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D3-D300 image quality with crops

Discussion in 'Nikon FX DSLR Forum' started by Allan, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. I am frustrated with my D300's af of birds in flight. As Jim Fenton has said, it works well without a tc but not with one for fast bif. The slow acquisition with tc is driving me crazy. I miss way too many shots.

    I am wondering what a D3 would be like for me. I Shoot birds with my D300 and 95% of the time I have the 1.7 tc on my 400 2.8 vr. I assume the af would be much better, especially with a tc, but I wonder about the reach with my 400. Anyway, I was wondering if anyone ever did a comparison of a D300 and D3 with 400 2.8 where you shot an object that filled about as much of the frame of a D300 as the first image below and then shot the same location and lens with the D3.

    If so, and if you have nefs I could see let me know. The first image below is what I typically see with the 400 and 1.7 - sometimes I get closer but this is typical. The second shot is how I would crop it. What I ultimately want to find out is the difference between D3 and D300 when cropped this much.

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  2. barphoto


    Jan 25, 2007
  3. Thanks Barry, but the comments there are too general. He basically says when you crop a D3 you lose something but it is still pretty good. The rest of the article mentions differences like speed, cost, low noise which I already know.

    I just want to see a side by side as mentioned above so I can see quality IQ differences between cropped (D300) and more cropped (D3.)
  4. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA

    I've been shooting a D3 for the past couple of days for work and as a trial.

    For shooting where you and I shoot...don't do it pal unless you're dumping the 400 2.8 and getting a 600 or a Sigma 800....or you're moving to Florida.

    Even at Creek Brook it wouldn't cut it at the top of the big dead tree on the lower pond.
  5. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    Having both and shooting both, at similar subjects,

    stick with the D300. Of course I use the 200-400, so that is a bit different than the 400 2.8!

  6. Well Wade and Jim, you save me a bunch of money. I thought what you both wrote was true but I wanted to make sure. The word of people who use both is as good as seeing a nef.

    Still frustrated with the AF though- :mad: .
  7. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA
    Allan...Re: D300 AF

    I have seen a noticeable improvement after the firmware upgrade in 51 point dynamic...but not with a TC.
  8. I always have a tc on my camera - so I have not noticed a difference. Jim, if what you say is not fixed in the near future, I will regret having bought the 400. :( 
  9. Well I dissent. I have sold my D300 and I'm not looking back. AF with TC's on my 400mm AF-S II is very fast and snappy, Bif's are in focus if I point properly with TC's on. The D3 just blows the D300 out of the water as far as I'm concerend...

    There is more to life then reach, try shutter speed, DOF, because of the low noise i can shoot at very high ISO and not worry.

    I'll dig up two comparison shots and send you Allan
  10. Dennis Carter

    Dennis Carter

    Jun 29, 2007
    I'm curious about this, also.

    Does that hold true regardless of print size? In other words, for prints, say, 11 x 14 and smaller, can you see the difference? In yet other words, is the image quality of, say, 11 x 14 and smaller, visibly different due to the different pixel density?

    Am I making any sense whatsoever? :redface:

  11. Triggaaar


    Jun 15, 2008
    So are you finding focusing easier with the D3+400+TC vs the D300+400? (no TC)
  12. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA

    There is only more to life than reach if what you're shooting is fairly close or not small (shorebirds, warblers, etc) and you dont plan on printing anything large out of it.

    Fairly close and not tiny would discount much of what Allan and I shoot up here (we shoot in many of the same places).

    For web use or smaller pirnts, I agree with you entriely.

    You have missed one major plus with the D300...the AF point layout.

    Now that 51 pt dynamic has been improved, I'm getting happier with the D300although after having shot a D3 the past couple of days for work, it sure felt like home.....except that I found the AF point layout to be a real handcuff in many instances.
  13. Jim, did you take the D3 out for bird shooting? If so, how was 51 point (we have had clear sky weather here in NE lately) or 21 a handicap? Give me an example - bird, distance, background.
  14. jfenton


    Jan 26, 2005
    Haverhill, MA

    I tried it for a couple hours yesterday at typical mid range distances (40 yards) for BIF (gulls and cormorants). Yesterdays background was clear sky with just a hint of haze to it up in Maine.

    One thing that I like to do is grab the focus as the subject enters the left side of the frame if I can and then follow it through until it's framed properly.

    Ain't no focus points in that area on the current full frame.

    Stick them with the middle portion of the frame and it locks instantly.

    I also tried shooting some cedar waxwings perched..again, I wanted the bird on the left side of the frame, but what I found I had to do was focus and recompose which is a PITB if the subject doesn't want to sit still.

    As far as the focus ability went, 9, 21 and 51 all worked fine (faster acquisition and it seemed like a faster response overall) and with a TC, it definitely worked better than on the D300.

    Given that the subjects are smaller relative to the frame, this shows that the AF processing is definitely more powerful on the D3.
  15. Jim, this gets so confusing till I realize there really isn't a camera out there that calls out "Buy Me."
  16. scooptdoo

    scooptdoo Guest

    not sure here.the crop of the dx vs the fx with tc.the best tc's are just more glass between lens and image sensor.i think its a wash.id stay with whatever i was using now.dont see any big or even noticable advatage to upgrade or downgrade???
  17. Yes, absolutely

  18. I agree that this is an issue, I have gotten used to the fact quite quickly and recompose after looking with the AF-ON button. It would have been nice to have a few sensors out in the left and right (and bottom top) as well.

  19. Triggaaar


    Jun 15, 2008
    Thanks. That's not a result I was expecting.
  20. I got two nefs from Andreas - shot from the same spot - both with 400 2.8 and 1.7 tc.

    I opened both in NX, turned off all settings hemade, and tried to equalize them as much as possible with settings I use. The heads were turned in opposite directions - the D300 one better - so it was not quite the same.

    Then I cropped the eagle and saved as tiff. Finally I opened in PS and adjusted levels a bit and then zoomed in on the eye.

    The D300 one had more detail so it looks like I will stay with the D300 for now. The D3 with the 400 plus 1.7 may focus quicker than the D300 without tc - if so for bif - that would be an advantage.

    Here is what they looked like - saved for web. The D3 one would have to be zoomed in to get same size - here the D3 looks better as it is smaller.

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