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-   -   NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO (https://www.trekearth.com/forums/showthread.php?t=524739)

Furachan 11-07-2007 05:17 AM

NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO
 
As is my custom I headed earlier today to the Nikon showroom literally two blocks from my office on the Ginza and lo and behold they had both the forthcoming all-pro full frame D3 and the 12 Megapixel D300, its little brother. Here is my usual, opinionated first impressions. I hope it is of interest to the community.

NIKON D3: “The REAL DEAL”
I had the good luck of trying out the D3 with the brand new 24-120 F2.8 lens attached. And that is a fearsome combinations, my friends. Everything about this camera screams “quality”. It is SOLID, much more so than the D300 (no comparison), responsive and “sure”. The few photos that I took of an old guy nearby talking with a Nikon attendant looked fantastic in the super duper LCD (same as for the D300). The colors were highly nuanced and deep.

It’s hard for me to really evaluate a genuine PRO camera like the D3 – I don’t know how to challenge it, how to take it to the edge. All I can say is that it will absolutely re-establish Nikon as a contender for Pro shooters, especially in sports but also PJs.

Personally I think I prefer the handling of the Canon 1D MK III (which I have also played with) but that’s a question of personal ergonomic preference. The D3 has the advantage of full frame and the 3200 iso sports pictures I’ve seen on the web are jaw droppingly good.

NIKON D300: “A MUSHY SQUEAKER”
Now remember I owned a D200 once (for my sins) so I know a little bit about the basic handling of this line. After the D3 I was prepared to be gobsmacked by the D300 but that is not how things turned out.

THE AF:
To be honest with you I always found the D200’s AF system overly complicated and confusing for a liberal arts type like myself. I reckon these days you need an advanced degree in electrical engineering to handle one of these Nikon beasts. Well the D300’s Af is an even more complex and confusing version of the D200’s if you can imagine that. The view through the finder reminds me of computer games like Falcon 4 where you are at the commands of a modern jet fighter – weird superimposed ghost spots that light up, but more pale than the main RED dot that’s actually taking the brunt of the focusing. This would drive me nuts. At one point I went all the way to the 200mm side of the 18-200 zoom and tried to focus on some old guy standing there and the thing went in-out-in-out without getting a purchase on the old geezer’s face and I was thinking “Come on! It can’t be that hard – the fellow’s not even moving!.” Also each time you lock on (and it is pretty fast when working right) – you hear this [email protected] little “TRRR” sound that I could have happily lived without.
Look, if you’re very good at fas6t, complex aerial combat videos games like LOCK ON, you will LOVE the D300. If on the other hand you’re just a regular shooter who likes to get the job done, well…there are easier alternatives, like the Eos 40D. More on that in my conclusion.

THE SHUTTER:
“Mushy” is a word that comes to mind – before getting off a shot it felt like you had to mash down pretty hard and deep with the D300’s shutter, not a very pleasant experience. To make things worse, when you do achieve your goal, the D300’s shutter, much like the D200 has a sharp, loud SMACK sound to it that is about as good as a double espresso. No way could you sleep through that, but you might as well forget about being discrete. The Eos 40D’s shutter mechanism is much more sophisticated (it seems to me) and the sound much softer, really very close (in volume) to the excellent 5D.

ISOs and IMAGE QUALITY:
Again it is Nikon’s policy to cater for F16 pilots rather than ordinary shooters so what is basically a straight iso 200-3200 range CMOS chip (why not iso 100 I ask!!!), turns into something far more complex as you have “extra choices” like L1, L2 (presumably for a fake iso 50 and 100 respectively) and H1, H2, H3 that will take you all the way to a REALLY NOISY 6400 iso. In all honesty I did try a couple of iso 1600 shots and in the excellent high res LCD they looked a LOT cleaner than iso 800 with the D200, so there is definite progress there.

THE LCD:
Well it is soooo good that it puts Canon’s 3inch version to shame. Clear, sharp, beautiful with deep colors, that’s what you get my brothers and sisters. There is no way around that – Canon dropped the ball in this department. Let us pray they wake up and smell the coffee before the launch of the 5D II we are all waiting for (well some of us…)

CONCLUSION:
There will be a lot of hype about how the D300 is a “baby D3) and all that. Bu….t! Do NOT believe a word of it. Compared with the superb D3, the D300 seems almost creaky – the build is not on the same level at all – it suffers from all the over-complicated layout of the D20, only worse. Mushy shutter with a loud CLACK at the end of the run, and it’S a crop cam no matter how you slice it. I predict it will NOT be a major threat to Canon sales – the Eos 40D is snappier in feel, far more simple to operate and QUIETER which counts a lot, at least in my books.
The D3 on the other hand is an extremely advanced PRO camera with full frame and tremendous image quality at undreamed of high isos. That baby WILL be a threat to Canon pro sales, both against the 1Ds MKIII and the 1D MKIII (which are all being recalled right now for faulty AF systems).
I told you this would be opinionated. If it’s an objective review you want, there are plenty of good ones on the web…

Xalkida 11-07-2007 06:08 AM

Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO
 
Great report Francis! Well done.

nerve 11-07-2007 06:18 AM

Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO
 
i knew that D3 was quite phenomenal..and i wish that they released this bl..dy camera before i shifted to Canon! ;)
(and i knew that they would do FF sooner or later, no escape from it..)

oh well, i wonder how this new lens' quality is though; a constant 2.8 is pretty amazing for that range..modern times. ;)

thanks for your report Francis, as always! :)

nerve 11-07-2007 06:38 AM

Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO
 
oops, this 24-120 2.8 should be NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G i think Francis; 2.8 at this range is still impossible in our dah! ;)

or did you shoot with a new 14-24mm f/2.8G maybe?

