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d700&d300 vs D800

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This topic is locked.

Reason : At OPs request


dandeakin 7 207 3 England
2 Oct 2012 7:12PM
I'm currently shooting with a D700 & D300. I never thought about upgrading to a D800 as I didn't think It was worth paying for the upgrade. However I realised that the combined second hand value of both cameras is not far off a new D800, meaning it would be an almost 'free' upgrade. It suddenly seems like it might be worth considering.

I use mainly the D700. I use the D300 about 20% of the time - mainly for macro, and to give me an extra set of primes e.g my 85mm 1.4 becomes a very useful 130mmish f2, or my 105mm macro becomes a 150mm macro etc.

I don't need two bodies, and often would prefer just one when travelling etc.

The DX crop mode on a D800 should give 15Mp images that are equal or better than the D300. I would only expect to use the DX crop mode for macro, or for getting a different angle of view from my primes.

I wondered what any D800 users thought, particularly of the DX crop function. I'm starting to think that as it would be almost free to sell the D700&300 and get a D800 it would be fun to do so. I'm aware that there are extra costs in terms of memory/computer power etc.

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Leif 9 722
2 Oct 2012 7:28PM
An interesting question, I also wonder what the DX crop mode is like. I assume it is possible to select DX mode with a non-DX lens, and that this is not hard to do.
dandeakin 7 207 3 England
2 Oct 2012 7:34PM
Yes , you can. I understand you can just program one of the function buttons on the front to rapidly switch on (or off) DX crop mode. I think you can also set the view finder to mask off the unused area when using a crop mode ( as you can on the D700).
3 Oct 2012 9:24AM
Part of the consideration is the advance in technology, combined with Nikon probably holding back on a D400 launch to try to persuade more to go FX - and then maybe buy more FX lenses Grin
Not mentioned is D800 AF is a big advance over either camera, judging DOF through the viewfinder is easiest on the D800, and maybe you need to upgrade your computer and some memory cards to get the most out of the D800 huge files in a reasonable processing time.
I have the D800, plus D7000 for some macro and when I want to travel light - which for me is often.
My D300s is up for sale part because of a rarely mentioned issue.
The AF controls between D300/D3/700 and D7000/800/4 are completely changed. I sometimes find this confusing when switching from D3s (which I keep for high ISO noise performance) and D800.
If the D400 was out now (with D800 AF and 24 MP) my answer might be different - but the D400 is not announced.
You will gain slight quality over the D300, big potential quality over the D700, and better AF by going D800 only, at not much cost unless you need to upgrade your computer.
You will loose out on not having a back up body, combined with the often important in macro extra reach and DOF effect compared to FX.
Only you can make the final decision.
Not mentioned is how many shots you take a day. Some wedding photographers take up to 1,000 images. No way can you process this number of D800 images quickly with anything other than a current state of the art computer system and massive hard drive capacity.
Leif 9 722
3 Oct 2012 11:09AM
Thanks Dan.

Anyone else: Any thoughts on the DX crop mode? Is it as good as using a DX camera in terms of composition, and focussing, bearing in mind that I prefer manual focus as AF is no good for close ups.
thewilliam 6 4.8k
3 Oct 2012 11:59AM
One portrait photographer colleague re-equipped with D800 bodies but she generally uses them with her DX lenses, which automatically set the body to crop mode. I saw some 24 x 16 inch prints made from DX files and they were very good indeed. 18 MPixels is more than we used to work with!

We find that full-res files from a D3X are quite enough for even the most demanding purposes. At one recent session where I shot with a D3 and a D3X, the customer ordered a 24 inch print from a D3 pic and all the images delivered as 8x6 prints were taken on D3X!
3 Oct 2012 5:45PM

Quote:T AF is no good for close ups.

I disagree.
AF sometimes is, and sometimes is not, the best focus option Wink
dandeakin 7 207 3 England
3 Oct 2012 7:15PM
Thanks Len, i hadnt realised the AF was so different. I've never used a D800, but would expect the shaded out viewfinder in DX Crop mode to be a lot smaller than the corresponding view down the viewfinder of a dedicated DX camera (D300).

I would only expect to use the DX crop mode occasionally for 1:1 macro, or for changing the angle of view of a few prime lenses (perhaps about 20% of the time). Theres no way I'd ever consider a D400 if it was announced as I'd rarely use it. It would be nice to have a useable DX option on a FX body though (D800), particularly if there was minimal cost in doing so (by selling the D300&700).

