Nikon D300s vs D7000

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by wonderspark, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. wonderspark macrumors 68040

    wonderspark

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    #1
    I'm on the fence between a Nikon D300s and the D7000.

    The things that concern me are the differences between:
    - Uncompressed vs "lossless" compressed RAW
    - CF + SD vs only SD card options
    - EL-3 vs EL-15 batteries
    - Maybe the 1280x720 vs 1920x1080 video modes

    Is there any reason why I keep leaning toward the D300s? Is that wrong?
     
  2. dimme macrumors 65816

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  3. wonderspark thread starter macrumors 68040

    wonderspark

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    #3
    What tips the scale that way for you?

    I ponder the larger effective pixel size relative to the same sensor size, too.
     
  4. flosseR macrumors 6502a

    flosseR

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    #4
    AF speed between the D300s and the d7000 are not even in the same league.. I almost sold my D700 for a d7000 because the d7000 looked so good. Went to a store with a 85mm f1.8 lens and compared the 2 cameras.. there is no contest the D7000 is a LOT slower and has some delays in focusing. The AF system in the "old" models (D3,D700,D300s etc.) is still unparalleled, fast, accurate and loads of points... It also has a lot less focus points than the d300s (39 vs 51), Resolution is higher but not significantly so. Also the handling of the d300s is closer to the d700 (professional) where the d7000 is more like a d90 (consumer).
    If you don't need the 1080p video and can live with normal hd video, I would go for the d300s.
    They are close to each other on spec and on paper but very far when you hold them.

    just my 2 cents
     
  5. avro707 macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    I don't think there is any comparison between those cameras. In the real world, I know which one I'd take.

    Nikon cameras with the 51 point AF are near impossible to fault in even the most demanding situations. I've used entry level Nikon equipment, the semi-professional bodies like D300 and D700, and the pro-gear such as D3 / D3S (I currently use D3S) - and once you get used to that, everything else is a big let down.
     
  6. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #6
    Why do you put lossless in quotation marks? Lossless compression is lossless compression.
    Where's the practical advantage of CF cards for you?
    The D300s is more ruggedly built and has a more sophisticated AF system. I recommend you have a look at Thom Hogan's review of the D7000, he dedicates an entire section to this question (`Should You Get a D7000').
    I've held the D7000 in my hands and I must say, it's more than enough for me, I'm certain I'll get one soon (my 30th birthday is coming up and friends and family have been dropping hints already ;)) -- especially since my D80 is semiworking (got splashed by salt water). It's plenty rugged, plenty fast (I don't need more than 3 fps actually) so the small buffer doesn't annoy me. The image quality is best-in-class (together with the Pentax K-5). Unless you need to shoot longer sequences at 7 fps, I say get the D7000.
     
  7. wonderspark thread starter macrumors 68040

    wonderspark

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    #7
    I've only used Nikons that used CF cards, and I'm just skeptical of SD, even though that's pretty irrational. I'm also not entirely convinced of the merits of lossless compression, despite the fact that I may not be able to see the difference. I've had a D100 and a D200, but never the other ends of the scale, like D3 or D80.

    I'm buying it for a specific project, which is shooting timelapse of a building being built over 35 days. It will be set up on the rooftop of a building across the street, in a waterproof bag, so part of me says cheaper might be smart. However, I'm also going to keep it forever (haha), so I want it to hold up to my normal work. It's a tough choice for some reason.
     
  8. avro707 macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    For that use, obviously get the cheaper camera. If something happens to it, it's not so bad. Okay, it's still bad, but not as bad as it might otherwise have been with a D300S.
     
  9. Cliff3 macrumors 65832

    Cliff3

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    #9
    The merit of lossless compression is to minimize the volume of data being moved through the camera without negatively affecting image quality. This is important if you regularly shoot sports or engage in some similar buffer filling activity.

    For your stated application, just about any camera will do what you need. Personally, I'd use an old camera as the environmental conditions you describe aren't likely to be kind to the camera. You would also need to connect it to an intervalometer for your time lapse stuff, so a 10-pin connection to support the MC-36 is desirable. If you still have that D200, I'd use it. Or buy a used one.
     
