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  #1  
Old 11-07-2007, 06:17 AM
Furachan Furachan is offline
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Default NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO

As is my custom I headed earlier today to the Nikon showroom literally two blocks from my office on the Ginza and lo and behold they had both the forthcoming all-pro full frame D3 and the 12 Megapixel D300, its little brother. Here is my usual, opinionated first impressions. I hope it is of interest to the community.

NIKON D3: The REAL DEAL
I had the good luck of trying out the D3 with the brand new 24-120 F2.8 lens attached. And that is a fearsome combinations, my friends. Everything about this camera screams quality. It is SOLID, much more so than the D300 (no comparison), responsive and sure. The few photos that I took of an old guy nearby talking with a Nikon attendant looked fantastic in the super duper LCD (same as for the D300). The colors were highly nuanced and deep.

Its hard for me to really evaluate a genuine PRO camera like the D3 I dont know how to challenge it, how to take it to the edge. All I can say is that it will absolutely re-establish Nikon as a contender for Pro shooters, especially in sports but also PJs.

Personally I think I prefer the handling of the Canon 1D MK III (which I have also played with) but thats a question of personal ergonomic preference. The D3 has the advantage of full frame and the 3200 iso sports pictures Ive seen on the web are jaw droppingly good.

NIKON D300: A MUSHY SQUEAKER
Now remember I owned a D200 once (for my sins) so I know a little bit about the basic handling of this line. After the D3 I was prepared to be gobsmacked by the D300 but that is not how things turned out.

THE AF:
To be honest with you I always found the D200s AF system overly complicated and confusing for a liberal arts type like myself. I reckon these days you need an advanced degree in electrical engineering to handle one of these Nikon beasts. Well the D300s Af is an even more complex and confusing version of the D200s if you can imagine that. The view through the finder reminds me of computer games like Falcon 4 where you are at the commands of a modern jet fighter weird superimposed ghost spots that light up, but more pale than the main RED dot thats actually taking the brunt of the focusing. This would drive me nuts. At one point I went all the way to the 200mm side of the 18-200 zoom and tried to focus on some old guy standing there and the thing went in-out-in-out without getting a purchase on the old geezers face and I was thinking Come on! It cant be that hard the fellows not even moving!. Also each time you lock on (and it is pretty fast when working right) you hear this cr@ppy little TRRR sound that I could have happily lived without.
Look, if youre very good at fas6t, complex aerial combat videos games like LOCK ON, you will LOVE the D300. If on the other hand youre just a regular shooter who likes to get the job done, wellthere are easier alternatives, like the Eos 40D. More on that in my conclusion.

THE SHUTTER:
Mushy is a word that comes to mind before getting off a shot it felt like you had to mash down pretty hard and deep with the D300s shutter, not a very pleasant experience. To make things worse, when you do achieve your goal, the D300s shutter, much like the D200 has a sharp, loud SMACK sound to it that is about as good as a double espresso. No way could you sleep through that, but you might as well forget about being discrete. The Eos 40Ds shutter mechanism is much more sophisticated (it seems to me) and the sound much softer, really very close (in volume) to the excellent 5D.

ISOs and IMAGE QUALITY:
Again it is Nikons policy to cater for F16 pilots rather than ordinary shooters so what is basically a straight iso 200-3200 range CMOS chip (why not iso 100 I ask!!!), turns into something far more complex as you have extra choices like L1, L2 (presumably for a fake iso 50 and 100 respectively) and H1, H2, H3 that will take you all the way to a REALLY NOISY 6400 iso. In all honesty I did try a couple of iso 1600 shots and in the excellent high res LCD they looked a LOT cleaner than iso 800 with the D200, so there is definite progress there.

