Go for it. The D300 is a wonderful camera. One nice thing is that the complexity of features get out of the way, enabling you to make great images out of the box. Yet, you can grow into it as time goes by..
I recently upgraded from the D80. The D80 is a great camera, but I wish that I'd have started with the D200 as instead, when I moved from film. I think the D300 is an easier camera to learn with as well as having features at your fingertips that consumer camera's just don't have..
If you can afford it, why not?..
Get the D300 and start off with Program mode and auto everything else.Then take on a new feature one by one. Soon you will master it...
First off, the D300, as most will tell you is a outstanding camera. I also have a Fuji S5 Pro. It is also a wonderful camera. It is a more camera strengths (Color, WB Dynamic range) and weaknesses (resolution, lesser AF) where they D300 really has only one real weakness (though one that may plague you some at first) and that is white balance. Auto WB is porr indoors. Setting WB manually to incandecent/flourescent etc.
Shooting RAW and setting hte whitebalance in software the wb colors are really good. You might want to buy a WB card/tool. Otherwise, the D300 is brilliant..
As far as lenses, personally, I would not buy that combo. If you have the 70-300 VR, I would put my other money in a faster lens without VR. Neither one of those lenses is a viable portrait lens. If you don't want to drop $1100 on the Nikon 17-55 2.8 the Tamron 17-50 2.8 is excellent alternative. If you do want the 16-85 I would certainly buy the wonderful, tiny cheap (just over $100) 50mm 1.8 to use for low natural light or for a shallow depth of field shot (flowers. portraits, etc.).
I'm using a combination of the 17-50 2.8 Tamron, 80-200 2.8 Nikon and 50 1.8 Nikon for 90% of my shots now and find there is very little I want for. Maybe the 12-24 one day. I also have 24-70 2.8 (tank) and 18-200 VR travel (great if you can only take 1 lens) but find myself leaving them home most of the time...
Thank you for the feedback regarding going first to the d80 then the d300...
That sounds like very good advice. I am sure I will have to remind myself to take it one step at a time. The store I am purchasing from includes a few hours course along with the camera. (Not sure if this is standard with the purchase everywhere) I am sure this will help me get a quicker understanding of the camera...
Thank you very much for your feedback on the d300 and for the lens info! I was really concerned that the lens selection I was considering were not really the best for what I want to do, but never would have considered the little nikkor 50mm 1.8. It really performs that good? The camera selection is prooving to be much easier than the lens selection...
The little 50 f1.8 is a sharp and inexpensive lens, but the 16-85 you're looking at hasn't been reviewed, as far as I know. I think it's a great choice..
If I were to get a prime lens in that range, I'd opt for the 60 f2.8 Micro. It's freeky sharp and opens the world of macro. Every time I think about carrying my 50 f1.8, I know I'll put the Micro on instead. I'll give up the f-stop for all the other advantages...
You'll really love the D300. It's very complicated, but not hard to keep the most complex parts hidden for a while. Get over to the D300 forum! Lots of good info there....
Lenses are very dependent on what kinds of pix you end up taking. I'd suggest that for some of your possibilities, such as weddings and street photography, you may want fast lenses? Both need a zoom, as often opportunites pop up quickly..
You might consider the Sigma 50-150 f/2.8? When you buy Sigma, be sure to get one of their "EX" lenses if you want great IQ! I looked really hard at the 50-150, but ended up with the 70-200 f/2.8 EX, because I needed the extra reach..
Your 2nd lens might need to be a WA zoom? The Tokina 16-36 F2.8 is an old (1998) design but seems to be a good lens. You might find a used one? There is also the Tamron 17-50 F2.8. Unfortunately, there are no Nikkor lenses in this range...the closest is their 28-70 F2.8 ($1600!)..
I also have the Nikkor 60mm F2.8 Micro...it works great as a GP lens as well as being a super sharp macro lens..