  10. wonderspark thread starter macrumors 68040

    wonderspark

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    #10
    Well, both these cameras have a built-in interval timer. I can set it to start firing at 7am, one shot every 30 seconds x 999 intervals, and capture the whole day of construction. I can get the AC power adapter or battery module to keep it powered all day, and use a card or cards large enough to shoot the highest quality setting without running out of space. The lack of a built-in intervalometer is what prevents me from considering the Canon 5D MkII.

    I don't have the D200 any longer so I have to buy new, and a camera that does it all internally is the most logical move, in my mind.
     
  11. wonderspark thread starter macrumors 68040

    wonderspark

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  12. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #12
    The only (relatively weak) argument in favor of CF cards is that you already have some. But nowadays, you can get 4 GB SD cards for very, very little money.
    I think there is a misunderstanding: lossless compression means you can reconstruct the data 1-to-1. Losslessly compressed NEFs are `zipped uncompressed NEFs,' i. e. you will not be able to see any difference, because there is none!

    Compression allows you to put more files in the buffer or onto the memory card. If it is lossless, you don't have any drawbacks.
     
  13. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #13
    I own the D700 and D7000 and have owned the D300. The D7000 is, to me, clearly superior to the D300. I never liked the look of D300/D90 images, but of course that's highly subjective.

    I've had my D7000 for a couple weeks now, and I'm shooting almost exclusively with it these days to get more familiar with it. I'll have something major on Friday that will allow me to put it through some heavy paces. Its big brother will be on hand to do some heavy lifting, but the D7000 is strong on its own. It is well built and feels like a compacted D700/300. It has the same magnesium alloy build, just smaller.

    The viewfinder appears the same between the D7000 and D300, and the D700's viewfinder space is clearly better than both.

    The D7000 has an array of things I like, including the leveling feature present in the D700. The focus mode button change is welcome, and stops me from accidentally switching from S to C or vice versa. The sensor goes down to ISO 100 natively, which looks terrific. It can be nice to have a small but solid camera, rather than a larger one like the D700/300.

    It still looks good at ISO 800, which is important to me. The autofocus may not be as strong as the D700/300, but it's still very good. I only use the center point, so it could have a hundred autofocus points and it would be more or less irrelevant.
     
  14. wonderspark thread starter macrumors 68040

    wonderspark

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    #14
    ^^^ This is good to hear, thank you.

    I also tend to use just the center focus point, and these days, my shots are less about buffer speed, rapid autofocus and frames per second, and more about "arty" shots that I can take my time with.

    I really appreciate all the feedback everyone has offered so far. I'm warming up to SD, and I can appreciate that lossless compression isn't the end of the world. (I'm used to thinking that compression is evil, but I can evolve!) If I were as well-off as I was a few years ago, I'd already have a D3 or D700, as I'd eventually like to go FX instead of DX, but I'm just not that flush this month, and I need a camera that will do the job now, and still please me after the project is complete.
     
  15. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #15
    Forget the word "compression," because lossless compression isn't really compression at all. You aren't losing anything.

    SD cards are fine, and will probably take over eventually.

    One other thing: The shutter is remarkably quiet. In regular mode, it's swift and quiet, and in quiet mode it's a more drawn out damped shutter sound. Either way, it's much quieter than any other DSLR I've used.
     
  16. wonderspark thread starter macrumors 68040

    wonderspark

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    #16
    Ok, for the first time, I feel closer to the D7000 side. I figure I need either a 16 or 32 GB card to capture 999 shots in one continuous shoot. What is the largest file size you've seen with the D7000?
     
  17. pdxflint, Jan 19, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011

    pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    #17
    I agree... with the last six words of this. ;)

    I don't agree with this. The D7000 has a magnesium top and bottom plate... that's it. Sure, it's tough, and well built... just not in to the same degree of strength as a complete magnesium alloy body D300 (or D200/700/3 etc.) Not that this really matters to the OP, but felt it needed to be pointed out.

    I do love my D300... it's a very dependable, known commodity -- a classic. No image quality issues, even the noise is very well handled and easily dealt with in post, if necessary. If I had this much latitude and flexibility and performance when I was shooting film I would have been giddy with joy.