Thanks for the comments.
3 Oct 2012 8:38PM

Quote:Thanks Len, i hadnt realised the AF was so different. I've never used a D800, but would expect the shaded out viewfinder in DX Crop mode to be a lot smaller than the corresponding view down the viewfinder of a dedicated DX camera (D300).


1/ when using DX crop mode, unlike the D3 (or D700), there is a hard black border around the DX crop area, and further out is clear, not greyed out as on the D3/3s/700 - except when a DX lens hard vignettes creating black corners.
The DX frame occupies about 66% of the FX frame area.
The full FX frame has an apparent size about 12.5% bigger than DX. The 12.5% rather than 50% is because DX and FX have different viewfinder magnification.
The DX crop is about 15% smaller in apparent size than your D300, so not the huge difference some assume.
There are also border options for 1.2x of 5:4 format.
Whether you take in DX crop at 1:1 with an FX lens, or in FX crop and crop down later is personal choice, the operational difference being using DX crop produces a smaller file.
2/ Turning to AF, the C&S options bottom right of the bayonet (looking from the front) are replaced, as are the AF options on the camera back, starting with the D7000. There is a "press and hold" button bottom right of the bayonet which you hold while you turn the front or back command dial to select all the AF options.
It might take you a couple of days to get used to the quicker and more flexible new AF options system.
What I sometimes find difficult is mixing old and new between D800 and D3s.
Leif 9 722
3 Oct 2012 9:17PM

Quote:T AF is no good for close ups.
I disagree.
AF sometimes is, and sometimes is not, the best focus option Wink



I was referring to my preferences, which was obvious from the full post. But you chose to selectively quote in order to argue, such is your nerdy and confrontational nature. But since you want to argue, in my experience AF is usually useless for close ups, as the shallow depth of field and the inability of the AF module to know what is the area of interest limits its use.

And talking of pointless arguing, I note that when you say "The DX crop is about 15% smaller in apparent size than your D300", that is meaningless as you do not indicate whether you refer to linear dimensions, or area. Wink
thewilliam 6 4.8k
3 Oct 2012 9:29PM
Did you order the 10 minute argument or the full half hour?
dandeakin 7 207 3 England
3 Oct 2012 9:42PM
Thanks Len, very useful. I'm surprised the D800 doesn't have the option of shading out the viewfinder in a crop mode that the D700 has
Leif 9 722
4 Oct 2012 7:01AM

Quote:Did you order the 10 minute argument or the full half hour?


I must have ordered several arguments, given the way Len Shepherd has a go at me whenever I post here. I hate the man.

Interestingly despite all the detailed technical twaddle from Len Shepherd, he does not answer the question an ordinary person would ask, namely "Is it easy or hard to use the D800 in DX mode, is it easy to focus accurately and is it easy to compose, or does the extra scene outside the black line confuse the user". An example of not seeing the wood for the trees.
User_Removed 5 4.6k 1 Scotland
4 Oct 2012 4:54PM

Quote:

I must have ordered several arguments, given the way Len Shepherd has a go at me whenever I post here. I hate the man.




It is not unknown for Len to disagree with some of my observations and opinions. But I never feel he is "having a go" nor do I feel obliged to hate him. His views are always worth considering even when they differ from one's own.

But to get back to the OP's question.

When I bought a D3x full-frame Nikon, I hung on to my D300 for over a year, principally to preserve the effect of the "crop factor" stretch the DX format provided with my longer lenses. As the DX mode on the D3s only provided about 6Mp I convinced myself that this was inadequate for my needs. So I soldiered on with both the FX and DX cameras.

When I sold the D3x and bought a D800, however, that need (illusory or otherwise) disappeared. Actually I don't use the DX mode on the D800 and, for my wildlife photography - which is the only time I feel the need to "stretch" my lenses - I simply shoot in the full FX format and crop (often to considerably smaller than DX format) in processing. Shooting in DX might be helpful for those with tiny memory cards or a need for the fastest frame rate, but, for my modest requirements, shooting the full FX size and cropping afterwards makes much more sense.

So my simple advice would be - yes, sell the D700 and the D300 and buy a D800. (especially now that the Amazon price is down to 2070)

.
dandeakin 7 207 3 England
4 Oct 2012 8:16PM
Thanks, thats the conclusion I seem to be coming to as well.