"D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" Mon 18-Jun-12 12:02 AM by dhmiller
I am looking for a (used) backup DX body for use alongside my full frame Nikons and am curious if anyone who has had both D300 and D7000 could recommend one over the other. This is all about reach - I am going on safari in August and want to have DX body in my kit. Will also use for an upcoming airshow, where I would want a fast FPS rate. I am not at all interested in video and I am thinking this will be a transitional camera for me with somewhat restricted use (I have a D800E and a D700) until the D400 comes out.. Thanks for any insights. Dennis
#2. "RE: D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" In response to Reply # 1
Thanks, but I guess this is more of a specific than a general situation, given that I have the 2 FX bodies and just want the DX for the reach, specifically for safari and perhaps some birding. So it's IQ and FPS and focus speed and the like in particular that I am trying to compare. I had a D7000 (gave it to my wife) and didn;t feel real comfortable shooting above 800 ISO or so (but of course, I am used to the D700 ) Dennis
#3. "RE: D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" In response to Reply # 2
The D7000 has better high ISO performance, a little more dynamic range, more resolution, and nearly as good fps. This based on published specs and DxOMark sensor tests. Don't know about the buffer size, focus speed, etc. Presumably the D300/s is more rugged and has better water/dust protection.
#4. "RE: D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" In response to Reply # 3
Thanks Kent. Seems like a toss up. The 300 has a bigger buffer - I never got more than 3 or 4 continuous shots (uncompressed RAW) on my D7000 before it slowed, that with a fairly fast card. And I wasn;t really impressed with the high ISO performance - never let it go above 800. I also have a grip that would fit the D300, which would be one advantage, and I can get a good quality used 300 for about 200 - 250 less than a 7000 used, another advantage. Guess I will see what is out there and make the call. Dennis
#5. "RE: D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" In response to Reply # 4
>Thanks Kent. Seems like a toss up. The 300 has a bigger >buffer - I never got more than 3 or 4 continuous shots >(uncompressed RAW) on my D7000 before it slowed, that with a >fairly fast card.
Wow. I can't fathom why someone would shoot with uncompressed RAW, but with lossless compressed 14-bit I get 9 frames in the buffer before slowdown. That's just about enough for any sports I shoot, or anything else.
>And I wasn;t really impressed with the high >ISO performance - never let it go above 800.
It's better than any other DX camera Nikon makes. Verified by numerous tests and sources. It's no D3s though. I'm comfortable with mine out to ISO1600 though, but that's just me. A bit of tweak in Lightroom, and things clean up beautifully. Of course, out on safari, chances are ISOs will be in the 200-400 range so this shouldn't be too much of a concern.
>I also have a >grip that would fit the D300, which would be one advantage,
Grip is available for the D7000 as well. I never shoot without mine.
>and I can get a good quality used 300 for about 200 - 250 less >than a 7000 used, another advantage.
If I was going on Safari to take the photos of a lifetime, I'd have very little concern about saving 200-250 (pounds or dollars). The difference in carrying weight would be more of a factor to me I'd think.
>Guess I will see what is out there and make the call. >Dennis
#6. "RE: D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" In response to Reply # 5
Thanks Perrone. The DX body I am looking for will be my backup to my backup - I will have a D800E and D700 on the trip but I want a DX body (having just given my to my wife). So this is really only a question of what to get as a DX backup to my FX bodies for issues mostly of reach (I would prefer not to throw a TC on either FX body with the 200-400 that will be my main lens on the trip.) I had a D7000 for almost two years but can;t say that I was ever crazy about it. Just curious if the D300 might have some advantages in the very specific areas of concern for this third body: AF speed, buffer speed, bracketing range, etc - without a real hit on the IQ. No interest in video, a mentioned... I already own the D300/700 grip, it's cheaper, ... Dennis
#7. "RE: D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" In response to Reply # 5
St Petersburg, RU
To amplify this a bit more, comparing buffers of D300 and D7000 is usually a apples to oranges situation. If the tests are done for speed, shooting at lower bit depth of 12bit on the D300 but shooting at high bit 14 and uncompressed is not an even playing field. If IQ and DR are important, the D300 only shoots at 2.5fps in 14 bit mode, quite a bit more sluggish than the D7000. Also its buffer fills faster. Ditto Perrone's comments about uncompressed....why? There is no data loss in "lossless" so why not get the speed, buffer and storage advantage by using a more effective file format? This all begs the question, why take so much weight and bulk, you already have the best Dx camera on earth in the D800. Put it in DX crop mode and get the reach or leave it in FX and crop later. The latter methods has the advantage of allowing more than one image to be generated by one shot if there is interesting activity occurring in other parts of the wider field of view.
