Nikon D90 vs D300 - Advice?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Erendiox, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. Erendiox macrumors 6502a

    Erendiox

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    #1
    Hey all,

    I think I'm finally going to make the jump to digital after a long time with film. It costs so much for processing and digital transfers these days, it's forcing me to shoot less and less with my wonderful antique film cameras. Anyway, I'm a bit torn between the D90 and the D300. The D90 is probably right where I want the price to be and has great reviews and an up to date digital sensor. I couldn't ignore, however, the near flawless reviews that I keep reading for the D300.

    Through my job I can snag the D90 body for a little under $800. I can get the D300 body for around $1200. I guess my question is whether or not the extra $400 that I spend on the D300 is money well spent. I'm hardly new to cameras, but I am new to DSLRs. On the one hand, there's nothing to be disappointed about with the D90's features because it would be my first digital camera. Maybe I'm overdoing it with the D300, especially since I don't even have any Nikon lenses yet. Still, I can't shake the thought that if I'm going to sink money into a nice DSLR, I should go for the gusto.

    So in a nutshell, for an experienced film shooter who wants to make his way into the world of digital, what would you recommend more? D90 or D300? I'm open to other suggestions as well, but these are the two that I'm most taken with at the moment.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #2
    If you have some older AI or AI-S lenses that you want to use and have them meter on the camera, then you will want the D300. This comparison table will probably be of value to you: http://www.bythom.com/currentdslr.htm really late edit - I failed to read your post completely and didn't notice that you don't have any legacy Nikon lenses to support. I saw the statement about being a longtime film user and assumed that meant you had actual Nikon film gear you had been using. Silly me...
     
  3. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #3
    IMO...generalizing....

    If you shoot action...D300 for its pro af system and fps.

    If you shoot mostly landscapes...static subjects, you will be very happy with the D90. That's not to say the D90 sucks with action...it just isn't the d300's equal in that arena.

    That extra $400 gets you a Tamron 17-50 ( get the older non-motorized) or a 35 f2 or Sigma 30 1.4...or a SB900 flash.

    Check out the "I want to sell" classifieds at nikonians.org
     
  4. termina3 macrumors 65816

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    TX
    #4
    What's your glass look like?

    Oh, and I prefer the feel of the D300... much heftier. More solid.
     
  5. Erendiox thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Erendiox

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Location:
    Brooklyn NY
    #5
    I've got an old AF Nikkor 70-210mm that was my dads. It's the only Nikon glass I have. Obviously I need to pick up some more.

    Edit: Oh, any any lens recommendations for either the D90 or D300 as an entry lens? I would prefer to start collecting some nice primes but a versatile zoom lens wouldn't hurt.
     
  6. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    #6
    Nikon D90... and some good glass!

    Now some one please tell me if the D90 accepts the older no-AF-motor lenses for AfF or not.. I was under the impression that it did.. if it doesnt.. well you might as well consider the D300
     
  7. hogfaninga macrumors 65816

    hogfaninga

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    #7
    The D90 doesn't accept those older legacy lenses. The D300 does. However the D90 does have a built in AF motor.

    OP: if you can get the D300 for $1,200 I would get that. I was looking at both the D90 and D300 and got the D300. I'm glad I did. I used my friends D90 and while it is nice it isn't nearly as nice as the D300 IMO. It is well worth the $400 more it will be for you.
     
  8. Apple Ink macrumors 68000

    Apple Ink

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    #8
    Aah... thanks for the info.. I barely can ever understand all these Nikon er.. whatever..

    But I think if you're a serious hobbyist.. get the D300.. the ability to use old leneses alone is worth $400 imo!
     
  9. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

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    Jan 10, 2006
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    Arizona
    #9
    I love the look and feel of my D300. Even somewhat crippled out of the box due to backfocusing issues (which is the reason it's now headed back to Cameta for repair), it still helped give me a lot of great pictures. I look forward to testing it out in action shots when it is able to more consistently autofocus as it was meant to.
     
  10. JDDavis macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

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    Jan 16, 2009
    #10
    I chose the D90 over the D300 because of size and weight. The D300 is bigger and heavier and feels like a tank. At first this had me leaning towards the D300. FPS wasn't an issue and the slightly larger crop area didn't seem to matter to me either. When I thought about how I wanted to use the camera, for mostly hiking, climbing, and mountaineering, then I opted for the slightly less bulky, and slightly less heavy D90. The image quality is superb on the D90 and I'm still not really "good enough" to use the full potential of it. Needless to say, I'm a big fan of the D90 and good glass.

    Oh, and lense reccomendations as you asked for. If I got one all around lense for the D90 or D300 it would be the Nikkor 18-200 VRII.
     
