Ordered the D300 today, should have tomorrow delivered at work...I will be selling my D80, which I only had briefly. At the onset, I should add that, for the first time since my DSLR journey started (Canon 400D --> Canon 40D --> Olympus E510 --> Nikon D80 --> Nikon D300
) I didn't upgrade from the D80 because I wasn't happy with it. No, the D80 is great, and it was meeting my expectations. It's simply that I fell in love with the D300, and I was in a position to get one. There are some features that the D300 has over the D80, and which are great, but none that I could not have lived without, whilst still enjoying the D80. That's new to me! Kudos to Nikon, I guess. I will be posting regular updates of my feelings about the D300 as time permits, given that I'm in the middle of study assignments. However, these are the features that attracted me to the D300 (bold = the ones I cared most about):
- Fine-tuning of the auto-focus
. I'm a sucker for sharpness and judging by some reviews that have dealt with this function, it seems to "improve" the lens, so to speak.
- 3' hi-def screen. Nice. Not necessary, but nice nevertheless.
- Live view
. I liked that feature since I had the Canon 40D, as much as i disliked it on the Olympus E510. I find it useful when using a tripod and taking your time to compose a shot.
- 6fps. Obviously useful.
- ISO indicated all the time in the viewfinder. Useful.
- High ISO performance
. Now, that's a biggie for me. Clean ISO 3200 - let alone 1600 - is a big plus for me. I don't plan to have external flashes, just the camera itself, so the ability to get this level of ISO performance is important to me. Could live without it, but I'll take it.
- 14-bit. I'm interested in HDR, so that might be a useful feature, allowing a greater dynamic range in processing. Shall see..
- More control over multiple shots (up to 10) and over color, sharpness, etc... In other words, more creative control.
- Seems like its matrix metering, or metering capabilities in general, are improved. Good. Including it's auto-WB capabilities. Also good.
- Info displayed on lcd, not only on top screen. I missed that one, I have to admit. i particularly like the fact that you don't have to have it on all the time.
- Interestingly, initial comments from around the net that pictures just come out "better" by using same technique and lenses as with previous cameras. In other words, the camera actually seems to contribute to picture quality, not just with features and ease of use. For example, the D300 actually reduces CA internally
. Same lens, same shots, but the ones taken with the D300 are CA-free (see Ken Rockwell's site for that one). "Improves" the lenses you have.
- Magnesium body. Don't need it (yet) but sturdiness is always a good thing.
- Active D-Lighting
. Again, from various first impressions around the net, it seems to actually make a useful contribution to picture-taking.
We'll see how it turns out in reality. To finish up:
What is it like to go from the D80 -->D300? It's not intimidating. Yes, it's bigger, but it feels good. I think it might be even larger than the Canon 40D, but I didn't feel that I was holding a huge camera with the D300, in the way that the 40D felt quite big to me. Also, it's still got the Program mode if needed, and it feels quite natural after the D80. One thing I really will appreciate - and it's a highly personal thing, I realise - is the ability to reverse what is "+" and what is "-". In other words, you can choose whether, for example, increasing the eV compensation results from turning the command wheel left, or right. I don't know about you, but I always felt turning the wheel rightways should increase a value, as opposed to Nikon's traditional leftways to increase. Small thing, but it's nice to have, shows a lot of thought on the part of Nikon.
But these are only first and very early impressions...More to follow.