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It does. The other suggestion of a 60 macro are viable. I don't really do macro but it's cool. Yes, the 50 1.8 I sharp enough that it proved to me that the D300 sensor is capable of capturing more detail than my other lenses were capable of resolving. Never had I seem such a difference. On my S5 Pro the 50mm is pretty indistinguishable from good zooms. On the D300 the difference is very noticeable...
I would never recommend a D300 to a beginner. I describe this as learning to drive on a grand prix car - more likely to put you off than teach you..
Now it's a little unclear whether you are really a beginner or not..
If you understand basic exposure principles and can use the PSAM modes to some extent ( without a lather of sweat forming ) then I'd be less inclined to put you off..
Myself I'd rather go for the D200 or D80 and save money for a good lens or two. Both excellent cameras. Not sure if this is relevant to you in relation to money, but there's my thinking..
Regarding lenses, well the 50mm f1.8 is cheap and good glass. Bare in mind that the D300/D200 and D80 all have a crop factor of 1.5x, so a 50mm lens actually has a field of view like a 75mm lens - good for portraits. This multiplier is something to bare in mind when considering lenses. Anyway this makes the 50m a very handy portrait lens..
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Why not a D300? As others have mentioned, you can start out in Program mode and let the camera do the rest, then as you get more comfortable with it, take one different feature at a time, i.e, try shooting in aperture priority, or shutter priority, reading and learning the whole time!.
I say if you want the D300 and are willing to invest some time and effort in reading, learning, and experimenting, you're likely to love it! Bottom line, it IS a camera after all, albeit one with a few bells and whistles... So it has a shutter button, a shutter speed setting, an aperture setting, an ISO setting, along with automatic ways of getting those set for different environments!.
Best of luck with your selection!.
P.S. I can't believe a previous poster said, 'never a D300' but then suggested a D200 instead....and the two are so dramatically different in operational complexity in WHAT way, exactly? I'd say the D300 is one of the best cameras to learn on if you can afford it. Why not learn on something that you want and grow with?..
MikeP.S. I can't believe a previous poster said, 'never a D300' but thensuggested a D200 instead....and the two are so dramatically differentin operational complexity in WHAT way, exactly? I'd say the D300 isone of the best cameras to learn on if you can afford it. Why notlearn on something that you want and grow with?.
I also thought it was interesting that he would never suggest a D300, but would suggest a D200 as if the comlexity was much different...
I would never recommend a D300 to a beginner. I describe this aslearning to drive on a grand prix car - more likely to put you offthan teach you..
Now it's a little unclear whether you are really a beginner or not..
This warning might be appropriate for a D3, but the D300 would be just fine for a beginner or intermediate. The only downsides are cost and size..
I would go for the 16-85 as that gets you 24mm wide angle. Whether the 70-300 or the (much heavier and more expensive) 70-200 is better for you depends on what you're going to use it for..
60mm provides too little working distance for easy macro use. The 50mm would be just as good for portraits..
One thing I would throw out there is that you should look at the Canon 5D and 40D as well...
I am quite new to the digital world having purchased a 5mp canonpowershot s2 a couple of summers ago to play with and get a feel forthe whole digital thing. Shooting with such a little camera took someadjustment for me, and I never could use that little screen on theback of the camera to take pictures. I used a Nikon f801 for yearsprior until I lost touch with the photography world for variousreasons. At that time I was doing some weddings on a pretty casualbasis as well as various "life" type events, most of which werefamily events done as a gift but some were paid for events afterothers viewed the family event photos. I loved it and at the time Iwas told that I had the ability to not only capture the moment but tomake the moment look good. Honestly I do not trust those opinions toany big degree because I think people just want to be nice.
Anyway, that tellsyou a little about me. I know very little having forgotten much ofwhat I knew way back when and know even less about digital, but Ihave never been afraid to learn something new..
I have spent a lot of time looking at various cameras over the pastyear. Since someone else is willing to add to the money I have savedfor a camera I figured what the heck. Might as well get more thanwhat I could possibly need at the moment and grow into it..