  11. numbersyx macrumors 65816

    numbersyx

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2006
    #11
    It depends what you want to do. I have the D300 and love it. Although I do look at the D90 and wonder just exactly what the advantages are particularly those that I would actually use. I'm not sure there are any for me. And, of course, with the D90 you get the HD movie feature. Certainly worth thinking of the 90 and using the savings for lenses.
     
  12. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #12
    It probably depends on what sort of shooter you are. The D90 has more of a consumer focus than the D300 in terms of raw file options, the autofocus system, data throughput, scene modes, some flash options, movie mode.
     
  13. RebootD macrumors 6502a

    RebootD

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2009
    Location:
    NW Indiana
    #13
    Cliff3 is spot on, the D300 has NO scene or auto modes so you have to know what you are doing. If you have a handle on the basics though the difference between the two isn't that big but if you really need a PC sync cable for strobes, stronger body, extra couple fps shooting sports then by all means get the D300 but otherwise they both have fantastic LCD's, handling and quality output.

    I moved from the D50 to the D300 (and it is a thing of beauty) but honestly if the D90 were available I would have been tempted to save some cash and use it towards a new lens. (I dream of a 70-200 2.8...) You can always get a hotshoe with PC adapter to hook up the D90 to mono lights etc.
     
  14. hogfaninga macrumors 65816

    hogfaninga

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    Chestnut Tree Cafe
    #14
    I had the D90 and sold it for basically what I bought it for. I didn't like the feel of it after using it for awhile. The video on it is a joke. The plastic just didn't feel stable to me and for the price I wanted something more sturdy I guess you can say(the D90 doesn't have weather proofing like the D300 either which is nice to have). The weight issue is wayyy overplayed with the D300. My wife is petite and thinks it is a good weight and not heavy at all even with the Nikon 18-200mm lens attached. She thought the D90 felt cheap compared to it. I wasn't really impressed overall with it (not knocking it--it is nice--I just don't think the D90 and D300 can be compared--the D300 is in a higher class of camera) I bought a brand new D300 for only $200 more (I got a great deal) than I got the D90 for and I don't regret it. The build quality alone is worth it in my opinion. Plus it is a much better camera (in most ways) than the D90 in my opinion. Getting rid of the D90 was the best thing I did. If I didn't I would of been telling myself I should of got the D300 and always regretting it. Then I would of started to hate it. Luckily I got the D300.

    Also the D300 is extremely easy to learn---well the basics that is (it isn't intimidating--don't let anyone fool you). It didn't take me that long to learn it (I'm still learning, but got the basics down--took me 1 day to learn the key basics of it--menu/options is very, very easy to learn--the fun part is learning all it can do--remember if you want to start shooting with it out of the box then put it in P mode which is basically auto mode and it will take good pictures). You can program it to have scene modes if you want. There are a number of sites like Nikonians and others who have it broken down into groups like portrait, sports, point & shoot, landscape, etc.(all you have to do is put the numbers/options in the menu of the D300--very easy) if you want to use those as a starting point then put your touches in them. I did that and changed a few things, but using those settings exactly as they had them produced awesome pictures on my lenses also.

    That being said either camera is nice.
     
  15. jaseone macrumors 65816

    jaseone

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    Location:
    Houston, USA
    #15
    All these people would disagree with you:

    http://vimeo.com/tag:d90
     
  16. hogfaninga macrumors 65816

    hogfaninga

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    #16

    I know some people like it. I still don't think it is that good. I mean you shouldn't buy it primarily for that feature. It is a nice gimmick to get people to buy it IMO. That is my opinion. I didn't like it and I played with it for a while (I just didn't care for the D90 as a whole to be honest--no offense if you own one--just my opinion--it is a pretty good dslr, but not for me for the reasons I stated above). My cheap little pocket video camera did better for me. I'm just relating my experience with it. I think it was great that Nikon put it in their best consumer camera. I'm sure it will get better with new revisions.
     
  17. jaseone macrumors 65816

    jaseone

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    Location:
    Houston, USA
    #17
    What it really boils down to is that if you shoot a LOT of sports/action and want weather proofing then look at the D300 otherwise the D90 will be just fine. That isn't to say the D90 can't take great action/sports photos as it can it just can't shoot as many FPS nor can it track a subject as well, also it may not be touted as weather proof but look what this guy's D90 went through and survived:

    http://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/showthread.php?t=206956

    Feel is also important so hold both cameras and see if the ergonomics are different enough between the two for you to prefer one over the other, however this is something nobody can provide you advice on as everyone has their own opinion on how a camera feels to them!
     
  18. SchneiderMan macrumors G3

    SchneiderMan

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Location:
    Apple state
    #18
    Amazon has the D200 body for $800 and the D90 body for $880,
    the d200 is about 4 years old
    What would be a better choice?
     