THE LCD:
Well it is soooo good that it puts Canons 3inch version to shame. Clear, sharp, beautiful with deep colors, thats what you get my brothers and sisters. There is no way around that Canon dropped the ball in this department. Let us pray they wake up and smell the coffee before the launch of the 5D II we are all waiting for (well some of us)

CONCLUSION:
There will be a lot of hype about how the D300 is a baby D3) and all that. Bu.t! Do NOT believe a word of it. Compared with the superb D3, the D300 seems almost creaky the build is not on the same level at all it suffers from all the over-complicated layout of the D20, only worse. Mushy shutter with a loud CLACK at the end of the run, and itS a crop cam no matter how you slice it. I predict it will NOT be a major threat to Canon sales the Eos 40D is snappier in feel, far more simple to operate and QUIETER which counts a lot, at least in my books.
The D3 on the other hand is an extremely advanced PRO camera with full frame and tremendous image quality at undreamed of high isos. That baby WILL be a threat to Canon pro sales, both against the 1Ds MKIII and the 1D MKIII (which are all being recalled right now for faulty AF systems).
I told you this would be opinionated. If its an objective review you want, there are plenty of good ones on the web
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  #2  
Old 11-07-2007, 07:08 AM
Xalkida Xalkida is offline
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Default Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO

Great report Francis! Well done.
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  #3  
Old 11-07-2007, 07:18 AM
nerve nerve is offline
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Default Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO

i knew that D3 was quite phenomenal..and i wish that they released this bl..dy camera before i shifted to Canon! ;)
(and i knew that they would do FF sooner or later, no escape from it..)

oh well, i wonder how this new lens' quality is though; a constant 2.8 is pretty amazing for that range..modern times. ;)

thanks for your report Francis, as always! :)
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  #4  
Old 11-07-2007, 07:38 AM
nerve nerve is offline
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Default Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO

oops, this 24-120 2.8 should be NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G i think Francis; 2.8 at this range is still impossible in our dah! ;)

or did you shoot with a new 14-24mm f/2.8G maybe?
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  #5  
Old 11-07-2007, 07:55 AM
Furachan Furachan is offline
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Default Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO

Sorry you are absolutely correct. Its advantage would be the f2.8 but the excellent Canon 24-105 has the range!
By the way this is NOT a small lens, you know what I mean?
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  #6  
Old 11-07-2007, 08:04 AM
nerve nerve is offline
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Default Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO

i am sure.. must be a 'beast' altogether with a D3.. Canon 24-105 is a f/4 though not a 2.8. i am selling it btw soon, am sick of its flare..
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  #7  
Old 11-07-2007, 11:16 AM
Dpbours Dpbours is offline
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Default Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO

Thanks for that one Francis!

Fortunately, I do have a bachelor in electronics, a masters in energy engineering, I do love complex racing games and even more with a good espresso! Seems the D300 will be my machine ;-).

Greetz, Dennis
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  #8  
Old 11-07-2007, 01:25 PM
rushfan2112 rushfan2112 is offline
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Default Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO

Thank you Francis.

I can't say I'm surprised about the D3. Nikon cannot aford to get that one wrong - despite the body only costing half of what it costs to buy the 1Ds MkIII.

I am surprised about the D300, though. I've got the D200 (with which I'm very happy) and I'm not looking to change it any time soon. However, pre-launch, I was hoping that (a) it would also have been a full frame camera - to give Nikon users a comparative choice to the 5D at a similar price point and (b) that when I did decide to upgrade, I there would be a natural 'successor' waiting in the wings.

Clearly, there's a lot of personal choice and ergonomics that come into play with decisions like whether to go for a D300 or a 40D. Without a legacy system to consider, the 40D looks a better option right now. However, as I have a substantial amount of Nikon gear, I'll look at the D300 when we finally get one in the UK - but armed with your comments. Then again, there's always the Fuji S5 Pro.....

Cheers,

Paul.
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  #9  
Old 11-07-2007, 04:43 PM
oochappan oochappan is offline
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Default Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO

one D3 = 5D + 5D + lens(+/-1400Euro)

ISO-performance of D3 starting in default at 200,
tests are not done yet if 6400 Nikon = 3200 Canon,
let's see and wait.

fine stimulans for Canon to solve the autofocus-problem in the MIII,
a new 5D as reply soon ?

found with google on the net ...
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  #10  
Old 11-07-2007, 04:54 PM
nerve nerve is offline
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Default Re: NIKON D3 and D300 HANDS ON REPORT FROM TOKYO

"..one D3 = 5D + 5D + lens(+/-1400Euro)"

this kind of price comparisons is irrevelant, entirely different cameras for different markets.

different horses for different courses..
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