Nikon D300 – My week to review

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Thanks to the very fantastic ProPhotoRental for accommodating my ever shifting schedule while I reviewed the Nikon D300.  I mentioned that my reviews will not be the traditional compare and contrast so if you would like to know more about my experience take it to the comments.   If you’re looking for the traditional I checked out the specs here.

1. Within five minutes of taking the camera out of the box have I taken a picture?  Yes.  After I let the camera come to room temperature I took it out of the custom box and got started right away.  It’s definetly different then my Nikon D40x but I figured out how to put it in Aperture priority mode and got clicking.  

2. Camera weight and the scale of sturdiness.  This camera was heavier then my other camera body and when I loaded it with an external flash or my telephoto lens it was substantially heavier.  This actually helped me because it really made me turn to proper camera holding form and posture.

3. Camera setting options.  I’ll be honest.  I like the pretty picture settings on my Nikon D40x – I like not thinking when I’m shooting from time to time and being able to select the little flower icon is comforting.  This camera, being a professional grade does not come with pretty pictures.  When lazy, I’d miss this but you make up for it in the ease of changing the settings when you’re in Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority mode.  I rarely shoot in full manual but it’s something I’m pushing myself towards more and with the additional setting dials I’d be able to get the hang of it pretty quickly.

4. Test shots with different lenses.  
Here’s a shot with my 300mm fully extended – I was really impressed that I didn’t have any camera shake and my 50mm fixed lens was INCREDIBLE on this body.  
CassJustCurious 2009-01-18

5. White Balance review of Auto vs Custom vs Settings.  This was one area that I was really happy with.  On my Nikon D40x I can really notice a difference between the camera setting White Balance vs. Custom Settings White Balance and then an even larger difference when I took my own White Balance.  With this camera I didn’t see a huge difference between the three which made me happy because it’s one less thing I’d constantly be monitoring.  

6. Continuous shoot speed.  This camera in combination with the CF card by SanDisk (provided by ProPhotoRental) had a very fast continuous shoot speed.  I took 35 pictures in the space of 2 minutes to get this shot.  I was really happy with the Depth of Field.
CassJustCurious 2009-01-19

7.  Thing I learned from this review.  That spending money on great lenses is a good investment if you have a solid body to work off of.  I was just so happy and shocked when I took a look at photos that I took with the D300 and then similar shots with my D40x.  This is one of my favorites:
CassJustCurious 2009-01-19

Overall Rating:

This is an excellent camera.  It was easy enough to pick up and go with, it was sturdy and worked with my existing lens collection so that’s a huge plus, I loved how the photo information and the amount of photo information provided with graphs.  I respond really well to graphs and this really helped me make adjustments real time that with my D40x I would have made post shoot in an editing software.  

Someone asked me if I wish I had bought this camera right out of the gate and my answer is easy.  No.  If you’re a novice or this is your first SLR I think this camera would be intimidating.  My personal feeling is you learn a lot about how camera’s work and settings by testing out all of the pre-set options you get on the more consumer ready SLR’s out there (regardless of brand).  Classes, are fantastic.  Books, are divine, but absolutely nothing takes the place of spending an hour shooting in a mode, checking out how our settings changed, what you liked and what you hated to take your photography to the next level.   

Instant gratification when you’re spending a load of money on a camera is important so having a great camera with a nice Auto shoot mode would be important to me if I were to buy an SLR for the first time.  I think back to the day I took my Nikon D40x out of the box.  I wonder sometimes if this very first picture I took was crap if I would have been biten by this photo bug.
Um, Can I help you with something?

Is this my next SLR? Well I was checking out tonight and the Nikon D300 DX 12.3MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) and was going for $1,468.00 and the Nikon D700 12.1MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) is selling for $2,395.00. That’s a lot of onions.  So I’m going to try out some of the other cameras that you all raved about first.  

Anything you’d like to know about my week test drive with D300?

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