    If you're good enough (and I won't claim to be) and have the glass that's capable, and you reproduce your work in a particular way that might make any image quality differences between the D7000 and the D300 even noticeable (not talking about pixel peeping here,) and if that's your deciding factor, by all means get the D7000. But, to be honest, for the OPs purposes I'd just shoot it with a D90 (static time-lapse landscape type shot) which will likely yield perfectly acceptable images, and not break the bank if it gets stolen or damaged being outside in the weather, even in a bag or whatever you use. [note: If the D90 doesn't have an intervalometer, then I'd consider even a D200, which produces impeccable images at ISO100 or 200.]

    As a side comment: I think there is too much of a big thing made of noise these days, and it certainly feeds into the "gotta replace the gear every two years" syndrome, which makes the manufacturers very happy. I suppose in due time a camera sensor might be able to see in the dark, and perhaps even give us a perfectly exposed action scene at high shutter speed, with no noise at all... and of course the image, if accurate, should show us... a big, dark blob of blackness. It might have a super expanded dynamic range, well beyond the human eye's, and would have to 're-compress' the image into the range we can actually see... like having perfect night vision. Maybe good for security or military purposes, but I probably won't be photographing stuff I can't reasonably see with the naked eye. Give me the light, thanks. :)
     
  18. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #18
    The D300/D90 sensor has always been bland to me, no matter the post processing. It's just missing something. I say that from experience, not just what I've seen, though that counts too.

    Every sensor has a look and I don't like what I see from the D300/90.

    At ISO 100, I think the D7000 easily rivals the D3/700 sensor.

    YMMV :).
     
  19. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    #19
    As I said, I agreed with you that it was highly subjective. I don't happen to share your opinion of the D300 images because I've managed to make them look virtually any way I want them to. It is very neutral, which I like. I don't want a camera to bring some particular "personality" to it's RAW images. That would be much more limiting, in my opinion.
    And at ISO100, the D200 can produce images that rival the D700.

    Different strokes... :)
     
  20. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    #20
    Very much agreed about the D200. I thought I posted that. Guess not.
     
  21. ashman70 macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    I think a lot of it with respect to IQ has to do with the lenses you use. When I had my D700 and the 28-70f2.8, wow, I could not take a poor image with this combo, the IQ was out of this world, thanks largely to the D700's sensor and the great lens. The sensor on the D700 is fantastic, and even with other not so great lenses, the images were stellar. Having owned a D200, D300 and once again I have a D300, for me, while the D300 is a fantastic camera, it still does not come close to the D700. I have played with the D7000 but not used it to create images, so I can't speak personally to its capabilities, which I hear are great, but I think it's unfair to compare an FX camera sensor to a DX senor, although people do it all the time.
     
  22. wonderspark thread starter macrumors 68040

    wonderspark

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    #22
    I'd love to get the D700, and I've wanted an FX Nikon since I made the switch from film to digital.

    I loved the D200, which is the last Nikon I used on a daily basis, but it was a work camera at a job that I no longer hold.

    I'll be using prime lenses for the project, mainly so that I don't inadvertently set an inconsistent zoom from day to day. I also happen to love prime lenses for their speed and quality. This creates a slight problem, since I can only find the D7000 with a lens included. Body only appear to remain unavailable, and I feel like it's money wasted on a lens I won't use.

    I should probably just get the D300s and be done with it. It's getting too close to construction time, and I'm prone to over-think these things far too often. :)
     
  23. NathanCH macrumors 65816

    NathanCH

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    #23
    I've read that the D7000 has better low light performance. I don't know if it's true because I don't have a D300s to compare it to, but the low light performance on my D7000 is pretty dang good!
     
  24. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #24
    The D7000 is brand-new while the sensor technology in the D300 (s or not) is three years old. Of course, the D7000's sensor is more advanced, but IMO this only becomes significant when you're leaving the normal ISO range.
     
  25. TheXIIIth macrumors member

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    #25
    Thanks OreoCookie for sharing that Thom Hogan review on the D7000. That is probably one of the best I've read.

    I got my D7000 last year and I can completely agree with his statement regarding an upgrade from a D3000 to the D7000.
    The D7000 combines both of my hobbies [photography/videography] in to one package. This made the D7000 a great choice for me especially with it having dual SD card slots. I'm set up with a 16GB Class 10 SDHC for photos and a 32GB Class 10 SDHC for video.
     

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