New Nikon D300 or used D200?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Brian Perry, Aug 27, 2007.

  1. Brian Perry

    Brian Perry Cinematographer

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    Nikon just announced the new D300 (as well as the D3) to be released in November. I didn't really see a ton of important differences between the D300's specs and the D200's, so I'm thinking it might be better to buy a pre-owned (or new discontinued stock) D200 for around $1,000 instead of a new D300 for $1,800. Thoughts?

    The D3 and its full-frame sensor look sweet but $5k is a lot to drop on a digital camera (unless you're a pro). I'm a bit surprised that new Nikon's flagship SLR offers 9 MP less than Canon's 1D Mk III.
     
  2. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    I would probably just get an excellent condition D200 for much less, if I were you. I doubt there's all that much in the new D300 that's both worth the extra $$$ and the extra wait. If you go for the D300, you'll first probably want to wait out any initial production problems before buying unless you're the adventurous type (like me perhaps [​IMG]). Even if you don't wait, it might be very hard to get your hands on one for the first couple months if not longer. Heck, even the D200 continued to be regularly out of stock at most reputable dealers for over a year after its initial release -- and the same seems to happen w/ most Nikon DSLRs other than their entry level D50/D40/D40x line. If you really do want to get it at initial release, you might need to try superstores by phone (or online) like Circuit City or Best Buy as they seem to be able to stock sizeable batches even early on -- though they don't usually last more than a couple days or so. That's how I bought my D200 at the initial release date.

    Save the $$$ on the body and put it towards more/better glass. And then, maybe wait until Nikon eventually puts out a full frame semi-pro body before jumping on that for the higher price, if you want FF. [​IMG] I'll probably just stick w/ my D200 until Nikon does that.

    RE: the MP count for the D3, well, it's not *that* surprising. They were never competing for MP count in that market segment before anyway. Besides, this D3 might well be more like a D3h w/ a possible D3x (w/ higher MP count) to come later. It sounds more like a competitor for the Canon 1.3x crop 1D line than the FF 1Ds line so far. The only thing missing is the "h" at the end. [​IMG]

    Anyway, the final offical announcement of a FF Nikon body makes me less interested in buying another APS-crop lens now -- well, certainly nothing expensive anyhow. Will have to see. Might be nice to save up for that newly announced 14-24 f/2.8 for instance. [​IMG]

    _Man_
     
  3. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    I will say this about the D300 though. It sure looks like a bigger upgrade than what Canon puts out in these prosumer/semi-pro bodies. I'm slightly skeptical, but it sounds like the D300's AF system will be pretty much identical to the D3's new MultiCAM 3500 AF system (minus the more powerful AF motor for non-AFS lenses), including 15 cross-type AF points. The D200's AF system is quite similar to the D2 series pro bodies, but it only has 1 cross-type AF point (in the center). This can matter if you shoot sports/action (or even street photography) often in lower lighting -- and they've also bumped up the frame rate for this purpose too. If you don't do this, then there's probably very little reason to jump for the D300 over the D200 (assuming you can save a good deal of $$$ of course).

    Well, there does seem to be a few other nice features, including the new live view mode, but those things don't interest me as much. [​IMG] I guess there's also the remote possibility that the new 12MP CMOS sensor will yield cleaner/less grainy images or provide higher DR, but any significant improvements there seem doubtful to me.

    _Man_
     
  4. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Well, at least you managed to squeeeeeeze something to do with image quality in there, finally....


    [​IMG]
     
  5. TRBMan

    TRBMan Auditioning

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    definently the new one!
     
  6. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Does the D300 have any auto mode like the D50/70/80 or is it fully manual like the D200?
     
  7. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    My D200 has an auto mode too.

    CJ
     
  8. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    The problem at the moment is that nobody really knows how the D300 will perform. The single biggest factor for me will be the high ISO performance. It seems Nikon have finally realised that high ISO is important and that their customers deserve much better than what the D200 and D2Xs can currently deliver. ISO 6400 at f/1.4 = wedding ceremony nirvana.

    Screenshots of the D3's high-iso performance so far look fabulous (as in, 1d MK III fabulous at least). I can't see the D300 reaching quite those heights, but then again there's no reason why not as the Canon has a similar sensor size.


    The D200 and D300 have a 'P' mode which is automatic but with the ability to override the important settings if required. Far more useful than the 'dummy' auto mode.
     
  9. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    That's ok. I think that's as much auto as I'd need. Except that even in P mode I find my D50 stuborn with my crappy old film slr add-on flash. In auto my D50 works better with the flash. Anyhow, that's cool. Too bad the D300 is way outa my price range right now. I was thinking of the D80 instead.

    Why the heck do these camera's still use compact flash?? Why?
     
