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My D300 Sucks (At Light Sensitivity)

Discussion in 'Nikon DX DSLR Forum' started by josh99ta, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. josh99ta


    Mar 13, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    I'm coming out of a D80, and have many friends with Canons that I've compared this issue with as well (30D, 40D, XSi, XTi, XT).

    I have better ISO performance, but I have to use slower shutter speeds and/or more ISO with a set amount of light than any of the other cameras.


    It's nearing dusk. All the other cameras are dialed in around 1/80 sec, ISO 200 to shoot at f/4 and exposure correctly. The D300 would need to drastically lengthen the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO for the same exposure at f/4. And by drastic I do mean drastic. Shots I could handhold at f/4 ISO 200 on my D80 or my Canon buddies shoot, I can't handhold with my D300 in the same conditions without jacking the ISO up to 1600 to keep shutter speeds equal.

    Real problem or is this just a D300 issue? If it's a real issue, how do I go about getting this corrected? I've never had to send anything in for warranty work before (I bought it from an authorized dealer online, Beach Camera).

    Also, while I've got you guys in here, I can't open my RAW files from my D300 in Photoshop CS2 (I'm on the lower of the two qualities for RAW files, 12 bit). Keeps saying the format isn't recognized or valid or something like that. Major pain. Any fixes?
  2. nicktak


    Jul 30, 2006
    Could be that the D300 wants to expose the same scene brighter than the Canons?

    If you choose the same settings then I would imagine that the camera would produce the same exposure. Other thing affecting this would be polarizers or other filters you might have on the lens.
  3. pforsell


    Jan 15, 2008
    Sounds like your camera has some problems. A three stop difference between D80 and D300 is a sign of a serious defect, if you have eliminated faulty/dirty lens and dirty electric contacts between camera and lens.

    Have you checked with adobe.com if you can update the ACR plugin in your Photoshop? If not, then you'll need to upgrade to PS CS3.
  4. You don't have the exposure compensation adjusted do you?
  5. pforsell


    Jan 15, 2008
    I thought that too first. In this scenario it would cause 3 stops overexposed images and I'm sure the original poster would have noticed it in a second.
  6. Panopeeper

    Panopeeper Guest

    If you make a shot with the D80 and the D300, from tripod, fixed illumination, same lens, same exposure, ISO 200, in raw (non-lossy with the D300) and upload the raw files, I take a close look at the raw data and compare the exposure results on the non-demosaiced and non-WBd data.
  7. In order to tell if there is really an issue, you have to do as panopeeper said above. Set your exposure manually, with the same settings for each camera, and see how well they're exposed on your computer.
  8. I'm assuming you have both cameras set at the same meter setting, i.e. matrix, not one on Matrix and one on spot?
  9. Exactly. I had both a D80 and D300 at one time, and didn't notice that issue. This test would be the only way to make sure.
  10. cleoent


    Dec 21, 2007
    San Jose, Ca
    exposure compensation, maybe you're bracketing without knowing.

    It could also be the with the d300's great DR it is able to expose the shadows and keep the highlights there for needing a slower shutter to get everything exposed when the lesser cameras dont even try.
  11. AlanG


    May 6, 2008
    Virginia, USA
    I tend to agree with the others. Check your Exposure comp settings, and the metering mode settings.

    To open D300 files in Photoshop, you need ACR 4.3 or higher. Unfortunately you are limited to ACR 3.7 with CS2.

    If you want to stay with Adobe, your options:
    1. Upgrade to CS3 and ACR 4.5.
    2. Purchase Adobe Light Room
    3. Download the latest version of the free Adobe DNG converter, convert your nef files to dng and then you can use CS2.
    Consider CS3, or Lightroom. IMO, the new tools in ACR alone are worth the upgrade.
  12. A very easy diagnosis and fix.....THINK
  13. Zee71


    Apr 1, 2007
    Queens, NY
  14. josh99ta


    Mar 13, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    No exposure compensation, no bracketing, same lens, same filter (don't have the D80 anymore to do a test now but I know 100% for sure of the difference before), same metering, same focus style, same shooting style, etc.

    This isn't a dynamic range issue. With my D80 I had for nearly two years I just knew, with the D300 I've had it for four months now and while it is MUCH better at higher ISO performance, I have to use higher ISO performance to get the same exposure. The benefits of the higher ISO performance are reduced because I have to use slower shutter speeds for a given exposure. With my D80 I never, EVER shot over ISO 400, and I could shoot down to dusk for car shoots down to 1/20 second, but with my D300 if I try that I'll have to get down to long on the shutter for handheld shots, or I have to jack the ISO through the roof.

    This is a buddy of mine and me being out shooting the other night. I had noticed it with my D80 compared to my D300, but it really stood out the other night. He had a Canon 5D, I had my D300. We were both shooting at f/4, 1/80, ISO 400, all things else being equal also. We were losing light. He took a shot and I took a shot. In his shot you could actually see the car although it was a little underexposed. In my picture, you never would have been able to make out what kind of car it was. You could vaguely see the shape, but it was much, much, MUCH darker. Then I kept all settings the same, and started bumping up ISO to equal his exposure at ISO 400, and I had to go up to ISO 1600 to get a similar exposure.
  15. AviSys


    Mar 31, 2008
    Placitas, NM
  16. What are you trying to say here, Avi? :confused: 

    Josh is a local board member I've known ever since he joined www.tennesspeed.net and a great photog. From my experience, he's a very honest and hard working guy. :smile:
  17. azarby


    Sep 17, 2006
    Phoenix, Az
    Post the picture with Exif data.
  18. josh99ta


    Mar 13, 2007
    Nashville, TN
    No photos for proof on this fellas, you'll just have to take my word for it at the moment. My laptop is nearly maxed out on space so I don't keep photos around. All of this is just me messing with the D300 since I've gotten in back in May and just haven't been having much luck on the light sensitivity. Everything else is great, color, clarify, sharpness, etc. It's an amazing camera for sure, just having some light issues. Didn't know if it was common D300 stuff or not (which I don't see how it would be). I'm actually planning a trip to a local camera shop so I can compare my D300 to another one as well as a few other camera models to see if they both do the same thing. Until I can find the free time to get that done I guess I'll just have to live with it. :( 

    Seriously, give me a break. I've been here a year longer than you have and have always been a quality contributing member. My D80 performed better at a given ISO. Friends with Canons perform better at a given ISO. All things else being equal, my $1800 D300 isn't performing as I think it should be. That isn't trolling, that's fact in my case, and something I want to get taken care of. I'm not in here bashing, and I take that comment as extremely disrespectful. If you have nothing to offer, please get out of the thread so someone with some real input could offer a real suggestion.
  19. paradiddle


    Jun 1, 2007
    John C and Josh - your both in the Nashville area and sounds like you have similar interest. It would be great if you could get together and prove/disprove. I am a fellow TNian with a D80 considering a D300, mainly for higher ISO performance. Know you have scared me, and there is no way I can afford a D700 / D3.

    I haven't been to Nashville in 4 years and spent the last two weekends there. The Partenon is an awesome setup for portraits as the sun goes down.
  20. jpwing8

    jpwing8 Guest


    Could ADL be affecting exposure?
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