You will have the reach and IQ using the D800. If going on such a trip I would take the D800 and a V1 with F mount adapter if reach was really important. The AF speed, and 2.7 crop factor when attached to your longer glass could yield some spectacular results. Besides that, it lowers your kit weight by 10 lbs(body and its accessories) which means you arrive by air with your cameras still yours instead of owned by some baggage handler who saw the X-rays of your checked bags. You know that carry on weight limits are pretty restrictive in many parts of the world so how much do you want to risk in the cargo hold? Stan St Petersburg Russia
#8. "RE: D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" In response to Reply # 7
The low light performance and dynamic range of the D300 really is not that good. Right now, for what is available today, the 7000 is going to provide the best DX format performance in the Nikon market.
#9. "RE: D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" In response to Reply # 7
Thanks Stan. I understand your point about the D800/DX mode but as you know, you don't get the "magnified" view of the DX crop in the VF, only when using LV. May look into the V1 - hadn't considered that and don;t know the camera at all. Dennis
#13. "RE: D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" In response to Reply # 0
Another thing to consider is that the D300 will have the same button layout, menus and options (AF, bracketing, etc.) as your D700 making it easy to switch from body to body. A significant number of people who have both the D700 and D300 report that IQ is essentially identical up to ISO-800.
Dave Summers Lowden, Iowa Nikonians Photo Contest Director
Nikonians membership - "My most important photographic investment, after the camera"
#14. "RE: D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" In response to Reply # 13
Thanks, Dave. I also own a compatible grip for the D300 and can get it about $200 cheaper, which, for a backup body, is somewhat of a factor. But the vast majority of Nikonians suggest the D7000 hands down (less unanimous on other forums). Dennis
#15. "RE: D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" In response to Reply # 14
Both are very good cameras, and either will get you good results in good light. I feel that deep down you have set your heart on a D300, and if you reread the two threads, you will see that you seem to repeat the reasoning as to why you should get the D300, each time someone recommends the D7000
Cheaper, same layout as your D700, good weather sealing, better AF, and you can use the same grip... All good reasons to get a D300.
D7000 has more pixels, slightly better high ISO performance, better dynamic range, and it is smaller and lighter. The choice is yours, but I don't think there is a wrong answer here
D800 in DX mode seems a great choice, and there may be advantages to seeing more than the DX crop in the viewfinder, especially when tracking moving animals. Why not shoot FX and crop to any size you want later. You don't really get more reach with DX, it's just same as cropping your D800. A 12MP crop from your D800 will be better than a shot taken with a D300, for sure, and whereas you may clip the tail of the lion with a DX camera, you can choose your crop from the D800
Please be sure you get your used camera from a reputable source, and have it serviced. You don't want to go on safari and end up with a dead camera.
#16. "RE: D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" In response to Reply # 15
Thanks Paul - good observations. I may end up just using the D800 and cropping, though I do like having the ability to focus with the "extended" view in the VF that the DX provides. But I assume I can just adjust to that. Thanks again. D.
#17. "RE: D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" In response to Reply # 0 Fri 22-Jun-12 10:40 PM by MotoMannequin
Livermore, CA, US
I've been wrestling with nearly the same question, since I already own a D7000 and a D300s and plan to sell one when (if) my D800e is ever delivered. I see pluses on both sides.
D7000: + uses the same battery as D800e, so I can standardize on one battery and charger (not an issue for you if you continue to carry D700) + smaller and lighter which gives some variety to the kit when I don't want to carry the very bulky Dx00 body. + More and better pixels (better high-ISO noise and DR)
D300s: + similar control layout to D800e (although the AF controls are more common with the D7000/D800) + 7fps with a very deep buffer + better AF system + sells for less money used? (this is a plus for me selling the D7000 or for you in buying a D300)
Ultimately I think the battery thing isn't much of an issue. It would be nice to standardize, but I'm already dealing with it and really it's no big deal.
