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D300 or D700

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by eparr, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. eparr


    Jul 28, 2007
    S.F. Bay Area
    I am weighing the pros and cons for both configs and would appreciate input.

    Combo-1: D300 with 70-200mm VR and TC-14E II Cost=~$3400 (Already have TC)

    Combo-2: D700 with 70-300mm VR Cost=~$3500

    I would use for both outdoor and indoor sports and some family events.

    My current setup has no DX lenses so that is not a factor.

  2. Personally I think the whole full-frame thing is a little out of hand. If the D700 were $200 or $300 more than the D300 - I would probably go that route, but when you can get just about two D300s for the price of a D700 - I just don't see the value. The 70-200mm is a delightful lens and I would highly recommend the D300 + 70-200mm route. However, be comfortable with the size of the 70-200mm. Some may find it a little large for the typical family event.
  3. It just depends on your goals. I bought the D700 because I really wanted wide angle. About a year ago, I almost switched to Canon just for the 5D. Glad I didn't.

    On the other hand, you do loose a lot of reach. For reach, I use my wife's D80.

    So, my answer to your question would be: Get both!

  4. It appears to me the poster has a $3500 budget...
    If money were no issue - then the D700 would easily get the edge here (and he could buy a 70-200mm with it)
  5. eparr


    Jul 28, 2007
    S.F. Bay Area
    I actually don't even have the $3500 yet, still saving but trying to be well informed when I am ready to purchase.

    Thanks for the replies! Hopefully by the time I have the funds the D700 will have come down closer to the D300 and make my decision for me :) 
  6. You really have to weigh the benefits of FX vs DX. Do you need to really go wide using FX glass? Do you need the benefits of low grain high ISO?

    You can pick up a D300 and $2000 in glass. Everything in your focal range + the 70-300 can be hit with the D300. Now when you start looking at the 14mm range that's something the FX sensor completely demolishes the DX.
  7. eparr


    Jul 28, 2007
    S.F. Bay Area
    I am not concerned so much with the Wide end but am very concerned with the Low Grain High ISO. The low grain high iso would probably be my number one reason in choosing the 700 over the 300 if I go that way.
  8. I think you really need to consider investing more money in lenses than the body... and not necessarily the D300/70-200VR combo (though it's a great combo). Something like a D300 and a mess of 3rd party zooms could cover the entire range with high quality fast glass within your budget... something like the following could be had for same price as either of your original options (or significantly less if you consider used, and not even considering what you'd get selling some of your current kit)...

    D300 Body - $1800
    Sigma 24-70/2.8 EX DG Macro - $390
    Sigma 70-200/2.8 EX DG Macro II - $675
    Sigma 10-20/4-5.6 EX DC - $450
    Sigma 30/1.4 EX DC - $380

    Or, if you're really indifferent to the wide end and looking to go long

    D300 Body - $1800
    Sigma 24-70/2.8 EX DG Macro - $390
    Sigma 120-400/4.5-5.6 EX DG OS - $760
    30/1.4 EX DC - $380

    Remember, the D300 is no high-ISO slouch. Think about what you're shooting and whether your shutter speeds are limited by vibration (VR/OS will help) or action (VR/OS will NOT help). Also, consider how much of your kit you could improve with the $3400 - $3600 you're looking at possibly putting towards 1 body and 1 lens.
  9. exitnine


    Jun 5, 2008
    Boston, MA
    I totally agree! beside those, think about FX and DX, and all the nikon lens you have, if you use FX, you totally got all of it from using it in FX format.
  10. i know you can get the d700 for less- about 2900 at some local shops..
  11. IMHO This is not really about wideangle issues, it is about High ISO and reach with or without a cropfactor

    At first this seemed like this would be an easy choice for me : D700 and 70-300mm VR.

    High ISO: I have a D3 that has the same sensor as the D700 so IQ and high ISO should be the same. I have had a D300 and I still have one D2X as a backup. With the D3/D700 sensor you can easily go to 1.5 stops higher ISO then the same D300 combo. What that in reality means is that where the D300 IMHO starts choking at ISO 800 the D3-D700 easily does ISO 2000-2500 with the same IQ. As others have noted there is a BIG step upwards in capabilities formt he D300 to D700.

    • The D300 with a 70-200mm VR and a TC14 and the 1.5 x DX cropfactor gets you to 420mm at minimum F4 (I dont think the 70-200mm with a TC14 is that great wide open I would stop it down to F5.6) . And you can take it off for more flexibility.
    • The 70-300mm on a D700 gets you to 300mm since the TC14 doesn't fit on the 70-300mm VR, and it is not prolevel glass, more CA and distortion.