  19. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #19
    If you're not shooting sports, get a D90. It's a beautifully built, sturdy camera that was designed ergonomically well, perhaps better than the D300. I don't really care for the "3 Kings" button configuration on the D300.

    I have a D300, and I think it's great, but it offers few advantages over the D90 for me beyond the AF system. The funniest thing is that I normally shoot using only 11 of the AF points with my D300, not all 51 points (or whatever number it has). If I need to change focus points, it's much slower to move to where I want to if I have 51 AF points activated. Using 11 AF points is less precise, but I don't need that much precision unless I'm shooting macro on a tripod, or have AF tracking on.
     
  20. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #20
    D90 + good glass > D300 + so-so glass.
    I'd go for something like the D90 + Tokina 16-50 f/2.8 + SB-400/SB-600 combo. Fits in your budget (if you add a lens to the $1200 for the D300, at least).
     
  21. svndmvn Guest

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    Nov 6, 2007
    Location:
    Italy
    #21
    a D90, from what I've learnt on this Forum.
     
  22. cube macrumors G4

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    May 10, 2004
    #22
    Get the D90 instead of the D300 only if you really want the video mode, limitations and all.
     
  23. JDDavis macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    #23
    Like was said above don't buy the D90 for the video. It's nice to have but you really have to work to get good video. It can be done but most everything is manual in video mode, unlike a dedicated camcorder. I like having it though because it means I don't have to take 2 peices of equipment. I rarely shoot any video in combination with photos but everynow and then I find a need for it. I'm not trying to make a documentory with it though, it's just for capturing the moment or for info purposes and for filming the kids birthday party I use a dedicated DV camcorder.

    Anyway, the D300 is a great camera too. In the end it would score out better than the D90. I really wanted one but the D90 felt great and like I said before I hike and climb with it so even a few ounces is a big deal (it really is). I'd also read alot of good reviews on the D90 being able to take abuse and weather. It's held up just fine for me so far though I haven't really tested it. I'm not sure how much "weatherpoofing" is required anyway. I have a Minolta Dimage 7i from like 2002 that has gone all over the world and spent many subzero nights above 12k feet and it still takes good pictures (not as good as the D90). It's all plastic and it finally developed a small crack in the body and the lcd is going out. It's taken a ton of abuse though.

    In the end, get what feels right for you. My only advice is the bit that I listended too. Don't sacrafice spending on lenses in order to get a better body. Spend the money on the lense and upgrade the body later if you feel you need it. (One day I'll convince my self I need a D700 or whatever is around then).

    Jeff
     
  24. JDDavis macrumors 65816

    JDDavis

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    #24
    Like was said above don't buy the D90 for the video. It's nice to have but you really have to work to get good video. It can be done but most everything is manual in video mode, unlike a dedicated camcorder. I like having it though because it means I don't have to take 2 peices of equipment. I rarely shoot any video in combination with photos but everynow and then I find a need for it. I'm not trying to make a documentory with it though, it's just for capturing the moment or for info purposes and for filming the kids birthday party I use a dedicated DV camcorder.

    Anyway, the D300 is a great camera too. In the end it would score out better than the D90. I really wanted one but the D90 felt great and like I said before I hike and climb with it so even a few ounces is a big deal (it really is). I'd also read alot of good reviews on the D90 being able to take abuse and weather. It's held up just fine for me so far though I haven't really tested it. I'm not sure how much "weatherpoofing" is required anyway. I have a Minolta Dimage 7i from like 2002 that has gone all over the world and spent many subzero nights above 12k feet and it still takes good pictures (not as good as the D90). It's all plastic and it finally developed a small crack in the body and the lcd is going out. It's taken a ton of abuse though.

    In the end, get what feels right for you. My only advice is the bit that I listended too. Don't sacrafice spending on lenses in order to get a better body. Spend the money on the lense and upgrade the body later if you feel you need it. (One day I'll convince my self I need a D700 or whatever is around then).

    Jeff
     
  25. MacJenn macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    #25
    I bought the D90 because at the time I didn't have the money for a D300. That being said the D300 is a much better camera. If what you said is true of your needs, then you never should of bought the D300. It is way too much camera for you. Plus the D90 is NO where close to being as constructively sound as the D300. In case you don't know the D90 is made of plastic and the D300 of magnesium alloy. There is NO comparison to that. Everyone I know who has the D300 loves the " 3 Kings" button. I think it is in a great position. I guess if you are a point and shooter you wouldn't need it. You would wish it had the amateurish scene modes like the D90 has in its place.

    I suggest you sell your prosumer D300 and get the D90 if you don't take advantage of the D300 advantages. PM me and if your is in good condition we can do a trade. The scene modes are nice for point and shoot shooters.
     

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