Control layout I think is a wash.
Regarding your desire for reach, a D800 in DX crop mode is very similar to a D7000 so you don't actually buy any "reach" with a DX camera there. You can however buy speed. The D800 at 4fps in DX crop mode is very similar to D7000, despite the latter's (fictional) 6fps rating. D300 OTOH gets you a solid 6fps (7fps for the 's') with a buffer for years, and 8fps with a grip.
For me this therefore breaks down to speed vs. size. I have a body for smaller/lighter with the D7000, and I have a body for speed with the D300s. For my shooting, I'm leaning toward speed being more important to me, with the better resale value of the D7000 probably tipping the scales in favor of keeping the D300s. Pixels are amazing on the D7000 but the lack of image quality on D300 above is entirely exaggerated.
The D7000 isn't that much smaller and lighter, so if size is that important then an argument can be made for a V1 in that role instead.
So, see myself moving to this kit: D800e (high res) D300s (speed & backup) V1 (small/light & backup/backup)
#18. "RE: D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" In response to Reply # 17
Hey Larry - thanks for the great analysis. Layout, size and battery are not key factors for me; more importantly would be focusing speed, buffer size, FPS and above all else, image quality. I really need to get my hands on a D300 and try one out to see how it compares in my own workflow (which always involves Lightroom and tweaks) to the D7000, which I had and gave to my wife (so I can easily get my hands on one ). I get the reach thing, but I do like seeing the extended reach in the VF to facilitate focusing. Tough decision for sure. Thanks for the input. Dennis
#20. "RE: D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" In response to Reply # 18
St Petersburg, RU
With the D300 you can get IQ or speed but not both. The reduced depth 12 bit setting allows more speed but it then drops further behind the other choices: D7000 or keep shooting the D800. Both have distinct image and dynamic range advantages at either 12 or 14 bit settings of the D300. Once you get used to the metering, color, AF, DR, noise and stunning detail of the D800 it will be hard to go back to 5 year old technology. If you are setting the D300 for higher speed, 12 bit, you have the speed and buffer but clearly inferior IQ when compared to either the D800 at 14 bit. Try to get closer to the D7000 by setting the 14 bit depth and the D300 becomes a real slug with a shallow buffer, 2.5 FPS. If you prefer the handling of the D300, that should be reason enough to get it but don't expect it to compete with either of the newer cameras in any image related criteria. If frame rates are really important, the D4 is a better choice since it shares the modern technology in subsystems used in the D800. You mention a larger VF display facilitates focusing, do you mean you are manual focusing with wildlife? I find that the crop view on the D800 facilitates AF because it nails it without me having to ride herd over it. /the DX version of the MultiCAM 3500 is good but it is no Fx MultiCAM3500. The crop outline in the D800 VF looks small because it is located inside the larger FX frame lines. I have found that seeing a wider field of view helps in tracking and capturing unpredictable events or movements that would only be seen while in the D300 VF, not before it got into the field of view of the VF. For that reason I find the D800 in crop mode, is actually better at timing or anticipating action than the D7000. By the time you see it, it is already starting to leave the field of view. I think what I find most puzzling about the thread is why anyone would intentionally reach for the less capable camera when they have the best right in front of them? If speed in low bit depth mode was the most important spec, a D3s or D4 would already have been chosen. So my only conclusion is that you just want a D300 aside from any photographic reason. If that is the case, get one, it does not need justification. Stan St Petersburg Russia
#21. "RE: D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" In response to Reply # 20
Stan - you somehow cut to the core, as usual Well I thought a DX body would be a good idea as a backup to the 700 and 800 (coupled with the fact that I gave my D7000 to my wife and assumed I needed a DX to replace it) but multiple responses have pretty much led me to conclude otherwise. Two big trips this summer - Hawaii and later, safari in South Africa. If I come back from Hawaii and find that I am missing shots for some reason, then I will just go for it. don't want to take more of anyone's time... Thanks again D.
#22. "RE: D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" In response to Reply # 0
Dorval (Montreal), CA
Hi Dennis, I think your combo of D300/D7k is a very good one. I own both bodies and like the advantages of both. Since you are going on safari, the weather proofed D300 will hold up to dust and rain very well while giving you the larger buffer for HDR shots of sunsets and landscapes.