    After pondering the reach I think it is a wash between the two setups and my advice is:
    • If High ISO capabilities is important to you get the D700 and a different lens combo: 300mm F4 AF-S ($800-900 used), great wide open and does extremely well with the TC14 and for the money you save get a 105mm VR it also does extremely well with the TC14 and is great for sports. Sell the 28-105mm since you have duplicate lenses in this category.
  12. I vote for the D700, with the higher iso the cheaper 70-300 will work wonders allowing for much higher shutter speeds than the D300...
  13. Photo Matt

    Photo Matt

    Nov 5, 2007
    You can still use a D700 in DX mode for cases where you want the extra reach.
  14. neimac


    May 26, 2008
    Speaking directly from a poverty point of view, I need a second job to cover this hobby! :eek:  I would go with the D300 and work on getting better glass. Hopefully by the time you tire of the D300 the D700 or something else fx hopefully will be a bit more affordable.
  15. eparr


    Jul 28, 2007
    S.F. Bay Area
    Thanks for all the advice! The High ISO ability is important to me so I think I am leaning to the D700. Might have to wait until the pricing settles down but it sounds like it will be worth the wait!

  16. What folks who are recommending the D700 and 70-300 combo aren't taking into account is the fact that combo puts you 2 f/stops behind than the 70-200 on the D300, so how is the high ISO helping? Then you gotta take into account the fact that the 70-300 isn't as sharp as the 70-200/2.8 wide open, so this means stopping down another f/stop, which puts you at a 3 stop disadvantage from the getgo at the long end. This also kills your nice background separation compared to shooting wide open at f/2.8.

    Now, for the people claiming the D300 starts to choke at ISO 800, they need to put down the crack pipe. Maybe that's what they tell themselves to help justify the D700, but it's a crock of sh&@. The D300 is good to 1600 and perfectly useable at 3200 if the exposure is good. Sure, it's no D700 that high, but it's no slouch. What some folks seem to be forgetting is the D300 is one of the best high ISO DX bodied cameras in that megapixel range. It blows the D80 and D200 away. These same pixel peepers will be talking junk about the D700 and D3 at high ISO once their replacement comes out topping their performance. I recommend you put your money into great glass first, and THEN worry about upgrading the camera. Remember, you can get a perfectly fine low mileage D300 for $1300 now because of all the 'I gotta have the latest greatest camera' folks are ditching them at a huge loss. Capitalize on their judgement, 'cause as soon as you buy the D3 or D700, it's gonna be replaced with a better performer... Just something to think about.
  17. avyoung


    Dec 17, 2007
    The more I use my D300, the more I want to stay under ISO800. If I want to print fairly large, I don't think I will be happy with ISO1600 with the D300. (Luckily, I don't need to print large often)

    Since Eric has FX lenses, and the future of pro level DX body and lenses are at times questioned by us customers, I feel the D700 is a great choice. If I didn't sell off my FX lenses to get started in the DSLR world, and didn't have a bag full of DX lenses right now, I would be more tempted to get the D700.

    For me the DX lenses I have now are much smaller/lighter than the FX equivalents (and cheaper too), and this for the moment is very important to me. If quality is paramount, I would say FX is the way to go. Cost, size, reach and weight restrictions?, then DX has some big advantages.

  18. +1 for the D300/Sigma Lens idea. I would change it a bit:

    Sigma 17-70 (a hidden gem)
    Sigma 70-200 (solid performance at 1/2 Nikon price)
    Sigma TC 1.4
    Sigma 30 1.4 (because it's a great little lens)

    I just sold a bunch of very good Sigma glass bc I moved to the D700 (which is a completely different sensor than the D300 and it shows). BUT, if you can only use a 70-300 VR then you're sacrificing too much for the sensor IQ and on balance you won't see the D700 shine with only that lens.

    Also, if you buy used you can grab the above for $2700 or so. Add a Sigma 150 2.8 Macro with the change and you're really in great shape.
  19. Since you came from film shooting, you should be able to appreciate the quality of the D300 at 800, or even 1600. Film grain was very much present in high ISO shots back then. I can't help but wonder if folks have forgotten that quickly. I know many of the ones saying the D300 sucks at 800 and above have probably never even shot film. Like I said, it's these same folks that will be dumping their D700s and D3's because of "horrid" high ISO performance when the next best thing comes out. :rolleyes: 
  20. lovD300


    Feb 25, 2008
    I have too been thinking of the D700. With all the talk of the high ISO, but then once you I really start to think of it... you always here to put your money on glass over body. So for the price I will pay for the D700 (3000 bones) I could get some mean glass. like the 24-70, 70-200 and the 1.7 converter. And once you start to think of having that glass, the more the D700 can go on the back burner! Wait till that price drops to a good "welcoming" price.
    First of all the 70-200 has great bokeh, and from all I read seems to work way better with the DX bodies than the FX bodies. Plus once you add the fact that it is a 300mm on a DX. Then take the 1.7 converter your at a 510mm with a f/4.2. Everything starts to look pretty good then. Then you through in the fact of the 24-70 in your hands... I start to think I can surely wait for that d700... I would have a perfect kit for almost everything....(maybe add a 11-16 Tokina for some wide fun).... so I think I will wait on the d700 and enjoy the excellent glass for now. Plus if you have the right light I think you will get the same quality out of those lens on the d300 as you would on the d700!

    But I do think that the d300/d700 kit could be the best kit you can have because you can make more out of all your lenses....
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