  10. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    CompactFlash is the standard amongst pro cameras. They are more rugged than the other types of card and have greater capacities. The D3 can use two cards at the same time - cool.
     
  11. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    I guess with the price of cards, it's not a big deal. Maybe I'll grab a D80 in the future and then later, I could look at the D300.
     
  12. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Funny, I am continually thankful that the decent SLRs continue to use CF cards.
     
  13. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Rob,

    I really doubt the D300 will be noticeably better at high ISO than the D200. Canon's 1.6x-crop offerings w/ the same MP count (and thus, pixel pitch size) aren't really all that much better either. The real significant diff will more likely require moving to a bigger sensor.

    If you're shooting for pay, the D3 might well be worth your while though yeah it won't be so great w/ DX lenses. I think the specs say only 5MP when applying the DX crop. That might be fine for shooting weddings and such though as people have done quite well w/ the D2Hs for that. If not, maybe you can still snap up a good, used 35-70 f/2.8 cheaply for that purpose. There's also the Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 that gets good reviews. But yeah, you'll probably eventually want something like the 17-35 f/2.8 (or gasp! the new 14-24 f/2.8) for the superwide view on FF if your DX superwide doesn't satisfy.

    _Man_
     
  14. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    I thought the 1d MKIII (not the brand new 1ds MK III - thanks to the copier company for the dumb names) was x1.6 crop? The high-iso on that blows away pretty much everything else on the market.
     
  15. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    The Canon 1D Mark III is a 1.3 crop sensor (along with the 1D Mark II and 1D Mark IIN). The 1Ds Mark III is a full frame sensor (as was the 1Ds Mark II and original 1Ds). The 5D is also full frame.

    Canon's 1.6 crop sensor models are the 10D, 20D, 30D and Digital Rebel line (300D, 350D, 400D).
     
  16. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Yup. The Canon 1D series has always been 1.3x crop -- and you canNOT use EF-S lenses on them at all. A few years ago some folks thought Canon might eventually phase out the 1.3x crop sensor size to simplify things for the market, but that never happened. Maybe it will eventually happen, *IF* Nikon's approach w/ DX and FX formats proves better -- though it's not very likely that EF-S lenses will ever work right on a Canon FF body.

    BTW, Rob, not sure if you knew, but depending on how exactly Nikon implements the DX crop function on the D3 (and future FF bodies), some of the DX/digital crop lenses can be used in FF view for some parts of their focal length ranges. For instance, I understand that the Nikkor 12-24 f/4 DX is useable for FF view starting around 18mm, which would also be the effective/cropped/DX FOV you get at 12mm. So theoretically, you can still use the 12-24 DX as a 18-24 superwide on the D3 in FF mode. It probably won't be as good optically as the 17-35 f/2.8 or other comparable superwides, but probably still quite good nonetheless. I think the Tokina 12-24 f/4 you have might do similarly on a FF body.

    _Man_
     
  17. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    Yeah, I know. I've used my 17-55 f/2.8 on my film F80 a few times. Works absolutely fine after about 30mm or so.

    Regarding Canon, I've seen quite a few people in the wedding sector on Flickr sell their Nikons and go for the 1D MK III due to it's high-iso performance. The irony now is that Nikon's new D3 will probably surpass it in several areas and is about the same price (full retail price is £300 more than the D3's discounted retail price so it may even come in a bit cheaper eventually). Main issue I would have with buying one is that it will make the backup body & lenses situation awkward.
     
  18. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    The D3 and D300 look AWESOME, and I'm glad I'm both Canon and Nikon and not fanatically attached to one or the other. The canon 20d is my workhorse but I'm waiting to see what Canon does with a 5D replacement, cause it looks like they gotta nail that one out of the park or I'm going to have to seriously evaluate the D3/D300 choice instead.

    Personally I think the D300s feature set is a VERY compelling reason not to get a D200 used but YMMV.

    Sam
     
  19. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    It probably depends on how you view the purchase. If it's intended to last you a very long, indefinite amount of time, then yeah, the D300 is likely the better choice. But w/ Nikon going FF now, would you want to upgrade again in a few years to say a D500 w/ FF, if Nikon does that (say 2 iterations from now)? If the answer is yes, then why not save the $$$ w/ a used D200 and spend it on better/more glass instead unless you specifically need certain improvements/features in the D300? ;D

    _Man_
     
  20. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Good glass is almost always a better investment than a camera body. In this new digital age, camera bodies become outdated quickly, but a good lens will last through many body upgrades.

    That being said, it's tough to resist the lure of a new camera body, just as it is new home theater gear. I'm lusting after the newly announced Canon 40D as an upgrade to my 350D. Fortunately, we do not have any vacations coming up soon where I'll be taking a lot of photos, so hopefully the desire will fade before our next big trip. [​IMG]
     

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