Both have great AF with FineTune capabilities for adjusting your lenses to razor sharp confidence.
The D7k will benefit from the VR on long telephoto lenses in video as well as still NEFs and JPGs.
I would say a battery grip might be useful for using AA batteries if you are likely to be away from a power source for an extended period during your outings.
Both also can use the AF-L button on the back of the body. The almost silent D7k can be a boon if you are trying to avoid noise near wildlife. As other posters have mentioned, you will be able to switch from one to the other with familiarity so you can concentrate more on your composition and less on your camera setting.
I will not part with either of mine unless I win the lotto when the D400 is produced.
#23. "RE: D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" In response to Reply # 22
Thanks Neill - actually, I own neither I have a D700 and a D800E and started the thread as I was thinking of getting a DX as a backup body... long thread later, I am fairly well decided on not going in that direction. But thanks for the input and the good advice. I hope to have some keepers to share upon our return. Dennis
#24. "RE: D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" In response to Reply # 20
Livermore, CA, US
The measurements of "best" and "capable" are of course subjective. That kind of subjective reasoning can make something like a D300 look like a piece of ####, but where the rubber meets the road, and I mean by quality of actual pictures, this is nonsense.
For my purposes, I'm talking about birds in flight, which means I'm already cropping deeper than DX, my subjects move quickly and behave unpredictably, and dynamic range is the least of my problems. Frame rate, however, can be critical. I'm talking from experience of watching 2 birds fighting, fully recording each pass of them diving at each other, and out of a dozen passes, at 7fps, only getting one or 2 critical shots that have perfectly timed their interaction. With that experience, why would you grab a 4fps camera, when you've got a 7fps one sitting there? You can't separate out frame rate from the "best" equation, especially with a camera as capable as the D300.
Regarding D4... If you're doing this for fun, why would you spend $6K on a D4, for basically a 7MP DX camera, when there's an excellent option at around $1K which is 12MP?
If you're cropping a D800 picture to DX, then quality is very similar to D7000. Dxo's own review mentions this, that at the pixel level this cameras perform very similarly. So, in DX crop mode, the D800 is like 2 year old tech. Why would anybody shoot 5 year old tech? Because as of about 5 years ago, tech took a leap forward to the point where it exceeded just about everybody's requirements, and since then progress has been incremental.
I shoot D7000 and D300s every day and have for about 18 months, and for my purposes it breaks down to D300s primary for birds in flight, due to its frame rate, and for landscape it's D7000, but I'll use D300s without hesitation if it has the lens on it that I need for the shot. I've never looked at a print from my D300s and say I wished I had shot that with D7000. This is after many shooting sessions trying to love the D7000 for birds. The results just weren't there. You can argue DR and 12-bit vs. 14-bit but when it comes down to a properly executed exposure and print, at least for the kind of subjects for which you need speed, you're not going to notice it. You will notice if a thrilling fight between birds hits the recycle bin because the D7000's 4-ish fps caused you to miss the critical moment. To say the gap between the D300 and these other cameras is so obvious, reeks of someone more into talking about cameras than actually using them to take pictures.
#26. "RE: D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" In response to Reply # 13
Hi I am new to Nikonians. I have both a D7000 and a D300s. The only advantage I get with the 300s is the faster frame rate and that is barely noticeable at times. I personally think the 7000 is a superior camera in just about every aspect. The ISO performance is not even close nor is the DR. The white balance is more consistent and the 7000 meters much better. I recently purchased the D300s for outdoor sports trying to see if there was any advantage over the D7000 and I can honestly say there is not. I am going to sell the 300s and stick with the 7000 for a while. I have over 30,000 clicks on it and it has worked flawlessly. It is a very tough and dependable camera. It is one I can count on indoors and out.
#28. "RE: D7000 vs D300 as back up DX body" In response to Reply # 4
> - I never got more than 3 or 4 continuous shots >(uncompressed RAW) on my D7000 before it slowed, that with a >fairly fast card.
I don't mean to hijaack this thread, but can you explain how you shot in "uncompressed RAW?" I've gone through all the menus in the camera, read and re-read the owner's manual, and I can't figure out how to do this. It seems like my D7000 offers only compressed RAW or lossless compressed RAW.