Nikon D300 first impressions by a D200 owner

I received my new Nikon D300 this afternoon and spent about an hour playing. I didn’t have a lot of time today so the pictures below are not the best. All of them are using my Nikon 18-200 DX VR lens. More pictures coming soon!

First impressions:

  • Look and feel is very close to D200 – felt comfortable immediately. The playback button moved so that took a few minutes to get used to
  • I shot everything as RAW, 12bit, lossless compression. The NEF files were between 10MB and 12MB. As always, I’m going to need more disks! My 8GB compact flash card shows 397 available pictures but as expected, this is a low estimate. I expect it to hold about 450-500 on average with these settings. I’ll have more scientific results on this soon
  • On playback, zooming is now done by simply clicking the [+] button over and over. This is an improvement on the D200 which required two hands to zoom on playback
  • Shutter / Mirror has a good solid sound. I’ve read some complaints about the loudness but I have no complaints
  • The screen is awesome – great size and bright. I held it side by side with my D200 and my old D70 – BIG difference!
  • You can build your own custom menu which is nice. The D200 had this feature but it was a little more complicated than the D300
  • The high frame rate is fun, especially when bracketing.
  • Live View is a bit disappointing. Basically, you put it in liveview mode (on the dial with S, Cl, Ch, etc.). Then, you aim and push the shutter release. This raises the mirror and lets you see through the lens via the screen. Once composed, you let go and press the shutter again to take the shot. I’m going to try this during my next aerial photography mission but I’m thinking it will not be much use….but we’ll see.
  • I played around with some of the in-camera image adjustments such as D-Lighting, Red-eye, color adjust, etc. and found it to work as advertised. I will probably never use this since I shoot mostly RAW mode and use Adobe Lightroom to make my adjustments
  • 51 point with 3D-tracking autofocus WORKS! Below is a picture I shot through the windshield of my car while traveling at 50MPH (no, I was not driving!). I shot at ISO 640 which game me a shutter speed of 1/3200. I pointed the camera at the traffic light when we were about 100 yards away and snapped it as we were about to pass under. We were moving so fast, I wasn’t even able to center the shot! I’m looking forward to shooting the next airshow!

Pics follow…

  • Here’s another example of 51point 3D-tracking – again, shot through the windshield moving at about 50MPH. The passing truck is moving about around 50MPH too so things are moving fast. Shutterspeed is 1/1250, ISO 640 (I’m starting to like having high ISO’s):

  • ISO 3200 is fun and not bad at all. Shot at 1/20th of a second at ISO3200(click to see original size):

  • ISO 1600: (click image to get original size):

  • ISO 800:

  • A normal ISO 200 picture:

  • And now, ISO 6400!!

If you want to see the EXIF data and the original images, you can find all of these are more at

More coming soon…

~ by Greg on November 29, 2007.

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