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Used D300 or new D90?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Butchdog, Sep 6, 2008.

  1. Butchdog


    May 29, 2007
    Help me out here. I suppose I would be considered an advanced amateur. I've been part of the photo world (35mm and then dSLR) for about 25 years.
    I've done some weddings, senior portraits, and family pictures out of request rather than desire. I like to shoot wildlife, landscapes, and people.

    Should I buy a used D300 or a new D90?

    I'm also hoping that a full frame sub $2000 camera is only a couple years away.
    What would you do?
  2. Do you like the way the D70 handles, the control layout, size, weight? (The iss noticable bigger and 1/2 pound heavier) Do you ever use the picture modes or will the camera be used by someone that does other than you? You have never been limited in what you want to do by the D70, it's just time.

    If you answer yes to these than a D90 is a good fit.

    Do you miss the more manual feeling of 15-25 year old film bodies. Will Nikon Multi-CAM3500 DX versus Nikon Multi-CAM1000 make a difference for you or the higher FPS? Does 1/8000 versus 1/4000 max shutter matter to you? Do you wish the D70 was a little sturdier, better sealed against the weather? Will the lack of picture modes mean the those that want to borrow your camera won't bother you anymore?:wink:

    Then get the D300.

    Both are or seem to be (as I have not even seen a D90 in person) great cameras and either will do what many an advanced amateur or Pro needs.
  3. I've used D300 for a short time, but a I loved !!!
    Now I have the d3 and I will stay with it, but I also buy a d300.

  4. latazyo


    Apr 23, 2008
    the D300 has great high ISO capabilities

    does the D90 share these abilities?

    Im pretty disappointed in the higher ISO performance of my D80, so if the 90 is not much better, I'd go with the 300 for sure

    IMO, patience is key, wait a month or so more and you'll probably be able to save up the difference to get the D300 new...and then you'll have full warranty, etc
  5. PeteZ28


    Oct 5, 2007
    Newtown, PA
    As I understand it, the D90 is every bit as good as the D300 at higher ISO's. More than likely, they both share the same sensor anyway. The specs are similar: 12mp CMOS so why wouldn't they?

    About the only benefit you'll see with the D90 is a lighter, smaller body. If this is important, go with it. Otherwise the D300 is going to be better in every way. Controls, handling, durability, weather resistance, autofocus, etc.
  6. I'd go D300 no doubt.
    Although the HD video is tempting....
  7. PeteZ28


    Oct 5, 2007
    Newtown, PA
    Ooohhh forgot about that!
  8. I love the feel of my d200 in my hands, and how the key functions don't require menu diving. The D300 is built on the same platform, so I'd recommend it. But some people prefer the lightweigh feel of the d80. I belive the d90 uses a similar body to the d80. I'd suggest you go to a local camera store and compare its feel to the d300 and you'll have your answer.

    I think we'll see used d700s in that range in the next 6 months... but I'm beginning to question why I need one. Other than the cachet of full frame, why do you find the d700 so compelling?
  9. PeteZ28


    Oct 5, 2007
    Newtown, PA
    Bigger = better when it comes to film (or sensor) sizes. With the exception of the "crop factor" for tele shooters, FF has the advantage in every way. Dynamic range, higher ISO, less noise at all ISO's, etc. I think even sharpness is better on FF sensors. Yes, a cropped sensor shoots though the "sweet spot" in a lens, but it also magnifies any abberations the lens my have by 50%. Photons and glass molecules have a fixed size, but spread that out over a 50% greater area and the errors in both are reduced.

    Anyway I'm not trying to derail the OP's thread but I thought I'd drop this note as a reply.
  10. Ruff Draft

    Ruff Draft

    Sep 2, 2007
    I'm stuck with the same situation, and I don't think I can answer it till I see more convincing D90 images. Especially at the high ISO's.
  11. When I was a high tech sales, we were trained to base our sales pitches on owner benefits rather than features. I've been checking out d700 compositions, and, so far, the technical advantages you've cited haven't translated to pictures that tempt me to part with several thousand hard earned bucks. But that's probably because I use fast glass and/or flash instead of high iso.

    Nah, that's just wishful thinking by fx owners, Pete.

    And that's techno-mumbo-jumbo - lol. Last I heard, photons don't have a physical size. That why they can accelerate from zero to 186,000 miles a second at the flick of a lightswitch ;-).
  12. rgordin


    Jun 3, 2008
    Washington, DC
    I'd take a hard look at the metering of the two cameras. I had a D40 and overall loved it. One thing I did not like was the need to constantly fiddle with exposure compensation. Because several people say that generally they shoot at a slight compensation for overexposure with the D300, I was concerned whether the D300 was a step up in that regard. I was pleased to learn just how much better the D300 is in that regard.

    On the Nikon site, the D40 and the D90 are listed as having the same exposure metering system: "420 pixel RGB sensor 3D Color Matrix Metering II." So I would wait and see how the metering works in actual situations.
  13. Butchdog


    May 29, 2007
    I appreciate all the input here.
    Not sure the HD movie mode of the D90 is necessary but it is interesting.
    As far as using the the scene setting on the D70 I don't think I ever have.

    I do like the fact that the D90 is the latest and greatest in it's class but have always wondered if a D300 is the way to go.

    Thinking I could pick up a 'low mileage' D300 in the $1200 - $1300 range is something I've been considering for awhile. Then the D90 comes out and looks pretty nice.

    It would take me a bit of time to save for a new D300.
    Thanks again for the dialogue.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 6, 2008
  14. tintingkc

    tintingkc Guest

    Since I use my gear for shows and around crowds I always go for the better build bodies. There is no question the D300 is a stout camera. I am sure the D90 is tought too. The feel of the bigger bodie is nice as well. Seems less toy like to me but I like the weight as well. The controls on the D300 are laid out great too. I am not a fan of the big dial. Everything is smooth and easy to adjust.
  15. iLLMaCK

    iLLMaCK Guest

  16. D300, I have never regreted buying mine. Stouter build, weather sealing, controls are all in the right places. No comparision for me.
  17. Lurker


    Jul 21, 2007
    The way I read the question is: "I have money for either a D90 that is new but for the same amount I can get a used D300. Does the newness of the D90 outweigh the second handness of the D300?".

    If the D300 is built anything like the D200, I'd say go for the D300. The D90 is a magnificent camera and it has the same sensor as the D300. But the D300 has a stronger body and more buttons allowing for directer control of everything.

    Keep in mind that the D90 is just on the market and has the "new" markup tagged on - you're paying for the fact that the camera is just introduced. The D300 is almost a year on the market now and has an "established" (lower than introduction) price.
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