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D300s vs. D90 Sensor?

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by Gigatron, Jul 31, 2009.

  1. I don't really get all the technical mumbo-jumbo, so can someone explain any differences there may be, if any, between the D300s and the D90 sensor?

    Looking at Nikon's website, they look to be the same sensor, but then that's what was said about the D300 and D90, though the D90 supposedly had better high iso performance.

    I'm strongly leaning towards the D300s, but I really need to seal the deal with as much info as I can get.

  2. pforsell


    Jan 15, 2008
    Nikon does continually tune and tweak the sensors, so if D90 and D5000 show better performance than the original D300, I think it is a safe bet to say that the latest D300s will have all the same hardware/firmware tweaks.

    As a matter of fact it is possible that the new D300s delivers better image quality than D90/D5000, since it can save the captures in uncompressed and/or losslessly compressed format, as well as deliver 14-bit images.

    D90 and D5000 give up (however infinitesimally little) some image quality by saving the raw NEF files using lossy compression and a maximum of 12 bits.

    This of course, if we talk about NEF since JPEG images are always compressed/truncated to 8 bits.
  3. Glideslope


    Feb 8, 2006
    Excellent question.

    While as it stands the only attraction to the s for me would be the new button in the multi selector. I REALLY could use that button, but not to upgrade.

    I am greatly anticipating a full test comparison. The Nikon release simply states "same 12.3 DX Format CMOS." What is "same"? Format? MP? CMOS?

    The D90 also uses a "12.3 DX Format CMOS." The 300s IMO will have the D90 CMOS. Only a full review will tell.

  4. pgdsm


    Jan 30, 2009
    Edmonton ab
    Should be interesting to see. But I would think that d 90 owner on the fence to buy before should be sold now. Better autofocus nicer body at least matched high iso performance. Plus from what I have gathered it allows to braket more than three shots.
  5. IMO, decision between purchasing a D90 or D300s (or D300) shouldn't come down to any miniscule variance between the sensors.

    Do you shoot older MF lenses (or want to)? D300/D300s...
    Do you need weather sealing and 6-8 fps? D300/D300s...
    Do you change your AF/metering modes regularly? D300/D300s...
    Do you want a lightweight camera? D90/D5000...
    Do you prefer to invest more money in lenses than camera? D90/D5000...
    Do you want your camera to fail on you due to power issues? D5000...

    j/k on that last one... :biggrin:
  6. jerryshenk


    Jan 8, 2009
    Also, do you want HD vidio capability. The D90 has that, the D300 doesn't...not sure about the D300s.
  7. Jaytron


    Mar 22, 2009
    San Jose, CA
    The last one made me lol

    They all have HD, but at 720p, not FULL HD 1080p
  8. Look at the gross pixel count (total on sensor, not all used). The D90 is 12.9MP and the D300 and D300s list a 13.1MP sensor, so the sensor is not the same. Two 13.1MP sensors may not be the same either. Sure, they likely will have the same basic silicon collecting the light, but the A/D converter on the back of the sensor will likely be different. The video capability may dictate this.
  9. hornagain


    Jan 21, 2007
    Central US
    For me the decision is between the D400 and the D300s.

    I can only assume the D400 will have better ISO/Noise performance than the D300s.

    I'm also not a big fan of buying in at the end of a technology cycle.
  10. fock you just sold me on the d300s :mad: 
  11. e_No


    May 16, 2009
    Downey, CA
    Agreed. With additional tweaks very likely.
  12. e_No


    May 16, 2009
    Downey, CA
    This brings up a related question

    Since the D90 sensor is 12.9mp and the D300/s is 13.1mp, and we know (wink-wink) that the smaller the photosite, the more succeptible to noise it is, does this mean the D300/s will be at a disadvantage with regards to signal-to-noise (SNR) performance -- slight as that may be?
  13. I believe there's more to noise than just photosite size. Just look at the 5Dmk2. It's got a lot of megapixels, yet the high ISO performance is only a little worse than the D3/D700.
  14. i though only the effective MP matter since those are the only ones you see?
  15. Another factor in deciding -- are you planning to go to full-frame in the next year or so?

    I plan to go to full-frame, but I can't afford a D700 right now. I'd love a D300s. But a D700 is only about $500 more than a D300s or rather 25-30% more.

    Whereas a D90 body nowadays is half the cost of a D300s.

    So while I'd rather have a D300s than a D90, the camera I really want is a D700. So I can get a D700 sooner, and for now a D90 can give me 99% of the image quality of the D300 and maybe 97% of the image quality of the D300s -- I'm just making up numbers here. The real number depends on what you shoot and whether you pixel-peep the results, and not on minute sensor differences.
  16. Thanks, guys.

    I already own a D90, so it's not really an on-the-fence type of situation between the 2. It's more between the D300 and the D300s.

    What the D90 has to do with it is, is that the D90 has better high iso capability than the D300. So, with the D300s, can I expect, at a minimum, the same high iso capability as the D90, or possibly, better?

    I'm looking to upgrade to the D300 for faster AF acquisition and AF-C with Focus+Release priority. But I'm not 100% thrilled with the proposition of losing that high iso performance. But if the D300s can match or better the D90, then I'll get the D300s. If it only matches the D300, I'll save some money and get the D300.

    Does any of that make sense?

  17. IMHO if your buying your better off with the D300s, more to upgrade from d90 then the d300, not much but there is more :Teeth:
  18. Fred,

    Don't know how the ISO capability of the 300s will be, but I would expect that there would be some improvements over the 300. How much? Don't know.

    One thing to think about though, is that using AF-C with Focus+Release Priority will reduce your frame rate, and depending on what and where you are shooting, the faster frame rate of the 300/s may never be realized in this mode.

    Just a thought.
  19. yes but at least the shoots with the d300 would be in focus.

    the 90 your first and then maybe one other are all thats in focus lol
  20. I agree with Mark.

    Not necessarily! The other thing to keep in mind is that focus + release priority can improve things, but it's not a panacea. In fast-moving sports, there's a lot of stuff that can be accidentally locked onto. There's still a lot of important technique involved.
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