Furachan 11-07-2007 06:55 AM

Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO
 
Sorry you are absolutely correct. Its advantage would be the f2.8 but the excellent Canon 24-105 has the range!
By the way this is NOT a small lens, you know what I mean?

nerve 11-07-2007 07:04 AM

Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO
 
i am sure.. must be a 'beast' altogether with a D3.. Canon 24-105 is a f/4 though not a 2.8. i am selling it btw soon, am sick of its flare..

Dpbours 11-07-2007 10:16 AM

Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO
 
Thanks for that one Francis!

Fortunately, I do have a bachelor in electronics, a masters in energy engineering, I do love complex racing games and even more with a good espresso! Seems the D300 will be my machine ;-).

Greetz, Dennis

rushfan2112 11-07-2007 12:25 PM

Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO
 
Thank you Francis.

I can't say I'm surprised about the D3. Nikon cannot aford to get that one wrong - despite the body only costing half of what it costs to buy the 1Ds MkIII.

I am surprised about the D300, though. I've got the D200 (with which I'm very happy) and I'm not looking to change it any time soon. However, pre-launch, I was hoping that (a) it would also have been a full frame camera - to give Nikon users a comparative choice to the 5D at a similar price point and (b) that when I did decide to upgrade, I there would be a natural 'successor' waiting in the wings.

Clearly, there's a lot of personal choice and ergonomics that come into play with decisions like whether to go for a D300 or a 40D. Without a legacy system to consider, the 40D looks a better option right now. However, as I have a substantial amount of Nikon gear, I'll look at the D300 when we finally get one in the UK - but armed with your comments. Then again, there's always the Fuji S5 Pro.....

Cheers,

Paul.

oochappan 11-07-2007 03:43 PM

Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO
 
one D3 = 5D + 5D + lens(+/-1400Euro)

ISO-performance of D3 starting in default at 200,
tests are not done yet if 6400 Nikon = 3200 Canon,
let's see and wait.

fine stimulans for Canon to solve the autofocus-problem in the MIII,
a new 5D as reply soon ?

found with google on the net ...

nerve 11-07-2007 03:54 PM

Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO
 
"..one D3 = 5D + 5D + lens(+/-1400Euro)"

this kind of price comparisons is irrevelant, entirely different cameras for different markets.

different horses for different courses..

Darren 11-07-2007 04:23 PM

Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO
 
The D3 is a professional body with a professional level sensor. the 5D is a consumer body with a professional sensor. Not a reasonable comparison at all. A more reasonable comparison would be the 1Dmk3 (assuming proper AF). From the shots I have seen on the net and the user reports I have read, the D3 is a very serious camera and one which probably does have Canon doing some serious rethinking, especially when you consider the issues the 1Dmk3 has had. One sports pro who used a D3, but usually shoots a Canon 1Dmk2 says that the D3 is about as clean at ISO3200 as his 1Dmk2 (no slouch of a camera in its own right) is at ISO800. From all that I have read, Nikon has really nailed this one, which I think is great for everyone. Interesting too that there are still rumours of a 3DX to go head to head against the 1DS3. The new 5D, which will be an excellent camera, will fight against the D300, not the D3.

AnimeshRay 11-07-2007 05:05 PM

Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO
 
Very, very useful Francis, and thanks for doing this.
Regards,
Animesh

ben4321 11-07-2007 05:31 PM

Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO
 
Interesting review Francis - keep them opinionated, it makes them more entertaining to read!
Yeah, I won't be buying a D300 either, but not for the reason of the complex AF. Indeed, the AF seems to be the main area area of improvement over the D200, which wasn't really a match for the pro D2 series and the F6. With the D300, Nikon has incorporated a true pro-level AF system with no compromises - the same as that in the D3.
That's all very well, but what I really want is full-frame. Unfortunately I can't afford to drop £3000 on a camera. Even if I could afford it I'm not sure I could justify that kind of expense. I just hope that Canon hurry up and announce their 5D successor - I won't be buying one of those either (!), but hopefully it will give Nikon the necessary kick up the a*se for us to see a "prosumer" (crap word, but I can't think of a better one) FX format competitor. The D300 (great camera though I'm sure it is) is no match for the 5D, or it's future replacement, for the very reason that it's not full-frame.
Anyone else noticed the name of the D300 grip - MB-D10? The grips for the D100/200 had corresponding numbers, MB-D100/200 and so on. I wouldn't be suprised if there was a D300-sized FX body waiting in the wings - waiting until Canon get around to announcing the 5D mkII. Wishful thinking perhaps...
Maybe I could sell the car and buy a D3...

Cheers,
Ben

oochappan 11-07-2007 06:05 PM

Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO
 
not that much difference in noise
<a href="http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1032&message=23299783">1DM3 vs 5D high ISO test</a>

but
<a href="http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1032&message=24979486">D3 vs 1DM3 high ISO test</a>
Canon dethroned on noise and focus, filling up the market for an extra 1000 Euro

D3 12MGB full sensor / 1DM3 10Mgb 1.3crop(focus problem) / 5D 12MGB full sensor(focus ?)

Galeota 11-07-2007 07:19 PM

Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO
 
Francis, even if I couldn't care less about the next Nikon icons, you have all my admiration for one more precious contribution to this site. Great work and a true sense of sharing. Bravo.

Zepi 11-09-2007 09:06 AM

Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO
 
"the brand new 24-120 F2.8 "
?????
T'en est certain Francis ?
Ca serait un scoop ! ;-)
Tu ne confonds pas avec le 24-70mm F2.8 ou le vieux 24-120mm VR F3.5-5.6?

Furachan 11-09-2007 10:33 AM

Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO
 
Oops, t'as raison bien sur, Zepi. 24-70...;o)


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