubt I'll ever use the Live View feature.
     
  9. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    I think the point is that the gear are just the tools. Sometimes, you need different (or better) tools to get the kind of results you want or need -- and that can certainly vary somewhat for different people. And if that's the case, the upgrade would certainly be justified.

    For instance, consider the Flickr user that Cameron refered to. She can make some great images for web display/usage w/ just a cheap, old Canon A10. But if she wants/needs those images to be useable and still look great for professional level work and enlarged print/display (eg. at a gallery and such), she's gonna need something much better than that. Of course, she probably still wouldn't need a feature-laden machine gun type camera like a Nikon D3 or D2 series (or even a D300), but something w/ much higher resolution (and better dynamic range) and better optics would be good. [​IMG]

    _Man_
     
  10. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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  11. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    That's very impressive for ISO 6400, Sam. Did you apply any noise reduction in post processing?
     
  12. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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  13. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Oh I WILL buy a D3 someday. Just not at 5k.

    There was no noise reduction on that shot. I can try adding some in Lr and see what it looks like if you want.

    Coming out of Kelly's in Belmar after our yearly St. Pat's feast on Saturday, I noticed a brilliant 3/4 moon. I've been getting into astrophotography lately and had my new camera and lens combo with me, so I took a quick look up and snapped it. I almost didn't stop walking, and wasn't really expecting a whole lot out of it.

    08-D300-StPats-1062-Moon-Handheld 18-200 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    Was pretty damn happy with the results! Despite being hand held and
    'only' 200mm, I got a tremendous amount of detail, a lot more than I did
    during the eclipse last month. Unlike those shots you can actually see
    individual craters and the 'Bunny' is clearly visible (tho upside down).

    And HERE is what the moon looks like with a 1980 era Manual focus
    Vivitar 400mm, which I used with the new camera from my front porch last
    night:
    08-D300-Moon-1095 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    08-D300-Moon-1090 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    I'm totally blown away by the difference! The added reach (double the focal length) and tripod help just a little =) Not bad for a real antique that was already wayyyy old and cost me about $50 when I bought it in 1988... I made a 16x20 print at Costco tonight and love how it looks blown up =)

    Sam
     
  14. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I've always been told that the full moon is the worst time to shoot it but I kinda like this one from tonight. Might be just a touch too contrasty but I like the darker look!
    08-D300-Moon-1197 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!
     
  15. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Nice work, Sam. I think I like the other photo on that last link better, though. It's brighter, and shows more detail.
     
  16. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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  17. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    That looks better, Sam. It's amazing what a few minor tweaks in Photoshop can accomplish.
     
  18. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Well that version made it into Thomas Hawk's list of Favorites so that's good enough for me =) Thanks for your honest appraisal too, gonna get a few prints tomorrow and see which _I_ prefer...
     
  19. ErichH

    ErichH Screenwriter

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    Just looking at a video review of the 300 today. Impressive.
    I have no need to upgrade my baby nikon, but the AF in the 300 looks amazing. Enjoy your new toy Sam!

    Nikon D300 review Cameralabs video tour
     
  20. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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