So, I am considering the d300 with the 16-85 and 70-300 lens' and thesb800. I have yet to look at tripod etc. My questions are:.
1. Is it just crazy to consider the d300 for a beginner? I am notparticularly afraid to have bad pictures to begin with but also donot want to be totally frustrated..
2. I will do people and pets a lot as well as "street" photography.Do you think the lens selection suggested above is good or would itbe a better investment to look at purchasing only one lens to startoff with and therefore be in a position to purchase a faster lens?Although I would have initially thought that with the d300 the speedof the 16 - 85 would be plenty fast enough to do people and animalsnot in the heat of a race or anything. I have done way too muchreading and am now quite confused. I also do not know if I will be ina position to add to the lens collection for a very long time..
I am no young chic and find myself in a place in life that willrequire major changes in the way in which I make a living and I hopeover the next couple of years to add photography to other things thatI will be doing. This has been a dream of mine that I was unable topursue for years...
I just made the same jump: From Canon S2IS to the D300. This is a beautiful camera but it has a huge learning curve. The manual is over 400 pages. I worked as a photographer for 8 years (about 20 years ago! all in film). I would probably recommend something more in the D80 range and spend the rest of your cash on top quality lenses. From your comments, I gathered you might get frustrated with the amount of reading, reading, testing, and trial and error that I believe the D-300 would require to become proficient.
The 'previous poster' suggested a D200 because if the OP is going to go ahead and get a semi-pro model anyway there is no purpose in getting a D300 over the D200. A beginner won't know the difference and won't know for a long time. Frankly I doubt a lot of the people rushing out trading in D200's for D300s will know the difference either..
A better lens for the price difference between the D300 and the D200 would be far more useful. A good book on photography is also something I usually recommend, although I don't know if the OP needs it or not..
It's been my experience that nine times out of ten someone who has decided to get a semi-pro DSLR for a first DSLR will be back one week after getting it complaining it doesn't work properly. If the OP wants a semi-pro model I really cannot see why we should not at least try and stop them throwing good money after bad. The D200 is a fine camera and many a pro uses them quite happily and won't be upgrading to the D300. Why fix it if it ain't broken ? .
I wish the OP good luck, but I have seen this particular insanity too often and fear it will end up with yet another frustrated DSLR owner who feels conned..
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I really appreciate the replys. It is now a couple of weeks later and I have yet to make the purchase since I have spent so much time reading, a lot of time asking questions and learning a lot. I am hoping to make this a long term investment...
Then I would absolutely go with the D300. For me it came down to the D80 or the D300 ( I was sticking with Nikon because of some lenses I already own.) I did seriously consider the XTI from Canon before I "committed" to Nikon. I have to say the D-300 is a beautiful piece of work. It's substantial but when I held both the D80 and the D300 I made the right choice. For me (I'm 54) it may be the last camera I get. It does have a learning curve so if you're expecting a lot of pre-designed modules then DO NOT get this camera.
I really wanted the D3 but absolutely couldn't afford it...
Sounds like you are not a begginer, so as long as you are willing to put in the time then you will love the D300. Make sure that you go to the shop and handle the camera with the lens that you intend to use. The D300 is a large, heavy camera and you need to make sure that you are ok with this..
I would also recommend the purchase of a 50mm prime. I have the Nikor 1.4 which is most excellent, but I have just noticed that Sigma have announced a new 50mm 1.4 which should be cheaper than the Nikon version. You learn a lot about photography by going back to a simple, high quality, fixed focus lens..
The D-Lighting system should allow you to get some good results right out of the camera shooting JPG and when you are more confident and need more then you have the option of moving over to RAW and spending more time processing the images - I suppose it's the equivalent of developing your own images in the darkroom..
If cost is not a consideration and you really want to invest time and money in this hobby then the D300 would be a great camera for you - but like many have said - you will be expected to work for it!.
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